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I feel trapped and I'm at wit's end. I've never posted on a forum before but this is a great community & I've learned a lot over the past 6 months, so I am reaching out for help. My father is a narcissist who will never appreciate the sacrifice I made for our family. He treats me like his enemy instead of thanking me for doing the most selfless act a child can do in order to keep mom home. I'm an only child who had a successful career (out of state) and realized that when it was time for mom to either go home or stay in a nursing home, he was perfectly content leaving her in a home. My mother is recovering from brain surgery and status epilepticus (twice). The mere fact that she got to this point was my realization that g-d wanted her home, and I needed to come home. Many don't survive going status once, let alone twice. My mother (who received her doctorate) also didn't work her whole life, as the bread winner of our family, for her husband to leave her in a nursing home, because it made his life easier. I said I would come home and help her back to health and we agreed he could pay me whatever he would have paid an aide. Without getting into the semantics, I'm sure you all know where this leads. He's relinquished his promise on funding, yells and screams, talks bad about me to other family members, gaslights me, lies to my mother when I'm not present (bullying), makes fun of me, says I'm too sensitive, says I don't do anything for him, yells in front of my mom (and my dogs), lies to me, breaks agreements and promises (doesn't care; has no remorse), says call a lawyer (which I have NO time for and he knows, as I'm a full time caretaker) and the list goes on. The next morning he will be all happy and cheery like nothing happened then snap, and it happens all over again. Tells me life was better without me in it mind you he can't do anything for himself other than eat and poop. He's in chronic pain and refuses to get help. Tells me it's none of my gd business (though mom and I take the brunt of it). I walk on egg shells because I don't know who or what monster I'm going to get. He's practically exiled me from any family because of the constant lies he tells them and I don't have endless hours to sit and talk in the phone like he does. All he does is sit, watch TV, make fun of me or complain about something, out me down, instigate then lock himself in his room. He spends no time with his wife and if he does, he winds up blaming me for something and yells and leaves. It's vicious and I'm at my breaking point. He's promised he would stop yelling buy he can't and he doesn't care. It lasted a few hours. He promised he would stop bad mouthing me to family and I overheard him talking in the bathroom to our cousin about me. My own father outright lied to me. I don't know how much more I and/or my mother can handle but he knows I can't leave for many reasons . . . 1) I have no where to go 2) mom is solely dependent on me (PEG tube and non ambulatory). When I say I can't do this anymore because I deserve respect he says leave! I ask what his plan is? He says that he'll call 911, they'll take care of her. I didn't come this far for his selfishness to take us down. There has to be a way out, a light at the end of the tunnel. He contributes zero. He has control issues, says the money and house is his but mom worked her whole life for this, he raised me (can you believe it)? She had a successful career and he's living off of it now. He controls the money, her, everything. I'm so scared and truly don't know what to do. I used to be so happy! Mom too! And I see us retreating ... Some days we don't leave my room. I cook for her, clean, take care of two dogs, order medical supplies, medicines, try to be a cheerleader, educator, keep her happy, do activities with her, etc. etc. but everyday this is getting harder and harder. We're going on six months and he's becoming unbearable. Please help!

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Move and call APS. Mom needs to be in a nursing home.
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He wants to be done with her and sees you as blocking what he wants.
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What's the recovery prospects for your Mother? Is the PEG feeds & being non-ambulatory temporary? Or sadly more permanent? I'm trying to see the bigger picture & timeframe.
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My opinion, see a lawyer. Mom must be getting SS and a pension. They are hers, not his. Any money they may have can be split. For both for Moms sanity and yours you both need to move out. As the bread winner, I wonder why Mom didn't kick him out long ago.

If his abuse is escalating, if he hits you or Mom call the police and have him removed. Tell them you fear for your lives. My opinion, he wants you both gone.
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Lov3Lif3 Apr 27, 2020
I wish emotional and psychological abuse were punishable but like you said, he'd have to cause physical harm for anyone to care, which he hasn't. Since he controls the finances, he won't change the pension beneficiary unless an attorney forced him to but he's already threatened me that if I try, he will say I brainwashed mom and am trying to take her away from him. He will fight me to the death because it's all he has. I still plan to consult with an elder care attorney but I don't know mentally, if I can withstand what could be over a year of back and forth in order to resolve this. Then I have to ask myself, is it fair to my mom. I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. He needs help and I don't know how to get him some and think I need to accept the fact that I can't. I don't want to walk away and live with 'I walked away from mom when she needed me the most'. Will she hate me? Never speak to me again? I want to fix my family but if one part of the family doesn't want to be fixed, am I trying to accomplish the impossible. We don't know how much longer mom may be here. I want to enjoy life. Thank God for his greatness and miracles not fight a bitter old man in court who only cares about himself. It breaks my heart.
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This sounds like long term emotional spousal abuse especially if mom gave up working. And this is now affecting you. How was your childhood? You might want to reach out to agencies that address this issue and ask for suggestions on how you and mom can escape the abuse
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JoAnn29 Apr 27, 2020
Mom retired
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Hi Lov3Lif3,

