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I am currently dealing with a very complex situation. I have a parent who is suffering from Alzheimers. The Alzheimers is getting very bad.
However what makes things more complex is that I have never had a good relationship with my family. I had a psychologically and physically abusive childhood. My parent with Alzheimer's and my step parent have never been a source of support in my life. My other parent died when I was young. I believe I have psychological issues as a result of my life growing up. Life is difficult for me. I have been extremely independent for a long time also.


Since leaving the family home I have not had much to do with my parent or step parent. Asides from the occasional meeting for a dinner or lunch two or three times a year. This has been in the nature of formality rather than an engaged experience. I have always remained distant from my family.


Now that my parent is getting bad there are increasing calls upon me to help. This parent has to be supervised at all times due to safety risks and cannot be left alone even for 30 seconds. I have spent around 8 lots of 4/5 hour sessions with the parent in the last couple of months since they got worse. There is increasing pressure upon me to assist and spend more time, supervising, entertaining, helping to toilet, feeding etc.


Now I am concerned about finances. The parent needs to go into care. There is some govt support but its all very complex. There is a fair amount of risk there might be insufficient support to cover it. I am concerned that I will be subjected to pressure to help fund it.


I am also very angry that the parent and step parent have been to blame to be in the financial and health state they are in. They have been reckless with spending for the last 25 years. Holidays, boats, dinners, drinks, parties, excessive travel, cars, non stop. And it still continues now. They have also been unhealthy and the parent undertook all the lifestyle risks for contributing to alzheimers: smoking, drinking, rich diet, no rigorous mental stimulation, no exercise.


I have very little in the way of time to offer. I work two jobs, 6 days a week 50/55 hours a week. I have some money but not a great deal. I don't have enough to afford to buy a home as a live in an extremely expensive part of the world. I live in an extremely frugal manner to try save enough for a deposit.


I am concerned about what little I have being threatened by my parent's situation and the pressure placed upon me after how I have been treated.


I am not sure where things sit with this. I am annoyed by advice from most people who have had a supportive family not have a dysfunctional and abusive childhood and family life like I had so they cant work it out. I feel like my family has caused issues for me and created psychological problems for me rather than been a source of support at any time.


It also difficult as despite all this I still place myself in the shoes of the parent and the anxiety they probable feel and want to help try and ease that.


So I am interested in thoughts as to what might be appropriate level of support I could provide or maybe none at all. I am especially interested to hear from adult children of abusive parents without much resources in a similar situation and what you have done.


In an ideal world what I want is to maybe visit once every three weeks for a couple of hours while there are staff who can take responsibility for feeding and safety etc while I just show them photos or something and also that all the care is covered but that I don't pay for a cent of it.
Thanks

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You will find a lot of people from dysfunctional families. And for what ever reason, they have ended up being the caregiver. Or, they are in your shoes and want no part of it. I am sure you will get a lot of responses.

Since u don't seem to live in the US not sure what kind of resources are available to your parent. Or the laws in reference to what your legal responsibility is towards him.
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Anyonymous1 Jan 12, 2020
Thanks Jo Ann. I think that there are some resources available. But they also have some assets but they are all tied up and inefficiently managed and there is very little liquidity or cashflow at present. It might be best if I just let the wheels fall off and then they might be bound to sell off to raise money. But them I am worried that the step parent has control of the assets and might just refuse to contribute them leaving my parent unable to claim govt care but unable to get his care paid for. But maybe this will never happen, I don't know. Its all very legally, emotionally and relationally complex.

Yes I am interested to hear from people from abusive parents who have faced these issues and how they dealt with them. I hope there are some who can share experiences.
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Hi! Where is the pressure coming from? From your parent, step-parent, or other people ‘in the family’? In some US states there is legislation about ‘filial’ obligation. You need to check if there is something like that locally, and if it would apply to you in view of your difficult upbringing and your parent’s financial behaviour. If there is nothing like this applying to you, then you can choose what to do. ‘No’ is a complete answer. You have no responsibility to step in and make up for the fact that they have taken no responsibility for their own future. If you are going to put yourself in other people’s shoes, there is no limit to the things you can feel sorry about. I had a very difficult father, and there is absolutely no way I would have taken this on, either financially or as a time commitment.

