So stressed with Dad living with me, losing ways of coping.

Started by

You all have it I know or you wont be here. This is year 2 for me and he's not a bad guy it is just we are different in many ways. It is starting to grate on me and I am becoming a very grumpy person. My wife and I are stressed, she has a lot of stress at work. I work at home so I am in it 24/7. We don't have a lot of money to travel and I can't leave him for very long. I can but not sure what the house would be like after. I cook, shop, repair and do all the things around the house, My wife cleans and keep an immaculate house even with 2 dogs.
Dad can come and go as he wishes. It is just he is complaining to relatives ow so I am looking like the bad guy. If I say anything I am really in trouble. It has always been this way. I learned from my mom to keep my ears open and mouth shut. If I tell a relative they tell him. if I tell him he tells a relative. If I say anything to my sister she tells him so I am screwed.
I cant post a message on social media he finds it (sneaky ways he uses the computer). So I am apparently blackballed from the family per sea. It is my assumption but since no one calls now I can only figure that. How do I get info to family that he is not being as forth rite as he portrays? We are all over the country, one sibling and I do not talk (damage done years ago). The other its all about her. Its the aunts and cousins who I guess I don't care but it does sting that I bust my ass and he has to look like the spoiled child.
Losing my cool way too much (it is in check just inside my head).
Do I ask my sibling to take him for a month this summer? If I do she will make it seem like I am asking a favor and will tell him I asked then I look like I am booting him out.

206 Comments

It seems this situation is getting worse. You're posting more often and your posts are more expressive of the family dynamics as well as your father's unreliable repetition to family members of his misinterpretation of the situation.

I think you've become what others have when taking care of the aging elder - the target. You don't to draw a bulls-eye anywhere on you, but it's there nevertheless. Your father is in one way or another channeling his frustration/anger/fear/anxiety at his own situation toward the person to whom he's the closest: you.

It's unfortunate that your siblings believe him, w/o clarifying the actual truth with you. But since this is apparently part of the family dynamics, it's a given, not a variable. Try to work just with the variables in this problem solving equation.

And I think the biggest variable now is whether or not to continue to keep your father in your home.

Factors: disruption in the smooth running of your household, frustration on the part of you and your wife, probably exasperation, backstabbing (although apparently not new), and as I recall, some issues with your father's dogs and cleanliness.

You ask about dealing with the family dynamics. I'm certainly no expert or insightful in this area, but it seems to me they've become an exacerbation of what already existed. Is there in fact a way to address or change them, to keep the family members informed, or should you be focusing on the larger picture which is the disruptive presence of your father in your home? What is your specific concern - which of these two issues, or a mix of them both?

I'm one who believes in keeingp my father in his own home where he can interact with friends and neighbors, so I'm generally not inclined to recommend a facility placement. But that time may be near in your situation since your father has become so disruptive of what used to be your life with your wife.

One thing you might try is a communication to all family members advising that you and your wife can no longer handle the caregiving obligations (you don't necessarily need to explain why), you're researching other options, and the first is which of the siblings will allow father to move in with them.

If none volunteer, then you might have to explore another option - a facility near one of the siblings.

These aging journeys it seems often put us between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Neither option is good, so it's the choice of which is the least worst.

Perhaps you could even find a respite for him for a weekend so you and your wife can have a normal life and decide how to move forward.
tgengine, I just read your profile... you mentioned your Dad is still mobile but lonely since your Mother had passed. Curious, how did your Dad wind up living with you?

One thing I have noticed after reading the forums on Aging Care, that once a parent moves into a grown child's home or vise versa, the parent/child dynamics change. Once again the grown child becomes the child again, and the elder becomes the adult. Lot of grumpy times.

My Dad [94] made it easy for me when he decided he wanted to move from his home and go into Independent Living. He wanted to be somewhere where he is around people closer to his own age. He couldn't do it when my Mom was alive, so two weeks after she passed he was ready to pack. Yes, it is pricey, but Dad had saved for these "rainy days". Now he wishes he could have moved there years earlier.

I remember one of my cousins was telling me, that Dad told her, that I never take my Dad over to Home Depot to get things he needed to fix things around the house. Hello... we were just there. Dad would want to go there every day if he could. I just couldn't do that. So he would complain.
GA has some good thoughts. I have had a similar thing with my mom. She chose to move in with her kids, chose not to live in her own home. Then complained to family about things because it was different than what she'd done when she was home and retired. Part was just her, part was that she didn't like that things weren't the way they'd always been in her life. In any case, we tried to explain to family (we called them, as they preferred to use the family rumor mill to get word to us) and it was a waste of effort. I came to realize that even if I could get thru to them, it wouldn't change a single thing - they would still have their opinions and still be invisible.

When it was obvious we had to make a change, we took some hits. But we hung in there because she needed more help and care. After a while, we just cut off the conversations with " thanks for your concern - we have it taken care of". You get a thicker skin after a while, because you know that you have to make the change, no one else has any reason to.

