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Is verbal abuse a normal sign of caregiver burnout?

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    Originally posted by zillazangel View Post
    Speaking as an in-the-trenches, 7 year experienced 24/7 caregiver of a high level quad, that mother's behavior is 100% OUT OF LINE. It is abusive, absolutely and there is NO excuse whatsoever for it. I am awake at night too and yes, its hard, but I would NEVER do what she has done. Good luck getting help for your sister, I am so sorry that you are all in this situation.

    p.s. This is happening with 70 hours a week of attendant care?!?!? Wow. What I wouldn't give for THAT! There is simply NO excuse, I totally agree with eucrach
    yes, zilla. and you're likely younger and you chose your situation, didn't you? please, let's not judge those we don't know. let's just help.


      I have the right to judge in my opinion. She is just wrong, wrong, wrong in all regards. She should step away before it got this bad since they have available attendant care. Any good caregiver and human being knows when to cry uncle!
      Wife of Chad (C4/5 since 1988), mom of a great teenager


        im so sorry this is happening. im glad you have seen this though. with so many care hours available, why is your mom needing to be her constant care provider?

        have you been able to talk with your sister, to see what extent this has gotten to?
        and the fact that you are afraid to say something to your mom for fear of getting thrown out, says a lot.

        when has your mother last seen a Dr? If this is a sudden personality change, I would be more worried about your moms physical health. you would know if she has an abusive personality being her daughter.
        stress can affect a person in all sorts of ways, but so can early onset alzheimers, cancer that has matastasized, mini stroke, diabetes that is untreated, or narcodic abuse, just to name a few things that can change a person in a drastic way.

        I dont mean you should suspect these things, but well, when members of my family became suddenly agressive, it turned out to be small cell carcinoma that had traveled to the brain.

        Thank you for looking out for your sister, and welcome to care cure.
        I hope you and your family can work through this and effect a change for the better. just from what you have written, one can see that you and your family have been through some hard times.

        wishing you the best with this situation.


          My parents were married for 58 years and the last 25 years my mother had Alzheimer and the last year were very hard for him because he was old, over 80 and they had half an hour help every week for helping my mother take a bath. Before that she didn't take a bath for half a year.

          She was doing a lot of strange things. like putting the meat under the sofa in the living room and under the bed and it rotten and she couldn't finished a whole sentence. And she was asking for the time ever 10 minutes, In the end he called me and told me he had been hitting her in frustration because he was so tired and he was the most kind man, I have never seen anybody keeping Alzheimer patients so long at home as he did, he loved her a lot and she was not even kind to him. I found her a place in a nursing home and after three month he died, he was so tired taking care of her. And I don't think he could live without her.

          I know SCI and Alzheimer is not the same thing but what I try to say that everybody have their limit of how long they can make it. I couldn't help out because they were living in the second floor without lift.
          So I think nobody should judge anybody when it comes to caregiving. I think my father did a great job taking care of her all alone for so many years but nobody expected him to keep her home for so long. And when she was moved to the nursing home, they took all her money and he didn't have money for the house rent or other bills. I didn't know it at the time but found out later when he died and I took over my mother's needs in the nursing home and even that was enough job for me to pay her bills and buy her clothes with my money and visit her every week. And I was 35 years younger than my father.

          So never judge anybody if you haven't been in their shoes. Another thing is that I think it is worse when your children get sick or get a SCI, it is hard on the parents.
          TH 12, 43 years post


            This isn't being judgmental. It's just wrong. You don't verbally abuse somebody for any reason. Unless they are jerks themselves

            Ok so a husband and wife are having a hard time. He works 10 hrs a day at a high stress job and gets very little sleep due to sleep apnea, insomnia..whatever. She asks him if he can take the trash out and he calls her a lazy ass bi$$$, grabs her face and says do it your d$$$ self! But Lets not judge this man. He's getting only 4-5 hours of sleep and working all day

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              my mom used to verbally abuse me and hit me as a kid when she was in charge of my care. it still affects me today (i have written about it on this forum so u can do a search for it) i don't care what the stress level is, a person has a choice of whether to be abusive or not.

              i am also wondering y your sister isnt more independent. it doesnt take 10hrs a day to give someone pills and help her blow her nose. + extra help from family she needs some more OT to get her ADLs down so that she can be more independent. do a search for how other quads do turning for themselves.
              "Smells like death in a bucket of chicken!"


