Any ideas on how to tame down manipulation?

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I was told yesterday by someone who worked in Geriatics they thought my Father is not that ill he is faking it and manipulating. He started in again last night. It seems to me that if he cannot get to me he get's to my Son.

My Son, who is 10 is seeing this. When My Father is givien a small task he seems to make an issue out of it. Last night he was asked to cook a small meal for my Son. HE seemed in a good mood. HE will offer my Son noodles or pancakes regardless of what is here. It is not all the time, but at least once a week. HE will then say there is nothign else to cook (even if there is). HE then tries to argue over mundane things and my Son is picking this up.

My SOn's anxiety ahs been way high and upon talkign to my Dad several times abotu the elevated voice, the yelling, and the arguing, he continues. I have tried to purchase items that my Son can cook for himslef but now we are out.

IT seems to me that if my Dad does nto want to do soemthing he creates an issue. HE did say last night he wanted to cook but coudlnt' see items in the Pantry and insited (i was nauseas as hecK) he coudl nto see any food. HE took over and hour and a half and got up out of his chair once, to see what there was and offered my Son, food he did not eat. IT then reverted to, "I am nto getting up you get up and SHOW ME." I knew the game and refused.

The pantry was stocked. To try and minimize my SOns' stress I offered him and omelet. Dad had ate all the margarine and instead of getting more or writing it down on a list as I had suggested, we were out. That seems to happen more than not. HE will eat something, finish it off and not write it down. If he does write it down he does not show me, or does not pick it up.

I do not think the issue is food. I think my Father want's me responsible for everything. HE wants to sit and be fed. HE also neglects personal affairs (financial and doctoral) until I do them. The majority of the day he sits. HE does nto handle bills. HE does not handle personal affairs. I do not want to enable.

If my Son wasn't' present, I could handle these things in a different manner. IT seems when my Son is home that is when my Father makes waves. The majority of the day (when my Son is not home) he does not do this.

I am trying to figure out how to minimize my Son's exposure without having to leave the home as my SOn needs his routine. My Fahter has now gone to extremes with purposely making messes, not picking them up, and instigating arguments.

I have asked him to please go to the Library at night. I am concerned about my Son's anxiety. My Son has even talked to my Dad about behaviors and how upset he get's and last night my Son actually asked my Father to stop and he carried on.

I think the woman who worked in Geriatrics. who has heard the bulk of what my Father does believes it is more manipulation as he is miserable and wants to bring every one else down. He has been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder.

Does anyone have any coping skills that I can use for myself or to minimize the anxiety my Son has over my Father's behavior without having to live in a separate residences?

I have tried ignoring my Father, but it seems he just does other things to get a response out of me or it seems to create an argument. I cannot grasp the fact that my Father wants to upset my Son. I do not get it.

Please try and be a little gentle on responses as at this point I am extremely upset. I think my Son comes home from school expecting to get upset. This concerns me greatly.

On another note; My Father promised my Son he would not behave in the certain manners (yelling, fighting, etc.) However he continues to do so. I am aware it takes two to argue, so I try my best to bite my tongue. However the smallest things that I say lead into a debate when my Father is upset. I try very hard not to debate back (around my Son) and I think my Dad knows this and makes every effort to get me to respond.

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Major depressive disorder is horrible to live with (for the person who has it and for the person or people trying to care for the ill loved one). It’s not as easy to treat as just taking a pill.

I, too, question this person in geriatrics. He or she may need more education in overall mental health illnesses. Add age and perhaps dementia into the mix, with - as was already mentioned - the way your dad grew up about "women's work," and it's a recipe for disaster for your son and for you.

It sounds to me as if your son has some special needs as well. You have to balance these issues and it's agonizing. I know because I've been there and still am.

Still, there are places such as assisted living where your dad may thrive, but there may be nowhere that your son could do well without you. There is no shame in placing your dad in a facility and giving him the support that you can.

Your situation is harder than many people’s because of your son's needs. Consider placing your father. It's hard and he will fight it but in the end, you and your son can't go on like this. It’s also possible that your dad may do well in an environment where his meals are provided without question.

