Feb 9, 2022Liked by Claire Zulkey

Hey, Claire,

Thank you for this carefully considered and thoughtful collection of responses. As much as I appreciated them, I wanted to share something that came up for me that wasn't addressed: the assumption that they have a functioning, non-toxic, non-abusive relationship.

What I'm interested in talking about and holding space... somewhere?... is for is for those of us who care about and care for parents who abused us growing up, or were toxic/enmeshed/narcissistic.

My sense, in reading what's "out there" about caregiving for our elders, is that a lot of it is written to support caregivers who have had, baseline, anywhere from a decent to great relationship with their now-aging parents.

This kind of advice given to caregivers often assumes that if only the caregiver takes the right approach, that elders can "be reasonable."

But if you care for elders who are NOT reasonable because they are not in good working order emotionally (and I'm not talking about age-related cognitive decline or dementia, which is its own set of issues) , then you have a whole host of issues that can't be solved with this kind of advice. And I don't see a space even within podcasts and communities about caregiving where that conversation is being had.

For example, Kitty's advice : "If her mom has any more anxiety about being alone, then it’s worth getting it on the table. “Mom, I’m noticing you need more hand-holding and I’m happy to do that ... Her mom might bat her away but she might realize, “You’re showing care for me, It’s not manipulative, it’s kind.”

This is totally appropriate advice for some people, but if you've had a life-long dysfunctional, toxic relationship with the person you're caring for... this won't work. In fact, opening up a conversation this way is kind of like the adult child/caregiver walking straight into a buzzsaw. Ask me how I know.

So, what I'm saying is that there are adult children out here taking care of parents who have childhood abuse and toxicity and dysfunction in our pasts, and in conversations about caregiving for our aging parents, it's really not addressed. It's all lumped in as one type of caregiving.

Are there spaces where people support each other specifically through the experience of taking care of toxic (for lack of a better word) elders? Maybe I just don't know about them.

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Thanks Maggie, that is a point well taken--I appreciate you speaking up for the folks with this experience--I know it's not that uncommon unfortunately. I'll ask my sources...

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Feb 15, 2022Liked by Claire Zulkey

Couple of good videos I found, just in case this is interesting to you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJMzDBJssGA and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnH_Cqj_yc8

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Feb 16, 2022·edited Feb 16, 2022Author

Hi Maggie--I remembered that a friend of mine, who has a very difficult and complicated relationship with an ailing parent, went through training that helped her. She highly recommends it: https://www.nami.org/Support-Education/Mental-Health-Education/NAMI-Family-to-Family

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Feb 18, 2022Liked by Claire Zulkey

Thanks so much, Claire. Appreciate you

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