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I'm at my wits end with his behaviour now.


I could probably write a book with some of the things he's done last few years and how downright selfish he's been. Its got the point now where I dread speaking to him on the phone, dread visiting him because every encounter he manages to wind me up.


He's 84 now and lives alone. 30-40 mins drive from me. Health wise his legs are not great but for his age he's pretty good.


I visit him whenever I can and phone him often. Over the years, I've sorted walk in shower, stair lift, scooter for him. I work full time, my wife has health problems, we've got a teenager with aspergers (see my other posts!) and a 5 year old. Like a lot of people I've got a lot going on and a lot of worries!


BUT, as far as Dad is concerned he is number one priority for me. He's even said he expects this.


I've tried to explain to him the other issues I have to deal with. BUT, its as if he's saying "ah that's not good but what about me". He is manipulative and tries to blackmail me ALL the time.


He completely ignores his grandchildren. To him they are just something that is a distraction taking my attention away from him. (He even says I shouldn't have had last child at my age!).


My wife has now washed her hands of him. I can't blame her shes spot on - his behaviour has been terrible at times. When he's visited us at xmas he's been rude to her, rude to everyone else, and generally completely selfish.


One big bugbear is his attempts to manipulate. He'll phone me and ask me if I'm visiting at the weekend. Generally I will say probably. Then he'll say he's got no food in the house, so I'll have to come to do his shopping. Any doubt and I'll get well I need someone to help me and can't you spare any time for me?


I do on call at work and I've told him time and time again that if I get called then that might mean I have to change my plans. In one ear and out the other. His attitude is "well work will have to understand I needed you to help me out". Same with kids/wife- woe betide they've got something on that affects my ability to visit him. In the past when I said I cant visit x day because daugher has a party he'll say "well she'll have other parties to go to if she misses this one". (He ignores my kids- they just take away my focus from him so I think he doesnt like this)


He will manipulate the situation to get what he wants. It's like a game where Im forced to justify everything. He seems to have no qualms as long as he gets what he wants. Every single time I speak to him I end up annoyed that he's tried it on once again.


The food thing is a joke. Hes got a chest freezer that is 5% full. Goes mad if I buy more than about £15-£20 worth of food to put in there. I'm constantly telling him I'll get home delivery from tesco sorted so there are no emergencies when I'm not available but he refuses. Of course, having a freezer full of food or the ability for me to get it order takes away his biggest bargaining chip.


Like I said, I've tried to explain to him but he is just not interested.


Its really sad because he was such a great Dad. But honestly, it can't go on like this. Any suggestions?

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At least you can say he was a great Dad although I guess one would have to go way back from your posts. I cant really say that about my mother. She isn't terribly difficult now but there were so many issues over the years. A stroke has oddly left her calmer and not quite so fruit loopy which in my present fatigued state is the only terminology I can come up with. I think you have to establish some ground rules for your and your family's stake. You are important to them and they deserve your time.
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Sounds like you have a control freak to deal with.  I found that "just say NO" actually worked pretty well.
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Paul, don’t worry so much about him. Make your own call about whether his ‘asks’ are important. If he won’t let you stock up the freezer, let him go hungry from one lunch time to the next. It won’t have any effect on his health (fasting is actually supposed to be good for you). And it might shock his socks off. If he wants something NOW, don’t jump. And don’t have him round for Christmas.

One thread a while ago asked if there were more narcissists now than in past years. My take is that when they are younger, narcissists work hard to find a cheer group. Your wonderful single Dad reminds me of my first marriage split, when we each provided genuine half-time care for our daughters. I was told more than once how wonderful he was being, and how lucky I was!

In the past, narcissists didn’t age, they died. Now they age to the stage when the demands fall on three or four people with a life time experience, who don’t cheer as loudly. When demands aren’t met, they get frantic about proving how important they are. Hence they pull more and more ‘tricks’, which like you say are totally unnecessary. Yell back!

