My elderly parents are bullies.

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My elderly parents have always been users, demanding, manipulative, sarcastic, and controlling. So, why would I think anything would change now that they are older? One can dream I suppose. However, now that they have limited computer knowledge, their bullying tactics are cyber related. My parents must sit all day and think up ways to push my buttons. They have now resorted to forwarding emails to me about my politics, weight, marriage status and whatever else they can dream up. And then, when face to face, they simply act like they never sent any of those things to me.

My nerves are rattled because of this and they know it. One of the emails said they question my intelligence because of my political views. I am the only daughter in our family of five. I live the closest to them, and I am the one who is called to take them places, fix things, cut grass, clean the house, organize, etc. Recently (within last few months), I have distanced myself from them. Not calling or going to see them as much. I am guessing this is why they are bullying me. I am single with grown children, and I work full-time.

They also call family members and gossip about me. My siblings know exactly how my parents are, so that doesn't bother me so much. But they also call my aunts, uncles, and cousins and their neighbors to discuss my business. I have been told by family members that these are the only parents I have and that I should help them more.....WTH! When I am around their friends or neighbors, I get the cold shoulder, so I know I am being talked about behind my back.

When does this stop? My parents are in their 80's and still sharp.....obviously. And when they have had health issues over the years....strokes, heart disease, eye problems, pneumonia, ER visits, hospitalizations, etc., guess who went to stay with them? Sometimes, around the clock....cooking, cleaning, shopping and you name it. I know it will never stop no matter what I do or how I react. I just needed to vent today. Thanks for listening.

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Beautifulsc - Please take care of yourself first. They will never realise their narcissistic selfishness and they will never say they are sorry. Don't waste your life. I did and it wasn't worth it!
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My parents are now 79 and 84 and they are even worse than when they were younger. My mother has always been a bully since I was in early childhood. It has taken until my 40's to fully realize what drives her--insecurity. She was a child in Europe during World War 2 and the trauma from that molded her. (She moved to North America when she was a young woman). She has always domineered my father who is a passive type and allows it. Because of these dynamics, my brothers and I have suffered and still do. Now she sends e-mails to me that are superficial but frequent just to get attention. She sugarcoats her life and does not tell me negative things that happen in her life (my brothers inform me). I still feel like I don't really know her. It is difficult to deal with because I really have no advocate helping me.
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As A CNA I am seeing more of this in the facilities. Sadly we are their new victims and worse..we are not being protected. Thank you for writing truth. We need to speak more about this growing problem.
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Very helpful advice. Thank you.
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+FedUpNow, for my whole life [now retirement age], abusive behaviors have been very hard to pin on anyone, unless they are blatant, visual, can't ignore.

1st Hurdle: Identifying what's really going on. Too many people in relationships like this, the abused person can't even see what it is, because they grew up with it as "normal", making excuses and reasons for it to exist, and believing desperately, when abusers tell them they'll never do it again.
2nd Hurdle: Talking about it openly--that's still a problem. And Reporting to officials--making a paper trail! Be persistent.
3rd Hurdle: Getting officials and agencies to listen and respond appropriately. Doctors need to properly evaluate and treat; Social workers need to properly evaluate, guide, plan and assist. Be persistent.
4th Hurdle: Learning to set firm, rational, reasonable limits on other's use of you, and your resources....and stick to them~!
And so-on.

Documenting injuries, documenting the daily verbals, has gotten a Little easier, but unless you take physical wounds to the E.R., or at least the Doctor, officials tend to not believe your reports.
If reports are not done within about 24 hrs of the event, tops, police tend to think you're faking it, and don't want to write it up--especially if you exist in an area with high rates of abusive behaviors per population-----they dislike writing reports anyway, and I've seen enough of those to understand there'a a significant error rate......which means, you must return to the station to file an "amended report" within I think, a 72-hr time frame.......if you think police dislike filing the 1st report, wait until you need to file an amended report!!!
Officials, Social Workers, etc., habitually fail to identify that abuse is happening to caregivers.......or do anything about it to constructively help. While I am sure there are some out there who do their tasks right, too many don't., especially in areas with slim resources.
Laws have been passed to protect elders and children from abuse, but Nothing to protect caregivers. There's so much lying, by abusers, to cover their behinds, be they parents or others, it's unreal...even judges cover-up, aid and abet.

BEST PRACTICE:
1. Get counseling that is supportive and helpful--not all are--keep looking if necessary. Tell the counselor you need more and better coping skill tools.
2. Learn to set rational, firm limits on other's use of you--and stick to them!! Setting limits, then changing them, lets the offender know they can keep doing it and get away with it.
3. Keep daily notes/diary/calendar of whatever your abusive person says or does; it's court-evidence, if you need it.
4. Talk about it. Take pictures of injuries for records. If one place refuses to be supportive and take reports, contact others. Online is a huge venue to talk, to ask advice, to find better ways to handle things.

