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My mother is 88 years old and extremely verbally and emotionally abusive. She has no respect for me as a human being and thinks she can say whatever she wants because she is my mother. She dwells on the negative and overlooks the good things in her life. She is depressing to talk to; what can I do about it?

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I have read various posts about people who use behavior modification on the elder, by walking away or leaving the room when something especially negative or nasty is said.

DGinGA tells a story about being accused of abuse.
https://www.agingcare.com/questions/mom-stating-neglect-isnt-true-161284.htm

I agree that you shouldn't just take the abuse without comment. I personally couldn't survive without therapy, and recommend getting some professional support with this. Thirty years ago they had "Assertiveness Training" which taught how to be firm but not rude and aggressive. I wonder where that went?

On the other hand, it does suck to be your mother. She's old and in pain, losing her abilities, etc. Some day, If you can catch her before she starts in on you, can you express sympathy for her? "Oh, Mom, I bet you wish you could still go out dancing like you used to. I'm sorry everything hurts. That's no fun. I bet you wish you had a cute young male doctor doing this instead of me."

She hasn't done anything to deserve sympathy, but boy she sure needs it. Getting some, feeling understood, might soften her heart, and that might soften yours, and make you both happier.

I am very sorry for how hard it is.
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Short of taping her mouth, calmly as possible tell her you do not appreciate how she is treating you and if she continues, you will start treating her in the same manner. Some elderly people are emotional weak so stand your ground and take control of how she treats you.
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What do you do? You get her out of your life and refuse to accept bad behavior in your world. The end. If she wants in your life, she plays by YOUR rules, or she stays the hell out.

If you can't get her out of your life for whatever reason, every time she opens her mouth and something lousy comes out, you walk. And walk. And walk. REFUSE to listen. Refuse to accept it. Refuse to enable bad behavior. It's really pretty simple when it comes down to it...
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They say that having a positive outlook is the secret to living to a ripe old age.
Well, Mom is 104 now and has and always had this extreme negativeness. I try to
let all of it go, but it gets me so down. She thinks only of herself and knows she has the worst life of anyone. She has a very good life and is healthy for her age.
Only thing to do is live with it and hope it doesn't do you in!
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I know the feeling so well. So many of us here go through the same thing each day. I don't know if there is a way to fix it, but try to let the words just go past our ears. Some people just communicate in the negative, always preferring to see their glass as totally empty. Even if we try to help fill it with good things, it stays empty. I have a feeling that the older people who are like this were probably the same when they were younger. It just gets worse as they age and they have so much time to dwell on themselves. It helps my mother temporarily to get her engaged in something, e.g., going out to eat, going to some event. The next morning, however, things go back to the default position -- glass totally empty. After four years of this, I am starting to feel my own glass has a hole in the bottom of it. I imagine that many caregivers feel this way -- giving so much and getting back so little in return. It is emotionally exhausting. I guess the big question is how do we fill our own glass back up so we can keep doing what we do.
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