As some of you know, I've just been a bundle of nerves on my weekly visits to Mom.
I spoke with my brother (who also visits every week.) He says she isn't that bad with him. Does moan and groan about wanting to go home, but she doesn't grow angry or curse at him like she does with me.
Despite knowing this disease, I must admit I was taking it personally. I just couldn't help myself. She had done so well the first few months, then slipped right back into the same way she was treating me when she lived with me.
I went early last week so that I could speak with "G." The manager, thinking she needed new medication or something!
I was certainly off-guard and guess I should have talked to her sooner. She said they have no problems with mom and I'm the only one that she rages at like that. Occasionally, she'll fight about taking her shower, but generally they have no problems with her. She told me that Mom knows the right buttons to push with me, she thinks if she makes me feel bad enough........I'll get her out of there. She knows how I re-act.........and she plays on that.
My goodness, I certainly wasn't giving her enough credit. I didn't think she'd remember from week to week how to "treat" me. But I decided to try a new attitude with her, fully expecting to prove "G" wrong.
The lady in the room next to her had passed away the week before and there was much activity when I rounded the corner to Mom's room. They had removed the bed and were stripping the room to bare bones cleaning it. Mom was working like a little beaver, laughing, joking, have a ball with the staff. I was totally surprised as I expected her to be crying all the time.
I behaved as I full-well knew that I should! When she cried, I changed the subject. When she asked for her money, I changed the subject. When she asked for her brother, I changed the subject. She never shed one tear, never got angry, never raised her voice.
I was totally floored! I had no idea that my attitude was egging her on with the tears and the angry tirades. But I saw pretty quickly that it was..........
For 2 years I've been changing the subject, I really don't understand how I feel into this hole of trying to "explain" again. But that's what I was doing. I'd been trying to explain why she was there, why she had to stay, why she couldn't go home ........and she didn't understand any of it and was angry with me.
So I'm back on track again. Change the Subject.............no matter what.
I swear, if I ever fall into this trap again..........I hope one of you reminds me....
Good for you, Sandy - what a breakthrough! It is so 'simple' and yet so hard! You want to explain, not distract .. but you have it now. I don't think you'll ever go back.
How often do you visit your Mom, and do you think less would be better?
After going to the NH to see Mom almost every day for a year, then cutting it down to 3 or 4 days, my dear brother has also finally seen the light - now he goes 2x a week and each time Mom is happy to see him, and is getting along just as well or badly as when he was always there. Meanwhile he is getting his old life back. Now that it's the pre Christmas season, he is doing a lot of repairs on people's old Lionel trains (which has been his second job all his life and since retirement his only job) which he enjoys and which makes him happy. He is also bulding a train layout for someone. For over a year he had no time to do any of this.
We all learn slowly with this disease, since it contradicts everything you think should happen ...
I was visiting Mom for several hours once a week. Then they suggested to make it every other week. That just seemed too long, but I think the issue all along was "trying to explain why she was there."
I learned that lesson when she lived with me, always distracted her to keep from going in circles. I honestly don't know when I slipped right back into the old way of dealing with her.
I think I'll go back to once a week now, but only for an hour or so. Since I've figured out what I was doing to enrage her. lol! I can't believe I didn't see it sooner, really.
Oh, I'm so glad your brother has stopped going so often. It's time to get his life back! They really don't remember your being there and it's so difficult on the rest of your life. Even though I was going once a week, I was obsessing every day about her rages toward me. So I'm hoping it will get better for me too.
Thanks so much Martha, and all the ladies on this board! Don't know how anyone can make it through this alone.
These AD people can surely be stubborn, can't they? My dad gets fixed on one subject or one "victim" (usually me when he was here) and that's all she wrote. I think AD people have a very keen sense of other's moods and vulnerabilities. And somehow when they've forgotten almost everything else, they remember how to work on people (and who to work on) to get what they want.
Kudos to you, Sandi, for searching for the reason and working on the solution!