How do you cope with an aging parent who has become increasingly defensive, sarcastic and argumentative?

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JesseBelle, OMG!!! You nailed it!!! Our mother's sound identical in every way. I couldn't pin point why my self esteem was less than nothing since I too moved back home in 2009 to take care of my mother. I realize now, after reading your post that she does think I am unimportant and should be honored to take care of "her highness" in every way. Truly her feeling of self importance is staggering to me. Her needs above all and constant opposition is draining the life out of me. I don't know how much longer I will be able to tolerate her behavior. Maybe I will try your suggestion and tell her to be thankful I am there at all or threaten to move out. My daughter, who also lives her refuses to take care of her in any way because she knows what would happen if I left. If you know of a support group, here in Birmingham that could help me endure her treatment, please share. I thank you for your response.
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Hi, greekgal. I'm in Birmingham, too. Your life sounds so much like mine. I moved back here in 2009 to take care of my parents. My father died. Your mother sounds like your mine. It must be a Bama thing -- sweet as pie to everyone around, then her fangs and horns come out with me. We had a terrible day yesterday and I told her I was moving out. She has been so sweet today. I think she realizes she was way over the line and doesn't want to lose me.

My mother also likes to argue. She will take the opposite view of mine on just about everything. Sometimes she will even switch views just to keep opposed to me. I find it is pointless to argue. Sometimes I give it a start, then say I don't want to argue. She wins by default. Arguing just makes her mad, which is worse than just letting it go. Nothing matters that much, anyway.

I think there is a lot of wisdom in a couple of old sayings or punchlines. Often care receivers are bad to bite the hand that feeds them. Maybe it is because the person represents their loss of independence and freedom, so there are some bad feelings there. Too, I imagine it is difficult to have a person come into your home and life. Most people would prefer to live separately if they could. Another punchline seems to fit good if it is modified a bit -- "I wouldn't want to belong to a club that would have me as a member." Sometimes I feel with my mother since my life is so unimportant that I can take time to care for her, than I must not be very important. This lesser position is an opening for abuse.

The thing that keeps me sane (well, partly) is knowing personally that I am important. However, over time I have felt my self esteem going down. I wish we didn't have to put up with all these bad feelings of growing old, particularly when we no longer are spring chickens ourselves.
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Thank you MarcelaDeVico
for your caring answer and now that I know that I am not alone in dealing with this particular problem, I will seek professional help in helping me deal with it.
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A lot of patience. My mom is like this, and no matter what we've tried she gets snappy with everyone. Whenever this happens keep in mind that she's dealing with understanding how she's changing and aging. She doesn't like the fact that there are some things she can't do, or things she's restricted in. It feels like a loss of control over yourself. It's easier to lash out at people you love because subconsciously you know they'll deal with you longer. A lot of this I learned from my mom's caregiver so I'm not going to take the credit. She's from presidiohomecare in Los Angeles. I don't know if they have other offices but their staff is trained well to not just help the elderly but the rest of the family as well. Ultimately I say just have a conversation with your parent, explain how you feel, and see where the conversation goes from there. Good Luck!!
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