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I've been caregiving for dad for about 4 years. He is not actively dying, but he has suffered a lot of muscle atrophy and now gets intense fatigue. Over the course of his illness, he has repeatedly been self destructive to the point where he has fewer and fewer good days because his digestive system can no longer manage his rationializations. The stress of caring for him plus work was killing me, so 2 months ago my husband and I decided to make some changes. One is that I work less than 12 hrs a week. The other is that my dh is more involved in the active caring so I can get the hell out of the house and try to salvage my friendships. In theory, dad is supportive of the second one. But it seems like every chance he gets he'll say things like "but he has a real job. I want him to rest on the weekend" or he'll say he's not hungry until I walk in the door and ask me to cook. When I told him it was important that he let dh help so that I could go be a person, he actually asked me "why" and told me he feels bad I feel like I need to escape him. It's not so much that I want to escape, I just want what people have: time with friends to laugh, go places, a chance to go to the gym, etc. How can I stay strong and kind when he acts so sexist and shabbily?

I pick up on some real intensity from your post. It sounds like you are very determined not to lose yourself to caregiving. I’m not certain what you mean by his digestive system not being able to manage his rationalizations though. How is he self-destructive? Where is his doctor in all of this? It sounds like he may need a therapist as well.

Dad is most likely from the era era when men were the breadwinners and women were homemakers. If that’s the case, you will never be able to “unsexist” him. I’ve had no luck with my husband.

Its nice that your dad wants dh to rest on the weekends, but he is not in charge of scheduling who does what and when. I’ve said this before, but when parents live with their adult children, it’s a privilege and not a right. If you want to dance naked in the moonlight in your your back yard, you do not have to get permission from or give reasons or rationalizations to your father. You aren’t 5 years old. Just do it.

My mom was a master of what I called the Sniper Snark. She’d make a nasty remark and then say no more, just sit back and wait for it to hit her mark. I got to the point I’d just give her a blank look and walk away. Really p***ed her off!

Good for you for realizing you needed to change things. And kudos to dh for helping out.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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maybe you can tell him you are not trying to get away from him.

but that you are just getting away from laundry, cooking, cleaning, bill paying, yard work.

tell him you miss your friends and need girlfriend time.

I don't know how you stay strong, other than just ignoring his comments. and just believe in yourself that you ARE doing the right thing by giving yourself a 'vacation' with some YOU TIME.

just give him and big ol smile and say dad, ill be back real soon, cant wait to see you then!
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Reply to wally003
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So, you don't say if dad has dementia or not, but I might suspect some cognitive decline. You might want to check that out.

Your dad grew up in a very different era. Women did houdekeeping, caring for kids and ekders. And very little else. If they wanted "more" they were sent to psychiatrists and medicated.

Your dad doesn't understand that you are not fulfilled by your caregiving role. I can't think of any way to help him understand except to say " we live in a different world now dad. Women have fuller lives. I don't need to escape you. But I need to get out and be with my friends sometimes and you need to accept that DH and I are partners in caring for you".
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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