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Hello all. Im the caregiver for my 87 year old father. My children and I moved in back in May. We have help during my work hours and my father is not in bad shape physically. Back in in May he fell and he can no longer live alone. He makes no hiding of the fact that he sees my sister as better than me. She is coming for a one week visit and he is ready for us to roll out the red carpet. Never mind that I have children of my own and a career. He is going to expect me to cook and wait on her as if she is a guest. He is going down a list of all that needs to be done this week. Im trying to remain patient, but how do I overlook such blatant favoritism ? On top of everything he plans on cooking for my sister while she is here. Meanwhile he sits there on the couch all day every day while i wait on him hand and foot. He sees nothing wrong with overwhelming me, but my sister who has no children is going to receive royal treatment. If I could afford to go to a hotel for the week I would, but Im trying to prepare to move...I know my refusal to do anything will result in a big war...Have any of you faced this situation as a caregiver. I always receive such wonderful advice from everyone, Im hoping to get some valuable feedback.

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Well Hoping4Healing you will be reading my posts on The Arrival of the Queen Holiday Edition. My sister is coming for Thanksgiving and will be here on Saturday. She will be here for one week Since I already know that Im cooking for Thanksgiving, that will make things a tad less stressful. a tad
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Toomuch4me you said in your last comment "I know y'all are tired of hearing from me." I am so HAPPY to hear from you because your comments and sharing here are literally saving my sanity and helping me survive my broken heart. I am also the "Cinderella" child and always have been and my sister and her husband are golden royalty to my father. My mother also acted this way but thank god she is dead! (yes, sorry to say I am VERY relieved that only one nasty parents of mine still lives! It is more survivable for me!)

My father is 95 and I moved here from across the country a year ago to cook for him and be here in case he became unable to drive anymore etc.. My sister and b-in-law came to visit for 2 weeks, Oct. 24 to Nov 7, and I had just had foot surgery on Oct 22 but was expected to wait on them hand and foot, and treat them like royalty. I am treated like dirt by him while she and her hubby are golden and walk on water. He mocks me cruelly that I am jealous of her if I say he is being unfair.
I gave up everything in BC, my nice home I rented, my furniture, car, everything I owned to pay for a move across Canada to be here for him. I gave up my disability income and have a much smaller income ($700) here. So now he says I am destitute and he is "saving" me from homelessness, he is doing me a favour by giving me a roof over my head etc, and he doesn't need my help at all. This situation, he claims, is all about him sacrificing and giving charity to me. I am very sick/disabled and was so mistaken and foolish to give up my life in BC because now I am completely stuck with him. A part of me really hates him. I don't care of that is wrong, I would never do a bad thing to him, I always do what is the right and moral, good thing to the best of my ability, but at times I really despise even hate him.
I would kill myself except for 2 things: my precious cat is scared of all humans except me and I love her so dearly I would not desert her, and 2) I will not let the princess sister inherit everything because I die before my father does, as convenient as that would be for her! She talks a LOT about killing him for her inheritance and I would bet my boots that she and her hubby say if I killed myself I would be out of my misery AND they could inherit everything from my dad. So I won't for that reason too, but mostly because of love for my cat.

Anyway as you can tell from my rambling, I barely hold onto sanity by a thread and your posts are making that thread stronger! So thank you SO MUCH for sharing, I am sorry for your situation but I am also relieved to know I am not alone in this Cinderella nightmare! I wish I could work and escape. I am considering abusing my credit card to buy an old car so I won't be so totally trapped (I am too sick to take transit).
Best of luck to all of us, eh?!
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Toomuch4me, I want to say I'm really sorry to hear this story. This whole situation you're in reflects my own caregiver and family experiences so much it makes me sad.

Sometimes family dynamics like this are so deeply ingrained that the only way to fix things is to get out. It seems like this is a pattern that is set for both of you; he dominates, you get upset and give in to avoid making the conflict worse.

Please listen to me, and many others who will post here, when we say that if you don't take care of yourself you will regret it later. You will never get these months/years back that you spend caring for him. Your kids will grow up in this terrible environment. And most importantly, the stress can and will make you ill or kill you.

Do you tolerate this because you are waiting for his love and approval? If so, you may need to face the sad reality that you will never get it.

Good luck, and take care of yourself! Please!
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You can talk to his HHA about coming in more often to tend to him. You don't have to leave him in a lurch. This isn't retaliation. It is just taking your life back because you are so unhappy after putting up with it for too long. Make sure someone is available to meet his needs, though. You know what those needs are, so you should be able to find someone to cover them.
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"What if something happens to him ? I will feel guilty forever .." Have you read any of the books recommended on this site. I found one that described my mother to a T. Also, check out co-dependency. I have had to do a lot of reading to understand my family and to understand that it has nothing to do with me.

