I'm the sole caregiver for my 82 yo mother and have recently remembered childhood abuse. What do I do?


I have, in the past, felt my mother's brother was responsible and now realize that my mother was aware of this abuse and did nothing. I have zero feelings toward my mother but she is still there and still needs care... what do i do?

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((((((ohioskinner))))))) I have read what a psychologist, Pauline Boss, has written about this. She believes that children who were abused by their parents/family should not do hands-on care giving. She believes in being humane and seeing that they get the right kind of care - by someone else - and staying at arm's length, She stresses that you should do yourself no further harm. Caregiving is very stressful even under good circumstances. Your mother's needs will increase in time. to where she will not be able to live independently. It would be a good idea to look into the resources available in your area. She will likely need and ALF or NH eventually. Does she qualify for Medicaid? Your local Agency for Aging and Social Service departments are good places to start. Explain to them your situation and make a care plan for your mother.. I honestly think that you could find caring for her hands-on would be very stressful for you, with the history you have. The effects of childhood abuse go deep. Have you ever had any counselling for it? Number one for caregivers - look after yourself. Please let us know what you decide. ((((((((hugs))))) Joan
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My mother was very abusive, to put it mildly. My childhood memories are the worst memories of my life, to date. Even so, I cared for my mom for 2 years, treating her as I'd want to be treated. Result: Medical issues so severe, my doctor told me to either forgo care giving, or wind up losing my life. My mother, her cruelty, abuse and neglect took a toll on me in ways I never imagined. I'd like to care for my mom again but my doctor has told me to be very careful, since my health deteriorated rapidly while caring for my mother.

It's funny, because while she was in my care, I didn't think about what kind of mother she'd been. I was way too busy caring for her. That said, I wondered if I was in troubled waters, when I opened my eyes from a nap and found her leaning over me with a knife. I brushed that behavior off, blaming it on her dementia. She started defecating and urinating in bed, and whenever she did this I'd clean her up, and while doing so, she'd say awful things to me. Was it all dementia, or was it just how she really felt about me? I don't know. But when I visited her at my siblings home, after she'd turned 87, I said to her, "I hope I live to see my 87th birthday. You look wonderful, mom." She looked up at me and said. "You won't live that long."

I tried to pass it over, convince myself it was her dementia talking, yet it sounded just like the mother I knew growing up.

All I can say is meditate, try to think realistically. Think about how much you can do and want to do based on your past with your mom. If you decide you can handle it, care for her, do so. If your health suffers greatly, find a way to get major respite. If your physical and mental health deteriorate to the point where your life and well being are seriously threatened, you may have to consider finding other ways of caring for your mom. You are in my thoughts.
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Yes i agree that these things were NOT talked about then and swept under the carpet. I cant imagine how you feel now but if you can forgive her and take care of her now without anger or hurt then you are a very strong person. Years ago I would never have forgiven my dad for the physical and emotional abuse he put us through BUT today after alot of therapy and understanding AND for my own sanity I learned that I could let the anger eat me up and have a miserable life OR forgive do what I can and move on to eventually find peace. forgiving a parent for me was peace we cant stay angry forever lifes too short. IF my dad were to end up on his own now with this illness would I look after him after all hes done to me YES.
Its strange just now there is a programme on now about forgiveness that im just about to watch!! but what i have learned is that forgiving someone is not letting them away with something its for US to eventually find peace. Im not religious BUT since my mum got ill ive been on a very long lonely journey about MY LIFE and how thier deaths will eventually effect me how they both hurt us and how ive learned to move on and hopefully find peace in my life.

