I am the eldest of five siblings. I live aprox one hour away from my elderly Dad who still lives at home with one of my sisters. He enjoys being independent with the assistance of that sister who runs errands and cooks. My father is 88 years old and is in remission with Leukemia. My Mom passed away almost two years ago and my Dad has had bouts of depression. Other than that, he is doing fine - does light chores and takes regular walks. He is sharp as a tack and keeps up with all the latest news and World politics.
I have been going to visit him once a week, along with my other siblings. I have never been really close to him at all, especially after years of verbal abuse. Mind you, it was occasional and not every day. He could be extremely nasty with words. And, I do mean nasty. Not only that, I've had his hands around my throat with my head pushed up against the wall with threats of "knocking my G..D...teeth in". I also recall him knocking me off a chair when I was 12 years old and dragging me by the hair of the head. The thing is, I could never figure out what I did for him to treat me this way. I never hung out with the wrong crowd and was always a good kid, never speaking back. My brother and sister closest in age to me have all experienced the same abuse and have issues with mood swings and depression - which I feel is a result of my father's anger. My younger siblings think my Dad is wonderful since they really never experienced his wrath for some reason.
Since my Mom passed away, my father had surprisingly shown interest in my life. I wanted to try to forget the past and be sympathetic for all that he's gone through over the past few years. At first, I began visiting him several times a week and lately, once a week. All was going well, friendly discussions and enjoyable conversations. There would be an occasional "dig" or insult, but I let it go. His nastiness began to resurface all over again. The last time I visited (a month ago) we were having a pleasant visit together and the conversation turned to politics. Out of the blue, he began yelling and saying my daughter was nothing but a liberal this and that and was calling her some terrible things that I can't even repeat here. I was so shocked by this, and for the first time in my 60 years, I spoke up to him and told him to NEVER speak of my daughter that way again. I was angry at myself for not walking directly out the door.
Here's the thing, and I'm feeling terribly guilty, esp being the eldest - I want nothing more to do with him. Absolutely nothing. I just want to walk away. I can't talk to my siblings about it, because the youngers siblings think he's wonderful and the other two siblings (closest to my age) have mental health issues. If I try to talk to them, I'll be told to give him a break since he's been through a lot. I look at it this way, he's just as mean and nasty as he has always been - nothing to do with aging and dementia.
I'm sorry to ramble on like this, but has anyone else had to deal with anything like this? I've really tried and tried, but just don't know what to do here.