Despite all I do to entertain and take care of all her needs, mom's consistently negative and repetitive. Sometimes I yell. Am I abusive?

Follow
Share

I am getting so much better at tolerance but just wish she were positive. She has the best of everything care wise. I just feel as if I am considered abusive when I lose it. She always denies this behavior but my in house assistants always have to deal with it too.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
51

Answers

Show:
I guess if you feel you are abusive then you might be. Sounds like you need a break from the caregiving role. Do you have anyone who can assist? Is there an agency that can assist and take off the load? I am suggesting that you take off a couple of weeks or even a month for the day to day. A vacation is good for everyone. Mom will be fine. It is exactly what the doctor ordered!!!
When you go back to caregiving, remember that you mom's negative attitude needs to be checked. She might not know that she is behaving this way so like we had to do with our children re-direct the behavior. One of the best ways to beat this kind of attitude is to get her ivolved in any kinds of activities throughout the day. Have you ever thought of day care where there is lots of things to do and others to be with throughout the day??? Most caregivers say that their loved one wouldn't go to day care. Put that mindset away and don't give in. One thing I always tell caregivers is that you are in charge of the situation and you might have to make some tough decisions--some authors in the field of psychology call it "tough love." I am not a psychologist, but I would suggest that you need as they say "take the bull by the horns" and take the opportunity to help not only yourself in the caregiving role, but also help mom too.
Thanks for all you do for your mom--you are a great daughter.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I know how you feel. I yelled at my mother last night when she turned on the heat for some reason. I wouldn't have yelled, but she complained about being too hot, so I went to turn the AC up, only to see she had switched over to heat. I told her and she said, "Well, you know I don't know how to do that," like a little girl. Tripped my switch and I said, "Well, if you don't know, just leave it alone then." I didn't really yell, but I did speak harshly.

I try to go easy on myself. I put up with a lot and I'm not perfect. Really, I'm amazed that I am not mean more often. I think we have to try to not be harsh, but learn to forgive ourselves for the times we slip. We're only human.
Helpful Answer (18)
Report

Oppositional Defiant Disorder is considered a "childhood disorder" and maybe it's called something else when the person grows up. But from the minute I came across an article on the subject, I knew immediately my mother suffered from it. No, actually, SHE doesn't suffer from it; the rest of us do. If you want to check it out,

Mom now is 94, has dementia and I stay with her. She's quite hard of hearing and refuses to wear a hearing aid so I have to TALK LOUD just for "normal conversation." When the ODD gets added to these conditions, what we have is her pretending not to hear and/or understand and just generally doing what she can to create reactions and upset people. Don't know how my late father stood it all those years. Everything is a game to her and the games all have one rule: YOU LOSE. She's quite persistent in this, pick-pick-picking until she gets a reaction. Then she seems satisfied and eases off.

This is a work in progress for me. Sometimes I lose control and shout and then feel all yucky. But also I sometimes ACT as if I'm angry, just to avoid a lot of idiotic conversation. For example, Mom likes to pretend she must leave and go to her mother's house, talks about Dad as if he is alive, etc. Lately I've had success with saying really loudly and firmly, the minute she begins, DON'T START !!! So in that case, it's a tactic rather than a reaction. I don't get hooked emotionally and Mom toddles off, thinking she upset me.

I'm not saying the original question necessarily infers the mother has ODD, but whatever the cause for the negativity, do you really think it's going to change at this point? Or are you causing yourself unnecessary stress? What if she just does it to get a reaction out of you?

Feeling like the victim of someone else's behavior is no fun. So what I work on every day, all day, is to develop compassionate detachment -- refusing to knee-jerk react, but continuing to provide affectionate care. And the stakes for me are especially high because attaining equanimity is a spiritual goal as well as behavioral.

Giving up impulsive reactions isn't easy and neither is it simple to let go of attachment to a family member and the desire for harmony. Reality seems harsh when it means looking at caregiving as a JOB rather than a relationship. I had to get over the idea that Mom and I would be roomies and bffs. So, LET HER BE and focus on your own mental health.
Helpful Answer (15)
Report

Don't think we should tell someone they are being abusive if they raise their voice at home to parent, this is a setup for a guilt trip big time, if they are in a hospital or home they are a patient and it is unprofessional to yell at a patient.
Helpful Answer (13)
Report

Well, if I put myself in my mother's shoes for the times she raised me, she would not be in a good place. My mother hit me and yelled at me when I was a kid, I do not do the same to her now that she needs help. I was a child, she is an adult with cognitive decline, there is a difference. Also, when you are the sole caregiver, I'll bet you will raise your voice, unless you are the reincarnation of Mother Theresa.
Helpful Answer (13)
Report

Ya know, I think we throw the term "abuse" around much too freely, and that minimizes its meaning where it truly does apply.

Show me the parent who has never "yelled" at a kid in frustration. Show me a 24/7 family caregiver who has never yelled or spoke harshly to the loved one being cared for. I suspect that there are very few people who qualify. Does that mean nearly all parents and nearly all caregivers are abusive? Hardly!

Saying that the father who is forcing sex on his son or daughter and the mother who looks the other way are "abusive" and that the parent who loses her temper and yells is "abusive" is absurd. Not all regrettable behavior, not all imperfect behavior is "abusive."

Yelling at an elderly person for behavior he or she may not be able to control is not a good thing. It is not Best Practice. It is not productive or helpful. It should not be done. But to label the caregiver as abusive is totally inappropriate, in my mind.

