My DH and I just took a dream trip to Cancun last week. We came into a little money and decided to take one last nice vacation because with our future financial prospects we won't be able to do this kind of trip very often any more. My mom is 77 and went with us to Mexico once before and wanted to go back, so we invited her to come with us.
My mom is normally opinionated and a bit overbearing if you disagree with her about anything, but she's usually pretty good on a trip when she's having fun. Well, not this trip.
From the time we left until we got home she was unkind and dismissive and disrespectful to my DH about every single thing he said or did. She criticized or contradicted or made fun of literally everything. Bless his heart, he did not react to it at all. He knew it'd make it worse if he made her mad, so he just sucked it up. I felt like I constantly had to throw myself in front of her and change the subject or re-direct her every time she started in on him. In short, it spoiled my whole vacation, and I am just so pi$$ed at her I can't see straight. Then she had the nerve to tell my brother when he picked us up at the airport that she didn't have any fun because of my husband. I just want to slap the crap out of her.
I am never, ever going to take her on another vacation. We were planning to take a family trip with my brother and his wife and my mom to the Oregon coast this summer, but I told my brother if our mom goes, we won't be joining them.
My mom has become the type who will NEVER apologize to anyone because she thinks it's a sign of weakness. This situation just breaks my heart because my mom used to be the coolest person I knew. She raised me to be confident and fearless, and she was THE best mom. Now she's become a mean spirited old woman who nobody wants to be around. I don't think it's dementia, either. I think it's willful because she will turn around and be as nice as she can be to a perfect stranger, then turn on my husband or brothers or me if we disagree with her opinion.
I know that I have to confront her about this and it makes me ill to consider it. But I am not going to allow her to disrespect my husband especially when he's been nothing but nice to her.
It just makes me so sad.
I think some people as they get older get that way for some reason. I told my DH, just shoot me if I get like that.
I told my daughter to threaten to put me in a home if I get like this. She promised she would! She's seen her grandma in action, too. Luckily, she's my mom's obvious favorite because she's living the life my mom thinks she should be.
It seems like difficult parents are going around. There's no way I'd take a vacation with my mom unless I just wanted to hear her degrade non-English speaking people, how she doesn't have to have cultured behavior, and complain about my dad and every detail around her. You are much tougher than I am for just going in the first place.
I wish I could help you. When you get it figured out leg me know.
I think your mistake was taking your mom on you and your husbands dream vacation! If she wanted to go so bad I would save up a little money and buy her a plane ticket when you weren't going. It sounds to me that she was being who you know her to be but you assumed she would be different because she was when you were younger. Leave your mom at home and stop letting her tag along in your marriage. I know it's hard but you have to accept this is who she chooses to be now. Maybe she feels that because she is old she has earned the right to say whatever she wants! Good luck hun.
So sorry everyone had such a rotten time, when you and your DH obviously tried so hard to be accommodating and gracious.
It's easy to blame seniors for being difficult because of personality defects. But in my experience, aging isn't the only issue. Oftentimes, seniors can have multiple diagnosed and udiagnosed medical conditions which make them seem to be cross and irritable when they're struggling with pain, loss of sleep, etc.
They think they're handling it without complaining and we're wondering what the heck's up with them.
For example, I have multiple medical conditions which are being managed... But when I find myself being cross with my fur babies, I know I'm not doing as well as I think - and it's time to take some pain meds. (Ditto, if DH asks if I'm feeling okay; then I know I'm being crotchety and irritable and it's time to ease my pain to end his suffering!)
mums are made to be challenging!
but the early signs of dementia can just be subtle changes in personality - i work in a care home, and many families had fallen out with each other before a diagnoses was made. odds are it is not that, but keeep an eye on her anyway.
jan is right too - when my pain flares up i am cranky. and its one of those things, you take it out on the people you love cause you know they wont just tell you where to go.
im sorry you didnt enjoy your holiday though, but fingers crossed, you get a mum free holiday next year you can enjoy!
My mother is the same way. Thank goodness I married a good man who usually just lets her go on for a while, then lets a zinger fly that shuts her right up.
My mom is someone who just loves to be in a fight with someone. I think it is because she is a control freak, and if she's making someone feel bad then that gives her a little bit of power over them. Hopefully, I will never travel with my parents again, but if I ever do, it will be on a cruise ship that is big and interesting enough that me and my family can do our own thing during the day and meet up with them for dinner and whatever else in the evening.
It sucks she ruined your dream vacation.
OK so in the middle of the trip. "look Biotch behave, or you stay here"
We decided to take my MIL to Disneyland and I truly wished we hadn't. My kids are 3 and 5. The 5 year old has Autism so we can't ride rides that have a lot of movement i.e. roller coasters. The 3 year old is still small and likes It's a small world and things of that sort. She got mad because we wouldn't go on the Matterhorn, Space mountain and the Screaming one at California Adventure. Bella is too short to ride and Andrew will absolutely freak out for hours. I finally told her to go wherever she wanted and we would go our way. She actually left us and buggered off! So much for spending time with her grandkids.
On the way home, she said how much fun she had riding all the "cool rides" and wished we would have done it as well. I bit my lip and my husband said "well, I'm glad you liked it because you are never coming with us again". He was soo mad at her!
I'm so sorry you had a bad time. Hopefully you will be able to go on another trip with just your husband soon.
