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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I was sexually abused as a child and emotionally abused by

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I was sexually abused as a child and emotionally abused by my mother. I've struggled with PTSD all of my life. I have been estranged from my parents for many years which is my choice. Now my mother is elderly, has alzheimers and is going downhill rapidly. She was just admitted to a skilled nursing facility and may never return home. I'm torn about whether or not to see her before she dies. My 5 siblings are with her and fortunately they support me as well. My question is what is the "norm" for feelings when an abuser dies. I'm not finding much information about that. are there any books, articles etc? I have found that I cope better if I'm armed with information and know that others have gone through this.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


I understand your dilemma. It is difficult to know what is a normal way to respond in a situation like this when you are abused as a child. Your feelings are legitimate. Just because these people are your parents does not mean you are obligated to have a relationship with them. Often times, parents who abuse do not stop when their children grow up. They may not be able to hit them anymore, but they still can emotionally/verbally abuse.That, plus the trauma from being abused, makes it imperative that you do not subject yourself to a relationship with your abuser. And there is a peace to having no contact with an abusive parent. For seeing them again brings up the feelings and reminders of the abuse. It is being victimized all over again.


Here are some resource that may help you decide what to do:


Adult Children of Abusive Parents: A Healing Program for Those Who Have Been Physically, Sexually, or Emotionally Abused by Steven Farmer


An Adult Child's Guide to What's 'Normal' by John C. Friel Ph.D. and Linda D. Friel M.A.


You can find the books on or your local library may have them for you.


The link may have support groups or chats from others who are in your situation and can offer some insight into how they have handled the situation with their parents.


Let me know if I can help any further,


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