When I'm around, mom is weak and can barely function, when outsiders are around she has enough strength to at least function, when it's her and I, she can barely talk sometimes, until someone calls her, then that changes. I have called her out on that, it doesn't change. She is deteriorating but she has chosen to sit for 7 years and has refused to listen to advise. I am beating myself up for sometimes being hard on her but if she can be chipper with her friends she can be with me.

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I had to read your post twice, because, it sounds like I might have written it. lol My mom is a lot like that, but, she doesn't have dementia, yet. She's had this behavior for over 25 years. Iv'e often said that if my mom had dementia, she'd forget about all her ailments and would be perfectly healthy. lol

It can be very frustrating to witness someone who complains that they are sicker than they have ever been in their entire life, moaning, wincing, crying and THEN, suddenly a special family member comes by and she jumps up like an athlete, offering to cook them a meal, do their laundry, all excited, chatting, etc. It cracks me up. Or, the phone can ring and she'll talk, laugh, cackle like she's at a school reunion for hours! Sometimes, she chats on the phone and cooks at the same time! She's fine. Then, hangs up and starts moaning, limping, complaining again. Mind you, she's very well monitored by her doctor and physically, she's fine. lol So, it's really more an exercise in patience and tolerance on the part of the caregiver. I feel your pain. It's sad that the caregivers are suffering this way. I often think how amusing it is that the woman they see and the woman I see are two different people. I'm trying to accept it. For me, it's been that way since I was a child, so, it's particularly impactful.
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She has perhaps relaxed and become overly dependent on you. The problem is that the person we feel most comfortable with is the one we feel comfortable enough with to let it all hang out. And as you know, some of what hangs out isn't pretty. But we feel safe in being honest about ALL our feelings and fears and pains. So the person who most loves us gets the least pretty pieces. So sorry. Hang in there (as opposed to hanging "out".)
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Davenport Jul 20, 2020
Thanks, Alva, I always enjoy your thoughts! I'm going to add that, in my and my mom's scenario, mom was not ever 'the person who loves me most.' I think sometimes, the cared-for are just uncaring and selfish. Perhaps I became hardened and unforgiving, but I don't really think so.
Kabar: Your post describes a manipulative person who is kind to others whilst abusing a scapegoated child(adult child, when everyone is older).
That personality type gets worse with age, but will consistently be nasty to their targeted adult-child, whilst treating everyone else differently.
Clinically it's termed Narcissistic personality disorder,

But the general population has hijacked that word, so with client's I'll use the descriptives Asshat and/or (psychologically abusive chameleon) to describe an abusive person who switches personality traits depending upon the audience.

WHY?? does your mom switch her act, depending on her audience?
To both upset you, and to get attention from others.
It's a never-endingsick and twisted game, with them.

BTW That psychologically manipulative chameleon, is in complete control of her actions and CHOOSES to abuse you.
She pretends to be clueless, to throw-you-off.
Remember those who are clueless treat everyone the same.
Clueless Meanies, are mean to everyone, they aren't just mean to us behind closed doors.

Your mother is MANIPULATING YOU When you're around, your mom is PRETENDING to be weak by barely functioning, It's manipulation b/c when outsiders are around your mother has enough strength to at least function,
When it's her and you, she PRETENDS to be unable to talk,
Voila suddenly that reverses when someone calls her, it's a miracle! Clap Clap

Your mother acts, and I emphasize the word ACTS, because that performance manipulates you into responding. She LOVES your responses,; it's her con game to get you to focus on her, giving her 100% of your attention.

Are you tired of her nonsense? then change your responses to ignoring her bullshit, stop responding the way you've been trained.

Tell her zero of what you know, otherwise she will up her game to provoke you more. Remember she's an expert in manipulation.
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annemculver Jul 22, 2020
And I can bet she’s nicer to sons than to her daughter.
I TOTALLY agree and understand, karbar. My mom also was rapidly deteriorating and my mom was also quite dishonest with my two sisters when they'd visit--she was ALL chipper, cutesy, super-engaged, would get 'dressed up', put on lipstick, and would let them drag her all over town to do things that were WAY beyond mom's capacity--then they'd blow out of town and mom would sleep for two days straight! My relationship with either sister was never very good, but is irreparably harmed and I've decided to stop even trying. When I'd (rarely) contact/communicate with either a phone call, and then strictly e-mail, they flat-out said I was being hysterical, that she was doing great, that I just couldn't 'deal' with 'it' because 'I was always high strung ...' and that I was 'lucky' to be living with her, as I'd become both divorced after 30 years and unemployed after working for the same employer 30 years, just before I was 60. Neither the divorce nor the loss of employment were because of anything I'd done 'wrong'.

I never called my mom out on this repeated scenario, so I truly commend you for doing so--I never had the nerve to, but also assumed that it wouldn't be productive. Thank you, karber, for sharing with us; it gives me strength to hear from others who share my own experience and understand me. Together we are all stronger!
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Because you let them.

Stop caregiving if she treats you like that.
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Because your mother's communications with other people are brief and superficial. That's why. It's easy to be chipper for fifteen minutes.