Bullying and abuse can never go away, if so many people keep allowing it to go on. It happens every day, in large and small ways--mostly small ways, because few notice them....from the woman at the desk in City Hall telling a resident she was the only one complaining about the toxic VOC's in the renovation products [causing breathing problems], or a School Principal telling a parent trying to take their child out of a public school where he'd been bullied routinely, daily, for several years, "That's not going to solve the problem" while he reported it as child abuse at home....to police refusing to take reports of elder abusing caregiver, because the caregiver had to wait 3 days to call to make the report [no phone]; or telling parents not to worry--kids picking on kids teaches them to "toughen up".
Bullying is pervasive, insidious, and impossible to enumerate all the subtle, little ways of bullying our society tacitly approves of, often, because some are right on the edge of being OK and helpful behaviors.

But please understand: people tend to treat us the way we show them to treat us, too.
Each of us must Learn what we are doing that helps an abuser keep thinking they can do that......adult abusers usually teach children how to be that way as a small child......learn to identify that in its variety; what it looked like as a child, what it morphed into as one grew up, then, learn to be different, healthier in one's relationships.
It's really an eye-opener!
Keep holding to your Spiritual traditions, keep up with some friends, participate in your community--because that's part of "having a life"....and it can keep you alive and breathing, while you are trying to learn to do better.

Help yourself be the best person you can be, and leave the rest behind.
You can love and respect your parents--- from a safe distance!
Do what you must to achieve your bests self;
Find friends who are supportive and live on a higher level of happiness;
Choose better to be better.
We can be grateful even for the hard lessons, because those clear the way for better, if we allow it.
Love, with much Gratitude.
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My mother is quite a piece of work. Not enough room here...I was born when she was 20 and I look nothing like her. Two strikes against me when dealing with a self centered narcissist! She has said that she 'just never bonded when you were a baby' to me. Ha! It is so hurtful and outrageous beyond words. So. That had to be MY fault and she has punished me all my life (60 this year). A few years ago I organized an 80th birthday cruise for my dad. I have had historically a fairly good relationship with him except for the fact that I learned in counseling 30 years ago that he's as bad as she is - he just keeps his nose clean so he can look like the good guy to everybody and I began to open my eyes then and hold him accountable too. But, life is short, so I thought. We live in a vacation state (Fla) and they began making our home their month long destination when we got here. Each time my mother would go slamming out the door for some reason, mad at me or my dad, he'd take it and want me to as well. I told him he could but I wasn't having it anymore. This went on year after year. They never asked if they could come, just told me when. Outrageous. Repeatedly my dad and I would discuss it; I'd tell him I didn't think 'this year was going to work because Mom just cannot seem to behave and I don't want that in my home". He'd tell me I was 'too sensitive' or that he'd make sure everything went fine. Right. OK, so four years ago, 80th cruise for my dad with my four siblings. I knew my mother would be gearing for a fight. This was not all about her, she had to regain the balance of power. Details not important but she intentionally started a big problem between the two of us regarding my sister (wanted to gossip about her and I told her I wasn't listening to it and it wasn't Christian behavior, which he purports to be). Gunning for the inevitable show down, she hung up on me after screaming at me. Nobody tells her 'no'. Got a call from my dad telling me that 'we have a problem'. She was refusing to go on the trip if I did not abjectly apologize to her. I calmly told him I did nothing wrong, that I was going and they should too. We paid for it, would lose our money if we didn't go. Stuff like that. Two days later he called to find out how to get his luggage tags. They went but the entire week she was Sarah Bernhardt. Wouldn't eat at the table at night if I was there. Wouldn't talk to me. Stroked my one sister's arm in front of me while glaring at me. I had to laugh really, My husband and I paid for this trip and paid for part of their ticket. It was really miserable and I vowed never again. That B___H was willing to ruin 11 other persons' vacations to extract her pound of flesh. All about her. Since that trip I got monthly crazy, nasty letters from her. Some quoting the Bible, some telling me how she told her entire church what a horrible person I am! Finally my husband called both of them and told them to lose our number. Two years ago. Best thing he EVER did. There's more but what's the point? What I am saying is if someone is going to constantly beat on you, get away from it. I am a Christian and I honor my parents - by letting them live their lives and staying away. Nothing good was coming from any contact. It made me crazy and her crazier. No good came of it. If by some one in a million occurrence all my siblings were out of the picture and I had to 'look after' them I would manage their money well and make sure they were safe. That's it. I don't want revenge. I am just done being a punching bag.
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There are many of us out here experiencing very similar treatment. My abuse from Mom ended when my brother passed away 13 weeks ago. He lived with Mom and drained her finances for years leaving me with the mess. Mom is grateful for me finally but the memory issues are stressful. I'm being accused of stealing her misplaced hidden household items daily. I find them in her forbidden office. She stores everything in there and believes an intruder did this to her.
Paranoid & delusional. Atavan calms the manic episodes. Any advice from all of you? I'm selling her house and buying a home inside my lovely active senior community. Hiring fun intelligent caregivers under the guise of private housekeepers & cooks!
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I live by 'do the right thing even if no one else does'. That just means...doing the right thing, not taking crap. Block the emails. You don't have to 'be having that crap'. I don't go for the old forgive and forget. We have memories for a good reason. Separate yourself and be able to look your own self in the mirror each day. That's it.
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Block them. I did. It's great.
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Why would you consider this honesty "spam"? My in-laws lived to be 98 and one is 93 and I am still taking care of them and still being abused because no one else stepped in to do it. And I have been hit. See that picture of my split lip? That is from one of the times I leaned over to help one of them in bed and she clocked me. May all abusive parents rot in hell.
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