                Don't understand why some people are sympathizing with the mother, but are ignoring the bigger problem.

                This is a young girl, who's life has been shattered with no fault of her own. Imagine the amount of emotional pain she must be in. It is disgusting to see the behavior she has to face at home.

                You can't abuse another human being, no matter what you are doing for her.

                In olden days, there used to be an institution, where people used to provide food, shelter and security for people of inferior race and in return they used to treat them whichever way they wanted. We call that institution -SLAVERY!

                Just because the mother is providing food, shelter and care (i would hardly call that care) it doesn't give her the right to abuse the girl.
                Last edited by Megha; 31 May 2011, 4:28 PM.


                  Originally posted by ECUrach85 View Post
                  Ok so a husband and wife are having a hard time. He works 10 hrs a day at a high stress job and gets very little sleep due to sleep apnea, insomnia..whatever. She asks him if he can take the trash out and he calls her a lazy ass bi$$$, grabs her face and says do it your d$$$ self! But Lets not judge this man. He's getting only 4-5 hours of sleep and working all day
                  Loved your reply. This is a great point in caregiving, that people hardly ever understand. Just because you are providing for someone, it doesn't give you ownership of that person.


                    I agree, it would be worthwhile for my sister to get a little more independent. It's been a while since she's had OT. She's part of a study where she was getting PT, but that's it. She had OT for about the first year, maybe two, after her injury but nothing after. It didn't seem terribly helpful. They were trying to teach her how to use the head-dot thing to control her computer. I went out and bought a computer with Windows Vista for her, which has built-in voice command, so she keeps herself occupied on facebook much of the day. She is also taking a couple online classes at the local community college. I did once direct her to these forums, but she never bothered to register.

                    I think the reason she has an aide for 10 hours a day is just so she's not home alone in case of an emergency. While it's true it doesn't take 10 hours to help her blow her nose, give her pills, get her out of bed into her wheelchair, and feed her, those things are required periodically throughout the day. I'm not sure it's possible to get an aide for 2 hour blocks of time throughout the day (breakfast time, then lunch time, for example).

                    I'm interested to see how she could do turning for herself, being unable to move her arms. Probably something that could be gained from OT.

                    Anyway, I had a talk to my mother a couple nights ago, and she seems to either be in a better mood or putting on a front. I haven't had any time alone to talk to my sister about it since I talked to my mother, so I don't know if she's been treated better these past few nights.

                    I also like the idea of sleeping upstairs a few nights to give my mother a break. The only problem is, I'm allergic to the family dog, and the dog often sleeps in that bed. I'd be swimming in allergens all night. :-/

                    Thanks for the advice, all.


                      The huge majority of people out there aren't angels. They're human, warts and all. The incredible emotional burden felt by all people involved with a family member who has a spinal cord injury can be overwhelming.

                      I don't see anything abnormal in what Jack has posted - I've known a few mothers who have daughters with a spinal cord injury. Moms and their daughters will fight, it's the nature of the world, SCI or not.

                      If anything, the harm done to Jack's sister is emotional, and the mother probably apologized for her behavior.

                      It's a touchy subject. But it's been my view in my own situation that my family members were more negatively impacted by my injury than I was. I'm only paraplegic.

                      Everybody's life changes when a family member suffers a SCI. Hopes and dreams and plans go out the window, usually forever. I sympathize with the daughter completely, but I also understand why the mother might be acting out.

