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to be annoyed with DM, or should I be worried?

(23 Posts)
fryingpan Tue 21-Jun-16 14:32:30

NC for this as it's highly personal and I'd rather not be outed.

I'm getting increasingly annoyed with DM, who seems to have completely lost her filter and become rather offensive. She makes comments about people's appearance or weight very loudly to others who are nearby, and seems completely unaware that she's being A) loud B) inappropriate and that C) the people who are roped into these embarrassing exchanges don't appreciate it. Quite the opposite: DM seems quite proud of these little chats and enjoys mulling over them afterwards.

She can be witheringly unkind to people without seeming to notice their reaction or think she has said anything unpleasant. Conversely, she will also take people into her confidence inappropropriately and share the most personal of details within minutes of meeting them.

She admits that she knows she tells the same stories over and over, but that she enjoys telling them and that's what's important. She also invents a lot of stories, often with her starring as the victim (this is something which is really escalating) and I know that at least some of them are completely made up as I'm the one who victimises her in some of the stories and, unless I'm blocking it out, I've never done these things that she states.

She also hordes compliments, the type that are given after a significant amount of fishing has been done, and likes to talk about how everyone thinks she is really kind/good at something/ intelligent. This makes me feel really bad as I wonder if she has some really deep-seated issues that I should be helping her with, rather than just being annoyed.

I feel my reaction towards her is getting out of hand. I feel suffocated even at the thought of seeing her, but I don't know if it's because she's changing (and if so,whether I should be worried about this) or because I'm increasingly focusing on certain bad habits she has and not seeing the good in her, which would be very unfair.

For info, my mum is in her mid-70s and lives alone, but often goes out walking or helping with local charities.

Thanks for reading and I apologise for going on so much. I am ready for whatever you throw at me smile

WindPowerRanger Tue 21-Jun-16 14:42:46

I notice my late-70s mother doing a bit of the inappropriate comment stuff-she has got way more judgmental as she has aged. Combine that with living on your own, and I think horizons (and understanding) can narrow dramatically.

I don't grin and bear the things I don't agree with. If I did, resentment would build up rapidly and I would get into a state (regression to sulky teenager, usually!). I am gentle with my mother, so far as I can be, but I do question and challenge her still.

In your case, the fact that your mother is also becoming more disinhibited means that it is worth considering whether she might be suffering some kind of cognitive impairment such as dementia. I am sure that will be a very unwelcoming thought for you and her-how aware is she of her own behaviour and what do you think she would say if you raised it?

If she dismisses it out of hand there isn't much you can do, except possibly write to her GP practice to express concerns and ask them to keep it in mind when she visits.

Idontknowwhoiam Tue 21-Jun-16 14:45:33

My Nan does the commenting about people in ear shot and doesn't think there's anything wrong with it.
I call her on it though... I do wonder if it's a problem as I can't remember her doing before the last year or so.
She is a similar age and situation to your mam.

fryingpan Tue 21-Jun-16 14:47:39

That's precisely what I'm worried about, Wind. I've tried talking to her about her loud comments, but she says that I'm over-reacting. For the invented stories, she either says I just can't remember them or says it's fine because she's always been eccentric and it just makes for a better story. I can't bear to think she'd be in decline at such a relatively young age.

Does your mother acknowledge and understand when you challenge her, or is she in denial?

EdmundCleverClogs Tue 21-Jun-16 14:58:36

She admits that she knows she tells the same stories over and over, but that she enjoys telling them and that's what's important. She also invents a lot of stories, often with her starring as the victim (this is something which is really escalating) and I know that at least some of them are completely made up as I'm the one who victimises her in some of the stories and, unless I'm blocking it out, I've never done these things that she states.

This was my mother, word for word - she was eventually diagnosed with dementia. Not saying your mum has the same, just shocked me at how similar the situation is. Keep an eye on it is all you can really do, she may just feel now she's older she doesn't have to 'hold back'.

CMOTDibbler Tue 21-Jun-16 15:13:21

Both my parents have dementia - mums is advanced, dads in the early stages. For both of them a very early sign has been losing their social filters, and changing the truth about things. Dad is in this right now, and is proud of being a 'straight talker' about things even when it is eye wateringly embarrassing for others.

So, I think it would be worth thinking about as a reason for your mums behaviour

KittyKrap Tue 21-Jun-16 15:14:26

My DM is in her 80s and exactly the same but she's always bitched about people, within earshot. I'm on a limited contact for my sanity but we talk by phone once a fortnight (DH pours me a large glass of something to help). She'll start by asking what we've been up to but doesn't listen, so cuts me off as she's much happier talking about her begonias, her overweight dog and her battles with BT. In the space of 14 days we'd changed the car, DS had got a job, we'd returned from a break to Switzerland and I'd started a new business. Nothing! Not an ounce of interest.

So I just let her waffle on. In public I'll be extra polite to waitresses as she's so rude, and I'll ignore her bitching sessions.

I feel your pain.

fryingpan Tue 21-Jun-16 15:18:16

This is all rather worrying. flowers to all who have replied, for your families; it must be very hard.

I don't know whether I should bring this up directly with DM, especially if there is nothing really to be done about it. Maybe gently challenging her when neccesary, and trying to help keep her mind active, is the best I could do.

fryingpan Tue 21-Jun-16 15:20:24

KittyKrap - quite the same. She has little interest in what I'm up to, or the DC. She'll ask and then either not wait for a response, or use whatever I say as a way to tell a story about herself. Very frustrating!

