what I've learned from Dementia...
When someone is mean, it is usually because they are hurting in some way. My mother has never been a mean person, in fact she never spoke up for herself, even when it would have been understandable.
Throughout life we meet people we think are friends, and find out, sometimes the hard way that they are not, discovering their toxic ways when they hurt more than help. While a dismal relationship, we learn a lot from toxic people, and in the end gather sympathy for them. Why? Because they are hurting, sad and lash out to protect their own hearts instead of opening up and letting themselves be vulnerable.
But how do you handle it when someone impaired with dementia acts angrily or mean? When it is your family and you are trying to do positive things for them, and they in turn are acting like a child. Why is this so much harder than that toxic relationship?
Usually when people are toxic, you can remove yourself from them, but when it is family and they are ailing, you are left with few choices.
My greatest challenge in dealing with dementia and my mother is patience. After a day fueled with angry outbursts you find yourself drained in ways you never knew possible. When this person who was once your mother can no longer string enough words together to form a sentence, yet pulls her hair and yells when she is confused, you want to walk away.
All the things she once thrived at, now leave her baffled and awkward. From decorating a room to picking up a paint brush, she stands childishly disorganized. In an attempt to stimulate her mind I present crafts and projects which often leave her frozen, afraid to make a mistake, leaving me in a state to pull out my own hair.
Apparently patience is a trait I am lacking, something God sees I need work with, and I agree. It is hard to supply patience to an existing relationship. One where they once understood and now they do not. When you find yourself repeatedly saying remember, then realizing they don't. When the family that was once your foundation is now in need of your support, selfishly you feel abandoned.