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My stepmum has early stages of Alzheimer's, my Dad is already struggling. So far she's getting confused with dates & forgetfulness, she's given up driving & can't go to the supermarket alone due to leaving her bag or trying to walk out of the store with items. He keeps asking me for support and I try and listen and I've trawled the internet for helpful things, I try keeping things positive, but it's not good enough for him. I've got 2 jobs and a young son and I'm also suffering with anxiety & depression.


Me & my Dad do not have a good relationship in the first place. He's been a bully throughout my whole life and very emotionally abusive. I'm really struggling with my own life and really can't cope with this as well, I feel I'm going to crumble if he keeps putting all this on me & I also feel so guilty that I'm being utterly useless. I'm finding it hard as I don't even like my Dad due to things from the past, I'm sure I love him deep down, but I really feel I can't give him support or sympathy due to our bad relationship. He was really nasty to me yesterday, he text me drunk saying he needed support, I was in the middle of putting my son to bed, so I text him as soon as I saw it and I was really struggling to know what to say. So just put that I didn't know what to say and that it must be hard for him. I told him that I thought he needed to speak to his doctor to get some more help, or go to the support group I found him so that he can speak with other carers who are living this and to also try and get in with his counselor. I said he needed to get help from professionals who know what they are doing.


He responded by saying I don't need your platitude I need support. So I said I was sorry and asked him what I could do to help. He just started being nasty and repeating he needs support. I really am at a loss as to what to do. I have barely any spare time and my own mental health is deteriorating, he also lives a long way away, so it's not just so easy to call in. I have trawled the internet again for ideas of how to support him, but a lot of ideas involve helping them with cleaning etc, he has a cleaner and I don't have the time or energy. I wondered about offering to do his shopping for him online and getting it delivered to his house each week. It's not much, but surely it's a help. I feel like the worst person in the world and don't know what to do, any suggestions? If he keeps up putting pressure on me and being nasty I feel like I'm going to have to cut ties with him, but he's my Dad. Help!

Dad is under a lot of pressure and stress and he is trying to put it off on you. Whether or not you allow him to is up to you, but you will undoubtedly regret it if you take on this task. Under the “best” of circumstances, caring for someone with dementia is difficult. And, you don’t have the best of circumstances. Dad is already showing hostility toward you, he is trying to force and guilt you into caring for your stepmother. Again, if whether or not you allow him to is up to you.

Kindly but firmly explain to your father that you are not able to become a caregiver for your stepmother. Your busy life and your own health issues do not allow it. But, tell him that you will be happy to help him find professional help such as in-home aides or even help find placement in a facility if he would wish. You will need to be very strong to do this. You are an adult. While you can assist your father as mentioned above, you do not have to dedicate what could be decades of your life caring for your stepmother. Find the resolve to stand up for yourself and to Dad.
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jakeypegs May 15, 2019
Thank you so much for your advice Ahmijoy, it really makes sense when you put it like that. I really appreciate your advice and will certainly be taking it on board.
Thanks again :-)
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Jakey,

Your child is your first priority. Don’t allow your dad or your stepmom to keep you from being the best mom. You are a good mom and daughter but things can get very slippery in a situation like this and before you know it, you’ve fallen into their trap.

You have suffered enough. He is responsible for himself.

Your stepmom needs to look elsewhere for support. If it makes you feel better give her a list of organizations that could possibly help her. Please do not be involved in his mess. Trust me, it hardly ever works out.

I grew up with a brother addicted to heroin. He too was successful at one point in his life, even owning his own business with his live in girlfriend.

He mistreated his girlfriend. The business closed when they separated. He never changed his ways in spite of everyone trying to help him. Some people do, and I am happy for those who do change. I am not a cold person. I have empathy for all addicts or problem drinkers. Yes, I said problem drinker for a reason.

In Alcoholic’s Anonymous they say that any person who drinks and it causes problems in that person’s life needs help, whether or not they are dependent on the alcohol. Clearly that is the case here. Has nothing to do with physical dependence.

If an emotional dependency is there it will destroy just as much. Do you see what I am saying? I learned this from my neighbor whose husband was emotionally drinking way too much. While he wasn’t physically dependent the drinking caused their divorce.

You and your child deserve to live a happy life. I can see from your posts that you are intelligent, kind and caring. Put all of that energy into your life with your son.

