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I don't provide 24x7 care for my dad who had a stroke 4 years ago. My stepmom does. Monthly I go up on a Friday night and come home Sunday night so she can get a respite break. She usually goes for the weekend to a casino with her friends. How to I deal positively? My dad is very hard to help. He is very demanding and manipulative & tries to make my time as hellish as possible because he is mad that my stepmom is leaving for the weekend. He feels that if he makes me stop - she will not be able to get a break. For example - i'll ask if he needs anything so I can prepare dinner, he'll say no, but then right when I'm in the middle of making dinner, he will shout for something over and over until I get it for him. Then when I go back to the stove - do it again. So I either 1) keep giving him what he wants or 2) ignore the shouting so I can make dinner. He just won't wear down. Bedtime - he will turn the TV way up and I sleep in an open area. I'll ask to turn down - he does, as soon as I lay down - it goes up. I've taken the remote away and turned off the TV and he wills shout for hours and throw things at me. So when it is warm I've slept in my car. He can't be left alone for fall risks - so my "respite" is to go outside for a few minutes. I hate the entire weekend and I hate him for doing this. Starting the week before, I get physically sick to my stomach dreading the weekend. What do you suggest I do to prepare? I role play in my mind how I will handle positively all of his stunts (vs blow up at him - which I have done - which only gets him going more); think of respite options - knitting, short break outside, ear plugs. Occasionally we'll watch TV together in peace. But month after month he is so angry the whole weekend. I do this only because I love and adore my stepmom and she really counts on my taking him for a weekend. She has him 24x7 except for 4 hours respite on M and W each week - and he pulls the same stuff with the people who come in. I'm thinking of seeing a doctor and getting something like valium for the weekend. Any thoughts? I've decided to keep doing this for my stepmom - so quitting is not yet an option. Positive ideas please! Thank you in advance, Kimber

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If your father is under neurological care, his behavior and personality and emotional issues sounds related to frontal lobe dementia. The neurologist may be willing to offer a mild sedative for his care so his behavior is moderate rather than extreme, for your step mom, other caretakers, and for you. I recommend you tape record these sessions while caring for your Dad, so the neurologist has the advantage of hearing what is taking place in the home. His behavior in a doctor's office could be that of an angel. The doctor needs to know the reality. Good luck!
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If your dad is indeed not mentally ill, then I would consider him terribly abusive. There is no way I could tolerate that behavior. And I don't think I would consider if funny either. I hope you stay safe if you continue to subject yourself to it. It's admirable to help step mom, but if my husband treated his daughter that way, there is no way I would tolerate it. I'd find alternate Respite care or seek some kind of facility for his placement. Regardless of his health, she doesn't have to be treated so horribly.

While you say that he acts fine when she is at home, I wonder how he really acts in private. I'd be concerned about step mom. It doesn't sound like a healthy situation. I hope something resolves it.
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Good work, Kimber.

I hope it will get easier now that you've set this clear precedent. But just in case it doesn't, or God forbid gets worse - and thinking about your poor stepmother's situation full-time more or less, the poor lady - are there any other options for his care? Might be a good idea to put in some research.
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Kimber, I am so-o-o-o HAPPY for your success. Congrats. I hope you saved the recording in case you need it next month. BUT just be prepared to repeat this each month -- with any luck, it won't be necessary. And to top it off, you had a nice outing and visit. Hallelujah
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Oh my goodness, Kimber! You go, girl! Awesome. You might have to repeat the performance next month, but you know the script well. You can do this!

And kudos to your stepmom for not backing down about the medications he insists he can manage.

Awesome job! I'll bet this thread gets referred to a lot for other people in similar situations.

You rock!!
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Very good! I'm betting he will probably put you to the test again next month but you've got this. I'm ridiculously please for you! Guess I count this as a win for "our side".
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I had a good weekend with my dad. It started out very rocky on Friday night - I could tell he was in an ugly mood and my stepmom was just shaking. We had dinner and went to bed.

