As some of you may have noticed, my elderly Dad does a good job of annoying me a lot of the time! I shouldn't let it get to me and should be more firm with him. But I was thinking about what does wind me up and wonder whether you all think my approach is right with what I expect etc from elderly person.

1. If you can do it yourself or help yourself then do it. Don't expect others to help because you can't be bothered.

2. Help others to help you and be a little bit flexible. Don't be stubborn and want things all your own way especially when others are sorting things out to make everyones life easier.

3. Appreciate that family have other responsibilities and not just you. You don't have a right to unlimited time.

Sadly, my Dad fails badly on all three of these.....

If he can get someone to do something for him he just won't bother himself (in fact, I think he likes having someone run around for him). He is totally inflexible and won't listen to anyone its his way or not at all - in the past hes expected me to travel 2 hours to pick him up to take him to appointment rather than pay for a £10 taxi. Worse of all - he does not care about what I've got on, issues/responsibilities I have for my own family - and has said he expects to be put first.

Am I being unfair on him?

/rant over

Paul, I have been following along your issues with your Dad’s need for control. I’m going to look at this from your wife’s standpoint. Your question is are you unfair to him!? I don’t think so, but it sounds like you’re unfair to her. You can’t stand up to him, let him manipulate you, and then grouse about it. Your small victories against him still piss you off that they had to be won. You let him roil you and consume your thoughts and tap your energies. It’s not fair to her or your family. Your wife has understandably given up on dealing with him. But you can’t or won’t back away. It’s not a pretty picture and I hope it’s not doing irreparable harm to your marriage.

I’m sorry if I’m too blunt or offended you, sometimes I can get that way, especially regarding something that I personally couldn’t tolerate. I guess I’m just asking for you to Please think of Her as your #1 responsibility in your dealings with him. When he’s on the phone demanding something, take a breath, picture your wife’s pretty face instead and react how she would want. Maybe that image will help. Just a thought and good luck.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to rocketjcat
paulfoel123 Dec 18, 2018
No worries Rocket.....

Believe me I have changed a lot. I do understand and now I don't let him do what he used to do. He still tries though of course.

Xmas day is now off the cards. He was getting so bad and two years ago he was awful and spoilt it for everyone. Wife is a nurse and I just tell him shes working - I can't bring myself to sit him down and say "Dad - you're behaviour is bad you're not invited".

Then again for years hes expected me to drive to pick him up (30mins or so away), bring him to my house, then take him home later. Big part of the day - and then he'd try and dictate what time I picked him up. When I said let me see kids open presents and then I'll be there his answer was always "there'll be other xmases for the kids"

I can't argue that, at times, he is a complete a@sehole I get that. But hes my Dad and I can't cut him loose completely. In all honesty, I dont think he realises how bad he is.

Thing that winds my wife up most is his treatment of the kids. He really is not interested at all. Ignores them, hardly speaks to them. He has no relationship really with either of them. I know its because if I visit him with the kids (usually my youngest) it means he doesn't have my 100% attention. Hes even said in the past "what did you bring her for?" (about my youngest).
Once, Paul. Once, he asked you to travel the two hours to take him to an appointment, and you agreed to it. Under protest, I grant you, and it cost you actual money which must have hurt, but you did agree. Don't do it again. But let it go.

Look, you're not being unfair to him. You are being unfair to yourself in that you are expecting your father to behave like someone he is not.

At the moment, you are feeling frustrated and put upon because he isn't stoical, considerate, self-sufficient as far as possible and grateful for everything else. If he suddenly started being all of those things... would you even recognise him?

Also, I have to say: apple - tree. Your father has a wide range of options and possibilities that he doesn't follow up, for whatever reason; and then he complains about how much pain he's in and how difficult everything is. Hmmm.

These are the rules:
He can say what he likes, you decide what you do.
He can do what he likes, you decide what you contribute.
Stop wishing he was different from what he is actually like.
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Reply to Countrymouse
paulfoel123 Dec 18, 2018
You're right CM. I think every week though its "something" he wants me to do which is unreasonable. Its almost as if hes testing me to see what he can get away with.

