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I am 58 years old and one of my earliest memories is of my Dad telling my mother and I how as a young man he had once visited a house where the father had his daughter and son in their nightclothes and was beating them with his belt. Over the years many more stories of this ilk followed on an almost daily basis animal cruelty, beatings he had witnessed, horrific accidents he had seen. However his most favorite subject was and still is his own beatings at his mothers hand and how he was the 'whipping boy' out of his five siblings. My mother had a tender heart and always ensured that my sister and I were always made to feel sympathy for what he had been through as a child and given what he had told us we did indeed feel sympathy. I assumed his obsession with violence came from his having been on the receiving end of beatings. However after years and years of listening to these stories my sister asked his two remaining sisters if the stories of his beatings were true. Both sisters were horrified and said no they had never ever seen him receiving any beatings, or any marks on him from beatings, sure they all received smacks back then but no more than any of their friends did. Also from their memories my Dad was in fact the golden boy of the family and had only the best! My own memories of his Mother was a loving caring woman and certainly my Dad was happy for her to child mind me on a regular basis although I do recall him telling her just before she died that she was heavy handed when he was a child a fact she denied. The thing that my sister and I find really upsetting / embarrasing though is his talk of inappropriate sexual matters REALLY personal again this has been lifelong and frankly is flesh crawling. I have lost count of the number of times he has claimed to be out walking and came across couples or homosexuals in the act of having sex all graphically described. This conversation can be on public transport, in a cafe, a lovely family meal out etc, etc. We were both brought up in a home where what he said was law and although he was a good loving father in many ways neither of us would have crossed him for fear of reprisal. Indeed despite being the most impatient man I have ever met he lovingly cared for my Mum when she was diagnosed with Alzheimers .Now my Mum has passed what I find really sad is that we were never allowed to have Mother / Daughter times together, he always had to come even on a girly day out. Even after my children were born when a girl needs alone time with her Mum I could not get time alone with her, in fact I had three afternoons on my own with her when my first child was born and I treasure them. I breast fed them and he would go on and on about how he loved to see a child on the breast, there was no way he was going to see my child on the breast that was for sure. Even the actual births was marred by him going on and on about how he would love to be in at the birth, again freaking me out so no wonder I was admitted to hospital with high blood pressure! Trying to tell him no is futile he would turn up at the house after the birth once or twice on his own which was awful for me trying to breast feed this was despite being asked very politely not to come as I needed time to rest. The same goes for his inappropriate sexual conversations telling him to stop or walking away mid sentence doesn't work, he will just resume where he left off when you return. The strange thing is he will only talk about these subject matters with me, my husband and my sister, he wont raise these topics with my brother in law though. I do love him but am feeling more and more resentful towards him so any help in dealing with his unusual behavior will be much appreciated. I have learnt much from reading other peoples problems on this website but never come across one like mine.

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Imagined abuse, like all kinds of finger-pointing, gives people excuses for their own shortcomings. It hides false guilt and true guilt alike, for people who don't know how to confess and receive forgiveness. And sadly at some point, these people begin to believe their own stories. How does a person who has to be perfect even begin to admit they have been lying all their life?
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Your dad is 94 years old. He is not going to change. Period. End of story. The time for setting boundaries is long gone.

YOU change. From this moment on! Every time he begins talking inappropriately, leave the room...leave the house. Limit your contact with him. He talks that way to you because he's always talked that way to you. Who KNOWS what the reason is? Who really cares? It's inappropriate and disturbing.
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My bio Dad (Dr. says its Dementia, but while always very polite and known to be a nice guy, if his mouth was moving, he was lying.) Talks about sexual things and has inappropriate responses to things on tv etc. I confront him..... Dad, do you really think this is appropriate to talk about with your daughter? (DO in front of your daughter? When he tells me he didn't mean anything by it, or whatever his excuse, I tell him, sounds like something one of your guy friends would be good to talk to, and suggest joe anybody and go to dial his number. Have done this a few times. Little by little he toned down. And very rarely do I even need to remind him. I KNOW he thinks its me... I don't care... he quit DOING it.
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I have printed Jeanne's response and will carry it with me as a reminder. (Thank you Jeanne!) I have visited my Father once since posting this question and did so with a new 'no nonsense intent'. I have a feeling he will play the sympathy card when I exhibit this new attitude (poor me etc) for a while but hopefully if I (we) all persist he will at least stop talking about such horrible topics. It will be a start anyway. Quite a few answers have mentioned a narcissistic personality so I researched it on the internet and can say he fits every category bar one, so at least I know what I am dealing with here now. Thanks to everyone once again for taking the trouble to reply. X
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I think I'd have said, being as blunt as I am anyway, "For God's sake, Dad, enough already," and walked away. I doubt my dad would have been bent on that kind of topic anyway and if he had been, I doubt it would have stopped him talking that way. I know his mother was cold and highly critical and he had to grow up with that. He was a drinker and could be gross but not cruel, at least. I don't envy you. The best defense is not to listen to that crap if at all possible. Put your fingers in your ears and start singing, maybe.
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The word "assault" is appropriate for what your father is doing. He's assaulting you with his stories and images. You probably always have your guard up, bracing for the inevitable subject matter, and wishing you had earplugs or something! I think it's hostile, aggressive, and demonstrates contempt for you. And yes, the fact that he could do this to an entire family, for their entire lives, and have it all fly 'under the radar' is a sign of narcissistic behavior.
P.S. I'm glad that your mother didn't suffer while under his care while she had dementia, but consider the possibility that he actually enjoyed the power trip, and took pleasure in the grotesqueness of it all, in some way.
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Cariad, unfortunately there will likely always be people who (a) feel they have better answers and/or (b) feel free to ask why you've made certain decisions.

Some people in our acquaintance have told me my father should be in assisted living. Very conclusively, as if they're clarivoyant predictors of his needs. I used to try to explain, as some of them have actually been helpful to him in the past. But now they've decided to assume a position of dispensing unwanted advice.

Now I just say that Dad and I work out these issues ourselves, based on what we need. Sometimes I just ask them where they think we'd get the money to pay for AL, or I ask them to let him know when they find an AL with a woodworking shop.

Then let their jaws drop. It really is none of their business.

Jeanne's suggestions are good. Remember too that you don't owe anyone any explanation, unless they've helped a lot.

Opposite the ones who delight in saying "hie thee to assisted living!" are those who keep me up to date on Dad's progress and tell him what they've discovered that works well. Different strokes. Those folks get more detailed answers.


As to the issue of the inappropriate language and behavior, I stand with those who advise you to set boundaries, let him know it isn't acceptable and you won't tolerate it. There is no reason why anyone should.

He CAN avoid that behavior, as is shown by his relationship with others. So I'm concluding that he does it with you by choice and because he can get away with it. That tells me it's discretionary behavior, and can be changed.

You're right to be offended; give him an opportunity to change but don't put up with it if he won't.
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Until we walk in another's shoes, we can only judge ourselves.
Saying that he took the beating for the siblings, been there, received that...not one of my siblings(6 of us) remember BUT I DO....
Your dad is 94...why the investment of being right??? Can you just be & love him as he is for he will not be there long.
I am an R.N., Care giver, A working R.N., I also hold a counseling degree. I hear so much fear in your words....I wear a bracelet that I made. I use it as my prayer bracelet. I pray on it, especially when I hear things that grab my ego.
Every moment I can choose to look at things differently. Or not....
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Very interesting topic - I had some similar issues with an 85 year old that I'm currently hired to be his companion-caregiver 2 hours a day. I have usually believed in the power and value of feedback and setting limits and being honest, but when he does it again - and I struggle with the use of psychiatric meds, for I believe that over time they cause the issues they are brought in to "fix" - and they help prevent learning - so when he repeats his inappropriate suggestions, I've given feedback, but not been surprised when he does it again. I had a chance to notice when it bothers me most, and realized it's at times when I feel I began to care about him, or worry about him and make an effort to find a solution - realized that at those times, my anger is vicious, and realized that comes from my own issues of feeling underestimated and misunderstood. But I've found that if I've been vicious, he returns to that over and over, shows resentment, return anger. So I've come up with an effort to add balance. I have gotten angry, and if he did not listen, I said, I need a break and you do too. I am going downstairs and will be back in 15 minutes. And leave. He has had time to mellow when I return. AND, though I do correct him, I work to just do so normally, and briefly, then being quiet, and without rancor, turning the subject to something different. Focus on noticing what is of value - for he is a kind man, loves his sense of humor so I am coming to enjoy that. I see these issues not as individual psychiatric ones but as the effect of the Catholic church's teachings in Ireland. There was so much isolation between sexes in the geographical climate there, men were working or fighting resisting Britain, while women were taught to stay praying on their knees, stay home, work - and instead of people learning to talk of what is real - real talk was treated as if it was the work of the devil - making both genders fearful. Long and short, set boundaries and one's own needs, and do it without too harsh judgment, but still firmly and find some other things to enjoy - the shift takes time.
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Oh, please follow Jeanne's script! It's perfect.
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If you live in a small community, I completely understand your concern. Of course, when it comes right down to it, it's none of anyone else's business! But you can comfortably say that your father needs professional care that is beyond your or your sister's capabilities. You can leave it at that and let them wonder, there will be some new gossip in a week or so!
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Well, I'd first have to bite back the implulse to say, "None of your business!." Then, depending on the level of the relationship with the person asking I might use one of these:

We want what is best fro all of us. After discussing it with advisers this was our decision. (Followed by "I'd rally rather not discuss it further" if the person persists with questions.)

As you probably have observed, there have always been aspects of Dad's personality that have been hard to deal with. With age those have gotten worse and we decided we could have a more loving relationship with professionals doing most of the interaction. (Followed by "I'd rally rather not discuss it further" if the person persists with questions.)

This is something we thought long and hard about. It wasn't a casual decision. Now we'd like to move on to other topics. Do you want some contact information so that you can visit Dad? (Followed by "I'd rally rather not discuss it further" if the person persists with questions.)