The next morning his yelling at her started at 5:30 and went on until she left at 7:30. My dad manages his own prescriptions - he won't let my stepmom put his pills by day for him. He discovered he is out of two prescriptions and insisted my stepmom cancel her trip so she could spend the day calling the doctor, getting a 7 day supply to cover before the mail delivery could arrive. Bless my stepmom - she said "you don't let me manage this for you, so I'm not today. We'll take care of Monday" and of course he was yelling that he would die, etc. and she said "not my problem - you manage your prescriptions". Anyway - she left 7:30, or I should say "fled".

Meanwhile - I used my phone to tape about 15 minutes of this. After she left, my dad started hollering at me, because I come - she is able to leave. I said nothing but started to replay his ranting back. He stopped "what's that". And I said "if you don't stop hollering and start treating me with respect, I'm going to call 911 and say I don't feel safe, and they will take you away"

"They will not!" and I said - yes they will when I play this for them.

"Then my wife will have to cancel her weekend and come home - go ahead!" and I said "no, step mom and I have an agreement - her phone is turned off, and the hotel has instructions NOT to interrupt her for ANY reason. You will spend the weekend in the hospital until the doctor can see you on Monday and regulate your medications - because you are out of control. You decide"

So he started yelling at me. I walked over, picked up the phone and was so ready to dial!!!!! As soon as heard dial tone and realized I meant business - he said "no, don't call!"

So I sat him down and said - no yelling, no throwing things, no swearing, eat what I make, let me sleep at night. Any stunts and I was going to make the call.

He pouted for an hour. We played cards. I made lunch. He was able to get into my car and I drove him around the country - which he loved, he hasn't done this for a long time. He sat outside with me and we enjoyed the sunshine.

Yesterday we watched some movies and played cards. And my stepmom came home. My dad was asleep and I told her what I had done. She laughed so hard that I thought she was going to choke.

She texted me last night that he was yelling at her about the prescriptions and her weekend. She is tempted to try my approach. It will only work if she follows through though.

We ended up having a pleasant time.
Thank you for all of the suggestions!
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Thank you all!! My step mom is a wonderful woman. My whole step family is lovely. My step mom has never judged, only gives wonderful advice WHEN ASKED, is encouraging, and very level headed. I'm lucky she is in my family. My mom was off having a second childhood for many years and my step mom was more motherly (without ever taking my mom's place) when I really needed it. I can't say enough good things about her.
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And your a very good STEP-daughter; not something that's seems to be all that common when family situations get complicated!
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Well Kimber, it sounds like things will continue as they are for as long as you and your stepmom can put up with it. I hope over time fewer and fewer women will feel like they have to put up with that kind of abusive treatment. Hugs to you - you're a very good daughter!
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jonnes and blannie - my dad and stepmom belong to a very conservative Lutheran church and the advice given her is to stop doing what upsets him. Yes OUT OF DATE. They live in a small rural area. Part of the problem is that my step mom will not elevate her response. My dad is pleasant to her AS LONG AS SHE STAYS HOME. He raised holy hell yesterday because she still went to her M/W craft group - he expected her to cancel because she is going Saturday. Then went nuts when she told him she has someone coming in Sunday after I leave because she is going to stay late and have dinner with her kids.

My stepmom puts up with it because most of the time he is fine - until she goes out. She was in a physically abusive relationship with an alcoholic former husband and doesn't see this stuff as abuse. I do. I think so many women her age have put up with the same crap from men. It makes me wild, but I am young enough, have a job, can support myself and can leave if I want to.

My sister did one weekend and no more - she will visit, but not caregive for a weekend. (my same sister who insisted when dad had his stroke that she & I take work leave so we could care for dad, and "be there" yada, yada, yada.

My three step brothers are very frustrated with the situation & call and yell at me to "do more" too. Like what? I can't change my dad. I work full time and have a young son & my stepmom does not see any value in me coming 8 hours round trip during the week for an hour doctor appointment.

So, the situation will not change because my poor step mom is not going to force the change. SO, as she won't - i'll listen to her vent, get her to laugh, help her with on-line forms and calls to insurance etc, and try to give her weekend breaks. She seems to feel value in all of this.

