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My mother is 82 years old. She hasn't been diagnosed with alzheimers or dementia, but is spiraling more and more rapidly into the bitter, angry and rage filled life that is driving me and my family insane.
She doesn't live with us (thank God) but still manages to be a big part of my daily life. I can't work full time because of her daily demands and I have to inform her everytime I'm leaving the house, otherwise she will leave dozens of messages crying and screaming because she doesn't know where I'm at. She has actually called my husband at work sobbing and presuming me dead because I hadn't called her at the time that she thought I was supposed to. I'm a subsitute teacher and I don't always have a schedule that I can inform her of ahead of time. I am expected to call her during my lunch time everday, but some days are later than others, and I can't exactly put my class on hold while I call my mother.
She yells at my husband and kids whenever we do get together with her, but last weekend was so bad that she had my son (16 years old) in tears. I told her she would have to leave my house and now she is blaming him for this rift that has come up. She has no clue that his crying was do to her outrageous and demeaning behavior and that after putting up with it for 16 years, he simply snapped. Now, she wants to give him her car, to try and buy back his love. She alsways turns to gifts or money to try and buy our love, but then throws it in our face whenever we disapprove of her behavior. I have tried to explain to her that we do not want her money or her gifts, we would just like to be accepted and loved by her and treated nicely. She has told me that I am too overprotective of my children and they should just love their grandmother no matter what she says to them or how she treats them, even though she belittles them with every word. There is never any praise or encouragement, only critisism and anger. Her latest outrage is that my 13 year old daughter has a cell phone and spends much time texting her friends. She didn't have that as a kid, so why should my daughter have it. I don't believe they had cell phones in the 1930's did they?? LOL
I have now begun to set boundaries, but she can not/will not accept them. It is I who have caused the problems, it is I that ordered her out of my house even though she had done nothing to deserve it, it is my sons fault for crying, since, of course, she didn't cause that! According to her she is the nicest person and everyone loves her. In her retirement community where she lives, she has no friends and everyone avoids her because of her violent outbursts. Even the receptionist has started to call me to tell me of her latest outburst and crying fit and to inform me of whose feelings she hurt and abused each day. But, mom does not see this. They are all "stupid" in her opinion and since they don't want to do or think the same way as her, they must be "crazy" and they deserve to be yelled at.
I can't have her around my children any more, now that I realize how severely they are affected by her behavior. My husband does not want her in our home anymore. I still need to do for her and take her places, but now must always do it without my family. I understand why they feel this way, as I do too, but I don't know how to handle the situtation.
I am an only child, my mother has no siblings that are still alive, my father is dead....
Please give me some advice on how to handle her anger and despair, rudeness, critism and nastinest , but still be able to enjoy my husband and kids.

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Hi Mitzi! Thanks, and you're right on the short memory. Usually if you forget to log in, after you try to submit, it will prompt you to login, it did that last night, and something funky kept happening. I was sooooo worried it was my computer, and I wouldn't be able to talk to anyone today. Whewwww!!
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dede and nauseated... you must be logged in for the entire post to take. I can't tell you how many times I've got "try #2" on my posts because I forgot to log in. It has a short memory but will not save everything, so make sure your logged in before you post.
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Same thing happened to me twice last night. I just copied it to another file, and I will try to paste, see what happens.
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Thank you for all your help and encouragement.
I wrote a really long reply to all of you, but when I went to post, I got some computer error and lost it all.
I'll comment more later. Thanks again
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Oh, Dede,
I had to change my numbers just to have peace and not to get wrapped back up in the same old trap. She can call my husband or write if she wants to but I know in my heart she will not do that either. It has been more peaceful around here and if she calls my husband, he will let me know. He tells her like it is. I have wrote her at Valentine card and I have sent her little gifts myself but until she changes or realize what she doing I will not be there for her and she knows it. Tuff love is hard but some times we have to treat them like children.Least that what her doctor told me to do. It hurts but I just wait and watch right now. This is a great group to talk with though and they will make you smile.

Least she is giving your child stuff mine will not even acknowledge my son some time and usually dotes on the granddaughter.So unfair to my son but I should have seen that coming also becuase she was that way with my brother and I.

Best advice I can give you is
your mother makes her choice and whaty she chooses is between her and God. Not you and her and God. You may have to get tuff with her just so your family can have peace but you will find peace with God knowing you have put it in His hands. Hope this helps.

Have a great weekend.
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Thank you for your kind words, and I believe that people have to step up to the plate and be honest with themselves. That is what healing and dealing with all these issues are about. Choices to care and choices to get through this.

Stories I believe help in the healing process. The perfect example is on these boards. I've come to realize a few things while being on these boards and telling my stories have actually helped in the healing and realization of certain facts. Hearing others tell of present and past situations help me (as I'm sure it does others). Those of us with the abuse and dysfunction already have the scars. Those scars are of memories of the past. We can't forget the past, but we can forgive it. Remind me some time if anyone is interested what my counselor told me about "forgive and forget" - that has been a huge factor for me.