Whatever happens to him, is going to happen. But, you can help what happens to you. Your current schedule will lead you to an early grave. Seriously.
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I know y'all are tired of hearing from me. But being on this site is theraupeutic. Last night I came upstairs after working all day and my father tells me to wrap up my sister's food because she was tired from assembling new speakers. HUH ??? Anytime she compliments me or gives me credit, he brushes it off. But if she breathes he makes sure to tell me about it...Although I am prepared to leave, I feel like its going to create chaos. What if something happens to him ? I will feel guilty forever ..but at the same time there is an uproar every day and you never know when the next explosion is going to be...
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Good for you, TooMuch.
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I do have a plan. Im already pricing bus tickets and calling about temporary housing. Believe me the wheels in this brain are already working over time. Im prepared to leave as early as Saturday. Yesterdays' blow up really got to me mainly because Im sure my children were upset hearing all of the yelling. It brought back memories of him doing the same thing with my brothers when I was little. I used to race upstairs hysterical because of the fighting. He just HAS to fight with someone . That man literally makes me sick to my stomach to even be around. As I wrote in my original post my sister is THE QUEEN. Everything he does he asks her, "is that okay with you..." Give me a break. It shows that he knows exactly what he is doing..
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jinx I love your comment
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toomuch4me, What is your plan? How much money do you need to be able to move out? How long will it take to save that up? Where are you going to live? Will the kids be in a new school?

Think about the future, and start making your plans now. In "the Three Penny Opera," Pirate Jenny sings, "And you see me kinda grinnin' while I'm scrubbin'
And you say, "What's she got to grin?" I'll tell you." When you have your plans underway, you can grin, and they won't know why.

My mother was a Southern lady who valued her dignity a little too much. She finally learned she didn't need to lose her temper to make my father smarten up and calm down. She only needed to PRETEND to lose her temper. Give it a try!
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This morning I knew Id hit rock bottom emotionally . I thought about the theme song to Growing Pains and started crying because my life was so different as a child growing up in this house. Today has been quiet because my sister is here. Dad is not flirting with the HHA....he is acting the way he should be. When its just me here he acts as she is second in command..now he is not interacting with her because he doesnt want to appear disrespectful to my sister. None of this of course has stopped him from attempting to bark orders to me regarding food requests for the day...
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I had to laugh out loud at Awakenings comment about "the Messiah". And I thought that was a Southern thing. Now I have a new name for my brother.......still chuckling.....
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To me it sounds like it is time for you to move out. I can tell you are completely burned out from the emotional abuse. You have a job and a life, so there's no reason to hurt yourself this way.
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Remember, when your father feels that he's losing control with you as you declare your independence or stand up to his dictatorship, he WILL get violently angry. That anger can be soooo scary that your heart pounds so fast that you think you're going to faint. The fear level is so high that you fear he's going to hit you. While all this is happening, you're trying to figure out what to do when he hits you. For me, with the "flight or fight" syndrome, I tend to freeze. So, when I freeze in the midst of father's anger, in my head, I'm panicking and so terribly afraid. In my mind, I don't know if I will hit him back when he hits me because I am so terrified. Unfortunately, I used to scoff and look down at those women in scary movies who are so stupid to stand there and the monster kills them. Darn it! I found out in real life that I'm like that! I Freeze!! ...