I read your post earlier on today and have thought about it for a while. We are in very similar circumstances.
Although my mother is not as ill as yours. I am truly sorry for the situation that you find yourself in, and you have been given very good advice from people here. I agree with you getting POA for your mother, and maybe starting proceedings with you father's doctor regarding his mental health. You differ from me, though, in your description, you don't describe your father as a narcissist when you were growing up, you sound really hurt and shocked now.
So that makes me wonder if something has changed drastically with your father? Or was he always like this? Keep recordings of the rants on your mobile phone, it will slow you down (less likely to respond or take the bait), and you will have proof when dealing with healthcare professionals of the state he gets himself into.
But realistically, you should find alternative care for your mother, and then get out of the situation.
Why go down with them? I know I sound awful, but you are taking on so much trouble, and you didn't say if you were a nurse/health care professional. Your Mother sounds like she needs professional care. Wouldn't it be a relief for her to get away from your father?
I know how it can get so bad that you can't think straight, but you must. Take time away from the situation, and if you can't leave your Mother alone for an hour, then you are way in over your head and cannot provide the care she needs.
Make plans to save yourself, it may take a while, but you really must look after yourself.

I wish you the very best.
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Lov3Lif3 Apr 27, 2020
I very much appreciate your guidance. I am not a healthcare professional but have learned a vast amount throughout our journey. Over 2.5 months in a hospital, 3 months in a sub acute and prior to that a combined total of 7 months in/out of subacute and acute institutions. I'm exhausted. I'm not sure how I'm still functioning. I don't have a way out so it's much easier said than done at the moment. I never expected my father to turn rogue on me (us). He's always been 'set in his ways' but I've been out of the house for over 20+ years and now living at home, under his rules, after being an independent, successful woman .... Things have always been his way or the highway but never to this extent but now mom's ill (think; cats away, mouse will play). He can do, say what he wants bc my mom can't tell him no anymore. He's also in extreme chronic pain which he hasn't addressed in years, I'm the closest to it, so I take the brunt (which was my mother prior to me living here, except she likely accepted it - I DON'T). I could do this for years if I had a positive, happy environment to live in but this is sheer hell. You ask which she'd be happier and it's hard. I know for a fact that she wouldn't be happier in a nursing home. She has said, no way, no how, she never going back but the problem is he can't afford the care she needs if I'm not here because I serve as an RN and HHA. It just breaks my heart knowing the decision I may have to face due to no fault of my own. And then the question of, where do I go? Unemployed with dogs ... this is not what I expected my future to look like when I gave my heart to my family.
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I think the best thing for you to do right now is to access some mental health services. There many free resources right now for telemed therapy; you would do well to access these for yourself.

You are being triangulated by BOTH of your parents. If your mother didn't want to be controlled by your father, she would have divorced him years ago. If she is still competent, she can still do so.

Does your mother want to leave and go elsewhere with you? They why don't you? Does your mother have access to her retirement money and savings? Why is SHE not paying you for caregiving?

Please start looking out for yourself. No one else is doing so.
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Lov3Lif3 Apr 27, 2020
He has controlled their finances throughout their whole marriage. It's nauseating. She says she wants to come with me but I don't think she wholeheartedly understands that the only way to do so would mean divorcing him. And at that rate, at this juncture, is it worth it to put her through it. Again, he will fight tooth and nail. Is she up for that? She has voiced to him that she rather live with me than go back to a nursing home. He said fine but how does he expect me to do that? He will never agree to have her retirement plan dependent changed to me. It would be war. I honestly think she's scared of him or confrontation with him, as it's easier to just confirm (which it seems is what she's done for all these years). He controls everything! If I even ask a question, "none of your business" - which is why I feel I need a third party to step in but I just don't have the energy right now. I need a jump start. This pandemic hasn't helped and I agree that sourcing some resources couldn't hurt.
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What's best for Mum? Being in the middle of a stressful household with the other occupants disagreeing over her care & at each other? Or in a skilled nursing home with family visiting?

What's best for daughter? Being a 24/7 carer under huge stress? Or having a more peaceful life - balancing maybe part-time work & caring/visiting Mother in a skilled nursing home?

I think Lov3Lif3 had good intentions but needs professional input asap to get a HEALTHIER plan.

