Is sister abusing Mom? Would the authorities intervene?

Paul’s mom is 78. She lives with his sister. They have had a strong relationship but things turned sour recently when mom told Paul that his sister’s husband had been verbally abusive towards her and had used some physical intimidation to boot.

Since when Paul’s sister had become cold. She bought tea in during mornings but would only say tea. An hello had been taken off the agenda. She would come in  and watch coronation street but she would not talk. They had stopped going out together and to know of anything that was going on in the house was a miracle. Further the sister had stopped taking any interest in her mom’s health whatsoever and whilst it was never a bone of contention and had always been seen as being about making a contribution Paul’s sister had obviously taken or made money from his mom and was continuing to do so.

Paul was very concerned about these developments and wondered if abuse was going on and if he should be reporting it. He didn’t really care for his sister. He considered her to be mean and miserable anyway but something was holding him back and he didn’t want hispersonal opinions to colour anything he may or  may not do.

Paul talked about this with people that he knew. Abuse was a violation of a human right. Which human right was being violated here. The right to a family life? The right to be respected as a person? Rights felt really tenuous here.

Whilst his mother was clearly older than she had been in terms of health and appearance due to the stress she felt she was under and whilst she did have health problems it was not clear if she would present as a vulnerable adult. She may have been in need of love from her daughter but she certainly wasn’t in need of care services. She was over 18 though so at least she would qualify on that criteria.

Was she at risk of serious harm. Well she had been living with this trauma for more than 12 months anyway and whilst it was clearly causing some psychological damage was it significant harm? Was it abuse? Would it qualify under the neglect or act of omission criteria? Whatever you called it, it was a worry, especially as Paul had the impression that things were escalating and the sister was finding it easier to make accusations and call names and stuff. So, it was a worry but was it significant. What does significant mean in local authority  policies?

One thing that wasn’t in doubt was his mom’s capacity to make decisions for herself. Yeah. Ok. She’s having a hard time but she really is strong and independent.

Another thing that was beyond doubt was Paul’s mom didn’t want him to challenge his sister or to cause trouble for her. She loved her daughter and wouldn’t want to cause troubles for her even now. So there would be no consent to Paul doing anything and even if he did his mother was unlikely to back him up.

Paul knew that he should be recording his concerns and he asked me to do this for him on this blog. he wished he had someone to report it and he wished that he could remember the other r he had heard about on the safeguarding vulnerable adults course.

One thing that strikes me is this abuse is really close to home and could happen to any of us at some point in our lives. Are we likely to be any more protected? And bearing that in mind what would your advice to Paul be?



  1. samm:)x said

    I recently had a very similar event happen in my life where my parents returned from living abroad for more than 30 years. After working really hard and attaining all that they wanted fate twisted and in the process all they had worked for started to peel away at the edges. I had been moving around for many years and had built an incredible loving, trusting relationship with my Grandmother. She lived on her own, was really independent, organised and content. My family arrived back to the UK in full force , landed on my Nan’s doorstep and it all started from there. She was 90 when the change happened. I felt the same as Paul and like your mom my Nan did not want any trouble, there was so much love for her son that she said to me one day ” I don’t mind being the whipping boy, they are good people really!” My Nan showed me what true compassion is, not to judge but to accept and understand and love. This has been a very painful experience and I miss my Nan dearly. Everybody is walking there own talk and are here to learn, to understand, to forgive, to love ……………… I was a witness and now I have to learn to forgive my family and love them unconditionally. We have to respect the wishes of those we love and always remember to make sure they know that you are there for them, this in itself protects them. We are our own destiny and can change ourselves not others ……….. support, listen, love

    ” I often thought why it could not have been different, over years of contemplation I came to an understanding that we all have lessons to teach or learn from each other ….. living out your Karma ………… some of us are already in the light and are able to break Karmic patterns others are trapped …………… send these souls LOVE & LIGHT ………….. and make sure your Mom always knows you are there………… blessings xxxxxxx”

  2. detrich said

    HI samm

    Many thanks for your comments
    i will make sure that Paul receives them
    I find it strange that we seek to forgive the abuses against us and that we seek to understand the other side.
    I think it may be more in keeping with breaking karmic patterns if we look outside of ourselves for an answer, if we show zero tolerance for abusers, if we seek top use man made policies and procedures to stop abuse.
    The abuser can then look to their own karmic patterns but only after the vulnerable have been protected

  3. samm:)x said

    You can not change anyone other than yourself, even though we would love others to change. The only way is to show love and compassion not judgement, we must judge ourselves and become whole. Abuse runs deep, it has crept into the fabric of society, laws and policies will not solve this problem, Humanity needs to change on a soul level.

  4. detrich said

    Aah Samm
    If only we could take the time to evolve on an individual basis.
    I think however that the disability movement as a whole might take exception to what you are suggesting
    One of the great pieces of reasoning behind our campaign for inclusion and a civil rights bill is to stop abuse against us. We are calling for legislation to protect us from those who have not evolved enough.
    Yes abuse has crept into the fabric of society. It is deemed to be acceptable. Even to the point of murder.
    the legislature have shown that they are prepared to excuse it. They say if you are pressured enough by your care role then it is quite understandable.
    I accept therefore that the legislation and the individuals that exercise it on our behalf need to change.
    As individuals we may rely on policy and laws to inform our human response. So if we get the laws right that will inform us and help us to reach the right decisions.
    You might be interested to kow that the current UK government is spending millions on changing attitudes. Attitudes are within us and we need to understand where we are and where we want to go.
    The UK government call it changing hearts and minds
    The disability movement say this is a charitable response and for it to be effective we need to have supporting laws. Without them we cannot expect people to learn enough as individuals in good time. The law is a blunt instrument that could help the change within humanity that you are asking for.
    My fear is that we would leave it whilst we waited for our evolution to happen. In the meantime the concerned and the abused cannot wait for the change to happen
    thanks for your comments though

  5. samm:)x said

    Best wishes and good luck on your journey …………..

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