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Hello, So I wanted to say thank you guys for all the wonderful advice I received on here. I posted a few weeks ago about my father, who has been using me the majority of my life, and refuses to take care of himself. I've finally had enough and am putting a stop to it. I have him set up in an apartment he can afford nearby on his social security. He is set to move in next week. And I am currently seeking a therapist to sort out some of my issues. I do have a few remaining questions however: 1. Has anyone dealt with attachment issues? So I have a friend who is a master of social work and specifically works with older individuals. He said that because taking care of him is a pattern that I have been involved in my whole life, that I probably have some attachment issues. I really wan't sure what he meant by that. 2. How do you personally work through the guilt? I've been taking up for him and taking care of him forever, and now that I'm letting go to take care of myself I feel so guilty! Like I've been trained that its my responsibility. Also, I know that he isn't going to have a come to Jesus moment and suddenly take care of himself, he is probably gonna live and die in filth, but at the same time, I need to take care of me. You can't help someone who refuses to get help. I just haven't figured out how to handle that guilt yet. Thank so much!

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GardenArtist, that's an interesting idea. I've wondered about that in myself. I've
been so exhausted, but my only thoughts have gone along the groove
of "well, at least I've been able to do _____"(whatever care taking task I've accomplished).
Instead of, "Omg, I'm getting dangerously burned out, what can I do to fix this!!"

I was groomed as child to be both my parents care givers, so it was a task i fell neatly
back into once I was faced with his crises . And this can be self reinforcing because you're "accomplishing" things. Except your life.

Definitely food for thought.
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Reply to bettina
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I think there's another issue involved in the guilting issue that hasn't been mentioned often, if at all (to the best of my recollection). It's self validation, through caring for someone, justifying self worth while also being caught up in the guilting issues.

We humans can be such complex characters.
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Definitely get with a therapist on these issues. They won't go away.

Guilt = attachment issue. It's pretty much that simple. The guilt is a result of the attachment issue. You feel guilty because you are so enmeshed, so attached to being the caregiver your whole life - so much so that extricating yourself from the caregiver role causes intense guilt to well up. The therapist can definitely help you sort through this and "right the ship" again.
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Thank you guys for the continued advice. In addition to feeling guilt, I also just feel really stupid. Its almost like he has been playing me all these years, and I've been in an abuse relationship that I've been blind about. Idk, he really was the only family I had left, and I lot of my friends kind of abandoned me after my mom died and I had a bunch of issues with that. I know therapy will help, I'm just frustrated.
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Reply to MathTeacher314
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I found talking to my pastor very helpful in dealing with guilt feelings. Separating "false guilt" from the real thing. Feelings are not facts.
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Reply to rovana
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Hey Teacher,
I wholeheartedly agree with Ahmijoy. A therapist is vital in sorting out the muck that has been your life.

Guilt is such a horrible emotion. It can be hurtled on you by undeserving people but, often times, WE are the worst perpetrators. We rake ourselves over the coals, thinking everybody else's problem is ours too.
(I've spent wasted time trying to get my son off heroin. It seems that it's more important to me, he could care less).
My new go to phrase is, "Your problem can't be more important to ME than it is to YOU."

If they aren't willing to help themselves, why should we loose our minds. (I am seeing a therapist, by the way. Even with my fighting spirit, I need help staying the course.)

We are not deserting our loved one... We are taking care of our physical and mental selves. They decide their future, we decide ours.

"Wishing won't make it so." These are words to choke on for those riddled by guilt. Gosh, if I had a dollar for every wish, dream, desire and prayer I've said to try to change the situation, I'd be a millionaire.

Question #1
I think you could substitute the word "attachment" for codependent. You were tangled in an unhealthy relationship and you thought (by guilt) that you "needed" to be there.
Now's the time to detach.
You set him up in an apartment that he can afford. The rest is up to him. If he refuses to help himself, it's not your problem nor place to "make everything alright".
Yes, I was in a codependent relationship with my dad. How to stop? For me, I had to break off the relationship.

Question #2,
You have done the best (and more) that you can.
Keep saying, "He is an adult. He can direct his life any way he wants to. I am NOT responsible for his choices and I can't save him from himself."

Keep working with a therapist. Look on Amazon or Google for books about parental guilt and how to get over it.
Come back here 'cause we understand and are here to support you.
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Reply to SueC1957
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The best way to work through this is with the help of a therapist who will give you the tools to succeed. Those of us who have placed loved ones in a facility or who have just severed ties for our own survival have all felt guilt and a feeling almost like abandonment. All we ever knew in life has changed. On some level, we liked being needed by the person, even if, as in your case, the relationship was toxic. Give yourself time to get used to this new life. Congratulate yourself on your fortitude. Things can only get better from here!
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