I've been forced into a position of having to provide care for my Dad who abused me as a child. Not sure how to handle this?

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My father is a horribly selfish, hate filled, abusive alcoholic narcissist who has recently been diagnosed with metastatic cancer. Thankfully, my mother FINALLY gave up and left him several years ago (probably much too late as she is little more than a burnt out shell of her long ago self and in need of help for PTSD resulting from decades of his abuse).....his latest affair was her last straw. He now lives with this woman he cheated with who is a mentally unstable, raging alcoholic. I had not spoken with my father for years as I truly hate him and he has never done a thing for me, his only child, in my entire life. I dropped out of school at 16 and worked 2 jobs just to save money up to get out of this man's house and away from his abuse. Suddenly, I was contacted by the awful woman he lives with and told he was in the hospital....lost his job....I'm his daughter and I should help. Well, I contacted members of his family and NO ONE will help him. The woman he lives with is there to use him for free alcohol and a free place to stay as she has no job or income and feels it is MY job to care for BOTH of them. WOW. I've discovered while going through his papers that he has blown tens of thousands of dollars in the last few years on this woman and her daughter and grandsons....meanwhile I live paycheck to paycheck and am the primary caregiver to my spouse who has a serious mental illness ( which has caused a very unstable employment situation for him). My father NEVER offered any help, no Christmas gifts, no calls ....NOTHING. Funny how neither she nor her family has lifted a finger to help him.....and I'm now the primary care coordinator for him. I got him into a program so he could get top notch cancer care for FREE. I'm fighting his battle for disability and Medicaid. I'm missing work to shuttle him everywhere. I'm begging charities for help....and every day I ask myself why I bother? I hate him....I really do. Being around him fills me with pain and anger. He has never acknowledged all he has done to me. He is still as he always was.... He doesn't even ask how I'm doing or any other little thing about myself. He allows the woman he lives with to talk to me any kind of way. He is also a pathological liar and he plays games and trys to manipylate me, his doctors, everyone. He makes everything a struggle purposefully declaring "everything will be my way!" One example of this: one of his doctors told him he had an infection and to begin taking the antibiotic on a Saturday. He waited until Monday to begin the meds, stating " i've had the infection this long....a few more days won't hurt. I'll take the pills when im good and ready!" SMH... I guess I feel obligated as there is no one else to do anything. Is there anyone else out there attempting to provide care for their abuser? How do you handle it? Should I just give up and let the chips fall where they may? I'm very tired and depressed.

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Top Answer
No, your job is NOT to care for both of them Your job is to care for yourself and your husband. Give up and walk away. If you were hit by a bus tomorrow, the system would step in and do what is necessary. The psychologist Pauline Boss recommends that those who have been abused by a parent should not do hands on caregiving - they should not cause themselves further harm. Your father and his girlfriend are continuing to abuse and use you. Narcissists use FOG - fear, obligation and guilt to manipulate others to do their will. Let go of the all - you are NOT obligated to continue this abuse. This is just an extension of what he did to you when you were a young person. You got away from it then, you can get away from it now. His problems are not yours to solve. You have already done enough.

Your first responsibility is to yourself and your husband. You cannot afford to miss work, you cannot afford the mental/emotional stress this puts on you. I expect you, as well as your mum, have PTSD from your early experiences with him. If anything get yourself into counselling to help you deal with the past, and let go of any feelings of responsibility towards him now. You have a big enough load with your husband and his illness. Of course you are tired and depressed. Yes, give up and let the chips fall where they may. Meet any request with a "No". Get good at saying that no matter the guilt trips they try to put on you. Expect that they will get more demanding when you say no, and prepare yourself to deal with it. Practice detaching - letting your father and g/f experience the consequences of their actions. Set boundaries - if this means not answering phone call or emails - so be it. I have a narcissistic mother and do that for my protection.

There are others that can do things for your father, maybe not family but social workers etc. That is his problem - not yours. Give it back to him and don't take it on again.

Post again and let us know he you are. You are not alone -we have others here with the same issues. ((((((((hugs)))))) and do something good for you today. You deserve it.
Neither honoring him or forgiving him mean to let him continue to abuse and use you. Walk away from this. If any guilt tries to eat away at you refuse it or go see a therapist to get free from it for it is a false guilt.

emjo23 has given you very sound and practical advice!

