I'm already dealing with anxiety and depression.

"You shouldn't set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm".

Therapist Pauline Boss states that you should NEVER care for a person who has been your abuser in the past.

Arrange to leave as soon as possible.
Helpful Answer (22)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn

You don’t. You have the choice not to do it. Inform parent that they must make other plans. If they have no plan, that isn’t your problem.

We don’t have to destroy ourselves to take care of those who tried to destroy us.
Helpful Answer (21)
Reply to Fawnby
TeethGrinder65 Jun 1, 2023
Perfect answer, Fawnby. Faithfulbeauty, you owe that parent nothing. You owe it to yourself to step back.
I would not care for a parent who had been abusive to me.

I was luckily raised by wonderful parents, and it IS a matter of luck.

I do not consider blood to be thicker than water. My genetics were a happy accident. We are born to either more or less capable parents.
Once grown we are responsible to make the best life we can for ourselves and those we love and care for, for those we bring into this world.
Our obligation is to our family moving forward, and to ourselves, not to those who failed in our care.

Just how I roll. My choice. My own humble opinion.
We each must make our own, recognizing that it IS our choice, and we are responsible for making it.
Helpful Answer (19)
Reply to AlvaDeer

No one should ever be expected to care for their abuser, whether the abuse was 50 years ago or yesterday. If he was nasty a neighbour that had no children would you feel obligated to jump in whenever he has an issue? He has not earned the right to your care and attention, call the ambulance if it's an emergency and let them deal with it, or if it's not that urgent he can wait until your schedule permits you to help (but only if you choose to).
And maybe don't tell him when you have plans, then he won't be able to sabotage them
Helpful Answer (18)
Reply to cwillie

Best answer - for all concerned - is that you don't.

You said yourself that you are already dealing with anxiety and depression.

Abuse, any kind of abuse, leaves a mark. Maybe not a physical one - but it doesn't have to be physical to leave scars.

No one should be in the position of caring for their abuser. For a number of reasons.

1. Whether you have processed and healed - or not - you are throwing yourself right back into the lion's den. Into an unhealthy environment where you are regularly exposed to your abuser.

2. Your now dependent on YOU. In very rare cases, that can make them thankful. But that almost never happens. The more likely scenario is that it makes them resentful and angry - and they take that out on YOU. They feel indebted to you, and that is unsettling, so they have to turn it on you and make it about you being in their debt and owing them care - just for being born.

3. Even if you happen to feel healthy and like you have moved on (and it sounds like you may not from your post) you are still very prone to have all of those old feelings dredged up from spending so much time with your parent. That is bound to make you feel like you did when the emotional abuse was occurring. And take you right back to that time.

4. The emotional abuse could start again.

5. You are not dealing with your parent as a child now. You are now an adult - fully grown - with all of the physical power and responsibility that comes with that. And you are now dealing with - not another equal adult - but a vulnerable elderly one - one that is generally only slightly less protected than small children and the disabled - so you are in the power position now- and any sense that YOU are wielding that power in any way - wrong - will be observed by many - in the way that your parent's emotional abuse of you as a child SHOULD have been.

Why is #5 important? Because it would be very easy for your parent to back you into a corner, provoke you and push you too far - and bring back all of that old pain - and you have to always be in control of yourself. YOU have to always be one step ahead of your parent and you cannot under any circumstances ever let them get to you to the point that you cannot reign it in.

I have watched my DH and SIL deal with my FIL's continued abuse now for years. Only the physical abuse stopped. I have had to reign myself in at times. He is a terrible man. But he is still a vulnerable old man in the eyes of the world. And he can play the part very well. Our children have not been allowed around him in years. But we have had a support system and we have had a goal. To get him into a care facility. And we finally succeeded. It's only slightly more peaceful - but at least we aren't around him as much.