She is nearly 80, lives in a small town, all of their friends are dying off, and she won't consider divorce. He isn't nursing home ready. We do not threaten dad with nursing home because at some point he will have to go there and we want to de-link punishment & needing care. She really feels like she can take it as she doesn't see alternatives. I don't agree with her, but I'm not her. so, I go up and take it for a weekend.

If I go up to visit, with stepmom there, dad is fine. He just doesn't want her to leave and acts up when she does. before she leaves and when she gets home.
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What about having a minister talk to him about his warped view of a wife's place in the home? Bring in someone he'd respect to talk some sense into him. Does he ever go to church? Could someone come in to talk about the other passages in the Bible that tell him to treat his wife (and family) well?

Or set him up with an emergency call button, some food, and a cell phone and let him be by himself for the time your step mom is gone. He sounds like a total pill who deserves to be alone and miserable. My hat's off to you and your step mom. I wouldn't put up with it. She shouldn't either - I can't imagine what her day-to-day life is like! You're a good daughter!
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First of all....neither you nor your stepmom deserve....or SHOULD accept verbal abuse! And re: his statement re: Bible and that the wife is to obey the husband....perhaps he needs to read ALL of that scripture, because it also clearly says that the husband is to put his wife on a pedestal ....and that he is supposed to love and cherish HER more than he does his own life! So where is he living up to GOD's expectations for HIM as the husband? Now....what to do? I would level with him, since you are not dealing with dementia.....let him know that neither of you are going to take abuse, and if he continues to dish it out, you and step mom can spend ALL his money on caregivers; you can call the police when he is screaming and throwing things and tell them you don't feel safe around him, but that he cannot be left alone. They could take him off to a Psych hospital and get geri psych to consult and put him on meds to tone him down a lot. SO....either he acts respectful and you work as a team and he understands that his wife deserves a break once in a while.....OR....you take other actions to keep him safe, that don't involve the two of you caring for him. But you just need to mean what you say....give him the choices and the steps you will take to 'up the anney' should he not change behavior. And yes, maybe some positives would help change behaviors.....maybe his buddies could come over one evening of the weekend for a card game and you could be nice to everyone.... or find friends who would come visit part of each day, while you cook dinner or get a break. Maybe you need a caregiver to come in a night and deal with him themselves, so you can sleep....but ultimately, he needs happy meds and a change in his expectations. Maybe a doctor could 'order' that Mom needs the break and he needs to allow it without a fight. Maybe he needs to go to a respite place and let others put him in his place on her times or weekends away. Maybe he needs day care.....but he certainly needs a 'come to Jesus' moment where he understands that either everyone gets alone and are polite, or he will be in the care of others not his family. Have you or his wife asked him what he thinks he would do, if his wife died before him? If he's so abusive and demanding towards her, she actually could die from the stress of trying to be there for him and do the right thing....but bottom line, NO ONE needs to take verbal abuse any more than they take physical abuse. Both are considered domestic abuse, from a legal perspective.
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I was actually thinkin that maybe YOU could bring a friend along.. after warning them it could be a total crapfest. Many elders are on their best behavior if non family members are along. At least you would have someone to sit on the porch with you!! And maybe another set of eyes would allow you to giggle a bit about his behavior? Or you and Step mom could simply tell him to man up or he goes to a facility once a month while she gets a break? The threat might be an eye opener.. even if you really can't do it?
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TACY022 - that is a good idea. I'll see if any of them are available. At least I will be out of the hot seat for a few hours while they play cards. A lot of his friends are in the same boat - but they do get together for cards. THank you for the suggestion!
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This is an odd question, but does he have any friends? My exes mom would get jealous because her husband had a friend come over once a week to play cards or go for a drive. It was resentment because she wasnt mobile. She was also angry at her friends because they were living their lives without her. When her friends did come over, she was on her best behavior. If he has friends, maybe you could invite them over for an hour or two.
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GEEWIZ - thank you for the recommendation! I will try this and picture myself remaining calm and pleasant. I'll let you know how it goes!
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Kim, my stomach is in knots reading all of this. Since he thinks it is all right to act like a 4 year old, treat him like one. Next visit, sit down quietly when you arrive (and step mom is gone). "Dad, I don't understand why you are so uncooperative when I spend the w/e with you. I plan to continue but how pleasant the time is - is up to you. I will NOT tolerate being abused by you. I can totally ignore you but that will be your choice. If the TV gets too loud, pull the plug or determine which fuse/breaker serves the TV and turn it off. And, at least do that at night when you go to bed. Each hour, ask him if he want to ... play cards, watch tv together, look at photo albums, do a puzzle, or whatever. If he says no - ignore him til an hour has passed. Then ask him to do another activity. If he says no, ignore him til the next hour is over. Etc. Bring lots of books to read, a phone to visit with friends, etc Do you own thing while there as long as he refuses to do things with you.
He throws something - leave it (or if it is something he would want, remove it from the house - your car would be an option.
And, I would never respond to screaming, it enables him. Unless it is threatening his safety, ther eisno need to respond. Tell him that the first time he screams on your next visit - in a quiet voice - Dad, I am your daughter. I've done nothing wrong. AND I won't respond to your screaming.. You are acting like a child so I will have to treat you as one. When you are ready to ask nicely, let me know. leave the room. Hugs and kisses.
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Sounds to me that you are handling this pretty well, Kimber. Kudos to you!
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JeanneGibbs - when I come for a visit without stepmom leaving, dad & I play cards, games, watch old cowboy movies, etc. He is pretty housebound - can't get in/out of my car, can't really walk far & we have a pleasant time.

