START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

Setting Boundaries in Toxic Relationships

  • 1 of 3
Setting Boundaries in Toxic Relationships

By Carol Bradley Bursack,

When the family member we are trying to care for is impossible to please, it’s often because of long-standing family dynamics. I’m not talking about someone in intolerable pain, or someone who has little control over their brain because of dementia or Alzheimer’s. In those cases, we often need to get the help of professionals, whether it’s hospice care for end-of-life pain or a memory unit for Alzheimer’s patients who may not be safe at home.

However, many caregivers on this forum talk about caring for parents who have abused them for a lifetime. Aging, and the problems that come with it, has only made this abuse more intense. No, your parents may not be able to hit you anymore, but that loss of physical control for them sometimes can make their tongues an even stronger weapon.

Yet, it’s natural for adult children to love their parents and even want to care for them as they age. If your parents abused you when you were a child, how do you care for them without harming yourself by being subjected to ongoing criticism and abuse?

Many counselors would suggest “detaching with love.” Detaching is a method of setting boundaries to protect yourself. It can also mean that you give up the notion that you can control their behavior, and you stop allowing them to control yours. It’s hard. It takes practice. But for many, detaching works.

“I Love My Mother, But I Don’t Like Her”
Caring for Parents Who Didn’t Care for You
Why Do Elders Abuse The Relatives Who Are Taking Care of Them?

Detaching With Love: Setting Boundaries in Toxic Relationships originally appeared on

  • 1 of 3

Read more: Aging, Caregiving, Family, Love, Stress, , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love connects family caregivers and provides support, resources, expert advice and senior housing options for people caring for their elderly parents. is a trusted resource that visitors rely on every day to find inspiration, make informed decisions, and ease the stress of caregiving.


+ add your own
11:55PM PST on Nov 21, 2013

Thanks for Sharing.

12:45AM PDT on Mar 21, 2013

thanks for sharing

12:25PM PDT on Apr 3, 2012


10:51AM PDT on Apr 3, 2012


11:56PM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

Good article, thanks!

11:17PM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

That is what I am doing--detaching with love,

7:51PM PDT on Apr 2, 2012


3:31PM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

Good article and comments. We all need to learn about setting boundaries of all kinds.

1:53PM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

So true, without boundaries we are setting ourself up for complete draining of our energy.

3:15AM PDT on Apr 2, 2012


add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

hello friends I am from U S A. God is be really Good to me in my life, before people said there is…

Thanks for sharing.

Very helpful article thank you for sharing.

Some good ideas ☺


Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!