Follow
Share

I am an only child. So my question is how do I stop feeling guilty when I do not go to see her for my own sanity?

Dear Queen,
In Stage 5 Alzheimer’s, my mother was the wicked witch of the west! She put me down, made false accusations about me to others (including adult protective services), called me a liar, a thief, accused me of wanting an insestous relationship with her (gag!), accused me of being physically abusive, and on and on. I was ready to loose my mind. I would start shaking a few blocks before I got to her place and needed anti-anxiety meds to visit with her. She physically attacked me at the first memory care facility. Life was hell to go see mother. I backed off on my visits to once every two weeks and felt much better. (Hey, it’s them OR us and you’ve got to watch out for yourself.)

In time the dementia changes as the disease progresses and the witch has now (with meds) become quieter and no where near as mean. (She still has a nasty streak with the staff once in a while but that was her old personality-narcissistic).

Don’t feel guilty to back off visits for your own peace of mind-it’s self preservation.

You may also consult with her doctor to see if she needs to add/change meds. It took a few tries but the regimen she’s on now works great.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to SueC1957
Report

In time it gets easier as you realize the great amount of abuse you have suffered and decide you don't want this for yourself any more. You deserve a better life. I have BTDT and finally reduced contact significantly. It helped enormously.

I am taking a guess here. Does writing that you are an only child indicate that there is no other family to help your mum? It would help us to know what your and your mum's circumstances are. (((((((hugs)))))) I think you need some.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to golden23
Report

Queen, there is absolutely no reason for you to feel guilty. Verbal abuse is toxic
and it can seriously affect your health. I attended domestic violence support groups for several years and remember one woman, who had nearly been killed
by her partner, say that the worst was the verbal abuse. All of the women present
concurred with this--very eye opening, as for years verbal abuse was sort of ignored and that old saw trotted out--"sticks and stones will break my bones, but
words will never hurt me" . Abusive folks favorite manta, and a handy excuse for
them to continue their abuse.

Don't put up with it, leave immediately when she begins. Keep your visits short
or don't go at all. The most important thing you can do for yourself is to create your own family through friends. It's kind of tough to do, but over time you'll find your people if you stick with it. Your mom may never be able to be a mom, and
could very likely only continue to project her own inner demons onto you. Don't let her do this. Verbal abuse is a kind of insanity where someone attempts to feel
good about themselves by accusing others of totally false issues or grossly inflated defects. It's both crazy to do and also actually crazy to listen to.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to bettina
Report
NeedHelpWithMom Mar 9, 2019
Good advice, Bettina.
(1)
Report
I'm sorry you're dealing with this.

I agree with the others that you have to take care of yourself. You don't need to visit if you are going to be taking emotional abuse. My great grandmother was the same way and while I know my grandfather felt bad not seeing his mother, he felt even worse if he did. The fact that you feel guilty even after dealing with this shows how much you care. If it starts, you can say you really wanted to see her, but can't let her speak like this to you. Either she changes so that you will come back or not. I don't know the exact situation and if dementia is part of the problem or not. Either way, it won't help either of you to have you getting broken down. Try and take care of yourself.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Ash1984
Report

So, Queen, did the psychologist suggest that medication might help your mother with her adjustment disorder?

You don't say if your mom has been diagnosed with dementia or not (either that or I didn't read carefully) but in either case, you have the right to protect yourself from her hurtful behavior and words.

Can you set a healthy boundary and only stay as long and the visit is pleasant? Like if she starts in on you, say "Gee mom, that was mean and uncalled for. I'll be going now".
or
"Sorry that you're in such a bad mood, Mom. I'll come back when you're feeling better".
And then just walk out.

No, it's not to "teach" her anything or punish her. It's to PROTECT you from being mortally wounded by her words.

There's a book called Boundaries by Townsend and Cloud. If you haven't read it, get hold of copy at the library, or Amazon. I've often seen it as used bookshops and Goodwill stores if money is an issue.

Just because she's your mother doesn't mean that you have to stay around for the hateful speech. Get up and leave.

