Back to Home

Active Questions

Caring for a horrid elderly parent.
Family & Parenting / 3:51 AM - Monday March 22, 2010

Caring for a horrid elderly parent.

My mother is wretched. She was physically and emotionally abusive to me as a child. When I was 5 years old, she punched me in the face and broke my nose. My mother said I deserved it, as I had provoked her. She remains to this day unrepentant. As I got bigger the physical abuse stopped but she remains both verbally and emotionally abusive. We are estranged...

She is now old and frail. Her younger sister (my aunt) has been her caregiver. Now my aunt wants out and has told me it is my turn to take my mother in and care for her. Would you take care of a wretched parent?

Update: March 23, 2010.
Thanks for your feedback, your opinions provided me with further food for thought. The idea of caring for my abusive mother caused a great deal of anxiety. One of my greatest fears was that she would direct her venom at my children... I decided to provide her support, but not primary care (ie: she will not live in my home but in a facility close by). As an aside, I was horrified at the prospect of being like my mother. Before having children I sought counseling and took parenting lessons while my children were very young. To this date I have not struck nor uttered a profane word directed at my children (I have 3). I am very close to my children, we have a very open and loving relationship. The cycle ended here.

- Asked by A Thinker, Female, 46-55, Body Work

Read more about the Rating System

She most likely has several mental health issues which need to be overseen by professionals. If she was that way (abusive) decades ago, she may have something more dangerous and do harm to herself or her caregiver in the process.

She needs to be in a care facility that also can help with mental health needs---she may even have alzheimers, which needs to be closely followed, as the patients not only forget where and who they are, but are combative.

There is no "turn" when it comes to these things. Your Mom needs to be in a licensed facility.

- Response by iowaczechartist, A Thinker, Female, 46-55

Rating Received:


- Response by j3s5e, A Rebel, Male, 29-35, Who Cares?

Rating Received:

Community Rating: Community Star

You can't choose who you're mother is. I understand that you may feel that harshness from a history of anger and pain. If I lived through that, I would say...she is on her own. And would follow up with the fact that you reap what you sow. she is your mother...only you will find the answer. I couldn't do it. I have a very unforgiving soul. But that's what makes me a bitter human being. You can get above this.

- Response by zerotohero2, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 36-45, Los Angeles, Who Cares?

Rating Received:

I might try to arrange to have her taken care of .. if I could do that without taking anything from my family. BUT, actually you don't have to do it. Just because she's your biological mother -- you don't have to take care of her - considering how she treated you as a child.

This must be a horrible situation to be in ... I hope you can find a way to deal with this. Good Luck.

- Response by mrscleaver16, A Married Girl, Female, 66 or older

Rating Received:

If you can't afford professional help No..

- Response by oldman52, A Mr. Nice Guy, Male, 56-65, Sydney, Retired

Rating Received:

Let her SS and retirement income pay for a nursing home.

- Response by bookman, A Guy Critical, Male, 56-65, Who Cares?

Rating Received:

NO. I would thank my aunt for the work she has done, but tell her that her sister is now on her own. She will have reaped what she's sown.

- Response by trawna, A Career Woman, Female, 46-55, Toronto, Consulting

Rating Received:

For the years of child abuse she deserves to have you go visit and beat the crap out of her. If you are more kind than she you will not do that even if she deserves it.

But you have no obligation to take care of the old violent abusive bitch. Tell her and her sister "no." And then don't answer the phone or letters. You have no obligation to care for someone who was so abusive and selfish. The care was not earned.

And BTW: treat your children differently.

- Response by greenwind, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 56-65, Construction

Rating Received:

No, I would make sure she was in a safe situation and cared for, but it would not be by me. She ruined enough of your life. Why add to that by bringing her back into your home life to do more damage? No way would I put myself though that again! Once you agree, you will be stuck, so think that over carefully and avoid being stuck with a huge problem and burden that will only make your life more difficult.

- Response by abitspoiled, A Thinker, Female, 56-65, Who Cares?

Rating Received:

Probably someone has told you this already, but I would put her in a home. I couldn't tolerate taking care of someone who was mean to me...I worked in a nursing home and I know that's why some of the residents never had visitors, is because they had been bad parents.