It is truly possible that your father will finally be more reasonable if you don’t jump, but it will take a whole lot more than one time for the penny to drop. It would be in his own best interests in the longer term. In the meantime, it will save your own sanity.

Yours in sympathy.
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paulfoel123 Oct 15, 2018
Yeh it does bother me more than it should to be honest....

Its taking me time to realise what he is. Realised the other day that he wants to get involved, want to give approval for everything I do for some reason. I'm 50 years old yet if I say I'm doing something he'll want to know what, if I take time off work he'll want to know if I've sorted it with work.

Brother is away in spain and his flight home got cancelled. Delayed by 4 days. He was supposed to moving to a new department. Apparently, Dad has been ragging on him about make sure its sorted, why did you risk going away so close to the start date etc etc. It crazy that he gets involved.
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You could end up losing your wife if you put your dad over her and your kids will remember it too. You're letting your dad manipulate you.
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paulfoel123 Oct 12, 2018
Yep I agree. And I've told him that.

His answer is always "Well you're wife should understand I need you to help me". Always one my Dad to think he can tell people how to think.

Deep down I think he'd be glad if I got divorced. One less hurdle in him getting 100% of my attention. Thats just so sad.

I'll be honest, at the moment, he does not give a monkeys about me, my wellbeing, my family or anyone else apart from himself.
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Dear Paul, I have to smile. You are getting angrier and angrier. Soon you really will get the point of telling the old dear where to go! Great stuff, Margaret
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paulfoel123 Oct 12, 2018
Yeh been going on for years like this. And I can't help getting angrier and angrier with him as he gets worse and worse.

It saddens me too that hes like this when theres no need to be. Of course, I'd go to see him anyway and of course I'd do things for him but it makes me so resentful that he pulls these tricks all the time.

And I've said a lot of the issues are do damn easy to fix at times if he wasn't so stubborn. I find it so frustrating.
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Paulfouel123; I totally get it my mom was a great mom !! I feel so guilty that I'm feeling unappreciated these little things are just expected of us ,my mom is 76 and it makes me feel so bad that shes sooo darn NEEDY .I just cant understand why she is So AFRAID to try any thing new and does not want any more Physical therapy, its really hard to watch my mother let it all just go she just accepts the fact that she is completley dependent on us all!! But if she wants a popsicle shell get up to get that but thats all
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paulfoel123 Oct 11, 2018
Yep I'm beginning to come around to the idea that whereas its ok to help elderly parents, they have a duty to try and help themselves at least. Or at the very least take on board advice.

My Dad is not so good at this. He will refuse things which would make his own life and everyone elses life a lot easier. Sometimes for stupid reasons, sometime to just save money.

For instance, we have home shopping where food can be delivered. It costs like (converting from £) $5 delivery. But no he wont do it. Would rather get me to drive 25 mile each way. (And petrol/gas is not so cheap in the UK - $8-$9 a gallon. So even with good mpg it costs me more to drive there and back in fuel alone!).

The worse thing is his attitude to taxis. He will not get a taxi EVER EVER EVER. His idea is that "taxis are not for people like us". Hang on now Dad - are you saying we are lowly peasants or something lol?

In the past hes expected me to travel 60-70 mile home from work rather than pay $12-13 for a taxi home from hospital. (Wouldn't let me pay either). One time he waited 4 hours for free patient transport then blamed me because it made him ill sitting there on a chair for that long.

(To put it into context, I've worked it out, he could get a taxi every day for the next 10 years and still have savings left over)
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paulfoel123, when my mother found out I was pregnant with my last child, she yelled at me on the phone. Similar to what your father did. I'll never forget that (that child is almost 22 years old now). What kind of parent DOES that?!

I was forced into being my mother's chauffeur (I am the only local sib and live 2.5 miles from my mother) when she gave up driving two years ago. She gave me her car, and in exchange for that I was to be her chauffeur. Originally she thought she would tell me where she wanted to go, and I would be given a choice of two times. She was not happy when I set strict boundaries from the very beginning -- she'd get trips to Mass, medical/dental and one shopping trip/week. Before she gave up driving, she was out and about in the community about 5 days out of 7.

She won't ask others for rides, won't ride the senior transportation, etc.

So now she's a shut-in. I take her to chair yoga once a week (my idea; I exercise while she's in class), and she gets her grocery trip immediately afterwards. (If she has a doctor/dental/coumadin clinic appointment, I'll usually stop after that at a grocery store, also), but she doesn't have many of these appointments.)

She is 92, only sees out of one eye, and that one's vision isn't great, has neuropathy and can't feel her legs/feet below her knees, has very poor balance, bad hearing, a-fib, short-term memory loss and her reasoning is going. She can get VERY obsessive about things. She lives alone in a one-story condo, and is now down to showering just once/week, because she doesn't feel safe climbing into and out of the tub. She subsists on cereal, toast, cheese, apples, canned fruit and for dinner Lean Cuisine or Healthy Choice. She refuses to get her bathtub modified, refuses to consider assisted living, etc.

I refuse to be her shower monitor, to cook her meals, etc. We have a bad relationship, and although I spend HOURS when I do my taxi duties, I have been told repeatedly that I "don't do much at all" and that my time isn't worth as much as my Sonny No-Show brother's time. Sonny-No-Show is my brother who can't be bothered to visit (almost 2 years since he visited). I'd suggested HE research more advanced fall alert buttons, and then I was screamed at that HIS time is worth more than mine. Since she is so unappreciative, I avoid her as much as possible.

My brothers (well, the other two; Sonny-No-Show doesn't care) think she is unsafe living alone, and that she should be in assisted living. But no one is able to convince her. And, since the legal standard for mental competence is so low, she calls all the shots.

paulfoel123, it's really okay to leave these selfish elders to their own devices, as long as they haven't been deemed mentally incompetent. Your young children deserve your time and attention more than your father does.
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paulfoel123 Oct 10, 2018
Sounds very similar to me. Yes there are things you just don't forget.

I'll never forget his attitude when I told him. I'll never forget, even when hes gone, how he just is not interested at all in his grandchildren (to him they are an inconvenience that take my time away from focusing on him). I'll never forget his fake illnesses when he didnt get his own way or his self-inflicted injuries either. Never will I forget how he took up hours and hours of my time one xmas day because he was threatening to call an ambulance so I ended up hardly seeing my 3 year old daughter on xmas day.

I've got the same thing with my brother. Hes "ok" doesnt do much but hes the "golden child". Dad worked in a factory all his life. Brother is a welder. I'm an IT consultant so work in an office. Hes never said but you can tell that he thinks office work is not proper work.

He'll make excuses for brother e.g. hes been working 12 hours, hes tired from work. But I dont get the same leeway because in his head its "easy". If brother says he cant do something due to work hes all over that and yes of course. If I say, he says cant you sort something out with work.
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LOL. Are you sure we don't have the same dad? My dad is 92. Still lives on his own but has allowed care in for 1/2 days during the last few months. I started going to his house every Saturday 3-1/2 years ago when his bed-ridden wife was still living (she has since passed). He was temporarily not able to drive so I would go get him on Saturday's to get him out. He was very considerate of my time and realized I had other things to do in my life. Fast forward to today. Still going over there every Saturday afternoon. He is in full-blown dementia. He only spends $15 a week on groceries when I take him to the store and try as I might, he doesn't allow better quality food in his house. When the caregivers aren't there, he is lonely and calls and calls. I would love to move him to assisted living because he is a social guy but he won't let me (our guardianship was written with a stipulation that says I can't. He was contesting the guardianship and would not agree to it without this stipulation). My husband has washed his hands of this and doesn't even answer the phone anymore. We have the ringer turned wayyy down because of all of dad's calls. The whole thing is on me. I have 3 other siblings but they don't help. I have learned how to set boundaries. I have had to in order to keep my sanity and continue to have a life (My husband and I work full time - weekends are all I have for my own stuff). I HAVE LEARNED IT'S OK TO SAY NO! I have resorted back to communication techniques I used when my kids were toddlers. He complains and complains about the loneliness. He wants more caregiving but doesn't want to pay for it but would rather complain about being lonely. Our roles are totally reversed now. I recently acquired both guardianship and conservatorship which is going to help with his lack of decision making. We're still working on the details of this. He is a bit of a control freak so we're taking baby steps with him as he did not want this. Small changes. Luckily for me, he has funds available for private caregiving part-time and the help of a care manager.
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paulfoel123 Oct 9, 2018
Babs - sounds very similar to me. I think what annoys me the most is my Dad just wont help himself or listen to sensible suggestions at all. Its his way or no way. So this generally means, I have to do what he wants when he wants hes got to come first.

As you say, we've got our own lives. I've got a 5 year old daughter.

Yeh my wife has had it with him. He ruined Xmas one year when he came over to us by pretending to be ill (I ended up staying with him for hours when I took him home so didnt see my 3 year hardly at all that xmas). Trouble is when I try to explain to him his attitude is "well they all need to understand I need you, and there'll be other xmases for your kids".

Dad went through a phase of calling me constantly. He also called ambulances, out of hours doctors.Hes had numerous fake falls, difficulty breathing etc. Hes had a few hospital admissions and they found nothing wrong. I've had phone calls in work (I was working away 3 hours from home) from hospital him demanding I pick him up and take him home. 5-6 times this happened. I refuse mostly - its 10 mins in a taxi for him. Even when I offered to pay he sat there once for 5 hours waiting for free patient transport to take him.

He was even ill once and was convinced he should be in hospital. About 2/3 doctors saw him and pretty much told him he had a bit of cold/virus but there was no need. Lo and behold, next day he "hit his head on the cupboard" and ended up in hospital. He was happy then.

Very suspicious looking cut on his head and hes changed the story a few times. Wife is a nurse who works in the community and has experience of things like that. To this day, we're 99% sure if was self inflicted.

Hes now pretty much banned from emergency services - they now refuses to come out. Same with his doctor and the community nurse.

Also, hes a control freak. Im 50 years old, director of my own IT company, have travelled all over the world with work. Yet he still thinks its acceptable to nag me about things like spending money, taking time off work (I'm self-employed of course), how much I spend on the kids for xmas (he managed to air his views on this at the dinner table in front of my wife on year!). Worse one though was when I told him wife was pregnant last time - his answer "what the matter with you two, you're both too old, dont you know kids cost money!". Again in front of my wife.

I've called him out on this. His answer is "Well, I'm old, and you know me, I've got to tell the truth, if people don't like it then that's their problem". Of course, the fact that wife won't have him in the house at xmas because of this very attitude goes in one ear and out the other.

I really have no argument why wife should have to put up with him.
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Paul, your reply was encouraging. It sounds like you bought your father’s own story, that he was a ‘great Dad’. My mother brought us up as a single mother in the 50s, which was at least as hard – your father probably got equal pay and wasn’t socially ostracised. My mother never behaved like this in later years. Her line was ‘I did the best I could’, certainly not ‘you owe me’. I still recommend reading about narcissism – it helped me to understand my own father. If yours doesn’t respect your wife, without real justification, he isn’t respecting you. It would help if you raised your expectations of what is appropriate behaviour from him. That would help you to be confident about setting boundaries against his own inappropriate expectations.

Rethinking the script of a lifetime is very hard, and you have my sympathy and best wishes. Yours, Margaret.
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paulfoel123 Oct 8, 2018
Thanks Margaret. You're right of course. Annoys me about my wife because his attitude is "she needs to understand". Nothing to do with him how my wife and I interact and where I prioritise.