Who else is there who could take on planning for what needs to happen? Is there someone in the family, for instance someone who is putting pressure on you? You are correct in saying that it is very complex. Your parents could hire someone to do it – other posters can suggest how to go about it. It might be a good way to spend their money now.

Perhaps the best thing to do is to make a firm decision about what you are prepared to do. While you are doing 5 hour care sessions, it is quite likely that other people will think that you can continue to do as much or more in the future. Setting ‘boundaries’ is really important. I suggest you don’t talk about the 3-weekly entertainment option – it is not a helpful thing to offer your parent or other family members, and just keeps the confusion going about where you stand. Don’t start on FOG (Fear Obligation and Guilt), or let other people drop it on you. Make a decision and stick to it!

Best wishes, Margaret
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Anyonymous1 Jan 12, 2020
Thanks very much Margaret. I am pretty sure that there are no legal obligations upon me where I am. But thanks for raising it, I could have another look.
Pressure has been getting place upon me by other relatives. Once from an extended relative. I caved in based on blood ties but then later was very angry thinking how dare they, I have had next to nothing to do with them in my life and they have no status in it. So I am going to need to be a bit more territorial about my resources towards others in the future. A couple of times from the step parent.
Another has been from a sibling. Actually the only one in my family who has ever been supportive of me. So this is a bit trickier. As I don't really want them ending up shouldering it all. But I guess it also is their choice. This is also the person taking the most lead in trying to organise things.

To be honest I don't want to spend a cent on the situation. So I am going to have to really firmly stand my ground on that issue. I could maybe be a little bit more flexible with time, but again I just don't have a lot of resource to throw at this time or money and feel bitter about it, because of the past. Fair point about emphasising empathy too much. A lot of people have a lot of problems. If the shoe was on the other foot my parent and step parent would never have been visiting me so much or paying for my care.
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My mother was emotionally and physically abusive towards me (we haven't spoken in years) I've told all family I will NOT take care of my mom if she ever needs care.

I feel no guilt.

J
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I was severely abused as a child and I had 8 glorious years of peace before Adult Protective Services contacted me to help. They called the first time in late May or early June; at the time, I told them that her behaviors seemed normal to her and that I was not available. In July they called again, and hubby & I decided to find out more.

I was afraid she would shoot me, so hubby drove her home while I worked with the attorney on emergency guardianship. We put her into a memory care here immediately, even while we worked with her problems. I found I could not visit or take her to the doc alone. She still has would slap & spit at me, but if hubby were there, she was fine. I moved my visits to monthly with the good advice of some of the ladies on this forum who heard what this torture did to me.

Your step father has choices, and he knows it. So what if he hoards the money and keeps it from mom's care? She picked him and then stayed with him even as she knew him more and more. You have no obligation to work or pay for mom.

If anyone asks you about why aren't you serving mama, you can always say, "As a survivor of her childhood abuse, it's best if I'm not in any hands on care for her. Thank you for your concern." The statement is true and makes the inquirer wish they hadn't asked.
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Anyonymous1 Jan 13, 2020
Thank you. Sorry to hear about your own back ground. Your right my parent chose my step parent so I guess that has been their chose to decide where to place their trust.
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I don’t think you have any obligation to them. I have that kind of relationship with my father who was an abusive father. He’s now 96 and we just put him in a nursing home. He begs us to go home but I really don’t have any feelings toward him. He was lucky that I got him into a VA hone that is very nice. So that’s all I’m doing.
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Anyonymous1 Jan 13, 2020
Thanks Kashi. Did you fund the care home or was it paid from his assets or the govt?
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Just read thru the thread.... i think you know exactly what to do. Run the other way as fast as you can. In your situation, you dont owe them anything or any explanation, just say NO!!
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Following your comments about a ‘good’ sibling, could you offer support to him/her in researching Medicaid, Medicare, Assisted Living, Nursing Homes and/or Memory Care? Yes it is complex and a pain in the butt, but it gets you out of contact with your parent and could be a real support to your sibling. You don’t want to alienate the one person who has been OK for you, but this is another case of empathy control to something you can cope with. It might be a very good idea to steer things in the direction of a facility, not personal in-home care. I hope that all the comments are helping you to get a handle on things. Yours, Margaret
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Anyonymous1 Jan 13, 2020
Thanks Margaret. Yes actually I have been doing a lot of researching in the background and discussing matters with the good sibling. I think that we are kind of on the same page now actually.
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Please could someone else on the Forum provide the reference to the book (and any other material) about Boundaries, and also the title of the function for organising and supervising care? I can’t remember the details, in spite of the number of times I have read them.
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DollyMe Jan 13, 2020
Codependent No More by Melody Bettie. With a religious undertone there is Boundaries by Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Amazon has a host of books on Boundaries.
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Do NOT work yourself to the bone to protect the good sibling's inheritance.  Tell anyone who asks that the parents will have to sell their assets and go into assisted living, but you cannot make them do so.   Call Adult Protective Services in the county they live in, and they will appoint a guardian if needed, who can make this happen.
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My mother was an abusive manipulative drunk, and she hates women to boot. I spent most of my adult life trying to make peace, a total waste of time. I have not spoken to her for 8 years and never will again.