Sorry to go on but ive been here as im sure we all have, it really is about forgiveness but do what is best for you! forgiveness freed me from alot of anger I didnt want to be angry forever I wanted peace let go of the past and move on to better things and you will you deserve it!
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I too am sorry for your pain, I empathize with you. Your question is a blessing to me. I too am in a similar situation, as far as the abuse goes, compiled with the fact that she is not nice now either. After much research I found a website thenarcissistinyourlife. What I have found is there are more of us than we think, and it was the mothers that did this, and also that were aware of abuse and did nothing. Things weren't talked about like they are now; everything was a dirty little secret. I am in the process of getting a support group together that is how much I have seen it. I had an epiphany that this was what I am supposed to, (this was amazing all by itself). So because of the Narcissism I had to look into Narcissism & Dementia. It seems that even though they are losing their memory that in the back of the mind they know the damage they did, and are worried that now that they are in a weakened state that we are going to take advantage of the situation. What I too find funny, (not haha funny) that her golden children as my sister and I call them, the ones that didnt suffer like my sister and I are the ones off living their lives. They aren't with here on a daily basis. Yet they sure are the ones that yell the loudest as to what should be done.
Because my mother continues to tell everyone lies, and gives my sister and I no positive feedback what so ever, only lies, we have non family members even calling us questioning us on what we are doing with our mother. Now mind you my sister isn't getting paid a nickle, and this is her only job. My mother refuses to sign the papers that would pay my sister for caring for our mother. We cant' even eat at our mothers, and outsiders are even questioning us.
I agree with one post in answer to your question that if you feel like you are going to hurt her, step away, this is not good. But for me, I have thought about all the things she did, at the end of the session, I felt so much pure hatred for her, for all she did, for literally screwing up my life, and by causing the issues that I still have to carry. But then I let all that bad go. Now I know I can't not be the sole provider, I am the res pet person. I give my sister the breaks she needs. Emotionally I couldn't do it, it was just to difficult. But I can do it a few days a week. I look at her so sad now. So sad that she had to get old like this. She who was so worried about men in her life. She who thrives on praises of her looks. While paying no attention to the person she is, she doesn't even know who that is. Sorry for the years that she missed out on who I really am, or the children that I brought in to this world and raised with love and encouragement that I never had. I had a blank canvas to parent with. I surely didn't have what she did to follow, if anything, if I just did the opposite things had to be improved.
So for you and your sanity Forgive Her. I am sure something happened in her life to cause this, but I have to say it is not our job to fix it. We are only responsible for ourselves and not passing the abuse on to our children.
I hope this makes sense, writer I am not, I just wear my heart on my sleeve and truly want to help those of us that have suffered abuse. May God Bless you,
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Are there any siblings that could do their part, or are you an only child? You now know she did nothing to stop your uncle's abuse. Do you know if he abused her also? Is it possible she was afraid to stand up to him for herself or even to defend you? I am in no way condoning her lack of action on your behalf, but back in the day, women were often under the thumb of their husbands or male family members and were powerless due to fear. Will you ever know the true story?

All that aside, considering your lack of affection for your Mother, you still obviously feel some responsibility for her. If you don't, you could just put her in a Nursing Home, Assisted Living, or maybe an old folks residential facility where her basic needs would be met.

Assuming she is currently in independent living, if her fridge is stocked with prepared meals that she can warm up, if she can fix her own breakfast/lunch, wash and dress, self-toilet/clean herself, if she has plenty of clean laundry and can dress herself, if you have a dosage tray for her meds and she can reliably watch the clock and take her meds at the right time, if you or she can keep her apt neat and clean, if she is steady on her feet, and has no serious vision or hearing or memory issues, THEN you could probably leave her on her own for a day or two at most, and then go in to check on her and see to all her basic needs noted above. You could also keep in touch by phone several times a day. It's still a ton of work - even not living there - unless you hire out some of the chores you can't or do not want to do yourself.

Have you had her to the Doctor for a full physical work-up? If there are any medical issues where she might need some care at home, the doctor could write a script for a home health-care evaluation to start you on the right track. You could also call in Social Services to do a needs evaluation and review of available services and programs.
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Hugs to you, Ohioskinner. In a word, your first obligation is to take care of YOU. If you feel compelled to care for Mom, then do so if it doesn't harm you - but if you feel this newly remembered information makes it harmful to you, then do what you must do legally but keep your well being in mind. I hope you are involved in therapy which can help you deal with the myriad mixed emotions of abuse. It will also help you know what to do about Mom. You may need to contact your local Council on Aging (or similar organization) to find out how to get your Mom into a facility or qualified for home care - but believe me - you do not have to provide care yourself! I am very close to my Mom - have always been close - an there are days when I cannot deal with caring for her. It is such an emotional roller coaster and if I was not close to her emotionally, I would not be able to live with her and give any kind of care.

I think you'll find support and better answers here than mine, but I just want you to know that each journey is different and it is not necessary to provide hands-on care to your mother for you to be doing your best. Find whatever she can afford and avoid anything that causes you to relive past abuse or create new traumas.
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Im so sorry for your pain, i know how hard it is and in my opinion put your mum in a care home, i know it sounds harsh but she didn't protect and care for you while those terrible things were happening to you so why should you do that for her. good luck to you xxx
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