I will have to read more about narcissism because I think you might be right there.

He proved it this weekend again. It seems its all about a bit of power with him. He loves to get people running around for him and generally fussing over him. Which is why he LOVES being in hospital.

Brother is away this week, as is his cousin both of whom he gets to run around for him. He laid the guilt trip on me saying I needed to visit him just in case he wanted anything doing.

But of course he doesn't need anything at all - its just an attempt to get me to go there again.

He seems to get a great deal of comfort from the fact that he has the power to get someone to visit him on demand pretty much. Thats what he likes not that he actually needs anything.

In all honesty, its going to be a nightmare because I can see it being a slippery slope of ending up in a home. Harsh maybe but surely everyone is the same? We're all willing to help elderly parents but they need to help themselves where they can.
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Paul, it's actually a bit hard to believe that 'He was such a great Dad'. It almost sounds like he was the centre of the family, with a wife who propped him up and children who were taught that he was the most important person in the family. You might like to read some of the information on 'narcissism', and see if it rings any bells. If it does, it might make this a little easier to understand, and to justify the boundaries you need to set and he doesn't want.
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paulfoel123 Oct 5, 2018
To be fair, he brought us up as a single parent. This was early 70s so pretty rare to be a single Dad. Parents got a divorce and mother was out of the picture. (We'd emigrated to Canada from UK, they got divorced, she stayed, we went back to UK).

Of course, not sure what the real story was here. But I haven't seen much of mother in all those 45+ years.

As I got older though I did realise that Dad, even though his heart was in the right place, made some really bad decisions when we were younger. i.e. Didn't find out the information, decided he couldn't do something, didn't bother to try anything better etc.

BUT, as hes got old, I have seen how awkward he can be and how small-minded and selfish he can also be. It does make me wonder exactly what happened in his marriage to be honest or we ended up in his custody. I guess I'll never know the full story. Part of me wonders if he got lumbered with us and didnt have much choice - which is how Dad is. Things "happen to him" and he sits back and doesnt try to change things for the better.

(He got married and divorced again 10 years later).

Of course, in his head now, we owe him big time....

His views on women/wives don't help much though. Especially his views on how they should behave etc. Hence why he doesn't get on with my wife! I often understand how hes been divorced twice....
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Thanks all. Yes boundaries are needed.

I've made progress over the years. He now regards me, I'm sure, as useless son who won't help him. But thats up to him.

BUT, he still plays the same and ups the ante a lot.... When I point things out to him it gets swept under the carpet (like full freezer, ability to get home shopping etc).

No matter what I say seems to make any difference at all. I have to look after him and thats that.

A story from last week that in a strange way has helped me. Its made me realise just how far he will go and that it needs to stop and its not me being uncaring.

I'd accidentally left his wheelchair in my car. Not that hes EVER used it before without me. Anyway, he was asking if I was popping in after work one evening (never keen - its about a 90 min detour with the traffic) and I said no.

Out of the blue, he tells me he needs the wheelchair for Friday because his cousin is taking him to play Bowls and can I drop it back Thursday evening. No can do - got to get home for the kids. So then I get the "well I'll be stuck in the house and can't go out".

Thursday am he phones me. I'd been called out and had been up since 430am in the office. So I said do you REALLY need it and going to use it tommorow? YES.

So I had to make a 90 minute round trip during my lunchtime that day, I was mega busy that day having been in since 430am - could have done without. Probably should have said no.

Speak to him Saturday and I said how was Bowls and did cousin take you in wheelchair? "No I didn't like to ask cousin to push me in the wheelchair because its a good 10 minutes walk for him, so I decided to walk myself". Honestly, I nearly exploded!
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polarbear Oct 1, 2018
Paul - your dad was a good dad, and that was his job, to be a good father to his kids. Are you doing the same for yours?