Then there are your expectations, which are also different from those of other people. The person you know your mother as is the person she was as a fully-functioning adult throughout your life, and you are still hoping and waiting for that person to come back to you. But if she's been deteriorating for seven years... there are going to be parts of her which are conking out. She'll be tired. She'll be apathetic. She probably won't be very good tempered about it, either.

I see both sides of this nowadays. We had a briefing on a gentleman who, because of family crisis, was staying with his son and DIL. "Needs constant prompting," we were told. "May become agitated and aggressive." Since our job is to guide him through his morning and bedtime routines, this was not the most reassuring of introductions.

In my first handover notes I commented that Mr M "could not have been more co-operative or more appreciative." He had indeed needed some prompting to stay on track; but whereas his son's idea of "prompting" during breakfast prep had been to interrogate his father - "come on, Dad. We went through this last night. Where's the cereal? I showed you. Where is it?" - we are trained to stand back and intervene as little as possible to guide the person through the task.

I made all the allowances I could for stress, unfamiliarity with the routine, lack of understanding etc. but the truth is I wanted to slap the son. I did get to discuss the difficulties on another occasion with the DIL, who happens to be a senior nurse, and she explained that Son is finding it very difficult to adjust to his father's frailty.

On top of this I could also tell that the father's perfect manners towards me, and his thanks for my help, must have been very galling to the son. Where were the perfect manners and the warm appreciation at two in the morning, when the son had been helping his father find the bathroom in a hurry?

I was a complete stranger to the elderly gentleman, but a) I was wearing uniform, b) I had no expectations of him, and c) my only interest was in enabling him to carry out a prescribed series of small tasks. Some of the tasks were very personal. I ensured he washed and dried himself thoroughly. I prompted him to rinse his mouth clean of toothpaste before returning his partial denture. I found his lost hearing aids, which he'd mistakenly placed in his electric shaver's case. None of these small points was distressing for me, of course; but they would all have created twinges of despair in the man's son. For God's sake, Dad!

It is very different when it's your parent. I know that: I was my mother's caregiver first. But it isn't just because you're on duty 24/7, though heaven knows exhaustion plays its part. There is also the weight of expectations that you have of her from what she used to be. What are you calling her out on? What are you being "hard" on her about?
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I wish I had an answer for you but unfortunately I'm going through the same thing. My Mom perks right up when one of my siblings visits her but as soon as the visit is over she goes back to being depressed. I try talking to her but it's pointless because of her dementia. She worries about my siblings but thinks that I can handle anything. She even told me that she's not leaving me any inheritance because she gives me money now! The money she gives me helps pay bills since I quit my job to take care of her full time. I just keep praying for Jehovah to give the strength to continue every day. 😔
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This sounds rather familiar. For three months in lockdown my mother has managed things fairly well on her own, with one carer visit a week for shopping. Now things are easing up she is back to ringing us to make phone calls for her (two when one was needed!) and saying it's great that we will be allowed back into her AL soon so she won't have the bother of coming down in the lift to meet us when we take her out or bring supplies. She too sits slumped in an old chair all day and then complains about muscle pain; she gets offended when anyone suggests even a tiny bit of exercise. She complained throughout lockdown about being stuck in a stuffy flat but now the communal garden is open again she won't go down to use it; we have to take her to our garden.

I wish I knew why she is sabotaging her own life - and affecting mine badly into the bargain.
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Davenport Jul 20, 2020
helenb, this seems to be a not-uncommon on this forum--the frustration we share of our 'persons' not taking responsibility. I more than once lost it with my mom (a very rare occurrence) because she was taking risks (almost childishly, deliberately doing so to annoy me?) -- after I'd experienced at least 8 falls, breaks, surgeries, 24 hour 911 ambulance calls. I told her it wasn't fair to me and told her she was being selfish. She had really great in-home PT for 6 weeks after each fall/break/surgery, was given wonderful exercises to improve balance and mobility, and the instant the PT had run its 6-week course, she never, ever, did them or do any kind of activity. Sadly, I came to dislike her for her selfishness and laziness, expecting, I guess, that ohwell, if she fell and broke again, I'd be around to help her. I GET YOU, helen! 'I wish I knew why she is sabotaging her own life-and affecting mine badly into the bargain'. It's hard to have kind feelings, isn't it?
It's a bit like the person who is suing because s/he was "hurt in an accident" that was someone else's fault--but is found to be dancing, etc. when no one is expected to be watching. Maybe one should say "oh, I see you CAN do such-and-such--keep doing it!" and then take more of a "hands-off" approach.

As for the change of disposition (pleasant toward outsiders, nasty to family), one doesn't have to have dementia to be this way--we have a person in our family like this.
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Imho, your mom is able to "actress" for a brief moment in time when she talks to her friends because it's not a long duration. When she is alone with you, her caregiver, she is not portraying a role or on "her best behavior." She doesn't want her friends to know the truth, perhaps. You've known her for your entire life, whereas there is a good possibility that some of her friends have not. Case in point - my mother's friends said "There is not one thing wrong with your mother; she wears nice clothing and has her hair fixed nicely." Me - "My mother has CHF, A-Fib, is legally blind and has VERY low blood pressure of 60/40; that's why I had to move in with her." If there is a take away from this, most certainly my mother did "LOOK" well for all intents and purposes, but nothing could have been further from the truth.
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