Why am I dad's target?

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My 85 year old father lives in my home. He has a variety of health problems and mobility is a challenge. Biggest problem is that he argues with me about anything and treats me like a 10 year old. He also enjoys pity parties. My 4 siblings are all absentee since he came here, but he is cheery and "cute" with them and others. He has brought me to tears. Why am I his target? Lots of quiet time here

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Every single one of you struck a chord with me. I think that this behavior is the worst part of my caregiving experience. My dad has always been "joe in charge" and really thinks he can dictate the lives of his kids. We have a lot of quiet time because I won't engage him in running through the family "problems." I think part of the anger comes from loss of independence. My dad is pretty dependent on me for everything. The clincher in his attitude was selling his home a month ago, he hadn't been there for a year. Thanks to all of you, just receiving some response to my post really helped me mentally.
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I totally understand what you're going through, as I went through it with both of my parents. I wish I could offer you some advice that would make it stop, but I don't know of any. I can tell you that you are not alone, as I can assure you more than 100% that your dad isn't doing this because he doesn't like or appreciate you. When this happened to me, I asked myself "Why is my mom (or dad) treating me like I'm dirt beneath their heel when I am bending over backwards trying to take care of them?" and, "Why do they show such contempt toward me in front of others? My sister doesn't do anything to help them and she is treated like she's the best thing that ever graced the earth."

I think that our parents internalize a lot of their feelings, especially the negative stuff. Fear of illness, fear of dying, and a lot of frustration because they have to rely on someone else for things that they used to be able to do on their own. I think that no matter how much dignity we give them through care giving, it can still be quite humbling to them when they have to be helped to clean after using the bathroom, etc. Your dad may be going through some of that right now.

The reason why I bring this up, is because I believe that when our aging parents lash out at us in this way, they're doing so because we are considered their "safe person." It isn't fair, and we do not deserve it, but nevertheless, we often become the receiver of their negative emotions. They do not talk about those feelings, but they will channel it out by venting their frustrations on us in unwarranted ways. It's not personal, even though it hurts us deeply. I think they choose us because they feel confident that we love them unconditionally, no matter how bad their behavior is toward us.

Also, you may want to look at your dad's meds, because sometimes what you hear is not so much your dad saying those words but the effects of the medication changing their moods, etc. I know Morphine will do this.

My dad and I were always extremely close, and I was his primary caregiver when he was dying. He did internalize much of his feelings. He accused me of poisoning him, and acted as if I was evil, I remember one time I had a couple hours of respite when my sister came by (she was treated like gold). At that point, I was so upset that I threw my hands up and told her (loudly) "He's all yours, I give up." I proceeded to go into the bathroom, get in the shower (the only place I had any privacy) and allow myself to cry. For a long, long time.

If you take anything away from my post, please take away the fact that the way your dad is treating you is not unusual, you do not deserve it, and that we get singled out for this treatment not because we are hated by them, but because we are the ONLY ones with whom they feel safe to vent out frustration because we've proven to them time and again that our love is unconditional. They put on their best face for those who they feel won't love them if they see their infirmities, etc.

I wish you the best.
XO
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In a lot of families; this behavior occurs where the elderly person treats the caretaker poorly and often with no respect; but then can "turn it on" and be totally different to other siblings. My experience has been that my mother would do this to me as I was always the one that truly cared and loved unconditionally; whereas other sibling did not. They take advantage of the child they know they can take their frustrations out on and don't care how they make you feel.

Do hope you can speak up to your father as Debra has suggested. I realize this can be difficult; but the situation will only get worse if you don't. Hugs to you and hope things improve.
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Time to stand up to him and demand he respect you as an adult in your home. Tell him he has two choices-be kind or live elsewhere. He is targeting you because he thinks he can. This is your home and your life and your father needs to understand that and not make your life miserable. This may be hard for you, but itis the only way if you want his behavior to change.
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