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My dad called ten times over the weekend leaving increasingly angry messages each time. Nothing was wrong and nobody was dying. He just wanted me to return his initial call. He called my cell phone, then the home phone, then my husband's cell. He and mom are both 80 and dad is the exhausted caregiver to mom with early dementia. I'd like to say this was the first time he's gone on this type of tirade, but no. He's done it on and off for several years. I used to diligently pick up or return parent's calls immediately, but being "on call" for them is exhausting and they always find other things to be displeased about. I am a do-it-yourselfer and was literally up to my eyeballs in plaster last weekend - not checking voice mails. I've told dad before that there's no need and that type of routine is un-called for, but he gets angry and tells me I don't care about anyone but myself. It is usually followed by a few weeks of the silent treatment from him (actually a welcome break), then within time he's right back at it. How does anyone deal with this behavior from a parent? I actually feel attacked by my dad and somewhat abused by this tirade. How on earth could he ever think his continuous "phone call attack" would ever draw me closer? Is this behavior normal? I've posted before I thought mom might have narcissistic traits and dad has always been her dutiful assistant. He's rigid and judgmental. I've fantasized about going no contact with them for the past 20 years but my sense of obligation and guilt keeps me in their line of fire.

My mthr was narcissistic, and I took a few timeouts from her. However, it was not until my hubby and I said that she needed to treat me with the respect she shows other people - that is, being nice to their faces - or she did not need to interact with me at all. She chose to leave the relationship because I would hang up or leave immediately when she started anything negative. She left, not me. That gave me freedom from guilt.

My answer to people who asked how mthr was doing was, "it's so hard to deal with undiagnosed (or untreated) mental illness." That tends to shut people up as they don't want the details.
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Reply to surprise
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You need to get mom placed. Saw this problem with neighbors - fact was that dad was not able to care for mom as her dementia progressed. Finally daughter insisted that mom be placed . She was better taken care of and dad no longer had to pretend he was coping. It will reach that point so why not get it done now?
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Reply to rovana
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I see it from the other side.
Your statement;
"He and mom are both 80 and dad is the "exhausted" caregiver to mom with early dementia."
I italicized the word exhausted. That is why he calls so often. Maybe he won't admit defeat but, I'll bet he's 'hit the wall'. 
80 is often too old for a senior to take care of a demented partner. He'd do well just to care for himself.

IMO, give your dad some respite by taking care of your mom occasionally, hiring professionals or have her do a stay in a board and care home for a week. During this time, you can be looking for assisted living or memory care facilities to care for your mom.

Think about how tired we get, now double that. That's what your father has to deal with along with a demented wife. If you remove the "cause" of his anger and frustration, I'll bet he'll hardly call at all.

Maybe this is his way of asking for help. Cut him a break and discuss placing your mom in a facility with him. I'm sure a great weight will be lifted off his shoulders. Even people half his age aren't able to cope with this disease.
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Reply to SueC1957
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surprise: "my hubby and I said that she needed to treat me with the respect she shows other people - that is, being nice to their faces - or she did not need to interact with me at all. She chose to leave the relationship because I would hang up or leave immediately when she started anything negative. She left, not me. That gave me freedom from guilt."

I'm going to remember this for if (when?) I get to this point with my mother. In my case, it's going to also have to do with the micromanagement/obsessive control part of her personality. This is why I refuse to be her nursemaid for illnesses. I did it once (for 8 days and nights), and will not do it again. She will get very nasty when she finds out that she can not order me around when she's sick.

One of my brothers is now retired, and HE can come down and be her slave. Or take turns with the other two (who will have to take time off from work). I wonder if she would be as unappreciative with them as she is towards me? Or my mother can hire an agency.
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Reply to CTTN55
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I cared for my 71 year old husband with dementia. I refused to admit it was too much for me! I didn't get enough sleep since I was on twenty four hour duty. It came to a head when Frank got so mad he attacked our son! dementia makes people very angery when you try tell them they are wrong! Frank is now in a nursing home and he loves it. I get him every so often, and bring him home for a visit. He can't wait to go back after about two hours. It mite be time to look for other care. Your father is over whimmed. For a 80 year old to have to handle his wife's care by himself is too much. I know I'm 66. No sleep, no rest,trying to explain that they are confused takes a toll. Worse, watching some slip away and you can't do a thing is horrowble, I know. He's gripping at you because it is a constant battle with his beloved wife he no longer knows!
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Reply to geejaw52
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This is the first time I have seen ur post and its 3 days old.

Seems your doing the right thing. Tell him you are not his slave. That you have a life with a husband and a home, both need your attention. You refuse to be abused and will not answer his calls until he shows you some respect. If he can't do that, don't call.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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JoAnn,
I have noticed that other "NEW" posts listed on pages 3, 4, or 5; without any comments and they had been posted 6-10 hours or even 1 -2 days earlier.

GingerMay, we apologize for not responding sooner.
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Reply to DeeAnna
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Does your POA sister agree with your plan for their care? Who has medical POA? POA has authority to manage their funds. Will she use their funds for some in-house care?

I don't think it is always true that we become more like ourselves as we age, but I have seen it often enough to respect that observation. My sweetheart mother stayed kind and considerate even through her confusion. My pleasant-mannered husband stayed pleasant and intellectually curious although his thinking was impaired. So, GingerMay, I doubt you can "teach" your Dad. He is who he is. You can decide not to accept his disrespect. You control your own behavior and expectations. But you cannot change him into a respectful person.

I agree that his caregiving role is probably too much for him. I do feel sorry for him. I hope that getting some relief on that front (which POA should be seeing to) will calm him down some. Meanwhile, you may not need to go no-contact, but calmly refusing his rudeness would be helpful to you, I think.
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Reply to jeannegibbs
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Thanks everyone. Your insight really does help. Funny how I feel I get more support and understanding from all of you than I do from anyone else. I am grateful for this site.
I do believe Dad's tantrum is "somewhat" triggered by his exhaustion and mom's inability to judge what is appropriate. However, they have both gone on a bender like this before with me clearly in their crosshairs even when he and mom were healthy. My repeat offense? I don't immediately return their call. I've read where people will not change during such illness, but become more of what they already are... nice remains nice, etc. You aren't nice then change into a controlling, angry individual. I wonder if this reveals more of their true nature that I always assumed as a kid.  
I have a care plan for them in mind that starts with in home care that will graduate to an ALF. They aren't willing to accept my suggestions right now. Also, my older sister is POA, executor, and trustee successor.
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Reply to GingerMay
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I had a neurologist tell me about Dementia, if they were nice before, they will be nice; if they were mean before, they will be mean; if they were nice before and mean after; they were mean to begin with and were able to cover it up. TG we never had to care for my MIL. Everyone thought she was a sweet lady, but if she didn't get her way, she was a nasty lady. She was passive agressive too.
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