For years I did not realize the damage that was done when I grew up with an addict. How could I? I was a kid. I discovered a lot as an adult in therapy. Healing began. Actually grieving, healthy grief that needed to happen before healing. I lost my brother. I learned from my therapist that I could love my brother but I was justified in not loving his lifestyle. Separation in emotions helped me tremendously. Don’t allow everything to get jumbled up together.

I will be thinking of you and I wish you well. Hug that sweet child of yours. He needs you. So many times I felt invisible as a kid, a mere shadow to my brother. Children grow up fast. Savor every moment of it. Your child is blessed to have a mom who loves him.

Take care. Hugs!
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If this situation with your stepmother has blown up since after Christmas, it might not be a bad idea to email your counsellor with a heads-up type update.

This would be for purely practical purposes.

You are coming under renewed pressure because your father wants to lean on someone and you're nearest.

You are not the right person for him to lean on.

One way or another, you will need to stop him doing that.

You may need help and guidance to stop him without hurting either yourself or him.
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jakeypegs May 16, 2019
Thank you Countrymouse, I really appreciate your advice and very wise words. You are a great help.
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I feel so sorry for both of them! And for you too, but in your case you're safe now - :) - because we won't let you do anything fat-headed or suicidal like volunteer to get too close to the situation.

The learning curve for carers whose loved one is in the earliest stages of dementia is incredibly steep and can feel to the carer as though it's the carer who's being driven mad. But just as in the olden days they used to slap hysterical ladies to snap them out of it, you can be frank to the point of brutal with your father. Yes, he does need support. But feeling sorry for himself and getting drunk and emotionally blackmailing you is not the way to go about it.

On the getting drunk thing - remind him "there is no social or emotional situation, however bad, that cannot be made worse by alcohol."

These are the people I would turn to first if I were doing it all again: https://www.mha.org.uk/find_a_service/yorkshire

Have a look at their website and let me know what you think or if it sounds promising.
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jakeypegs May 15, 2019
Thank you, I have had a look and printed him off some of the services you can get from the living at home scheme. It looks pretty good. The problem I'm having is that he seems to just want everyone to do it for him. I have printed him off all sorts of things & he seems to just put it to the side & expect somebody else to do it. He's so frustrating! He was going through a bad spell of depression & he was severely overweight, so I found him a walking group for all abilities and even offered to go with him, which would have meant taking time off work. He just took the leaflet and said I'll look at it, but I've tried stuff like this before and it wasn't for me! In other words I can't be bothered, I just want to sit on my backside & let everyone else do it! I really have tried with him.
I have just found loads of info for him and printed it off, I've spent hours and also risk getting in trouble at work, but deep down I know he won't take any of this advice up. I have tried asking him what he wants me to do but he just says he needs support. Am I not supporting him?
Thank you for taking the time to respond to me I really appreciate it :-)
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I can be rather blunt but having read through advice and your replies I want to add a few things.
l'm sure you've heard the old saying "You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink"? This is your dad. You’ve done loads to help support him by finding support and he refuses to act. Guess what..he doesn’t want to. You already said he is lazy. He wants others to do it for him and I’m sure he isn’t mentally strong enough to cope with the new demands let alone his wife is "defective" now as he sees it and has inconvenienced his life. So he verbally abuses her because it’s her fault. You said he’s always been abusive and manipulative and a bully. I hope you’re not hoping he’s going to change because he’s shown you through the years who he is. You wrote "The problem I'm having is that he seems to just want everyone to do it for him." That is the bottom line.
so as Countrymouse said, who has given you excellent help, you need to remember that you have a right to have boundaries. The problem also is that he isn’t respecting your boundaries and he’s encroaching on them by bullying. Do not answer your phone late at night when he’s likely to have been drinking. If it’s important, he will leave a voicemail and that’s perfectly fine to let him do.
Once you realize that he is the one who has to buck up and take the support that you are giving you can mentally distance yourself from him. Come up with some statements to use when you talk and have them written down. Also as someone else suggested level with him about your role and be firm. He doesn’t have to like it...bullies never do.
Also can you get some mental health counseling for yourself? That would be helpful in coping.
Hugs!
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Oh my goodness. Your dad and my dad are pretty similar! Only my dad was the one in need of care. He didn't have dementia, only moderate physical disability but he still wanted me to do literally everything for him. I've only just in the last few months been able to quit my caregiving role with him. Believe me when I say, as a fellow person with mental health issues, DO NOT take this on. My dad destroyed what little mental health I had left, and it's an excruciatingly slow process to get back to typical.

First, I would say to stop the researching and printing for him. It's obvious your dad does not appreciate it. It's the saying, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. You've lead him...and now he has to decide if he's really that thirsty.

