Hospital case worker trying to contact me - need help and advice!

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Hello everyone, I need some help with an impossible situation involving my bio father (currently 82). I apologize for the length of this, but I need to give some background. My father was never available in my life. He lived a separate life from my mother and me. When he 'was' around he was emotionally abusive to both of us...something that to this day he seems to have no awareness of or is pretending not to.


My parents divorced when I was 13 and I didn't have that much contact with him after that. There was never any normal custody arrangements or child visits after the divorce, even though my mother was open to it, despite his behavior. He wanted to live his own life and did not want a kid hindering his freedom to bar hop with women...his main interest in life. I was exclusively with my mother. My only contact with him was a few phone calls a year and holidays.


When I was in my 20s he unexpectedly disappeared, leaving no trace. He abandon all contact with me, which, if you understand his personality, was actually a blessing, but I didn't understand it at the time because there had been no conflict between us (I was always pleasant, respectful, and didn't voice my trauma). For almost 30 years, he was missing and couldn't be found. Then a couple of years ago he contacted me, old, alone, and in poor health, saying how much he loves me, how sorry he is, and that I'm all he's got...that I'm his everything. I think you get the picture. He made me promise to never come to his house or see him, but we could talk on the phone and get reacquinted. Very odd.


He was so sweet at first and I was forgiving, but eventually I realized these conversations were all about him. He talked nonstop about himself (much of it was BS), never allowing me to get a word in. He eventually started saying some very uncaring, self-centered things. The conversations were crazy-making. I saw in him the exact same person I remembered from my childhood and all the trauma came flooding back. He expected me to stay on the phone with him for up to 6 hours at a time, nearly every day, listening to his insane rantings. He also made threats about how I was expected to handle his life in the future once he was unable. The entitlement was astounding.


I have so much pent up anger because I've never been able to voice how wrongly he's treated me from birth right up until now. Despite my warnings that he needed to get himself into some kind of assisted living and get regular medical care, and that he should not be in a 3-bedroom rental house, he refused, saying that he was doctoring himself. He has foot ulcers due to poor circulation that were getting infected. He claims to be "housebound" (his own fault due to refusing to get treatment or live in a proper place for his needs). A neighbor does his grocery shopping. He complained constantly about going downhill, but refused to do anything about, yet he had plenty of energy for nonstop phone conversations.


This went on for almost 2 years. I couldn't take any more of it. I had to see a doctor without having any health coverage myself, and explained the history and situation. She told me to cut off contact with him completely because I was suffering severe anxiety and PTSD and it was taking a massive toll on my health and well-being. Shortly after, my mother, who has always been there for me and is a loving parent, had a sudden near-fatal illness. We didn't know if she'd make it. I have been no-contact with him since that time.


My mom is stable now, but in the aftermath, I had a breakdown due to the previous cumulative stress, extreme fear of losing her, and trying to care for her under sheer exhaustion. I live with her and her husband now, so that I can be close and help her. Since he reappeared in my life, I've come to realize he has the traits of narcissistic personality disorder. I now realize how damaged I've been all my life and it's very frustrating, because I'm an intelligent person who had so much potential. I had to quit my at-home job because I couldn't manage the workload with all of this going on. I've had to work from home because I have a debilitating sleep disorder and keeping my own hours is a doable must. This has always greatly limited my job options and adversely affected other areas of my life. Now my life is in dire straits. I have no vehicle and my father lives a distance that creates a hardship, but refuses to move. I'm an only child, no family of my own, single, and have no friends/social support (not for lack of trying) or anyone to talk to except my mom, who's condition is still guarded.


I just found out that my father's landlady sent him an eviction notice 3 months ago because he refused to let anyone into the house to do necessary maintenance. He ignored the notice. She called him 2 weeks ago to remind him. He told her he didn't feel well so he couldn't move. She had to get a lawyer. He refuses to acknowledge that he can hire movers and they do all the work, which is a conversation I had with him previously. This is a pattern. He has done this sort of thing his entire life, so it's not happening just because he's old. He has a good retirement income, excellent health coverage, etc. He is in a better position than me! I've found out a lot about his behavior during the 30 years he was missing. It's crazy, but I'll spare you the details. He has made zero plans for this time in his life. He was too busy "living it up" until his health declined. He was taken away in an ambulance a couple of days ago. My guess is that he was in bad shape due to panicking over this situation, and not taking care of himself. Now there is a case manager from the hospital trying to contact me.


My anxiety levels are again through the roof. I haven't even fully recovered from my last breakdown and feel like I'm on the verge of another one. I don't know how to deal with this. I suspect my father has told them he has a wonderful daughter waiting in the wings and that we have always had a normal family relationship. In spite of everything, I feel so bad for him. I don't want him to suffer and would never intentionally do anything to hurt him. He's done the best he could, but it's been so damaging and I'm too incapacitated by my own life to be able to help. The only decisions available are the ones he threatened me not to make and I wouldn't choose those for him if there were better options. Plus, there is no POA, will, or anything else. He refused to handle that when it was doable because it was too much trouble. He said it would all just have to work out. He's had his entire life to plan for this, but didn't want to be bothered. Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for listening.

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Wrecked, you are not obligated to this man for anything, legally, financially or morally. Send the caseworker a registered letter (keep a copy) saying you have no responsibility for this man. Tell her that whatever happens to him is not up to you.  Tell her they will need to find a place for him because you cannot and will not be responsible for him. Finally, tell her to stop calling you, that if she continues, you will file charges for harassment. Then block her number. It’s not your worry what happens to him. Just because he threatened you with having to care for him doesn’t mean you have to. You don’t. Be strong. You can do this.
Helpful Answer (22)
Reply to Ahmijoy
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What should you say the the hospital worker? Well, that depends on why they are contacting you, I suppose. But let's assume it is what you fear: a request for you to take some responsibility for him. Try out one or more of these responses:

I couldn't possibly do that. I have medical issues myself.

My father completely abandoned my mother and me when I was a child. I was willing to reestablish contact with him, but I am certainly not willing to take any responsibility for him. He never took any for me. I hope you can find a good solution for his ongoing care.

I wish him well, of course -- he is my biological father. He has never been a dad. Perhaps one of the many women in his life over the years would provide caregiving. I won't.

Thank you for contacting me. You may contact me again when he is discharged and give me his address. I'll drop him a card once in a while.

I couldn't possibly do that. I have no knowledge of his finances and no ability to gather information for him to apply for Medicaid. I wish him well, but I cannot take any responsibility at all for his financial status.

I couldn't possibly do that. I have some mental health issues I am working on and my adviser told me to cut off all contact with this man. I'm sorry. I don't wish him to suffer, but I cannot be involved in his life.

I'm sorry that he ignored eviction notices and now doesn't have a place to live, but there is nothing I can do about that. He'll have to figure this out with someone else's help.

No. I couldn't possibly do that. No. (Repeat as necessary.)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You don't need to make any decisions for him. You need to make decisions for yourself. You don't need to weigh any options. His life. His decisions. Except he cannot decide to live with you or to get caregiving from you, because you've made your decisions.

You don't owe anyone an explanation of your decision. It might get the hospital worker off your back faster if you give a very brief reason such as those listed above. But just saying No is OK too.

By the way, your post is clear and concise. Thanks for that.
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Reply to jeannegibbs
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Just for the sake of unanimity--send a certified letter. Or call the hospital and say " no" as many different ways as you need to.

Don't let ANYONE tell you that you have an obligation, legal or otherwise, to provide care for this person.

Parents have a well defined LEGAL obligation to care for their children. That is not reciprocal. You have no obligation here, although hospitals and social workers have been known to try to make adult children feel that there is an obligation.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Hi, Wrecked. I think you should continue to stay no-contact with this extremely cold, abusive, manipulative person. I'm afraid he only contacted you as soon as you could be of use. You definitely shouldn't feel somehow obligated because he contributed financially to your upbringing: that is simply what all parents do in a civilized society.

I know funds are tight but any way to get a little support from a counselor with this whole situation? I know you're feeling "wrecked" right now in this crisis but I would love for you to be able to start moving from wrecked to "rebuilding"!

Stay strong and let us know how things go.
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Reply to SnoopyLove
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Please keep us updated. How about not answering the hospital case manager's calls (do you have Caller ID?).

Remember, he's told you he never wants you to see him. Keep that promise!

Stay away and out of his life completely. You owe him nothing.

(Remember, he might have told the hospital he has a daughter who will assume responsibility for his care. The hospital would like that, because it's EASIER on THEM. NOT YOU. And YOU count more!!!)
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Reply to CTTN55
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Wrecked, I could have been in your shoes had I not gotten help once I escaped from mthr's clutches! She has her degrees from a top 10 university which did not teach her how to be human. She's also a narcissist, possibly personality disordered, and a child and animal abuser. I was cometel devited to protecting her and her secrets. I married and moved away against her wishes and dared not set boundaries until she decided she was going to move to be near me & new husband. When I said over my head body, my husband knew I meant it. My therapist had me take a time out from the relationship to find out who I was without her and to learn how to say no.