To make a long story short, she had to be placed in AL, my brother was the go between, I worked behind the scene found a home for her, packed up her furniture and waited for the movers. We will go back in March, clean out her house and put it up for sale. She lived in NC we in Fl, she is now in Fl.

So, my conscious is clear, I have done what I am willing to, and no more, she is safe, she is in a lovely facility and she loves it!

My boundaries are cast in stone, I will not waiver. It was me or her, I chose me.

Good Luck!
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Shell38314 Jan 13, 2020
Good for you Dolly. There are times in life were we just need to pick ourselves over other people!😊
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I had an emotionally and physically abusive childhood. One parent chose a new spouse (after divorcing my other parent), and their new children they had together, over me. I became the scapegoat, but the problem was I half-rejected and half-believed the narrative. One of my new half-sibs became the golden child. I tried for 40 years to have a good relationship with parent and step parent, to no avail.

The thing is, the abuse continued into adulthood. I was physically hurt and had very serious physical conditions in my childhood which parent and step parent ignored, and which I didn't even get properly diagnosed until my adulthood. When I was a very young adult and was hit by a car as a pedestrian, I called my parent crying and asking for help, and the parent changed the subject, and quickly hung up. I began to hide my health problems from them, relying only on myself or my closest friends. At 40, after one final abusive phone call from the parent, I decided to go no contact. It has been years, and I have felt free and happy--well, freer and happier--since that decision.

All this to say that even if I were still in limited contact with the parent and step parent, I would never lift a finger to help them. They had the chance to have a good relationship with me when I was totally dependent upon them as a child. They failed that test. I would never put myself in the position of helping them. A dynamic of scapegoating will only be exacerbated once a parent's health turns in their elderly years. It's a terrible thing, trying to help someone who brings up such heartache. It engenders actual physical pain to be in the abusers' presence. It's not just, 'oh, they make me stressed out'. It's physical, emotional and mental torture to think about them or talk with them, or read an email from them. Heck, I still have a visceral reaction when I see their name.

I had PTSD for decades, and I didn't even know it until so late in my life.

The golden child texted me a few years ago saying that parent had some heart issues and was in the ER. I composed many, many responses in my mind to that text, but in the end did not answer it. I am still in limited contact with the golden child, who is otherwise a nice enough person, although with their own issues.

I hope this has been of help to you. It seems strange sharing this intimate story online.
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Anyonymous1 Jan 13, 2020
Sorry to hear about your experience but thanks for sharing it. Your situation of the accident as a young adult is the sort of situation I have worried about happening that if something happened to me they would never have helped. Luckily I haven't had to test that.
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I really am sorry that you are in this nightmare.

My mother was a mean, physically and verbally drunk who abused me when I was little. It makes me sick to think back on how she could treat her own kid that way. I was so little...

Anyways, you DO NOT owe your parent Anything! DON'T you Dare use YOUR MONEY to pay for their care!!

You only do what you are willing to do and if you decide to do nothing then do nothing. You have all rights to walk away if that is what is best for you. Because I live with my mother I can tell you that all the old painful memories will come back like a flood that can drown you. If I knew then what I know now I would have walked away yrs ago!

Your parent made his or her bed and he/she can lay in it. You don't owe them anything! You are worth being love and you deserve to have peace and joy.


Some parents do not deserve the respect or love from their kids!


Hugs!!
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Anyonymous1 Jan 13, 2020
Thanks for your thoughts Shell :)
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I got the impression that OP does not live in the US.

