At my wits end - caregiving is not for me.

Started by

I don't know what I'd do without this forum. I've read numerous posts here about caregiver burnout and though I can appreciate the suggestion to bring in help, there's one factor... MONEY.

I currently have someone come in overnight four nights a week, and that costs $2,800 a month, and sadly... It's STILL not enough for me. Maybe I'm just not cut out to provide care.

I'm starting to really hate my father, and that's not good. I lost my job, my house foreclosed, and I've decided NOT to start the family my BF and I were planning on starting next year because there is NO way I could endure a pregnancy and caring for my Dad.

Due to my Dad's repeated bad behavior when I was a kid, I had to take care of him (and the many wives he beat), and now as an adult, I feel tethered to him. He won't remotely try to meet me halfway. It has to be HIS way or there's hell to pay, and I'm just sick of it all.

The thing is, I've only been at this caregiving thing for less than a year.
I've gained 25 pounds (when before this happened I worked out religiously),
I keep trying to release the BF (It's not BF's fault my Dad is old, sick and cranky. He needs to find someone with younger parents that can give him the kids he wants and deserves)

If I put him back in an Independent / Assisted Living facility, it would mean letting his in home care nurse go. The first time we tried it, he went to Adult Day Care, lived in Assisted Living, AND had a nurse to spend the night with him while at the facility... ONE WORD... EXPENSIVE

It's obvious that there is no "middle ground"... Especially for him. Either he's happy and I'm MISERABLE or I'm happy (and insanely guilty) and he's throwing tantrums.

I'm exhausted. It's a bad thing to say, but I seriously DETEST care giving. My life is over.


Yeah, well, if you believe your life is over, and you're not willing to change things, you're on the road to a self- fulfilling prophecy.

Why do you have help coming in at night? If dad isn't asleep, call his doc and GET him asleep. Seems like you'd do much better with help during the DAY.

But really? You sound at the end of your rope. I've said this before here, but I'll say it again. Slavery was outlawed in the U.S. a few hundred years ago.

You are caring for your father because you apparently WANT to. I can't imagine caring for someone if I were carrying the burden YOU HAVE CHOSEN to embrace. Really??? No children? Send your boyfriend away?

Pardon me for the assumption, but is your inheritance worth the sacrifices you're making? When you answer that question, you'll have the answer to your dilemma.
Sorry kiddo, but if he needs all three of those things.....he belongs in a nursing home.
To give up the chance of a relationship and children?? Not worth it. He has lived his life, mainly thanks to you. It is your turn. Go live your life.

Maggie gives spot on advice....when his money runs out, get him on Medicaid.
I should clarify....if you are paying for an all night nurse, adult day care and assisted would be less expensive to go to small nursing home or group home where they get around the clock care if needed.
I have a suggestion: reread these quotes, first pretending they're written by someone other than you. Then ask yourself the questions I've posed.

"Due to my Dad's repeated bad behavior when I was a kid, I had to take care of him (and the many wives he beat), and now as an adult,..."

Why did you HAVE to take care of him and his "many wives"? And how many wives are you talking about?

"I feel tethered to him. He won't remotely try to meet me halfway. It has to be HIS way or there's hell to pay, and I'm just sick of it all."

And there you have it. He won't compromise; you either do so and end up miserable. And whether you realize it or not, you're enabling him.

Given that you've taken care of him all his lifetime, wouldn't it be time to halt this situation and make some changes? I.e., if he doesn't have Medicaid, apply for it and get him into a facility someplace on a Medicaid pending status.

Then move on and create a life of your own.

"If I put him back in an Independent / Assisted Living facility, it would mean letting his in home care nurse go."

She'll find another position; working life is full of uncertainties. We all have to face changing jobs at one time or another. Give her adequate notice and good references.

"AND had a nurse to spend the night with him while at the facility... "

Um, why?
Tinyblu, I get the feeling you need to work on yourself. I get the feeling that this is not so much a Dad issue and it is a Daughter issue? How did you get to feel that you owed your father your life, happiness, and even your reproductive future? Or I wonder if you could be using your father as an excuse to avoid these things. For some reason, you are playing a major role in your unhappiness and you need to find out why. I don't like the word codependence very much, but I do get the feeling that you and your father have a codependent relationship, where neither one of you like what is going on, but neither knows how to stop it. Before you get too old to have babies, you may want to find a good counselor to talk to and sort through the issues.

