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My dad has been a great support, but we had a pretty rubbish childhood at times where he always put his girlfriends first and dumped me on family members from a very young age, which I’ve dealt with internally through taking myself for counselling years ago.


Now things have changed and he has been single for 20+ years and did his own thing, now he’s ill its all changed, and he’s leaning on me like I was his significant other.


Since COVID-19 he’s not been able to go out much as he’s classed as high vulnerability, and Ive had more so than ever taken the brunt of his negativity.


He was Diagnosed with lung cancer 19 months ago, but at the time was told that he wouldn’t survive 12 months and that it would have a very painful demise. He decided against chemotherapy because it probably would’ve seen him off anyway because of his COPD. So I searched high and low and found a Brazilian rainforest protocol that he takes every day that has kept him going for 19 months now, 7 months past the consultants sell by date!


Since COVID-19 back in March I’ve done all the running around, shopping, online shopping cut my work hours by a third and loss of income, and he wants to see me at least two days out of seven. I work three full days a week, I have two children to care for, a large house to keep clean, laundry, house work, cook, and two large dogs to walk, and with the COVID-19 because I work from home I have to deep clean everywhere multiple times a day, more so then I would do prior to the lockdown.


Some days it feels like I can’t do right from wrong, I bend over backwards for him, there is myself and my older brother who does absolute bugger all for him to the point where he doesn’t even going to see him. The fact that I’ve basically put my free time on hold to be there for my dad, when he is moaning about every little detail, I’ve got to the stage now where is basically peeing me off big-time.


Two days Ago I got the usual - email having a go at me over really silly things. So I emailed him back saying basically maybe it’s time he sorted his own shopping online stuff out.


Now as usual he is ignoring me. He is popping round this morning for yet another favour which he is quite capable of doing himself, so I have snuck out early so I don’t have to be there to see him. Quite frankly I’ve had enough of his childish behaviour, and he is persistent nagging and moaning.


Does anyone else have this to content with? And have you got any nuggets of advice on how to deal with your parents, that are in poor health and use it as a trump card to manipulate you but in a psychological and mild manner?


Thanks in advance.

I always said about my father...the more I help him the more helpless he becomes. I didn't mind helping him with things he can't do, but I really resented him trying to get me to do the things he didn't feel like doing. He would say it was easier for me to just do it...well it wasn't easier for me.

Your email telling him to do something for himself was a good start. And being unavailable more often would help. If he pouts and ignores you....enjoy the peace. Don't go running after him.

It is ok to say NO. And do not give him reasons why. He will argue those reasons. You don't have to do a complete cut off all at once...just a slow backing away. Stop doing one thing that he can do for himself. Be very busy. If he insists you do something....don't do it on his timeline, do it on yours....bonus points if that is an inconvenience to him when you finally get around to it. You have the power here, use it. He needs you, not the other way around.

My father was the same way. I as always last on his list until he got old and no one else was around. Then I was the most important person in the world. I feel he was 40 years too late.
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LilMsSunshine Sep 18, 2020
Thanks your message was very helpful.
And I’m able to see I’m not the only one in this situation.
Hi
sorry I was at work when I responded to you all earlier, but wanted to acknowledge your kindness in sending a helpful responses. Your insights were exactly what I needed to hear, as I have been on the guilt merrygoround since his diagnosis Feb/ March 2020. Ive made it clear that I’m doing something for myself this weekend and will not be seeing him. And also the days out that are costing me a huge chunk of my wages for the time being are being curtailed. And that the Sunday and Tuesdays he is well enough to drive over for a cup of tea at mine. It sounds harsh, but he still smokes, and his lounge can be to much for my lungs to take and I start feeling nauseous, as I really detest the smell of smoking, and appreciate my health. I’m going to have a weekend getting my energy back, but will email him later to check in, and that I will let him know when I’m available. I love my dad, but if I’m getting ill from the stress of it all its not fair me in the long run.
Thanks for responding.
L x
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If he is cognitively intact you might be doing him a disservice by “doing” so much for him, and also doing a disservice to yourself by being so emotionally tied to pleasing him and meeting his demands.

I’m sure you know from your experience that he will not change what has worked for him so long, so you will need to begin changing your mental set and establishing yourself as an adult who can help rather than the dutiful child who must help.

As to your brother, any expectations on your part that are based on what he does or doesn’t do are wasted effort and wasted energy on your part. It is you who must take care of what’s good for you. Like, for example, sharing SOME, but not necessarily ALL, of your down time solving his problems.

Are you absolutely satisfied with his original diagnosis? It seems a little unusual for a patient to be told about “very painful demise” during the early diagnosis days. Did you actually HEAR or READ that statement from a source that you are absolutely certain is authentic? OR, was that the creation of someone who considered that description a potential tool?

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
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LilMsSunshine Sep 18, 2020
Thank you Anne, a lovely helpful message and advice.
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My father was the same way. He also felt that it was the woman's job to cater to his wishes - either stepmom or myself. Stepmom did. I didn't.

Do for him what you are willing to do. Say no to the rest. No is a complete sentence - "dad, i am not able to do that" no discussion. I found ways i could enjoy time with dad (taking him out for breakfast, going for drives in the country) vs resenting him for giving me a large list of what he wanted me to do.

Boundaries.
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LilMsSunshine Sep 18, 2020
Thank you 🙏🏼
Yours is very helpful advice.
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LilMs, may the upcoming mammo be all ok. (((Hugs))) for that.

Sounds like you need some support right now. I'm sorry your father has none to give. But now you know. He's shown you how it is - one sided.