 "I don't have enough to afford to buy a home as a live in an extremely expensive part of the world."
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Anyonymous1 Jan 13, 2020
There are expensive parts of USA. But I don't really want to say either way as I am wanting to maintain as much anonymity as possible.
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You are not responsible for helping in any way.

Step parent is responsible for their spouse.

My dad went and married a whore that alienated him from his entire family, when he became ill, she left. He called on me. I helped him get better by making sure that he was receiving the best care possible. I could not have him in my home, nor could I feel much because of his choices. I had already grieved the loss of my dad and I wasn't willing to go through the games again.

This truly isn't your problem, when people start putting pressure on you, you can tell them it is none of their business, period. Do 9nky what you feel able to do, but don't give up your security so they don't have to live in a facility that they don't want to or be where they don't want to be, this is what they planned for. You are not responsible to suffer the consequences of their bad choices.
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Tracy27 Jan 14, 2020
"You are not responsible to suffer the consequences of their bad choices." This resonates with me; thank you for the reminder. We help our elders however our lives allow for us to do so, but the truth is that we need to both do the morally and ethically right thing but also protect ourselves, lest their seemingly deliberate failure to account for their own end-of-life needs become an ongoing midlife crisis for us.
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I have one standing rule when it comes to these things. If you should wake up next week or next year, and be given news that this parent has died — are YOU comfortable and without regret regarding what you gave or did for that parent?

In situations like this where it’s not about some super-perfect parent/person who showed you nothing but love for all of your life — that is all I go by because all that matters to me is how *I* feel, since I’m the one who has to live with what I did or didn’t do for that person.

Some of us with parent issues can tell you to cut ties easily. Some of us with good relationships with parents can say, “They’re still your parents...” and suggest you do more. Also, how you deal with the events of your childhood is different than how I may have dealt with it with my personality, right?

You're the one who will go on living after this parent is long gone. All that matters is you making sure you will feel no regret. This isn’t about whether this parent (you don’t indicate mom or dad, or even a pronoun so I can guess!) was a good parent to you or not, as much as you doing what YOU feel is enough as the child of said parent. That is entirely subjective.

Good luck.
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Anyonymous1 Jan 13, 2020
Thanks very much. This is good advice. I am probably focussing too much on the opinions of other people who don't know what I have been through and are quick to judge and place pressure upon me. What does matter is what I dp. To be honest with myself I don't think I will regret not to much other than a visit for a couple of hours every so often, once a month or something.
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One thing that I want to clarify, your parent and stepparent are responsible to pay the bill for the care required.

Once all their assets are depleted according to the rules then they can get assistance, but that should never come from you or your siblings. You all have your retirement to plan for.
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Anyonymous1 Jan 13, 2020
Thanks. Yes this is true. Step parent is wanting to avoid liquidating the assets to keep on living an expensive lifestyle and trying to get the children to pay the costs because there is no liquidity. But ultimately they will be forced to liquidate if they cant come up with the money themselves
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Today is a difficult day. Had another discussion and lots of time and financial pressure was put on by others. And it all seems to be about self interest of step parent. I resisted it. There is a rift. I am feeling huge anxiety and depression about this whole situation now. I need to batten down the hatches and look after myself I think, It might mean that I cut off all communication at some point if it gets too much,
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Isthisrealyreal Jan 13, 2020
Do what you need to protect yourself.

Of course it will escalate, be prepared. That's how some people get their way. They make it easier to do what they want then to deal with their uglies.

