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In the early 70s my parents had marital problems. They were in their 20s, my mother was working at a bank and my father was just getting his career started as a business analyst. My father made the ultimatum that either my mother quit her job or they get a divorce. My mother chose their marriage. She gave birth to my sister a few years later, and then me 9 years after that. Everything was fine until my dad's company announced they were moving and laying off a good portion of their employees. My dad made the cut but decided to leave his job instead of move. My sister was in college and staying at home. I was in 8th grade. My father got another job as a contractor about 9 months later, but only worked for 5 months until they let him go.

After this my dad's personality changed. He became a lot more explosive, reclusive, lazy, and increasingly irresponsible with money. (As background, my father has always had trouble with his heart. He has had numerous strokes, two heart attacks, and a quintuple bypass.) My mother tried to talk to him about getting a new job, but he wouldnt talk to her. My mother always managed their bank accounts. When she stopped being able to do so, she gave them to my dad and told him to figure it out hoping that it would inspire him to find a new job. He cleared out their bank accounts, their retirement savings, took out extra mortgages on the house... Meanwhile, my mother had major surgery after major surgery. She has had spinal surgery, two knee replacements, shoulder surgery, gall bladder removal, etc etc. She became incapable of working and my father refused to get a job. He started to forget to pay bills. Utilities are repeatedly shut off. He stopped taking care of his health and started eating really unhealthy. He turned 65 and started get social security... he refused to let my mom have any spending power, canceled her credit cards, etc. He stopped taking care of his health and eats really unhealthily. He forces my mom to eat "crap" and she has no choice but to...

My father drove out into an intersection without looking in December on their way to a doctors appoint for my mom. My mother hurt her ankle and hit her head. She needed stiches. It was a month after this that my mother was diagnosed with extensive small cell cancer. She started chemo and is doing fairly well despite the grim outlook on the cancer. Only problem is that my father refused to buy nutritious meals for her. He tells her that he wants her to die. She started having to take insulin shots and he refuses to give them to her (she is deathly afraid of needles and incapable of giving them to herself). She cannot drive herself to her appointments because of arthritis and blurry vision. He is started to tell her that he wont drive her to her treatment or pay for her treatment copays. He set up their social security where only he has access to their checks. My mother has no money of her own anymore because my father took it to pay the bills. He is still horribly late on payments. Their air conditioning is about to get shut off from lack of payment. My father has lost numerous teeth from his bad diet and lack of hygiene. He doesnt talk to anyone and randomly goes off his heart and diabetes medication. He also tells my mom that their financial trouble is all her fault. He tells his family that it is all her fault too-- and they believe him! He told her that she needs to start financially contributing to her treatment, but he is already taking her checks!

My sister is working part-time at an animal shelter for low pay and I am in school out of state and working a job for low pay. What do I do? Is my father mentally ill or is he abusive? I am unsure if he even knows what is going on in his life anymore. I don't really know what to do...

