ASK ELLIE: Reading books can provide answers about toxic parenting

Reader’s comment on the topic of parenting that hurts rather than helps:

Dr. Susan Forward’s Toxic Parenting is one of the best books and manuals I have ever come across. I have passed on many copies throughout my own years of therapy, to so many tortured souls.

I am the only one of four children my mother claimed she wanted and sadly I am also the only one with over 30 years of continuous counseling including needing anxiety medication.

Fortunately, my own children are not too affected by my history and my mental health problems.

One important thing I would like to point out about this is that although many mothers are blamed for poor and abusive parents, many women had no choice but to become mothers, as there were no laws and no birth control protecting them.

My own mother confessed that she started hating my father for the hell he put her through during the 10 years he forced her to have sex shortly after giving birth and then forced her to have sex. to have mistreated.

I didn’t understand her plight until many years after having my own children and moving for a better life. And I only realized how bad things were going when my brother’s abuse became evident in a landmark lawsuit that my sisters and I fought on his behalf.


Q: Nine years ago I was unexpectedly widowed. Raising two young boys was, and still is, a challenge with my own progressive neurological health issues. To compensate for the loss of their father, I spoiled the boys with toys and electronics, but I still thought I had done a good job as a parent.

Now that my health issues are more serious, they have both become verbally abusive. I’m very depressed because I thought I raised them better than that. The eldest has a full-time job and still lives at home. He still refuses to even clean his own bathroom or help bring groceries inside the car. He also does not contribute financially to living here.

My younger son pretty much copies his brother, refusing to help because since his brother doesn’t, why should he? I asked my 25 year old son to move out, but he refused. Most likely, I will need a caregiver to look after me in a few years.

But how can I trust any of them to take care of me in the future when they have no compassion or empathy now? In fact, they tell me that I’m lazy and useless, despite the fact that I clean, cook, do their laundry and do the shopping.

Please advise me.

– Spoiled adult son, worried mother

A: It’s time to take care of yourself in several important ways. Start with your health care:

  1. Ask your doctor about the medications and care you need and about other regimens (fitness? diet change?) that may help.
  2. Talk to your banker/lawyer about your current living expenses and financial moves that can make your life easier, like selling your house to move to a more affordable place.
  3. Talk to a counselor about preparing for an easier future: living alone without the demands of two spoiled adult men who can take care of themselves.

These three major moves can relieve you of more than your share of immediate household needs and hopefully lead your sons to recognize that they need to help out or move somewhere else. Period.


Q: I’m an older woman, loving people and contributing to causes, but in a marriage that hasn’t been consummated for over 25 years. I thought he was respectfully expecting our wedding, but it never happened. Would that make it easier to leave?

Or should I still divorce? We sleep in separate rooms.

He now has physical problems. I am an unrecognized caregiver with all household needs on my shoulders but no communication regarding decisions. He prefers that I take care of everything, which is difficult.

I have good friends but I’m also private and I don’t want to discuss it with them.

Also, my family never supported me and don’t know about it because it’s too embarrassing for me to share.

A few suggestions, please.

– Caregiver only

A: Ask a lawyer if your jurisdiction allows divorce on non-consummation of a marriage. In the meantime, hire a caregiver for your husband at least on a part-time basis. Enjoy your friends and share some realities.

They are your support system.


Ellie’s tip of the day:

  • Relationship problems affect entire lives.

Read Ellie Monday through Saturday. Send relationship questions to [email protected]. Follow @ellieadvice.

About Marcia G. Hussain

Check Also

Indian parents would rather read books from their own childhood to children than choose new titles: survey

Nearly two-thirds of parents in India, just like their global counterparts, would rather read their …