So from experience, his anger will escalate as you start putting your foot down. I have no kids so I never felt the need to pack and leave the parents. You have kids and need to keep them in mind. .... And remember this - children imitate their elders. They think what is happening is "Okay." You do not want your children that it is Okay to yell at someone with such anger. You do not want to teach the boys that it's okay to yell at a female. You do not want to teach the girls that it's Okay for boys to yell at them. Learned behavior. Just as my father abused us, most of my brothers did the same with their children. And now, I see that their children are treating their wives and children the same. It is a very vicious cycle.... Please do not teach your children this. {{HUGS}} for standing up to your father. Yeah, it was darn scary but you stood up to him....
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Never judge a sausage by it's skin. You are a beautiful person on the inside. Is your sister? has your father ever shown any signs of violence towards you or the children. In the end you are the one who has to pull up her big girl panties and move on. if dad can cook for your sister he is capable of preparing an evening meal for the family some nights. You are letting him demand service from you so stop it. just be pleasant and firm. "I'll do it in ten minutes when I have finished folding laundry Dad" yes it will get ugly but have a plan. if you are afraid have a case packed in your car, gather the kids and go to the police. They will place you in a battered women's shelter so you will be safe. he won't know where you are.. There is nothing worse than fear of fear itself. Take control.. If he can't behave decently and can't live alone then the next step is assisted living - his choice.
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How did you come to be living there? Do you still own a home, elsewhere? Did all of you sit down and decide that you moving there, with children, would be the best idea? Devise an exit plan, before your own children come to dislike you. Get out. You guys could even be in danger, from him.
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You are all so insightful, caring and amazing. I value your input and advice. Today began with a HORRIBLE argument. When I went in to give my father his meds, I said mumbled good morning, sat them on the dresser and went back down stairs. Our weekend HHA came at nine. She said "lets get started with dinner early..." I thought to myself "Well YOU can get started." I guess she was thinking if Dad had a big meal request she was not going to be stuck doing it all by herself without an extra pay. She helped me tremendously yesterday. She and I took a few moments to sit down and have breakfast this morning before everyone got up. My father comes down ready to start an argument. Why you ask ? Because he thought I was going to make him eat by himself and that I was going to have my sister eat with me and the children. He calls me upstairs to "discuss" it. He was yelling and screaming as always. Then saying my daughter broke the bed in her room (the bed has been there since I was a child...(not to mention we also recently had the HHA staying in there and she stayed in that room with her little son) I told him that he looks down on me that I dont work for him !!!!! I was so scared this time because he was right standing close to me ...my sister came upstairs and and told him he was making A FOOL of himself..and making his grandchildren dislike him. His only concern is how she sees his behavior. Sorry I dont buy that he sees her as neglecting him. No. He prefers her because she is beautiful, thin, successful and Im completely the opposite. At this point I strongly dislike him. My youngest who normally loves everyone does not even want to acknowledge him most of the time.
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Everyone has given you suggestions. pick the best ones and run with them. HHAs care for the patient and his immediate surroundings. Don't expect them to clean windows. Dad can hire a window cleaner for that. don't allow a HHA to rearrange things and throw stuff out with out asking you. Expect her to make dad's bed every day and change sheets when necessary. also launder sheets personal clothing and towels and put that stuff away. she should also clean the bathroom Dad uses even if it is the only one in the house. When dad shops for sis make sure he buys enough for the whole family and ask if he has a favorite recipe for sis to follow. you can help by setting table etc and with clean up but not wait on Sis while she cooks. if sis wants to sleep late that's fine, tell her there are eggs , juice bagels what ever she likes in the fridge but don't do more than put a fresh pot of coffee on (you need a cup yourself anyway) When it comes to a big meal have all the ingredients purchased and ask he if she would make dad's favorite lasagna or whatever for the family/ it may be manipulative but two can play that game. if dad starts to yell calmly tell him not to speak to you like that and walk away. it is not going to be easy and may not work in one visit but it can be done
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I heard a psychologist speak on this, she said that the reason he does this is because he wishes that the absent sibling did care for him as much as you do, so he has to make a fuss or feel neglected. He's sure of you, but feels neglected by the absent sibling. This happens all the time, but do not doubt that he is really thankful to you. When my parent starts singing the praises of the absent sibling, I now say yes he/she really misses you and wishes they could be here for you too. They really, really care for you. Works like a charm!!
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I am a caregiver for my 86 year old Mother. I do have a sister who shares in her care. My Mother has always liked her best. When she stays with her she stays in her room most of the time because she doesn't want to be a bother. Then when she is with me she wants to hang on me when she walks, and stay out in the den all day expecting us to have the t. v. on what she wants to watch and no talking because she cant hear it. She cant tell you what she is watching if she turns her head because she doesn't remember. I cant hardly leave the room without her calling me to come get her something or do something for her. She does none of this when she is with my sister. Now my sister is dyeing from cancer and I will be her only caregiver. We cant put her in a nursing home because my sister had control of Moms money and spent a great deal of it. Our Father died over 20 years ago and Mom decided to just set back and do nothing. She had several operations and did not do physical therapy. So now she is weak and walks with a walker. My husband ans I are not in the best of health and it has really aged us fast. She cant afford a nursing home. She had a lot of money put away when Dad died but she blew it on bingo and gambling. Now we have no life and miss out on our time with our children and grandchildren.
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Toomuch, I'm so sorry. I was really hoping that your sister would have stepped up and defended you. Now you know where you stand with her and father. If you're unable to pick up and move out immediately, please start backing off on all the things you are doing for your father and sibling. If you must make meals - then keep it Very Simple. Nothing fancy. By making a fancy meal, you are reinforcing your father's treatment of you, and you are reinforcing your sister's attitude to you. By keeping the meal Very Simple, you are telling your father that you have drawn the line of what you are willing to do. And you are telling your sister that she is Not Special to deserve any lavish meal. Make a simple meal. If your kids are able to help you, ask them to help with the cleaning up after mealtime. Then, pack up the kids and go out. I know you need to work but by taking the kids out, you are telling your sister that you will not be waiting on them hand and foot. Plus your kids are sensing the tension. It's time to spend it with them.

