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I would really like some feedback on this question.


Why is it that the adult child who grew up being the scapegoat and whipping post for their parents in the family unit, is the one who gets the job of being caregiver to the abusive elderly parent put on them?


It seems like a cruel irony to me that the adult child who gets treated the worst, gaslighted pretty much since they were toddlers, and downright bullied in their own family is the one who almost always has to "step up" and become the caregiver to the mom or dad who always hated them.


What a situation to find yourself in. To be expected to have an endless supply of love, patience, kindness, and compassion for a person who had absolutely none for you at any time in your life.


Is it unfair to believe that an elderly person should not expect more from their adult children then they were ever willing to give? Or ever did give? I don't think it is. Thanks for listening. I just needed to vent for a minute.

I think WE choose the jobs we want to take on. People who are abused by parents are constantly seeking approval from them, and so, tend to take on the thankless job of caring for them in the often futile hope of getting such approval or words of love.

Here is a quote that may help you today:

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but just a reminder that calls to ‘be kind’ to someone who has abused you is a gaslighting tactic. It furthers the idea that the abuser is deserving of considerations that his or her victims are not.
~Meg Pillow’s Doppelfanger on Instagram

I think an abusive elder WILL expect the moon from anyone & everyone they can. It's up to YOU how much YOU are willing to give.

Please remember that YOU are important. YOU count. YOU are a valuable human being and a child of God. YOU matter. Take care of YOU today because you deserve to.
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NeedHelpWithMom Dec 2, 2020
Everyone needs to hear those words!
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I asked this question myself a while ago and got some interesting answers, mostly seeming to suggest we have been brainwashed from an early age into thinking it is our duty to make all our parent's problems go away. Even at nearly 60 I found myself feeling 'I OUGHT to go round and see my mother' as I passed her apartment block today on a brief exercise break in a heavy working day, even though she chooses to have no technology that would keep her in touch with the family and not to make friends with any of her fellow residents, and has given up walking despite having no real physical problems beyond natural ageing.

I no longer expect to earn her love, but still act more out of guilt and fear of what others will think if they find out that I really wish my mum hadn't moved to just down the road from us (her idea, not ours)!

My husband is much 'kinder' to my mother than I am because she favours (i.e. relies on) him and he wasn't brought up to doubt his own value or whether he was loved, as I was. This caused a great deal of friction between us before lockdown, but it seems he is less willing to be her errand boy now after eight months off!

I am a Christian and it can sometimes make the dilemma worse, as you can be led to feel you are bad for not 'laying down your life' for your parent. But that is a misreading of scripture, I think. I too have had counselling this year and it is helping, but it will take ages to undo the erosion of my identity over 50+ years and I doubt I shall ever be truly free till my mother passes.
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NeedHelpWithMom Dec 4, 2020
Right, Helen.

Christianity doesn’t mean that we forego our common sense!

If a person succumbs to believing that all Christians should be martyrs they are sadly mistaken!

You are an intelligent Christian! Good for you!

Wishing you all the best in life.

Take care.
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Simple answer: because the scapegoat was given far less attention, supervision, and emotional and financial support, the scapegoat has had interrupted or no college education, lower earning power, abusive relationships, divorce, frequent moves, no home ownership, probably substance abuse issues that began in adolescence to deal with the neglect and abuse. As the decades pass, the scapegoat has little social or financial safety net, and when the elderly parent needs help, the scapegoat might actually need a place to stay, or at least the scapegoat is the loser in the family who is not tied down with a spouse or job or house, and so is "free" to spend all their time on the elderly parent's needs. They probably didn't plan on that outcome when they were emotionally crippling you in your childhood and youth, but it turns out to be an added benefit for them.
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Weeroo Dec 4, 2020
oh goodness, I am the family looser!
At least caring for Mom and becoming that unloved child again has made me see how things developed as they did and I can start healing myself. I am learning not to react to the manipulation, when it is just kinder on myself to give in, and how to pick those battles! I committed myself, knowing I would learn about myself. No coercion or expectations from siblings who are also aware and healing, so no one to blame (not even me!)
I am hoping Working on learning to never get myself into an abusive relationship again.
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BurntCaregiver, Your vent really hit home with me. I was brainwashed at a very young age by my narcissistic mother and was made to be at her side always. When she passed away my father broke a hip and the need for a caregiver for him was given to me. I am the youngest of three and the two older siblings are quite happy to let me do the work. My father is a complicated man and can be mean and verbally abusive. He didn't take part in our lives other than to deal the punishment and ignore us most of the time. He treats the PSW's like gold and then turns to me and is nasty after they leave. It's time for me to say no to this and I do not feel guilty about it at all. I believe my parents just didn't know how to love their children and it has made for a difficult life, but with a lot of work I have healed and am at a good place now. My heart goes out to all who have also gone through this. Know your value!