Please keep us posted. We do care about you.
Carol
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Aphena, first I am very sorry for your pain. I'm on your side. I hope to be gentle. :)

What was the role of the person who works in geriatrics? A doctor? The receptionist? A psychiatric nurse? The maintenance man? And does this person have first-hand exposure to your father, or only going by things you have said?

Maybe your father is "faking it" but if I had $2 for every person with dementia who is assumed to be faking it I'd be fully secure in my retirement. (Believe me, I'm not.)

Dad has Major Depressive Disorder and possibly Dementia (I can't remember ... has that been diagnosed or just suspected?) This is Not Your Fault. You can, perhaps, ensure that he is getting appropriate treatment for his disorders, but you cannot cure them.

Dad MAY be exploiting his conditions and manipulating you. This is Not Your Fault. You cannot control his behavior. You can control yours. And you can exert great influence on your son's environment.

Whether your father is behaving the way he is because his brain is damaged or because he is manipulative (or he is manipulative because his brain is damaged), the situation in your home is not good for or fair to your son. So it needs to be corrected, regardless of its cause. Your first responsibility (in my opinion) is to your son.

You cannot control your dad's behavior. But you can make decisions about your own behavior. Is the house you share his or yours? One option is for you and your son to move out, or to insist that Dad moves out. Changes create upheavals in routines and that can be upsetting for a time. But you and your son will get past them.

This is Not Your Fault. It is not within your power to cure the damage in your father's brain, or to fix his inappropriate behavior.
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I've been through very similar behavior with my dad, but I didnt have a child to think about. My first concern would be the child. If it's stressful to us it is incomprehensible to them.

Second, in my case my dad was ranting and yelling 24x7 in every waking moment, and he wasn't sleeping much. He was always kinda like that, but it became non stop. His Opthamologist recommended a neurologist and I told him the neurologist would help him with the arthritis pain so he would go ( he wouldn't have gone to a psychiatrist which is for crazy people and he's not crazy) The neurologist prescribed an anti psychotic which helped with the yelling and screaming, the accusations and subdued the paranoia but he still had 'episodes'. After a year on it, I got him to,a psychiatrist who prescribed an anti depressant also. His behavior has improved immensely.

The five months I took care of him 24x7 were the worst in my life, bar none, including the death of my mother. I couldn't sleep, my digestion tanked, I was crying all the time, I was sick to my stomach with dread every time I heard him wake up. I simply could not endure that type of behavior. Living in an environment like that is too stressful. You have to live to raise your son,--you have to take care of yourself and him first.

There are alternatives to nursing homes. There are group homes and if you can find them, private homes that are even cheaper. My father is in a private home and they are excellent with him. When one of his tantrums starts they drop everything and cajole and cater to him and baby him until he calms down.

I learned from several posts here and from Internet research that some kinds of behavior modification work. When he started ranting I would look away. If he continued I would get up and walk out of the room. The dementia makes them incapable of reason. They simply cannot process anything logical. They just want, see, do what they want in the minute without understanding how it affects those around them. I think they know something is wrong on some level but don't know what. They are afraid and revert to childhood coping mechanisms, which is often demanding and selfish. I learned not to make demands or have expectations of my father. My "father" is gone.
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What Jeanne said. Get your dad a workup at a neurologist or geriatric psychiatrist. Find out what his condition (s) are and how they are best treated. There is nothing immoral about caring and advocating for a parent in Assisted Living or a Nursing Home.
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"How do you separate yourself from the chaos"...

You just take away the chaos and emotional drama by taking control. You're basically running a nursing home. Nursing home caregivers need to assert control. That's why visitors believe they are so 'mean'. If they didn't assert this type of control, and routine, patients would be everywhere. In order to do this, they see it as a job and can disassociate.

One way to keep order is to treat patients all the same because the reality is these illnesses present and run basically the same course. While the personality traits may be different, the underlying disorders are the same.

So, you don't yell from the couch while you're watching tv to say to your dad, "Take your meds". You literally shut off the tv, get the medication, with the water, and say, with a happy face, sing songy voice, "Time to take your meds!" And you stand there and watch. This is going to take time and may take a few fake calls to the 'social worker' you've been talking with at the hospital.

