How would you handle the death of an abusive parent?
It is strange for me to write those words, since it has taken most of my adult life to come to terms with the fact that my father allowed verbal and sexual abuse to happen to me until I left home at age 16.
My father is critically ill, is a “devout christian” who is now remarried after losing my mother to MS and mental illness. He chose to support her in her madness and abuse of me which led to my leaving NC and moving to Florida. This behavior included ignoring situations of sexual abuse I encountered from a family member and strangers.
Over the years, we have been somewhat close via phone and visits. It wasn’t until recently that I have discovered through self-healing and therapy that it wasn’t ok for him to allow my mother to reject me from our home, and it wasn’t ok to ignore the abuse I received, sexually and mentally.
Now at age 74, he is dying from multiple organ failures and is in extreme pain.
As an abused child, I always thought he “did the best he could” and I continued to love him unconditionally.
His current state is difficult to deal with and most recently he supported my stepmother in calling me out on “abandonment of my mother”, (ha!) leaving home, not taking care of him in his sick state, my divorce, and simply trying to enjoy life.
I am beyond angry that this situation has repeated itself, almost 20 years later but he stands strong behind his belief that I need to support my stepmother despite her angry (and obviously misdirected) words to me and obvious distaste for me – apparently driven by his own stories about me.
He calls me everyday, twice a day, to tell me how much pain he is in. He refuses to take any pain medication because he is afraid of what he saw the pills do to my mom.
I am at a loss because in realization of this abuse, I am not sure if I can continue to be supportive of him at this time. It plagues me since I have continued to be a loving, peaceful person despite my past.
All I want to do is dissociate myself from the situation but I come from a large family rooted in the Southern Baptist region of the deep south, and for some reason I am “bad” for not sacrificing my freedom for his pain.
Sorry for the long question, but I am curious if anyone else has dealt with this type of situation in death and what you decided to do.
Did you “suck it up” and unconditionally provide support, or decide to finally stand up for yourself once and for all and refuse to take any further abuse? What happened when you made your choice? Did you regret it?
This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.