Dealing with aging parents who were abusive to you when you were a child and continue to be so.

Started by

I saw online last night an obituary which was written by the daughter of a woman who had been brutally abusive to her children throughout their childhood and their lives. It exposed what I will call Mommy Dearest for what she was, then pointed to organizations which deal with and help to prevent child abuse. I thought it was cathartic for the daughter to expose her mother's dirty little secrets and helpful to bring child abuse to the surface instead of letting it get swept under the rug. Physical and verbal abuse of children, even throughout adulthood, is just not acceptable. It resonates through my mind at times when I am trying to sleep. Some parents don't understand the damage they are creating when they verbally abuse their children -- sure, there are no marks to be seen by teachers or nurses, but that parent's voice will resonate in a child's head throughout adulthood. Parents, please get help if you cannot handle your children. Even if it means dropping them off at a day care center for a day so that you can have some "me" time. Our children are gifts from God. I wonder what He thinks when he sees some of these horrendous acts taking place. Love your children and it will be returned tenfold. Give generously of your time.


My dad was verbally abusive and smacking the heck out of my brothers and I. He changed in later life, but still had a temper. His last month before he died it was hard to believe he was ever like that. I always wanted to ask him why he did that to us. I know his father was the same way. Never allowed me to go to parties or school sports games.
Someone who is brutally abused needs to be heard. However, I don't know if an obit is a time to be heard. My mother was very rough, negative and negligent of me...and I treat myself that way unconscsiously. It's hard to crack that nut open and not do the behaviors...overeating, pushing self to stay up late nights, being scared of taking on challenges, isolating, etc., but it's so ingrained. My mother found it difficult to take responsibility of her actions and authetically apologize from the heart when I brought her actions to her attention. She could be very cruel, but her passing was closure enough for me. I pray that this daughter who was brutally abused as a child and ongoing found closure in exposing her mom in the obit. The impact of that brutality is a hard burden to carry. I hope she found the peace she needed.
There will always ben people who believe that the person could never have done such a terrible thing. Especially when they are NPD, manipulative and now old and 'harmless'. I think putting it in an obit, while at the time 'cathartic' may end up raining down more judgement, verbal abuse, etc. from other people toward the person who already spent their lives being subject to that from their parent(s). Better to be concise in the obit, and then as for donations, ask for them for organizations that help and support victims of abuse. And…if worded correctly…the message will get across, if that helps, without having to drive the point home with a hammer. Just my opinion.
ChristyHansen, that was a very good commentary. I think it is very hard for those who have not been verbally abused to understand how deep this injury goes. It is hard enough for those of us who have been abused to understand it.
And you are absolutely right about being in one's shoes to understand. At times one must walk in someone else's moccasins to kind of feel the emotions behind such abuse. I am a survivor of many injuries that has scarred my life forever. I may put it away, I may hide it, but no matter where I end up hiding my abusive past, no matter how many times I try not to think about it, I know that its there. I was in a disturbingly abusive up bringing. Mentally, verbally, physically and sexually abused by many people whom mom neglected to protect me from. I was only eight when it first started and continued on until I was fifteen which is when I stood up for my self. Long story short! Mom was abusive then and she is still abusive as I am her one and only caregiver. I had a choice to either keep her at home with me or place her in a long term care facility. I chose to care for her at home so I can give her the best of her last years of her life. Mom had a very bad life as well growing up as a child and yes it shouldn't impact your life upon raisingyou children. Unfortunately mom allowed many obstacles to get in the way. I handled life differently and was able to move on. I was able to close certain chapters. Again, I never forgot, but I managed not to think about my past. Today I'm 53have 3 grown boys, have 6 grand children whom I love dearly because I chose to be in their lives. Mom was always missing in mine. I had lost her to drinking from a very early age. Today I still get abused by my mom. I know this disease is awfully stressful, debilitating and paralyzing and I know this disease turns her into this person I dont know or do I want to know, but it hurts because that part of the chapter I closed years ago (her abuse) is coming back to surface.
My parents were both abusive. Us girls were called whores before we even knew what the word meant. Hung, strapped, burned, beaten, etc. Very abusive both physically and mentally. I think the only way that I was able to survive it was to compartmentalize it, shove it in the past, but to always know it is there. I don’t forget it, I have never forgiven it, but I live with it. I hear some of my siblings say that the only way to go on with my life is to forgive it. I’m not sure I ever will. It is a part of me. Maybe it is because of this I have become the caring person that I have become.
As my mom’s dementia progressed she kept stating that she couldn’t understand how one of my sisters had run away and was never heard from again. We know she is alive. I say that if that is the only way that my sister could survive living then good for her to get away.
Many of my best, calmest years of my life, were when I didn’t have contact with my siblings and parents.
Since I was the “responsible” one in our family, and the one who appeared to be the most successful in life, it was me whom my parents turned to in their later years to help them with various problems.
When my father became ill I got sucked back in again. Now, I have my mom living in our house with my husband and our two dogs.
For now, she appears to be kind and considerate. There are not many signs of that person who pulled my hair and kicked me, beat me with the belt 40-50 times at a time, or called me every name in the book.
Will she show up again, it’s quite possible. All I know is that while she is a civil person to me and in need of my help, I will take care of her and be kind to her. More than she ever gave us girls.
I don’t think I would have the desire, or feel it appropriate, to post this information on her obituary. I pray it brought comfort to the person who did to her parent. It seems so sad.
I am praying for you..your abuse was severe and so damaging. I was too abused and sometimes I have very little empathy for my afflicted parents..bad dreams are coming back and the abuse keeps going on in my mind..I have never been abusive to my parents but it is so hard to be around them
I always wonder why parents commit such horrible abuse. I have often thought it was due to alcohol or drugs. If not perhaps it was how they were raised however each person is different & even if one were raised with abuse it seems hard to believe they would resort to abuse being of different temperament & personality although they say that these cycles do repeat. I was a victim of physical abuse for 3 years as an adult & the abuser was a member of the family. Even after therapy to slow the physical the verbal abuse & terror & manipulation continued & the family had to split. In my case there was something wrong with the abuser mentally although the rest of the time without physical he was normal, he needed medication & counseling. Like I say even when the physical stopped it didn't really improve the lives of the family members including the kids because the constant terror, control & manipulation continued. Didn't help that the psychiatrist lost her license that was the most helpful. All the psychologists & counselors that came before her were worthless with a case this damaging.