This weekend I said sorry no I can't do that. He then wanted to know exactly what I was doing that made me so busy that weekend. I thought hang on why is it any of you're business?

I know what you mean - I do let it get to me. It wears me down all the time having to argue/make excuses with him. It wears me down and frustrates me that I could make things easier for him.

But I'm getting better honestly!
Do you have a regularly scheduled visit weekly, biweekly, monthly that you see him and help him?
If not, I highly recommend that you sit down with your calendar and your wife and children's calendar and figure out a day monthly that you can give just to him.

Then you can say, dad when I am there on --- we will take care of that. If you need it sooner here are the options.

My dad played the heavy handed, I'm more important than anyone else. He even told my husband, if we could get rid of Ray we would be okay. Ray being my husband.

One time he was told to not contact me for a week, he thought he would be in charge and call because he needed something, I knew he was all stocked up before he was told no contact. He was sucking the life out of me. So it ended up being about 2 weeks because every time he called it added a day to the no contact. I didn't answer the phone, I let him leave messages and I didn't call back. He finally got that I have a life and you can be part of it, with boundaries, no boundaries, no part. It is hard to stand up to our parents but we are not little kids and they stopped being in control when we started paying our own bills.

Let us know how your regularly scheduled visits and strong boundaries help.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal
paulfoel123 Dec 19, 2018
Yes I do try to schedule it but he keeps pushing. I do have to be careful what I agree to because if I hint then its set in stone and come hell or high water I have to visit.

Being on call in work sometimes doesn't help and he doesnt get. Sometimes I'm up working all night and he still expects me there because I planned to be.

Oh yes nothing would please Dad more than if I was single Im sure!
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You can expect all you want - why should your dad change? He is not likely to change. So YOU have to change - how you respond. It is totally OK to set boundaries and enforce them. "NO" is not a four letter word. Do what YOU WANT for your dad out of love and compassion - say NO to the rest.

You seem to want your dad to figure out that he is being a bully and he will never acknowledge it. So do what YOU WANT.

If you are so on edge from having dealt with him lately - take a break. Go no contact for awhile.

But do what YOU want, and stop being angry with your dad for being like he is.

About 15 years ago I started setting boundaries with my mom - who of course raised holy hell about it. We went no contact several times for about six months at a time. NOW I have a good relationship with her because she knows what will happen if she doesn't respect my boundaries.

now am working on boundaries with my sister - who is a manipulative bully. Take the emotion out of it and the wishes out of it. What will you accept / not accept? What will you do? when my boundaries are pushed - I firmly say "NO" and if they get to badger or bully I exit, physically or hang up phone. "I'm sorry, I won't let you speak with me that way. I love you. Good bye" and repeat, repeat, repeat.

