relationship with caree breaking down

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I've only ever asked my father for one thing in exchange for the care I give him - that he shares practical problems with me and takes notice if I tell him to ring the GP. The former are in there because his attempts to find a man to sort something out in the house or garden leaves him wide open to fraud and potential physical danger.

Each time, he makes the promise and ignores it. Things came to a head last summer, while he was in hospital, and he repeated all the things that he's used to get out of trouble in the past - the wheedling and earnest promises that, this time, it will be different. In July, once he was discharged, I told him it was the last chance. Last week I found out he'd completely ignored it within a week of being home and got the name of an electrician out of the local free paper. The electrician "fixed" something - then had to return within a week to "fix" it again. Now the care assistants want it fixed, so I'll be round there later with my electrician, to look at what's needed. I don't particularly care about that - it's the broken word I can't deal with.

When I told him he'd broke his word again, he told me he'd done it out of concern for me. That was the icing on the cake. I hadn't mentioned I was getting stressed until December. He dredged that up in order to make me feel guilty. He did it to prove to himself he can solve his own problems. I understand his motivation but I also know he's completely unreliable and won't do anything for me unless it suits him. And he relies on me to sort out his problems. I've been through this time and again over 8 years. Ironically, when he thought he was going to die, 8 years ago, he told me a guilty secret he'd kept to himself for 50 years. Obviously, he wanted to get it off his chest. It was a pity it was a story that demonstrated his lack of judgement or feeling of responsibility towards his family. And that was the beginning of my caring for him.

Soooo.... lovely people, please give me some help on what sort of relationship I have with this man. I feel as though I've come to the end of the daughter relationship. For a week, all I've felt is anger, yet life has to go on. Somehow, I'm going to have to salvage some sort of relationship out of this wreckage, but I have no idea how to begin.

Any ideas?
You might find this a ridiculous idea but I wonder if a trained mediator could help in this situation?

Maybe by showing you're father how serious you are by involvement of this third party it MIGHT make him sit up and take notice? :-???
My mum did similar things, she thought she was helping save me a job, but was not! She couldn't walk towards the end of her life, and refused tobelieve her gardeners were stealing from her. I always treated mum with respect, but now wish I'd shown my true feelings and had a blazing row.
It's difficult because I really don't want to distress him.

A mediator sounds like a good idea, but communication with my father is very difficult. Even if he's wearing his hearing aid, he often simply stares blankly if asked a question, so it has to be repeated several times and followed up with "do you understand?" to ensure it's been received. He doesn't have dementia. And he seems to hear and understand fairly well when he wants to.

he's very good at the passive-aggressive stuff, so I think he'd simply duck out of a session with a mediator and not respond. Even if he did, the point about mediation is to arrive at an agreement. The problem is that my father will agree to anything to get someone off his back, then promptly ignore the agreement. I have made it plain to him what some form of understanding between us means to me - that I can feel we actually have a relationship, rather than me being his free fixer.

I know this is peanuts be y comparison to the enormous loads carried by so many who come on here, but it also is exactly the same issue in so many cases - how to care when the relationship breaks down.
I suspect you're on to a losing wicket here! (if that's the right analogy. Flogging a dead horse?

The point is, you are trying to change your father's innate behaviour (or, so in-grained it might as well be innate!). You can't and you won't.

He won't do what you want, because he doesn't want to, because he doesn't think there is anything wrong in what he is doing.

This is a battle of wills. You are trying to control his behaviour, he is trying to do what he wants and not be controlled.

If you read the ongoing posts of Paul about his stubborn and 'difficult' dad (!) you will see what I am getting at. Paul, too, gets endlessly frustrated by his dad's obdurate and 'impossible' behaviour. He wants him to behave differently, but is beating his head against a brick wall.

Personally, if I were you, I'd just throw in the towel. Think through the worst case scenarios of letting your dad do what he wants.

For example, what are your main fears? Is it that he's going to be ripped off by scammers cheating him? Is it that he's going to injure himself or burn the house down, or what?

Sometimes we just have to accept that we CANNOT control our parents' behaviour (or, conversely, our children's!!!). I had to accept I could NOT make my mum 'punctual'. She was 'unmangeable' in that respect. However much I harried or chivvied her, or nagged and went on at her, however much I tried to do stuff for her so she didn't have to be late (eg, to catch a train), she just 'evaded' me the whole time. So we missed the train. EVERY TIME.

Now, with my MIL, I have to 'swallow' that, with deep dementia, she is simply spending the ENTIRE sale price of her flat - and we are talking £100,000 plus. If I think about I want to rage and scream my head off. But there is NOTHING I can do about it - she will spend it all, and die broke. End of.