Safest thing I found was no to say anything to anyone - not to your dad about the others or the others about your dad. Nothing on social media. Your family knows what your dad's personality is - they probably are steering clear because they sense you may be looking to get them involved.
Heck,,, boot him out to your sister for a month! Let her tell him,, and I bet after a month she will be the bad guy and you will look like a saint! It;s a power play And you may feel so much better after some time with your wife. I know when my Mom visits my Aunt for even a few days I feel like a new person ( although it is usually Aunt who come here, we are apparently very entertaining,, and take her places) It is also 2 years for us, and my Mom is always trying to suggest things.. sometimes I feel like a visitor in my own home.. and she says she does too. Sometimes you can't win. But you and wife need a break
Thanks, I wish he could live on his own but we tried that. No money and he didn't do well alone. It was not my plan but he did not have enough to live on his own (no pension or savings). So I stepped up. Its not terrible, it could be worse. I guess I am just being over picky. The little things bug me like leaving lights on everywhere (I pay the bills). He found I have a dry cleaner who picks up twice a week it is a luxury for me for my business shirts and class A uniforms. He found he can put his shirts and pants out and have them magically cleaned and paid for every week. I stopped letting him have a cleaning bag. It gets expensive after a while. The noises that he makes with drinking eating and teeth sucking, if it were my kids I'd yell at them, with dad I cant. He loves playing the victim card with his sisters and my sibling "they wont let me do anything". Lets see drive 10 hours to not fish for a week and 10 hours back? Climb ladders at the church?
He sits there all day and does nothing. How about empty the trash, put the dishes away, pick up your dogs poo in the yard vacuum all the stuff he watches us do. My wife scrubs his bathroom, we clean his living room (when he is not around). He made the comment once his maid was here (Took my wife weeks to come down from that one.)
I have to figure a way for my sister to take him for a month this summer so we can chill and get on track. Trying to plan a couple days away this month. Not sure if it will happen because we will both be so stressed. If he leaves we have to deal with his dog but yet he wont do anything for my dog.
He doesn't like the food I cook, I made raman noodles with dinner, might as well thought I was serving him trash. The story came out how they are made. So I don't serve them now but yet he wont by food for the house (just him). You get what I make here. Last night I made a home staple (very fattening) of course he liked it. But yet he wont help cook. Its like living as a hotel manager, he has to be called for dinner when he can clearly see and hear it is being made. That one blows me out of my mind.
My stress level is out of control, my BP is high again...... Don't know how to manage all of it.
You're like a hamster on a wheel, we've been hearing about the same problems since you started posting but you aren't willing to jump off that wheel! I get it, you want your life back. He has poor manners, is inconsiderate, childish in the way he handles his finances and manipulative in the way he complains behind your back. I don't understand why he wouldn't be fine living in an independent living apartment with you handling his finances, but you say it wouldn't work.
I guess your best bet is to get as much respite from him as possible. Send him fishing. Send him to your sisters. Send him off to all the aunts an uncles and cousins! I wouldn't worry that they talk trash about you because if he spends any time with them they will know what he is really like!
It would be nice to send him somewhere. Trying to figure out what he is planning. He talks in a whisper every night at 10 PM. to his closest friends wife who he worked with 30 years ago and they were all friends with my mother. I think its great that he does keep in touch with her. She needs the contact as well and she lives 8 hours away. He visits when he can. He is up to something right now not sure what it is. I am not in great favor of his driving 8 hours, he can hardly walk let alone drive long hours. When he talks to everyone else he talks at level 10, with her it is a whisper. I don't care he is 80 so is she. I ask how she is all the time. Anyway. the other issue is he covers up not bathing with cologne...... I can smell it in the basement the second he comes down t he stairs on the first level......ugh.
tgengine, I understand, my friend. You describe what you're going through as not so bad. It wouldn't be bad if it were for a few hours or for a few weeks, but it is your life now. You go through this all day every day.

It's easy to write an answer about what you should do, but so much harder to do it I understand that. He is your father and he is living in your house. It would be nice if he could afford to live elsewhere, but he can't. I do think, though, that you have to work with him to get him to pay some of his costs. And I think one of those costs would be a maid to come in to clean for him once a week. It shouldn't cost that much. If I were your wife, I would have already revolted and kicked you both on your backside. Let him know it's not 1900 again and your wife is not his servant. He'll probably say that he'll clean, but that won't happen. He needs a maid.

How is it he is living with you for free? Most people here know that I have a difficult mother, but even I wouldn't pay for her. She tried that with me one time, but I told her that it wasn't going to happen.

You're doing your dad a good service and he is abusing your good nature. He does not have dementia, so you can lay some ground rules one thing at a time. If he complains to others, then so what? They probably really know the truth -- either that or they prefer to believe bad things. Nothing you can do about them. You have to deal with the thing that is affecting your happiness the most. I know you most likely won't make him leave, so try dealing with one thing at a time. Good thoughts and hugs coming your and your wife's way. Hang in there.
Freqflyer - I feel for you. My mom was forever telling people I never visit. I would usually hear this within a day or so if my last visit - one of the usual 2 - 3x a week. (Sigh)
Tgengine, you sound exactly like me! "Oh, it's not That Bad!" But No, it Is That Bad! My FIL makes those sounds too, the coughing to get attention, the throat clearing, waiting to be waited on, being served meals First, as all elders generously are, and then after he dishes up the meal, my husband spent an hour to cook, he just says "OK", and retreats back to his TV room, no "Thank-you, nothing, and on the rare occasion that I tell him that his son worked hard on this or that, to make things nice for him, and that he Never says Thank You, he will argue it to the death with me! Now, he won't even come into the kitchen, as he has gotten lazy, and won't even get up to serve himself, although he is perfectly capable! Grr! Having them live with you, and then not being appreciated is the worst part for me. My husband won't confront him, but I will, though it does no good. My husband will then complain to me about him, but its his Dad, so how is this fair? It's Frustrating isn't it? And we've never had a break from him, but I am working on this! 12 years of zero help from his other 2 kids! I wouldn't want them to help now anyways. The dysfunction in this family is too great, and I wouldn't even allow his other kids into my home! I would be afraid that they would steal from us (as the other Son has done in the past), so that is out of the question. I hope relief comes soon with home care and respite! For you too buddy!

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