Do you feel obligated to take care of family members who abused you?

By Leca
@lecanis (16661)
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
March 22, 2007 7:31pm CST
I've seen several topics about the care of elderly family members here lately, and it got me thinking. I don't really feel any obligation to take care of anyone in my family. I do (just barely) maintain relationships with some family members, just out of kindness really, but if they were incapacitated I wouldn't really want to take them in and take care of them. I suffered some pretty horrific abuse in my childhood, and I can't understand why I should owe anyone in my family anything. The people who were kind to me are dead already (my great-grandparents) and the people who remain are the ones who abused me or allowed me to be abused. I might say I love my parents, but if pressed I can't say I love them as much as I love my friends. So, for those in my situation, do you feel obligated to take care of elderly family members who abused you? If they were to become incapacitated, would you take them into your home and care for them?
16 people like this
35 responses
• United States
23 Mar 07
I took care of my mother for 18 months before I decided that it was just too much, so I feel that with all the stress it puts on you, youre better off putting them in a nursing home.
3 people like this
@lecanis (16661)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
23 Mar 07
Thanks for responding!
2 people like this
• United States
23 Mar 07
That is a very tough question. But, like they say what goes around comes around, and if someone has abused you as a child they don't have a right to expect anything from you later on. I would also break loose and keep my distance from past abusers. I probably would wish them no harm, but I wouldn't want them as a noose around my neck, either.
3 people like this
@lecanis (16661)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
23 Mar 07
Thanks for your response! I like the analogy of a noose around the neck. Very vivid, and true.
2 people like this
@towongfoo27 (2989)
• United States
23 Mar 07
I also went through a bit of abuse when I was growing up. I was raped at 14, and my brothers committed incest with my sisters a few years later. My mother denies all this still. She treats her "princes" as angels, while my sisters and I get nada from her. So to answer your question, NO, I would'nt take-in my mother if she was incapacitated, for she already is apparantly. We are trained to love, honor and obey via society, but there is a limit.
@lecanis (16661)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
23 Mar 07
*nods* Sounds like your life was a bit like mine. I agree with you. Personally I believe that honor goes both ways, and if people haven't treated me with honor, then they also don't deserve anything from me.
2 people like this
@vanities (11409)
• Davao, Philippines
23 Mar 07
i understand what you feel about them...but you msut forgive those people who have abused you or whatever...try it and you can feel a light feeling as if some burden in your past have gone...i know its hard to forgive but give it a try...its not like an obligation i think but i think that it would be morally right to take care or at least put them in a welfare house or something which they will be taken care of...i know its hard to do so...but if it will happen to me...i will still do it..i mean put them in a special home to be taken care of..
@lecanis (16661)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
23 Mar 07
Thanks for your response. I would definitely contribute financially to their care if possible, and I would try to get them somewhere where they could get help. I just wouldn't take care of them personally, or have them living with me. As for forgiveness, I'm not really that into it. I don't hold onto anger especially, but I don't feel like I have to forgive them either. What they did to me is their fault, it's too late to change, and they will never have the relationship with me they would have otherwise. There's no way for me to change that, that I can see. Also, I have a child of my own, and it makes me ever more hate child abuse. I look at him, and I think "I must have been that vulnerable as a child" and then I realize just how horrible what was done to me truly was.
3 people like this
@Stringbean (1273)
• United States
23 Mar 07
I don't think you are obligated to take them into your home and care for them. I would check on them and try to make sure they were not homeless or anything like that, but I understand your reluctance to want them living with you.
3 people like this
@lecanis (16661)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
23 Mar 07
I would definitely help them in any way I could short of actually taking them in. Money (if I have it) I would definitely contribute, and I wouldn't really want them to be homeless or anything. I could not have them living with me though, and I've been accused of being "selfish" or "heartless" because of it.
2 people like this
• United States
23 Mar 07
My parents didn't abuse me, but if they had, I would not feel obligated to take care of them. I might contribute financially for their care, just because I have a tendency to not want anyone to suffer (even people who have abused me). But as far as taking them in personally and taking care of them, no. And I don't think you should feel guilty for however you feel. People who have not been abused will never understand what it does.
@kurtbiewald (2627)
• United States
23 Mar 07
nobody abused me so I don't even know what it feels like I think maybe they get what they deserve When they need help, and you are expected to quit a job or travel and disrupt your life. If your first thought is about abuse you might be way less likely to help em. The nest thing would be if you could try to fix it though. If I ever get with someone who was abused (if you mean rape and stuff like that) I would rather NOT meet the abusers, since I might hit em or something.
