My father has been married to his 2nd wife for the past 30 years. He was neglectful at best during childhood, and has continued to make it clear that I am not worthy of consideration throughout adulthood. His wife encouraged that, and even demanded it from him.

He is now in cognitive decline, and his wife has been caring for him, which I’m sure is no picnic since he has always been pathologically narcissistic - as has she.

I recently got an email from her telling me that she was looking at homes for him in NY (where they live), and in TX (near me).

My stomach dropped, and the thought of being pulled back into the vortex of elder care for my dad after caring for my mom for the past 8 years (who passed last Nov) made me feel trapped and panicky.

It feels like she is trying to fob him off on me.

I don’t wish my Dad ill, and I’ve pretty much forgiven him for his inability to parent, but I just can’t face the thought of having to care for him. I don’t want anything to do with it.

I am just now getting on with my life after my mom died, and I have to build a new career to take care of myself and my own children. I am terrified that I could end up financially responsible for his care, bc I just don’t have it. Moreover, my mom died with more debts than assets, and my dad told me long ago that his wife would get everything (though I’m not sure what, if anything, is left).

I told her, nicely but clearly, that looking at homes in TX was not a good idea and that I would not be able to assist in the search or his care.

In usual fashion, she flipped out on me, and told me that I might regret “playing it out by staying out”(???). I wouldn’t put it past her to send him down to Texas anyway-and I’m terrified that she will.

I need help setting boundaries (she has none), encouragement to stick to my guns, and any words of advice you can offer.

I am not a cruel person, and if she dumps him down here I know it will be terrible for him, but i just can’t sacrifice whatever life I have left to him.

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So, she sends him to Texas?

So what?

You are not obligated to provide for him. Ignore her emails. You've set a healthy boundary. Continue to observe it.

I understand the panic and anxiety. Remember that it's YOUR choice what or how much you do. Including nothing at all.
Helpful Answer (23)

Dont worry. She can get mad all she wants. She can threaten all she wants. If she is legally married to him she will be responsible. She is the spouse. Worse case scenario - she has him driven by ambulance to your house. Very $$$ expensive and would take days. (Doubtful that would happen). You dont have to let him in. You dont have to answer the door. You dont have to answer the phone. Start screening your calls. You are now impossible to get ahold of. Your too busy living your life. Dont answer emails. You had family issues and couldnt get to it. Sorry.
You have to stand up for yourself. Dont get anxious, mad, etc. You say NO. Dont follow no with any explaining or anything else. No is one word answer. It doesnt need an explanation, convincing, or otherwise.
She cant dump him off on you. You dont have to take him. She can find a place for him on her own. That can take a while. Dont get involved in any of it.
If someone tries to threaten you, cajole you, blackmail you, argue with you, embarrass you, throw a tantrum. That is your sign you are being manipulated. Normal people dont do that! They are adults and can understand the word no. Narcissists will never take a normal no and will do their best to force you into what they want. They will just keep changing tactics in order to find out what works.

You dont have to do what she want! Your lucky, plenty of distance between you. Even if she shows up at your door. Dont answer it. Even if she knows your home and the tv is on, and she can hear you breathing. Your still not home. Your phone is now on permanent screening. If you want to answer do it by email only. Send late at night so you dont get an instant response. Then wait days to answer any response, only if you want to.
She cant just dump him off at a nursing home. I dont believe she can take him to a home. Give 1 months rent, then say contact you. Your taking over. I dont think the nursing home staff would allow that. They would want a meeting with you both to get financial info and POA etc. Those meetings take sev hrs. It will all be back on her. You dont have POA anyway.

It is not up to you to care for him. You dont have to visit him or pay for his care. There is a ton of paperwork to go through to put someone in a home. Dont sign anything. Dont go there. Dont go with her there. Dont answer the phone if someone calls from a home. She cant make you do anything. She is hoping to scare you into doing what she wants. Do you really think if there are funds left over, you will see anything?
She was trying to appeal to your greed. And threaten you. She will try crying or helplessness next Im sure. She wants to see if that works.