I don't know how often you visit, or for how long, or how you structure your visits. I found that once a week, for an hour was all either of us could do; bring a treat or something to focus on like a magazine or a picture of a grandchild gave us something to "do" rather than just trying to "wing it".
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn
Report
Queenofmean725 Mar 10, 2019
Thank you Barb. I feel good at the moment. I last saw her on Friday for about an hour. She was nasty as usual. I just told her that I love her and hope that she feels better. She is getting over a bad virus. I called the home this morning and they said that she is starting to feel much better; however, her latest trick is to not answer her phone. So I told her when I visited on Friday that I had paid her phone bill, but pointed out that it was a complete waste of my Dad's money like she says to me whenever I use her money.
(1)
Report
I see that you answered that she HAS dementia and has always been mean to you.

So, she's the guilty party here, right? Guilt is for folks who are doing something wrong. Being mean is wrong.

Visit if you can stomach it. Otherwise, send cheerful cards and let her reap what she has sown.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn
Report

Yes, Barb is correct about dementia. I only meant that if you know she is not having those issues.

Some people truly don’t realize they are being mean and there are underlying reasons as to why they are. Then therapy can be helpful to clear the air and be useful for both of you. Of course, not everyone is willing to go. Especially at an older age. How old is she?

Is she depressed? Upset about something in particular?

It isn’t fair to you to be mistreated. If you don’t have to stick around then feel free to take a break from her. As Barb, say, check back on her later.

My husband’s grandmother was very mean to everyone. Occasionally she could be charming. My poor MIL did not do as Barb has suggested for you and all of us wished that she would have not allowed her to verbally/emotionally abuse her. It wore her down. She too was an only child and felt that she had to take it. As Barb said, she set herself up in a destructive pattern that wasn’t good for either of them.

Oddly enough, my MIL warned me of her mom’s personality and told me not to give in to her foolishness and I didn’t. Oh, she got mad at me but she got over it, not entirely but she knew that she couldn’t order me around like she tried.

Her husband tried to get her to speak to a counselor or clergy but she refused. Can’t force someone. She had a ton of anxiety. Everyone has bad days but this was more than that.

An elderly friend of mine did go to therapy with her daughter, she takes medication for anxiety and depression, also talk therapy, she was stuck in the grief process for her husband. She is doing better with therapy. But she does not have any dimentia. She is 80. Her daughter is in her late 50’s. Nice when issues can be worked on.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
Report

Does she have dementia? Has she always been mean to you?
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn
Report
Queenofmean725 Mar 10, 2019
Yes and yes
(1)
Report
So, Queen, we REALLY need more information to respond helpfully.

If your mom has dementia, taking her to counseling or trying to explain stuff to her is NOT going to be helpful.

Guilt, quite frankly, is for folks who've done something wrong. Have you done something wrong? No, you're just trying to do the best for your mother.

So leave the guilt by the curb.

What does your mom need? What does her PCP, her geriatric psychiatrist and other professional caregivers tell you she needs?

You need to be her daughter. You need to set some boundaries if she is pushing your buttons and causing you to feel terrible. In those situtaitons, you say "sorry that you're feeling bad/sad/mad mom; I'll be back when you're feeling better. And LEAVE.

Hanging around and letting her verbally abuse you does you no good (and does you harm) and it gets her into the habit of thinking that is okay behavior.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn
Report

Yes, need more info. Like asked, does she have Dementia? Is this something new? Is she in her own home, an Assist. Living or Nursing home? How old is she? Your answers will help us help you.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report
Queenofmean725 Mar 10, 2019
My mom will be 92 in July. All of her life she has been hard to deal with. My Dad was very "easygoing" and when she got nasty, he would just go to bed. He died almost seven years ago and she really has not gotten over it. She does live in the best assisted living facility in our town. I had a psychologist check her out. He said she had an adjustment disorder. I know that she likes to be in control and I also think that she is a Narcissist. I am damned if I do and damned if I don't with her. So basically I am starting to realize what I have been dealing with most of my life but now it is just magnified. One hurtful thing that she says is that my Dad never wanted kids and she had me because she wanted to see what it felt like to be a mother. She keeps telling me that she liked me better when I was a baby! I tell her that her baby is on Social Security. She even makes fun of my facial expressions and I feel that there is an element of jealousy going on here. Also, she gets very nasty if I speak to anyone else where she lives. I no longer enjoy our visits and it really is very depressing. Okay now any suggestions?
(1)
Report
See All Answers

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter