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Ever since I can remember my dad has been derogatory, spiteful, resentful, angry, etc. I don't know why he is so angry at me. I have tried for years to figure it out, I've talked to him, pleaded with him, etc. no luck. I have spent a great deal of time, effort and tears trying to heal this rift between us, and all I get is grief, he does things to make me feel guilty, but I haven't done anything wrong! Now he says he needs to sell his house and go to assisted living, (something I told him he needed to do years ago). He thinks he can sell his house for what it was worth back in 2004! I told him he is better off cutting his losses and getting rid of it while he still can. I also told him that I can't take care of him ( I am disabled and can't work). So one day he calls me and invites us over, my aunt and my cousin are visiting. We show up, and from the moment I walk in the door, dads on a rant about his brother, calling him all kinds of foul names, then he starts in about how we haven't trained our dog right! (Dog was only at my dad's place once, years ago, and he was excited and jumped up on the couch to be closer to my husband). I thought he was going to stroke out he was so worked up! We were pretty shocked and got up and left. (I guess now my cousin knows what I was talking about). Anyway, hubby and I talked, and I decided I couldn't change anything, and nothing I did was right or good enough, so I figured he can figure out what to do on his own. He's not incapable, and he can figure out his own finances, so I'm done with feeling guilty, I'm done with all the mental abuse he's heaped on me for years. I can't believe the weight that has lifted off my shoulders since I made the decision to just let him be. We moved here to be closer so we could help him out, but we could have saved ourselves the effort. I decided that I want to move out of state, like we originally planned, somewhere cheaper to live. He is on his own now - I love him, he's my dad, but I don't deserve the abuse. My problem now is, how do I keep from feeling guilt all over again? Decades of abuse leaves a mark on your sanity! (I'm 52)

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"Decades of abuse leaves a mark on your sanity!" Absolutely it does, and you are wise to recognize that.

I suggest some counselling -- not to "fix" what is "wrong" with you, but to reinforce your good decision to distance yourself from your abusive father. If you will be at your present location for a while longer, start now. If you will be moving to another state soon, start when you arrive.

You have a lot of injury to overcome. You certainly deserve all the support you need while you heal.
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Ask yourself why you would feel guilt. Did you prompt or encourage your father's behavior? No. Are you responsible for whatever occurred in his life, or his attitudes, that are reflected in his behavior? No.

He doesn't want to change; you can't change him. There's nothing you can do to effect change so move on and live your own life.

Make a plan, list what you need to do and move on.

And keep asking yourself over what should you feel guilty?
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Congratulations on deciding to live your own life, free of the guilt your father has tried to instill in you! Let him figure out what he's doing, since he's unable to accept your love, which is his loss. Enjoy your life and let him wallow in his bitter misery.
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Freedom, I'm giving you a round of applause as I type. You can't make your dad be someone he isn't. Don't worry about him selling his house. Whatever he gets will go toward his care.
You know that the abuse all these years isn't about you, don't you? I understand that you love your dad, but you don't have to like him. Let him live his life. You live yours. An occasional visit or phone call is all I would offer. If he can't behave, leave or hang up. Let him know when he starts "Showing off for company" you are leaving if he doesn't straighten up. Don't allow yourself to be swallowed by all this venom. You can do this.
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I want to thank you for writing in to this post. We are here for each other, and all of us try our very best to support each other.

First off, I am very sorry for the pain in your life that has been caused by your father.

I am the first one to realize that words are easier to type than to live, so this is just my perspective.

The way to keep peace with an abusive elderly parent is to nurture yourself and to not take any responsibility for his behavior.

If you do not nurture yourself the stress from his behavior will cause your own anxiety. Which may lead to chaos, bad decisions or a short temper. You have to emotionally separate yourself from your father. He is toxic and you need to treat him as such.

Because he is your parent you may want to treat him with honor and respect. You can do this and still let him move into the assisted living home.You don't have to own his problem. As long as you have placed him where he can be cared for then you have been honorable and respectful towards your father, and that is your peace. He may lie and change the truth and convince some. But his lies and their consequences belong to him. You are only responsible for your own behavior remember the wonderful things that YOU have done to assist your father throughout the years.

I am really glad to hear you are done FEELING GUILTY, that is the first step. Good luck, and please write often.
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Let go of the guilt, he's going to live on his own terms and there is nothing you can do about it. It sounds like he is in the beginning of a serious decline, either mentally or physically and won't tell anyone about it. So he is angry. Just stay out of the line of fire from his wrath. Get counseling if you can't let go.
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