So, for you, I would recommend some counselling maybe to work out ways of 'backing off' from this endless head-butting with your dad, that gets neither you nor him anyway. If there are 'serious' risks he is incurring, either do your best to limit them (eg, if you think he's getting ripped off,try and take charge of his money???), or blank them and 'accept them' (eg, one day he might, yes, die in a house fire caused by electrics done by dodgy guys he's hired.)

In the end, it's his life, not yours. Hard to accept sometimes, but we do have to (sigh!)
Jenny, I entirely agree. I have reduced and reduced what I do. The two jobs this week were fixing the bathroom light (yesterday) and, today, the Care Agency tells me the central heating isn't working. Now, I have no idea how such things are handled if I don't ring my electrician/plumber and go round there to be present to let them in and supervise the work. At the moment, my father is immobile.

Once he gets mobile, he can supervise this stuff. He buys things at top whack because he won't involve me. OK - his problem. If he rings a workman on the basis of an ad in a free newspaper, rather than asking me to find someone reliable - his problem. I can give him the numbers of my workmen if he asks, but he never does. he's very secretive. On the other hand, he wants me to be his safety net and interface with the NHS/SS as he has always avoided "authority" and will simply tell them whatever they want to hear in order to get rid of them. Then he expects me to sort out the resulting mess.

And it's that - being handed a mess to sort out due to his behaviour. That. That's what does my head in. That's why I want a bit of control.
Hi Hamsterwheel,
You mentioned it may be the end of the "daughter" relationship and sad though it is , that is probably true. You have been on a downward slope of becoming the one in charge and dad will I'm sure never recognise that so that is what you need to do is get your head around being the responsible adult.
It doesn't mean dad is ignoring you or not complying with you , more likely he is just getting muddled, frightened, confused and trying to deal with things as well as he can.
I'm sure when I was saying things like this I was advised to get POA and didn't press hard enough for it so it became a potential monster problem in the later stages, only really solved by Dad passing on.
You can do other things perhaps to make sure dad is not scammed , if he were ever to fall victim and recognised as being vulnerable he would be constantly bombarded by scammers. Can you change the phone to outgoing calls only, cancel delivery of free newspapers, have an lockable post box that only you have a key for, if you can't get POA then get at least third party access so you can view what he's spending and who he's paying. , hide his bank cards.
They all sound a bit underhand at first but needs must sometimes.
Re the central heating- it may have broken or it may be that the carers don't know how it works , or the settings ahave been changed, or they are only there when it is off so don't take their word for it without investigating.
Thanks, Henrietta.

No, I can't change his phone without his permission and he won't give that. Ditto re bank account etc. The trouble is, he's somewhere between capable and not capable. Capable enough for SS, but he opts out when he's home and leaves the work of organisation (not the drudgery done by the care assistants) to me. Most of the time, he sleeps and complains he has no energy. However, while he was in hospital I checked his telephone bill and he's on it several times a week, at least.

I have POA but, as he's still capable, can't use them.

The central heating is broken. I had the electrician round to dad's place yesterday and it wasn't working. He increased the pressure in it but it's stopped again overnight. I've set it to be continuous, so it's easy to spot when it stops. It's such an ancient boiler I can't even be certain the controls work properly, though I can have another go at the timer (which the boiler is not meant to be using). To do that means going round there again and I have PTSD about that house. I hate it. Every time I have to go there to carry out a job I expect another message from the Agency or from Dad that something else has broken.

Hence the name I use here :shock:
Glad you have POA, not sure how and when able to use it as capacity varies so much. It could be argued if he is paying a rogue tradesman now is the time to step in, perhaps have a word with the bank- no dad won't be happy, but ultimately he wouldn't be happy if you hadn't looked out for him and he had got ripped off. No easy solutions and either way there will be guilt, bad feelings, cross words, you just have to rise above it all and see the bigger picture. I wasn't brilliant at that as I said earlier but speaking with hindsight that is my advice.
Are you sure it's dad running up the phone bill and not the carers- can you arranfge for an itemised phone bill, just tell dad you are making sure the carers are not using it rather than snooping on him.
It's Dad using the phone. The carer's use it to clock into the agency when they arrive. That's their only use of it.

I appreciate your advice. I know I should rise above it. It's just a wee bugger that I've reached the point where I can't. All the childhood PTSD is swelling up to overwhelm me. Oh, no physical abuse, thankfully - though the emotional is just as difficult to deal with. Ironically, my father told me, 8 years ago (when he used me as his unasked and unwilling confessor) that he ignored his seriously ill mother's pleas that he stay and help her as he wanted to be with his girlfriend. The problem is that I can see the childhood stuff relatively clearly (more than I want to) but the stuff I'm living through is more blurry and tangled.

I'm going to have to work something out. I've just had SS on the phone as Dad has rung the Agency but only left a message. I took the opportunity to let the SS know I'm that close at the moment to simply walking away. It never does any harm to let them know I can't be relied upon if they want to land something on me.