The next time your father complains about you and the kids not there entertaining sis, just turn the tables on them. Tell him that sis came to visit him and not you and the kids. Since she's only going to be here a week, it will give them time to do some catching up. And if sis wants to spend time with you, she can join you in the kitchen and help you with the cooking. You can talk while doing this together. If you have funds to help find a place, then do so. There are always other options of finding help for your father when he really needs it. You have tried the "moving in" option and found out it's not working.
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Im officially alone in this with the exception of this site . My sister said nothing to defend me.After all the time I spent cooking my father complained about the children and me not sitting in the livingroom with my sister in the evening. The children went to their room and I went downstairs to do work. I came upstairs to confront him about what he was saying...he treats me like a servant asking if I was going to umake his bed for him ..and my sister says nothing. My brothers dont even come around. So at this point I know the only solution is to leave. Once again I feel sick to my stomach...Ive never had as much confrontation in my life..my children always asking me whats wrong...
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I tried and tried to get my sister to quit waiting hand and foot on our Mother. I would arrive and I was treated like a princess, too. It was obvious. I begged my sister to take care of herself, but the stress finally killed her. Guess what? Mom survived. They CAN do it and it sounds like your dad CAN do it, too. Take care of yourself, first.
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I haven't said anything before now because it is too close to home. It reminded me of a few years back when I drove in from TX one day and my brother drove in the next. My parents and I had sandwiches when I arrived and she expected me to cook a full meal for my brother the next day. She never saw any problem with her thinking.

Some of us are born Cinderellas. If we contest the unfairness of it, it will not be heard. I mean, we should be willing to do whatever it is because it is our sibling. The favor goes one way, though, from Cinderella to the others. We have to drive to them. We have to cook for them. Etc.

But the good thing about it is that it is no disgrace to be a Cinderella. There is nothing wrong with being of service to others. The people who are wrong are the ones with the faulty thinking that somehow we owe more than anyone else. All the Cinderellas can do is say what they will and won't do, then prepare for the battle that always comes when we say no to something. (It gets tiring after a while. I do wish others were smarter in their dealings with people.)
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You work and have children to raise? This sister visit for a week should be a bit of a respite for you and nothing more. She is your replacement for the week. Tell Dad it is lovely he purchased food but you have no time to cook...what fun he and sis can have preparing meals together. Give her a list of the chores you do every week and let her have it.

I don't care if you have to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; get those kiddos out of the house every evening that week. Go to the library, walk the mall or park. Get out and be alone with your children. They need Mom time without Grandpa and Auntie. You are teaching them Mom is a slave and has no respect for herself or us; please stop now!

Spend a few minutes with sister making plans for your Dad's future living arrangements. Something she can look into while visiting. Good luck!
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Another quick thought: if you father cannot live alone, perhaps you and your sister could arrange for him to live in an assisted living facility. That way you both could visit him but you would not have to play servant!
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Since the problem seems to be your dad and not your sister, would she be willing to talk to him? Just wondering. . .
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What is the worst thing that will happen if you don't do what he wants?

Stop. Don't make them. If your father can be by himself safely or your sister is there, leave the house and take a break.
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CPEGA, he is well aware of how he acts and doesnt care. As I mentioned before, I was asked to move in..and I work. Now if I didnt have a job, was down and out and moved in expecting to be taken care of..then thats a different story. Im no diferent from my sister. She works hard and would like to relax. I work hard too plus I have children which she doesnt. When I didnt live here he STILL didnt treat me this way when I came to visit. He would take me to the grocery store to buy food for me to cook. But when my sister would visit him they would go out to dinner. Now that I am here he bought all of these things for me to cook for her. I told him he is very inconsiderate. Im so tired right now and have tons of cooking to do later. I look forward to Saturdays being my time for at least a couple of hours until the HHA leaves. Before I know it Monday will be here without any break at all. I know there are people who have it so much worse than me...but I dont like being taken for granted. Im not the family maid. I already got into an argument with my father this morning over all of the things he purchased, claiming he was going to make them but now Im supposed to make them while my sister sits on the couch watching TV or resting. I know Im venting and sounding angry and I apologiaze for that...
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The biggest reality to you entire problem is that you moved in with him, his house. That is his castle and anyone else that moves in are servants. Anyone else that comes to visit are guests and are treated as such. Had he moved in with you or had you all moved into a neutral abode, the situation could be a little different.
Humans are creatures of habit. He sees and lives with you every day. Your sister comes only occasionally, which he obviously is looking forward to. If he is financially able, take a day or weekend away and find someone to stay with or check in on him, there are several agencies available. It will be an awakening for you both as well as getting away can do wonders mentally.
By all means talk to him about your feelings, which he may not have a clue. If the situation becomes too stressful, make this known and discuss what other viable living arrangements, house keeper, assisted living facility, etc., will have to be made and follow through for you own peace of mind and your children.
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