Skip to main content
PBS logo
Want fewer ads?

Discussion Forums - Health, Mind, Body

Topic: Anyone like me have a relative deteriorate & start acting childish? (sorry,

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Generic Profile avatar
Subject: Anyone like me have a relative deteriorate & start acting childish? (sorry,
Date Posted: 10/29/2007 4:34 AM ET
Member Since: 3/1/2006
Posts: 436
Back To Top

 I don't know if I should be putting this in this category, but I felt it had to do with mind and health. Hope people will bear with me...

Okay, I know I should never air my feelings when it comes to family on the internet, but tonight I couldn't hold back. (And if my mother knew I was doing this, she'd probably kill me right after she disinherits me... Oh, well...) But I'm really in need to tell my feelings to someone, so here I am.

Like the subject of this post said, does anyone else, like me, have a relative regress to childish behavior when getting older? And when I say older, I mean like in the 50s, 60s, etc. I ask this because in the last year or so, I've noticed a change in my mother. She used to be an independent, strong-willed and witty-humored person. And while she still holds on to some of those traits, I've noticed she's totally regressed into childish behavior. Plus, she's become an ABSOLUTE busybody. The kind of person that has to know every little thing the neighbors are doing, bitter at the world and gets very angry or depressed when no one wants to help them. On top of all that, she feels that anything she asks us (my siblings and myself) to do for her is owed to her. Right now though, I'm more focused on the fact that I've noticed she's acting very childish, and doing things that fifteen years ago, she would have spanked me for doing.

Let me give the most recent incident. Yesterday, A member of our family did something that was, I acknowledge, really dumb. The kind of dumb you can do nothing but roll your eyes and shake your head. This person is married into the family, so is tolerated. (For lack of a better word.) But when they do dumb things like this, which happens more often than is good, my mother goes on a rant and won't let up for days. I find it highly embarrassing that she'll get on the phone the minute this person leaves and call every Tom, Dick and Harry she can think of to gripe about it. And then she'll walk around and say stuff like, 'well dumb so-and so...' Or, 'Stupid so-and-so did this so...'

Tonight I got tired of it. Without wanting to, I beseechingly told her that, hey, there's no need for name-calling. And my mother only snapped back at me that she can 'do whatever she likes.' I wasn't surprised at her response, but it deeply disturbed me that she can't seem to realize what she's doing. I say this because I know if I or my sister or anyone else called either of my brothers dumb or stupid, she would be all over you like fleas to a dog. (My mother favors the boys in the family, just for background info here.)

Here's another example I simply can't stop myself from sharing. One of my siblings has a best friend. This best friend has a long-time partner who deeply offended my mother several years back. Yes, this person was extremely rude to her and I find there was no excuse for it. But ever since then, my mother refuses to call this person by their name. Instead she says 'sh**head.' On top of that, she happily and eagerly will tell anyone who will listen that she calls this person that name. Again, I find this horribly embarrassing that my mother will actually brag about the fact that she doesn't call someone by their name, but in stead calls them that rude name...

My mother is sixty years old. I know she's a grown woman who's lived her life, raised her children and is now enjoying her golden years. But as time goes on, I see more and more of the behavior I've described happening. And when I try to say something about it, in a crazy moment of honesty, I get blasted. I understand that she's entitled to say and/or do whatever she wants. However, I'm frustrated and frankly sick of this behavior, as it happens every week, if not every day. Right at this moment I don't know how to handle this type of behavior. It's not only bringing me down, but I feel it's not healthy for the entire family.

So I'm wondering, does anyone else have relatives or know of someone you've seen go from a wonderful, intelligent, loving person to an angry, bitter person? I would love someone to either post here or message me privately if they want to talk, because I'm in dire need of an friendly ear. I'm at my wits end, and it's unlikely I'll be able to separate myself from the situation because of circumstances too long to type here.

Anyway, thanks for listening, if anyone made it to the end of this post! Natalie B.

Generic Profile avatar
Date Posted: 10/29/2007 10:54 AM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2006
Posts: 6,362
Back To Top

Oh, I aam sorry. 

In different ways, I "lost" both my parents long before they died, although now I'm not sure my father was ever really there (not what I thought he was, you know).  It's hard. 

I hope someone can help you out more. 



vintagejoy avatar
Standard Member medalMember of the Month medalBook Cover Image Group medalBook Data Correction Group medalTour Guide Leader medalFriend of PBS-Silver medalPBS Blog Contributor medalPrintable Postage medal
Date Posted: 11/1/2007 2:20 AM ET
Member Since: 9/30/2006
Posts: 7,620
Back To Top

Hi Natalie ~

I am so sorry you are having to go through all of this.  When a parent has problems like this it is so hard to understand and to deal with.  Especially if you don't know what you are dealing with.  You have come to the right place for a friendly ear and please feel free to come on as often as you need to get all the stuff out.  We'll listen.

It is almost 2 am here and I'm about ready to head for bed, but I did want to respond to your post.  I'll try to do a better job of it tomorrow.

If you don't mind answering a couple questions, it may help me give you better help.  I'm a Registered Nurse by the way, one of the medical voices in this forum, so maybe I can give you a hand here.  Plus I've had enough life experience to know how tough it is to deal with serious issues. (I guess that means that I am somewhat a little less older than dirt.  lol ).

What is your Mom's marital status?   Does your Mom live alon, with you, or with another member of your family?  Can you point to a specific time when she started acting this way - or when she wasn't acting this way.  I guess I mean that if you sit down and try to remember what her personality was like when you were a child, teenager, young adult, etc., maybe you could pinpoint a time this started happening, or it may have just started slowly until it has become so serious at this point.  If you can pinpoint a specific time when this all started, what was going on around her or with her at the time ~ has there been some life changing event that may be associated with this, like a death in the family, divorce, illness in herself or in someone very close to her, etc.  Anything you can think of.

Just from reading your post, it seems to me that this behavior you are describing is not something she may be conciously doing.  It can be really hard to separate someone's behavior into whether they are doing things intentionally or not.  Either way leads to a different set of things to do to help them and to help yourself.  If you come to the conclusion that she is acting this way just to be ornery, that sets up different ways to deal with her behavior than if you decide she is not doing all this on purpose.  Unfortunately dealing with either set of circumstances is no cake-walk.  But there are certainly things that can be done to help everyone out.

The only other thing I would ask is if you would give me a sort of general idea of what her health is.  You know, does she have some type of heart disease, diabetes, things such as that, and does she see a doctor regularly.

Actually telling someone about all this and letting your own frustrations out a bit is really the best first step you can make.  You can't think clearly about a situation like this if you have alot of steam built up, you need to let some of it out and I hope this made you feel at least a little better. 

Hang in there, we'll do all we can to give you a hand.






Want fewer ads?