yelling and overtalking by husband

Posted by maryflorida @maryflorida, Dec 23, 2020

His doctor said he has early onset dementia. Normally he is very pleasant, but about once a month, he answers a my question (not an angry one) with a tirade of "explanation" which is loud and overtalking me, lasting for maybe 10 min. Sometimes I leave, but I can't always if it is late at night. This last time I got angry back, which is scary and not part of my personality. We live far from our children so I have no one nearby. My question is: is yelling and overtalking a part of dementia?

Hi @maryflorida, that must be disconcerting to experience such out of character tirades from your partner at random moments. Yelling, screaming, crying and other verbal changes can be a part of dementia. @virginianaeve @dianajane @pattyinal @grecarmar @rmftucker @jodeej @adv may also have experience with this type of behavior.

Mary, I can imagine that you didn't like that you got angry back and witnessed a behavior that isn't part of your personality either. But it happens. I hope you will be kind to yourself and forgive yourself as you would others. Even leaving isn't an option, like when this happens late at night, have you come up with other strategies that might help you and him?

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Maybe.
My husband had similar behavior early in the course of his dementia in that he would misunderstand the tone or intent of a statement or question.
A question like "Honey, do you know where the thingamajig is?" would be interpreted as "You moron you've obviously lost the thingamajig!"

A big consideration is whether or not your husband frequently has trouble following conversation or instructions in situations that do not induce a defensive reaction. Such as asking him to fetch a bag of flour from the pantry and he brings green beans, if anything. Not so much a memory problem as a misapprehension – he's sure you said 'green beans.' (aphasia?)

It's worth examining the circumstances around the incidents your husband experiences. Particularly breaks in household routines or anything that could leave him more tired or overstimulated than usual. Does it happen more frequently in the kitchen or living room? In the car?

Prior to his dementia my husband was about as emotionally intelligent as a lump of coal. But from his early onset days to the end he could tell if I was anxious or harassed no matter how well I thought I was concealing it. And he would respond accordingly.
Please understand that I'm not suggesting any deficits in your behavior. Just another possibility that bears examination.

The oft-repeated rule of thumb in dementia handling is the "never argue with them" rule. Good advice. If he thinks I said 'green beans' my response would be "damn, I meant to say flour!"
But sometimes he would still think I was arguing or stomping around, only thing that helped was to get out of sight for a little while.

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