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My dad has had a long-standing mental illness, which has gotten worse with age. It's characterized by an obsessive need for attention, praise and pity. He's very good at manipulating people-- he's an extreme narcissist and also very good at hiding his mental illness from non-family members. When my mom became demented, my dad executed the successor part of my mom's medical power of attorney(POA) and asked me, the successor, to assume the role of her medical POA. This included interacting with caregiving staff and making sure that her care and medical needs were being met, mainly long distance via phone sinceI live 1200 miles away, so had to do the POA and be a liaison long distance. My dad refuses to help out, even though he lives in an independent facility near my mom. His and my interactions are mainly via phone. I've tried to be patient and understanding with him, never threatening him and always trying to be supportive of him, understanding, and encouraging. However, when legal authorities, who were investigating alleged abuse of my demented mother by her care manager, went to talk with my dad, he made the conversation all about himself in order to gain the authorities' pity. He made false statements about me, portraying me as a meddler into his finances and affairs and also portrayed me as an elder abuser of himself, none of which has any merit. Refusing to listen to my side of the story or to take the time to verify my elderly dad's statements or verify his mental status, an assistant attorney general threatened me with criminal prosecution for taking on the role of medical POA after my dad falsely claimed that I had coerced him into handing it over to me. Furthermore, she accused me of meddling into his affairs and strongly implied that I was mentally abusing him. As a result, I had to hire an attorney who strongly advised me to sever communications with my dad because, now that he's crossed the line by making these false claims, he'll continue to cross the line and tell his facility staff and/or others that I'm meddling and mentally abusing him. He had already done similar with someone else once before. My attorney warned me that if I say anything to my dad that even remotely smells like meddling or mental abuse, he could very well report it to facility staff who, by law would have to report it. Authorities would then once again believe him and not listen to me, and I would again be accused and threatened. So, I've pretty much detached from my dad, limiting communications with him to writing and keeping to very neutral topics, with no phone calls because there would be no witnesses to our phone conversations. He's now telling people that he has disowned me, and has taken steps to write me out of his will. Given his ability to manipulate, everyone believes him to be totally mentally with it and believes everything he says. Am I right to protect myself from him and his mental illness by detaching in this way and only limiting communications to writing? The assistant attorney general is very arrogant and cannot be reasoned with and refused to listen to my side,and strongly implied that I'm a liar when I tried to explain my side of the story. To her, I'm guilty before being proven innocent instead of vice versa. What are my other choices? After an initial phone call to my dad right after the threats and accusations were made to me, I told him about the threats and accusations and that they were a result of his statements. In subsequent notes, I've only mentioned it at a high level without directly accusing him for fear that he'll report me to his facility staff who will be required by law to report me. Legal authorities have no jurisdiction over me given that I live out of state. But, my attorney told me that they can make my life difficult, my legal costs to prove myself innocent could go sky high, and in the worst case, if I went to visit my dad and am in their jurisdiction, I could be arrested on the basis of his false claims. Given how disrespectfully my dad has treated me over the past 6 or more years and given his betrayal, I've decided to draw the line and set these boundaries with him. But, should those boundaries be to totally stay away from him given the situation? I'm conflicted because he's an old man with no other family but me (he has a good support system in his city to watch over him) and maybe I should be there for him. But at the same time, his total disrespect and betrayal and putting me in an untenable position with legal authorities is intolerable and unconscionable. If I reattach with him, I risk being pulled into his mental illness and manipulation and being retraumatized by a corrupt legal system in his state. Am I wrong to remain detached from him, continue to limit contact to only written communication where the topics are very neutral, and not even visit or phone him?

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I realize that you're not finished writing, but I want to say this. The minute my mother in law said she was going to call the authorities and report my husband (her son) for elder abuse because he was bullying her (explaining to her that smoking was going to worsen her COPD), he stepped out of the situtation and let others care for her. He would have done this even if he'd been an only child.
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Wow. Just w.o.w.

You should remain detached from him. Me personally? I'd have no further dealings with him at all, in writing or otherwise. If you must, send him best-wishes greeting cards signed only "With Love." When the AAG gets involved, it's time to take it very, very seriously. If you don't detach, if you continue writing to him, in my opinion, it's only a matter of time before he claims harassment or some other false charge against you.

When you beat your head against a wall...guess what? It hurts. Stop doing it. Now.
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I tried to imagine what I would do in your situation. I think I would resign as successor and include an honest reason why I was resigning. Then I would let my father and mother know in writing that I would have liked to keep contact with them, but under the circumstances I feared the false accusations would lead to trouble for me. Then I would cut ties until a friendly door was opened for me to walk through. This would have to be a door I could come through without any legal responsibilities for either of them. They are your mother and father, but you do not owe them your reputation and possible legal action.