BTW, One absolute is you have to accompany your dad into the doctor's office. To do this you need a health care proxy and permission from your dad to go into the doctor's office. You need to hear from the doctor's mouth what the doctor said, not hear what your dad said he said.

If you're living in his house, and he has dementia, you need to get a POA to do what's next. If he has dementia, you're in 'control'. Note: IF HE HAS DEMENTIA, that's the way it works. I believe people w/dementia work best when they're no longer fearful. There's more comfort in knowing they're being cared for, so they no longer feel scared. So, he's no longer the parent, you are. But you don't do this without some sort of empathy, because, after all, he is your dad.

Someone above or in another board, mentioned meditation techniques. I don't know whether you download your music or use CDs, but I have a CD player in my bedroom. I also have one set up in her bedroom. Each day we have nap time (and believe me, my mother didn't like naptime at first, now she just goes in). Why? Because I needed naptime. I didn't care what she did in her room as long as she was in there for at least an hour.

So, at naptime, I go in and listen to the CD. At first it was all the time. Now that I've learned the techniques, I can do it pretty much anywhere. The best one I've found is Roberta Shapiro, she has a set of three. I know Amazon has it.

Once your dad is on his meds and once you've settled into a routine, you can then punch in a little love here and there. You can go out a little bit, walk, do stuff together if he's able and bring your ten year old with you.
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Your dad's behavior sounds familiar. My cousin, who now has significant dementia, used to have odd behavior that me and others interpreted as spoiled, manipulative or purposeful. It turns out we were wrong.

A couple of years ago, my cousin broke her foot. I went to stay with her and care for her and run her household. There were home care aids that came in almost every week day. They helped with bathing, therapy, vital checks, etc. I spoke them a lot about some of her behavior. She had temper tantrums, refused to bath at times, refused to eat well, slept too much, and other behavior. They thought she was lazy and manipulative. It was early dementia. I wish I had known then.

I would get some answers and not presume he's being willful. It may be his depression or something more. I'd investigate and keep a close watch.
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I have my 87 yo mother with the same things. The dementia exacerbates her OCD tendencies and causes her increasing paranoia. My husband and I are contemplating assisted living because the outbursts and nasty behavior are getting too bad for us to handle. The stress has been giving us both chest pain---not our hearts we got that checked---and have to have anxiety meds. I feel your pain, but your duty to your father does not include abuse and anxiety for your son. Hope this helps and eases your mind some. God speed.
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I am agreeing with several others above. First of all, IF you have power of attorney, you give your dad choices....either he stays and you figure out how to live together, or he goes to assisted living. Secondly, YES...your first responsibility is to your son as he is under age. Now, if you do not have POA, then it's a matter of who owns the house you are in? If him, then you and son can move out. If you, then Dad still can be told he is the one to move out if he cannot behave. Now...if possible, I think Dad needs a full neurological work up as a lot of what you describe sounds like it might also involve dementia. If there is dementia, there is much he cannot control about his behavior and you need to know that. I just spent a day in a dementia work shop and the info was amazing, even though I am a retired RN! Dementia means it's possible he looks in the pantry and does not see, because the brain doesn't send right signals to the eyes all the time. Dementia means there's no point EVER arguing or explaining anything in detail or expecting him to remember to write something down on the grocery list. Bottom line in all this....YOU must care for YOU first, especially when you have a son to finish raising. You first, son next and Dad last. Your responsibility towards your Dad is to be sure he is SAFE....and nothing more. Any time Dad is ranting and raving and scared, police can be called for a welfare check too. That may tone him down. I had to do that with my parents a few times, before my Dad was placed. It can be anonymous so Dad can think neighbors called because they heard the yelling or such. But, do try to find out if dementia in involved here for sure because how you react to him is much different with dementia.
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Anti depressants for Dad, the sooner the better. Once you get Dad to behave, your son will also. Not giving in is excellent on your part. Anxiety med may help you as well.
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Aphena, there is nothing immoral about moving Dad to assisted living. Nothing at all. There simply is no obligation to have a parent under the same roof as your child, and for sure your first moral responsibility is to your son.
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