So, drugs, alcohol which were not the problem in my case & emotional or mental health of the abuser sometimes but I still wonder what is the reason. Especially when there are 2 parents doing the abusing. They can't or shouldn't both be suffering from mental illness. They could be from chemicals I guess. I do wonder if these adult children have found it therapeutic at all to think about what was wrong with their parents that made them abuse. Or if anyone has done any kind of stats or studies into why abuse occurs.
I cannot imagine hitting another human. I have enough trouble keeping up with my own daily needs as I grew up needing a school for learning disabled. It also means I am slower to dodge abuse. I am glad I got out of the abusive cycle. It cost me alot in terms of family, acceptance, love, financial security & even 1 of my sons. Out of both sons, only 1 will speak to me, the one I raised the rest of the time as a single mom, I almost didn't get to attend his wedding. Even though we grew a heart to heart bond during those years after the other 2 moved out & loved each other, now he won't speak to me or attend any family events that I will be at because I separated from the abuser. He has sent me verbally abusive emails & been verbally abusive on the phone. Growing up he was the type of people pleaser that would warm your heart, now he has grown up to abuse the very mom that saved him from living in abuse early enuf to try and save him from perpetuating the cycle. I don't think he has ever hit anyone, but I don't know. he prolly doesn't remember the abuse I suffered & he suffered at their hands & hates me for costing him his dad. I figured I would cost myself food, clothing & shelter. I never thought it would cost me the one I loved & wanted to protect the most. My baby who was sometimes hit as well. Now he has turned abusive, at least verbally.
Now his new & beautiful wife will have to pay for it when they have lived long enough together to keep the cycle of verbal abuse & manipulation continuing in his family.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support