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I live in Wales UK. I am not a caregiver, but my 90 year old mother has began saying abusive things to me when nobody else is about, usually on the phone, but seems to behave normally to everyone else. If I tell her how distressing I find it, she laughs more and more. The more upset I am, the more she laughs. She does remember these episodes for a while, but says they are my fault and are normal behaviour. My sister will not discuss it as she has a thing about 'family triangles' and my brother is autistic spectrum. My husband has health problems and it is really upsetting me.

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From Wales,
In the UK, the term "Counsellor" is meant also as a "Counsellor at Law", or here in the U.S.A., it would mean a lawyer, or an attorney.
In the U.S., a counselor would mean a therapist, geriatric psychiatrist, or even a social worker who may counsel others concerning an emotional problem.

Which did you mean?
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Thank you, everyone, for your excellent replies. They have been really helpful and I shall certainly act on them. It is a relief that others have had the same sort of thing happen.
Thank you again.
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In addition to the excellent advice you've gotten, call your sister and say "I'm not complaining about mom. I'm trying to alert you to the fact that something has changed about her mentally. I think we need to talk to the doctor about this"
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Who is the responsible party for your mother? Does some family member act on her behalf, pay her bills, discuss things with her doctor, bring her groceries, etc.? Is there someone going into her home to make sure that she's safe, clean, well nourished, etc? It would be helpful if the doctor knew of any change in her mental status. There are tests to rule out things like urinary tract infection, vitamin deficiency, or other illnesses. There are treatments for these ailments. I'd try to make sure the doctor was aware, so he could do this. Most doctors understand such symptoms. And if the doctor is going into her home, he may be picking up on anything unusual in her house.

If her comments continue, I'd wonder if it is something that she can't control. If it is dementia, it's really not her talking, but the illness. Counseling is a great idea, if you are struggling. Your own doctor may be able to provide you with a referral.

When my LO was saying mean things, I didn't know what was causing and I thought that she was just being mean to me for no reason. I didn't argue though and just ignored her or changed the subject. Later, I learned it was dementia and I had more compassion for her. I know that it was not intended to hurt me. That helps me a lot.

Do you have friends or family that you can share your feelings? Sometimes, that helps too.
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I would make her understand that she is being very mean...when she starts to laugh..hang up. Do not call again for a few days. If she does it again..hang up.

I am a firm believer that we teach people how to treat us. Just like a child..she seems to be losing compulsion control. Those people who are close to them are the usual victims because they feel comfortable enough to do this. Stop making it comfortable.

My Dad was extremely abusive. I started walking away and staying away. After a few times of not getting what he wanted because he verbally abused me...he did learn that treating me that way was not getting him what he wanted.

I believe they do have some control...they keep it together around other people..so they can do it. Just make it too uncomfortable for them to do it to you.   I mean honestly, being a caring person does not include being a doormat.
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Thank you, Gershun, I think I must do go to a counsellor. I can't see my mother agreeing to seeing a doctor.She is housebound, but didn't want to live with any of us, and as things have turned out, for me that would now be unbearable. The doctor comes out to her, but as she always acts normally with other people, they wouldn't even believe me. I suppose I must wait on events apart from seeing a counsellor.
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FromWales, you mean a counselor for yourself? Or for your Mom? Sounds to me like dementia. If that is the case you need to take her to a geriatric counselor/doctor. If your sister doesn't want to discuss it, sounds like avoidance to me. Family triangles........B.S. She just doesn't want to get involved.

None of what you describe is your fault. Your Mom, your sister, your brother, your husband. Whew! I feel for you. Maybe go talk to a counselor for yourself to learn some coping skills but under the circumstances, anyone in your position would be upset.
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