Some big questions are why are you there with your father when he doesn't really need you, and why would you give up your future for him when he doesn't really need you or appreciate you. Those are two big questions. If you were a senior citizen yourself, it would be one thing. But you're not, so it is something else entirely. Do you think it could be avoidance?
How long was he in assisted living? Was it memory care? Why did he need an overnight caregiver? My mom was moved to memory care almost three months ago now. Her first five weeks she needed a 24 hour companion, yes it was expensive, but helped with her transition. So, it was only temporary.
I'm going to quote to you from a book I like very much, by an claimed therapist named Pauling Boss. It is "Loving Someone Who Has Dementia."

"Taking care pf someone who years before was abusive or neglectful of you is beyond what is expected of you. Caring for a family member who was or is physically or psychologically abusive is dangerous. Feeling as if you want to retaliate is also dangerous. These are justifiable reasons for NOT being a caregiver.

Talk with someone about your options. Other people can do the hands-on work. If the patient is financially able, set up a plan for professional care. If not, talk with the county social worker to find out about alternatives."

In most of the book this therapist is talking about how to be a caregiver, but in the two paragraphs above is is very clear about when someone should NOT be a hands-on caregiver.

I think you've asked at least one similar question here before. And I think you got the same kind of responses, perhaps a little more gently the first time.

If you want to sacrifice your life for this abusive part of your past, that is your decision. But please acknowledge that it is YOUR decision. It is not something your father can make you do, or that the world expects of you. If you give up the chance at a long-term committed relationship and the possibility of raising children of your own, well, that is YOU giving them up.

After a lifetime in a very dysfunctional family, it may be very difficult to break free. That is were getting some counseling comes in. Father isn't going to change. Are you willing to?
People don't end up in these situations because they are idiots or no one has come along yet to slap them and tell them to "snap out of it". Psychological chains this strong require love and support of a community. Tinyblu your life is worth saving. Your future is worth saving. I hope you can find ways to make that your guiding star rather than your father's situation.
Sorry to say this but tbere is a victim card bei g played here. You claim you "hate" your dad but you feel compelled to ruin your entire life for him. Even though he doesnt deserve lr appreciate it and ne er has. It sounds lime there is something a lot ddeler going on here a d it has to do with you and not him at all. Get past it my dear, as the others have said. I gave the first 5 decades of my life and bent over backwards trying to please and gain acceptance, recognition and love from narcissistic, abusive parents and I never felt more relief than when I finally broke free from them at 50 years old. Then at 58 I was not invited to my father's ordeal with terminal cancer, his bedside at the time of his death or his memorial service, my mother telling me I never did an unselfish thing in my life. So its just not worth it. Live your life for yourself and those who truly love, support and respect you. Get the old man in a nursing home where he belongs and get on with living.
So to answer questions... and somewhat agree about the co-dependence

Dad abandoned his other 11 living children and was a pretty awful man to his 7 ex wives. He's been legally blind since before I was born, and after my mom died at the age of 6, he played the "you're all I have" card and pretty much PROGRAMMED me to be that way. Until he remarried when I was 10, I read for him, cleaned after him, cooked for him... was forbidden to do afterschool activities / play outside, etc. to take care of him... so yes, I HAD to.

Dad was only in AL for three months. My initial thoughts were to put him somewhere safe where he had people around, but he doesn't want to be IN THE ROOM alone, so I ended up hiring an overnight nurse to spend the night with him... in the AL (overkill, I know).

...I have overnight help 4 nights a week which totals 700 per week which added to Adult Daycare and living expenses for dad is still quite expensive...

...and I can't afford therapy (lost my job due to caregiving). I know my biggest issue is saying NO and giving in to his tantrums. I feel AWFUL when I tell him no and he melts down, or calls one of his ex wives to tell her how badly I'm treating him. I just want to live up to everyone's expectations and feel like throwing him away would be the ultimate let down for everyone. I was taught "FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION"

I'm not avoiding the family life. I WANT it, but can't see how to do it with all of the demands (some of which I'm placing on myself) of caregiving.

Rock and a hard place... I guess

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