Abused children who love thier parents dearlyuntil the end

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by MidwestMom, Aug 18, 2014.

  1. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    This has been on my mind a lot lately, partly because I know of experiences of this and partly because, maybe because I suffered from childhood abuse, I read a lot of books about children who were SEVERELY abused. Not sure why I'm attracted to this type of book and am kind of embarassed that I am. Maybe I feel better knowing that some had it worse? But I cry when I read these books and feel so badly for the victims...not sure why I do this.

    My thinking: So many adult children were severely abused as children and I mean beaten, abused sexually, locked in closets, not fed, etc. Unfortunately, this is not as rare as we'd like to think. Yet almost all the time, when the adult children deal with their parents, and many continue to have relationships with them, they will do anything for them, unlike our entitled difficult children who treat us like dirt. An example is a memoir I read where the father was a total monster. He ran his son down with a car. Son lived, but father twisted it so that the cops blamed the son and put the son in jail. This is the author's perception. Yet when this hideous man got very sick and was alone the daughter rushed to take care of him and make sure he was comfortable (he was more likely to PUT her in the hospital than to take care of her). I read this in book after book.

    I had a co-worker at Head Start whose father beat her bloody, and her sibilngs, and now he lived alone. Whenever bad weather hit, they rushed over to tend to him and when he was dying of brain cancer, this co-worker wept like a baby for weeks. Since we rode in a bus together, it was just her and me and she had confided his abuse to me and I believe some of it was sexual. But now, as a 35 year old adult with kids of her own, she acted like he was Father of the Year and so did her siblings. I don't know if all of them did, but some did.

    I knew yet a woman in one of my self-help groups whose mother treated her like the bad one in the family and was very emotionally abusive. She was the one who took care of her when she was older, even though her mother continued to abuse her, even striking her from her wheelchair. The favored siblings did nothing for this woman. She would cry that even though she was taking care of her mother, her mother still talked to her like garbage. She was also in her 30's, maybe close to 40.

    Any thoughts? Anyone else wonder?
  2. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    I don't understand it either. So many people feel that just because someone donated sperm or a uterus they deserve undying service and love. I on the other hand feel that the people who love you and treat you well are the ones who deserve special treatment.

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  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think codependence is a big part of this. We naturally want our parents to love us and be good to us, so we do things to try to get that from them. The worse they treat us, the more we think we deserve it. It has taken me YEARS to understand this and how it impacts my own family. Plus so many families where abuse exists also have addiction issues and those also create these situations. I had a friend in college who was spoiled with material things but her parents lavished the time on her little sister. This friend drank like alcohol was about to be outlawed. I finally figured out that the ONLY time her parents spent any time with her or gave her attention was when they took her out drinking with them. Usually it was to charity dinners, parties, or fancy clubs and this had gone on since she was about 12. The rest of the time they just ignored her r gave her a credit card and sent her shopping.

    Lord knows I cannot throw stones at this aspect of relationships. It has taken eons for me to see my family for who they truly are, and I am still negotiating that minefield. But it is sad to see so many people who were so abused and continue in that cycle when their parents are older and need help. I once asked a very close family friend about this, because her dad abused her horribly (her mom always worked nights so one parent would be home with the kids) but she always went out of her way to make sure he was well cared for, even through a couple of decades of health problems and severe alcoholism related problems. Her first answer was "He is my Daddy.". Her second had to do with helping her mother because it was too much for her mom to handle alone. Her third answer was 'I have no idea, but it feels wrong not to help." Her siblings were not as abused as she was because she was older and protected them when her mom wasn't around. They sure didn't drop everything and move home to help, or even use all their work vacations to help. They new that their big sis would handle it, so they felt they could just avoid the illness and family dynamic and go to Disneyworld instead.

    Families are downright bizarre.
  4. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    MWM, there are all kinds of abuse, as you know. Is physical worse than mental or emotional? It's all so damaging, I believe, but physical abuse is often highlighted because it is visible.

    My dad, who is 82 years old today, has an explosive temper. He flies off the handle and always has. And because he was the biggest person in the house when we were growing up, there was little we could do. I was a fighter, which meant I was in trouble a lot more, mouthing off to him and ramping up the crisis for everybody.

    His words and his temper, and how he was and is, affected me greatly. For years I would say that I hated him. Even into adulthood.

    About 10 years ago he and I did not talk for a period of time---about a year---after he blew up here at my home. He and my mother were visiting for two nights, and we started talking about nursing homes. There was a special on TV about them. In the middle of a back and forth discussion about them, he completely lost it and starting yelling at me. I had an "out of body" experience, and I got up from the chair, left the room, and stayed in my bathroom for the rest of the night.