I hope that others here learn the same thing. I don't purposely go out of my way to visit mom or be around her. If I have to do something, I can do it. If not, I can go months without seeing or talking to her if possible. I'm numb to it now and actually feel sorry that she has to live like this. It honestly breaks my heart. But that sympathy and compassion does not erase the past. It is becoming closure.

Again, my heart goes out to those who do it at home 24/7. After I lived in the hospital and rehab with my father (literally), I have a deep love and appreciation for nurses and caregivers who deal with seniors (especially). It is a difficult and many times thanksless job, and one I know I could not do for the length that many do here. I loved on the staff something fierce when I stayed with dad. I learned the hearts of those around, and I provided things for them that others forgot about.

I hope others can see and witness the healing from hearing about the past and how to move forward. Thank you for the passion. God's many blessings to you.
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Hey you guys , haven't posted in awhile been busy. I can relate to all of you. Dede I understrand about the mother buying your love. Mine does the same thinks she can buy me. I hate it to the core. Then she thinks everything is peachy cream because she either gave me money or bought something for me. I told her along time ago I can't be bought. It makes me sick to my stomach when all I want is peace with her.
Well folks three weeks I have not heard from my mother , nor has she wrote me so I am still sitting and waiting for what her next move is. I am praying and trying to give her time to see what she needs and wondering if she ever will. This is so tuff.
I fill like screaming to top of my lungs. Went to movies with my son today to see Coroline hate to say it but the mother sounds like mine. Great movie we all can relate to some how.

Oh, Dede I do agree protect your children. Her behavior wqill effect them. If you have to explain to them their grandmother is not well and getting oilder and she may say things she really doesn't mean or can't understand. My mother effected my son so much he doesn't know whether to love or dislike his grandmother and that really pains me because that is all he has left is his grandmothers and right now it looks like he has only one gtrandmother becuase of my mother. Both of his grandfathers have passed. So it hurts me allot to see this happening. She is also hurt my neice on many occasions.

I just hope and pray one day she will realize she needs helps soon.

All this is so strange it sounds likwe our parents are allot like and I just can't help wondering if it wasn't something to do with the time period in which they grew up. Just like some one said you sow what you reap. I wonder if they were all working on the same piece of the puzzle and got confused. He-he

Praying for you guys. Have a great weekend.
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Mitzipinki -
It sounds as if you are already healing a bit. Boundaries are always important. And if you are unable to care for your parent yourself, you recognize that and have made certain that she is somewhere that you can visit / make certain that she is ok. If that is as good as it gets and you are at peace with that - good for you.

I still do want to stand by what I said about rehashing old stories - I think sometimes its like picking at a scab that will never heal. I hope over time you use your considerable writing skills and intellect to help others as well as bringing closure to your own caregiving journey.

best for now!
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Cat, I agree however, I believe what people need to realize is the difference between a dysfunctional abusive parent as compared to a person who has changed due to the disease of Alzheimer's, Dementia, or just the plain fear of the changes that have occurred that are life altering for them as a senior.

When a person like a few of us who have a dysfunctional parent, there are boundaries that need to be set. Yes, we reap what we sow, but think of what our parent sowed when they were younger. They may actually be getting it back in spades.

I don't like that I have to not like my mother at all. But I also see my dad who has Alzheimer's and it breaks my heart. I make sure he is cared for and I can't get angry or frustrated at him because he cannot help it. My mother has proved her behavior time and time again over 40 years. She broke the relationship, not me.

I am grateful that I am learning well to set the boundaries so that they will not affect my life and I can sow a good life for when I get older. It has been extremely important for me to do that. Sometimes the past also educates us to change us, and for that I am grateful. Sometimes you can forget about the past and move on, but when there are abuses and flat out purposeful behaviors it makes caregiving that much more of a struggle to deal with. I wish I could say otherwise.

But for those who choose to be a caregiver, think about the reasons why you do it. I made choices (for my parent's better living) that I can be peaceful about. I still don't have to take the crap that's dished out, but I know she is well taken care of, and I have nothing to feel guilty about.

My heart goes out to all the caregivers here and the passion we all have to care for the "person" as a human being. Not everyone can do it, so thank you for the passion and love to do it.
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Cat, I loved your last post. You sound a lot like myself. I love my mom though and I don't think I had the same relationship with her that dede had with her mom. I think a person reaps what they sow so now her mom is getting the treatment Dede felt she got while growing up. My mom is too, but luckily for her, she will be treated with love.
My mother-in-law on the other hand, as hard as I try to love her, is a lot like Dede's mom. I have tried to help her in the past, but got hurt in the end so I confronted her in a very long letter about how I felt. Of course she totally disagreed with me, but even her own children dislike her, so I didn't let what she said to me, ruin my day. I just distance myself from her. My husband is free to visit her any time he wants as I would never take that away from him, but then he really doesn't visit her very often and I either see or talk to my mom every day.
Good luck Dede with whatever decision you make for yourself, but you are right by not subjecting your family to your mom's poison.
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Well, I guess for those who truly dislike their parent or have unresolved issues, perhaps it is for the best that you all are separated. Best of luck to you.