3 people like this
@lecanis (16661)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
23 Mar 07
Thanks for your response. I understand what you mean. My husband very much would love to hit several of my family members, as I would one of his. We don't really spend time with them, thankfully.
2 people like this
• India
23 Mar 07
Even though some of your relatives turned you down at some part of your life we are still obligated to them,we are still responsible to take good care of them,I still believe in taking care of my family members at time of despair because at some part of my life they were the ones who took care of me
2 people like this
@lecanis (16661)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
23 Mar 07
Thanks for your response! I appreciate your opinion. =)
1 person likes this
@Galena (9120)
23 Mar 07
you see, I don't think if someone in your family abuses you, you have no obligations to them whatsoever. they've damaged that relationship and can't hope ever to use it when it suits them to do so.
1 person likes this
@alcazar (761)
• India
23 Mar 07
i can understand you condition and how you are feeling but dont you relationshps make us complete and without them we are just incomplpete. just think if any one did something like that to you then how you will feel.just think on the surface of the things and relatives are there and even if they are ight or wrong they will be same.
2 people like this
• Philippines
23 Mar 07
Maybe so. But the pain inflicted in a child, stays in the heart forever and thrives in the subconcious till the end. This is the reason why abused kids have sorts of compexities in them which are so hard to explain.
2 people like this
@lecanis (16661)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
23 Mar 07
Thanks for your response. I really like Trinidadvelasco's comment here too. Abuse at a young age causes much harm, and has changed the entire course of my life. I cannot create relationships that do not exist here. I did not learn trust in these people as a child, I learned to fear them. Getting over that fear is something I am still working on, and I do not ever see myself having a proper relationship with them. Also, I have relationships in my life. I have people who fill the slot where "family" might be, they just happen to be people I met later in life who happen not to be blood related to me.
1 person likes this
@MarkyB21 (1545)
23 Mar 07
I'm fortunate enough to never have experienced anything like that myself. Personally I would want to care for those that I love if they need it but I would probably do that by making sure they were cared for professionally as I have no real skill in that area. For anyone who has been abused by someone who now needs their care - I would say not to feel obligated. People who have been abusive do not deserve that kind of care in my opinion. I think it is fair that they realise that what they did in the past has had consequences and that they have created a situation where people do not want to care for them. It's as close to karma as we get in this life.
2 people like this
@lecanis (16661)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
23 Mar 07
Thanks for your response. You make a good point about professional care sometimes being the best thing too. As for the rest, I like the way you phrased your opinion. Especially, "It's as close to karma as we get in this life." Very well written.
@rubypatson (1842)
• India
23 Mar 07
Yes I do, I think its only right that we take care of them, if they are our parents, siblings or relatives then we must take care, even they have been bad to us, We need to obey Gods commandments the first one being Honour thy father and thy mother, to obey god is more important
2 people like this
@lecanis (16661)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
23 Mar 07
I appreciate your response, but since I do not follow the religion you are referencing it really isn't relevant. Thanks though!
1 person likes this
@anya11111 (169)
• India
23 Mar 07
Any two people living together for a long time happen to see each others `s follies rather than good points! Even male female relationships are similar! there is an old story that goes like this: there was a prince who fell in love with a pauper. the king tried to convince the prince against it but the prince wouldn't budge. he was deeply in love with the girl. he thought he wouldn't stay alive without her for a moment. so the king decided to tie them together in a room for just 24 hours. first few minutes they enjoyed.they kissed and caressed each other . they were very happy. then they started sweating and then they had natures calls coming, at the end of the day they were so fed up of each other, they refused to look at each other when they parted! the moral of the story is: whoever stays together has differences and quarrels- call them tortures or abuse. whoever is in command at that moment so called tortures the weaker person. but in the commanders opinion what he is doing is the right thing. there are so many things which we do wrongly as children and then when we think of them after getting older if they are interpreted wrongly it seems like abuse. you try to put yourself in that person`s shoes and you might find you would have done the same thing in that situation. always remember -one day you are going to grow old and helpless and someone is going to neglect you because he thinks he was abused as a child by you! we have to mentally grow up some time- it is now or never. "when god solves your problems, you have faith in his abilities! when doesn't solve your problems he has faith in your abilities!"