    The next day they left and I didn't speak to him for a year. I was done. I was not going to be a whipping boy any more. My family just wanted me to get over it. In fact, they excluded ME from a girls trip that same year. I was not going along with the family norm any more and I was disrupting things because of my decision not to be around him.

    At the same time I was going to therapy and Al-Anon because of my now-ex-husband's alcoholism. I began to work through my feelings about my father along with everything else. Over that year, I began to change the way I viewed him and I have been able to forgive him for who he is.

    He is a damaged human being himself. He was the youngest of 9 children, and because of an older sister's early death, his parents just stopped. They stopped parenting. He had to finish growing up on his own. He was a neglected child, and this was something that was openly discussed (made him furious as he sees his own parents as perfect) when my younger sister died and we were having Hospice counseling. My dad lives in denial. He has never grown up, really.

    So today, how do I handle my relationship with this man, who is my father, and who I love, but who I am very cautious around. I don't trust my father's behavior. He still flies off the handle---and now even more frequently---over nothing, due to his age, his own physical and mental infirmities (which I know are very upsetting to him) and my mother's declining health. He finds himself to be a caregiver, which he has very little capacity for.

    I keep my distance. Just like difficult child, I can deal with my father in small doses. I give him a very wide berth and I guard my heart when I am around him.

    It is reality. Today, I have come a long way toward accepting my father as a very flawed human being. Just like I am.

    And I do love my father. I believe today that dealing with this helped me move forward, and helped me finally be able to leave my alcoholic ex-husband. I don't think I would have been able to without dealing with that first.
  5. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    I agree with the wise posts above. I was very lucky in the parent department, other than losing them both early, so I don't have any real experience with abusive parents.

    To me it seems like the other side of the same coin of what we face here, a relationship that one has deep expectations for, and those expectations aren't being met. It's really hard and takes a lot of courage to see the relationship for what it is, instead of what we want or need it to be.
  6. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Great post, MWM.

    For me, soothing my mother, doing all I could to help so she would be happier and things would not get out of hand carried right into adulthood.

    So did my mother's abusive patterns.

    This was all so much a part of who we all were that all of us just kept acting our dysfunctional roles.

    My mom is in her eighties, now.

    For those trying to unravel how negative coping methods developed in childhood are affecting us today:


    As I work through the levels, unresolved Issues around anger and fear seem to carry as big a charge as clearing issues of admission and self image.

    Here are some quotes from articles from the site listed above.


    "Rage is more than outward anger. It is the deep, unsettled sense that someone has to pay for what was done to you.

    Rage is the offspring of lost power and control. To experience rage or abuse of any kind brings every human being to the terrifying reality that they do not have enough power and control to protect themselves or to prevent trauma. When you are confronted with that reality -- even as a child -- it sets off a torrent of panic and unleashes an obsessed vigilante who is bent on punishing wrongs and vindicating injustice. It sets everyone on a course of power gathering.

    Some of us bulk up -- physically, financially, professionally, academically, relationally.

    You work hard to push that sense of being overpowered and exploited behind all that you have and are.

    No one ever sees the terrified child cowering in a corner. ..."

    There is so much more here that I found relevant.

    Some of us stuff everything, take the blame for everything for the rest of our lives and turn into people pleasers.

    There is one on fear, too.

    If you visit the site, put /rage or fear or whatever aspect you want to know more about behind site address.

  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    My parents were not abusive. Mom had a temper, but I don't think being slapped two or three times in my entire life counts as abuse (especially since one time I remember clearly I completely deserved much worse). They were also not neglectful.

    My Dad was the middle child, eldest boy, and my Grandma was a gym teacher and Grandpa a workaholic. Dad was a difficult child... Back then he was considered "fast". But he outgrew it. (For comparison purposes, my grandparents each had one sibling; Grandpa's father was a bootlegger and his mother had run off. I did get to know my Grandma's parents and they were LOVELY people.)

    My Mom was an only child; each of her parents had eight siblings. Grandpa was a Marine in WWII and had grown up literally in a mud house as a farmer. Grandma came from Oklahoma to New Mexico in a covered wagon (no joke, and this was the 1930s). 13 months after my mother's birth, Grandma gave birth to her first son, who only lived 4 days, and about 18 months after that, her second son, who was stillborn (and they knew he was deceased before her body gave up). Grandma was... A bit strange. But - she ADORED me. I think part of it was she felt guilty because she wasn't able to be there as much for my Mom... She turned to pills and alcohol to dull the pain of loss. So Mom was a little bit neglected.

