A question to caregivers.

Started by

I know this is specific to caregivers, but what I am about to ask is more understood this way I apologize if this offends it's not meant to be that way. My sister and I are caring for my grandmother, but she's played favorites for years and I am the one she picks on. I told her is she aware of how unfair it is for me to not have a break from taking care of her and she said these two things which made me see she could careless about my burning out "You'll have a break when I am dead" and "If you want to live longer you'll be nice to me". Now she's always been a verbally abrasive an abusive person, but since my grandfather and mother have passed away she's gotten way nastier to people because it's not because she's old when she does not get her way she is verbally abusive to others and even more she'll use religious rhetoric to guilt trip and manipulate. My grandmother is also physically abusive and was this way when I was growing up and now that I am an adult she's tried to stab me and even punching me and hitting me with her cane. I still remember getting hit so hard with one of my grandfathers belts leaving painful welts on my legs that sometimes bled. Now that I am in my early 40s I get people who say I should overlook the abuse and attribute it to her being old when the abuse has been happening for years since I was a child and has gotten worse since I was older. My grandmother actually told me to forget about having children and getting married since nobody wants to marry an old maid. How do you go about maintaining your sanity listening to this kind of nonsense. I also noticed that in the community people turn a blind eye to abuse and mistreatment especially if it's seniors who are the abusers and people just sweep it under the rug saying they're just old when age has nothing to do with abusing people because you're a selfish and self centered jerk. People don't take me seriously when I say I am burning out and to them I am just a lazy, and no good person when I go to work as a caregiver and I have been cursed out and called racial slurs and then I have to come home to the same mess too. Some people have no idea as to how this job can take its toll on you mentally, physically, and financially.

13 Comments

So sorry that you are going through this yes in our community we believe in honoring our parents and elders. But you do not have to take the abuse!!! You should look into some adult daycare for her!!! Being a caregiver myself I know how easy it is get burned out! And when she speak mean and nasty to you tell her that you don't have to care for her but you choose to because you love her!
Your statement "How do you go about maintaining your sanity listening to this kind of nonsense" is indicative of an ingrained approach.

First, it isn't nonsense. It's abuse, and the physical abuse is grounds for criminal charges. Second, you can't maintain your sanity and most certainly not your self respect in this situation. You need to get out of it.

You plan a life for yourself, you take action, leave and don't look back. If you have any legal obligation such as proxy pursuant to a DPOA/POA or Living Will, relinquish those responsibilities in writing and move on.

You must be in your 40's or so? You've had enough poor and abusive treatment.

If you need support and encouragement, find a group for battered women.

What are your skills? What have you done when you were working? If you need refresher courses, or need to pursue a different career, speak with financial aid reps at local community colleges to see if you can get tuition support or grants.

I haven't been in this situation, so it's easy for me to tell you to move on. It's much harder when you've grown up with abuse, and may even believe it's a normal way of life. It's not.

That's one of the reasons it would help to find support through a battered women's group, so you learn to recognize that your grandmother is abusive and isn't going to change, and that you need to remove yourself from the situation.
You don't have to take care of her. You believe you have to, but you don't. If you decide to continue taking care of her, you can and should set boundaries. Tell her that you will do what she's asking when she asks nicely. Walk away when she becomes nasty and tell her you'll return when she apologizes. She thinks she has the power here but she's dead wrong. You have it. You have the power to determine whether you will take care of her or not, and if so, exactly what you will and will not do. You may need to make that clear to her to end the abuse.

You are looking to her for empathy and understanding, but you're not getting it. Don't count on ever getting it. Decide for yourself what you're willing to do and not do, what you're willing to accept or not, and carry on accordingly.

And don't, I mean don't, give up your chances at happiness for someone who treats you so poorly and who shows so little appreciation. If you do, you'll regret it for the rest of your life.
I agree with everyone who answered. Your situation is out of control, and by remaining in this situation, you are putting yourself in physical danger. Since you are the one who gets picked on and threatened, and abused, you are the one who needs to leave. Go as far away as possible. If you're out of the will, so be it. You cannot help this situation and to remain in it is punishing yourself. Get up your courage and say good-bye. Easier said than done, I understand. But your life depends on it.
How can I put it?

I know.

Your grandmother is really horrible to you. Why not leave her care in the hands of her favoured granddaughter, your sister, and go your own way? You owe nothing to a person who has been consistently abusive to you lifelong. And be sure of this: as long as you stay within range, you will continue to be her target. Step away.
As others have said, step away from your caregiving role, but continue to be there for your sister, as soon, the tides may change and she will begin to abuse her! It sounds as if your Grandmother has Narcissistic tendencies as well as being physically abusive, as she is attempting to control you by using F.O.G, Fear, Obligation and Guilt! Just a break from her will not solve your problems in the long haul, you need to have a very frank conversation with your sister, and tell her why you need to step away from GM! She may need additional help from others, but she may also be feeling the exact same way. Perhaps you both need to step away, if only to save your sisterly relationship, which to me, is more important! But maybe that's just me, as I Love and need my sisters!
The attitude and physical demeanor of a long time victim of abuse is readily apparent, imo, especially to abusers who seek you out as their victim.
Without therapy and help, you may leave the abusive circumstances and jump into any relationship that has all the signs and red flags of another abuser who has found you.

On your way out to see your therapist, and leave forever, stand up straight, wash your face, put on a confident smile, and slam the door shut behind you.

If your day job is as an abused caregiver, get another career, even if you have to flip hamburgers.

You can do it, and leave any guilt behind. As for your sister, save yourself first, clue her in and maybe save a room or couch for her in your new place.

Now, shoulders back, head held high, no regrets-you did not fail.
Listen to Garden Artist, the voice of calm reasoning.
Yake
Get out,,take care of you. No one deserves abuse.

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