Abused Child is now Abused Caregiver
I am an only child caring for my 57-year-old mom who suffers from chronic pain, arthritis, and various mental illnesses. I have to monitor her constantly to make sure she eats, stays clean, and takes her medications properly, because her physical pain, anxiety and inability to concentrate makes it impossible for her to do it herself anymore. I encourage her to do things for herself when she is able, but she is more content to watch me do everything and tell me (in very cruel, abusive language) how I do it all wrong.
Her attachment to me has always been very unhealthy, but it is now to the point where if I close the bedroom door to get dressed, she takes it as an insult to her and begins to cry and threaten suicide. She even tries to get me to keep the bathroom door open when I am using it, accusing me of trying to ignore her when I am just trying to do my business in privacy! I grew up in a violent, abusive home where I was beaten, threatened, and intimidated every single day by my father (now deceased), while my mother looked on and did nothing except tell me it was my job to endure it, because he paid the bills and provided the drugs. When his abuse turned sexual, my mother essentially pimped me out to him, and to this day, sees nothing wrong with it. I hold so much resentment and emotional pain, I can hardly stand to get up in the morning anymore.
I am in the ultimate "no-win" situation. She can't
work, and filing for disability is a long process. She has no safety net, and my husband and I pay for everything she needs (which we cannot afford, but don't really have much choice). If we were to abandon her, she would be completely alone in the world, as she has no friends due to her non-existent social skills, and the rest of her family is pretty much gone.
But, staying here and continuing to care for her is taking a huge toll on my health, my sanity, and my marriage. My husband tries his best to understand, but he works long, erratic hours, and has no concept of the day-to-day struggles of just making sure she doesn't start screaming, throwing things, or harming herself (something that can be triggered by as little as a misplaced pair of sunglasses). He takes it for granted that I would be a willing, serene caregiver (because it's "what women do"), and doesn't understand how incredibly difficult it really is, and how my entire life revolves around preventing/preparing for Mom's next fit of rage or psychotic episode. So, I am caught between the massive guilt of leaving her alone, and the very real threat of another mental breakdown on my part if this continues.
This is something they never seem to mention in abuse-survivors groups, that one day, you may be caring for the very person who hurt you the most. Am I crazy for doing this? Is the guilt I feel at the thought of leaving her to her own devices a legitimate moral concern, or a byproduct of a lifetime of guilt-inducing abuse?