As parents, we should lay down our lives for our children, but we should not ask the same in return from our children, because that sacrifice is reserved for the benefits of our children's children.

There was a Jewish story I heard many years ago on a radio show. It goes something like this.

A father birld was trying to rescue his baby birds and bring them over a raging river to the otherside but there was only time to bring one bird. The father bird took one baby bird and started flying. As he flew he asked what the baby bird would do when it grew up. It replied: "I will take as good a care of you as you did me." The father bird dropped that baby bird into the raging water and flew back to pick up the 2nd one. The father asked the same question, got the same answer and did the same to the 2nd baby bird.

He then took his last bird and asked it the same question. The 3rd baby responded: "I will take as good a care of my children as you did us." The father bird flew that baby bird to safety.

If your father was in his right mind and wasn't selfish, would he ask you to sacrifice yourself and neglect your children?

Yes, you should honor and take care of your dad. But that doesn't mean you yourself have to do all the work. It means you see to it that he gets the care he needs.

Good luck. It's easier said than done. It is for me. I try hard everyday to not let my mother get to my kids. Not easy because she lives with us.
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My Dad wore out all of his 6 children. The 4 living in the area tried for years to help him live independently. But he would only allow the help he thought was necessary. Not the help he actually needed.
It was vascular dementia, but we did not recognize it as such. He passed all the mini mental and other quick evaluations.
When all of his kids decided to work together and set limits on the demands, that was when it all fell apart. He finally is in a nursing home, safe, clean, getting regular meals, and not sleeping in his own urine soaked clothing.
No way could any one person have met his demands. Even 6 people could not meet his demands.
You will not be able to meet his demands. He cannot manipulate you if you set your limits and stick to them. It is very very difficult, but you have to do it. For your family and your work and your sanity.
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paulfoel123 Oct 1, 2018
Yes I can see it getting this way in time. He seems to have no limits at the moment and won't listen to sensible suggestions of help.
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Senior day care with transportation? May give him some other focus.
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Could I suggest that you get out of the habit of explaining/justifying to him? NO is a complete sentence.  Have you tried just saying it, as often as needed, and then leave the room, the phone, the conversation? You have tried to be reasonable but he refuses to meet you on reasonable grounds.  So at this point, I would just state my boundaries, like "yes", "no", next Tuesday..." whatever you have decided to do in the type of situation and not back down.  If I'm understanding the situation, he is not starving in some lonely place, where food is not available, no transportation, etc.  So he can help himself.  If it is a question of loneliness, then he needs to start thinking about a social life for himself; harassing you at work, home, etc., is not going to fix loneliness.
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paulfoel123 Oct 1, 2018
Yes I know its the best way.

Hes just got so used to knowing or thinking hes got to know everything. He even asks how I can afford to take time off work to go away and expects an explanation!

No he is fine. Plenty of food, comfortable living arrangements, Pretty good social life to be honest. With him he can't cope too well with being ill where things like social life means a little more effort.
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So sorry, these type of people just wear you down. Good for your wife, she has enough on her plate and you do too. I understand the on call thing. My daughter is an RN and at least once a month she is on call for the weekend. As is her husband. I am assuming your in England. Not sure what is available in senior facilities there but maybe its time for your Dad not to be living alone. Sit down and tell him with your job and family you cannot be at his beck and call. That maybe a nice Care home would be good. He would have 3 meals a day. Have some socialization and outings. That you r only able to give him one day a week if that. Sorry, but that is how it is. Your family and job come first. That he needs a plan and he needs it now. Because, if you have to make the decision it will be a care home eventually. (You do not want a person with this personality around ur children) Yes, he will get mad but he will eventually start it all over again. He is probably lonely. But you can't be his everything. Check out services in his area. Then give him the list.
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paulfoel123 Oct 1, 2018
Wales (next door to England but very different in a lot of respects).