And I am so grateful for this forum where we have the space to speak freely and find compassion. Thank you all!

Take care, Tempestdelfuego.
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marymary2 Dec 4, 2020
I'm so glad you have healed Burnt but sorry you had to go through it all. May I ask what you did to heal? I've finally started trying to get my life together after leaving, but I feel it may be too late? I waste everyday on narcissist mother websites, heal from the abuse YouTube videos etc., but I'm not over it yet. (Admittedly, I got stuck with my abusive ex-husband as I'd given up my home to downsize my mother and I had nowhere to go as she sucked up all my time. Between her occasional abusive emails and his daily abuse, I'm not doing well at all.). Anyway, how did you do it? Thanks very much.

Original poster: please escape as soon as you can.
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I am speaking from experience and it took me a few years of managing moms care to get here...so trust me, I get it. 

Basically you have two choices.

Option 1: You can walk away.  Let everything hit the floor.  Your siblings will step in or the state will step in when it gets bad enough.                                                  Option 2:  Take the high road and make arrangements to place your parent in a clean safe assisted living facility or long term care facility...whichever one they need.  You can manage their care without having to get too emotionally involved.  Make decisions when they need made, pay the bills, etc.   If your extended family start offering their unsolicited advice, and trust me they will, just tell them you are more than willing to step back and let them do it.  That's all you need to say.  Don't debate anything.

You are an adult and you are in charge of your life.
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Ylrhea Dec 4, 2020
Sometimes you take the high road, then walk away.
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The person who was the scapegoat can always say, "I can't do it." I got to that point.

I think it is because we always think If I just do this, or that, they will love me. People have a great need to be loved by their parents. I did, not that it did me any good. As my mother said, "I never cared about you. I never cared if you had food or clothes, I just didn't care."

I had about 6 years of therapy, it helped a lot. I saw to her care, never with me again. My brother (the Golden Child) would see her about once a year. Before I sought help, my husband had her come live with us in a Granny apartment downstairs. It helped break up our marriage. After awhile, I could stand to touch her, To the day she died at almost 95, I could not stand for her to touch me.

I highly recommend therapy, not so called "Christian" type, but someone who can really help you get a backbone.
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NeedHelpWithMom Dec 4, 2020
MK,

Thanks for sharing this painful and intimate information.

I also got to the point of saying, ‘I can no longer do this!’ My mother always favored my brothers over me.

I also sought out therapy. It definitely helps.

You are correct. It should be a ‘professional’ therapist, not religious counseling. There are a million differing religious opinions!

Christianity has nothing to do with good therapy.

A person has the right to be a believer or not believe in anything, but it doesn’t have to be an essential part of therapy. It can be left out of therapy all together unless the person seeking therapy wants to discuss religion.

It is important to meet a person where they are. It is offensive and futile to push Christian views down someone’s throat if that person is not a Christian, or they do not believe in ultra conservative religious views. That is NOT the role of a therapist and no therapist worth his/her salt would ever do such a thing.
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No one has to take on the caregiving role - but i think the whipping post child has the hardest time saying "no" because they have not been listened to in the past and are used to doing what the parents want. They also are likely to seek approval and do what the parents expect.

I hope, if this is you, that you will say a resounding "NO" to what you do not want to do, and a yes to what you are willing to do OF YOUR CHOICE AND WITH LOVE.
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Tothill Dec 4, 2020
Adding to what Kinber166 has said, often the scapegoat child is desperate for approval, unless they have gotten therapy to help them resolve the issues from their childhood. They look at their aging parent and believe that now that they are 'needed' the parent will give them the love they so desperately want.

The SG child is often blindsided when the abuse continues and feels they have no option but to continue to provide care. The other children in the family who all along benefited from the SG being the parents' target are reluctant to provide any help, because they have become adept at blaming the SG for the parents bad behaviour and they do not want to become the target of abuse.

