My father was never mean or abusive but never really matured enough to take an interest or provide for his three children. After our parents divorced when we were in our teens, my father rarely communicated with us. About five years ago my brother rescued him from living alone in a run-down apt in another city, and brought him to a subsidized apt in my brother's beautiful town. Now my dad is 90 and his small retirement does not cover his expenses. My older brother and I have to provide a lot of financial support to pay for his group home and personal expenses. I had long ago expected nothing from my dad but now it feels painful to give up my hard-earned money to a parent who did so little for me. Younger brother refuses to give him money or time. I love my dad because he gave me life, but I don't like him for who he became. Now he is bored and lonely and calls me every week to talk--which I graciously do. Older brother lives nearby my dad and takes on the vast majority of his extra needs--of which I am very grateful (because I wouldn't want to do it!). I visit four times a year to help out and send money monthly. My dad has no idea how we all feel, and is not capable of honest self-assessment. I would like to feel less resentful.

I'm going to assume that you and your brothers (both of them) are doing what you individually believe to be right.

I'm also going to assume that the financial sacrifices you are making now will not put your own security at risk. If that isn't so, then none of this applies and you and older brother both need to think again.

But based on those assumptions, and that you just want to feel better about doing this: how you behave in general towards other people is not about what they deserve, it's about what you are like.

So in this case, your fulfilment of what you see as a duty towards your father (his care) and your older brother (meaningful support for him) shows what you are like. You are a person who acts on a responsibility when you have decided to accept it, and does so with appropriate boundaries.

Your father may not have matured, but you most certainly did. You should be proud.
Helpful Answer (25)
Reply to Countrymouse
Ricky27 Dec 20, 2019
What a thoughtful answer. Thanks.
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Your dad must be some sort of Rasputin if he was a financial and emotional deadbeat yet his adult children are sacrificing their own futures and orbiting around him while he still doesn't give a d**m about how it impacts them. If you and your brother aren't able to save for your own futures, you are just kicking the can down the road. Help your dad apply for Medicaid, get him into a facility and then don't feel guilty about it. This is the retirement HE planned for. And HE certainly isn't feeling guilty about using you and your brother. Your youngest brother is the only one who has isn't an enabler.
Helpful Answer (19)
Reply to Geaton777

Why do you think that you need to give him money?

You are not responsible for your parents' lack of planning.

I know that sounds mean/cold/cruel. But it's the truth.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn

Time for him to be placed in a home, and stop paying to support him. You call him father, but the truth is..he was just the sperm donor. As it stands, the resentment will continue unless you make some changes in your thinking.

My Best To You....
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Reply to DollyMe

The short answer is that you don’t owe him a thing.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

I also provide help and financial support to a parent who did little to raise me. The few short years I was in my mother’s care as a child, she was a drunk whom was checked out. But I too feel a sense of responsibility to ensure she at least has food on her table and needed medications.

The way I have made peace with this is that I had to change my way of thinking. My helping her is not really for her. My financial support is securing my future peace of mind. I know myself well enough to know that if I abandoned her to be homeless and helpless I would feel a tremendous amount of guilt that I didn’t help when I could help. I don’t have to provide her with the best life has to offer and cater to her every whim. I just need to help her survive in a clean and safe environment. She can’t afford assisted living and she is not infirm enough to need a nursing home that would be paid by Medicaid.

So don’t see it as doing it for him. See it as an investment in YOUR future peace of mind. When he is gone, you and your brothers will know you did what you could to help him even if he didn’t entirely deserve it.
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Reply to Gabbygirl
Daughter44 Dec 21, 2019
Well said! My dad's financial situation is as you described: his application for medicaid was rejected because his pension was too high, but he doesn't get enough to cover his 24/7 care! He has fallen through the cracks of the California system. Yes, I believe the best way to find peace is to think of my contribution not for my dad, but for myself, and mostly to offload my brother who is sacrificing way more than me.
I was estranged from my father for 20 years. He was not a good father and grandfather. He was a mamma's boy and never grew out of it. My mother divorced him and he remarried quickly. His wife resented his having had a family and after my son I could no longer tolerate either of them. I knew eventually they would need care as they managed to isolate themselves from everyone. My dad landed in the hospital and then a nursing home. His wife had dementia by then. I visited and continued to visit and try to offer advice and assistance from a distance as I lived nearly 4 hours away. I went home and sat in a hospital with him the night he died and later assumed guardianship for his wife until she passed away in an AFC. We reconciled too and she apologized in her own way.
In the end the only person you have to answer to is you. If you can look at yourself in the mirror and live with yourself for what you are doing or not doing then that is enough. Some people don't have it in them to be parents. I tell people now "Sometimes all your parents do is teach you how not to be." That was true with my dad and true with yours as well. I am glad you have some sibling support in your brother.
I look back now and have peace. I wish that for you as well.
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Reply to MadeinMichigan
Daughter44 Dec 21, 2019
Thank you for your thoughtful insight. Indeed, I have tried to look for the positive even in the negative, such as not repeating my parents' mistakes with my children. In some ways I am a stronger person because of both of my parents weaknesses so I try to focus on that instead of all the ways my dad in particular, could not be there for me. I would love to be able to do what you did to reconcile with your dad and stepmother--which would have involved having an honest conversation. I don't know if my dad could handle it, but it would make me feel better to give voice to my feelings before he dies. Thank you again for your input.
I'm firmly on Team You-Don't-Owe-Him.

Caifornia's version of Medicaid is called MediCal.
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Reply to Confounded

I don't think you owe your father anything because he "gave you life." All he really did was have sex with your Mom, and I'm pretty sure he wasn't thinking of your best interests when he did it.

The only way to make peace with this is either to limit your help to an amount you can feel good about, or to view it as a gift you are giving older brother, to keep him from bearing the whole load himself. If that doesn't work for you, then you need to rethink the whole idea of providing help except maybe in a dire emergency. JMO.
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Reply to CarlaCB
NeedHelpWithMom Dec 20, 2019

That’s to the point!
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I wonder why you “have to” do anything for him. Yes, he is your biological father, but he was also supposed to provide for and raise you, and he elected not to. It sounds like he only took an interest in you when he needed you. But he wasn’t there when you needed him. It is very kind of you and your brother to try to take care of him but you owe him nothing and have no obligation to save him from the situation he put himself in.
My parents divorced when I was very young and my father also chose not to be part of my life. My mother had to move heaven and hell just to get minimal child support from him and he avoided spending time with me. Now he tries to initiate contact with me and I suspect it is for the same reason as your dad—he realizes he needs someone to take care of him now that he is elderly. I have no guilt at all about ignoring him. I have plenty on my plate taking care of my mom (she is in memory care and her dementia has convinced her that I abuse and steal from her, so she hates me now) and he is in his own. He didn’t want the responsibility of having a child, so he doesn’t get to reap the benefits of having one either.
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Reply to Doggomom

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