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?

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the thing he hangs over her head is the "inheritance" or "i am going to change the will!". last week she told him to go ahead and maybe she would be happier! he'll never do it, but she is afraid she will lose out. what it comes down to is her dad is a master manipulator, has been his whole life. nothing is going to change unless she moves out. but she wont becuz she feels obligated to her 93 y.o. father. i just had to step back becuz i couldn't bear to watch &/or listen to it anymore.
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to nancy and eldest daughter,
you hit it on the nail on the head!
it is hard for me to sit and watch the manipulation go on.
i had to step back this last week and not talk to her as much.
the dad drove his daughter to alcholism(sp?), the son is 1500 miles away and does not want anything to do with him(except the will--sad to say but true), the wife died at a younger age due to multiple health problems.
my friend did tell me that her dad was always spoiled--even growing up and ALWAYS got what he wanted. it's ok for him to dish it out, but when somebody disagrees with him and calls him on it he doesn't like it. so my solution is to still be supportive and like i tell my friend, he wants to be in his home--let him.
he is 93 yrs old and he wont live forever. if you come home and he has fallen and hit his head, broken a hip(whatever), oh well, that is what he wanted--none of us can change his mind. as far as his behavior, it certainly is not going to change now, i just cant "help" out as much as i have in the past. i need to step back. he has it "all" under control! thanks for the advice!
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To expand on what Nancy H said, the dad is scared to death he will lose CONTROL over the only person he can still get to. Just like how a kid is scared to walk for the first time; or how we are all scared about something. But usually, once we sit it in for a little while, it becomes less scarey and we become familiar and fine. We recover. It's not a good enough reason to give up your life. OR if she choses to stay, she should relinquish the right to complain perpetually. I suspect that her father uses the same tactic to manipulate her guilt and she has learned well and uses that same tactic to elicit attention and sympathy from her friends.

It's all very dysfunctional, sad and unnecessary. Unfortunately, it's also all too familiar and common at this stage of the game. Best wishes.
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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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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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.
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