Dad keeps shooting my ideas down-what now?

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Dad has a spinal cord injury (10years) he's 57. I used to go work full time and go out everynight for 3 years. he would never hire anyone at night - still hasn't and complains he doesn't get regular dinner anymore. I had to stop b/c i was on burn out, he blames my job and my fiance'. I've suggested, printed out meals on wheels. nope doesn't like them. He wants to get his office organized and cleaned. I bought files and have tried. But he keeps every business card, life insurance mail he gets b/c he wants to look them over. I told him if you let me take everything out and put back what you need i will do it. No he doesn't want to do it that way. He wants to go through each stack of paper. Maybe i'm unreasonable but i don't have time to go through files that are 20 years old and stacks of papers he won't let go of b/c he needs to get life insurance on his brother. So i told him i'd hire a organizer to come out for the office. i figure $ well spent. Nope he doesn't want them to see his private information. I asked my friend and her boys if i could pay them to help me do a cleaning of the house and yard, they said yes. I bring it up to dad - no he doesn't want other people going through his (rented) house. He wants me and my youngest brother (23yrs old) who works out of town to do it all. He wants me to list things to sale but to put a back drop behind the stuff to take pictures. I walk into the house and get so tired b/c i feel like my hands are tied. He doesn't see it that way. If i would just spend more time out there he figures i could help him more. I take the weekends for my fiance' and to get my things done after 3 years of giving them up. He thinks its selfish of me to not be around for him.

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My dad has always operated on the if everyone would just do as i say then it would work out. But b/c you see things differently it frustrates him. He won't do counseling. He doesn't need it - if everyone would just see it his way. He's been this way his whole life. At one point i couldn't even speak to him (before the injury). It was not a nice divorce.
I've gone to a caregiving class at the hospital it helped alot. I have been in therapy for over a year now. Helped alot. My dad has choices and so do i.
I feel for him not being able to work and be the man he used to be. it breaks my heart. I thought i could help him walk again. I moved closer to him and used up my 401K to help but i had to go back to work b/c he wanted to get 50 other things done first. By 11pm i was too tired to do therapy. I went back to work and then continued going out each night and cooking and cleaning and helping him to bed to get home at 11pm and get up for my job. After 3 years i was burned out emotionaly and physically.
I know now i have to set boundries b/c its never enough. There just isn't enough time in the day.
You have hit the nail on the head with several things jeannegibbs!
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Smilebeth, you come up with good -- sometimes great -- ideas and your dad keeps shooting them down. That is going to continue. It is who your dad is. It is not about whether your ideas are great. It sounds like it might be about control. He has lost control over very important aspects of his life while he is still young and would otherwise be at the peak of his career now. It can't be easy living with a spinal cord injury.

Maybe he doesn't want the papers sorted and filed as much as he wants control over every small detail of how it is done. Maybe he is not as interested in having nutritious meals as he is in specifying exactly how they are to be produced. Has Dad had any counselling since his injury? I don't think you can change his attitude, but a professional might be able to help him increase his quality of life and ability to be happy.

Continue to make suggestions if it makes you feel helpful, or save your breath. Either way I doubt that Dad is going to budge. Accept him as he is. Help him in the way he wants help BUT ON YOUR SCHEDULE. You sound like you are taking charge of your own behavior and that is absolutely essential. Dad could continue as he is for another 30 years or more. Set the boundaries now and stick to them!
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I hear ya and actually i suggested this! Nope he doesn't want it on a table that can't be delt with all at the same time. I said lets put the table in the living room and only put back in the office what you want. But see he wants it all. I have bought files, i have bought file cabnints, boxes, over the door plastic shoe holder for mail, made budget books. He is the type of person who uses envelopes to write notes on and then you have to look at each envelope b/c it might have info on it and then try to remember what it means. He saves everything! b/c you might need it. His coffee pot broke - i got him a new one. he saved the old one b/c we might be able to use the parts.
thanks for letting me vent.
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I agree with NancyH completely. There is no reason several piles can't be placed at his level on a card table or such for sorting. He can work on it at his leisure. Give him a "keep" box and maybe some file folders and marker. If a shredder isn't convenient, then a throw away box. Me thinks he is trying to manipulate you and the brother to be at his beck and call.

