It is no secret that people tend to be the hardest on the ones they love. Family members often shoulder the burden of their loved ones’ emotional rage, which is only amplified when that family member is also serving as the primary caregiver to their elderly parents. It is hard to discern why elderly parents turn on the child that is trying to take care of them, but often their anger is rooted in their circumstances, not the actual family member.
Our loved ones may realize they are not as mobile or active as they used to be, they may be experiencing a painful illness, they may be embarrassed of their incontinence, or they may feel their memory waning. Whatever the cause, they often take their frustrations out on the ones they feel most safe and comfortable around. They are not consciously abusing their son or daughter, they are frustrated and take it out on family because they believe no matter how poorly they behave family won’t leave them.
When handling emotional abuse from elders, it is important to understand that your parent is frustrated, they feel as though their independence is slipping away and that death is fast approaching. As we age, we often feel betrayed by our bodies and feel humiliated for the help we require to simply survive each day. While our loved ones are undergoing a difficult time period in their life, it does not justify their negative and hurtful behavior toward their caregivers.
Detach Yourself from Insults
Although their insults may cut deep, it is important that you don’t take every insult personally. It is also important to be able to detach from the situation with love. If you are experiencing a particularly difficult period in your relationship, the best solution may simply be to take a break. If your parent is in a nursing home where you know they are receiving proper care, or you have a sibling that can take over the duties for a day or a week, allow yourself to get some distance. By spending a little time apart both you and your loved one will have time to recharge. As a caregiver, it is important to show your loved one that you will not tolerate being treated in an abusive manner, standing your ground often leads to better behavior on your loved one’s part. Being a caregiver is stressful enough without your care recipient bringing you to tears based on their poor behavior.
If your loved one lives at home with you, it may be a good idea to consider in-home care, finding a little respite will work wonders on your psyche. By detaching yourself from their care for even a short while, you may find that your parents gain a new appreciation for you. When you stand up for yourself, and remain kind, calm and loving, it is easier to get your point across. Your feelings are important, regardless of your loved one’s disposition. Taking a stand and letting them know their behavior is intolerable early on may save you a world of hurt throughout your caregiving journey.