I respect my father's right to privacy and so I don't discuss decisions about his care with others. (Repeat as needed, word-for-word if necessary.)

There may be some people who have a genuine concern about your family and your father, and you may want to give them at least brief answers. But you do NOT need to explain your life, your philosophy, or your decisions to others. Do your best to to the right thing under the circumstances, and then don't feel you owe anyone an explanation.
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Cariad, why would your friends/relatives even ask why? Your Dad is 94 years old, there comes a time when someone that age needs professional care.
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One thing more though... How would you answer friends and relatives when they ask why we are suddenly placing his care with a third party and not having him come to live with either of us?
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I really like ba8alou's suggestion. He is a frail old man. He is your father. You love him. Don't abandon him, but do your caring from a safe distance. Make sure that someone is taking charge of his care, but also make sure that isn't you.
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Well I must say when I posted my question I wondered if anyone would reply as it is a touchy subject matter. I can honestly say I feel as though a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, as I was beginning to feel like my sister and I were the ones with the problem as none of us really know what goes on in other family units I wondered was I making an issue over nothing. I am seeing my Father tomorrow and will now do so under my own new rules taking comfort in the knowledge that he is the one with the problem not me. So from now on it is onward and upward and hugs and thanks to you all for taking the time to reply to me. God Bless You All. X
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Your dad has some deep, deep psychological issues that sound like they've never been treated. He also sounds like a narcissist, that the world revolves around him and only him. The part about not letting you and your mom have times without his involvement (or should I say control?) scream narcissism to me. There are a ton of threads on here about setting boundaries with narcissistic parents.

I agree with FreqFlyer and Captain - you need to stand up to his GROSSLY inappropriate behavior. The second he starts, tell him you're not going to listen to that inappropriate crap and leave or hang-up. And don't come back or call for some time. Let him stew about whether or not he'll see you again. And if he starts in again, leave for an even LONGER time. Keep doing that consistently.

But before I did that, I'd have a calm discussion with him to explain the "new rules" of the relationship, so that he knows what's coming. Then STICK TO YOUR GUNS. He may be a frail old man now, but he wasn't for years and years of controlling your life and the life of your mother and evidently weaving sick and twisted stories of his childhood and continuing to tell inappropriate stories for any venue. He sounds awful - I'm surprised based on what you're saying he hasn't committed some kind of crime in years past.
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yup , im with freqflyer .
if dad gets as firm as industrial diamond , id get as firm as titanium ..
you dont have to accept anything . hes a creepy shock jock and needs put in his place daily if necessary ..
ive dealt with end stage dementia twice . both patients still had a good sense of boundries and desired my approval ..
incidently my dad was a fan of police detective magazines when i was a kid.
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Could it be that your father liked talking about this stuff was because he liked to see everyone's expressions?

When he starts talking about subjects that you feel are inappropriate, just put up your hand palm toward him and tell him you aren't interested in listening to that stuff, and walk out of room. And if he resumes once you return, palm up and walk out again. Keep doing it. It could be it is so engrained in him to talk like that, he will never change.... but it's worth a try.
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Oh my Captain I feel for you that must have been so hard to witness. At least my sister and I both agree that my Dad has issues and we are united in our decision making regarding him, so that helps enormously.
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I have indeed looked in the mirror and told myself that very same thing many a time. That is our problem we have tried telling him and he wont stop and morally I could not walk away from a frail 94 year old, leaving him to cope on his own. The rest of his local community see him as a lovely kind old gent and in many ways he is and cannot understand why neither of us will have him come to live with us.
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strangely my sisters defend him to this day -- using the same smirk - gloat that he was so well known for . one sister has grown into a more compassionate and equitable person since moms death last year . the other is a delusional perv who only finds glee in someone elses hardships .. for instance when mom was cheynne stokes breathing and mottling , the older sis threw off her blanket to show me her naked , dying body . theres something wrong with that wretched hor .. i was disturbed beyond words . not at the naked body but the senselessness and depravity of her exposing mom as she did .
i suspect shes one of those few who fart in the bathtub and bite at the bubbles ..
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Depending upon his financial circumstances, this sounds like a situation in which limiting your "hands on" involvment with him would be the best; have you looked into hiring a geriatric care manager (with his funds?) It sounds like he needs professional case management either with care at home or in a facility. A geriatric psychiatric workup would be a good idea. It sounds like there may be long standing mental illness or a personality disorder in play; these make caregiving an elder (not a walk in the park with ANY parent) difficult at best and dangerous to your (and your children's) mental and physical health at worst.
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theres certainly a mental illness along these lines . my dad couldnt contain his glee if a kid was in trouble or in distress . my solution -- i came to despise the perverted sob and wouldnt have caregiven for him if hed been on fire . hes been gone for 15 years . i dont hate him to this day but ive forgiven myself for pushing his weird a** out of my life ..
tell your dad you dont care to hear his sicko fantasies . this is what ive learned in only the last year or two . if someone is distressing or taking advantage of me i go to the mirror and point straight at the person letting it happen -- ME ..
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My husband and I share the care with my sister and her husband who live closer than we do.
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Are you currently his caregiver?
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