However, when my stepmom takes her caregiver weekend, he is mad at her and takes it out on me. If he played cards with me like we do - in his mind he would be giving in and accepting that she has a right to get away. So, in his stubbornness, he will do none of the things we do together when we are all there.

Nor will he discuss it. "she needs to be here, a wife's place is at her husbands side" - so I do what I can to get through the weekend. He could certainly make it more pleasant for everyone, but he would feel that HE was giving in - and is too stubborn to do so.

At least, my stepmom says he wears himself out so much fighting me that he will sleep for hours and hours for a few days after I leave :)
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I got my husband a wireless headset to watch television. It saved my sanity!! And once he discovered that he could get up and go to the bathroom and still hear the football announcer he was ok with the situation.

BUT my husband had the television turned up high because of his hearing. Your father has the television turned up high to annoy you. Somehow I don't think he'd cooperate with wearing earphones -- that would not serve his purpose.

So how about you bringing earplugs or noise-cancelling earphones and/or a white noise generator. He is trying to annoy you. Don't give him the satisfaction of knowing he is succeeding. And, yeah, you are going to lose some sleep once a month. Count on it.
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Yes, in the past, mom would just leave and do what she wanted and deal with his screaming at her and my step mom would do the same, but since his stroke he needs someone 24x7. We have told him he's acting like a jerk, he's on meds, but he feels that he is "right" and quotes the Bible - wives need to obey & apparently in his mind that means they can never leave for a break. I will try the anxiety RX I think :).

I'm trying to picture in my mind - my remaining calm when he pulls stuff. I step outside, I ignore him as long as I can, I put on headphones and blast music, I knit, I look at the clock....

In March he threw the dinner I made on the floor, so I left it there and didn't clean up and didn't make him anything else. He yelled and shouted and I sat outside. I left it there for the whole weekend until step mom got back. He refused to clean it up so she refused to host guys for cards until he did. It sat there for a week, on the floor, broken dish until he finally cleaned it up. This man is stubborn. He can clean because he cleans up his incontinence accidents.

My stepmom decides which battles she wants to fight and gives in on everything else. She has 8 grandchildren and misses seeing their games, plays, going to their houses for dinner. It is really her I feel sorry for - so I keep doing this.

He doesn't yet qualify for nursing home care. It is too bad there isn't some place to put someone who is emotionally abusive
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Oh my gosh! Can you imagine what your stepmom must go through? I guess you can, and that's why you are trying to endure this. Gold stars to you!

