My MIL has always had a mean,critical personality all her life. Now that she has dementia its not always easy to tell when her nasty remarks are the illness talking or her normal self. I believe I'm entitled to be hurt or mad when it's not her illness doing this. I don't want her using dementia for an excuse to hurt people. Many of her family members and friends have even stopped visiting because of this.Now more than ever I'm the one who gets treated badly by her because everyone else keeps their distance from her for the most part. Am I suppose to excuse all her bad behavior all the time, even when she's not having dementia thoughts all the time?
You need to do what you can to avoid being abused by your mother-in-law, dementia or not. However, it may help if you can work on forgiving the past (not for her, but for you) and concentrating on her disease. She may have had dementia or mental illness symptoms for years before being diagnosed. Sometimes it's easier to bear if we know a disease is behind the behavior.
Ignoring the bad behavior is often best - dementia or not - because if there is no reaction it's hard for anyone to continue being nasty. There's no reward if no one acts back. "Buying into" someone else's bad behavior by being nasty back generally escalates the problem. I know it's hard just to walk away when she says abusive things to you, but it may be your best best. Just say, "I won't be talked to like that" and leave the room. Because of the history of verbal abuse here, you may want to talk to a counselor to help you cope.
Take care of yourself,
When you give up wanting her to be different, needing her to be kinder -- and this is a switch, too, you can turn -- you won't need to justify anything. SOme days will be harder than others. But all days, the comments will spring from her divot-marked personality, not because you deserve them. They aren't okay AND! And...you can choose to let them slide off you. Both things can co-exist.
Choose to see it as HER problem, not yours. Don't seek to justify it or change it. Step away from the habit of testing to see whether any of her rudeness was justified; take it as an article of faith that it wasn't. And that it was out of line. And that you don't need to do a thing to prove to her it's out of line.
Some wise person said, "What we resist, persists." When you can come to terms that this is how she is, will be, and will not change, it will be less important to you what she says. I'm holding the intention for you that this day comes swiftly, easily and gracefully. ;-)
You are entitled to be hurt or mad if that is what you feel. You don't need anyone's permission or a certain reason. Mostly we can't help our feelings. We can control our actions. Maybe it would be more productive to try to figure out what actions make the situation better or worse, regardless of what is causing MIL's behavior. Does it help you to feel better and/or her to improve her behavior if you ignore her? If you sympathize with her? Kid her? Get nasty and mean right back at her? Stop talking to her for the rest of the day? Pretend you think she is kidding and joke about it?
I really feel sorry for you, having to deal with someone who is nasty to you. I hope you can determine (maybe by trial-and-error) how to minimize how much this hurts you. Best wishes to you!
So, try to insulate yourself from it as much as possible. When she makes her first rude swipe at you...I would acknowledge it with..."that wasn't necessary" or "was that necessary?" If it happens again with that visit, tell her before leaving the room, "I don't have to listen to this." Take a 10-15 break and return. If it happens a third time...you're outta there! Leave the facility. You've given her warnings, which she didn't heed. You don't have to be her punching bag. Three strikes, she's out. But, tell yourself inside...and believe it...it is not you...it is not your fault that she is so hateful.
Hang in there!
Like you, I am the only one who gets treated badly by my mother as she has turned away the rest of her family and friends. I learned through this site that when I am visiting with her and she gets abusive, I tell her not to talk to me that way and I simply leave. That way I'm not excusing the bad behavior, I am not accepting it.
My mother is in a facility, so I can just leave. When my MIL lived with us and she would make all the critical comments she always had, I would leave the room. Of course, I would be upset by what each of them had to say, but by not reacting and leaving; it became a sort of self-preservation for me. However, if my MIL said unkind things to one of my children while she was living in our home, I would tell her to stop. And let it go at that.
Something a psychologist told me years ago was to keep a distance when this happens and that the person initiating the bad behavior is in a lot of pain themselves. It did help me to look at it from a different perspective. I was still hurt but realized they are not happy people dealing with their own demons; and the dementia only makes it worse. Take care and know I understand how frustrating it can be.
Zoey, you did not mention if your mnl is in mild, moderate or late stage of AZ? I can understand if she is in the late stage for she really has no clue what she is saying nor doing sometimes according what I have been reading. If she is in the mild or mod then I would try to nip it in the by using Waddles phrases where it will make her think about what she is saying. Good luck.
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