                      I hope you can communicate with both your mom and sister, Jack, and get it all out in the air. Good luck.
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                        Hi, I sympathise as have tetraparesis CP, hydrocephalus and partial sight. I was born at 29 weeks, 1 of twins but my sister passed away at 9days of age.
                        I´m 29 and in the past my fiancee was my full time carer.
                        My parents got a care agency in to care for me. I had carers 4 times a day for personal care, roughly 3 hrs per day and inbetween times hoped that my parents would help. No easy task, as both work, my Dad works from home, and told my social worker he´d be happy to help as not a problem as he´s at home. However, he´d work from 8am to 5pm straight and rush his lunch, not talking to me. He´d also take too working at his boss´house for the entire morning leaving me completely alone. I suffer from incontinence, and one weekend my parents left me in the bathroom for 3 hours whilst out for a walk. I also suffer from muscle spasms and convulsions and cannot stand on my own. My dad dragged me across the pavement when trying to put me in his car, causing bad grazes on my back, the pain was so bad I feared I´d broken a bone, but it wasn´t that bad. They have said horrible things, like "we are thinking of getting a divorce as you stress us out" "we don´t have time to help you, we have to work, work is our life". They spend their free time with friends, This has been the situation for years. My fiancee here gave up most of his work hours to care for me. They say they never will, despite Mum promising in the past to take a job nearer home working less hours to care for me. They also promised to get advice on how to help me , but see themselves as knowing everything due to being my parents. Dad yelled at the OT saying she´d no right to adapt HIS house.
                        i have nowhere else to live. Mum recently said that the "difference in our opinions" would make it impossible to live together.
                        Dad has been traumatised by my birth for years as my twin sister died shortly after, and he constantly makes remarks and stares at my every move. They also don´t seem to know how to have a simple conversation with me. What hurts is their tendency to recur to others rather than caring for me and blaming my needs for things that go wrong in the family. I´m on housing lists but am conerned about the care I get when the carers aren´t there. After all my parents bought me into the world. I also hear alot of "oh, we are such bad parents" and looking to the past "we did everything we could for you years ago". I think it doesn´t stop because I´m 29, and they should do more to help me. I feel rejected and really bad they don´t.
                        Hope you find the help you need


                          Originally posted by kat81 View Post
                          I think it doesn´t stop because I´m 29, and they should do more to help me. I feel rejected and really bad they don´t.
                          If nothing else, they should do more to help you become completely independent. Stay on those housing lists and start seeking complete financial independence. Set your goal toward being completely independent of your parents and lay out the steps you need to make that happen.

                          Your parents have indicated more than once that you can not expect them to take care of your needs. I'm sorry they have rejected you & treated you in this manner, but it needs to stop. It doesn't appear anything will change with them. You must take the steps to move away from them both. Good luck.

                          "We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."
                          - Barack Obama


                            Kat81, I don't know where you live (a complete profile is always a bonus for members here), but if you were in the USA, I would strongly recommend filing a report through Adult Protective Services. In most states in the USA, people with disabilities are in a special protected class when it comes to abuse and neglect (along with the elderly and children). Just because these people are your parents does not make their behavior toward you acceptable. Please seek assistance through your local health agency, church, or social service agency.

                            The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.


                              Extreme emotional abuse, worries about being kicked out of the house while in grad school, allergies to the family dog prevent sleeping upstairs to help with pillows, water at night. Strange priorities. ummmm I think your family could use some counseling and support. I cannot imagine how awful that young girl feels after her mother tears into her like that. The mother sounds vicious…those aren’t mom/daughter spats the mother is venting hatred. Please get some counseling and help with strategies to care for the young lady and help her mother cope before there’s more tragedy.


                                Verbal Abuse is not good sounds like she may be having a nervous breakdown
                                Stress , Tolerance ( Patience ) are so important ,.
                                No one needs to be torn apart verbally
                                I've been down this road many times and I Do not put up with that type of verbal shit at all .

                                KLD offered very great advice .
                                Being she has 70 hours a week care is great Via nurse or Caregiver weekly is fabulous .

                                The Mother is plain Cruel or unable to help so I'll offer that Mom a word of wisdom

                                Lady Respect your Daughter !!!

                                If you are unable to handle the load then look @ other options but Stop Verbally Abusing your Daughter
                                Her life is rough enough

                                What that Mother is doing touches the line of Breaking the Law .

                                One more piece of advice Dear Mean Mother Go Get Zoloft or Prozac , See a Shrink and maybe go to a Ettiquite Class to learn manners and how to be polite .
                                Abusing your own flesh and blood is Plain Wrong