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Glad you changed your "Screen Name". Breathe, talk with sister & Mom and hopefully dad some day.... Little steps.
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Yep, financial, emotional, and physical-(limited access to Dr., decent food), abuse. Get her away from him before he kills her. There are many good ways of going about it. One would be getting her to the ER next time she's in bad shape. They have the power to get her "released" to someplace appropriate if you tell them you don't want her released back to an abuser. From all the damage in her body/joints it sounds like she's worked her little butt off all her life and tried to be strong and hang in there, she's earned respect, don't fail her now.
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I vote yes to both questions. Everyone has summed it up pretty well, and I don't have anything else to add. I am, however, offended by your screen name, could you alter it please?
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Question: Is Your Dad POA Power of Attorney for your mom? Your Court House May have "Free Family Counsel" . Law Students need to start somewhere, and they may have a seminar or something to help guide you through all of this. They do at our court House, but it was only one day a week in the downtown Court House. It was well worth the effort and drive... They are willing to help. Look online to see if they have any free counseling and near free law counseling, and what days or day of the month .
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NOLO PRESS. They have a book regarding Wills, Trusts, and I think it may cover Power of Attorney forms for health and finances. Look on this website as well, this is a great forum. You can find almost anything regarding you and your loved ones situations.
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Talk with sister & mom about a new account with direct deposit and her options. set set up a doctor appointment for dad and mom? Perhaps a counselor with both of them? AIR CONDITIONING? that sounds like part of the electric bill? Or, is this a bill for the actual air conditioner itself, are they going to repossess it? The air condenser it usually outside and is normally kinda big and bulky...If its a few years old, they really don't want it back, and they don't want to disconnect it and haul it out. Then with these is the air-conditoning ducts that are installed within the walls of the house. Nobody wants to crawl in these spaces. It will be in used condition, I suppose that depends on how old it really is. Is it central air? Or is it a portable air conditioner? Could it be a "swamp cooler"? The swamp coolers are usually placed in a window frame...Swamp cooler...These are usually run on electricity....Find out what type of "air conditioner" it is. A thermostat is the thingy on the wall that controls the heat. If they have "central air conditioning", the thermostat will also control the air conditioner. temperature inside a home can be regulated by how high or low you set the thermostat....
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How does your sister feel? The same as you? Your dad might need to go in for an evaluation, it is possible he is mentally declining....He is unhappy, and he may be down right scared and being DAD and head of household, he may not know what to do..Downward spiral can cause a lot of issues....
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You are in a tough spot, MOM & DAD. Maybe your mom & dad can get meals on wheels....What does your dad say to you when you try to talk with him? Total abusive control... no money, no car, no, no no no no...Sounds just like my friend. She wasn't allowed to even buy TP or sanitary napkins for her or her daughters. He would go and purchase them... NO SHOPPING? I wouldn't mind it, but gosh waht a control freak he is....Their divorce is almost final.
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It's spousal abuse and probably mental illness. Almost sounds like the blame game mixed in with spousal abuse...My friend called me about a year ago and said her husband was calling her every name in the book...As she was speaking I looked up spousal abuse, and she was right in the middle of it....It's too bad you can't take your mom for a day or so, and get her SS checks put into a new account. It's pretty simple. Go down and talk with an accounts manager at the bank. They can help her get a new account set up with direct deposit. Perhaps you or your sister can be joint account to help your mom with decisions, etc.
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My suggestion is similar, but instead of going into a battered women's shelter, have mom go into a medicare nursing home. They will straighten out the social security check issue, make sure she has nutritious meals, give the insulin shots, etc. There is even the possibility that she could be taken to her cancer treatments by volunteers - when my mthr had a cancer diagnosis, this volunteer service was offered to us over and over!

Ask APS if they can be her guardian, so neither of you kids has to be the bad guy to protect mom, but the government can be the bad guy and place her in a home,etc. I'm gonna go out on a limb, and guess Dad would hate that idea. He should have treated her better if he did not want the government to be involved.

You might also want to see if APS can get her some mental health therapy. She might prefer to go on hospice than to put up with his abuse and the struggle to fight the cancer. It's a valid choice, and if she has a bleak outlook with him if she survives, she might like to maximize her quality of life right now.
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I think Texarkana assessed the situation very accurately. And I also would suggest that you contact APS (Adult Protective Services) ASAP to get your mother out of a very abusive situation.

He doesn't need to physically hit her - his emotional and financial abuse are severe and health threatening. I would say they're cause for immediate intervention and either removing him from the home for placement in a mental facility, or removing your mother for placement someplace safe such as a home for abused women.

Alternately, can your mother live with either you or your sister?

I might also contact the police about his financial abuse and confiscation of her SS check. There will need to be some action to prevent him for further confiscating her funds as she'll need them to live on.

I'm wondering if he forged her SS deposit information or coerced her to agree to allow him access to those funds.

I wouldn't be surprised, however, if your mother is afraid to leave him. There may be some issues of battered woman and Stockholm syndrome and she may not have the confidence any more to leave and try to make it on her own.

Are there any other relatives who could help by taking your mother to live with them?
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I am going to say mentally ill with abusive behavior. Get your mom out of there. Call your local APS and let them know that a vulnerable adult,your mom,is being abused. Your dad doesn't have to actually hit her to be abusive, verbal abuse is used to intimidate and control.Also,as she is sick he is preventing her from getting medical care.Keep us updated on how things are going. Keep posting. There are lots of people on these forums that may have very helpful suggestions for you. You are not alone.
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