You can do this!! Hugs!
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Please "put your foot down" and set some boundaries. You are not responsible for your elderly parents - and especially if they were not good parents. Just because somebody is a biological relative does NOT mean that we need to "like them" or help care for them.
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Walk away. Also what country are you residing. I am in Australia where there is a lot of help.
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I think there are are just two issues here.
1. Take the diffiicult childhood and dysfunctuonal family out of the equation, and what do you have remaining? Someone whose physical and mental health, not to mention their safety, would be best served in an aged care facility, and the memory care unit at that. It really is that simple! If everyone is finding the going tough now, think of how it will be when your parent is in advanced stage of Alzheimers. The wear on carers is enormous, it really does take a toll on health, it wears them down to a point that they can become ill themselves through all the stress. Are you ready for that?
As far as putting yourself in your parents place regarding anxiety and so forth, that is a fools errand. Here is a tip. Dementia is not pretty. The more advanced it becomes the worse the behaviour becomes. There will be non compliance with everything from medications, to eating, to personal hygiene. There is verbal abuse, there can be physical threats and acts of violence. No amount of hand holding, soothing music, conversations over photo albums will soothe the patient. There will be no Come to Jesus moment when the parent recognises they were abusive and ask your understanding. There will be no conversation, no logic, no explanations. Are you ready for that?
2. You dont need your family to guilt you into helping, either physically or financially. You are doing a good job of that to yourself. Sounds like you still carry all the baggage from the childhood abuse, a big part of which is guilt. What happened to you was not your fault. If you had no therapy as an adult it might be a good idea if you book in for a few sessions. You sound emotionally fragile with all this unresolved guilt and anger over something you could not control. I have a friend in a similar position who had therapy more than 30 years after she left home. She says she wished it had been offered to her much earlier, she may have found confidence and contentment earlier than her mid life.
By the way, it is not your responsibility to fund your parents care, nor contribute financially in any other area. The family should sell all the parents assets to fund care in a facility. After that is exhausted, let the government pay. You have your own retirement to fund so keep your financial matters private from the family. If the family refuses to sell everything then it is up to them to make other arrangements. If they are refusing because your parent would not want this to happen then they are just being ridiculous considering the advancing dementia. The time will come when the parent will forget what a home is, let alone where it was or what it looked like. That is the reality.
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Anyonymous1 Jan 14, 2020
Thanks Shezza. Yes you are right. I did go to therapy at one stage and it was helpful. We didn't get to the root of my problems before I stopped going though which did all relate to my childhood and lack of any family support. It has messed with me psychologically I know. I have to go back to work through it at some stage.
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Responding to your (Anonymous1) answer.....Dont just think about it, do it, NOW. You are going to need the strength to get through what is a difficult situation without the baggage of your difficult past.
Meanwhile, keep working, keep saving, it sounds like you are alone (independent) and are the only one going to be looking out for your financial security. Do not overstretch the assistance you are giving in the care of your parent.
Normally I would advocate pitching in and helping family where frail aged people are concerned, because siblings often dont share the load fairly, we read that in this forum regularly. But where dementia is involved, and carers are not in good physical or mental health themselves to cope with the horrible disease from the outset AND there are only excuses, not genuine reasons, for accessing memory care units, a different approach is essential.
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Anyonymous1 Jan 15, 2020
Thanks Shezza. Yes I do need therapy. The cost is so high though. Maybe I could find a way to prioritise it for a while. Yes I am on my own. I think I am perpetually single due to being f**cked in the head over my childhood and family stuff. So independent. So selfish. So risk averse. So loss averse. No ability to trust or be vulnerable. Being unable to rely on anyone or be interdependent with anyone. Being unable to receive support or help. So scared of losing anything due to never having had any familial safety net or support network. I do need to look after my own financial and physical health as I do not think I have, or have ever had, anyone to look after me if anything goes pear shaped for me. Except maybe the one sibling who has been supportive to be honest. This is not a good time for me to be dealing with this stuff. I am 37, mid-career, and trying to find some financial security. I have neither time nor money to donate. It seems like these things tend to happen to people later in life like 50s or so when they are more established and might have more finances and time to donate. I think I have bad genes in my family. People get sick and die substantially younger than the norm.
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My abuser was not a parent. However, I can relate to your concerns about how other people will see you, potential guilt or second guessing your actions, self doubt, sadness, anxiousness....on and on....All I want you to know is that your father is lucky to have you in his life at all. He’s even more blessed that you are a good person and obviously are concerned for his wellbeing. There is no shame in setting the boundaries that you weren’t able to set as a child. Protect yourself. You can pour from a cup that isn’t overflowing - be it time, money, love, or water. Be honest about what you have to offer...and be specific, and don’t let them ask for more. For example, “I would love to come for an hour on Tuesday mornings and help you get laundry caught up. What Tuesday should we start?” Or “I can be there the third Saturday morning and we can play bingo. What month should we start?” Or whatever would contribute but not put you in a bind.
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Although Would not say I was abused by my parents it was not until I had a mental breakdown and my closest friend got me into a facility did I realise that they had greatly contributed to my problems. Counselling helped me so much. It made me realise that I thought as myself as not important and therefore allowed myself to be manipulated by my parents. I now stand up for myself. I have always been a good daughter but the difference now is I put myself first. I still help my ailing mother but not to my detriment. (My father died 5 years ago and if I am honest I do not miss him). As you say your parent/step parent treated you badly. You owe them nothing. Who is putting you under pressure? Do not listen to what anyone else says they have not lived in your shoes. Don’t let anyone guilt trip you.
Look after yourself, ignore everyone else and go with what you feel
good luck, and best wishes
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Anyonymous1 Jan 15, 2020
Thanks Carolanne. I am glad that therapy helped you through it. :)
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Actions have consequences, it sounds like your step/parent made some pretty poor life choices, and are now facing the consequences of them. Do not let them take you down with them. Do not visit any more than you want to. Do not visit at all if it is upsetting. If you've given them a single dollar for their care, that is one dollar too much. They deserve and are entitled to nothing from you. Continue living your life, which sounds quite successful. Leave them to rot in the pit of misery they've dug for themselves.
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cherokeegrrl54 Jan 15, 2020
Agree 100%%
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You don't owe them anything. See a therapist so you can make healthy choices for you, and so you have some strategies for dealing with the other folks who are pressuring you to help.
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You cannot pour from an empty cup.