I would like to point out though, that sometimes the action of repeating how much you dislike someones behaviours and how you have been wronged just creates more of the same. I hope that you and your mothers end up having more peace away from each other.

I do hope that others reading the posts don't get discouraged caring for their parents. Sometimes we all have bad days - but ultimately the past is the past and as adults sometimes we need to just let stuff go. Frankly, there are days that are not easy - but I approach my mom as the person she is today - and try not to carry any baggage into our interactions. I also try to remember that although it is not easy, one day we all will be old & need help. The behaviour we cultivate today is what we will share with people when we are old.
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Well, up until know, I have threatened to leave, but haven't followed through. Now, if we are on the phone, I tell her that I need to go and she can call me back when she is finished crying. If I am at her house, I leave. But, when we are in a public place it is much more difficult. I ask her to stop because it is embarrassing, but she just says LOUDLY that she doesn't care. I can't drag her out, so.... I just deal.
I can't stand her, well I gave you this and I gave you that "crap". I haven't had a full time job in 10 years because of her and she thinks she has given more than me?? If I point that out, she simply responds that it is my duty, etc.... to take care of her since she took care of me when I was growing up. She's crazy, I took care of her my whole life, I don't even remember her ever once even helping me with my homework and once I got into middle school, she didn't even bother getting out of bed to see me off to school. She'll give me a blouse or something that she has grown out of and then when I wear it, she'll cry, because that used to be her FAVORITE, so now I don't wear anything she gives me, I either don't wear it around her or I just give it to Goodwill. She gave each of my kids $100 for Christmas (along with several of her "goofy" presents that she gets out of catalogs) and then tells me that they should love her because she gave them $100 which is way more than other Grandparents do!! She is full of crap and self-pity, but I'm still stuck with the dilema of her being my mom and me not knowing how to get out. Everyone tells me that I will miss her when she's gone. REALLY...I NOT SURE ABOUT THAT!
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Oh dear dede... if I understood and read correctly you booted her out of your house and she's in a retirement community? I can understand why she has no one. As an only child it is even more important for your sanity to let her dig herself into a pit. When you talk about how she wants to "buy" affections, oh do I hear that one. My mother used to give me (I NEVER asked her for anything) and I'm not an idiot so I'll take it (mine when she's gone anyway). She used to give me lists of all this stuff she did for me or for my husband and I. I'd always looked at her and said things like, "I didn't put a gun to your head to offer it." or "Not my problem you think we're not even." and she would get so ticked off at me.

We had the battle of the wills. In the end, she's in assisted living with no one really visiting her now, stewing and not bathing, and lying on the couch waiting to die while dad with his Alzheimer's goes happily along because mom is by his side (so to speak).

You are trying to handle her and her emotions. You will never be able to do it. You cannot change a person like your mother. Your mother has to choose, and it doesn't sound like she's choosing to be peaceful about things. Have you ever continued to say no when she begins acting like a lunatic about things? I know in my life, I have had "enough" and I found that was a line I never wanted to cross. I could and can tune out my mother like a temper-tantrum child.

What do you do when she starts throwing all these crying fits? My parents assisted living administrators used to think I was so mean until they got to know mom. Now every time I come in they all hug me and ask how I'm doing. Man is that a nice change!!
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Hi Dede -
I am sorry to hear that your mom's behavior has spiraled out of control. It must be incredibly hard on you and put you in a bad position at work and socially. I want to suggest something that may help, looking at it as an outsider who has been there herself. Take the issue of your husband and kids off the table for a minute and lets look at the root cause of your distress.

Your mom needs a complete physical and cognitive evaluation - including bloodwork and really checking her meds. She also needs more connectedness than you can handle by yourself unless things are changed around. Alot of the rage and behaviours are fear based - from the deepest level of our primitive brain. Peel off the veneer of self control and socialization by illness, brain injury or medications and all kinds of stuff pops out - which sadly pushes everyone away.

You and your family can't help her or figure out a game plan unless you know the facts and ideally can consult with someone who can help you figure out what can be handled and what behaviours may be there to stay. You are lucky that it sounds as if you have supportive family and coworkers - let them help you through this instead of trying to shield others and cope with such a hard situation. I think you are Superwoman for handling it as long as you have - you must be very kind and strong.

On this site there are lots of us who have dealt with similar behaviours. Know in advance any thing you want to ask or any support you need will be here from all of us. From me - you have my best wishes that it gets better for you.

take care
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i don't have much advice. my kids and husband don't go around granny (93) because of nasty behavior. i have to put up with her all alone, at least my family only has to deal with me because she makes me angry the way she acts, talks about everyone (badly). all i would suggest is keep your kids and husband away from her. protect them all you can.
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