Seek out your good friends instead.
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As the replies fly in you can see you are not alone :(

I don't understand why some people's nature seems to be to suck all life out of their main support person - especially their children. Like eating their own young.

I would say here, this father needs to get a much bigger support team. The way he will do that is by his own choice: but a bit of help by the OP suggesting alternatives, leaving phone numbers for home help, deliveries, taxi etc then being 'busy'.

He is a sick old man but that doesn't give him a free pass to enslave anyone.

There is also no shame in telling him with honesty, Dad I just can't do everything, so this home health agency will visit you. Or even hospice.

A reasonable person would see your side.
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Getting people to do things for him might be the only way he knows to keep connected, it ensures he is top of mind. He is also ill and lonely and there aren't many other options for him to have contact with people so that has to be really difficult, brainstorming ideas to occupy him and perhaps finding him some safe social outlets would help take some of the pressure off of you.
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Thank to you all for your Kind messages, they are all very helpful.
And I’m able to see I’m not the only one in this situation.
I really wanted to acknowledge all of your kindness in sending a helpful responses. Your insights were exactly what I needed to hear, as I have been on the guilt merrygoround since his diagnosis Feb/ March 2020. Ive made it clear that I’m doing something for myself this weekend and will not be seeing him. And also the days out that are costing me a huge chunk of my wages for the time being are being curtailed. And that the Sunday and Tuesdays he is well enough to drive over for a cup of tea at mine. It sounds harsh, but he still smokes, and his lounge can be to much for my lungs to take and I start feeling nauseous, as I really detest the smell of smoking, and appreciate my health. I’m going to have a weekend getting my energy back, but will email him later to check in, and that I will let him know when I’m available. I love my dad, but if I’m getting ill from the stress of it all its not fair me in the long run.
Thanks for responding.
L x
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You have sacrificed a lot for your dad. It isn’t easy to give until it hurts. Lady, you are burning the candle at both ends. You won’t last long if you continue to do this. I did the same thing for my parents. I ended up burning out and cracking up!

I cared for my parents for over 20 years, My mom lived with us for 15 years. I missed out on a lot of things. It becomes so hard and isolating.

It was easier to care for my dad. He was grateful and not demanding. My mom expected more and more of me. If I told her that I was exhausted or needed time for me she would try to guilt me to death! I will never do that to my kids if I need care.

Please don’t let it get that far for you. You are exhausted dealing with all of your dad’s needs. You are missing out on living the life that you and your family deserves. It is possible for you to be strong and confident. You sought therapy, so did I. We grow and learn to do what is best all around. As far as siblings go, some of us go it alone. I did too. It’s a struggle to be a caregiver all by ourselves.

Only give what is comfortable to do. You don’t have to explain all of your reasons to him as to why you cannot cater to all of his needs. Don’t give him ammunition to attack you with. Speak in vague terms. Just enough to get your message across.

All the best to you and your family.
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LilMsSunshine Sep 20, 2020
Thank you, your message was such a heartfelt way of support. He’s still not talking to me, I’m on day 4 of him blanking my messages to him since I stood my ground on Weds. Not sure how long he is going to continue this. What makes it hurtful is he knows I have an emergency mammogram on Tuesday coming for three lumps and unusual sensations. My grandma had breast cancer at my age and had a single mastectomy, so his support doesn’t feel genuine thats reciprocating to the care I given to him the past year and a half.
Im not really sure where to go from here, as I have some friends saying I need to suck it up and ignore his outbursts as il regret it when he finally does go if I don’t give him the support he needs now, as he’s probably just scared.
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In the beginning it looked like he was dying I could see u doing for him? What is his prognosis now? If there are things he is capable of, then have him do them. As someone said here once, its not enabling them, its disabling them.

Time to set some boundries. Tell him you can no longer do every little thing for him. Tell him you are overwhelmed and you need to step back. And I would be blunt about it if he starts to whine. I would say that he wasn't there for you as a child why should he expect you to be there for him. Yes, u have forgiven him but he doesn't have the right to take advantage of that. You can forgive but don't need to forget. Your brother may be right in having nothing to do with him.

"and with the COVID-19 because I work from home I have to deep clean everywhere multiple times a day, more so then I would do prior to the lockdown."

Is this worded right? If you work from home why do you have to deep clean all the time. You shouldn't be bringing in the COVID unless your going in an out. You won't get it walking your dogs. Wearing a mask and washing your hands should be enough. If someone is essential, then they should probably get a shower and change clothes. Your Dad should not be traveling out of his house at all with his immune system.
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LilMsSunshine Sep 18, 2020
I’m a physio with a clinic from side of house with multiple individuals coming through the main foyer each day.
He’s lung cancer and copd has wrecked his breathing, and its laboured but no oxygen needed as yet, but he’s more than capable of everyday care of himself.
There is no timescale, how long is a piece of string with cancer tbh.
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My have been dealing with my Dad for 3 1/2 years. Parkinson's and dementia . it is hard because he is does not accept it. between drivers license, med management. Knowing when to just do what needs to be done. I had to remove my title of daughter. Not looking for my parent to approve what I do.. I am a care giver and make decisions in his best interest. I pick my fights. Recently we moved him to the town I live in. With covid we were not allowed to see him. He was changing fast. Now he is where I see him Daily. He is very well cared for. I am there everyday . Sometimes 10 min other times it is a fall and 6 hour in E.R but we have a great nursing home. He was not happy but we needed to be there for his medical issues. Follow your heart as a caregiver not a daughter. my Dad did not ever want to live this far north.
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