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My mother suffered from Alzheimer's for the past 6+ years. In addition she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away within 10 weeks. I relocated to the same city 3 years ago in order to be close to them, however my father insisted on providing 95% of her care. He has lashed out at me quite frequently and I do not take offense since I cannot imagine how he endured caring for and then losing my mother. My daughter is one of the only grandchildren ( there are 5) who visited, sent cards, flowers and gifts. During this weekend of the Memorial Service, he was curt and unpleasant only to her. ( he does not like her husband!) He plays favorites with my other daughter and son-in-law. Everyone is returning next week for Christmas, do I ask him why he behaves in such a manner towards my daughter or ignore it? I don't want to make him more upset than he is, however I believe I need to protect my daughter from the unpleasant comments.

My first thought is, does your daughter resemble your mother in looks or mannerisms in a way that reminds your dad of his loss?

Beyond that I'm going to take a slightly different approach from what I'm seeing here (without having read through all responses). I agree your daughter is an adult and should be able to take care of herself but what I'm hearing from you is this bothers and hurts YOU. Yes of course your instinct is to protect your daughter, she is grieving too after all but even more importantly this is hard on you to hear, you just lost your mother and hearing your remaining parent be so unpleasant to your daughter... I would suggest saying something to your dad about what his actions do to you rather than focusing on how unfair it is to your daughter. "Dad I'm not sure what has happened between you and Sally and it's none of my business unless one of you wants it to be but it was really hard on me watching you treat her so coldly and it hurts me to hear you speak to her that way, dismiss her pain. I need her as much as I need you to share our grief with through the holidays without Mom and I'm hoping for my sake you can put aside whatever it is between you and at least support me if you can't support each other" Something to that affect, maybe he doesn't realize how significant his behavior is to others or that he is even treating her differently or maybe there is something that needs airing out, at least you are opening the door for him to share whether or not he chooses to walk through that door. Whether or not he chooses to do something about your request you have at least expressed your needs and if you feel the need you can say something to your daughter too "I don't know why Grandpa is giving you such a hard time but I wanted you to know it hasn't gone unnoticed, I just don't know how to help. I love you" or not depending on how much you feel it bothers your daughter or just how important it feels to you. I don't think there is a right or wrong answer for saying something or not to either of them, it's what feels right to and for YOU.
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Reply to Lymie61
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Your daughter is old enough to address this issue on her own. Support her by acknowledging that she is an adult, mommy no longer needs to do her talking for her or fight her battles.
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Reply to DollyMe
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Unless your daughter directly asks you for help, whether that's sympathy for her or a gentle conversation with your Dad, I think you should stay out of this as far as possible. She's a grown woman. She may not thank you for intervening, and you could end up feeling upset by two people you love instead of one.

I wouldn't say anything to your father that you wouldn't say to anybody else: so, for example, if your father says something that is out-and-out offensive, you would challenge him on the spot, I expect, and then later on ask him in private what made him be so unpleasant to [whichever person].

Is he like this with anyone else, or just Daughter and SIL?

There's not some hidden grudge he's bearing, is there, such as a wedding present thank you letter that didn't get written, or something daft like that?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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worriedinCali Dec 16, 2019
I agree with this and was going to post the same thing. This is between your daughter and your father. Don’t meddle unless they ask you too. You might just make the situation worse.
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I can't understand why family members think that they can treat one another ugly. If I love my granddaughter, and I love all of them, I am going to learn to love the men they choose to be their life partners. I don't have to like everything, but I do need to be kind and loving because of the love I have for them. Maybe grandpa needs to be reminded that he loves her and because of that he should be kind to her husband.

We ALL have our stuff and it is not lovable, but we should get past the petty stuff and remember the love we feel, even when we don't like what is happening in the here and now. Love will cover a multitude of sin. Grandpa needs to remember that he was probably not liked by every single family member of his wife's and how hard it was when they were nasty. If he can't say anything nice then he needs to not say anything at all. Loss and grief are not good reasons to hurt others that are trying to help you. If and when we do, a heartfelt apology is appropriate.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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First your dad is grieving and if your daughter was there a lot she may be a sad reminder. Or is it possible that she inadvertently said or did something when she visited?..that said...
Is your daughter hurt by the comments he makes?
If so it is your daughter that should say something. She is an adult and can speak for herself. She can say something like...I know it has been difficult and you are hurting but you have said (or done) some things that hurt me and I would like to know if I have done anything to make you feel bad or offend you.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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Yes, you should have a talk with him. Make sure he understands that he is really hurting your daughter and in the process really hurting you. Ask him if this is really how he wants to be remembered. Point out to him that she (granddaughter) has been the one to remember him (birthdays, etc) so it baffles you why he treats her so poorly.

then listen. Hear what he has to say.

if he cannot defend his behavior, then you should not include both in the same gathering, Let Dad come on the 26th instead of Christmas Day, and share Christmas with the rest of your family. Do not subject your daughter to this. Perhaps you could all go visit him for an hour or two, but keep it short and have an exit plan to avoid his nastiness
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Reply to Katiekate
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How old is the daughter in question?

