Deal with Abusive Elderly Parents? Parents are often there for us when we need them, and it’s human to want to take care of them in their time of need. But what do you do if your parents were abusive? Caring for an aging parent can be a difficult experience, but this article will provide tips and tricks that may help you deal with the difficulties head-on.
When you are a child or individual that has lived through emotional or physical abuse throughout their life by their parents, it takes a toll on you. We know that when a child is abused this can lead to fear, trauma, and low self-esteem in the near future.
So what happens when your parents are starting to age and they need someone to care for them? It’s no secret that caring for aging parents is difficult, but caring for aging parents that were abusive is even harder.
Folks in this situation might be feeling the burden of caring for someone who could have done a better job caring for them. As you got older, you had to learn to cope with the abuse that happened to you.
Going to therapy, seeking out help, and maybe even needing to take medication. It’s not that easy to just “let it go”, right? Which is ultimately what you feel you would need to do in order to care for your aging parents yourself.
So how can you be for your aging parents who were abusive to you?
First, it is important to remember that the abuse was not your fault and you were not responsible for what happened. Those who have been abused adopt these psychological feelings of self-doubt, depression, and low confidence.
If you feel as though you can’t care for your parents, there are other outlets you can try. Perhaps you can try seeking help from family and friends. Since there is minimal financial support for aging parents, it can oftentimes feel like a burden to try and care for loved ones while also taking care of yourself.
Try to reach out to friends and family for guidance on your situation or ask if they can help care for your parents. Not only can they help you care for your parents, but they can also help as an emotional support system for you as well.
If you choose to care for your parents, keep a regular schedule for them and yourself. Keeping your parents busy and active will help you tremendously to keep you on track while also giving your parents the interactivity they need daily.
Also, if you have a schedule, it makes it easier to have others help you when it comes to driving them to events, doctor’s appointments, etc. Some schedule examples would be:
- Hygiene and Bath
- Game night
- Evening Hygiene
Set Boundaries First
There is a method called “detaching” that many therapists recommend using when you are dealing with abusive parents. This is when you learn to practice emotional distance from the actions of someone else, or in this case your parent.
This mindset allows you to come to terms with letting go of controlling someone else’s actions or feelings. Once you learn to detach from that urge to control their toxic behavior it forces the individual to face their consequences themselves.
This comes in handy with loved ones who have an addiction but also with loved ones who are abusive. You feel this guilt and need to take care of them but at the same time, you need to take care of your own mental health. Detaching from that guilt you feel will help you set boundaries when this type of situation arises.
For example, if you choose to care for them and they start to get aggressive and verbal with you, state to them that you will arrange other care for them. You can then remove yourself from that negative headspace but still let them get the care they need through someone else. These are the boundaries you want to have planned out before you become all in.
What are some of the resources a caregiver can take advantage of?
There are lots of resources out there that can help you care for your parents. Everything from insurance assistance, financial assistance, and even elderly care. A great website to look into is an elderly care locator to find a care center near you.
Click this link: www.eldercare.acl.gov and find support for your parents. There are also specific resources out there depending on your parents’ condition such as Alzheimer’s support and Dementia support.
Learning to be kind even in tough situations
The older we get, due to underlying circumstances our minds slowly start to slip and this causes individuals to become aggressive and abusive to caregivers, family, and friends even if they have no record of being that way. This is something that happens naturally to individuals that start to lose more and more brain function.
This can be specifically hard on those family members who were abused growing up. You’ve grown up telling yourself you would never be like your parents but in this situation, it is very difficult. Remember to try and be respectful and kind.
Being angry towards them won’t do anything but escalate the situation. If it becomes too much, remember, there are other resources and outlets you can turn to have others help you are for your parents.
Throughout this process find what works best for you and your mental health, there are many different options to choose from when caring for an aging parent. Push those feelings of guilt back and find what your personal soul needs in this situation. Don’t let others dictate how you handle this situation, find those who will support you, understand and lend a helping hand when needed.
Remember to set boundaries for yourself and your parents, and always come prepared with a schedule. Have a plan ready if things start to feel too overwhelming. You aren’t alone and have multiple options to help care for your parents if you feel you can’t. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.