The book Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend is where I started. You can buy it used and it's a great starting point in your journey.
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Reply to surprise
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Wrecked, this isn't about your dad, it's about you. You've
completely grasped who and what you father is. Let all that go. But know this, an absentee parent who provide good amounts of money to care for the family they walked out on, do it to alleviate their own guilt. So don't get that twisted.
You already know what to do about your father.

All of the turmoil you were experiencing came from your emotions. I was taught, if we live our lives and base our decisions on emotion, we usually screw up.

You said you believed you had the potential to have a successful life. Why didn't that happen? What hindered you? And what can you do to get back on that path? Why don't you have friends?

10 percent of life is what happens. 90 percent is how we deal with it.

Everything in life is just an "event" anything else is what we bring to it.

Believe me, I spent a lot of years getting help in finding out why my life was always a mess. If it didn't "feel" good, I didn't do it. And if it "felt" good, I did it....with horrible results. Successful people make decisions based on intellect, not emotion. Who knew? lol

Believe that you have all the things you need to build a fulfilling life, because you do!

Try your local behavioral health center. They usually have a sliding fee scale, based on income. I paid $5 bucks a visit.

Good luck, you got this and if you need a friend, I'm here, big hugs!
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Reply to Pepsee
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My dear, there is only one person who is responsible for that man - he himself. Not you. I'd suggest to the social worker that they should get a state appointed guardian as he has not been a part of any family for more than 30 years and no one is in a situation to be able to help. Let him go and lie in the bed he made. The apostle Paul said if a man will not work, he shall not eat. This man did not work on good relationships and is simply the man who knocked up your mama. He has no relationship to fall back on, and to give him a false relationship would be to go against what St Paul said.
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Reply to surprise
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Wrecked,
In my opinion, your father was willing to "pay" so he could "play". There's nothing honorable about that.
Whether you were "planned and wanted" or not, it's his actions that speak louder than words. He didn't have any contact and you were emotionally abandoned by your dad.

How convenient for him to "rekindle" a phone conversation but not allow you to see him in person. What's up with that?

Do you see where a 6 hour conversation every day is sick? I used to do that with my dad too until my husband (at the time) got fed up of the mind games, snatched the phone out of my hand one night and threw it in the fireplace. Then he said, "You need to go for some help."

Your dad is either a narcissist or has a Asperger's  syndrome. All they think about are themselves and what other people can do for them.

I would NOT get involved in ANY way, as he is only out to use you for what you can do for him. It's the oldest trick in the book. Make someone think that you really care and are sorry, then that sweet person forgives you, then you can manipulate him/her any way you want for your own benefit.

Come on, he was out of your life for 30 years! 
Turn around and RUN!
This potential "relationship" spells trouble.

Now, you need to apply for Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) to get some physical health and mental health insurance. 

I had a bad (sick) relationship with my dad too and the therapist recommend to cut all ties because I was so sick in the head. I took his advise and got better. You really can't allow your feelings (desire for a dad mixed with guilt) to get in the way of your health.

If you haven't seen him in 30 years, (abandonment), it really shouldn't matter what happens to him. The state will make sure he's adequately cared for.

Please don't put yourself in a detrimental situation by assuming responsibility for him. You need help to straighten out your thoughts from childhood and having him in the picture will only exacerbate your already conflicted feelings. I've been there and done that.

Take care of yourself and get better first. Then, if advised by a counselor, you could have contact with him. But I wouldn't. You've been traumatized by this man and you shouldn't initiate any more trauma.

God bless you. I know how you feel.
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Reply to SueC1957
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wrecked, I feel for you in your situation, as another one with a sleep disorder and an overdeveloped sense of responsibility. For what it's worth, I've come to believe that a parent who fails/refuses to take care of him or herself in their later years is committing a hostile act against the adult children that wipes out whatever care they provided in the child's younger years. It's basically a way of extorting payment for whatever care you were provided as a child. A parent's responsibility to their adult children is to take care of their own damn selves, financially as well as physically, to the extent they are capable. Your father has totally failed at this, and deliberately. I agree with the above posters that you don't owe him the time of day.

The social worker is probably trying to explore future housing options for your father. You have a built-in exemption - you live with your mother and her new husband. Your father obviously can't join you there. They'll probably pick your brain about other resources, family members, friends, et. who might be able to help your father. If you don't know of any, you don't know of any. He's not your responsibility. Keep saying this to yourself because there's a chance the hospital or others may try to convince you otherwise. Good luck!
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Reply to CarlaCB
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