Hah! I called that one!
Recently, a neighbor complained that the elderly man who lives next door has horrible, selfish adult children who've abandoned him in his time of need and rarely visited.
The old guy is a character and seems nice enough, but then again, so did my narcissistic father who turned me into his emotional caretaker and sucked me dry. I know for a fact that some neighbors and family members called me a horrible, selfish, ingrate because I rarely visited after I left home.
"Who knows?" I told my neighbor. "Bob (named changed) might be an okay guy, but he might be a nasty, abusive parent. There may be a good reason his kids don't visit. Or you may be right. They could be selfish pigs." My neighbor conceded one never does know what goes on behind closed doors.
Well, the door opened wide enough for me to get a peek inside and it wasn't pretty, folks.
The maligned horrible, selfish adult daughter had taken her father out in her car and when I was walking by, dog in tow, I heard her explain - nicely - that she needed to get going because she'd left her dog inside all day and she needed to let him out and go potty.
Bob responded by saying, "I don't give a shit! What do I care? Get the hell out of here?" (This shouted in the ugliest possible tone of voice, complete with flailing arms and twisted facial expression)
"But Dad!" the woman protested.
"I said I don't give a shit about you or your goddamned dog. Just leave, dammit!"
I fled the scene, grateful the old bastard wasn't my father. Now I'm not saying the old coot was a narcissist. Maybe he was just a Difficult Old Fucker. And no, the man does not have dementia. By all accounts, he's sharp as a tack. Some neighbors think he's funny. Maybe he's funny around non-relatives. To his daughter, who came to help him, he was a Really Big Douche Bag.
And you know what I'm betting? He was always like that to his kids, hence the lack of visits.
In witnessing that one minute exchange, I imagined a lifetime of emotional abuse endured by this woman who finally solved her problem by limiting contact. Because of her decision, she may also come in for public scoldings by scandalized neighbors or family members who know nothing of her situation and don't care to, more concerned about voicing their indignation.
Adult children with really awful aging parents who need them after abusing them have few choices, especially if there aren't financial resources to throw at the problem.
The best choice (in my mind): OUTSOURCE...limit contact...make sure they are cared for but don't do it yourself.
If that option is not available, you have my complete and utter sympathy. Really. It's awful to finally come to terms with the kind of parent you have, just in time for said parent to begin declining...further requiring your time and energy. Oh, the tragedy.
I can only imagine the state of mind the poor woman left in as she drove away from her father's house.