Upcoming weekend and how to deal?

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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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