By Carol Bradley Bursack, AgingCare.com
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.
Detaching With Love: Setting Boundaries in Toxic Relationships originally appeared on AgingCare.com.