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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.

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Looking after my elderly mother has been an eye-opening experience and has helped me see that her meanness toward me never actually has been about ME as much as about HER.

These days I'm amused to watch her with others who see a sweet little old lady. Until they cross her.

So now I understand that her nastiness toward me as a child and on into adulthood is the logical result of the fact that I stick up for myself and get in her face when she behaves inappropriately. And since I've had that type of personality since birth (Aries), it makes sense that my life became miserable when I was three years old and we left my godfather's home when Dad got out of the Navy, followed shortly by the birth of my sweet, passive little sister. My life as an Italian-American princess was over.

What a pain in the you-know-what I must have been to my 20-something mother. She is the spoiled youngest of seven children and never really grew up herself. (This is not her second childhood; she's still in her first.) I'm almost to the point where I can laugh about it.

Of course it wasn’t funny back then because my survival depended on her. And I have to acknowledge that she did meet my needs for shelter, food and basic care. But while there were extras for my two younger sisters, when I wanted something it never was possible for one excuse or another.

Dad was a sweetie and on the other hand he left me to her un-tender mercies. Only in extreme cases did he stand up to her. Otherwise I was the only one. So when I left at 18 to go to college and then work in another city, they closed ranks behind me and everyone tippy-toed around to avoid setting her off. As a result, she became more of a tyrant and for many years disrespected Dad in front of other people.

Since Dad died 10 years ago I’ve stayed with Mom. There were some skirmishes at first until she realized I couldn’t be pushed around. To her credit she has more or less adapted. Most of the time we live in harmony, mainly because I’ve learned to sidestep the arguments she loves to start. She still has temper tantrums, especially now that dementia has set in. And she uses sneaky ways to get even for real or imagined offenses. But the Seroquel and Aricept help.

Based on my experience, in general I would advise abuse victims to turn over to others the care of bad parents if at all possible. Or, if you can protect yourself emotionally and physically, there’s much to be gained from taking a close and objective look at someone’s behavior and contemplating how that impacted a little kid (you).

Even with conscious loving detachment, this process can be unpleasant. I’m in touch with my love for Mom and my gratitude for her having brought me into the world. But I don’t always like her much.

I’ve found, though, that this experience has helped me heal old wounds and let go of grudges. And some days I already can laugh at how seriously I took all the nonsense, before I finally became a big girl.

Blessings to everyone on this path.
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I like frustrated2's idea: write a factual obituary but ask for donations to an abuse-related charity instead of flowers. There are many people who do not know the abusive mom--they only know the cheerful, helpful, church choir friend they had for years. Everyone has some good somewhere (although sometimes it's hard to see from your position as abused child) so let the people who experienced that cherish it. You'll make yourself look mean and petty by writing a nasty obituary, and there's no good reason to upset the nice people who knew the good side of her.
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I could never understand why my parents were so abusive to us when we were children. I’m one of 10 children, 5 boys and 5 girls. The girls got the worst of it. The boys, except for one, were treated with respect and care. They were always catered to and taken places with my father. My father touched my two older sisters but never did any of that with me, possibly because I look like my mother. He was very abusive to us. It was pretty bad.
My mother was the most abusive. Later on I found out that was how her grandmother had treated her when she was forced to live with her as a young teenager. It doesn’t excuse her behavior. It was horrible. I never wore short sleeves or long pants because I was afraid the welts would show and someone would notice. As a teenager I did rebel. I ran away often. I even turned them in to the authorities. Several of my friends parents wanted to adopt me to get me out of the house. But, my parents would have nothing of it and I ended up marrying my first husband at an early age, having my beautiful son, and divorcing young.
I ended up remarrying in my late 20’s and have not repeated the cycle with my son. I am proud of that. He is a successful person and loves his daughter and family.
When I was a child I always looked at my family from the outside looking in. I often wonder if that child stayed back there and that was how I survived. All I know is that I did. I’ve experienced some major issues as an adult too but I think developing my tough skin and bottom at an early age helped with that.
When people look at my mother they see this sweet old lady who has trouble walking. I don’t know what I see when I look at her. I care about her because she is my mother. I will take care of her for as long as I can, or when she gets Medicaid qualified, whichever comes first.
Did I cry when my father passed away. NO.
Will I cry when my mother passes away. Possibly. That may be because I am spending this time with a different woman than the one that I grew up with.
My mother raised my niece and nephew, because she confiscated them and chased my youngest sister away. She treated them a little nicer but was still abusive, both verbally and physically.
My mother WAS raising a 9 year old great grandchild before we removed her from her home. She treated her a little better. Last year I saw my mother try to stab one of the great grandchildren (brother to the little girl) with a pencil when he made her mad. My niece was willing to let my mother watch these children for weeks on end so that she could go out and party. My niece was extremely upset when we told her she had to raise her own daughter and we were taking my mom out of the house. I honestly believe we did those children a major favor but my niece believes were evil and took away the only things my mom cared about.
Sad all around.
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I grew up in an abusive house. Kicked, slapped, belted. Head bounced off the table and scissors taken to my hair, hung upside down by my ankles and beat across the back, etc... I'll never forget when I found out neighbor kids could hear us crying and screaming, I was embarrassed, it never entered my mind (as a child) of why didn't your parents call someone to help us? I think of this often now. I guess I thought all parents were the same and that's just how it was. I remember showering in PE and keeping my back away from everyone so they wouldn't see the welts from being hit with the belt, shortly after that I found out no one really cared, when I went to school with a black eye I couldn't hide. He is much now like a previous comment made here, sometimes a completely different person, other times very much the same person. Now he plays this game says stuff like "I've been covering for you, no one knows what you're really like". Even though he's tried to be physically abusive and has tried to hit me in the head with his cane, he's more trying to be emotionally abusive now, so I say well Dad, let's hear it, and then nothing from him of course. I've worked very hard in my life to be the parent I never had, and to walk a higher road than my parents did, and I have, thus the reason I take care of him, because I'm a better person, he knows it and he hates it, he hates it as much as the fact he needs my help. Life is full or ironies. I never would have thought forty years ago that I would be taking care of this man.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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