My mother hurt a child. How do I cope?

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In addition to being neglected and traumatized by my mother through my early years at home, I witnessed her violently shaking children in her daycare, to the extreme point their heads would roll when she was finished, before she threw them back in the crib. This memory came to me last month. So disturbing to remember this 55 years later.

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And it wasn’t reported then, although after a few weeks both young parents arrived rather pensive to discuss something w/my mom. I heard her say surprisingly that she didn’t see that anything was wrong the baby. She later told me she used to do the same to me. This memory came to me last month. So disturbing to remember this 55 years later. Decided to talk with someone on a counseling hot line and they indicated the baby abuse had to be reported. I remade up a name as I saw no point since my mother is now 86. She has signs of dementia on top of BPD. Lately she’s become more venomous in her behavior toward me. How do I cope with knowing this woman’s unreported history of violence against children and increasing verbal assaults. I’m her rep. Payer for her state benefits and pay her bills and rent with it. The state declared her unable to manage her benefits and assigned the responsibility to me 12 years ago. I’ve kept a safe distance and only see her when someone else can be present to reduce the chance of her targeting me. Made a mistake and spoke with her on the phone and now she’s using elder abuse against me. I haven’t mentioned the baby shaking and wonder what would happen if I had actually given the counselor my mothers information? Would they investigate after all these years? Would it help in any way?
I’ll add that I live in CA and have asked the state how I can be removed as my mothers representative payer. Both times I was told that she has to come in person to make the request. I’ve explained this to her and she has threatened to do this but never has followed through. I really want out of this situation and asked her twice, yet she finds an excuse not to deal with it. What can I do in the state of California?
You can still be POA without having to interact with your mother, in fact it is recommended that children who suffered abuse do not become hands on caregivers for their abusers. Why don't you visit The Caregiver & Dysfunctional Families: How are you doing? to get some advice from some very wise regulars.
Top Answer
In my state, there is NO statute of limitations on child abuse---and I have seen people come back 20, 30 years after an "incident" and brought charges. Not to scare you, and since your mom has dementia, I doubt it would "do" much.

Do you know the name of this child? He/She could have been seriously impaired and has lived a life that was limited due to your mother's abuse. Not trying to stir the pot, just wondering. Don't you?

Shaken Baby Syndrome is really a fairly "new" concept, back when I was a young mom, we were taught to lay the baby down safely and walk away until we had control. This wasn't being spoken of 55 years ago.

YOU should NOT be caring for your mother. My mother was semi-abusive to some of us kids, and one of my sibs, whom she verbally abused is now her caregiver. It's not healthy at all. (BTW, you are experiencing PTSD---are you getting help for that? People tend to pooh-pooh any kind of "abuse" by parents as being "discipline" but it can and often does cross a line.) Let your memories guide you.
So yes, I was abused as a child by my now demented mother. She brutally tortured animals even after I left. The most important question: What is the best hope of resolution if you report? Your mthr won't be punished, as she won't know what her punishment is about. There is not a name for the child, so the family would not have closure. Personal liability for any injury would be impossible to pay by a person with limited funds.  Yet you will feel guilty.

My choice is to have faith that God above will work it out and see that the proper punishments and rewards are meeted out in the afterlife. If the afterlife is only human memory, then the evil that she perpetrated will mar her memory as long as it remains. I have faith that it will be handled by God.

In the mean time, I am having as little contact as possible. I visit quarterly. That still leaves me sad afterward. I will not send her cards or toys with dogs on them since that was her target.

It was suggested to me that we use a state appointed guardian and remove me from her care entirely. This is done by contacting Adult Protective Services and telling them about the abuse you witnessed and experienced, and telling them that you are no longer able to have anything to do with this person who disgusts you. This has nothing to do with SSI and the state guardian will handle that.

Stop torturing yourself with the memories and cut off contact with your mom. You need a talk therapist to learn how to deal with these thoughts, and they will file a child abuse report that will go nowhere. You don't have to do that so you won't feel guilty. Give yourself a new start! If you feel you need a mother/mommy, listen to Dr. Laura on the internet - she was the daughter of an evil woman herself, and lots of listeners feel she is their true nurturing mommy person. Family is who you make it, not the accident of genetics. Bless you!!
You can resign as Rep Payee for the benefits paid by the State of California.