WindPowerRanger Tue 21-Jun-16 15:22:48

Ha ha, my mother has always been the Queen of denial!

But, she does acknowledge challenges, particularly in the context of discussions about politics and current affairs, which she loves.

She will accept when my siblings and I disagree with her about something personal she has said, usually about a member of the extended family. I can't tell you the most striking example as it would identify me straight away, but it was bad.

I have had to tell her that she could be heard when she was commenting about someone in the cafe we were in once. She didn't believe me, though she did stop talking. If she harps on about a particular thing, she will stop if any of us tell her we don't want to talk about it.

WindPowerRanger Tue 21-Jun-16 15:25:19

Don't worry about other people, fryingpan. Do what you need to do for you, so that the contact you have with your mother is not distressing you.

I have decided not to care as much about whether the woman sitting across from us on the bus can hear my mother slating her outfit. I concentrate on maintaining my own boundaries.

GarlicSteak Tue 21-Jun-16 15:37:38

There are medications now that can help. It's worth encouraging her to see her doctor - maybe even ring them yourself to raise a concern?

mrsmortis Tue 21-Jun-16 15:40:58

On the volume thing, has she had a hearing test recently? I have degenerative hearing loss and one of the side effects is that I have no idea if I am being inappropriately loud. I have to rely on those around me to point it out.

Trooperslane Tue 21-Jun-16 15:42:51

Sorry OP.

My Mum had dementia too and that's how things started

I'm really not trying to scare you and I'm not a doctor, but I think she would benefit from getting checked out asap.

Big hugs.

blitheringbuzzards1234 Tue 21-Jun-16 15:48:43

I feel for you OP. It could be the beginning of dementia, I'm afraid. Take my MIL as the old joke goes, please take my MIL. The old girl is in her mid 90's and while it's great to get to that age, think of what comes with it.
Apparently when you get old you become an exaggerated version of your younger self. She's never been tactful, leads a sheltered life, expects others to entertain her and loves to be the centre of attention. On a bad day she's aggressive and bolshie. My BIL gets it in the neck no matter how much he does for her and there are times when he's at his wits end.
She hasn't got much to live for as she's going blind so has less stimulation. It's sad all round. Do you have siblings with whom to share the load/talk/laugh about it/get it off your chest? It does help.

EarthboundMisfit Tue 21-Jun-16 15:55:42

I think that, if she hasn't showed these traits up till now, she needs a check-up.

Tattieboggle Tue 21-Jun-16 16:09:23

his was my mother, word for word - she was eventually diagnosed with dementia. Not saying your mum has the same, just shocked me at how similar the situation is

I immediately thought if this too.

Tattieboggle Tue 21-Jun-16 16:10:22

OP, I'm sure the replies you've received have been a great shock to you and I wish you and your mum well. flowers

EarthboundMisfit Tue 21-Jun-16 16:15:37

There are now some medications available that can help dementia patients in some cases.

fryingpan Tue 21-Jun-16 16:29:56

mrsmortis, sorry to hear about your hearing loss. DM does have ear issues so maybe that's part of it. I'll bring it up with her.

fryingpan Tue 21-Jun-16 16:36:44

She is basically turning into a caricature of herself - she's always had these qualities to an extent, but they are becoming more and more evident. Sometimes she'll almost have me in tears with what she says, but doesn't seem to notice and finishes up by saying how lovely our chats always are. Then I feel guilty for getting upset or annoyed!

I just don't know how I'd approach it with her though; she's been on her own a long time and is very independent and proud.

And no, no siblings, just me, and I don't live very close to her. It's far enough away that seeing her every day would essentially be impossible.

Thanks everybody for the very kind messages. I really appreciate the support smile

Trooperslane Wed 22-Jun-16 08:54:42

Understand that if (and none of us are qualified to say here, don't forget) it is dementia then lots can be done to support you and your DM.

Lean on this. You will not need to do this alone. Get the right support network - adult social services, carers to help with self care, medication etc - going through her GP.

I'd second the pp's suggestion of phoning her GP. They won't talk to you but you can talk to them if that makes sense.


Laiste Wed 22-Jun-16 09:48:51

My situation is the same as yours OP as in only child, mum lives alone, and is increasingly difficult socially. The embellished stories, the not listening, the repeat of detailed tales about people she met on the bus, the critical attitude to everything different to her or her way.

I really clicked when you said the 'turning into a caricature of herself thing' though. Years and years ago i could see that one of my mums bad points was the amount of manipulation she tries to do to people and situations all the bloody time. Like a habit almost - needing to control everything. Twisting things to suit her agenda, being very scathing about anything other than 'her' way, ect. Hard to get it into a nutshell - but nearly all the things which she does now are clumsy versions of the things she used to do - and get away with - because she used to do it with a bit more sophistication. Am i making any sense?!

What i'm leading up to is: despite all her social awkwardness she copes with running her (quite big) house and garden perfectly well and is quite happy. She relates to me instances of dealing with tricky situations on the phone and face with people where she's done fine and held her own. She has a good social life and is often asked to help organise events ect, soooooo at this stage i feel she's mentally sound - just getting older and a more cantankerous version of herself! Hopefully this is the case for your mum OP flowers Keep an eye on how she's caring for herself and don't panic if everything else seems ok.

Sorry how long that was.

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