Is there something special you can do with your dad, so he has something to look forward to with your visits? Is he wheel-chair bound? Can you take him places in a car? What is his level of mobility? If you can get him out, how about some local sporting event, or a trip to the library, or ice cream parlor, or garden center, or antique store ... anything that interests him.

Does he love delivered pizza but stepmom doesn't order it much? That could a monthly treat when you are there.

Does he like being read to? My husband did.

Anything you can think of that might be special to the two of you might help reduce the negativity. Might. Maybe.

Maybe a slight change in your approach would help -- you if not your dad. "Dad, I'm not going to be available for the next 40 minutes. Let's think of anything you might need now." Then go down a mental checklist. Water? Coffee? Newspaper handy? Crossword puzzle book? etc. Then put on your headset and listen to music as you prepare dinner. Ignore him until dinner is ready. You don't mention that he has cognitive issues. so I assume he is capable of understanding consequences. You'd have to be very consistent in ignoring him every single meal though. Think you could do that?

Or ... "Dad, since I never seem to get time to cook a full meal here, we'll only have sandwiches from now on. We can sit on the deck and have a little picnic."

As to how to psych yourself up, keep thinking of you stepmom. My son takes care of a lot of maintenance tasks for me, but he likes to whine about some of them. "I hate all this artsy fartsy crap you want me to hang up for you..." And I always acknowledge that and don't try to convince him he shouldn't hate it. I say, "Yes. But you do love your mother. So please try to get this done by the end of the day." Maybe that is the kind of peptalk you need to give yourself. "I hate these weekends." "Yes. But you love your stepmom. Get on with it as best you can."

I have nothing but admiration for your efforts! I hope you can get the situation to be a little less disagreeable.
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Hey Kimber - you are an angel for doing this for your stepmom. I'm sure you are making a big difference in her ability to cope and to keep on keeping on - and for people taking on the enormous task of caring for a loved one at home it seems support and participation from others close to the situation makes an intolerable situation tolerable. But sheez - what a nightmare for you. My situation is very different but the outcome was the same - me getting physically ill at the prospect of spending any time with my mother. Two things have made all the difference. For me - a rx for an anti anxiety med that I'd take prior to any visit. Next was taking mom to a geriatric psychiatrist. The psyc did a complete medication overhaul and got my mom on some "mood medications" - that's my reference. It took about a month for moms meds to adjust and kick in but they have made all the difference in the world.
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Your dad is acting like a 4 year old. Maybe treat him like a 4 year old. If you know that he's going to try to interrupt your making dinner with his requests don't ask him if he needs anything right before you start making dinner. Or make sure he has water, his remote, has been toileted, or whatever else he insists he needs while you are making dinner. Unless he's asking for a fire extinguisher while you are making dinner he can wait until you can get to him. He doesn't need to be waiting on hand and foot.

My dad was very hard of hearing so I learned very quickly to get him headphones for his TV. I bought them at Radio Shack and they had a long cord. It worked out perfectly. My dad could have the TV on and I wasn't disturbed by the loud noise. Maybe headphones would work for your dad and his TV.

You're a great stepdaughter and daughter. I understand how you can begin dreading the weekend. I would too. Something like Valium or Xanax may help you but it may just make you tired which would make your weekend even worse but I think it's worth a try.

Has anyone ever told your dad that he's behaving like an @#s? Throwing things at you while you're trying to sleep? Really!? That's just awful. I need some Xanax just reading about it. I'm so sorry you have to go through this even if it is once a month.
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Hi Babalou - he is like this with Stepmom - when he doesn't get his way. As long as she is in the house, in the same room - he is fine and pleasant. As soon as she wants to go bowling, or grocery shopping, etc - he acts like this. He is on meds for depression - but all of his life has been a control freak and of the opinion that the "wife is to obey". He is in his right mind. He is just a jerk and can't be left alone due to fall risk. So I'm looking for strategies to deal well with what I know i'll be dealing with.
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Is dad like this with Stepmom?

I'd get dad to a geriatric psychiatrist for meds that will calm him down.
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