Jesus heals, prayer is good, so is therapy.

I’ll be praying for you (and I don’t mean that in the snarky way some people use it 🤣)

You obviously have a good heart because you care ❤️ A truly messed up person wouldn’t ask this kind of question on a platform like this looking for advice and support, so don’t be too hard on yourself 😉
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Anyonymous1 Jan 16, 2020
Thanks Jdr. This is a brilliant analogy and demonstrates my situation. I am not quite an empty cup but I am very low, not much in the way of money, time or emotional desire for this stuff.
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You can get cheap or free therapy if you live in a reasonably-sized city and contact the Dept of Public Health. Ask what's available for people with low incomes. Talk to a therapist, then refuse to contribute to your parents' financial upkeep. You have nothing to feel guilty about.
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ArtMom58 Jan 16, 2020
While I agree that some organizations can assist, most don't know the intricacies of Medicaid. And it sounds like Medicaid will be needed for these folks. Happy long weekend!
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I understand the difficulty of being in this situation. Are you legally the Power of Attorney? If you have not been legally (via a will or court order) appointed POA, then you have no legal requirement to assist with anyone's situation. If you are POA and you want out of that responsibility, then you can request that change legally through an Elder Law Attorney or the courts. Also, someone will likely have to the your parent(s) Representative Payee with the IRS, if you don't want that responsibility, then do not take it on. Period. My point is, don't step in if you do not want the responsibility. There are a few states, not many, that I have read place financial responsibility of elder care on the children if bills cannot be made, so I would check that out as well.

If any money has been exchanged/given to you by them or from their accounts, that will be considered a "gift" by Medicaid and a penalty period for that amount of money in relation to the cost of care will be imposed.

My advice is to visit with an Elder Care Attorney/Medicaid Attorney so you understand your situation. This way, you have your answers. Make sure that this attorney understands Medicaid procedures and rules, not all Elder Care Attorneys do.

I hope this helps.
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Anyonymous1 Jan 16, 2020
Thanks Artmom. No I am not the POA thank goodness. Step parent is. So I guess my step parent has all the responsibilities to look after my parent's care. Although I should understand this better so I should probably get legal advice. God another should. Psychotherapy and lawyers, all gets so expensive. I think psychotherapy is the first priority as that's for me. The lawyers debateable as to whether this is for me, more for abusive parent's wellbeing that I get on top of that
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I agree with other answers that you need to start by getting support for yourself. If ever there was a time for a good, caring therapist, this is it.
You and your therapist can work together to figure out the best course of action and also how to help you manage and deal with some very complex emotions based on your family history.
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The word on the street with regard to this situation is as little hands-on care as possible.

We are only human and care-giving pushes us to the limit on all fronts. So, your patience can wear thin, down to the abuse you suffered. Don't put yourself or the elder in a potentially dangerous situation.

I agree with everyone about therapy. Help from a safe distance and get help for yourself.

Good luck!
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Anyonymous1 Jan 16, 2020
Thanks Salisbury :)
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