Let us not totally water down the meaning of a serviceable word like "abuse."
Helpful Answer (12)
Report

Hey Montauch and JessieBelle,

Welcome to the Caregiver's Grumpy Gang :D! All kidding aside, I feel your frustration and do empathize. I'm consumed with guilt after I've raised my voice and yelled or scolded my 89 year old mother for doing exactly what you mentioned. Just a quick suggestion for the Heat/AC situation: my mom has some dementia and wet macular degeneration in both eyes, so she's legally blind. But she can see huge print. So I made an 8 1/2" x 11" sign, typing in huge arial font: (color-coded: red for "Heat" and blue for "Cool")
"Push Left HEAT"
"Push Right COOL"
I laminated the sign and used double sticky tape to adhere it to the wall right above the thermostat. She no longer makes that mistake! Yaaaay.
As far as me losing my temper...that's something I have to work on. It's really hard to accept that she's the child now and I'm her "mom". You're absolutely right Jessie - we have to forgive ourselves. We're doing the best (hopefully) we can under extremely stressful conditions. Loving, but difficult.
Helpful Answer (10)
Report

Even though I hate to admit it, there have been times when I have scolded my FIL like he was a child for doing something particularly stupid or not thinking or being remarkably selfish. I seem to be fine with the wee all over the floor and the whiskers in the basin, and the sh&**y sheets and pyjamas, but its the throwing all the bikes out of the garage in the rain so he can store something "important", or taking all the screw drivers and hording them in his room that seems to throw me. I also have signs up all over the house, which also makes me feel mean, but otherwise he forgets and then breaks things or does something really wierd, like taking my brand new measuring jug to wee in if someone is using the bathroom when he wants to go. (He has a fetish about measuring his wee at the moment)

I have found for me if I use the matron voice then he does what I ask him, but otherwise he just ignores me or openly does the exact opposite of what I have just asked and like the naughty little boy waits to see what I am going to do about it. These days I tend to just ignore it straight back, which is also not a good response. I wish I could be really pollyanna like with him, but this caregiving gig seems to have robbed me of all compassion, and now, like many other people on this site, I have reached that point of just going through the motions because somebody has to.
Helpful Answer (10)
Report

It is the stress that causes you to give in to your emotions and react instead of respond with your rational mind.

I do it, too. I am always deeply ashamed and SWEAR to myself I WILL NEVER do it again...but my string gets too tight and *shrieking witch* pops into the scene. I would hate her but she is me and I must learn to love all parts of me.
And forgive myself for being human.
And keep on trying to make that vow I try to make a legitimate one...by one day never having to say it again.

I'm not there yet, I don't think...so far I am..but only until the Witch returns.
Keep your fingers crossed she forgot about me.
Helpful Answer (10)
Report

I've done a lot more yelling in the past, during what I call the "hellish years" when mom was absolutely like someone with oppositional defiant disorder, combined with a child in the terrible twos and a rebellious, hateful teenager. Actually, she was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, nice and sweet and appreciative and funny one moment and then like someone flipped a switch, and for no apparent reason except for something going on in her head, she would become ODD, terrible twos and rebellious teenager all in one, and be impossible to deal with, and I never knew what I was going to get. Which one was going to walk into the kitchen in the morning? Which one was going to come back out of the bathroom? Fighting me because she didn't want me to take away her diaper which was full of poop. Telling me "You never do ANYTHING for me!" anytime she didn't get her way. Dismissing me like I was just a supreme annoyance to her when I asked her to do or to not do something, no matter how nicely I asked.

When her doctor added Resperidone to her already large arsenal of namenda, donepezil, and mirtazapine and lexapro, and blood pressure, thyroid, and heart meds, things improved greatly. That, and learning to be proactive, and when I anticipated a storm, to address it in advance with love and firmness, putting my hands on her arms and looking right in her face and saying, "Mom, I love you very much. (she often looks totally, pleasantly surprised, even says, "Really? Oh, that's wonderful!" and her demeanor softens) and then I say, "Because I love you, I am here taking care of you. I'm not trying to hurt you or take anything away from you. I'm trying to help you. So, please, do not fight me. Please do what I ask you to do. OK?" Usually by that point she agrees and cooperates with me. This is on my good days. Other days, I'm too tired or stressed and I still get sucked into the storm and I yell. Or on days when talking with her like I just described does absolutely no good, I have found that an extremely firm, authoritative (which does not come naturally for me) "DO NOT FIGHT ME!" gets through to her and she calms down and cooperates. And sometimes you just HAVE TO have cooperation, like when she is about to drink from the "Wet Ones" container, or when she is about to feed the dog something that would be toxic for her (sigh, I now no longer have chocolate or raisins in the house for that reason), or when she is about to pour her entire glass of orange juice onto her plate full of dinner which I just prepared and which we don't have any more of, or which I am too tired to cook any more of, or when she continues walking on the carpet after I have noticed that she has stepped in dog poop, or when she refuses to let me take off her shoes that have dog poop on them and is now trying to kick me with them, or when I need to get a poopy diaper off her before it gets all over her, and her clothes, and the floor, etc., etc., etc., and I know it is just going to be another titanic battle to get her to take a shower or change her clothes after that.

I feel terrible when I have been snappy, or have yelled at her in anger, and I always try to apologize to her before she goes to bed, if not sooner, (she usually does n ot remember that I yelled, but I still apologize anyway). But I do not feel bad at all when I have had to use the firm, authoritative, even loud tone. I'm sure she used that same tone with me many times in my childhood. I know she even yelled a lot. I remember once she apologized for getting mad and yelling at me, and I said, "That's ok, mom, I'm used to it.", and she looked stunned. And she was a good mom, and I was a good kid. Good parents lose it and yell at their kids sometimes, so, maybe we should go easier on ourselves if we do the same, especially when we remember all that we are dealing with.
Helpful Answer (10)
Report

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.