I turned to my dementia expert for help with the struggle to wrap my head around mom’s sudden paranoia bloom. I understand a lot about mom’s limitations, but probably not, it turns out, exactly how limited mom’s perceptions are.
Ellen explained that mom is starting to see me in two-dimensions rather than as a whole. Mom is unable to understand, or recall, what it is I do for her, and how necessary all that doing is, as she is unable to attend to any of those tasks for herself. What she does retain about me is that I am in control, and she is not (mom was Always in control), hence her anger and paranoia is directed my way.
I shared that in 2013, when I was begging mom’s Island doc to turn her in to the department of licensing, he counseled me that maintaining my relationship with my mother was of the utmost importance. I feel now that I’ve completely failed in that cause. Ellen said, ‘If you asked the doctor today if maintaining your relationship with your mom was still urgently important, his answer could well be different.’ I’ve created a protectorate around mom, and handed those who care for her the task of keeping her safe. I no longer have to look over her shoulder daily to make sure she’s not getting scammed. The days of texting the Island sheriff and deputy are long gone. At this juncture, while it makes me sad knowing she thinks I’m the bad gal (hopefully temporarily), our being chums is not critical to mom’s safety.
We also talked about mom becoming two-dimensional herself, and again, how the force of her personality makes us infer more than is there… For some time now mom doesn’t/can’t instigate conversation (unless its her loop about returning to the Island), and rather says, “What’s up?” Or “What’s happening?” And then lets us do all the talking. Ellen said, ‘She achieved her goal! She has YOU talking.’ Usually I catch mom up on what the kids and our grandson are up to. Ellen asked if mom knew who our grandson was, when referred to by his first name, not only in context to herself, but to me during these one-sided conversations. I had to confess that I did not know.