My father (87) is controlling my mother (88).

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I am writing this to vent, but there is NO answer. Sadly my father (a selfish, ego-based person) has manipulated my mother into making her think I am against them. He made sure she was there with him while talking on the phone to me and then acted "angry" at me when the conversation was very nice and cordial with me... All I said was that I thought they should not decrease their (recently hired) 4 hr a day 5 days a week home care for mom -- HE said "Mom and I have the right to make our own decisions in our own home!" and acted out. He said (while mom was listening) that I don't want them to be able to make their own decisions. I said that there was no problem and that I support them. While I was talking I was aware that his angry response was NOT equal to what i was saying... I later figured out that in order to ignite my mom's anger he acted like I was trying to say something different than I was actually saying. Mom is hard of hearing and has a bit of dementia...She is easy to influence... Now the caregiver tells me that when I called yesterday my mom said "She does not care" about me. - He is SO "gas lighting" her. I went from talking to mom every day for a bit to encourage her and see how the new care was working out. We were close, my mom and I. Always have been - because she used me to support her when my dad was being unreasonable - I have developed after leaving the family system. Much better for me. even though her faculties are diminishing, she is pretty aware. My dad is becoming paranoid. He was never an easy person to deal with. His needs always came first. Mom saw to that. too. I was hoping he might understand that I still have his best interest at heart... Not when he felt threatened. He is a controlling, self-centered, nasty revengeful "teenage boy" now. This new wrinkle is interesting, childish, a game, basically stinks! It used to hurt me. I am numb, now. I have been a thoughtful, caring daughter. I have done so much work to be able to say this without a single bit of guilt. I am clear that I can't change anyone but myself. I am totally grieving - but aware that this is beyond my control. I have mentally and emotionally evolved beyond where my parents ever will. Spiritually, I feel that I am morally doing all I can to be supportive. I check my conscience and live with love. So, why am I writing this? Because it just stinks and I have to write it out! It stinks to not be able to do anything..but that's the bottom line.


If you have mentally, emotionally, spiritually and morally grown... why does your father's behaviour, characteristic of how he has always been, still cause you so much pain? Perhaps we can never quite lose the image of the parent we ought to have had.

Also, I have to ask - are you sure it's only your mother who is now hard of hearing and in the early stages of dementia? Your father's overreaction to your questioning the reduction in caregivers' hours could be more understandable if he were similarly declining.

It's good that you're in touch with the caregiver services; and good that at least they are still on the scene. Do you have any opportunity to visit your parents in person?
Dear Lainiegirl
Your post is exactly what a great many people need to read. It's so good that you've done the work that allows you to leave them to their drama for now. It was never about you and you know that.
I know you didn't ask for help but I will suggest one proactive thing.
Call the area on aging and let them know what is going on so that hopefully they will check on your parents from time to time.
You do know that your dad also has mental illness, right? But then he probably always has and she decided to stay with him. Mutually codependent.
They have lived long lives their way. Something will happen. It always does. None of us get out alive. If you have their drs names you could also alert them so they know what is going on.
Come here to vent as often as you like. You will see that your story is one we hear often but usually the poster can't see what is going on as clearly as you do. I call it the trance. You have awakened. That is good. These, of course, are just my opinions and you still have your loss. Hugs

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