I'm not sure I mentioned this in my first message (which was so warmly received last week and I thank you all!) but my mother also has uncontrollable angry outbursts that can last anywhere from half an hour to all night long. She becomes the nastiest, meanest, angriest person I've ever seen. It's like I'm watching the Exorcist and wouldn't be one bit surprised to see her head spin around.

She's in a wheelchair but thinks she can walk. She can't even transfer from bed to chair to toilet, etc. by herself and screams at people when they try to help her. We live in fear of her anger because we're brainwashed into thinking her feelings matter the most and you MUST NOT UPSET the person with dementia! I feel like screaming at her, "You have dementia and don't know what the @#%$@#$%^ you're talking about!! The reason you don't know you can't walk is because you have dementia. Dementia. DEMENTIA. It's not everyone else who can't remember, it's YOU."

Yes, that sounds horrible, doesn't it? I never actually say it. I scream it inside my head when I try for the 1200th time to tell her that "your Dr. just wants to make sure you're safe, that's why people are here to help you".

We are looking into memory care now. And yet despite all I've written, I'm still torn. About 30 minutes a day she's a decent human being. I have pictures in my head of her sitting alone in her room scared, lost, confused and alone. It breaks my heart. At the same time, I'm coming to hate this woman who used to be my mother. And lemme tell you, she wasn't that much more amiable before she had dementia. She's always been narcissistic and me-centric. She never had one iota of self-awareness or accountability. Everything was always someone else's fault. She is still that person times a million now. I keep hoping she'll someday become a fun dementia patient who says goofy things and wears silly hats and laughs at the little things. Yes, I realize I'm delusional.

So, I write to you, dear warrior friends. You get it. You know the feelings without me even having to type them, but type them I do. Sending them out into the universe where they have fallen on compassionate ears and hearts. I so appreciate the response I got to my first note. I haven't felt that in a long time. That feeling that I'm not alone. I'm not in this by myself fighting for my sanity. I feel like we're all in this together. My dearest wish is that some of these words help some of you as you've helped me in your response.

That's it for tonight. Tomorrow? Onward and upward, right?

P.S. It just dawned on me that I haven't asked a question! My question is, what are your most successful distractions when your LO is uncontrollably angry?

Thank you :)

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So, I read this the other day & felt the need to save it.........for use on this forum, in particular, where many of us suffer with narcissistic mothers who also have dementia. Which has GOT to be THE most toxic combination EVER. Ugh. Anyway, here it is:

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but just a reminder that calls to ‘be kind’ to someone who has abused you is a gaslighting tactic. It furthers the idea that the abuser is deserving of considerations that his or her victims are not.
~Meg Pillow’s Doppelfanger on Instagram

Read that statement over a few times and let it sink in. And then refer to it when you feel 'guilty' that you're placing your mother where she BELONGS, in a Memory Care ALF.

My mother is also a passive aggressive (covert) narcissist who lives in a Memory Care ALF, thank God. She's doing fine over there and has an entire staff of people to wait on her hand and foot. There's even a nurse named Nina who's onto her.........knows how to deal with her manipulations beautifully, which is a Godsend to me. Nina and I talk on the phone and that's how I'm able to stay current of my mother's latest shenanigans. And that's what are: Lies, Manipulations and Shenanigans.

I call her on the phone 6 evenings a week (she thinks I work full time, and I keep that idea intact for obvious reasons). My DH calls her the other evening when I have 'a headache'. She's always nice to him b/c he's The Outsider and Her Mask is In Place. With me, she's a witch. We window visit with her every Sunday at 1 pm for 25 minutes which is PLENTY. Covid has been somewhat of a life saver in the visiting routine, to be perfectly honest. I get a stomach ache every evening before calling her b/c I don't know HOW foul her mood is going to be and how nasty she'll be treating me. Whether I'll need to let her know I'm hanging up now Mom & will speak to you another time when you're in a better mood, or whether I'll have to be listening to how She Wants To Die and You're Not Praying HARD Enought for me TO Die. So even that I'm doing wrong.

You get the drift.

She's also in a wheelchair, chronically in pain, chronically negative and angry, but she's someone ELSE'S problem for 23.5 hours each day, not MINE. What I give is plenty, and includes all her finances, doctors, specialists, hospitals, rehabs, etc etc. As an only child, I bear the brunt of ALL of her angst. And I don't deserve it, either.

So. Successful distractions? Hanging up the phone when the angst is too great. Changing the subject over and over again. Having DH call instead of me b/c, like I said, she won't put on the Ugly Face for an outsider. Gossip and bad mouthing others is another thing that keeps my mother happy, IF I was willing to engage in that kind of negativity, which I'm normally not. She loves nothing better than trash talking others........that will keep her amused and distracted for hours on end, truth be told.

The best thing you can do is to move forward with the Memory Care placement. No human being should be subjected to 23.5 hrs each day of uncontrolled anger from her mother, for ANY reason. Nobody has that right, even a person with dementia. YOUR life is just as important as HER life, since you're both human beings and children of God. Your mother is not 'deserving of considerations that you (as her victim) are NOT.'