Thank you all for your kind words and advice. I love my mom so much and she's been an incredible role model for me all my life until now, so it's just so grim to see her be this way. She is starting to lose her hearing and seems to have some moments of confusion, so I'm beginning to wonder if it could be early signs of old age dementia. Frankly, I'd rather it was that than just meanness.
Humorously, my brother called yesterday and asked if I had any ideas for a Christmas gift for her. All we could come up with was a ball gag. : \\ I guess if we couldn't laugh about it we'd have to throw ourselves in front of a bus.
Ruth, I am so sorry you had such a rough time on your trip. I'll have to admit that you are braver than I will ever be. There is no way on God's green earth that I would take a trip with my mom. I love her dearly, but she can be really ugly if she doesn't get her way. She has tried to invite herself on trips, but I usually just tell her that we are going to be doing a lot of biking, hiking, kayaking, ect (which is not entirely untruthful). She un-invites herself pretty quickly.
I think I've told this story here before so forgive me but:
We had a special older relative who was fraught with drama and issue after issue after issue etc etc. You could never recover from one thing before the next wave was upon you--So one day we were told that she had been found with her head stuck in the oven and it just brings you to a jarring jolt to hear something like that after all the 'stuff'--it's like Omg Oh poor dear! Trying to kill herself we thought.
So come to find out--she had actually gotten her head stuck in a baker's rack. (like a home decor thing you put plants on or something)
And I mean that's not funny either but in the comic relief department all things considered it's priceless.
I don't have any words of wisdom--just wanted to share a funny.
I am sorry she ruined your trip but I do have to say that you really should mention her behavior change to her doctor if possible. My father had early onset of Alzheimer's (he was only 52 when he was diagnosed and symptoms had been going on for about 5 years before that). The primary sign he had it was personality change. He was the most loving father and always extremely quiet but when this started, he turned into a hateful, bitter man. My mother forced him to go to a doctor after we returned from a family vacation that he was extremely mean to everybody the whole time and refused to listen to us about directions because he knew where he was, we were lost more than we got to vacation and it wasn't just a man thing - lol!!! He also had MS which affected his brain as well and a lot of his issue was the frustration he had because he knew something was wrong and he was mad at the world that he wasn't able to do the things he had already done. He passed away this February at the age of 63 so please don't let yourself get caught regretting anything you say or do when she may not have any (or little) control over her actions. Hope I haven't offended you, just wanted to share my experience. BEST OF LUCK!!!
I agree about the early signs of dementia/alzheimers comment. I have a number of elderly clients at my salon and over the years (15) I've noticed changes in their personalities.
Some who were always kind and considerate 15 yrs ago, are now showing signs of irritability and sometimes just plain meanness. They make such off-handed comments to complete strangers that are so uncharacteristic of who they once were.
It's sad really to watch this happen...I've really grown close to some of them after all these years (I see them every week for their shampoo/set) and it's upsetting to see the changes.
If at all possible I would mention this to your Mom's doctor.
I'm so sorry such a nice vacation was ruined for you.
Thank you all for your posts, the funny ones (baker's rack - that's priceless!), and the ones about dementia.
As a few days go by and my anger and disappointment subside a bit, I'm beginning to realize that I need to do some research on dementia.
I don't think my mom even has a regular doctor. She's ridiculously healthy from a physical standpoint. She takes exactly one multivitamin a day and has blood pressure of 105/60. She's always been so sharp, it's hard to think of her mind slipping, but all of your stories persuade me that it may be exactly what's going on. You'd have to know the extent of my mom's control freakishness to understand how tough this will be to address. Gosh, imagine how much I'm looking forward to Christmas! I guess it's time to step up and be there for her even if she's hard to take.
I hope your Mom's mind is fine too. But it is very common in the elderly that when their mind, starts to slip, or the vision or hearing start to grow, they become VERY angry. And from what you described of your mother, I can definetly see her being in denial, but being very aggressive to amke up for it.
Irritability is also a sign of depression.
So sorry your mom acted that way. I feel bad for your husband! It sounds like she needs to get a life of her own and stop piggybacking on her grown kids' lives (especially since she's a pain to be around).
Your mom sounds like my father. He could be so sweet to everyone and then for no reason go into a rage at no one in particular. We walked on eggshells for years. I kept telling my mother to ask the doctor if he was bipolar. Unfortunately she never asked a doctor and he died without knowing for sure if that was his problem.
My father's on/off switch got worse as he got older. Doctor's kept saying that maybe he could be heading in to Alzheimer's but did not test for that either.
Look up whatever you can on bipolar and see if anything fits. Depression is also part of bipolar I think.
Thank goodness, my mom redeemed herself today at our family's Christmas gathering. She was pleasant and agreeable, and even apologized to my husband when she thought she said something that offended him, which is NOT like her even on a good day. We looked at the vacation pictures and she had only good things to say about the trip. I'm so happy because this is the mom I know and love.
We think she must have said something nasty to my brother about the trip and he let her know how angry and hurt we were about the way she acted. I don't know what happened, but it worked.
It was such a great day with everyone just being happy and enjoying one another. Ahh, family harmony is restored!
Dont' let one good day fool you into not checking into the dementia possibility, though. If that's what's going on, and it sounds like it might be, then there's a better chance to handling it if you catch it early.
I'm glad you had a good day with her, anyway!
I'm soooo happy for you. I agree with other posters to keep checking into a possible problem though because you wouldn't want to overlook something and it could be depression or bipolar also. If it is there is meds to help. I know you feel so much better she did that. It's hard when ones we love do something like that.