Hospice input if Dad will allow. Otherwise report to APS or even 911 Mother out if very unwell/unsafe.
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Lov3Lif3 Apr 27, 2020
Thank you ... I think reaching out to an elder care agent will be a step in the right direction. It may anger him but at this rate, what doesn't. Unfortunately APS can't step in as long as I'm present because he's not 'neglecting' her. It's rather pathetic but emotional and psychological abuse are irrelevant to them. A narcissist can't be defeated and I'm trying to win an impossible battle. Seeing his lack of remorse and empathy hurts me even more and I'm developing an incredible amount of resentment to a man who should be grateful that he can see and touch his wife everyday during this pandemic but instead of grateful, he feels challenged/threatened by my selflessness.
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Lov3Lif3
You are in a bad situation, not only are you your mother's caregiver you are also dealing with an uncooperative father. I agree with other posters that you should consult with an elder care attorney. Your caregiving role may drag on for quite some time because it appears that you really want to stay and help your mother. Caregiving does not get any easier and if you continue at this rate you may become ill yourself or die before your mother does. If this were to happen your mother would really be at a disadvantage, because if your father yells and is verbally abusive to you I can't imagine how he would treat your mother if he were responsible for her care. If you can get POA or guardianship at least you may be able to make provisions for your mother in the event something happens to you. I pray that this works out for all of you.
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Lov3Lif3 Apr 27, 2020
Quarantine has been difficult but I have pretty good self control. I agree with you and will make it a point to get in touch with an elder care attorney/agent to work up a new POA and discuss guardianship options. My father needs a lot of help. He's neglected his own health and refuses to accept help. You can't help someone who doesn't want help and is too stubborn to ask and/accept. My mother on the other hand wants help and I'm here to give it, as long as I possibly, physically (safely) can. I just ask for respect. It's difficult for my mom to 'defend' herself as she's a recovering TBI patient. He uses that to bully her. Speaks for her, over her (again, his controling ways). I never saw it in that light as he always did things for her. I viewed it as gentlemanly, not controlling (as my mother would put it). When you're out of a home, you see a very different angle than behind closed doors. You also see the angle that your parents want you to see; happy.
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Grace, you may be entirely correct.

What I think is clear is that mommy and daddy have quite the dysfunctional relationship and this adult child has been drawn into it in an unhealthy way.

This adult child needs to extricate and move on.
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Grace21 Apr 27, 2020
Amen!!!!!! I wonder if dad has a cognitive impairment as well. whatever the situation is something is off- kilter and I feel that it is more than narcissism, because Lov3Lif3 seems to be surprised by his behavior and this behavior should not be new if he raised her. I understand a ramped up version but not new.
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Get your job back, or a new job, and abandon ship. The alternative is being dragged down by the insanity.
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Lov3Lif3 Apr 27, 2020
I'm starting to feel uneasy and again, it's all too unsettling.
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Get your mom to sign her POA to you. Put her in a place where she doesn’t have to live with him. Just think about it. She almost escaped and you decided to step in. I know you meant well but you really didn’t understand their situation. I’m not sure Life is worth living with her husband.
Get a certified elder attorney and file for guardianship of him. Put him in memory care. Then decide if you should bring mom back home. This will cost but you can use their money once you get DPOA of mom.
Dont threaten. Don’t complain. Just take action.
Get help from a good attorney so you don’t make missteps.
If your mom isn’t willing and that may be something else you will discover, then you are better off to get her placed and leave. From what you have written, you aren’t helping the situation. You might be hurting it.
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Lov3Lif3 Apr 27, 2020
I have thought about applying for guardianship but have had an attorney tell me the same. It will cost (a lot). And he will fight! And fight hard! He will use all of their money to ensure that I lose and he has all of the time to do so, as I can't sit with counsel for hours. She revoked his POA a few months back and he continues to threaten me that if I try to pursue anything with it, he will say I brainwashed her. He even said that I 'played a part' in her receiving her Letter of Competency from her Neurologist. He's truly disjointed! I never in my right mind would have imagined any of this, especially from my father. The man who is supposed to love me unconditionally. You are correct and I need to get a new POA drafted. The problem is, having him present in the home given she's nonambulatory, the contention with any elder care agent/attorney and a notary is extremely unsettling.
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What I'm going to write is going to sound cruel and cold. I'm sorry that you've given up your previous life to try to care for your mom. I wonder if she would have wanted you to face a future of poverty and despair.

It sounds as though your parents have a thoroughly dysfunctional relationship. Mom gets a PhD and then doesn't work? Not even in a volunteer capacity to use those skills? There is something so very wrong with this picture.

What is wrong, in your view, with your mother getting professional care in a facility?

Has she had a professional needs assessment?

Would your mother want you to give up your career and financial well-being in order to do battle with your father to keep her at home?

In your shoes, I would simply move out and get back to your own life. Your parents' marriage is THEIR marriage and whether or not if's dysfunctional isn't your affair.

If they are mentally competent, they get to make their own decisions.
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Grace21 Apr 26, 2020
Hi BarbBrooklyn, my interpretation is that mother is the one that worked her whole life and provided for the family and not dad. I had to read it twice.

"My mother (who received her doctorate) also didn't work her whole life, as the bread winner of our family, for her husband to leave her in a nursing home, because it made his life easier."

"He has control issues, says the money and house is his but mom worked her whole life for this, he raised me (can you believe it)? She had a successful career and he's living off of it now. "
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