My parents are 86 and 91. About 7-8 years ago my husband and I moved to their community and built a home on their property (I know). We bought their farm on a land contract and they are now living in a condo in a retirement community. My father still drives and he has lots of friends. My mother has dementia, but is still doing pretty well. Normally, I see them a minimum of 2 times a week, but lately it feels like my dad will not give me a break. And, of course, the more he calls or stops by, the more resentful I feel.
This has been an ongoing problem from the beginning. He wasn't around much when I was growing up so I didn't realize how pushy and obnoxious he could be. My intentions in moving next to my parents was to be here to help them as they got older and I've done a lot, but my dad is so needy.
When we first built our house, he would come in unannounced. He would start by knocking on the door and when we didn't answer (because one time we were in the bedroom), he would let himself in and call to us! He came into the basement when I was exercising and told me he had knocked, but no one answered. (If you knock and we don't answer, we are not here or we don't want to be disturbed!)
It would be nice if he was someone I could talk to so maybe I could try to make him understand how intrusive he is, but he also doesn't like to listen. When I've told him something bothers me, he'll ignore me and continue to do it so that I have to keep saying something. Then he gets exasperated with me! In fact, I have realized that our entire family deals with frustration and anger by being passive/aggressive.
I can't blame all of this on his age. He's smart, he has lots of nice friends and he can be very nice himself. It's just that he treats me so disrespectfully, I feel. We live in the country and it seems like he spits on the ground constantly. I cannot guess how many times I've asked him not to do that because it grosses me out. He'll stop for a while, but it doesn't last long. His table manners have definitely gotten worse and part of that probably is his age. Still, I find it disgusting when he leaves his napkin next to his plate and wipes his fingers as he eats. He thinks nothing of taking off his shirt in warm weather and it's a horrible site. In the past, when my mom had more control, she would tell him to put his shirt back on. Now she just looks at me and says he needs to get a bra!
We had my parents here for Christmas and we try to get together with them for dinner or lunch weekly, but lately I need a break. Dad calls me at home or work and wants me to meet him and Mom for lunch. And/or he wants my husband and I to go out for fish on Fridays. I know he's bored and tired of being alone with my mom, but she is actually very happy spending time alone. He belongs to the senior center and has a number of activities there. He can even take Mom along because there is a library, movies, etc., but it doesn't seem to be enough.
On the one hand, I feel guilty for avoiding my parents. They aren't bad people, but they are limited. Other than family, I don't have much in common with them and now they are both starting to repeat themselves A LOT. My husband has a stressful job, I work part time, and we have a dog and horses so I feel like I'm busy all the time. I'm so stressed out right now that every time Dad calls and I hear the ringtone I set up for him on my cell phone, I feel angry and upset. I've even tried finding ways to connect when it feels better for me, but that only seems to "prime the pump."
I want to be a good daughter. I love my parents and I know they need some help. I know my parents have done they best they could for all of their children, but I'm so angry right now that all I can think about are the negatives.