While this is a subject that is sensitive for many people, there are no concrete studies to determine how many adult children of abusive parents actually take care of them when they are older and need help at home. For those who have dealt with abuse from one parent or the other, or both, during their childhood, they could be torn between a sense of responsibility to an ailing parent and the pain that will likely still have left scars on their souls today.
For those who have been abused and who are now at a different place in their lives, where they are comfortable, confident, and successful, there is a healthy alternative rather than taking on the responsibility of caring for those abusive parents. It’s called live in care for seniors.
Does the abuse ever end?
Depending on the type of abuse that the individual suffered from during his or her childhood, they may still endure the effects from it. This could relate to troubled relationships, broken homes of their own, and even alcohol or drug dependencies.
For those who have managed to put their troubled past in the past, they may be forgiving to their parents, which can often be a healthy thing, but that doesn’t mean that their parent or parents have changed all that much. In fact, their parent may still be as abusive now as they were when the child was small.
This can lead to an opening of old wounds and it can have a dramatic effect on the life of the now adult child. Perhaps the parent changed and is comforting, supportive, patient and kind. This is not the norm, though.
The truth about caring for an abusive parent is that, according to a study conducted by Boston College researchers found that caregivers who had been abused in their childhood are more prone to depression when caring for others as adults (Oxford Journal). The research also noted that caring for abusive parents can lead to an even great risk of depression, even a steeper grade of depression.
“Caregivers with a history of maltreatment should be aware of the risk they are taking –and, if the strain of caregiving becomes overwhelming, the increased risk that they will abuse their charges, perpetuating a sorrowful cycle (New York Times, A Risk in Caring for Abusive Parents, by Paula Span).
The temptation to ‘get even’ may also be prevalent, making the abusive parent suffer what they did to their child, but that will serve no purpose and will only harm everyone involved. The best alternative is to hire a professional caregiver or even consider live in care for seniors for the aging, abusive parent.
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