I wondered if your father has dementia. Some of the things people with dementia come up with sounds so much like what your father did.
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I know that they're your parents but I would cut all ties - including your mother. Unfortunately, he has it in against you. You stop writing, he will complain that you abandoned him even though he started it. If something goes wrong, he will say that you have POA and you're shirking your responsibility. I'd listen to your lawyer. Like Glad said, once an AG is involved, it's time to for you to seriously think how close you are to being charged. Right now, she doesn't have enough to go on to charge and extricate you from out of state. But if you keep communicating with your father, you're pushing your luck. You've been given a warning by your father, by the AG, by your lawyer. Open your eyes to the reality and please listen to your lawyer. Back off - completely.

P.S.. about that open door... if your father has dementia, and is two-faced (one way to you, and another to others)- he can sincerely tell you that he's sorry, he misses you, etc... and then when you come to visit, Wham! He accuses you again. I'd be very, very careful about that 'open door.'
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rr4terps, I would send a letter (have your attorney proofread it) to the AAG agreeing to sever all ties and stop acting as POA, providing the AAG arrange for a Guardian Conservator to be appointed in that jurisdiction, someone who is supervised by the courts. The court psychiatrist will establish the patient is delusional, quite quickly. Also request that any future visitation be supervised. (make sure you stay away until he is properly medicated) You WANT supervised visitation to protect YOURSELF. Heck, I would even want a nanny cam, because pictures don't lie.
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Do exactly what your lawyer said. Don't be tempted to send your father any gifts or letters because you're feeling sorry for him, or because you think you "ought" to.
If he's as screwed up as you say he is, he'd enjoy watching you go down in flames, while he's getting sympathy for being a poor, abused old man.
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Yes, I too would resign. If you have an over zealous AAG you need to think about your future, and keeping your record clean. Make sure you notify the proper authorities of the resignation so they cannot then accuse you of abandonment.
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This is tricky. My answer hinges on whether you can safely continue to long distance caregiver for your mom while having absolutely no contact with dad. Does he control funds. If the answer is no, I'd have my lawyer (not you) write a letter to dad resigning any poa or responsibility you have to him but indicating that you intend to continue caring for mom. But frankly, if your mom's dementia is at the point where she no longer knows you, I would resign as poa from both (again, through the lawyer) and terminate contact. Your dad sounds like he has some sort of organic brain disease in addition to whatever mental illness and or dementia is going on. I would not risk ending up in jail.
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I'm so sorry to hear that your mother passed away. How terribly sad, and especially sad how it came about.

The profound ignorance of the AAG and the investigating officer are, I'm sorry to say, no big surprise. I no longer even turn a hair when nurses, GPs, OTs and even social workers give me their potted definition of dementia and have it most wondrously WRONGGGGGG!!! I just sigh briefly, smile if I'm up to it, and recommend they skip through a layman's guide to the various types.

Patience, patience, patience… Perhaps we need some kind of leaflet that we can hand to these people with a gentle smile and request that before we continue any discussion they have a quick read of it.

It doesn't help that dementia comes, of course, on top of any existing problems with mental health and/or personality. One of my mother's less attractive characteristics - I remind myself not to blame, but to try to understand her - is her sideways approach to getting her way. She wants me to do something. Does she ask me? No. She will despairingly tell one of my siblings about it. Sibling will naturally assume that I have obstructed this wish, although usually the first I've heard of it is when they then - understandably - storm in all guns blazing and demand to know why mother is being deprived of xyz. "Er, because she didn't mention she wanted it…" You'd think we'd all be wise to it by now, but she's so (literally) pathetic in her manner that it is hard not to believe that she is too sad or frightened to stand up for herself.

It's this desire to have whomever they're speaking to "on their side" above all, regardless of the actuality of whatever they're describing. A straight story, a clear request, a rational argument you never get. So your father, RR4, couldn't possibly admit "I'm becoming too frail and tired to cope with my wife's admin." That would make him look either weak or lazy. So there had to be a reason that didn't reflect poorly on him. I know! "My daughter insisted. I didn't want to hand over, but she Made Me."

I'm gritting my teeth thinking of it. It's incensing, but - as so often - if you try to see it through his eyes there is a form of logic to it, which at least makes it understandable if no less frustrating and problematic. No thought to the consequences, of course: his priority was for everyone to think he was brave and wonderful and a brilliant husband and loyal to his daughter even though she is such a control freak blah blah blah.

Ugh. This is a good heads-up. I'm looking forward to hearing more.
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Uh, I'm tempted to say "after all that, why would you want to have anything to do with this nasty old man?" The sentimental answer "he is my dad" really is not enough in this kind of destructive situation. You have certainly tried to meet your filial responsibilities, but there are "parents" out there and your dad is one of them, who are really not parents in any meaningful sense and not capable of a loving relationship with their children, or with anyone else for that matter. Since your dad is in a facility and being cared for, you have no further responsibility and would be well advised to just stay clear. Should guardianship become necessary, let the state do it.
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