Keep all that in mind as you move forward with your plans. You are doing the right thing. Good luck and Godspeed, my friend. Cheering you on from the sidelines!
Helpful Answer (22)
Reply to lealonnie1
NeedHelpWithMom Oct 7, 2020

Fantastic posting! Thanks for sharing.

I have only one word to describe what this woman wrote, TRUTH!

It’s all so true!

It takes a while to absorb it before we can accept the truth but once we do, oh boy! We can make necessary changes for the better!
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So, I'm not sure I get why someone accepts verbal and sometimes physical abuse from an elder. You posted a few days ago "who says that elders need to be catered to" or something like that. In my experience, only folks who have no experience in this realm say "be understanding".

If someone is verbally or physically abusive to you, walk away. Stop "doing" for them. If they are in your home and you cannot get them on the right meds to control their behavior, start eviction procedings. If you are in their home, leave, call APS and report them as vulnerable and go to a shelter.

Folks say "oh but I couldn't....". Yes. Yes you can.

Either walk away when the abuse starts and tell yourself that it's the disease, or if you can't do that, take the steps above. But don't stick around for the abuse to damage you.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
NeedHelpWithMom Oct 7, 2020
“Yes you can!”

Keep saying it, Barb! I am eternally grateful that you spoke to me without sugarcoating your words. They were exactly what I needed to hear.

Let me be the first to say a very loud, AMEN!

Any other people care to join in?

I will throw in an Hallelujah too! 😊
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It's so hard to have patience when your LO is in another world. I can't answer your question because I don't remember my wife being that angry. I was angry but I don't recall her being angry.

I will say this though, "Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is the letting go." It's time to let go. When your anger boils over, that's a sign your caregiving days at home are over. It's good you're looking into MC. We are always torn about making the decision to place our LO. You say "about 30 minutes a day she's a decent human being", That leaves 23 1/2 hours she's difficult and it's difficult for you. Hmmm! Seems out of balance doesn't it?

Go ahead and follow up with a care facility. She won't be happy but she'll be safe, and well cared for by people who understand.

Thank you for appreciating the advice and suggestions you get from this forum. I wish I was part of it when I really needed it.
Helpful Answer (17)
Reply to sjplegacy
lealonnie1 Oct 7, 2020
You said it.........she won't be happy, but she's NEVER happy ANYWAY, so having ONE happy person vs. two very UNHAPPY people is a win!
It doesn’t sound horrible (at all) to want to scream at the seemingly endless behaviors that result from the progress into dementia, but it can sometimes help (a little) to know that there is nothing that you can say or whisper or scream that is going to change what she’s doing.

If someone here gave you the impression that you must not “upset” the person with dementia, I’d have to disagree with that, and here’s why-“dementia” means no filters on behavior. If you accept that as a fact of her life, you need to acknowledge and accept the fact that you have no reasonably predictable way of knowing what’s going to set her off, because SHE doesn’t know either.

If by chance you DO see something that seems to trigger her over and over, then it’s reasonable to try to limit that from happening, with the expectation that you may succeed some of the time, but not always. The actually applies to her more appropriate behavior too. If she’s doing something positive and acceptable, enjoy it and give it a positive reaction. Just don’t assume that “good” behavior means “cure”.

Medication might help. What she’s doing maybe an aspect of sundowning, especially since you see it most late in the day and I to the night. Some carefully planned medications administered by someone who understands geriatric issues, can help moderate some night problems.

Placement in residential care, especially if you find a place near enough to you to frequently drop in for a few minutes, is not incarnation. It can be a safe peaceful lifestyle. Guilt aimed at yourself is useless and self damaging, and you just don’t need that.

You’re probably doing better than you think you are. You are doing what you can, and if it isn’t working it’s because her cognitive life is no longer connected to reality, and that is not you fault.
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Reply to AnnReid
Penelope123 Oct 12, 2020
Great answer! I also think she's doing a better job than she thinks and loved how she expressed herself. A good day for me is getting my mother to wear underwear without a battle. Even better, being able to give her a shower after 2 weeks of no way no how, not gonna get in that shower no matter how much you want me to. Sometimes, yup the urge to scream a little is pretty strong!
I read some of your post to my husband and we laughed a bit; you DID say some funny things.... I also told him that if my mom were only decent 30 minutes a day, her head WOULD spin - from how fast she found herself in MC!
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Reply to mally1
Sendhelp Oct 7, 2020
Too funny Mally!
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If you have a chance to have her do a psych eval, that might be very helpful--or maybe she's just mean. Putting a label on her behavior may help you feel better, or it may not make a bit of difference.

We never want to simply label someone--b/c there are a million and one things that make us be the way we are.

However--your mom sounds so much like my MIL. Never, in my life with her, have I seen her be truly KIND. Mostly she was a simmering cauldron of anger. As time has passed, she no longer seems to have the slightest ability to control her thoughts/words. Whatever she thinks just comes raging out.

She lives in her own home. I don't know, really, what kind of 'help' she gets other than a weekly maid service. SIL retired early and goes daily to help her.