Dont fall for the guilt or her tantrums. If she doesnt treat you with respect hang up on her, walk away. Dont answer the door or phone, or emails. She cant dump him on you. Even if she drives him right to your front door. Dont answer it or take him in. She will look horrible if she dumps him there and someone sees an elderly person wandering around and calls the cops. I really dont think she would do that. She would probably get in trouble with the law, and its still on her. Not you.

You can stay strong and not give into her. You already answered her. No need to keep emailing. Leave it at that. It will only continue the argument. She is on her own with him.
Stay strong. You can do this. Dont get sucked in!
Helpful Answer (16)
Photographer Feb 2019
Great answer, great heart and mind!
If she persists, you could tell her not to bother moving him because you’re planning on moving or getting a transfer. And don’t say where.
Helpful Answer (15)

Wow, I must say I understand your situation perfectly. I am coming to the end of my “situation" where my narcissistic mother, who is married for the third time, to a narcissistic man, has put all responsibility of putting my 93 year old grandmother in a nursing home, & left me (her granddaughter, but 50 yrs old, lol) cleaning out her old apt. The difference is I am closer to my grandmother than my mother, so I did it for her. Now all I gotta do is “Just happily visit Grandma".
I will tell you, when dealing with narcissists, your boundaries will have to be very clear. These people do not hear the word “no” & if they do, they ignore it. There are ALOT of good answers so far. You will not be responsible for his care. She is his wife, & is simply wanting to dump it on you. Narcissists show up for all the benefits of everything....then when the good things are gone, will simply try to dump it on another person. They do not hurt or think the same as you or I.
I would simply tell her, that as his wife she is responsible. And tho you love him, you will not take on what is her normal responsibility as his wife. You may have to repeat this several times to make it clear. Hiring a lawyer does not help you since they all want money anyway. By writing here you have already taken a big step, and good for you for valuing yourself enough to say no. Actually, you are quite lucky that they are in another state. You can set those boundaries via email or at some distance...but stick with your decision. It doesn't mean you don't love him, it simply means that you will not let her dump the hard stuff on you. They are very good at that, and also very good at turning everything around to make you feel guilty. This is only a manipulation tactic. I would state my boundaries, then tell her that's the way it's going to be. Try not to fall into arguing as they thrive on this anyway. One thing I learned is to never try to expect a narcissist to act differently than they always have. They will also use different behaviors to guilt you or make you feel like your the one doing wrong. But these other behaviors are also manipulation as the goal remains the same to them. What I heard from you clearly is “no". Do not let them make you question yourself. You are not a bad person, you do not wish harm on anyone, you simply want to live your life the best way you can. Stick with your decision, make it extremely clear, then cut her off. I gotta hand it to you, you are a very smart person. And I am guessing you will find strength you never knew you had. There are a few funny sayings I would love to share with you...these all come from my life coach who helped me through my situation. First, “when you begin to get yelled at by a narcissist for setting your own know you are doing the right thing". Lol. The second is, “There is no need to worry about them, they will TAKE what they need".
I hope I've helped you in some small way to avoid lots of chaos in your future that you choose not to put up with. I learned as I went, and without the wisdom of my life coach, I would not have gotten through mine. That coach became my friend over 8 years. She was the only “normal" person I knew. She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, and passed the end of this January. So as I'm sitting here still in my grief....her very words are coming out of my mouth. I am actually learning from you, as I write this, finding out that I'll be ok also.
Narcissists are like vampires, and will suck out every bit of your soul they can. But you are strong enough to draw that line.
Im glad you wrote this, and I wish you good things in your career and future.
Though I do not know you, I also send love and strength. You can do already know what you want.
Just gonna take some love & respect for yourself to stand firm and know that YOU are the normal one. I wish you the “best of all the good things!!!"
Helpful Answer (15)
StuckInTexas Feb 2019
Thank you so much! I can't tell you how much your words of caring and support mean to me. I wish you the best of all things too, and the very best of luck in dealing with your own personal narcissists.
"I recently got an email from her telling me that she was looking at homes for him in NY (where they live), and in TX (near me)."

