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It was always impossible to suggest to my Mom that she do anything differently than the way she was doing it, even if her way was longer, harder. etc... Now that she has dementia she can be impossible to deal with. She is aware she forgets things. But if she does things that just aren't okay and you try to have a conversation she just thinks she is being lied to. If this was all "the disease" I could feel a lot more compassion. But I have been on the receiving end of this nastiness my whole life. Her illness has turned my life upside down. Fortunately for now she can pay for round the clock care except for a few hours when the night person leaves ( at 6:15) and a few hours before they come back at night. We live in a 4 family house, different apartments. So I am up at 4:30 every morning so I can have a little peaceful wakeup time before I go down to hear whatever crazy went on the night before. I really feel bad for what she's going through (or I would not have taken on the responsibility of being totally on my own as far as being the only person in charge of my Mom. But the nasty just takes a really hard situation and makes it so much worse. I could just use a few words of encouragement. There are no family or friends for that. My only support is from the people who get paid.

My dad, God rest his soul, had a saying I'll never forget:

"You know that 80-year-old man who's such an *******? The one you excuse for his behavior because he's old? Well, he was most likely an ******* at 30."

I think, for the most part, dad was right.
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Reply to MaggieMarshall
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CantTakeNoMore Oct 20, 2018
Thank you.
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My geriatric consultant (well Mums obviously .....not mine!) said that any small traits they may have had prior to dementia get exaggerated and magnified with dementia - both good and bad. he also noted that sometimes the bad override the good - truer words never spoke in my case.
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Reply to PhoenixDaughter
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Emily,

For as long as I can remember, Mom has been negative, self-absorbed, controlling, and manipulative, with no empathy for others. She loves to say cruel things and watch her victims flinch with pain. She knows 101 ways to pit one family member against the other. She's no stranger to physical and emotional abuse. Sadly, dementia has only made it worse.

She's 93 and going strong. She's sweet and charming to people outside the family, but she treats us like c - - p. Amazing how, despite mid-stage dementia, her ability to discriminate is intact.

I've minimized contact and come here for emotional support. Only those who have walked through fire understand what it's really like.
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CantTakeNoMore Oct 20, 2018
"She's 93 and going strong. She's sweet and charming to people outside the family, but she treats us like c - - p."

That's exactly it. It is amazing how Alzheimer's leaves that aspect of their psyche in tact even during the last years of their life. Agree 100%
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I am so with you. Hugs. Our 95-year old is spiteful, coarse, and cannot be told anything. Never could be guided in any way. The AL center has had her a week and has called us in to meet with them tomorrow...they've never seen anything so narcissistic, so much rage. She's threatened all her new caregivers, apparently. She's always had her way, due to her abusive ways, and the dementia has just distilled her bile. What do we do now? I, too, have lost so much of my compassionate self, because you can only be pelted with the stones of life so much. Love to you, and to me, and pray we make it.
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Reply to Coffeemaid
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Maggies dad nailed it! My father was always mean spirited, brutal and violent in his punishment. At 94,,,,,,,nasty one day, level the next, like walking across a minefield. Everything is someone elses (usually me) fault. To answer your question, yes, it is a mix of both personality flaws and the disease.....dementia adds the paranoia and in my case....a reality that can be conjoured up inside the mind....resulting in many accusations and outbursts.

Please do not think as this progresses you can do it all by yourself. This is the hardest thing you will ever do in your life. There is no shame in bringing outside help or sending her to the pro's. Ask the doc for an antianxiety drug. Celexa has performed miracles for us.
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Reply to Mincemeat
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My mom was distant and controlling when I was growing up. Right now, at 85 years old, I and my father and daughter felt it’d be a good idea to admit her to a Geri Psych unit to which she agreed to. We got the results today. Mom is depressed and has moderate dementia. She’s started new meds for that. I hope they help.
The new ‘fresh hell’ from her is she never wants to see my dad or I again because we put her in ‘that place’. So we’re praying we can get her a room in a very very nice assisted living home, hoping she’ll be happier.
She’s physically attacked my dad and is abusive verbally to my dad 24/7.
She’s going to put my dad in his grave if they aren’t separated.
So in my family’s case, once hateful, always hateful.
It’s very sad. She’s had everything she’s wanted in life but never been happy. At 17 years old I moved out of my parents house and it took me years to come to terms with this. But I have a happy marriage of many years and a great daughter. I vowed to stop the abuse cycle when I had my daughter.
I hope my mom can find some happiness at the end of her life but also, I’ll continue protecting myself and family from her cruelty.
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Reply to HolidayEnd
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My experience is with my Dads mild to moderate dementia. He was always easy going and still is pretty much. He seems to know that he forgets things but has no idea how bad his short term memory is. The biggest change I see in him is the total, unfounded stubborness with any reasonable suggestion. He just is stuck on certain things like refusing to get the filthy carpet cleaned or agreeing to any help whatsoever. And if you push the issue even mildly he will lash out. This is new behavior him.

I have to work really hard not to get mad at him and remember it's the dementia.
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Reply to Windyridge
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Being alone in dealing with your relative's dementia is really difficult. I enjoy AgingCare...reading the various issues in various stages of the disease that people are dealing with, asking questions, answering questions I've already dealt with. Keep reading what everybody has posted, you can learn a *lot*. I also believe that dementia accentuates baseline personality factors. Personality traits like being manipulative and scheming seem to be enhanced with dementia. And can change one second to the next. To quote my mother when I was in trouble as a teen: "You made your 'bed of roses' now you can damn well sleep in it." I certainly treat her far better than she treated me. I will have no regrets when her time to pass comes.
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Reply to sophe509
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Like kizzie, that is what we experienced with our Mom. She gave my sister a harder time than me (but still argued big time with me until I learned you can't reason with dementia) I'm not sure dementia makes them more like they always were. There were a lot of behaviors (phobias, lack of self control, selfishness, obsessions) Mom developed that were never there when she was younger (I think they came from frustration and anger at loss of independence). Other personality traits did become more enhanced, such as stubborness and negativity and narcissism, but that was probably from the loss of inhibitions when dementia robs them of their normal emotional self control.
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I agree with what AmyGrace wrote about loss of inhibitions. People (and other animals) have complex brains with many different control areas. Someone can have a thought or emotion, but it can be dampened or snuffed by input from control areas. For example, a person can be frightened by something, but input from other areas will let the person know that there is no threat after all. They calm down quickly. Or a person can get miffed at a slight incident. Input from control areas against would say there was no threat and the anger is eased. But what if these control areas are damaged, or if the links between the areas of the brain are severed?

We are most likely still seeing parts of the person they've always been, but with the partial loss of higher control that comes from neural feedback.
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