Good luck
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Kimber166
Harpcat Dec 19, 2018
Great advice!
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While I am firm believer in if you can, take care of your parents, I am also a firm believer in not judging those don't. Not everyone can, and you cannot always know the whole story or outcome.
Before getting to the point, I like to point out that age cannot be blamed on problems. More often than not, it is bad, unhealthful habits that eventually catches up to people. Treat yourself right when you are younger, including things you hate, like proper exercise, proper eating with junk in very moderation, rare small drinking or none at all and never smoke do things to keep the brain sharp, be good about medical help when need it and follow through, etc., then you can be independent when you are elder. Also, deciding to slow down after a certain age certainly does not help. You all the more need activity when elder, even start by chair exercises. Gotta keep mobile to keep from getting immobile. Also, think young to treat yourself better. I have a very independent almost 93 year-old great-aunt. She has a couple things going on, but she beats her stuff instead of her stuff beating her. If there is one advice I can tell young folks, your life's goal should be caring for yourself the right way now so, unless something freak happens, you can live freely when you are elder. Save something every month, so when you get elder, not everything falls on the kids; instead, they can check in on you, but still live their lives. After all, you wanted to live yours, right? Taking care of kids is way different than caring for parents.
Onto the point now, I totally get it. My mother, if she was living with me, and on top of it, I got my own baby ( a mid-teen), my mother and I can be alright over the phone sometimes, but in person, in five minutes already something to pick at me about. She is miserable about her life, and because I'm smaller than her, I guess, easier to take it out on me because I cannot stand up to her. Some of her relatives think I'm wrong for her not living with me, a couple of them, they totally understand. Besides, I am a mom myself, and it's a struggle to care for myself. The fact you have family, your spouse and kids comes first. The three reasons, along with parents who had abused their kids, are reasons many kids do not be primary caregivers, and also knowing, if they take that responsibility, they are not likely to get any help, even if they get sick and bedridden themselves. Being elder does not make one entitled, and having kids make no one entitled, even if 100 years old. If you are elder, if you can do something yourself, be glad you can, and be an example to young ones by them seeing that you do what you can, even if you hate it or don't feel like it. As for having kids, it does not guarantee they can one day give up working, don't have their own spouses and kids to care for when something happens. As for nursing homes, kids placing a parent in a nursing home in itself is not wrong if they need to. If they do not plenty research first or take time to visit to see how things are going is a bad thing. But I do understand if parents were abusive or neglectful, they may not want to be bothered. And if the parents chose not to care for themselves with the best amount of effort, why expect bail out?
I am not saying this to dissuade anyone from being their for their parents and care for them if they can. But, I believe that parents should not hold it against their kids if they feel they need to put them in a home as long as they are there to check on them often enough. Most people do no want to go to a home, but just like young people always have to do things they hate, being elder does not change that.
Raising kids, until 18 or out of high school, at least with them you can set rules and expect them to follow. Parents will use the fact they are parents to only do want they want and not listen to their kids and not realize it is a much bigger sacrifice to care for them than it is kids.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to JesusLove1976

Dad is a bully and sounds like he has been one all his life. He is also seemingly a narcissist and these people live to control and beat down others.  It is what life is about to them.  So trying to argue with them is simply giving them openings to do what they love best - "win" by beating you down.  I found it wisest to decide where my boundaries were and say "no" to anything that crossed them.  Just "no", no explanations, arguments, trying to reason, etc.  After all, you have tried to get your point across, right? Doesn't seem like he wants to even consider it.   I found some peace is realizing that some things never change - but I can control my response.
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Reply to rovana
paulfoel123 Dec 19, 2018
As I've got older I've realised this. He wants to be in control of everything.

I took him away for the weekend last year. He was awful. It ranged from "you can't have a drink you're driving" (I had one pint which is fine), to "why do you want to pay that much for a sandwich", to "you don't need desert". He was constantly on my back.

Brother is getting married in the summer. Dad has hassled him about 50 times to NOT go away for the weekend for a stag night. (Brother is 48). He does the emotional blackmail - he'll be worried sick about him.

Saying that he does that to me if I go on holiday to Florida. I get "phone me when you land or I'll be worried sick something has happened to you". I refuse to do so - tell him watch the news to see if theres been a plane crash! lol. Its all about control with him and being in charge.

Also can guarantee the days before I go away his health will get worse. Without fail. One year he is going to lay it on so thick and try and get me not to go - I know it. I will ignore him.
Paul; I went on holiday with some girlfriends this week (to Florida).

As we left, the one who was staying for an extra day asked if we would text her when we landed so she'd know that we arrived safely in NY.

It's actually an expression of caring in most people, not of control.

I understand that with parents, it's sometime hard to sort what is what. And your dad does sound terribly annoying. But might I suggest that your reactions suggest to me that you might be tremendously helped by some counseling sessions.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
paulfoel123 Dec 20, 2018
Yes I know what you mean. He probably thinks its caring but its control with him.

