Care for someone who has always been abusive and critical.

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A lot is discussed about the elderly being abused..but how does someone deal with caring for a person who was abusive for decades even when young and still is? When you offer help to someone who goes for the throat immediately. This is ingrained and not caused by aging. Do you ever say to yourself "I can't take any more of this?


You arrange for care for a person like this, you do not do hands on caregiving.
Yes, you say to yourself "I can't take any more of this" and you limit your exposure to the person as much as possible. And if the person is mentally able to process the information, you make it clear to them why you're limiting the contact and what they need to do/not do to earn the right to have contact with you. I have stopped my mother short and said to her "I don't have to be here, you know." when she has made some snide or disrespectful comment to me. It backs her off very quickly, because she knows if I walked out on her, she'd be screwed.

I support the idea of arranging care as Babalou said, but it seems like many elderly either can't afford to pay for care or refuse to part with their money, so arranging care may not be practical unless you can afford to and are willing to pay for it yourself (I wouldn't). Hope this helps.
This is a slippery slope type of situation. I care for my mother in my home.She is an aging narcissis with multiple health issues due to aging. She was not a "mothering" type person,and I walked on eggshells around her when I lived at home. It is generally not recommended by the medical/psychiatric community that a person takes care of someone that was abusive towards them ,mentally or physically. My mother was emotionally abusive and almost several times just to the edge of physical abuse.I see a therapist and I am on antidepressants because of her living with me but I couldn't stand to be around her with out that support. Sometimes the sight of her makes me almost start to have a panic attack,just so many triggers.She has no one else to take care of her, she is an only child and I am an only child with no children.I have had to set and KEEP firm boundaries with her to make our living situation work but it ain't easy.How long can I keep this up? I have no idea but I know if it were not for me her living situation would be bleak.
I was feeling guilty for feeling the way I do but I'm glad I'm not alone. I am willing to do things for my sister but when I offer to help her walk or shower or do her paper work, I am immediately criticized and called names, and this was just on a phone call. My daughter who has asthma cleared her apt of old trash papers spoiled food, and she was accused of "running around her house." I'm 78 myself and had palpitations after just talking to her.
Gaughran, you are not at all alone. If someone is physically putting you in danger, it is too bad for them but you get yourself out of there. If it is just crap that is being dumped on you because your presence and forbearance is totally taken for granted, you may be able to set limits or modify the behavior by briefly withdrawing...if someone is otherwise cared for, just not going and visiting every single day will make a difference too. Sometimes even people who were wonderful all their life will get confused and need to be in denial and so resent and complain about the things people do for them, so they don't feel bad about their loss of abilities or the fact that someone else needed to do for them. Not being alone does not make it all that much easier, but maybe it helps to confirm it's not you, it's them!
Gaughran, you are putting your own life on the line. Usually there are other care solutions, however poor they may be, but we don't want to consider them. If you died tomorrow, what would happen to dear Mom? Implement that plan then. You are sure not alone in finding yourself responsible for a venomous relative. Large group of us here. Good luck.
Thank you all. Right now I'm stepping back for a few days. We shopped for her, removed trash etc and light housework. She can get around her house with a cane, and to the bathroom and she said although she can't get in the tub, she can wash up. Said she can make meals, although she eats very little. I have to get some other family involved here or I'm going to need care myself!
Just remember, it does not have to be YOU to take care of her.
You get to have boundaries and be treated with dignity too.
If mom is far gone enough not to understand that, she probably needs to be in a care center.

Narcissist parents program into their children a life-long sense of obligation, a feeling everything you do is deficient, and guilt over not doing enough to please them.

When you feel like you've had enough, you stop and detach.
This is my sister. She's 91. I'm 78. But there are a lot of pretty well off nieces and nephews that have distanced themselves...partly because she didn't welcome them in the past either, mostly because they don't want to be bothered, but now I am tired of hearing her praise them (they haven't visited in years) when my daughter and I who have helped her are constantly being put down.
That's narcissism. It's a cluster B personality disorder and there is no medication for it. There are other problems that usually come with it like anxiety and depression or OCD that can be treated, but not the actual disorder.

There is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that might work over a period of decades of real effort, but narcissists usually believe the world is the problem, not their thinking and behaviors. Getting and keeping them in therapy is rare.

A narcissist with dementia is a real live fireworks show in shoes. It is unimaginably stressful for any caregivers. Other family have usually moved on, choosing their own sanity over the narcissist. But there's one of us that sticks around to make sure nothing bad happens and so on. If we don't look out for ourselves, nobody else will.

You won't get any thank yous. No interest in your wellbeing. Just more expectations and demands and disparaging remarks and kicks in the shin.

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