Do you get offended by hurtful scenarios?

Asked by

Mom has dementia, likely LBD. She is very high functioning. She lives in AL and is unhappy. While I have learned so much and can have good visits with her despite the verbal attacks, one thing is hard, and another intolerable. Mom comes up with scenarios about harm that will or should come to me in order to make me understand her unhappiness. I can deal with this. But when she names my grandchildren, or husband by name and suggests what could happen to them, horrible things, in order for me to understand her losses, or to give me what I deserve, I cannot deal with this. She says she shares this information with her siblings and they agree. I'm not sure if that's true, but her sibling keeps posting things on social media about karma, punishment, not caring for your old folks etc. I try not to let all this eat me up. How do I answer to these morbid attacks? So far I just listen, but I'd like to stop this type of conversation.

Answers 1 to 10 of 10
Top Answer
Get off Facebook or block anyone who posts passive-aggressive messages. That's kid stuff.
Your Mom will never be happy. Bet she wasn't happy before Dementia. Its a shame they take it out on the ones that are actually helping them but they do. You have a right not to be abused. Tell your Mom you are sorry that she feels the way she does but you do the best you can for her. But, if she keeps saying these hurtful things, you will have to cut down on ur visits or stop altogether. That you will not allow your children to visit because what she is doing is abuse. Don't go into why she can't go home or live with you. Try to keep it short. Sit right in front of her and look her in the eye. They become like children but unlike children, they can't reason. So trying to reason with them is futile. Wait a couple of days and visit. If she starts the abuse again, tell her sorry you are not listening to this abuse and leave. She may finally get it she may not. There will come a time when the desease progresses to the point she just rambles when she talks. She will be in her own little world and hopefully no longer abusive.
Go to the AL and tell her you won’t be back. You are tired of listening to her. And then DON’T GO. Tell her she and siblings can make her room the ‘Hate Hangout’ and talk all day everyday.

Let staff know that you’re available for REAL emergencies and that’s it. 

You ask if I get offended. I go beyond offended. My mom’s a pussycat and she always had an even temper. My dad and extended relatives who lie about me get this. Oh! Block these liars numbers on your phone.
I so agree, HolidayEnd. Teepa Snow can do all the videos she wants, but this is simply unacceptable and shouldn't be tolerated.
NightOwl, as you probably know, LBD responds better to medications than some other kinds of dementia because there is less death of brain cells. Have you discussed her current behavior with her specialist? (She is being followed by a specialist, isn't she?)


The few months my husband was paranoid and accused me of stealing from him were the worst in his ten-year journey, in my mind. And his accusations were mild compared to what you describe. My heart goes out to you. I hope your mom goes through this phase quickly! (His diagnosis was confirmed by autopsy.)


Tough love simply does not work with dementia. You staying away or leaving will not teach Mom to change her behavior. The learning mechanism is broken. But, as JoAnn points out, reducing the amount of time you spend with her can protect your own mental health. I would opt for leaving, rather than not coming. "Mother, we need to talk about something else. This topic gives me a headache. How was that singer they had for entertainment last night?" If Mom can't change the topic, then you feel the headache coming on and you have to get home. Or, interrupt the talk. "Mom, I'm going to the kitchen for some coffee. When I come back I'd like to look at your old wedding album with you."


To me, your mom's behavior sounds like she has dementia. Exactly the diagnosis she has. She doesn't need to have a mental illness to account for it. And as a dementia behavior, it may fade away (or not).


With LBD, she may never reach a point when the disease progresses and she just rambles when she talks. She may never be in her own little world. My husband never got that way, even in hospice. Other than the paranoia period he was never abusive, either. Each case is different. I hope your mother's moves away from this abuse.


If you can find a local caregivers support group for those whose loved ones have LBD, I think it will help your sanity and stress level a lot! The LBDA.org website has a list of support groups by state.
Omg. I would not listen to this. That is not your mom talking.
About social media ...

Throughout my caregiving days and even now, I periodically share a short, interesting article about dementia. Not the 8 page medical journal articles but maybe a half page explaining that persons with dementia often make things up they believe to be real. Or a short one on sleep disturbances in dementia -- that kind of thing. I'm not doing this defensively (no one is attacking me, subtly or otherwise) but just to be informative. You might want to take up the practice. Not specifically aimed at your relatives, but just putting it out there in case they are interested.
I don't think many people are, BH, just as not many people can cope with severe autism or schizophrenia or any other of the more behaviourally challenging conditions. That's why I wish that those rare, incredibly gifted individuals who do have a real vocation for "dementia whispering" (as I think of it) were paid on superstar salary scales instead of one up from stable hands or roadsweepers, as they tend to be.
NightOwl, was she like this before the developed dementia? If so, how did you cope with it then? Or did it begin after the she showed signs of dementia?

You write that it's "likely LBD". Has she been tested? Is she on any meds? I wouldn't normally look to meds as a first course of action, but these kinds of comments and behavior to me reflect really deviant thought processes.

How long has this been going on? Have you discussed it with the staff at AL? I assume you're the one who managed the transition to AL, and that's why you're the target? Does she create these scenarios about anyone else, family or otherwise?

I'm certainly not capable of inferring any diagnosis, but this sounds like some weird, sick form of mental disorder.
Dear NightOwl,

I'm so sorry to hear how your mom's words have hurt you and your family. It is only natural to feel as you do given how much you have tried to make sure your mom gets the best care.

I wonder if they can review her meds and see if they could be causing her to act out. Or something in her diet. I know its not easy. I would probably get so hurt and resentful that I would just pull away completely.

Sorry to hear how the family is on social media. I would want to defend myself too but I think it is better to block or remove yourself from these types of conversations. You know the truth.

Thinking of you.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support