I have a good friend who is caring for her father. He forbids her to have a life and will not let her do anything outside the home.

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he is 93 y.o. very, very stubborn man. he barely lets my friend go out and have somewhat of life of her own. he is in his house most of the time, but chooses to be there. does NOT want to go to a NH. and refuses to let an outside source come in to check up on him during the day. my friend cooks, cleans, helps him bathe, does laundry....has always taken good care of him. he refuses to give in and let her take a break from him once in a while.
she is at the end of her rope....what can she do?


Does she live with him and what kind of illness does he have? If she don't live with him then I don't understand how a 93 yr old man is be able to stop her from leaving the house and and why she is doing all the caregiving and not a relative? Not really enough information for me to really say. Maybe someone else can help.
What do you mean that he "doesn't let her" go out? Does he hold her at gunpoint? How does he prevent her from taking breaks from him? What is his health condition? Is she living in her father's house, or he in hers, or do they live separately?

We need more information to provide meaningful input.

But I do know this. If she is at the end of her rope, it is not going to magically lengthen for her. She will need to take some actions. You are a great friend trying to look after her interests. Tell us more about the situation and perhaps we can brainstorm some ideas for her.
she lives with him 24/7(at his house). goes to work, comes home. makes dinner.... on the weekends she cleans, goes shopping, the usual things to keep up a house. the dad has been verbally and mentally abusive to his immediate family his whole life. one daughter has passed. the son lives in florida, but calls his dad daily to inquire about the will and get him worked up. then tells brother tells my friend she is crazy for taking care of him! (because of how abusive he is and he doesnt appreciate anything anyone does for him.)
she has had men take her out a few times, one that was her boyfreind for many years, but finally said " i cant compete with your father"--meaning your dad is so overbearing, i cant stand it. they slowly drifted apart, now they dont see each other at all. as of a month ago, she started seeing, thru a mutual friend of ours, a man who adores her, has taken her out several times, and has even brought many beautiful steaks to grill for all 3 of them and trying to get to know him, but the dad refuses to try to get along with him and finds fault with him.
the only health problem i know of is he just had problems with his blood pressure meds and was in the hospital for a few days. he has had some heart surgery in the past, but as of right now he is back to his old self and driving the only person who will take care of him, out! i do believe there is a level of dementia there to,,, at 93 yrs old there has to be. he also has a hearing aid, but never wears it. he can hear everything! sorry this was long..any ideas?
I think your friend needs to find her own place to live first and foremost. She needs to move out. She can stop by his place and help him out on her schedule and her terms. Perhaps she'll agree to grocery shop, perpare and freeze meals he can microwave, and arrange for a house cleaner (that he will pay for). Or whatever she feels comfortable doing. She should call Social Services in their county, explain the situation, and ask for an intake evaluation. The social worker can explain to them what services are available through the county and also other services available in the community. It doesn't sound like the father is destitute so he will probably need to pay for most of what he needs. If that depletes what is available through that will Brother is so interested in, so be it.

She should seek some counselling for herself, to help her deal with the life-long abuse, and deal with self-esteem issues.

That is what I think should happen.

What I think will happen is nothing. As long as your friend is of the mindset that she needs her father's permission to live her own life, it isn't going to happen. Maybe the counselling should come first. As her friend, if you can help her move in this direction it would be a huge kindness. I believe that people can take charge of their own lives and can make huge changes. It can happen. But not unless she really wants it to and is willing to work at it. Maybe with her new love interest and with your support she can take back her life. But don't take it too personally if it doesn't happen. A lifetime of abuse is hard to overcome.
Maybe your friend could get some counseling. Ultimately, it's up to her to take control of her life. No one can do it for her. Does she want to change her circumstances?
Beverly, it sounds to me, that your friends dad is scared to death that the only person left to take care of him, is going to meet a man, fall in love and move away. It's all about the dad and what HE wants and what HE needs. HE doesn't care about your friend's happiness. She needs to move out.
my friend is on meds for depression, anxiety--i wonder why!
she nor anybody else has ever stood up to him, cuz he knows it all! and nobody is going to tell him what to do!(very abusive). 8 yrs ago my friend did not have a good paying job and her dad asked her to move in and help him out in return for free room and board. he holds that over her head all the time. she does not want to move out because she feels obligated to her dad, especially because of his age, and he strongly opposes going to assisted living or a nursing home. so she is stuck, but she also allows it too.
our mutual friend and myself are trying to be as supportive as we can. i hope she doesn't fall off the deep end. it is very stressful for her.
Beverly, I agree with Jeanne that the friend needs to get out and get her own place. That way she can help if she wants to on her own terms and he can get some assistance if a social worker could do an assessment of his situation.
I also kind of agree what Nancy is saying that is sounds like, he is afraid to be alone and she will leave and that it seems like it is all about HIM. She needs to start thinking about herself and her own health. She can offer to help him by calling in a social service person to see what other resources that he can get to help him out. She should not feel obligated to have to stay somewhere against her will. As a friend maybe you can talk to her and maybe she will listen or not but at least you can say that you tried to talk to her.
No, Beverly, she is NOT stuck. She really and truly can change things. So she lived with her dad and got room and board in exchange for doing caregiving. How does that obligate her for the rest of her life? You said she had a job now. Good. She needs to move out and pay her own way.

I'm not very hopeful here, though. As long as she perceives and others support her in her perception that she is stuck, all she can do is sing the woe is me blues and take her anti-depression and anxiety pills.

She is NOT OBLIGATED to sacrifice her life for her father's for another 2 or 3 or 6 years. That her father doesn't want to have hired help or to move to a long term care facility IS NOT HER PROBLEM. Just because no one has every gone contrary to his wishes DOES NOT MEAN SHE HAS TO PERPETUATE THIS DYSFUNCTIONAL SITUATION.

She can take steps. It would be hard. So hard that maybe she should get some counselling while she does it. But as long as she believes she is "stuck," nothing postiive is going to happen.

Thank you again for being there for her.
OK...the dad is obviously narcissistic and controlling, and the daughter is enabling. She is, unfortunately, making a conscious choice to reward him for very bad behavior. I know it FEELS like she is not choosing the life...but she is listening to him instead of listening to herself. It's as though she is split in two...part of her wants to have her own life (maybe that's the grown up part) and part of her is still acting like a little girl who is required to mind her father. The fact that she is still living with her father makes me wonder if she has been so terribly stunted by his insensitive treatment, that she doesn't have the tools she needs to stand up to him, much less move out.

She is getting something out of the relationship or she wouldn't still be there. Somehow, I'm betting that he is fulfilling some kind of need that she has...but that she doesn't realize can also be fulfilled by herself or maybe her OWN guy....a sense of being needed, for instance. If we were explaining her behaviour and, instead of her dad, it revolved around heroin, an intervention would be arranged. Pretend her dad is heroin and *do* an intervention. It's hard to blame the dad at this point becauseA OF COURSE he wants her to take care of him and do everything and not go anywhere else where he has no influence. Most people want that on some level. She has to decide whether to take back her life and future or to keep putting up with his behavior as long as he is breathing. I hope it turns out well for everyone. Please let us know what happens, okay?

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