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Hello, I'm new to this site, but reading your stories has helped me quite a bit. It's a relief to see I'm not alone. Here is my story: I've been caring for my father for the majority of my life. I'm 30 now. When I was in elementary school it was making sure my alcoholic mother wasn't up and around to bother him when he got off work (something that should not have been my problem, but he openly blamed me for), when I was in middle school it was seeing him through a brain aneurysm that he was lucky to survive, in high school it was working 80 hours a week to pay bills because he refused to work, right after graduation it was helping him and my mom who was dying from lung and brain cancer, and currently he is living with me, refuses to do literally anything except sit in front of the TV and eat junk food. I do his laundry, cook, clean, take off work for doctor's appointments, and pretty much anything he needs. He is diabetic and has stage 3 kidney disease currently, and he has been made well aware that he should eat better and take care of himself, and there is no reason he can't do anything, he just will not do it.


Through all of this I managed to put myself through college, even though it did take 10 years, bought a house, and have found a wonderful man to marry me. I have a job I love teaching high school math, and am almost finished with getting my master's degree. The problem is I'm so burnt out and stressed all the time I can't enjoy any of it. He currently get social security, and I told him he needs to find an apartment and move out because I can't take care of him any more. I want to live somewhat normal life for once. Plan a wedding, think about kids. The problem is that he acts like I'm a terrible person for how upset I am, is refusing to speak with me, and pretty much refusing to do the work needed. He says its my responsibility to take care of him, even though both of my brothers have absolutely refused to help at all. He never blames them.


Does anyone else get conflicted like this when they're finally trying to take a stand for their health and well being? Is anyone else in a similar situation? He is capable of taking care of himself, he just refuses to and blames it on everything but himself. I'm sure he has depression but I've gotten him every support imaginable. At what point do I stop caring so much?? I'm tired of sacrificing everything for him, and I feel like I've gone above and beyond what any daughter should have to do for their father, but then he just guilt trips me and throws a tantrum like a child.

If someone of your father's size and weight were standing on your foot, and he refused to get off because he felt comfy as he was, would you still see his point of view?

You recognise, clearly, that your father's expectations and attitudes are totally unreasonable.

But. So, why can't you just say "eff this, I've had enough, you're gone."?

Because your taking responsibility for your parents' welfare is a habit you have been trained in from infancy. Breaking habits that are *that* deeply ingrained is hard, long work.

So I agree: set your goals, get support, start the ball rolling. But recognise that the process will be painful at times, though with wonderful breakthrough moments, and I honestly wouldn't even try to do this alone.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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You're coming to a branch in the road now. You've been abused by your father for most of your life, it seems. (You worked 80 hours/week while in high school because he wouldn't???) And now you have a chance to marry.

It will NOT END WELL if you continue living with your father. I take it he lives in YOUR apartment or house? Think about what will happen as your father needs more and more help.

You. Have. Been. Abused. You know it. You must do something about it. (Kick your father out.)
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Reply to CTTN55
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Hi Mathteacher,
Don't you find his sense of entitlement sickening, now that you're an adult and can see it?

Take his ammunition away. When he starts his guilt tripping, point it out. If he starts the "poor me" talk, point that out.

Eg, "Get off the pitty pot dad" Don't try to guilt me dad,. I've done for you my whole life."

His old manipulative tricks have always worked, but your not a child anymore. Since you can see what he is doing and you still fall for it, well, that's on you, not him. Take responsibility for the part you play in all of this.

You'll never change him, but you can change what you "allow" him to do to you. I heard it said, "you can't be a door mat if you don't lay down."

You've shown tremendous strength in overcoming adversity! Don't stop now! You've got this girl!
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Reply to Pepsee
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I agree with everything that's been said but wanted to add definitely do not tie your disengaging from this person to your brothers' involvement or lack of involvement. Sure, it's extremely unfair that everything fell on you, but I almost can't blame them for running away from this dysfunction. It seems to have been the only way to escape. You can escape too!

You sound like an awesome person with a bright future ahead of her. Good luck and stay strong!
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Reply to SnoopyLove
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Look up caregiver syndrome or caregiver stress. It's real.
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Reply to bettina
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I don't have much to add to what's already been written in the previous comments. I do want to tell you that it sure sounds like you've done an amazing job under very trying circumstances. I applaud what you've done. My concern for you is to brace yourself for outsiders (i..e non-caregivers) who will judge you up one side and down the other for drawing the line and setting limits with your dad. My caregiving situation was different from yours, but having people tell me that "family ALWAYS takes care of family no matter what" still stings because I ultimately did put Mom in a facility. Non-caregivers always seem to think the caregiver should be doing even more than they already are and hurtful things get said. Just be prepared for the harsh words of others. For what it's worth, I believe you're doing the right thing for all concerned.
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Reply to OverTheEdge17
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You've gone many times above and beyond the call of duty. Amazing!! Time for
your brothers to step up to the plate and help. Time for your dad to grow up and
take care of himself or obtain care that is independent of you.

Prepare yourself for the real possibility that he might switch from being nasty and
guilt tripping to being "nice" or having a series of terrible health crises that put you
on the spot. Sometimes care agencies will push at home care, because well it's neat and tidy and no one likes to think that parents abuse and take advantage of their own children the way your father has.

Make sure you make up your mind and stick to it, no matter what. Time to live your life. You've done far far more than most. Good luck!!!
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Reply to bettina
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I will only add, find out how to legally evict someone in your jurisdiction. I'd start the paperwork now.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Get yourself a therapist to support your efforts.

Because you have been groomed to be his caretaker I’m sure it will take heroic efforts to separate from him. But heroic efforts seem to be your forte so I’m betting on you.

Call the Area Agency on Aging to come assess him and explain what resources are available to him.

Tell his doctor what your intention is in order for him to treat the depression.

Contact your local government on the eviction process should he not be willing to move on his own.

Give your father a move out date. Notify your brothers that he might need help moving. Be prepared to help him move yourself. Make it as easy as possible for him to comply while remaining firm on the decision. 

Figure out how much interaction you want with him after he has moved. You will need strong boundaries.

I hope you give yourself a little time between being dad’s caretaker and a spouse.

Come back here and let us support you through this transition. Once you’ve set your goals and are focused on your future you will make it happen.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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