She can think whatever she wants. No "home" is going to take her word for it that you are going to help your father move to Texas. And I don't believe that any "home" is going to allow her to dump him at their doorstep.

I understand the panic; however, remember that she is his wife and she is the one who is legally obligated to care for him or make arrangements for his care. She cannot draft you into his service.
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katiekat2009 Feb 2019
My concern would be that SM drops dad on daughter's doorstep. I wonder if SM knows at least half of all dad's assets would have to transfer to Texs, also?
I agree. If your dad comes to Texas there's nothing that says you have to care for him. Like Barb said, this is a healthy and realistic boundary. Stick to it. But if he does make his way to Texas you will be in an all-or-nothing situation. You can't participate in his care in any way, shape, or form or else you will be in it 100%.
Helpful Answer (13)

This man feels he owes you nothing, you also owe him nothing. He was never a "father". We honor those who cared for us. You made it perfectly clear that you will not be involved. Seems this woman is perfectly able to set him up with care. She is his wife and took vows for in sickness and health. You owe her nothing. You made it clear that you cannot be there for him or her.

Does Dad have money to keep him in an AL or NH in Texas? If not, Medicaid in Tx will not pay for his care because he is not a resident. She may not realize this. I also would change my phone #s. Why? Her for one reason and second if she is successful getting him to TX, she will be giving your contact info to the home and they will be calling you instead of her.

Really, I think the move to Texas will not happen when she sees how much is involved with getting him there. A plane will not work if he is incontinent. It will take 3 days of driving, staying in Motels 2 nights. Train, same thing, some sleeping on the train. Transport? It would have cost 2k to transfer my MIL from central Fla to GA, 8 hr drive. I don't see where she feels TX is an option other than you being there. I bet she thought you would fly up to get him and take him back. She is in LaLa land.

Stick by your guns. You were nice the first time you don't have to be the next time. Tell her you owe your father nothing as you owe her nothing. She and he have made it perfectly clear over the years that you and yours were not welcome in their lives. He is her responsibility. That after caring for your "mother", who was there for you, you are getting on with your life.

Remind her he " has continued to make it clear that I am not worthy of consideration throughout adulthood" so why should you consider him worthy of your time now he is declining.  

I love that you said it will be horrible for him to be left in a NH in TX. You still have some compassion. Thats OK but don't let it get you sucked in. I truly believe what goes around comes around. This is his "come around". He is going to be alone because of the choices he made. Sad but both he and her have made their beds.
Helpful Answer (13)
cherokeegrrl54 Feb 2019
Perfect answer in every way!!!!
To start with could you consider blocking her number on your phone. At the very least don't answer her calls. They have not treated you decently at all therefore you really don't owe them a part of your life. I think remaining in contact might just fuel whatever your stepmother chooses to communicate to you. You have stated your position. You are not being cruel. You dealt with your mother and simply are not deserving of being further abused by a negligent parent who has never treated you as a parent should. I wish you the best and hope you find the strength you need.
Helpful Answer (12)

She can place him where ever she wants. Does not mean you have to be involved. If you do get a call saying you were listed as a contact tell them to remove you as you have had not had contact in years and you did not agree to be part of his care team.

If her emails persist you don't have to answer them. Or tell her that he was not a father to you when you were young, so you will not be a daughter to him when he is old.
Helpful Answer (12)

I think you handled it well by telling her not to expect you to be a caregiver...nor should you feel any obligation to do so just because she doesn’t want to deal with it. Your post made it sound as though she would not be moving with that correct. You said she might dump him there??? So what if she does? You don’t have POA and no obligation towards his care. I would write a very carefully worded letter to her and send it certified as to your decision and you can say the reason if you want. But having it written and sent certified with return receipt verifies and she can’t say you never told her. She sounds like a piece of work.
Helpful Answer (11)

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