How do you regain confidence after verbal abuse from elder?

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My MIL (dementia) verbally attacks me pretty much all the time when we are alone. She is nice to others and they will never know or understand how abusive she is to me. I never really understood verbal abuse till now. Even though I know the truth.............hearing the opposite over and over can break down anyone.
My question is about confidence. I am a widow of 3 years. My husband gave me so very much confidence and I loved being married to him. He had my back! :) After he died, I lost confidence in myself and struggled with an identity crisis as many widows do. Anyway, I was finally able to gain some of myself back. But now, my MIL's verbal abuse is knocking the chair right out from under me. There is no one in the room so I suffer her truly bitter and cut throat comments etc alone. When someone else comes over, they think she is nice. By then, I a timid little mouse in the corner. I have confided in some good friends but in the end............at night and alone, I feel my confidence sinking.

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PamelaR -
You're singing my song. Antidepressants and pain medication can make a real difference. The bad thing about antidepressants is that it can take a long time to find one that works. One good thing is that there are so many different ones to try. The other is that eventually you will find one that helps.
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Hi, Maria! My mother is also nice to everyone but me. Her verbal abuse had me feeling like I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I finally forced her to see her doctor about increasing the amount of Prozac she takes. The fight we had over that was the worst, but it was worth it because the doctor doubled her dosage. It hasn't cured the problem entirely, but it sure has made things better. Mom doesn't get upset as easily, she isn't nearly as mean to me, and she doesn't yell at my dog as much, either! So, if your MIL isn't on an anti-depressant, please talk to her doctor about getting her on one. If she's already on one, talk to the doc about increasing the dosage. I pray that God will bless you and see you through this trial.
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Marialake, I don't have any answers for you on how to deal with this, the following posts after yours are the absolute best. Those are words of wisdom I'm going to need to try and remember. My own mother is the one that slit my throat verbally and at the time I didn't know dementia had set it, didn't know about it, all I knew was she tore me apart and I never regained my love for her before she passed away. I've never really felt close to her *who leaves a hospital without naming the baby?* On my parents headstones I chose to NOT have my name engraved, I've always felt like the throw away (only)child and she gave me words that cut to the bone. After that she kept asking if I loved her. Of course I loved her, but I was so hurt and uneducated at the time. Please get help, as stated above, remove yourself from the room when she starts in.
God Bless You.
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Marialake, given you MIL's dementia, she may be at the point where she cannot be reasoned with. That would only serve to escalate the situation. I'm glad that she is on some meds that calm her down. Without those, it sounds like you would be at a breaking point where your MIL would really need a NH for her care and your own sanity. As others have suggested, I like the idea of going to see a therapist also.
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Marialake, the medications were prescribed for MIL to make her life more tolerable so don't be afraid to use them. You don't need to snow her. Just enough to take the edge off her. Don't threaten her with NH, that's not fair. if she needs it or you can no longer cope just do it. Both you and MIL are grieving the loss of your life partners and she could be blaming you for her son's death. not true not fair but she is no longer rational and every time she sees you it reminds her that you were part of him. Has she always been unpleasant towards you?. Not out right abusive but someone you felt uncomfortable around.
Tell her upfront that you will continue to care for her but will not tolerate further abuse and everytime she starts in you will leave the room no matter what you are doing for her. You have a very good support system so don't be afraid to use them and get away when you can.
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Marialake: Do not feel bad about the medications when she becomes mean and agressive. I was ready to put my Mom into a NH because I could no longer that the verbal abuse and lack of sleep. Those medications are ALL that made it possible for her to come home and me to continue caring for her. They are a God send!
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i dont comprehend the verbal abuse thing. arent there a million age old retorts for verbal abuse? go ta hell, hug my nutz, etc? i thought that kind of thing could be easily deflected.
too much emotion, underreactiveness by all parties involved.
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Maria, you need help, consider talking to experts. Also, why are you the one taking care of your MIL, if she have other children, then they should be taking care of her. Caregiving is an enormous task and you will be overwhelmed. Aside from this, you are experiencing a big amount of stress with the verbal abuse. There are caregiver support organization that can help you. Check out this list, it is complete with the organization's website and contact details, you might be able to seek help from them: infolongtermcare.org/senior-caregiver-support/elderly-caregiver-support-organization/. Hope this helps...
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I expect that your confidence will improve dramatically once you get her out of your house for good.

"Doing the right thing" also means protecting your own health, physical and mental. Don't give that up for an abuser.
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Thanks so much everybody! I really appreciate your comments. I will update my profile............my FIL died late October and so I only have MIL here at this time. My own mother is healthy and prefers to live alone and she is very supportive. I got hospice about ten days ago and it is wonderful. (My big fear is that I will lose it after 60 days) but for now it is absolutely wonderful. I am trying some healthy "self talk" and leaving the room any time MIL is verbally abusive. Also, I have decided to give her sedating drugs when she gets aggressive. At first that made me feel guilty but after all, what quality of life is she having when she is screaming etc? I am in a better place emotionally now. Thanks to all :) !!!
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