What has she said to you about her grandfather's behaviour towards her?

In earlier years, perhaps before your mother fell ill, was your daughter closer to her or to him?

I'm sorry to pepper you with more questions; but I'm trying to figure out if there is an approach you could take that would have a worthwhile chance of success. It would help to try to understand why he isn't more appreciative of her, and also to know whether she would welcome any attempt to intercede.

What's his problem with your son-in-law, by the way?
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Beachgal52 Dec 16, 2019
My daughter is 35 and as the 1st grandchild out of 5 spent ot of time with my Mom and Dad, close to both of them. My son-in law has a dry sense of humor that drives my Dad crazy. Other than that, no is issues and we love him.
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I go with telling him. I would also mention she has been the only one who went out of her way for him and Gma. You understand that he doesn't care for the husband but its nor right that he take that out on her.

I don't believe that an illness or grieving gives you the right to act like an ass.

I would really like to know why someone gravitates to the person who does nothing for them and is nasty to the one who does. Are they like a child who constantly is looking to please a parent who is abusive to them?
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Reply to JoAnn29
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I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m sure your father is most certainly grieving and trying to find his footing in this new way of living he’s now faced with. However, this does not excuse his treatment of your daughter who has tried to be so kind to him. Regardless of his feelings for her husband, she should not have to tolerate this treatment. At Christmastime, if he starts this behavior, he should be told it is not acceptable, especially if the family is at your home. I would not walk on eggshells around him. Grief is not an excuse for nasty behavior. When my father died, my mother took every occasion to disrespect him, usually during family get-togethers. I finally had to pull her aside and tell her if she didn’t stop, she would no longer be invited to these occasions.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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JoAnn29 Dec 15, 2019
I was writing at the same time you were it looks we think the same.
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My mother absolutely adores my son who pretty much ignores her, and treats my daughter, who does quite a bit for her, like a second class citizen. As a mother lion, I want to bite my mothers head off and protect my daughter when she says something snarky to her, I really do. But.........my daughter is 27 years old and has a voice of her own. She is capable of using her voice, too, as I've heard her do it MANY times ... :)

It feels really good and necessary, however, to stand up for those we love, doesn't it? I grew up with neither of my parents ever standing up for me and I swore to God I'd ALWAYS stand up for my children to anyone who ever said or did anything against them. So, on many occasions I HAVE said something to my mother about her nasty treatment of my daughter. Other times I've let it go, figuring I have to pick my battles. With my mother, EVERYTHING is a battle......if you get my drift. Sigh.

So here I am, droning on and on without really giving you any constructive advice, huh? I guess I'm trying to say that I feel your pain; been there/done that. There's no good answer here, either. Your dad is grieving, but he's probably been acting this way towards his granddaughter for a long time. He doesn't have to treat her like a princess but he SHOULD be treating her with respect, at the very least. Perhaps you can mention that to him...........that when he says X to her, it hurts her feelings AND your feelings, as her mother. That's a non-confrontational way to approach a sensitive subject, and doesn't warrant a defensive response from him.

Good luck with everything, and you have my condolences over the loss of your dear mom.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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Beachgal52 Dec 16, 2019
Thank you for your advice. I will use the phrase, "hurts her feelings and mine also". That will be the least confrontational and hopefully make him stop and think.
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Beachgal, I'm so sorry for your loss.

What kind of medical care is your dad getting? Has he been evaluated for depression? Have his cognitive skills been assessed?
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Beachgal52 Dec 18, 2019
My Dad is good health, high anxiety which I believe is normal after what has experienced with taking care of my Mom.
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I'm sorry for your loss, Beachgal52. I don't know whether talking to your father will do any good. Have you talked to your daughter? Her knowing that you realize your father has behaved badly might help her cope. And if you can defend her and protect her in the moment, that is, during the holiday gathering probably also will help.
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Reply to Rosered6
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Beachgal52 Dec 18, 2019
Thank you for your response and spoke with my daughter and you are right, I think she will be able to cope with the situation now.
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