Yes I agree a care home would be the best place. He loves being fussed and mollycoddled. He loves being in hospital for that every reason.

BUT hes got a big thing that going into a home is the end of it.

In his head, he brought us up so now we owe him and have to do it regardless. We have to "make time" with our own families who need to be told they have to understand. Hes said this. He also said no way are we EVER putting him into a home.

On call for me is nothing as important as healthcare lol. I work in IT - probably more money involved if I dont fix things though! BUT regardless there are expectations involved. Part of the problem is he worked in a factory all his life. I work in an office so must either be a manager or an office clerk - I'm neither. No manual work so it cant be that hard or that important in his head.
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That sounds really tough. You say that he was such a great dad growing up. If his behavior is really very different now than it used to be, I'd just confirm his situation. It might take a little time, but, it might help you in the long run. Would you have time to take a couple of days to go and stay in the house with your father. Just say you've visiting. While there, actually observe how he's doing in the home. Is he actually bathing, preparing meals, operating appliances, changing into clean clothes, getting his mail, etc. Who pays his bills? I'd try to determine if there is some reason that he's acting so demanding and unreasonable?

The comment you made about him not wanting much food in the freezer got my attention. It's because, with my LO, she was oblivious to food in her fridge, because, she would forget to open the fridge door. And food covered by a lid didn't exist. She wouldn't realize the need to lift the lid. AND she was super demanding. It was like she was the queen of the universe. Only her needs were important and they could change at any time. And then blame me, because, I did what she asked me to do! lol It was mental decline and I wish I had known that earlier. I wasted time trying to figure it out and feeling bad about the situation. Someone suggested that to me once and I said, NO WAY. She's fine mentally. But, I was wrong. That's what it was. Sometimes, it's not about memory, but, personality changes, demanding and unreasonable behavior and poor judgment. At his age, it is a possibility. But, regardless of what it is, you have the right to your own life and peace of mind. I'd focus on that and how to have dad's needs met without making you suffer.

Depending on what you find by staying with him, you can share it with his doctor. He may have something else like vitamin deficiency, UTI, depression or some other illness. Finding out the why would help, though, imo.
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Boundaries, boundaries and more boundaries.

Your wife and children are first, no need to explain yourself. Yes, I'll be there or no, I'll not be there, period end of discussion.

Buy food to last and get that freezer stocked up. Let him gripe and groan. He is frightened that you will neglect him if he doesn't have a need. Address that, set a visiting schedule and stick to it.

Get others involved and visiting or calling to help with the neediness.

He is not entitled to your life because he was a good dad, will your children be able to say the same or will they say, he was not around much, you see he had this dad that....

Best of luck getting those boundaries in place and sticking to them, habits are time consuming to change.
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He may try to manipulate as much as he likes but as long as you to stick firmly to your boundaries it is all a bunch of (maddening) hot air. Stop justifying yourself, just reply with a stock answer: I'm sorry you think that - I'll try but there are no guarantees - Sorry, I can't do that but I'm available Tuesday evening. As soon as you take the bait and get into it with him or you drop everything and run to fulfil his imaginary needs he wins, so stop playing the game.
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Will he accept outside help, someone other than you helping him? If so that’s a great option. If not, it’s time for you to start putting some boundaries in place. Don’t take every call from him. Do only every third or fourth thing he asks you to do. Ignore the rest with no response at all, never let him bait you into an argument. Your wife and children are your first priority, if your dad isn’t able to understand that it’s his issue not yours. Boundaries are healthy for all
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I think you know the answer, but it’s a difficult battle. If you don’t set some rules and boundaries you will always be at his beck and call. Tell him once when you are visiting and don’t waver. If he continues to manipulate tell him, “Sorry have to go” each time and hang up. He will get the message quickly that you are not playing the “game” any longer. He also seems to need other distractions. Can he afford a home aide once or twice a week? And it could be worse...he could live with you. 🙄
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