My father is a bully.
He learned early to compensate for his crippled legs from childhood polio by aggressively verbally attacking anything that crossed him. If he barked loud enough, then maybe he wouldn’t have to fight physicially, a contest that he would surely lose.
I was terrified of my father as a child. Eventually, though, I grew up and left that house. I moved on. He doesn’t scare me anymore.
My mother, however, is still there. As his dementia worsens his verbal violence is magnified by paranoia and fear as he is unable to process even simple tasks. He clicks on phishing emails and gives out his social security number. He gets lost driving. He refuses his blood pressure and seizure medications. And my mother is beside herself. She does not feel she can make him do anything as he lashes out at her in the most appalling ways for minor infractions.
I don’t know how to help her. Or him.
She silently prays that things will get better, believing God will hear her and answer her prayer. In her world, that is her hope.
He insists there is nothing wrong with him, that the bitch he is married to is simply making things up, telling lies. In his world, this is his truth.
My mother has no voice. He stole that from her decades ago. She now looks to me to speak for her but he will not listen to me, either. I am the girl-child and inconsequential.
It is going to be a terrible battle….