Its difficult to explain how he is in words but honestly.... Its EVERYTHING I do pretty much. Work, kids, holidays, Dad will comment and then TELL me what to do. He even says things like "No you can't do that" or "OK yes you can do that".

Of course, I ignore him but he has gone and done things like this and said the same to my wife which doesn't go down well.
You described my dad. I let him get away with it for awhile then I learned how to say NO. Start saying it. It gets easier each time you do. I also learned not to jump when he wanted something. I would do it but on my time schedule. I was able to retrain him. He still may demand but he does accept a NO when I say it.
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Reply to lkdrymom
paulfoel123 Dec 17, 2018
Battling on at the moment..... Its still a massive fight with him.

Its sad really because its caused a lot of bad feeling when there was no need. I was quite happy to help him out where I could but he pushed it too far.

I'm sure I've said on here before there were one or two defining moments where his behaviour, quite frankly, has been awful and hes really treated me like complete cr@p and had no consideration for me, my health, my family or my kids. It crossed the line from being just a PITA having to do things for him to him being blatantly selfish and rude to my family.

Of course, in his head, hes done nothing wrong. My wife won't bother with him these days (can't blame her to be honest). Probably the worse thing (in my wifes eyes too) is the fact that he is completely uninterested in his grandchildren - in fact, has been quite rude about them because he sees them as a "hindrance".
I think some people were a little tough on you here but they do have a point. You can't change him, you can only change how you react.

You don't have to answer his phone calls or call him every day. Figure out what you can or are willing to do and that is it. Spend one Saturday a month with him taking care of whatever he wants rather than ruining every weekend with smaller trips. Only call once a week and at a set time. No dropping everything to tend to one of his 'wants' can take care of it on your monthly visit. If he gets nasty give him a warning. If he doesn't listen cut that monthly visit short and leave. Baby steps to taking your life back and giving yourself peace. Sure he will get the upper hand on occasion but it will get better.

People tend to forget that they are and ADULT now and it is OK to say NO to your parent. World will not end no matter how they react.

Stop trying to appease him. If he makes some PA comment agree with him and move on. If he says "well it looks like I will be all alone on the holiday" reply with "yes it does look that way, how about that weather we are having!". If he makes comments about how you live your life try to ignore. If you can't, ask him what makes him think he gets a say in how you live your life. Or remind him that his opinion on this subject does not matter. If he says because he is your father remind him that only works if you are under 18, not 50.

Your father isn't going to change. Take a break from him and figure out how you want to move forward. Get over the guilt of 'leaving him alone'. Most people like this are alone because they have driven people away. That is not your fault. My grandmother used to say people didn't want you when you were old and grey. The reality was that people didn't want to be around her because she was miserable and nasty. But those are things she could have done something about. It is easier to blame something she could not change like being old.

I wish you luck.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to lkdrymom
Isthisrealyreal Dec 20, 2018
Read his replies, I think it will help you understand the harshness.
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Paul, your dad is and always probably has been a micromanager and a manipulator and a complainer. As Dr. Paul Chafetz says in his book "lose the surprise". (You should read his book btw) You know that’s how he is, and wishing it wasn’t so and that he will change is wishful thinking. As people get older their traits usually intensify. Everyone here has said to set boundaries. If you give in to him out of fear, he will keep it up because you reward his behavior. Have you ever gone to counseling to find out how to deal with him and understand your lack of knowing how to honor your own life and that of your family? People don’t demand respect they earn it. Father or not.
I can tell you’re extremely frustrated and wish him to be different but he can’t be. Accept who he is by losing the surprise every time he has inappropriate behavior with his boundaries. Talk with a counselor and read Chavetz's book and also a good one by Henry Cloud on boundaries.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Harpcat
Tiger55 Dec 25, 2018
I understand, I think, (being surprised by parent's repeated bad behaviors). I believe that we want so badly to have the pleasant & stable parent, (instead of this one), that in our minds we just can't believe that this is how he/she is. (I'll have more denial, please"). I guess as kids we learned to try & please our parent, no matter what.
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