    All of that, though, to bring this up. My maternal grandfather's younger brother Jack was beaten very badly by their father and died the next day from a head injury. Back then (1930s) it wasn't considered abuse to beat children... I don't know how they explained Jack's death, though. But my Grandfather would have done anything for his father.

    Fast forward sixty years, and you have my Belle - who was emotionally, physically and sexually abused by her mother, grandmother and mother's friends/boyfriends/husband; and Pat, who was emotionally abused and neglected. Belle is completely consumed with biomom; she recently spent a week in solitary for refusing to work on the anniversary of biomom's death. Pat, on the other hand, has started opening up and the things he witnessed horrify me. I wish I didn't have to hear it, but he needs to say it so I will listen. But there's no codependency there. I don't know if it is because he met me so much younger and I treated him differently than bio, or because his was mostly neglect, or he's a boy, or what.
  8. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I'm actually talking about physical abuse to the point that the parent has broken your bones, refused to take you to the hospital, sometimes starved you and isolated you from the world, locked you in closets maybe, done sexual abuse, that sort of thing. It's these extremes that boggle my mind. The kids tend to bolt from home at 18, but they are there at t he end, often forgiving and understanding. I can't wrap my mind around that.

    Having a temper and emotional abuse...my dad is like that and we have a relationship. I can always choose not to listen or to leave and he is always sorry. I know he loves me. That's the key. These parents I'm talking about didn't love anyone and were probably antisocial personality disordered yet when they were needy they called their kids, demanded their kid's devotion and got it!!!! The abusive people I'm talking about never ever apologized and many, when the adult kids confronted them, said that extreme beating and sexual abuse never happened and that they were crazy and this is why they got "spanked." When it is this extreme, to me it seems as if one is excusing an evil monster.

    If they don't ask for forgiveness, they aren't sorry as in the woman who was caring for her elderly mother as the mother slapped her from the wheelchair and reduced her to feeling like a naughty child all over again. I have no clue why she put up with it and kept doing it. I do think codependency is one reason. "If I don't do it, nobody will and she IS my mother, even though she acted more like she hated me..." Hey, I don't get it, which is why I asked.

    But it does seem ironic since the majority of us were very giving and kind to our difficult children and we didn't get it back. Weird, really. If parents abuse their kids are they so needy and battered down that they are more apt to be NICE to their parents than parents who have done everything we can for our kids and love them to death...and our kids know it? I often think about that. The worst parents who don't even seem to care often have the most devoted adult children...
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
  9. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Abusers often have two distinct sides of their personality. Usually, there is a nicer side - maybe even repenting aka generous side- that they show at least once in a while. At the same time, abusers often blame their victims for setting them off - whether it's full scale - "I gave you what you deserved" or just "you make me so mad when you are naughty".

    Most children genuinely love their parents, especially young children who depend upon them. A young child doesn't know that the parent is horrible, they just know that they like it when that parent is being nice to them. And they often take at least partial responsibility or feel guilty for "setting the parent off". IME, it sets up a scenario where a child wants to be in mom or dad's good graces and does everything possible in order to achieve that. That desire for their parent to like them never goes away & probably is why they try so hard with parents who don't deserve their unconditional love.
  10. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I've never really understood that either. To me, the title of "sperm donor" has never been one that automatically demands a lot of respect ... it just means that once upon a time, he had sex! Whoop dee doo! And giving birth to a baby does not automatically make you a parent either. A parent is the one who loves and cares for the child, the one who provides for and protects them, the one who helps them with their homework and takes care of them when they're sick.

    One of my daughter's friends is going through something similar right now. She's married now, has three kids of her own. This was not a case of severe physical, emotional or sexual abuse, her father just was never there. He left their mom when she and her brother were both very small and was never a part of their lives. He contributed nothing to their lives. He never paid child support, not even a dime, while their mother worked two jobs to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. He was never there for their birthdays, holidays, graduations - no contribution at all, financial or otherwise!

    And now this girl is grown and married with kids of her own, just struggling to get by like everybody else. And "Daddy" suddenly shows up at her door, down on his luck! And she welcomed him with open arms! He stayed with them for a very long time, mooching and living off of them like a big parasite, until her mother finally threatened to throw him out bodily if he didn't leave. She would have done it too! And now he's sick! While he was in the hospital, this girl practically lived there! Constantly visiting and bringing him things. He has cancer and the outcome doesn't look good. And when he was released from the hospital she brought him back to her home again and will continue to lovingly care for him and sacrifice for him until the day the sorry, worthless ol' SOB dies! She owes this man ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! But "he's her daddy". No, I don't understand it and I will never understand it. I guess she thinks that she has finally gained his love and approval, but really he's just using her one last time. So sad!
  11. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I think all of you have a point. I certainly tried hard to mend the unmendable with my mother, although I stopped doing it before she got sick with brain cancer and died and therefore didn't run down to Illinois to take care of her and be her hero at the end. She wouldn't have changed how she felt about me even if I had. I'm glad I didn't do it. However, for years I tried to make amends. In my case, however, I believe in karma and an afterlife and if you don't deal with things on this plane you do it afterward. I wanted to do my best here and now. It didn't work...I guess I'll deal with her later.