Second, because you have already done all the legwork you have I would reduce your contact with him. As long as you are even a phone call away he will think he can still wear you down to come rescue him. When my father went into a nursing home after another stroke last November, he would constantly call me to do things for him. Then my phone broke and he had no way to contact me. After some time to mope, he took up the reins and started taking care of business himself. Yes you will feel guilty for a time, but there's really nothing more you can do right? Necessity is the mother of invention....you dad has to be put in a position that he needs to take care of business himself with no options for an outside rescue.

Third, keep your boundaries!! Take care of you, do your mental health work, do your jobs to keep a roof and food, take care of the babies, do fun things!

Your stepmother is not your responsibility, your father is not your responsibility. When he goes on about needing support, understand that your definition and his definition are completely different. You HAVE supported him. But his definition is "come take this burden off my plate completely." He won't say it that specifically because intellectually he knows that sounds selfish of him. But it is what he means, and you know you do not have that capacity nor the responsibility. You are doing fine!!! You are not an awful child for living your life.

Dad is a big boy, he got this far in life. It's a shame your stepmother has this awful disease and has to put up with your dad who seems to have just wanted to be cared for until he went peacefully in his sleep. It's kind of a karma. My dad married my stepmother because she had a house that was paid for and a fat bank account. He thought he'd be living the good life free from responsibility until he died. Totally went the opposite and now he's ticked at the world and ticked at me for not continuing his dream life. Not my problem! And your dad is not your problem either! You've helped greatly but it's not appreciated, so be done.
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jakeypegs May 16, 2019
Amazing reply Miranova, thank you. It's nice to hear from someone who has experienced this. It's hard helping a parent or caring for a parent when you have had a good relationship, but utterly impossible if you have a horrible parent. I text him last night saying I know he's angry, but taking it out on me won't do any good. I told him that I am trying to support him the best I can, but he knows that I have a very busy and stressful life & am suffering from mental health issues. I told him that I was sorry but that's all I can manage, my son and my mental health have to come first. I told him I had found out some more stuff about support in our area if he was interested. It took a lot of guts and soul searching to send that message and I really took my time thinking what to write. His reply was "a phone call now and then wouldn't go amiss plus I didn't say anything wrong to you" that was it!!!! What a d*@k! I literally only spoke to him on Sunday, ok he rang me but still! I just can't be bothered with his manipulation any more. He is so selfish and doesn't give a cr@p about anyone else. I'm going to do what you say and cut back my contact with him. I don't care what anyone else thinks, as they do not know him like I do, they only see the joke cracking funny guy, the angry, nasty, manipulative, emotional blackmailer is reserved for me and my Step Mum.
He raves on about how wonder my cousin is helping him out with things, erm he pays her to do his cleaning??? He tells everyone else that she's doing it out of the kindness of her heart, but she is being paid! Well maybe he can pay her to be his new daughter, let's see how long it lasts before Mr Nice guy shows his true colours and she runs for the hills!!!!
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TG Country Mouse is in the UK. Most of us are in the US so our healthcare is different and services are different.

I think your Dad is not listening. You need to be direct with people like this. You may have to sit down, look him in the eye and say "If you mean caring for SMom is "support" then I am sorry Dad that won't happen. I have given all the info I can find about resources SMom is entitled to. You need to check these out. I can't take the time working two jobs and caring for my son. Smom is your responsibility and there is help for her."

Good Luck
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jakeypegs May 16, 2019
Thanks JoAnn.
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OMG, I am reading your responses to CMouse.

Your Dad sounds like he is BiPolar. Sounds like he had manic episodes. My cousin suffers from it. She describes it as the mind constantly going. Alcohol helps to slow it down.

I think Smom is in a bad situation and really needs to be taken out of the home to a care home.
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NeedHelpWithMom May 16, 2019
So many people who have not yet been diagnosed with bipolar deny something is ‘off.’ They don’t always know what is happening in the beginning. My nephew noticed with his wife that she was having unusual mood swings.

They had to attend another church because church elders at their ‘nondenominational’ church kept telling them to have ‘more faith’ and pray it away.

After she was properly diagnosed by a psychiatrist she was introduced to the proper meds and is living a productive life again.

Anything is a possibility, JoAnn but if bipolar is in the picture meds will have to be given to balance out mood issues.
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[clearing throat] hem-hem.

