Mom (86) abusing Dad (91).

Started by

My mother is, and always has been, verbally and emotionally abusive. She has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and narcissism and has been the cause of extreme distress all of my life leading to many years of counseling. Presently, mom is 86 yrs old and is in good physical condition, dad is 91 and suffers with heart disease, diabetes, dementia and alzheimer's. Mom and dad live in their own home and mom is, supposedly, dad's caregiver but, in reality, she is not fit to care for anyone and is abusing my father. Recently dad told me he would divorce her if it were at all possible at his age and with good reason. He is physically very fragile yet requires what I consider minimal care at this stage of his life. His basic needs consists of 3 meals a day, blood sugar monitoring and medication which is supposed to be administered morning, noon and night and that's the extent of it, however, way too much for a resentful, selfish old woman who says she doesn't have the personality to 'deal with' my father after 66 years of marriage. Dad has been a dedicated and faithful husband, an excellent provider and a loving father but, apparently, he no longer serves a purpose in her life and she has no problem stating that she wants him gone and thus lies the problem. I am all too aware that she neglects my father's needs and is verbally abusive. Sadly, Dad has been in crises several times over the last year and they have, each time, exposed neglect on my mother's part. She simply stops giving him his medication and doesn't attend to his basic needs as described above. My brother and I cannot bear to go to their house because we are afraid of what we'll find. Several months ago dad spent days on end asleep in his bed. This was an unusual development so I checked his meds and found that over 40 pain pills were missing. When I asked my mother, who administers his medications, what happened to them she said she didn't know and claimed that somebody stole them, accusing me at one point. Shortly thereafter I noticed my father was experiencing a diabetic induced stupor and it was, again, after checking his meds that I found out my mother had simply stopped giving him his diabetes medication because she couldn't be bothered to check his blood sugar 3x a day. Besides being stuporous, dad lost 10 pounds he couldn't afford to lose, lost his sense of taste and appetite, was extremely dehydrated, had trouble walking, fell down on numerous occasions and was experiencing pain and numbness. As you can imagine, my brother and I are not only sad but horrified, angry and at a loss as to what to do. Although we have tried to intervene on my dad's behalf we dare to confront my mother as we know we will be met with verbal abuse, temper tantrums and lies followed by acts of passive aggression aimed at my father, my brother and myself. I would like to walk away from both of them at this point as my nerves can't take much more but my conscious won't let me. My question therefore is this. How do I expose and circumvent my mother due to the fact that she, his caregiver, is abusing my father? She puts on a good act in front of the doctors and is agreeable to everything they say regarding my dad's care but does not follow through with their advice once she gets my dad home where no one can see what she is actually doing to, I believe, expedite his demise. The situation has me anxious and tied in knots. Any advice at this point would be greatly appreciated.


Would your dad agree to go to Assisted Living?
Know that I had to separate my parents after 65 yrs of marriage.
My dad's dementia created paranoia and he was physical with her. I think he also had undiagnosed mental health issues.
My mom was grateful, yet very leery of him after that.
Traumatizing to the max for all of us, yet it was for the best.
He was moved to assisted living/memory care. She ended moving 6 months later to the same facility, yet on a different floor, so she could see him more often, yet be safe, too.
Do you have the money for that or are you on Medicaid?
Either way, I would move him immediately. Perhaps to your house or your brother's on a temporary basis until something is found?
It sounds horrible and scary for him.
You require to reveal her behavior to EPS (elder protective services) or a social worker (perhaps through the doctor's office) in your state.
Believe me, I thought they would not listen to me, yet they did. They knew I was being objective and just wanted what was best for my parents.
Your mom may have dementia, too. My dad was very good at fooling everyone, yet at home, it all came out....and I intervened. Please do that. They need you and your brother to be the adult right now.....
Thank you very much BarbBrooklyn and Sativaa for your responses. Didn't know about elder protective services and wonder what would befall me if I did report my mother as I suspect she would retaliate against me. Any ideas of how to place my dad in assisted living if he doesn't want to go?
Did he already say no? Go out somewhere and have a heart-to-heart about what you are noticing about your mom...
You could also become the guardian of both your parents...before doing anything....I was close to doing that, yet because everyone became aware of dad's behavior, he didn't have a choice about moving. He went from hospital to AL/MC without going home. He couldn't drive and can't walk, so...
I am going to talk to dad today about assisted living but my hopes are not high that he will be amenable. I have thought of becoming my dad's guardian or having medical power of attorney but have not yet investigated those options.
It's hard to tell, with mom's prior mental health issues, if she now suffers with dementia but I'm leaning towards believing it.
Maybe talk to an elder law lawyer, and EPS (for general information) or a social worker before doing anything....
They are different things one can your research, and figure out the best course of action....

Know this is just a chapter of your's not forever, yet it's just now....

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