fan4gator Asked February 2011

Why do elderly parents sometimes abuse their adult children?

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cmagnum Oct 2015
On the other hand, those with a borderline personality disorder are great at creating masks to lure you or hoover you in.They tend to only abuse those directly close to them in the old "I hate you, don't leave me" dynamic. There are different levels of it and some are rather high functioning, but all of them can verbally abuse, get into white/black thinking/, split people and reverse people in categories of all bad or all good, and get triggered into an irrational rage like a flash of light and then return into a sulky sweetness without remembering the rage at all. It appears that personality disorders are more a problem of the mind than just physically a problem of the physical brain although some meds do help with some of their issues which they seldom want to face or deal with in the hard work of therapy both private and group like DBT, dialectical behavioral therapy.
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One more thing. An abusive person has an unhealthy value system. If parents are only abusive with a caregiver but act sweet as pie with their friends, neighbors, and other family members, then that person is not mentally ill but rather just an abuser. A mentally ill person has an unhealthy brain. Mentally ill people do not know how to put on a fake mask to save face and will abuse people without discriminating. If you are the only one being abused then your relationship with that person is unhealthy.
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No where in Fan's post does it suggest her parents are demented. According to the Aging, Demographics, and Memory Study dementia prevalence increases with age from 5.0% of those aged 71–79 years to 37.4% of those aged 90 and older. There are other reasons besides dementia that old people are abusive. Old people are not angelic little bundles of joy. Those are called babies. Elderly parents abuse their children because their children let them. I agree with JessieBelle that we caregivers hold the walkaway card. If you don't like being abused then walkaway, cool off, come back, and try again. Keep doing that and the abuse will either stop in which case you've taught your parent that you have healthy boundaries, or it won't in which case you need to ask yourself what is really going on and what you can do about it. Sometimes we can't do anything for a parent besides get them professional help. I wish you lots of luck!
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JessieBelle Oct 2015
You are bringing up some of the key issues in dealing with abuse from our elder parents. They hold some cards that can trump almost anything we do. First, they have the Age card, which brings with it sympathy from us and the outside world. Second, they have the Parent card, which allows them to always see us as willful children who need to be told what to do. It also gives a feeling that we should respect them and do what they want us to do. Third, they hold the Sick card. How could we not do what a sick person wants us to do? Last, they hold the Not-their-fault card due to dementia or other ailment.

We hold one very important card, though -- the walkaway card. We don't have to stay and listen to it. I wish we didn't have to go through it, but it comes with dealing with an elderly parent who is so full of rage. I wish they would find a magic pill that would take away all the anger that is hurled at the caregiver. We are often the only ones there (another card for them?) and we don't deserve to be mistreated. We are super special people.
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loveyouhun Oct 2015
I'm currently seeing a counselor at Chrysalis. I feel more should be done to end this abuse. I'm getting tired and depress how she treat me.
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loveyouhun Oct 2015
My Mom emotionally, mentally, and verbal abuse me. She is sick and dying so I don't want her to go to jail. But she tell me what I should and shouldn't wear, going in cycle about the same things. Also she used to call me name now she doesn't. I was wondering if there is a law that fall under this abuse and what can I do?
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angle37 Oct 2014
PARENTS ABLUSE ON THERE OLDER CHILDREN,
I am standing up for my self this week . I have helped my family over 16.000 buying a place for my father to stay next door , when I stood up for my self he was going for a gun I think. They were spose to stay here and help pay for half of the bills . They have left me with a 420.00 light bill and a 400.00 water bill , When I asked my brother for gas money he say I am broke after spending all that weekend. I was abused as a child. Praying that my dad would change after what is left of his life. His heart is is not well heart fraction rate of percent . and his lungs keep fillng up with fluid . my heart hurts threw everything I have been threw I been homeless as a teenager , I could not take the abuse any more . I did get out on my own , had no car at graduation ,parents took ever money I made when age I started able to work as a teen so never able to save for a car . I did buy a car for 400 00 cash , at the time . I also was age of 19 looked for love in all the wrong places wanted to be accepted . I became a mom at age of 20s. Once again the man I thought I was I n love with didn't really care for me abused me hit me while I was pregnate with my oldest daughter . I think I would of been better for my parents to give me up for another family to love me , Maybe I would have such a tough road as a kid and teenager . Reason I say this why is cause I got a scholarship for to go to college and was not able to go . I had to get out of a bad home life . a lot of times is there a god and Jesus that is really here , I asked a pastor other day came on way home crying my eyes out never really got a straight answer . only thing he told me that they sinned , why would god
allow us to be hurt like this ? I was born in this world didn't asked to be not like this , to be emotional abuse as a grown up by my dad and as a kid , if there is any pastor or someone that can answer this question ?
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rovana Nov 2012
Beatndone - how about calling the cops - assault is assault and around people like your mother you need to protect yourself by getting your word in first. You must be a saint to keep hanging in there. I did a "divorce" from my mother - never saw her after my Dad's funeral and when I heard she died some years later, I sat there..could not believe it would ever happen, that I would outlive her.
I guess you are a nice quy, but me, I think I would tip off code enforcement, the health department, and on and on. Had to do this in a similar type of situation, and you know, I got to enjoying it, but then they deserved it big time. Just protect yourself from her false accusations.
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beatndone Nov 2012
BINGO, JessieBelle. I have to deal with that,too. I use to help out with there place a lot and one second, "You just don't know how much this helps me and your dad out" and in the very same day be called a worthless bastard. During the last go around, the courts issued a no contact order for three years, and that was fine with me, but it wasn't anymore than a month before my mom was trying to contact me through my daughter. My mother thinks that breaking the law is okay just as long as she has approved it. I'll admit that I have had drug and alcohol problems, and certainly don't want anymore trouble with that. Even knowing this, when my mom is in a good mood and wants to show how much she cares, she will make up the little care packages of stuff, problem being is that she includes prescription medicine like ibuprohen, prilosec, and after telling her that I can't have hat stuff with me if my name isn't on the bottle, she sends it constantly. I'm a full time RV 'er and use their address for mail, and she constantly opens my mail for me, she has my whole life, it's just normal to expect her to open my mail. Now that I really don't care about it anymore and just come to expect it, she has stopped for the first time in 50 years. What is funny is that she just tears one side of the envelope flap open. Why she does this is beyond me but my hypothesis is that she always used the excuse that she thought it was her mail, so now she rips one side open as if "Well I thought it was my mail but then saw it was yours and didn't open it," or as just a reminder she can open my mail anytime she wants. The same dysfunctional behavior happens with email. Both my brother and myself have asked her repeatedly not to forward chain letters to our email accounts that has her whole email contact list attached and even explained why with the spam thing and all. This doesn't stop her. I've had to change email addresses on a regular basis because I would go from a clean address with no spam to 100+ a day and the only people I've used that address for is my girlfriend and daughter. I've told her that she needs to do something about her hoarding because it's only a matter of time before they get nailed by code enforcement and then forced to do something, I think that will send her over the edge. For now and while she is caught up in her world, she believes she is perfect and I often hear it.
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JessieBelle Nov 2012
Something I've often thought, but haven't said -- Narcissism is a big topic on this group. I believe it is because parents who expect their children to give up their lives to take care of them have a narcissistic streak. Personally I could not ask someone to leave their families and tend to me when there are so many options. If a child offers, it is one thing. If the parents use FOG to pressure a child, it is narcissism.
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