- Response by cakelady, A Cool Mom, Female, 46-55, Denver, Food Service

Rating Received:

Contact the senior care agencies in the area closest to where she is (near you?) and see what options there are. You are not required to have her in your own but I do believe in the "Honor your father and mother" and know - from experience - that revenge is best served sweetly.

Get some therapy for youself and see what services might be available for your mother with you keeping a healthy distance.

Good Luck!

- Response by momto11, Female, 46-55, Home Maker

Rating Received:


- Response by canajun, A Mr. Nice Guy, Male, 56-65, Vancouver, Self-Employed

Rating Received:

No I wouldn't. I would place her in a nursing home that would care for her well. Which is more than what she did for you.

- Response by bellabyrdie, A Thinker, Female, 29-35, Who Cares?

Rating Received:

Definately not - she will poison the life that you built for yourself and your children - do you want them to taste her venom?? spare them, and do not have any guilt about it - she is not well, and you have done a marvelouse job - do not give into the guilty temptation and ruin the nice job you have done.Peace

- Response by ruffian, A Sportif, Female, 36-45

Rating Received:

Feel free to give me a bad rating as this does NOT pertain to your actual question, but rather your update.
GOOD FOR YOU! I'm always so impressed when people can put their pride aside and admit they don't know everything under the sun and seek out the information they need. My mother is the daughter of two alcoholics and she did the same thing you did. She got counseling and took parenting classes as we grew up. She is an amazing mother first and foremost, but now that I'm an adult, she is also one of my best friends. I wish you and your family all the best, and good luck with your mother.

- Response by annothergirl, A Life of the Party, Female, 29-35, Executive

Rating Received:

You can choose to try & care for her & try to communicate with her about her past (parent), why she treated you so badly, etc. I think she may have had a painful past which has affected the way she parented you. I think you can try to help her and find a little bit of closure. If not, you can try to sent her to a nursing home or figure something else out. * I want to apologize for her on how she was to you. -no one deserves that kind of treatment. I wish you the best.

- Response by A Sweet Sarah, Female, 29-35, San Jose, Student

Rating Received:

I think you have an obligation to care for your mother, but not an obligation to be abused. So, I would do what you did - check out facilities that are financially viable that are close enough that you can go in once in a while to supervise... but don't let her live with you.

Since she is unrepentant and thinks it is OK to be abusive, realize that any interactions you have with her will be miserable. If you go with the expectation that any kindness on her part is a nice surprise, you will keep your expectations realistic and not be disappointed.

I think you are setting a good example to your children, BTW. YOu are showing them that you do not abandon those who need care, but you also set boundaries and limits. It seems like you are a very healthy person, and that's hard given your abusive parent, so - good job!

- Response by curvysmartgirl, A Creative, Female, 46-55, Dallas, Artist / Musician / Writer

Rating Received:

It's very kind of you to participate at all, let alone to the extent you are! Some of the symptoms of aging (really of dementia) include paranoia and anger; so I can only imagine how that must look on YOUR mom. Have you considered hiring a company to provide care? A lot of them charge only about $20/hour and the people who come in are trained on how to deal with aggressive elderly people.

- Response by A Career Man, Male, 36-45, Teaching

Rating Received:

There is always another way to deal with any situation. This is your life too. You must love yourself even if others do not understand. Your own mental and physical wellness is at stake here. I understand this because I too have suffered physical, verbal and emotional abuse from my mother my entire life. My mother is 82 and still says I deserve it. There is no way I would ever be her caregiver. I am not qualified and I know it. Sounds like you intuitively know this in your heart as well. Trust your instinct. I believe your mother will be in better hands with someone qualified to handle her deep seeded emotional problems which will only become more pronounced with further aging. You will be fine. You are not alone. Choose to be happy.

- Response by A Thinker, Female, 46-55, Cleveland

Rating Received:

i think i'd smother the old bat w/ a pillow or something. i don't think we owe assholes anything, whether they're a parent or not.

- Response by dudemcguy, A Mr. Nice Guy, Male, 36-45, Detroit, Student

Rating Received: