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The Man In The Mirror
Posted: Sunday, October 6, 2019 9:31 PM
Joined: 2/10/2018
Posts: 11

My DH was diagnosed with EO at age 61.  He is currently 67 and according to his Neurologist, is in the beginning to middle of stage 6.  There is no incontinence, but he does have occasional bathroom accidents where he forgets to lift the seat or lower his pants.  His health is very good and he even still bowls on a league.  His average, of course, is not what it used to be, but he enjoys it, so we go.

The one thing that agitates him terribly is the man in the mirror.  Of course, he's talking about himself.  I am guessing he doesn't recognize himself.  He thinks this guy lives in the house with us, travels in the car with us (in the side view mirror), and shows up at family and friends houses in their mirrors.  He sees his reflection in all glass, like store windows, closed TVs, shiny cars.  It's just awful.  It can immediately set him off.  I try to distract him, but it's not always possible.  Most of the mirrors in my house now are covered.  I can't cover the side view mirror in the car, or the TVs in the house, so I leave them on most of the time so he doesn't see himself there.  He very seriously talks to me about collecting rent from this guy.  He says how can he live here and not contribute.  I can get around conversations like this, but sometimes he gets so agitated that he wants to punch the mirror.

Has anyone experienced this behavior and are there any tips you can share to help ease my DHs anxiety?  Do you know if this is just a phase and will eventually pass?  This is going on to some degree almost a year now.  Thank you for any help you can offer.

Posted: Sunday, October 6, 2019 9:56 PM
Joined: 9/8/2017
Posts: 2213

I used window films on all mirrors. My dad would have arguments with the man in the mirror. The rear view mirror would either be a funny, “hello” experience or an angry “what the hell you’re looking at?!” experience. One time, at home, he got the cup of water that was supposed to be for rinsing his mouth and splashed the water on the mirror. He was angry that the man in the mirror didn’t have an answer for him. My father is mostly bed bound now, and I imagine this phase doesn’t really go away if he is to see himself. He hasn’t since I’ve no longer taken him out for trips in the car.
Posted: Sunday, October 6, 2019 9:57 PM
Joined: 9/8/2017
Posts: 2213

You might have to have him sit in the back with lock proof to make sure he doesn’t try to get out of the car or open the door while in motion
Posted: Monday, October 7, 2019 9:45 AM
Joined: 4/1/2014
Posts: 5012

I'm sorry your DH has dementia.  I had to put flim over the bathroom mirror because mom would not go inot it because"someone was already using it". I also had to take down any large pictures on the walls because "someone is looking into the house from the open windows".  It will get better in time but only because the LO is getting worse and can no longer move about as much, or verbalize. You could cover the passenger side mirror when he is sitting there and use extra caution while driving.  Hang in there!


Posted: Monday, October 7, 2019 6:31 PM
Joined: 2/4/2017
Posts: 503

My DH talked to his "friend" only in the bathroom mirror.  They were "friendly" conversations, so to speak, and didn't agitate him, so I let it be.
Posted: Monday, October 7, 2019 6:55 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 17838

This is not uncommon. Take the reflective surfaces down or cover them. That should fix your home at least.
Marie Rene
Posted: Monday, October 7, 2019 8:37 PM
Joined: 6/13/2018
Posts: 15

My husband experiences this as well and it’s been about two years now. Usually, his conversations are friendly with the occasional upset that the “guy” doesn’t ask first before showing up at the house. And yes, not just mirrors but anything that he can see his reflection. I covered all mirrors with decorative bulletin board paper that teachers use. For bathroom mirrors, I  hung little cafe curtains so I could still use but close when not needed. When my husband would become concerned about the “guy” I told him that it was our guardian angel keeping us safe and weren’t we lucky to have him - this eases his mind often. My husband is now in Memory Care and I covered his bathroom mirror with bulletin board paper and taped a picture of myself on the paper with “I Love You” written on the paper so it’s the first and last thing he sees each day. Hope this helps and hugs to you!
Posted: Monday, October 7, 2019 10:05 PM
Joined: 2/2/2019
Posts: 156

My DH, mid stage six, does not recognize himself in the mirror so I have all mirrors covered to eliminate confusion and resulting agitation. I have a cafe curtain in the main bathroom so I can use the mirror when I need it. Can you adjust the side view mirror on your car so your DH can not see his reflection? As suggested by ruthmendez, having DH ride in the back may be a solution as well. If your DH persists on the idea of collecting rent from this guy, why not play along? Put some money in an envelope, give it to DH and tell him it is rent money from the other guy.
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