• How do you deal with the sudden aggression and anger?

    Asked by armk520 on Tuesday, January 22, 2013

    How do you deal with the sudden aggression and anger?

    Up until today, my FIL has been pretty docile. But when his daughter and wife got here, it's like he went through a whole personality change and turned into this aggressive, angry person, and the night consisted of a lot of yelling and screaming (on all sides) because of him being unreasonable and insisting we do ridiculous things right now, like letting him go back to his house to "take care of things" (he wouldn't be able to get to the house because he cant walk down the yard) or getting the snow blower even though we don't have enough snow. Whereas he accepted help easily before, now he is screaming about being a prisoner and how he can do it himself. It's frustrating, especially because I don't want to treat him differently now than I would have before, except I know he isn't always thinking clearly now. How do you deal with the anger and combativeness?

    6 Answers from the Community

    6 answers
    • Peroll's Avatar

      This maybe a sign of depression or it could be a version of alzhimers from the symptoms you described. In either case you need to get him diagnosed by a Nurologist of a Phychiatrist (sp) because cancer Drs are usually not trained to handle this kind of issue. Chemo can cause depression and the brain tumor can cause the alzheimers symptoms so you need to know what is causing it and get it dealt with as soon as possible as it will likely get worse untreated. If nothing can be done to treat it then you may have to look at putting him into a nursing homwe where they are trained to handle this situatuion. I know that is a hard decision to make but it may be in his best interest as this may quickly get beyond your ability to handle. Good Luck and let us know how things go.

      almost 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      I'm not sure I am understanding the situation. You said when his daughter (your wife?) and wife (his wife?) go here (where is here?) that he wanted to go back to his house (so here is not where he lives?). He has been docile until today (did you see him every day before today? Is he angry because he was moved against his will?).

      Try to put yourself in his position. He does feel like a prisoner and being a cancer patient does make one pretty angry.. Is there some compromise possible.? Maybe let him live at home with a personal care assistant? If he can't walk from a car to the house, rent a scooter or wheel chair.. How do you know he isn't thinking clearly? Has he been diagnosed with dementia in addition to cancer?

      almost 4 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      Peroll is right, you need have your FIL see a doctor for a correct diagnosis on what is making him so angry. Cancer and its treatment can cause rage and cognitive issues Many healthy elderly people express and express anger, etc as they begin needing help taking care of themselves and having others do things they once could easily do. They scream and yell, it's part of the acceptance process about people "trying to run their lives" My now 96 year old aunt, who is sharp as tack, gave us a very hard time when we moved her to assisted living 6 years ago.
      Depending on what the issues are he will probably get some type of medication to calm him down.
      My mom had Alzheimer's so if you need any information about where to find help, etc please feel free to contact me.
      Hugs and prayers.

      almost 4 years ago
    • armk520's Avatar

      I am his daughter-in-law, married to his son. He moved in with us by his own will because he realized he could no longer care for himself, then spent a week in the hospital after a self-injury, and just came home. I am his primary caretaker. I see him every day except for while I am at work, then a friend stays with him. My husband works away two weeks, then has off one week (a cycle).
      He wants to go to his house to accomplish tasks he thinks need taken care of immediately (none do, the house is locked up and the furnace is on to keep the pipes from freezing, and he has everything he needs here.)
      His home is a two story home, and he is unable to walk up or down stairs. In addition, a scooter or wheel chair wouldn't work, because in this case, the house is set back, down a hill, away from the garage with no walk way.
      He hasn't been thinking clearly because he has been showing many signs similar to dementia, like not knowing what month it is, or what day, or getting his directions and body parts confused. While I hope this is not permanent, it very well could be.

      almost 4 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      Hello, I am an oncology nurse and first let me say that this must be so difficult for you. I can appreciate your frustration. I would first suggest that you discuss this behavior with his oncologist. He might want to run a scan. I can imagine that he feels his wings are a bit clipped even though it is by his own choice. He might have problems identifying his role in your home. He sounds responsible and quite handy. Perhaps you might want to engage his advice regarding the upkeep of your own property. It might give him a sense of purpose and could make him feel more relied on instead of the one who must now rely on others. It is never easy to elect to give up your independence. When he is projecting this behavior, sometimes it is best to calmly repeat his concerns to validate him. If he feels he is being heard and another can rationalize his thoughts by mirroring them back to him, he might feel that his opinion is respected. I wish you much success. It is important to relay these behaviors to his health care team. Often these patients will confide in their docs and nurses much easier than a family member. Best of luck, Carm.

      almost 4 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      From my point of view, and I have two. First as a patient, we all probably know how frustrating it is to not be able to do things we used to do pre Dx. I was and still am that way. I can't do things I used to be able to do, but I want to try. The closer to the begining of realizing this it is, the worse this is. Now for the 2nd point of view, from a caregiver. My Dad died of cancer a few years back, we were his caregivers. Your FIL sounds like he could be my Dad's brother. I bet I heard a hundred times, "get me my dXXX pants and shoes, I'm going home"!! He cussed me, took a swing at me once, cussed the hospice nurses, then he would nap, and come out of that and be just as easy going as you could want.

      It's sad, but it's just a part of it, hard to deal with. We kept telling Dad that he couldn't leave until we found out what exactly was wrong with him, and figured out how to make him stop hurting. That would do for a while, then it was something else. We even brought him a bottle of whiskey in, that calmed him down for a while too.

      We just tried to give him what he wanted when we could, on those things we couldn't we tried to comprimise.

      We wish you the best, it's not easy, and it sucks, but you can get through it.

      almost 4 years ago

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