Let us know how you are doing
First, truly let go of the idea you will get or need an apology and his validation. Narcs don't give these things and trying to get their approval or apology makes one keep coming back for more abuse.

Second, totally ignore friends and relatives. They are quick to advise, judge and criticize but refuse to lift a finger. Don't offer explanations or answer questions about what you do. It's isn't your duty to provide hands on care, and as he's shown no sign of changing, I don't see any point in forgiveness. His lady friend can get help from her own family - you owe her nothing.

Third, if you stay in this situation, your spirit won't be at peace. It will eat at you, affect your relationship with your husband. It will take its toll on your health. And it will make it far more difficult for you to take care of yourself and your husband. And that is your primary focus - you and your husband.

You have no reason to feel guilt - on the contrary, you've proven to be a kind person despite miserable circumstances and treatment. Take all the paperwork you've amassed from Medicaid, doctors, charities, referrals etc. and give them to your dad. Tell him it's not possible for you to continue. Don't over talk it and be prepared for fireworks - after all, you're saying he's now going to have to do for himself. And hang tough on this - you can do it.

Who's right? Mom is. She knows him, she knows you and it sounds like she's trying to protect you. Hugs to you.
You tell him " I can't help you. You won't help yourself. I am done" and you take NO phone calls, you don't come running, you acknowledge that he is the only one who can change the way he lives. You give him to a higher power, be it Luck, Mother Nature, God or whatever you believe in.
The next time his GF calls from the ER, ask to speak to the Social Worker. Tell her you are the last relative who would put up with this and you are done. The SW can pursue protective custody and make him a Ward of the State if that is what is needed. You have risen from the ashes of years of abuse, you deserve to get on with YOUR life and he can enjoy his downhill slide.
If his relatives said no, then you should say no as well. You are not obligated to help him. Just walk away and let someone else do it. You gotta take care of yourself and your DH first.
The relatives who are telling you to care for him, are they HIS relatives? Are THEY willing to care for him?

Look, you gave this a shot and discovered that he's still the same narcissistic guy he's always been. You get the hear warming end of life story when the guy sees his elf in the mirror, gets clean and starts respecting others, saying please and thank you. No more abuse for you sweetie. AC forum's orders!
I'm echoing what all the others have said, but I am quoting a nationally respected therapist, Pauline Boss, PhD

"If there was incest, abuse, or abandonment, you may want to give up on the relationship altogether.

Taking care of someone who years before was abusive of neglectful of you is beyond what is expected of you. Caring for a family member who was or is physically or psychologically abusive in dangerous. Feeling as if you want to retaliate is also dangerous. These are justifiable reasons for NOT being a caregiver."

Dr. Boss goes on to say that it might make you feel better if instead of totally abandoning the family member you arrange for his care by other people, such as in a care center.

I am so sorry that you cannot have what you want, and what all people deserve: a father who respects you and values you. This is not your fault and not within your control. He is who he is, and you can't change that. Protect yourself. Remove yourself from his care picture.
I have never faced the situation you are in but the pain and frustration evident in your post has moved me to respond. First, know that you are a wonderfully compassionate person who has managed to rise above her terrible childhood. Secondly, you must protect yourself. You have found community supports to help your father and you need not allow yourself to become any more involved than that. There are volunteer drivers who will ferry cancer patients to appointments. If he is truly broke there is medicaid. Being his advocate from afar is enough, and it certainly seems more than he deserves. From my time searching this forum I know there are others who are in situations similar to yours, I'm sure you will here from a few. (((hugs)))
You have not been forced into anything. you may have been guilted into it so listen to Mom and run like h*ll. It is no picnic taking care of your mentally ill husband and that is where your responsibilities lie. Mail all the papers back with a note that you are done. Send it return receipt so you know he has recieved it. If G/F wants you to take them home from the ER simply say no he is not your responsibility. tell her to call a cab. let it all go, no guilt and no regrets. Take care of you and hubby
Walk away in peace.

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