My father is slipping and no one sees it but me. It is too much to carry alone.


I don't know if you can read my whole question but my father is slipping and no one sees it but me. He is very emotionally abusive and has lost all of his and my money. I am penniless. I am medically disabled and after college graduation he let me go to France on his and my dime (there was a financial settlement over my mother's wrongful death.) He lost everything and then convinced me to let him sell my car while I was away. He is so manipulative and I never see it coming. When I was a kid he was the sweet little peacemaker in the family. Now he is causing all kinds of drama I think in part just to have the opportunity to fix it and feel useful. He recently had surgery for blocked arteries on his neck but no one but me thinks his behavior is out of line. I have considered moving into a homeless shelter just to get away from him but that scares me too. I cannot find enough work here where I live to move out even with section 8 housing which I am applying for. This is so painful. Does this sound like senility to you? He is 78. I could really use a few shoulders to cry on. I am always crying. Sometimes he is fine and sounds like he is normal and other times it is like living with a mean girls teenager. He is so abusive and my aunt doesn't even see it because he waits til she is out. He quotes her or misquotes her and makes it sound like she wants to throw me out of the house (this had me bawling one time when there was a foot of snow on the ground.) I have gone back to school to try to make myself more competitive with the marketplace for a decent job to be a school teacher so I will probably have to live here for another 1.5 to 2 years minimally. How do I make this work? I figure staying out of the house and spending time on campus would be best but what else can I do?

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Find Care & Housing


Good luck @afbraica. What a lot for you to have to deal with. No, his behavior does not sound healthy. In one sense, whether its senility or fear or meanspiritedness is secondary - help yourself first. You know what they say on an airplane - put the in case of emergency, put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then help someone else.

Getting an education is a terrific idea and opens up the possibility of student loans to help you get financially stable now. You might consider a career that has better financial opportunities than education, because you will be racking up student loan debt and you want to be able to pay it off as soon as possible.

It sounds like you have several things going on at once and its all mushingintogether and getting frustrating.

First, you have your own financial situation to work on. Can you get a PT job on campus? Increase your student loans?

Second, you have your living situation. Good ideas listed above about campus, roommate, live/work opportunity.

Third you have your father's current abusive behavior. You haven't told us much about his abusive behavior other than that he is stirring up drama. Is it possible to have a sit-down, serious conversation with him and your aunt to discuss how to make this more livable? Having all three of you in the room together may help everyone behave a little better. Remember, if you do that, its not about making accusations, its about being curious. "How can we make this better?"

Fourth, you have his past/present mismanagement of his money. This is his responsibilty. Get back on your own two feet before you try to help him with this.

Fifth, you have his past mismanagement of your money. Well, you might as well write this one off to a life lesson. If he has been careless with your money in the past, he will do it again, so work on your own financial stability. Whoever controls your money controls you.

I wish you the best of luck and check back in to let us know how it is going.

Ditto to the above and start looking for a roommate at school - perhaps someone who is looking for childcare, etc. in exchange for rent. There are a lot of possibilities out there - but you have to do some footwork.
good luck

Spending a lot of time at school is a good way to help yourself and get away from him. Maybe that will give you and your Dad enough separation to work things out. If you are living under the constant threat of being thrown out of the house then you should look into another option even if only as a back up plan. It sounds like you need to think about yourself right now. Emotional abuse is just as bad as physical abuse. Because of your Medical disability you might qualify for special grants or loans. Talk with a school counselor. When it's sink or swim time, you swim. I say doing everything you can to take care of yourself right now is best. Let what everyone else might say or think go. If your Aunt thinks he is not that bad then let her step in and take care of him. I'm sure you love your father and looking out for your immediate needs doesn't take away from that. Do what you can to help your father or see that he gets help but don't be a martyr for him or anyone else. You are just as important as anyone else.

Can you live with your aunt? How about a friend that will take you in till you get on your feet? If you HAVE to stay with your dad, then I think it sounds like he needs you emotionally and you need him financially so you've gotta make this work. Don't take the abuse he dishes out, stand up for yourself. If he indeed does need you to stay for his own selfish reasons, then you have some leverage. You're not a helpless little kid anymore unless you make yourself into one.

It is indeed too much for you to carry alone.

I think your plan to spend most of your time on campus is a good option. Can you live in campus housing? See an advisor. Find out if you might be eligible for grants or aid. Consider loans.

Also take advantage of the college counseling services. Moving out will help, but it may not totally solve the crying all the time problem. I don't know what your medical disability is, but counseling may help you cope with that, too.

Going back to school may help you get back on your feet in more ways than one! Stay in touch with your dad and your aunt, but don't let their situation consume you.

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.