Reached my breaking point and left...Family wants me to return.

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Hello all..I have been living with 87 year old father in his home since May of last year. It has been drama filled to say the least. I work from home and we have two Home Health Attendants. (one for weekdays and one for the weekend. Our weekday HHA chose her friend to work on the weekends. So when she wants extra money she works on the weekend instead of her friend even though we would prefer she NOT work on the weekend since she is very loud and obnoxious.
My father has a crush on the weekday HHA and acts as if she is the woman of the house. She takes advantage of the situation. She rearranges things, comes in late, leaves early...she runs the show. My father treats me like Im the HHA. Every day is a shouting match. He acts as if my children and I are up to something all the time. He hides his wallet, walks around the house acting as if he is the security guard/warden.
On Friday, I reached my breaking point. I work from home and my father came into the basement as if I was not doing anything. He started talking about coming down to get salt for the snow. I was on an important call with my boss. He was told several times not to come into the basement during work hours. Needless to say it turned into a huge explosion. I told him I was leaving and this time I did !!!! My children happily packed up their things and we left. We are staying with a close friend. When I told my siblings I left, my older brother (who arranged for us to come live with our Dad) he told me I HAD to go back. Truth be told I dont feel comfortable staying with friends because then I turn into an automatic babysitter.
I told them I would come back tomorrow but how should I proceed with this ? I feel guilty for leaving in the first place. The Aides had to put in extra hours because Im not there. But I dont want to react upon feelings of guilt. I want to feel empowered. How should I move forward..have any of you ever left your caregiver role and returned ?? Thanks as always for listening and Happy New Year

22 Comments

Did your brother tell you Why you HAD to go back? Did you Ask him why he said this? Did you tell your brother that you Will be going back?

Once you go back, your siblings will know that they got you by the tail. Your life will now be just a drudge - worse than an HHA, worse than a slave. A drudge. You will have NO live or ANY input of the household. You KNOW they need you back into that house. This is the time to put your darn foot down and put in WRITING what you expect when you go back. Make sure it's in writing.

This is the time to set your working hours, and what you Expect of the HHA while you are working. You will insist that they draw up what is required of the HHA, etc... This should be YOUR asset now that you got your family by the balls. Now grab it and run with it! Do Not go Slinking back. My goodness! You have been given power to CORRECT what you have been complaining to your siblings. Do It Now!

As for automatic babysitting, how bad is that compared to what you were going thru with your father, and the Disrespect of the HHA. (By the way, include in your written agreement, that the HHA must listen to you as one of their Supervisors.) And your kids? Is going back to father, and having him Yell at them, and accusing them of things better than the automatic babysitting? You need to get back on your feet. If that means babysitting, then so be it.

In our tradition, when you visit family, you are treated as a guest. But, we are also obligated to help out - to "pay" for our staying at their home. Cook, do the dishes, etc... When we leave (as in me going back home), we leave Cash behind to cover our expenses. When I spent 2 weeks in Hawaii at my sister's SIL's nephew, I left $400 hidden in the car as they dropped me off at the airport. I hid it where it would be easily found - with a thank you note.

Please Think before you go back. Sit down, and write what you need, require from your father and the HHA. Make sure your siblings sign it. And make copies for everyone. And do not burn your bridges with your friend. Show your appreciation because that's what friend's are for. They're there when you need them.

And truly, what it really comes down to is this: Your siblings can find an alternate option with regards to your father. You are not their only solution. And most of all, your kids. It's one thing to visit their grandfather and face that kind of verbal abuse, but it's another by bringing them up in it. Trust me when I say that this can mess them up later in life.
By the way, you could have continued your latest actions on your Original thread/discussion. This way, those who have responded to it - would also know what's been happening. And also give their input on your new situation. And you didn't have to repeat the whole thing again in explaining the background situation.
Thanks Bookluvr. Im still new to this site so I thought my original posts were hidden somewhere. Now, in terms of automatic babysitting/gratitude. Im very grateful to my friend. So please dont misunderstand. Im sorry if I sounded ungrateful. We called her yesterday and without hesitation she welcomed us in. But the fact of the matter is she has alot of children of her own so it wouldnt be right for me to impose for a long time. My brother said I had to come back because he is not going to hire the weekday HHA as a live in. We tried that before. It did not work especially with us living in the house. Thanks for the advice regarding getting things in writing. I am going to take that advice. He also mentioned my children already being settled in their school. So I dont want to make a rushed decision. I was asked to at least stay until the end of the school year. I feel there are too many people thinking they run the show. Everyone wants to be in charge. My father doesnt want to give up power because he doesnt want me to feel its my house. He wants to feel as if he still runs the show, yet chooses not to do anything for himself. He sits in the couch all day..watching every move. When you encourage him to go out, he doesnt want to do it. He says his health is too bad. Anyway, Im going to write up my demands...I mean requests.
They are not demands and they are not requests ... they are simply the conditions under which you are willing to work.

First, understand that you do not HAVE to go back. As long as brother thinks you do, you will never be respected. He can hire the current caregiver more hours, get an additional caregiver, send Dad to daycare during the day and get a caregiver for evenings and nights, put Dad in a care center ... there are lots of options. One option is treating you with respect, paying you, and putting you in charge of the hired help. But that is only an option if YOU want it to be.

I know you won't want to impose on your friendship for a long period, but don't immediately go slinking back to take care of Dad with nothing settled.

I can't remember your earlier post ... have you discussed your situation with your county social services department? Are there other housing options for you and your children at this time?

If you don't take advantage of this situation to change things for the better, then it was just a silly temper tantrum. How seriously is your brother going to take you then?
I wouldn't go back for all the gold in the world. I'd tell your brother that no, HE had to go there instead. End of discussion. Get on with your life and thank God for it. Guilt? What guilt?
Thanks for all of the advice. Jeanne you are so right. I did tell them that if Dad does any yelling or screaming, Im leaving. For good. This is my last chance for the situation. I was all ready to go move out of state. My brother called me last night and told me to that I needed to go back home and not make a rushed decision.
Where were you living before your brothers came up with their brilliant idea for you and the children to move in with your father? I'm thinking that if you were ok before, no reason you shouldn't be again…

You thought it was a bad idea to start with - but you moved in. Now you've proved it was a bad idea, and you've voted with your feet… Can you explain how it could possibly be anything but a terrible idea for you to move back in again?
What CM said.
Countrymouse, we were forced to leave our apartment due to the building being sold..we had very little notice so my family said it would be "ideal" for me to move in and help take care of Dad. It has been a disaster from day one. I work from home and I have three children. My father acts as if we were dumped on him and he thinks he is in charge of me and my children because Im no longer married. He also thinks we were kicked out of our previous apartment. With those two factors in place he treats me like a servant. Ignores the children except the youngest.
Im returning because we still need a roof over our head and I work from home so my father's home has the equitment I need. So yeah Im crawling back to the whispers and scorn of my Dad and the HHAs. They pretend to like me but I know they dont and have probably added their two cents to my father...
Get a loan and get an apartment of your own. Hey, that rhymed. lol

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