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Why do I argue?
bythelake
Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 4:01 AM
Joined: 1/6/2016
Posts: 1


      I have been trying not to argue with my dad about the topics he gets fixated on.  But watching my quick witted dad fade increasingly frustrates me.  Yesterday he told me how much it frustrated him that my husband is on the phone when we are together.  He says this every 5 minutes to me and it simply isn't true.  His(my dad's) perception is that he's talking and interacting but lately he is so silent and doesn't talk.  My husband really takes time out of his two jobs, busy family life for my dad.  Dad always has something to complain about.

     So yesterday I just called him out and said,"Dad-that is not true."  I also mentioned that he didn't talk or interact with the us much when we were at his house for Christmas.  He literally sat in his chair for almost an entire day.  I know he probably won't remember our conversation but I hate the fact that I couldn't reason with him.  His perception is that he is the same and we are losing him the slowest way possible.

    Should I just let his perception be?  I know we have a long road to go and I just fear that I am handling this every wrong way possible.  I want to support my Mom (the chief caregiver) but I find myself avoiding my dad.


The_Sun_Still_Rises
Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 7:53 AM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020


They do tend to tell people not to argue with people with the disease. 

However, I find, as someone with the disease...what is going more than the reasoning skills...is the verbal skills.  The problem when these mix with people who do not have the disease, is that people without the disease tend to take words at face value.  I would suggest not to do that.  I would suggest to look at what he is pointing to with his words rather than what it seems he is saying. 

When your husband is with him, and you think husband is focuses on him...he says that husband is on phone.  Which may mean, simply, that husband is not really present when he is present...LIKE as if he were on the phone.  People with the disease become very tuned into, almost psychically so, to people's emotions.  Maybe husband has a hard time emotionally with all this, so is more tight lipped and walled off?  Maybe that is what dad is picking up on.  And the whole insight and wealth of knowledge of husband, I'd really like to connect with you when you come, but you are always so distant...is lost in words we cannot find. This might be behind what is going on. 

I find, feeling no longer have names...for me...so, a complaint, for me, will simply be me describing the situation and hoping that the listener will pick up on how that is making me feel...because I can't just say that. 

Complaining, if taken in general, simply means that a person is unhappy...and you cannot argue with (well, not and win) with how someone feels.  People feel what they feel.  So my suggestion there would be to just accept that, for whatever reason, dad is not happy...and just meet him there.  What do you do when a friend is not happy?  I find empathy works wonders for me.  It causes me to feel like you have bridged the two worlds, and truly understand me...which means more than correcting the situation, at least for me.  People with the disease are often rarely understood...and so empathy cuts across that.

I wish I had more, but it seems my words are running out.  I wish you, your husband, and dad well.  Hang in there. 


elganpat
Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 8:17 AM
Joined: 3/11/2014
Posts: 95


I too wonder about this.  I try not to argue about her reality statements when they are totally wrong but we are only human and sometimes we break.  Right now, I am dealing with my mother's anger because she thinks I stole her car this week (it's been 2 years).  We have told her that it's been two years but she can't comprehend it so the anger is fresh and raw.  She won't talk to me and I'm her caregiver.  She won't answer the phone so my sibs can't talk to her about it.  I've tried not forcing her to talk and I've tried distraction.  I can get her to temporarily interact but as soon as she's alone, she starts obsessing in her mind and the next time I get to her house, she's mad all over again.  I want to keep correcting her but it just doesn't do any good.  I'm at a loss of what to do.  It's been two weeks and she's not forgetting it.  Some things are easy to just listen to and let go of.  It seems like the stories they confabulate (make up in their minds) are the stories that stick.  She still tells the same things over and over and they are just totally not true but most of the time I just grit my teeth and keep my mouth shut.  You can not reason with a broken mind.
Mimi S.
Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 8:41 AM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7035


Try a different method. Telling him he's wrong, as you've found out, does't work. You need to validate what's he thinks is reality.

 

Ask your librarian for a copy of any book by Naomi Feil with the word Validation in the title. Study and use.

 

Meanwhile, on-line watch videos by Teepa Snow and Naomi Feil. Some of Naomi's deal with end of life issues. You can skip these for now. The second part of her book also deals with that. You can skip that part.
Steve From Sydney
Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 5:05 PM
Joined: 12/31/2015
Posts: 4


Unfortunately, its a very stressful time for everyone who has to interact with the person with Alzheimer's. My mum has been going through the arguing stage for a while now and its very easy to allow yourself to become frustrated to the point of being drawn into a heated disagreement.

I found the best way to accept what's going on is to constantly remind myself that its the disease I am arguing with, and not my mum. You also need to remember that they lose the ability to understand common sense reasoning, so you can argue until the cows come home but at the end of the day "you will never win". I found that once I accepted those two points, life became a lot easier for me and I started to understand how to manage everyday situations a whole lot better. Having said that, what works today wont necessarily work tomorrow so you have to constantly modify your strategy and try new ways of working through a situation.

Sometimes mums obsession about a particular issue comes back in a couple of days and I often say, "well mum we have already talked about this and you agreed to ..........so what is the next problem you want to talk about" That seems to divert her and she quickly forgets and moves on. (for a little while anyway) Like I mentioned above, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. 

I've been told that the arguing stage and the suspicious of everything stage will eventually dissipate so I guess that's something to look forward to.

Good luck

Regards, Steve   

 


CodyW
Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 8:19 PM
Joined: 4/5/2013
Posts: 853


The_Sun_Still_Rises wrote:
Complaining, if taken in general, simply means that a person is unhappy...and you cannot argue with (well, not and win) with how someone feels.  People feel what they feel.  So my suggestion there would be to just accept that, for whatever reason, dad is not happy...and just meet him there.  What do you do when a friend is not happy?  I find empathy works wonders for me.  It causes me to feel like you have bridged the two worlds, and truly understand me...which means more than correcting the situation, at least for me.  People with the disease are often rarely understood...and so empathy cuts across that.

Amen!  My mother has always been a real complainer, and her willfulness to find something to gripe about is amazing!  She is just unhappy, period, so she looks around her world for something to criticize with the determination of the Eye of Sauron seeking the ring.  If it's not one thing it's another, usually imagined, and the best way I've found to put an end to it is to sympathize (or leave.)  Not agree, sympathize.  It's difficult to not contradict outlandish complaints, but over time you'll get better at it.