From my perspective. You should never have to care for your abuser. It's not good for anyone concerned.
Helpful Answer (18)
Reply to BlueEyedGirl94
faithfulbeauty May 23, 2023
Thank you for your response. The responses here have been so helpful. You are correct.. I wake up every morning thinking about how I was treated as a child. It is often hard to get my day started because of this and having to be the caregiver makes it harder. I do not mind helping out but I'm broken in so many ways because of the mistreatment. It has affected so many life decisions in a negative way. My daughter will not really have anything to do with him because of how he has acted with her as well over the years. He honestly wants me to give up anything I like, love or need to do and spend all day, everyday with him. This is not fair. I would not want that for my daughter when I'm older.. I want her to have a life.
As an only child, life for me was not the “spoiled child”, as some think is the norm.
I definitely came from the “children are seen and not heard” generation, as I’m sure some of you have.
my dad worked three jobs, which was unfortunate, since he gave me so much love when we were together.
Mom worked from 1pm to 5pm. I walked home from school.
I still recall the neglect that was unrealized by me as a very young child.
As early as I can remember, from 4 years old, I wasn’t bathed regularly, hair washed etc. I dressed myself, was required to clean my own room or was spanked…or I would now call that beaten.
Dad left early each morning to work, came home, got ready for the 2nd job and then back to get ready for the 3rd.
Mom left dinner in the fridge for me to get ready for dad.
She went from her job to visit with her lady friends and family.
I was alone. At six years old, I’ve had a teacher send a note home to tell my mom to be sure to give me a bath regularly.
When she was home she was uncaring, nervous and verbally abusive.
Her friends loved her though.
Through the years as I walked home from school to an empty house, I was taunted by bullies with no one to cry to. She only cared about herself and her girlfriends!
I was never taught about womanly things as I entered my teens.
I know this sounds like a pity party, but abuse comes in many forms!
Now I am the sole caregiver for mom. After doing this while she was home for the past 16 years since Dad passed, She is now in a skilled nursing home due to severe diabetes and dementia.
I feel it’s my duty to visit, when I’m off work, take her out, bring her shoes, sugar free treats, clothing essentials, and to show her love and care.
I do limit my visits to when I can.
Everyone there says “we all love your mom! She’s the sweetest!”.
They have no idea what my life was like and I don’t share that.
My advice. Don’t do what makes you shudder and suffer.
we all have a story. Mine is just telling the tip of the iceberg.
Keep your sanity.
Helpful Answer (18)
Reply to Lostmysparkle
AspenQ Jun 1, 2023
I needed that, thanks.
See 4 more replies
You just don't. A once abused child should NEVER have to take on the care of the one who abused them. Period.
There are plenty of other options out there for their care, so let their care fall on someone else, and you continue to get yourself healthy.
Helpful Answer (17)
Reply to funkygrandma59

I spent the last seven years caring for my narcissistic, antisocial mother, who moved near us when my husband retired, having decided that we were going to be responsible for her life - without any discussion. We didn't realise this at first, and by the time we did we were in too deep to get out easily. The strain on our marriage and on my mental health was quite heavy - I ended up in counselling and on anti-anxiety medication. But we still didn't feel able to stop caring (partly because we didn't want to look bad to family and outsiders, I admit), though we changed the ways we did it and became less hands-on. I would never blame anyone who did stop, though, if they felt bad enough.

It took me a long time to accept that my needs were as valid as my mother's - I'm not sure I ever did fully, because 60 years of scapegoat training is hard to undo. My mum died a few months ago and people have commented on how 'lifted' I look. I hope you don't have to wait that long.
Helpful Answer (17)
Reply to helenb63
BartleyLove Jun 2, 2023
This resonates with me so much. My mother is also an antisocial narcissist. I have been caring for her for the past year and a half since her cancer diagnosis. She has stage 4 lung cancer that spread to her spine and brain. A surgery to remove the spinal tumor left her disabled from the waist down. She is unable to walk, wipe, etc. on her own. I feel obligated to care for her. My sister completely cut her off shortly after her diagnosis so I have been alone caring for her now without a break. I have so many feelings about this. I also feel bad not about what others will think but about if I abandon her the same way she did us as kids. My mother has trained me to care for her my entire life, I am terrified to do any different even though I feel like this is stripping me of everything. Growing up my mom was an alcoholic. We lived in hotels and motels for some time then apartments and finally she bought a house. She used to take us to bars and around her alcoholic and drug addicted friends. I was constantly terrified and I never felt safe, I still experience that lack of safety often. I am in therapy and truly doing my best but I am struggling more than I ever have before. All I want is for this woman to love me and care about me but she never will. She is angry that she has cancer and is disabled and anytime I am remotely happy she tries to tear me down and take it from me. It is extremely hard to escape this type of abuse, it's possible just very hard. I am constantly worried about doing "the right thing". I came on here hoping I could connect with other people who have been through this or are going through it and we could support each other. It would be nice to talk to people who understand this type of abuse.

Stop taking time off to cater to his demands.

Stop doing his laundry.

Stop showing up: call Adult Protective Services and report hil as a vulnerable senior.

He is NOT your responsibility.
Helpful Answer (15)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn
JaniceM May 23, 2023
That is such good advice! I looked it up where I live and it states "if you believe that an elder or dependent adult is self neglecting due to diminished mental capacity or physical limitations. You do not have to give us your name or other personal information for us to investigate the allegations."
My mother-in-law is 95 and won't move to assisted living. Her daughter has POA but my husband (her son) and I live closest to her. Daughter gets frustrated and stays away for months. She's fallen twice this year and is sliding toward dementia. If she gets bad enough we can do this. Thank you!
Exposing your daughter to an abusive grandfather she "will not really have anything to do with because of how he has acted with her over the years" and a depressed anxious mother is doing HER an enormous disservice in favor of caring for HIM. You owe him nothing and her everything.
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to lealonnie1
faithfulbeauty May 23, 2023
She lives in another state. He asked many times why she will not communicate with him and I finally told him that the reason is because of the way he talks to her and the negativity. He told me that he is not going to change so I no longer encourage her to communicate with him. She is definitely my priority . She does not know about my depression and anxiety because I do not want her to worry about me.
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