Good luck! I have a sister and Mother who are the same way...drives me crazy! So afraid of anyone coming into the house or helping in any way.
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smilebeth, if you dad is in a wheel chair, can't you put all his papers down to where he can reach them and go through them himself? He can sort papers till his little heart is content, and put the ones he doesn't want into a shredder. If everything was on his level, I don't understand why he can't go through them himself. And why not hire a lady to come in and JUST cook up meals ahead of time and put in the freezer for him. She would be relegated to just the kitchen so she wouldn't look at his precious stuff.
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Stick to your guns, smilebeth! Your choice, Dad, 2 hours on Saturday or zero hours on Saturday.

What is he eating now?
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He lives by himself. has a morning aide. is wheelchair mobile. Sure there are resturants but he doesn't want that food b/c its unhealthy. he likes home cooked meals.
I'm just frustrated that i come up with good ideas and he doesn't want to do it that way or anyway but his own. I'm flexible but i will not give up all my free time. I've done that and it still goes nowhere.
I said i'll come out on sat and for 2 hours we can work on the office. Only two hours? well that won't get us anywhere.
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I agree with what you are saying. I have set aside every month to do his bills. I go out once a week for a dinner/visit. He won't use meals on wheels b/c he doesn't like how the food touches each other. I am trying now to make up food that freezes well and he can microwave. He doesn't like the sodium in store meals. I asked my friend and her son if we could clean and do ect. and i'd pay them. yes. I asked my fiance if he would help me with some projects yes. Dad says no - i don't want only 2 hours of working on something. I don't want others out here to see the mess. I want you to help me with the office but you CANT throw anything out unless i go through the pile first. He's very sharp and will notice if i throw things away. Plus that just makes him not trust me. He then gets online and finds things he needs like a dolly on craigslist. he can't use the dolly but maybe my brother and i can when he finds a freezer he wants to buy or move the shed he found online that needs to be torn down and moved. Or how about the riding lawn mower that he thinks we could strap him in so he could use it. He can't use his legs.
I have done sheets with what needs to be done and asked how can we get these things done. His way - you come out on the weekend and do it. I say i was thinking a cleaning day. Nope don't want those people out here. What will they think of me.
So i go out and let most things bounce off of me. But it makes me mad b/c i want to get things taken care of i'm a planner and do person. he on the other hand wants to complain. Or ask me what i think of him getting a boat or a motor home.
I
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Dad can want anything. He can expect anything. No stopping that. But what he can have from you is only what you'll give him. You can't control his behavior and his expectations, but you certainly can control your own.

He wants only you and your young brother to help clear the house and yard? That's fine. He can want what he wants. But you'd be fools to agree to do that.

geewiz's suggestion of specifying an amount of time and a schedule for helping sounds good to me. He can decide (within reason) what he wants help with during that time, but the the time is not going to expand and expand until the entire project is done. It is only x hours per week. Maybe one period for helping him and one period for visiting would be good. On Mondays bring a dinner to share and watch a tv show you both like. On Thursdays give him x hours of help.

It is truly sad and unfair that a spinal cord injury changed your father's life so drastically. But insisting and expecting it to change your life as drastically too is selfish of him. You are not obligated to give up your career and your friends and your life simply because he would prefer all the help he needs comes from you.
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Does your Dad live by himself? Is he mobile? Are there restaurants that deliver?

How would this work --- Dad, I can give you 3 hours on Tuesday. How can I help you at that time? Perhaps a clear definition for a specific time slot would help manage both of your expectations. It sounds like you are looking at the entire 'mess' and getting overwhelmed and he isn't looking at it at all.

When I was caregiver to a friend through a terminal illness, we faced a similar situation. So I would give her a time frame and ask how I could help in that amount of time. Sometimes it was financial records, others it was a closet shelf (yes just one at a time). Little by little we made progress. Like your dad she wanted to hold onto things. I still slipped some items into the garbage -- 10 year old birthday cards she had received,etc. You might also try to put him on the preference mailing through the direct marketing assoc. Perhaps limiting the incoming mail would help. As an aside, sometimes the requests for help are really just requests for company. He may feel that if he needs you, you'll be there for him.
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