2 people like this
• United States
23 Mar 07
I dont know,,i havent been there yet,,but i will tell you that not a day goes by that idont think about this,.my mom and dad both abused me really bad..my dad he has made up for all the wrong he did to me..and appologized many times..and we talked about it.,things are great and hes my best friend..and yes for my dad..i would do anything for him..but my mom..she is just as mean and evil as she was when i was little..and nopw shes taking it out on my son..and he doesnt see her much..except holidays..unless we fight then too..she has been nothing but rude and unkind and hurtful to me..and honestly..i dont know if i can find it in my heart to care for her then..i love her..and shes my only mom..but..i just dont know if all that bad feelings could go away long enough for me to care for her.
2 people like this
@lowyder (282)
• Canada
23 Mar 07
im pretty sure if someone abused me i owuld Not take ccare of them as thay treated you bad but if it was verbil then maybe or physical then i probly wouldnt take care of them
2 people like this
@finlander60 (1804)
• United States
23 Mar 07
I keep coming back to the old adage that states, treat your enemies with kindness. It will be like heaping hot coals upon their head. I am also reminded of the saying, treat your children with kindness, they will be the ones who choose your nursing home. I have seen enough nursing homes to know that some of them could end up being the worst treatment they have ever endured. I seriously doubt that you REALLY OWE THEM ANYTHING. Having never been abused, I have no idea how I would feel about this. I hope this gives you some food for thought.
@lecanis (16661)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
23 Mar 07
Thanks for your response! I like those sayings! Much food for thought. Thanks. You're a great friend. =)
2 people like this
@Naomi17 (624)
23 Mar 07
I have never been abused, but had a friend who was ! being abused is never acceptable and from your own family its just sick i think as an adult i would cut the ties its obviously still very painful to see them!
2 people like this
@mfpsassy (2827)
• United States
16 May 07
Okay when you first started this discussion I wasn't real sure what I would have done in this situation. I was leaning towards saying no. But as you know my mom was here for over a month because of being ill. I don't feel my obligation was to her though mor to the other people who love her and whom I love. So I would say it depends on the circumstances
@lecanis (16661)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
16 May 07
I can understand that reasoning, sassy. I hadn't thought about that part of the issue, thanks for mentioning it.
1 person likes this
@mfpsassy (2827)
• United States
16 May 07
Your welcome, like I said it was a tough one to answer until I was actually put in that position
1 person likes this
@Ephylyos (154)
17 May 07
thanksfully i never been abused, but i understand the feeling, I left the country 10 years ago and I still keep a "sort of " relation with them by calling sometimes, i still love them in a sense but i do really love more my friends, the ones who share my joy and tears ...
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16661)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
18 May 07
*nods* It's easier to love the people who are actually there for you in your everyday life.
@happymom1 (1179)
• United States
17 May 07
Well sorry to hear that. Since i was small until now i am supporting my parents financially. Its hard and i dont want to remember the things they did to me when i was young but i forgave them already because i love them. Love is powerful than hate. It vanishes when the years passed.
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16661)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
18 May 07
That must be really hard, happymom1. I think it's great that you can do that, but I really don't think I could. It's not so much that I hate my family, but that I believe they should have to take responsibility for their actions. I would certainly never treat them like they treated me! But I don't believe I should have to waste the precious time that I have on this Earth on abusers when I could spend it on people who actually deserve kindness from me. Does that make sense? Of course, there's another dimension to this whole thing that I haven't really touched on. I have Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome from the abuse I suffered as a child, and being with my family can "trigger" the effects of it. Meaning it is actually dangerous to my mental health.
@Augustta (1860)
• Poland
22 Apr 07
Let us to be clear!The right reply is NO!! No one which hurt you in childhoon,or no one which don't take care for you to have a beauty childhood don't deserve a damn! I don't have such a members in my family,but i have zero tolerance for people which abuse of kids... My dear,is not a sin to make they all undserstand how much you was hurtful and how they was... augusta
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16661)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
23 Apr 07
Thanks for your response! I agree with you 100%. Anyone who didn't make an effort to properly treat a child doesn't deserve anything from that child later.
@buldwgz (1482)
• United States
20 Apr 07
No way would I feel obligated to take care of anyone who abused me. This is a tough situation and can cause great distress to anyone who suffered I am sure. Those who abused, or allowed it to happen, were in no way obligated to do it, so why should anyone feel obligated to help them? If anything you should feel an obligation to do the opposite, not that you would, just that I could fully understand a feeling like that.
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16661)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
23 Apr 07
You bring up a really good point here. It's enough of a struggle not to do harm to others who have caused harm to you, let alone actually taking care of them. Thanks so much for posting!