Dealing with a demanding, self centered father.

Started by


Hi, Joyce. Could you tell us a little more? Many people on the group are dealing with elders who have become more self-centered as they age. Of course, some were always that way. You will get a lot of understanding here.
To tell you more would take a bit. My father in law does not have any concern about the feelings of others. When he wants something done, it has to be immediately, no matter what we are doing. He complains about everything even when I cook for him.
We had a incident on Christmas day. He started pouting after we opened gifts. He was mad that he didn't get a gift from our son. Our son lost his job do to the department changes. We had 4 generations of males in the house and he refused to have his picture taken wth his son grandson and great grandson. He would not say another word. Then yeasterday when my husband took food up to him and eat with his, he started about our three children, he said some very horrible things, all because of a gift. Well, any onyone who has said anything about my kids before has always been positive. We raised our kids to have respect, manners, compassion etc. Well I am very hurt and angry about this. When you say things about my kids that are lies, I take this as an insult to me. I have closed the book on my father in law. I will no longer cook, nothing. I'm. Dying, I have decided I need peace and calm in my life not stress. If this sounds harsh to you, so be it. We have been so much for him th last four years, it' time his other son takes over. I've had it. If you want to comment, i would appreciate it, but I cannot do anything for him anymore. I lost all respect for him.

Joyce, so many of us know what you're talking about. My mother does that all the time. People can give her the stars and she'll find some little thing to complain about. This Christmas it was that her granddaughter only stayed a few minutes. I thought it was fine, because granddaughter and husband are young. Mother explains that she owes her, because if it weren't for my mother, she would have never been born. (Bump head on wall. How do you reason with such narcissistic logic?)

You brought up an important point, Joyce. It does make us lose respect. Has your FIL always been this way? Some people have been self-centered all their lives, but it really gets evident as they get old and lose their independence. When something like the lack of a gift gets stuck in their craw, they can sure be mean. Chances are that he'll feel better about him soon, but if he's anything like my mother, he'll just get mad at someone else.
I think my father in law has self centered for years. In fact ther was a write up about my hisband in our local paper about his service to our community for over 50 years. Instead of saying that it was nice, he said whay did'nt say anything about me! Now I know why my mil was always mad at him. I do need peace and calm in my life. I don' know I much tome I have left, i just want this part to be on my my terms. Thanks for your comment. I do appreciate it. Take care and God Bless.
Joyce, is your FIL living with you and your husband? If not, why do you need to have any contact with him at all? It sounds like you are dealing with serious health problems of your own and don't need the stress.

If he is living with you, maybe it's time your husband had a serious talk with Dad, along the lines of "My wife is ill, and we can't take of you here any longer. We need to find a place where people will be able to attend to you." If he's not living with you, then maybe you need to explain to your husband that you can no longer deal with the stress his father is creating and that, if he wants to care for his father, he needs to do it on his own and not require you to get involved.

As for pushing it off on his other son, I would not do that. It isn't his responsibility either. Maybe he and your husband can put their heads together to find a more workable solution for Dad.
No he does live with he lives half a block away, so imagine how that goes. As for the other son, he is 9 years younger and done much of anything for his father in 4 years. He is the one whose been enabled all his life, like the golden child who needs to grow up. My husband has parkinsons and I have pulmonary fibrosis (ipf). Since my bil is in good health I feel it's his turn to do not take for a change. I've already suggested assisted living or some one to come to the house companion, but far no talking about it.
Correction on my last post. Bil has done nothing the last four years.
Joyce, step away and take care of yourself. Now.
Joyce - my guiding principle is that we can't tell anyone else what to do. We can only decide what we will and won't do. A piece of understanding I've come to as a caregiver is that nobody will search for solutions as long as they have a solution that's working for them. In your situation, right now, you're the solution. As long as you remain in place, nobody will consider assisted living or a home companion, or stepping up if they've been hanging back.

You need to step back for your own health and sanity. Don't expect anyone else to agree or to make other arrangements so you can feel it's taken care of. Other arrangements will be made only after you're no longer available. So stop being available. Don't cook for him. Don't bring him to your house. Don't step foot in his house. Tell anyone who asks that you just need to focus on yourself. Period. Other arrangements will be made once you're out of the picture, not before. You need to get out of the picture while you still have some meaningful life ahead of you. Just do it. Just say no.
As Carla says, just stop showing up. He's not your responsibility. If he's in need, someone will step up. It doesn't really matter if it's family or local authorities, as long as they get the job done. Not your monkey, not your circus.

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