Please tell your therapist what you know and your concerns. Don't keep these concerns to yourself. So sorry that this happened to you, and you are still suffering.
Yes, talk to therapist and run the payee thing by her. Asca Professional she can help u with the state. Mom may have to have a state guardian but this will work in ur favor if she ever needs to be in a NH facility. The state will get her in one bf u can. But, not sure if u will be allowed any contact.
How old were you when u saw this abuse? Like mentioned 55 years ago baby shaking syndrome was not r not recognized. I doubt if there was any "reporting" concerning any kind of abuse. We as a people were blind to this kind of stuff. And people experiencing it didn't talk about it. I really don't think you could have done anything back then, th laws were just not in place. Also, you would have had to deal with Moms abuse. I am assuming you r in your 60s so would have been young. I was 13 and was not mature enough to handle something like that. You r looking at this from an adult view not a childs.
In CA, guardianship is called conservatorship and is run throught the Probate office. The Public Guardian is the SFO public agency that has a great informative website. Conservators handle placement and funding and since they are for the public benefit, get faster service than normal people.
Thank you for all the helpful support. I know the names of the abused children, including the 9 month old baby. I’ve done basic research, but stopped for my sake. Whether I Would/could make contact with one of them is another question? I will write the state agency my reason to withdraw. Thought about sending a courtesy copy to my mother too, but don’t feel it’s worth my effort. If I’m asked again, I will reveal her identity and let whatever happens evolve. I don’t want to protect this individual based upon my recent memory of what I saw, I Don’t think anything will come from it. In either case, she’s already living her own hell since My 59 confronted her 86 with her child neglect and abuse, pandering me to male adults at the age of 12, turning away from the physical abuse by her subsequent husbands after she left my father. Her own family of origin was reckless. Wartime survivor. She never recovered and my being the only daughter between two brothers, I was expected to take care of younger brother, her bouts of depression which meant days in bed, or breaking up the violent altercation she constantly initiated with me, or the men in her life at the time. I ran away from home a few times to escape her violence and chaos. My peaceful home experience was part time with my father I told her it was his sanctuary that kept me from her chaos. She has grown more resentful and has a maligned outlook that he manipulated me to turn against her. Poor woman doesn’t realize it’s far from the truth. He paid child support and always moved within vicinity of the children because he was worried about us, but never a negative word about her, as he knew any upset would cause her to act out in one form or another, isolation, punishment, intimidation and yet she did not refrain from vitriolic characterizations of him. The only time I received a word from him about her, besides asking how she was doing, was a few months before he died when I was 30. It came while he and I were having lunch at a restaurant together. He said that “your mother “needs help as she is missing god”. I knew what he meant. Fast forward to my 47 years and I relocated her from a decrepit living situation, got her back in the healthcare system, state benefits, resolved her loan debts to loan sharks and removed her from hoarding 20+ cats among urine and card board boxes. She inserted herself into moving into my fathers home shortly after he died, praising her rent free property with the productive garden with fruits and vegetables and flowers. She let a male friend join her, while my older brother and I tried to upgrade the house. She eventually ran the place to the ground, not letting us time or access to do anything other than providing sand bags. The health Dept finally red tagged the house and she was abruptly relocated. I will always be to blame for one thing or another as far as she is concerned in her mind. The woman is without parental modeling, a war survivor, and with that unable to hold a job longer than 6 months. I was her dysfunctional caregiver then, and now. I managed to escalate her wait process to get her PT in-home support from the county services. She pays nothing and has everything she needs, and apt with a million dollar view w/hud rent. I arranged all her state benefits, pension and services. Trying to be respectful of a senior’s need for independence all the while, making concessions for her demands and unfiltered commentary. It’s never enough for her and that why I’ve already placed distance between her and myself, at the cost of my relationship with her triangulating and backbiting with my now deceased younger brother and his wife, spreading her resentment. I’m certain I’ve inherited traits from my mother. I realize today that I am experiencing PTSD from this recent memory and damn, after years of therapy and learning to have boundaries with my relationships, this one is the pinnacle of learning about who I am. The better part of me is in constant practice to surrender and to just be my best, know I am a wonderful person and surround myself with loving support, warm baths, positive touch and to forgive myself and the sick behavior in this world.

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