The LAST time I saw her--about 6 months ago, she couldn't stop screaming at me. Dh was trying to reconnect her Wi-F- and he was struggling to get her to STOP yelling long enough to get some answers. They are both deaf, so talking super loud is the norm. But this was screaming, I mean, had the neighbors called on us, I wouldn't have been surprised.

After 45 years of this increasing behavior, I gave up and walked out. I am planning to never see or speak to her again. That's how I have to handle this. Just walk away. And I don't look back.
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Reply to Midkid58
NeedHelpWithMom Oct 7, 2020
Good for you, MidKid!

I LOVED when you said that you divorced yourself from her!

Your MIL doesn’t deserve your company and there is absolutely no reasoning with her.

I know that every time that I give someone the benefit of the doubt that I really should not have, due to their past cruelty to me, I have regretted it immediately.
Exhausted- if I were you, I would scream right back at that horrible woman. The reasons:

--it helps release the toxic anger you're bottling up inside. This anger if not released will destroy your health mentally and physically.

--that horrible woman deserves it meaning she should be screamed at, like a child that needs to be taught. She will learn, at least temporarily, that her behavior is not tolerated and she might stop. Wouldn't that be nice?

If you don't want to scream at her to make her stop, then I would suggest as soon as she starts her tantrum, you immediately leave her/ walk away even if you're in the middle of helping her with whatever. She may learn that her tantrum results in being abandoned. Tell her you will come back when she stops screaming. Do not stay to absorb all the toxics she's releasing.
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Reply to polarbear
elaine1962 Oct 11, 2020
Screaming at someone doesn’t help.
In a way, you are over thinking this. It does not matter how she was in the past. It does inform her current status but if she was the most wonderful mother ever or a bad mother. Dementia has turned her into a nasty, raving witch who is holding the family hostage. I have a pretty nasty mother but she is in a facility.
so u do understand. My mother in law was sweet but she got pretty nasty as her dementia progressed.

Your mother will be hateful and miserable wherever she is. So why should everyone else be miserable too. I would place her and substitute your visions of her alone in her room in memory care with visions of you have a peaceful cup of coffee while curled up reading a book knowing she is taken care of. Hopefully she has money to pay for a facility.
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Reply to dogparkmomma

Ah Exhausted One I feel your pain. As for redirecting someone with dementia, who is raging, it is not that easy and it too is exhausting. Also it only lasts a very short time before the behaviors kick back in. Mom did not live with me but when I visited I found a few things that helped, albeit for a short time. A couple times I got her to sing with me. As Send suggested, my Mom welcomed treats. Sometimes I would try to engage her in simple talk about her sisters or her Mom (all deceased) but that was early on. When nothing worked I just sat quietly and let her go on. Maybe others will offer more suggestions.

Unfortunately my Mom too tried to get up if no one was right with her, she ended up trying to get out of bed at the facility a while ago and fell, fracturing her femur. Her decline has been swift since then.

My Mom is moving past the rage stage, she is further along in the disease and unresponsive much of the time. My Mom was also an angry person her whole life.

Take care of you please.
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Reply to Tryingmybest

I feel you. I have had to deal with someone in my life who doesn't rage so much as pout and whinge and whine and think the world owes them something, (well everything really) They do have mini sh*t fits (my name for it) where they overreact to the smallest things.

I used to walk on eggshells around them. Trying to not do or say anything that might possibly make their mood worse or create that mood in them. I used to absolutely stew inside, the feelings this created in me almost like a volcano that needed to erupt but was tamped down and tamped down until it imploded inwards instead of outwards.

Then one day, I think it might have been while I was in the midst of watching my mom's health slowly day by day deteriorate, and then watch her eventually lose her battle and die, that I decided screw this! I'm done dealing with this selfish pri*k. Here I am devastated cause I am losing the person closest to me and still putting up with this sh*t. Why should I? Why did I ever for that matter?

I think when you finally realize that there are so many more important things in the world and that life is too short to tolerate abuse. And yes, this is abuse. Don't kid yourself. Walking on eggshells so as not to rock the boat when that boat basically rocks by itself anyways, is no way to live. I don't do it anymore. I withdraw, leave the room, ignore them. But I don't feed into it anymore. I don't acknowledge it and therefore don't give it room to breathe.

My advice for what it's worth. Don't put up with it. Let them have their tantrum all alone. If no one is there to watch I'm sure it won't be as much fun for them cause they are getting some satisfaction from disrupting your life or they would not keep doing it.
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Reply to Gershun
MAYDAY Oct 9, 2020
And then some people still feel GUILTY... :( and it is abuse, and some will still feel that clawing guilt feeling... why? don't know,,, I am trying to figure it out still... nobody is perfect. especially the person who feels guilt, for no reason, or explanation.. sorry... I feel that way a lot..
and sometimes it feels it's a no win situation.
tantrum.. I feel those too...perhaps they don't even realize these tantrum episodes affect people around them.. maybe they are just lost in their own abyss. they don't have reason to care or acknowledge.
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