At least this is how it has played out in my family. Except I got therapy, set boundaries and refuse to take any more abuse from either of them. My brother the Golden Child, bought into me being the Problem Child and it has impacted our relationship too.
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I think the scapegoat is the one who develops the insight and learns to process their situation on a different level. The scapegoat isn't afraid to hear others' opinions/thoughts because the scapegoat has not been conditioned that they are always right. Scapegoats can be good listeners and are not afraid to apply what they have learned because, again, the golden child is told they are infallible and always right - so what is there to learn from others? Golden children are always blameless. A scapegoat will really analyze to see if it's truly the other person's fault, are things truly always their OWN fault (as parents have taught them), or is blame really not always that important? Scapegoats can become very sensitive and thoughtful adults because they so badly do not want to repeat history and maybe the world will be a little better since they were in it. An above-the-law golden child would definitely not make a good caregiver and I think a lot of parents suddenly realize that as their care needs increase.
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NeedHelpWithMom Dec 3, 2020
Thanks for sharing an insightful response. I totally agree with your post.

If people find support from objective caring individuals, participate in therapy and has time away from the harmful people in their lives, they can learn to break cycles.
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I am the only girl in the family. When my mom left, it was me and 3 boys. (2 older, 1 younger). I became "mom". Than after high school, my wild side came out and I traveled for a while, waiting tables in disco's and having fun. Came back home, got married, divorced after 5 years, and went to college. I don't know why, but my father turned on me and verbally abused me non stop thru letters from his new home in FL. And my brothers joined in. They had all moved out of state except my alcoholic brother. Over the next 15 years, I took care of my gramma, my aunt, my brother, another aunt and than after the elders passed, I moved to small town in TN where I did not know a soul, and had never even been before. Bought a house over the internet and moved. 1 year later, my alcoholic brother sold his house in MI and bought one 2 blocks away from me in my blissful little paradise I had created for myself, free from family drama and abuse. Shortly after, he had 3 strokes and there I was, back in the thick of it. Taking care of my brother, no help from family, just verbal abuse. I tried to sell my house but it was 2008 and it sat for 2 years. Than, 3 years ago I got sick and could no longer care for my brother. The family turned their back on me when I needed help. Said I was a hypochondriac. I have been in bed 3 years and not one visit from family. The illness is a rare disease not treated here. I have asked for help selling my house and moving home for treatment, but they won't. They just tell themselves I'm making it up so they can live free of guilt and inconvenience. They yell at me, and say the most awful things. Now, only one brother speaks to me.
I think the answer to your question is that they molded you with their abuse. Maybe you are very compassionate, but in their eyes they see compassion, empathy and sensitivity as weakness. Until they got sick. Then your gifts of compassion and empathy are used against you by expecting you to be the caregiver.
My advice. Go live the life you want and deserve. If you want to care for them, do so. If not, don't. They made their bed by destroying you with blame, accusations, and gaslighting. You don't owe them anything. You paid your dues with the affect their abuse has had on you. You paid with your happiness and sanity. Buy an RV, grab a dog, and hit the road. Travel, meet people, create your bliss. Call them on holidays and if they try to guilt you, tell them "Oh...let me call you back. Someones at the door or I have another call". Hang up and call a month later.
I'll go with you bc I have had it. LOL. Kidding. My Dad passed and my brothers don't care about me so I'm grieving the loss of my life and my family. Trying to find treatment so I can live. Than I will be carefree again, I pray.
I wish you happiness and joy!! You deserve it!!
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NeedHelpWithMom Dec 4, 2020
I am so sorry that this happened to you.

Wishing you all the best in life. You deserve it.

You are kind and compassionate. Your brothers sound very much like my brothers. I sought out therapy to help me heal from a lifetime of pain in my family and chose to go ‘no contact’ with my brothers. It is the right choice for me.

I love your response to this question. Keep sharing your wisdom!

Take care, dear lady.
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It’s just a continuation of the abuse. It’s an illness. I stopped trying to understand the “why” of it and recognize the situation as unhealthy. I stopped expecting change from my parents and backed away. I worked hard to break my own victim pattern of behavior and surround myself with positive people. I cut my family off years ago. The bad talk and ridiculous expectations from your family will continue with or without you around to hear it.

There are those that will never understand and think you should step in and care for your parents because “they are your parents.” There are those that think healing will happen and you should easily “forgive.” That is what healthy families do - not our families. If we step back into the line of fire we are inviting misery and abuse back into our lives. Forgiveness for us means we move on with our lives and leave the misery behind.

I take care of my mother’s finances because there is no one else to do it. But I have no communication with her at all. I only speak to staff and medical providers. I have no expectations from her at all. It’s as if I’m caring for a mean stranger.

Good luck and thank you for posting and letting us share our own thoughts!
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Shell38314 Dec 4, 2020
Actually that is really smart of you.
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