    Although my mom was mean and even wicked to me, though, she never beat me, locked me in closets, starved me and nobody sexually abused me. I am not sure I'd be looking for approval from anyone who had gone that far. I have learned early in life to detach from situations to a point...I was bullied pretty bad as a kid and had some very creative defense mechanisms I used. I don't think I was needy enough to take care of a woman who didn't even visit me when I had major surgery and who never sent my kids even a birthday card. Interestingly, my sister had a strong need to have approval from Mother so she did all she could to get it. But that just wasn't me.

    So...now the other question is, why do so many kids with great parents, who have a tendency to be not-so-nice, abuse their kind, caring parents? Do these abused kids secretly respect those who beat them, sexually abused them or starved them? And do our difficult children see us as weak for catering to their whims? I don't have an answer. Of course, even some PCs end up treating us like crapola. Why?Is it because they are sure we love them so they don't have to look for crumbs? Why do so many children try to punish their loving parents, even easy child kid? While most of us have been abused only by difficult children, a good enough amount of us have had our PCs turn on us too (in my case...Scott was very easy child growing up). Why would they ever want to hurt us so badly?
  12. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    Oh my goodness, amen. I think about this all the time and I am so glad someone finally brought it to light. I scratch my head all the time and wonder why. I know this one mother who really is a POS. She is beyond narcissistic and her children treat her like she is a queen and like the best mother alive. She has their undying love and loyalty. The only thing I can think of is that she is a master manipulator and has her children believing she is the best thing since sliced bread. I don't understand this and I brought it up in a thread the other day. Why? Why do people who don't deserve the great treatment that they get (this goes for anyone) get it? My only conclusion is, they pray to a dark lord.
  13. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    GuideMe, I do think part of it is that they are craving a mother's love, even if they are thirty. Or fifty. It is very sad, really. The mother probably never is nice to them yet they worship her.

    And our kids???
  14. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    Also keep in mind, some people do it for a "front" sort of speak. They want to appear like they have the normal and best family like everyone else. Especially now since facebook is around. That never occurred to me until one day I was having a conversation with one of my old friends. The conversation was about her sister and mother. Her sister detests her mother to the very core. Anyway, sister asked mother to go out to graduation dinner for sister's daughter. Well, it came to light that sister told her hubby and kids to ignore mother. Mother was heartbroken because she didn't realize what was going on. Anyway, I ask my friend why would her sister invite her mother to graduation dinner if she really didn't want her there to begin with? and my friend said this: "Because she is doing it for appearances. All of her other friends have great relationships with their parents and you know how she always wants to be like everyone else 'keeping up with the jones'. She posted pictures of mom and kids on Facebook the very next day"

    So sometimes there are superficial reasons like that.
  15. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    GuideMe, Sister sounds like a real difficult child (sigh). People are very strange. That includes me...lol. But it's true, isn't it? Maybe it's just my perception.
  16. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    Yeah, I must admit, that upset me when I heard it. I thought that was low down and dirty when she actually told her hubby and kids to ignore grandma and don't speak to her. The whole time, the mom was sitting at the restaurant and no one was talking to her. Just blatantly ignoring her. I know this family very well and when my friend told me her mother called her crying in tears, it broke my heart because she is really a nice lady. She has her faults , yes, but it was downright mean to do something like that. What really bugs me is that she didn't know the whole time what was going on or that she was being set up. Could you imagine? Thinking that you are the one who's crazy? They only found out by a stroke of LUCK when my friend found an email on home computer (sister forgot to sign out of email account) to her friend (i forget who it was) about the truth of what really happened. They were besides themselves. I must admit, it really disturbed me too. It made me wonder how many times this might have happen to me in my life, not even concerning difficult child, just other people in general. Anyway, sorry to blabber.
  17. hopeandjoy66

    hopeandjoy66 Member

    I recently just read a book called: "Will I ever be good enough,"The healing daughters of Narcissistic Mothers" by Karyl McBride.This book will answer many of these questions. I was physically abused by my mother and sexually abused by a brother, but i am finally off that roller coaster of seeking approval that will never come. So I refuse to waste my time and head space no more. I never really new what was wrong with my mother, but this book was written about her and was exactly what I needed.
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  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    I need to read that book.