For future reference, God forbid, the correct response to a phone call from someone announcing that they have just swallowed 100 paracetamol is to hang up, calmly, and call an ambulance. It is not to drive home like a madwoman.

And for information: if you think this through, you will see there are grounds for scepticism about what exactly he did do. Even five or six years ago, getting 100 paracetamol together required a certain amount of prior planning. There are 16 in a box, or 32 max if you buy from a pharmacist. Shops will not sell you more than one box at a time without arguing; and I happen to know that they are quite good about this, because the EPOS systems in supermarkets flag up the second purchase and your friendly teenage cashier will say "computer says no." The only exception is on prescription - GP's can prescribe larger supplies for people requiring maintenance pain relief. Does that apply? Does your father or your stepmother have any painful chronic condition?

Moreover, I also happen to know that if you swallow 100 x 500mg paracetamol tablets, quite apart from how long it takes to do that - visualise it, that's quite a heap of tablets you're downing, plus you've got to get every one of them out of the blister pack - you will vomit copiously. If you are drunk, you will vomit all the quicker.

So all in all, I think it's very unlikely that he in fact managed to take that large an overdose unless he'd been planning it for quite some time. Having said that, you don't need to take anything like 100 to kill yourself. It happens quite a lot, but accidentally because by the time it happens the person has often changed his or her mind. Hence you don't call anyone's bluff about it - if they've taken more than the recommended dose, you call an ambulance.

I don't think, actually, that being angry with someone who has done this, while you are in shock about it especially, is at all an inappropriate response or even an unhelpful one. It is a natural response which at the same time demonstrates that what the person has done *matters* to you. So don't blame yourself for not having a professional reaction - you're not a professional, quite apart from anything else.
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jakeypegs May 16, 2019
I can sort of believe that they had that many tablets in the house. My Dad is a hoarder, he starts to get twitchy if he goes in the cupboard and he in down to only 20 cans of beans!!! He has cupboards full of stuff. But I do doubt if he genuinely wanted to actually kill himself, I think it was a cry for attention. I remember at 10 years old my Dad used to tell me that after the divorce from my Mum he took a rope and put it in the boot of his car & went to a certain place to hang himself, but he never went through with it. I mean you really tell a 10 year old that type of cr@p!!! FFS! Honestly the stories I could tell you. He's broken down in front of my Son and said he felt like killing himself, resulting in my 3/4 year old saying he wanted to kill himself in a conversation weeks later!!!! When we were kids my sister was off school ill with a sickness bug for a few days, she started feeling better and wanted something to eat so my Mum made her some toast using the last slices of bread, although there was more in the freezer. My Dad came home from work and being his usual greedy self was after something to eat before his tea, went in the bread bin and there was no bread. He asked where the bread was, my Mum explained & he went absolutely ape & I mean ape. I remember vividly his eyes used to bulge out of his head, his face purple, veins throbbing in his head and frothing from the mouth, spitting as he vented his spleen! But because my Mum stood up to him, after all she was only looking after her poorly child, he took a knife upstairs and said he was going to kill himself! My Mum ignored him, as this sort of thing was a regular occurrence. So he was up there raging and stewing on his own, the program we were all looking forward to seeing came on the TV, he heard it from upstairs and came charging down like a raging bull. He cut the plug off the TV and said if I can't watch it then you're not watching it either. Honestly, when I look back I can't quite believe it myself. It's shocking. I spend my whole childhood walking on egg shells. When they split up I was 10 and I remember saying to my Mum, you won't get back with him will you? She said no. I said if she did I would run away. This man, my father, is very toxic.
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Um. If it were me, I'd keep my five year old away from him except under direct supervision.

Your father needs help. It sounds as if he has needed help for a very long time. It is a job that you cannot do. That is not your fault.

Call MHA, and call Social Services. [The good news, by the way, is that Bradford University is a centre of excellence in dementia care and related fields, so you're in luck there - there will be all kinds of networks and programs around locally].

Call MHA just to get their advice. Call Social Services to register your concerns and to make sure that your father and stepmother are on their radar.

In everything you do, though, remember very clearly that the aim is to put Other People between you and their situation.

Is your mother around, just out of interest?
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jakeypegs May 16, 2019
Oh I don't let him near him without me being there. I don't trust him, his idea of safe and my idea of safe are poles apart! My Son doesn't even want to see him, but I say well he is your Grandad, I don't want the way I feel about my Dad to influence his decision to see him or not, but on the other hand don't want to force him either.
My mother is around, she has nothing to do with my Dad, she can't stand him, understandably so!
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