Caring for someone who's emotionally abusive

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This topic contains 14 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  MatthewFeeno 4 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #5314 Reply

    Community question:

    I am my Dad’s primary caregiver. My dad has always emotionally abused me. I take care of him because no one else will. He tries to manipulate me and lays guilt trips on me when I am not paying attention to him. I am an emotional wreck. I feel worthless because to this day I still let what he thinks of me control my mood and how I feel about myself. I try to give myself space. I wish I could put him in a home so I wouldn’t have to deal with him. Any advice. I am going to start getting counseling on this as well.

  • #6182 Reply


    I would definitely recommend therapy. You need some tools to neutralize the junk that’s coming at you since it’s all about power and control, which I’m sure your dad is feeling less and less of over his own life as he’s aging. Hopefully a good therapist can help you let those things go in one ear and out the other. You’re not likely to change his behavior but you can change how his behavior affects your day. A nursing home might be the only option if it continues-whether or not you can control your reaction to it.
    From a spiritual standpoint, this may be a gift to give you an opportunity to overcome the effects of abusive behavior once and for all. You’re vulnerable to it and in my opinion, if you don’t learn to stand up for yourself and/or not let it get to you, there will be another person in your life who will take his place.

  • #6214 Reply
    • #20401 Reply


      Hi I been there and still am great to go in to counselling,I am to the power control you need a life to I see my dad as a client it has helped I would love to tell you more but it private if you on face book be friend me and we can chat be great because I know what you are going through I in emotional abuse please in box Karen wheeler on f book love to give you some in sight tell me your name so I know who it is bless you

  • #6243 Reply


    Take your dad to a nuerologist and perhaps medication will help. My mom was verbally abusive to my dad and some other family members. It took a toll on them emotionally. My mom is on Xanax and Haloperidol. She is more calm since we started giving her the meds. If it continues, and you really feel it’s taking a real toll on you, I recommend putting him in a nursing home.

  • #6284 Reply


    Good decision on the counseling. You will not regret it. Greatest encouragement for you is don’t dare give up. You deserve a happy well balanced future. Think of it as a gift that is tightly wrapped and not easy to open. But the reward is well worth the effort. Best wishes on resolving your situation.

  • #22116 Reply

    David Waterman

    I have been there!!! Counselling definitely helps and get out and find other people to hang with. It lets you know you are not a total failure and that you do have value and that things can be seen differently when other people are looking in. Avoid isolating yourself and just having dear old dad to affirm you. And affirmation is what you need. So reach out. If you are involved in church stay committed to that. Do you like music? art? or some other activity? hang around people who share your interests. The big danger is that you hear putdowns for so long you begin to live the lie someone puts on you. So do counselling for sure and also have fellowship where you meet diverse people who are compassionate. It will take time to heal

  • #22122 Reply

    dmaree maree

    I too am caring for an abusive person. It’s not a parent. It’s my spouse. Diagnosed with stage IV cancer quite awhile ago. Was always verbally abusive, but not as malicious as now. It has affected me to the point where I have pushed everyone away to protect them from the abuse…familt, friends, etc. It has affected my children and my relationship with them. I think they view me as weak. If not for the illness, I would have been gone long ago as he has done horrible, unthinkable things to me. I have no breathing room. I feel alone. Like I have no one because no one understands. I have to stay to be the buffer so no one will be subject to his behavior. Am I to think that way. Then there are times when I feel terrible for him…no one should be subject to what he’s going thru. Totally confused.

    • #22126 Reply

      Adrienne Gruberg

      maree –

      Those of us with verbally abusive spouses have it really rough. Before my husband was diagnosed with lung cancer, he was terribly hurtful. I could only put up with it because I understood where it was coming from. No one else understood why I didn’t leave. I loved him and I knew he loved me despite his language. When I began caring for him with his illness, I was fortunate that he saw just how capable I was and a new respect developed between us.

      I don’t know if you have the sort of relationship where you can discuss his abusive behavior. If you’re so bad, why does he put his trust in you to care for him? Of course you deserve better. I’m not a therapist so I can’t give you advice; I can only tell you what I did. There were times I had to remind him that I must be doing something right, and eventually that stuck. He knew I would leave him flat, with no one to care, if he didn’t shape up. I knew that things were already bad, so how much worse could I make them?

      Whether or not this info helps, coming to the forums and letting off steam will. As you can see there are a lot of other people going through one version or another of the same thing.


  • #23847 Reply


    Find a place for him. this is a toxic relationship and it’s similar to being a battered wife. no one should have to deal with this. I just had to put my mother-in-law in an Assisted Living home because of the very same thing. NOTHING could please her, she was determined to take all her 89 years of stored bitterness and anger out on me. Life is too short to live under such stress and turmoil. it will KILL you. selahV

  • #25295 Reply


    Brand new here, just found this today. My father moved into a retirement setting a couple of weeks ago. As expected, he was good for a few days, then started talking about going home. I know this is all part of the adjustment. He is getting very angry with me for selling/giving excess items (that were excess BEFORE he moved) from around his house. This week I will be going for a job interview about 200 miles away in the area that my husband and I plan to retire to anyway. The application was made with my husband’s blessing and encouragement, BTW. My father is extremely angry that I am even considering going for this. I mostly need a safe place to share my frustration without someone telling me that “he’s frustrated and fearful”. I GET IT. There’s another family situation with a DIFFERENT relative who is manipulative as well but she can be told to suck it up or call her granddaughter.

    • #25879 Reply

      Liz Imler

      Christy – it’s good to hear that you’re going through with your life plans with your husband. You, too, need to take priority and can ensure your father that you can still tend to some of his needs from afar, while still continuing to have your own life.

      Stay strong and thanks for sharing!

  • #61066 Reply

    Ralynn Leona Ross

    I am currently working for a woman who is 72 years old and very abusive. She is always making me feel inadiquate or at the very least not smart enough to care for her needs. She curses at me and speaks to me in a very belittling way. She does say please or thank you but just barks orders at you all day and is never happy with what is being done for her to show the slightest appreciation. I am currently working with her 80 hours a week and 7 days. II would have quit by now but I have thought about just cutting my hours down a week or just looking for a new job because trying to stick it out for any more time might really be a mistake. What should I do?
    P.S. I have been an abusive relationship with my ex boyfriend for 12 years and this feeling reminds me of that because I probably should have left him a long time before I called it quits. I’ve been at this job a total of 3 yrs.

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