    I was abused as a child. I was abused as an adult. I was abused by my mother until she didnt know who I was anymore. Nothing made my mother happier than hurting me. Physically, emotionally, verbally and yes, even sexually.

    Guess who took care of her when the call came in that she was at her bank and didnt know who she was. Yep, me. I am an only child and in the state I live in (or maybe it was the state she lived in, I dont know) because she wasnt eligible for medicaid, the next of kin was responsible for the parent.

    My mom developed alzheimer's somewhere back in late 99 or 2000. Probably earlier than that but by the spring of 01, she was no longer able to live alone and I had to drop everything and take her in. To the end she hurt me. When she moved in she had no clue who I was though she remembered other people and her dog. She would look at pictures of me and her when I was a baby and deny that she ever had a baby. I would wonder if I was adopted but I look just like a combo of my mom and dad...lol.

    I did it because I felt I had to do what I could so I could live with myself and look at myself in the mirror. Honestly I didnt expect to be upset when she died but I was. I felt like I had lost the tiny bit of hope that she would ever love me. That wasnt even a real thing to hope for because I really lost "her" to the alzheimers years before she died but her death just made it so final. I find myself to this day thinking...I wish she could have met my grandchildren.
  19. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Janet, I understand. I always wished my mom would love me too. Fortunately for me, I came to the realization it would not happen before she died. When she got sick, I had no intention of helping her and it would not have made me feel guilty if I had been her only child. Giving birth to me, in my opinion, did not bond us or make me responsible for her. In fact, she told me many times, "I never felt any love for you when I was pregnant, but all my friends said I'd love you as soon as I held you. But I didn't. I felt nothing. Absolutely nothing." This is verbatim. She told me so often that I remember it verbatim. My mom was also not in her right mind when she died. She had brain cancer. I did call her at the nursing home and she was actually nice to me...lol. She had no idea who I was.

    My mom could have known her grandchildren. She did know my sisters children, but did not want to know mine. That was fine. I didn't want her to have a chance at THEM too. I didn't want them to be exposed to her toxicity. When she disinherited me and didn't even mention me as her child, I felt like she'd slapped me from the grave. It took me two years to recover fully from the truth...she really had not loved me. I don't know why it hit me after she died. It was something I had figured out long before her passing. But I did get over it.

    I am glad that I did not go take care of her when she was sick. She would not have done it for me or any of my children. If she had been nice to my kids, I would have forgiven her not loving me, but she didn't acknowledge them...not even a card on their birthday. It was not adoption related. SHe seemed to hate 36 more than any of them, like he was some sort of threat to my sister's "perfect" (in her eyes) children. When you dis me, I can handle it. When you include my children, you will get nothing from me. My sister had to take care of her. But if there had been no sister, I still would not have done it. I would do it for my father, and he wasn't THAT nice, but he did come through sometimes, I know he loved me and he was nice to my kids. But my mother...far as I'm concerned she was just a person whose womb I grew in. Any olive branch I offered her, she turned away. That's why I don't get why people whose parents were even MORE horrible than she was would care for them in the end. Janet, I thank you for a very personal, touching post that explained it to me, at least in your case. That must have been very heartbreaking.
  20. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    In all honesty, in the very beginning I had no choice. Social services in SC threatened to have me arrested if I didnt go down immediately to deal with her. Immediately as in the next 90 minutes. Thats approximately how far I lived from her. I had to leave my job, call someone to get Cory because he was in a mental health after school program and I would not be home in time to get him and Tony was out of town working. I had to beg my job to give me some FMLA which they denied after the first 5 days.

    At least in 01, a child was responsible for a parent if the parent became disabled and wasnt able to get medicaid and my mom wasnt eligible for that.

    After that, I found my mother's will in all her papers, along with a whole bunch of other awful stuff she had written to everyone from the President down to my former boss telling them what an awful person I was. I found out in her will she pretty much cut me out and left everything to my oldest son. Her wording for me was that I was allowed $10 per year for medication IF I was homeless and could prove I needed the medication. Only if I was homeless. That was her greatest wish for me.

    In the end it didnt matter because I became her POA and I had to spend her down so she became eligible to get into a nursing home eventually. In order for me to even bring her to live with me I had to trade in my old single wide 3 bedroom mobile home for a 4 bedroom doublewide. Trust me, she paid for that one. I had lost my job by that time because I couldnt go back to work within the 5 days they gave me. I paid myself each month out of her savings what I would have made after taxes. Having her there was costing me money. It cost me my career.