Is the narcissism and meanness a consequence of the dementia or a character trait that the patient can' t stop anymore? - AgingCare.com

Is the narcissism and meanness a consequence of the dementia or a character trait that the patient can' t stop anymore?

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I just hope my mom will stay the sweet person I used to know ( so far so good and she's diagnosed with moderate advance dementia) and I sure hope for myself not to become a narcicist burden for my loved ones if I followed my mom on this terrible path.

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I'm sorry to hear this about your mom. My grandma has severe dementia. She has a really sweet loving side. She can be so kind. She is never really mean but she is very selfish. I think the dementia brought out the worst in that aspect. I think some of what we are seeing is personality traits and also the fact that a mom or grandma or dad or whoever who always took care of themselves and was independent is suddenly being thrown out of that room, and into a place they don't understand. Can you imagine how you would feel being placed in a world where you can't drive yourself, can't go to the bathroom by yourself or dress yourself? Can you imagine how it would feel to suddenly be so lost and confused and not know where you are, who you are and who is around you? Can you imagine how it would feel to be told you have to listen to your own child? It's bound to bring out the worst in someone and while some people stay sweet and loving, others get angry and upset.

The good thing about it is that with dementia, I have found it to be like the weather. She can wake up in a cranky mood refusing food, refusing to get dressed, and be nice but then 20 minutes later when I turn on the music, have her all dressed despite her protests and have a freshly cooked cheese egg placed in front of her, she will smile and thank me.

I think caring for someone means you have to adjust your way of reacting to them to meet the needs of them. So if smiling and being happy even when they have kept you up all night, will change their mood into a happy mood, then so be it. If cooking an egg, because they didn't want the oatmeal or cereal they thought they wanted, means they eat for you, then so be it. I just try to not let the attitude get to me. Not let her telling me that I'm a mean person because I dressed her in the morning or that I'm mean because I raised my voice after her saying 'what' 5 times to my previous normally spoken tone, ruin my day.

Keep your chin up, take care of yourself and try to remember her attitude doesn't have to be yours. You didn't make her be so mean and you can prevent her from making you be mean back.
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Thank you so much every one. You are really comforting💗
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Michou - As they say down home my Mom was "as mean as a snake" in her later years when dementia started - but then, she was NEVER a totally sweet & kind person. My grandmother (Mom's mom) was a sweet, kind, southern Baptist woman her entire life and as dementia set in, her personality never changed - even on the day she passed at 92.
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Michou, I agree with cwillie and jeannegibbs. My aunt (Dad's sister) suffered from Alz and remained her sweet self up to the end. And my father is the same. He only ever becomes a little grumpy if he is worried or puzzled by something in particular, as cwillie says. Of course there is no telling in advance what this may be - at one point he developed a fixation about the paper towel dispenser in his bathroom. I thought he wanted me to fix it for him, but when I touched it he became agitated, so I just left it alone and he was happy again.
Neither my aunt nor my father were ever mean or narcissistic when they were younger. If your mother never has and is not showing signs of narcissistic behaviour now, I don't think you need to worry too much about this. Let her behaviour guide you as to what her current needs are, and I am sure you will cope.
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Thank you all of you for the hope. 😀❤️
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It's strange but I've known demanding elders who didn't have dementia and then the dementia folks I've known were all sweet. I've heard about the others just never experienced it. Michou, I'm sorry for your moms diagnosis.
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Narcissism is a separate mental illness. It can co-exist with dementia, and I'd be willing to bet that those two conditions can make each other worse, but getting dementia doesn't cause narcissism. If Mom has never been narcissistic, I don't think you have to worry about it.

Dementia, or just getting old and losing independence, tends to make many people more self-absorbed, especially if their needs are not being met, as cwillie says. And dementia confuses the needs issue. For example, someone who can't remember that she's had visitors every day this week may complain that no one ever visits her.

Neither my husband nor my mother became narcissistic burdens during their dementia.
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I think as dementia becomes advanced their own needs become foremost, and they gradually lose the capacity to take into account the needs and desires of others. That doesn't mean she will turn into a cruel, demanding harpy though, as long as her physical and emotional needs are being met she will probably remain your sweet tempered mother. Behavioural problems are often the result of fear, pain, confusion or some other unmet need.
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