My 85-year-old father is mean.

Started by

We had hoped my Dad would "mellow" with age & illness but doing my research that's not usually the case. Becoming old, we have the same character we've always had but magnified so a moody, angry person will become moodier & angrier. Not pleasant. My uncle had Alzheimer's and he was still very pleasant - as he was all his life. 6 weeks today the silent treatment started! All because I put down a patch of gravel in an area that is soggy & not used. I was yelled out the house with looks that could kill (ask my husband) & told he'd do his own gardening or get someone else in to do it. So my parting response was "Okay, if you want me to do your garden again let me know, or I can give you some phone numbers of gardeners if you want" - silence. I was graveling over his borders to keep the weeds down, I've done the same to my garden & it's very low maintenance and lovely. I don't like heavy gardening any more, hoeing, raking, forking - my back hurts & my big toe is bad & I've got carpel tunnel. However he doesn't see the struggles of anyone else, never has. Very self centered. Anyway I was becoming totally fed up with weeding their garden constantly so maybe it's a blessing hahaha. They never go out in the garden to enjoy it so why bother. My brother just says to let it become totally overgrown again. It's mean really cos my children, husband & me have been sorting it out for over a year. His latest is he's not going to grandaughter's wedding on Sunday, he doesn't feel up to it. She's the first grandchild & first wedding. Ages ago I said to him we can get a wheelchair for the day to make it easier but he's so bloody pig headed he won't use one. Maybe it's because of me he's not going? childish or maybe he really doesn't feel up to it, just an hour at the synagogue is surely not too much & he was not going to the reception anyway. My brother will not be pleased to hear this latest snub. Rant over Arghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!

9 Comments

I take it he doesn't live with you. So why bother at all about the landscaping, if he's so ugly to you?
No, he still lives in "his" home with my mother who is at his total beck & call even though she is 80 & in quite poor health but he seems to disregard her health over his.
Many folks here are "waiting for a catastrophe". Their parents need help but the parents refuse to acknowledge that.

Leave the weeding and lawn care alone; let him pay someone to do it if he wants it done.

Is mom going to the wedding? Expect that at the last minute he'll accede, but I wouldn't cajole him.

You cannot change other people...you can only change yourself.
For your own mental health, try to change your expectations of your Dad. He isn't going to be the easy going pleasant Dad...he never was, and you need to accept that he never will be.

Then, you cannot be effected by his nasty outbursts or silent treatment. Just shrug...yep, that's Dad...and move on.

If he comes to the wedding or not...you cannot effect that. if he changes his mind..he will let someone know. Then you can offer a ride. But, do not expect it...then you will not be disappointed in his behavior.
The man is an alte momser- don't be a martyr to his cause- let him sort out his own garden, and make an extra fuss of the bride and your brother- surely,they also know what a pig he is? Enjoy the wedding mamaleh- have a glass of wine for me!
Thanks for your answers. Yes Mum is going to the wedding she wouldn't miss it, as she said "It's her first born grandchild getting married". My husband was driving them both with me & the kids. Now just Mum. I'm not losing any sleep over "his" garden it's just a pity for Mum as she likes things to be neat & tidy & nicely mowed grass. But as me, my brother & husband say when it's only Mum living in the house things will be different, she'll be grateful for the help & clearing out loads of Dad's hoardings!. eg rusty car in drive, junk mail piled high why??? 2 broken washing machines in kitchen used as counter tops why??? As someone said in a post on here - I won't be crying when he dies for his death but for the relationship we never had, if I cry at all.
I agree about lowering expectations for daddy. Also, keep in mind that sometimes, if he is declining cognitively too, there may another stage of more negativity or refusal. Sometimes, people who are already rather difficult, may grow even more so. I saw that with my LO. She was resistant to help, misinterpreted things a lot, withdrew from social settings. I would question if that might be a reason for him not attending the granddaughter's wedding. When their mind is effected, they sense something is off and it scares them. They may become afraid to be in public or family events, because they have forgotten names, faces, and how to do simple things.   They may become anxious, annoyed and even nasty. My LO stopped going anywhere. She told me it was too scary.  She would refuse to allow me to clean her house, change linens, make her food, etc. Later, it was apparent. Is there someone who speaks with his doctor?

Also, if you mom goes into the yard, I'd tell her to stop, if he lets the weeds grow up. Depending on where you live, snakes are really bad this year. They thrive in a thick undercover on the ground. A friend of mine was bitten by a Copperhead in his yard last month. It was serious too.
I don't understand why in the last years of your life you'd want to leave your kids with the memory nothing but constant complaining and yelling and verbal abuse. My father in law is horrid. I use to think he was just a little ruff around the edges but now I know his true nature. Even when he's quiet for a few days I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop. He has destroyed any relationship he had with his son and I'm completely done with pleasantries. I refuse to deal with such an abusive person. He called me and cussed me out for no other reason than neither of his sons would answer their phone and I did. Since then it's a simple hello- goodbye when we visit. No one speaks to me that way.
My Dad has always been an angry person...but part of it was that he was depressed and now in his older age, he's on antidepressants which helps some. But at 93 he still wants to be in control even if it's detrimental to my mother's health. We, the children, are getting them some in home help...in addition to all that we do.... but Dad is balking due to the cost. They have nothing else to spend their money on so we have been trying to convince him that this is why they've saved the money...and have nothing else to spend it on! They actually need to spend it anyway...if they have to go to a nursing home they will have to apply for medicaid. So it will be used for their care either now or later...but he can't seem to understand that.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support