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Bad relationship with my father - have you experienced similar - any advice please? - Page 3 - Carers UK Forum

Bad relationship with my father - have you experienced similar - any advice please?

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Haitch, give up thinking you will ever please her, because that sounds impossible. Think of little things that please you, a bubble bath, an evening sewing, an evening going out with hubby, and, come hell or high water, do them. Mum is so, so lucky, but just csn't see it. Have you sorted out power of attorney while she is still well? Your own?
In the end, your mum - like all of us - is responsible for her own happiness. It does sound like absolutely nothing can make her happy, because she is grieving for your dad, and that is that. That might sound 'tough' but there it is. She's a widow - that's it. So am I - that's it. (And I lost my husband a lot earlier than she lost hers.)

May I ask what she was like before she was widowed, and what kind of marriage she had? I'm wondering whether she was always your dad's 'princess' and pampered and fussed over by him, and made to feel special ,etc etc etc, and that's what's she's missing? Or maybe of course she simply misses the person she loved so much.

But for whatever reason, there is nothing you can do to 'make' her happy, and that is what you have to both accept, I would say, and 'insulate' yourself from. You can 'sympathasise' with her verbally when you are with her, then walk away, and 'put her out of your mind' and get on with what you can of your life.

Speaking of which, do you have any outside help in for her? It doesn't matter if she doesn't want it (!)(so few do, sigh, and just want us to do everything!), but for your own sake, and for the sake of the rest of your family, she 'must' accept some outside help as well as yours. That's 'the deal' for her not being 'put in a home' etc etc.

But it does sound like the most important thing for you is to have a kind of 'mental insulation' from her gloom and sadness, which you can do nothing about - you can't bring your dad back, you can't make her young again, etc etc.
**THANK YOU** All so much for taking the time to reply with such fantastic advice, comments and kind words

Haitch, sorry to read you are stuck in a similar awful situation with your ungrateful and ungracious mother.

Haitch and Jenny - such wise words -

"I have come to the conclusion that what is within her can only be improved by herself and no amount of cajoling, encouragement, admonishment or hard work on my part is making any difference to her misery."

"But it does sound like the most important thing for you is to have a kind of 'mental insulation' from her gloom and sadness, which you can do nothing about - you can't bring your dad back, you can't make her young again, etc etc."

Things have taken a turn for the worse lately and I'm resolved to try and create some mental insulation from my father and establish some boundaries. Recently I had a surgical procedure (awaiting biopsy results), then caught flu and have become very run down - once again my horrid father has shown his true colours and is only interested in himself and how I'm inconveniencing him by my poor health. I recall my mother saying that he hated it when she was ill and he would never allow her to be in bed. He can't cope with the disruption from his "staff"! Grrrrr.

Something really obvious I've realised lately is that some caring situations are more suited to a business arrangement with a 'stranger' carrying out the role. Also the caree has to behave themselves. I find the more I do for my father, the more he expects, I'm making a rod for my own back.

In a sick way, he is trying to turn me into my mother, like we're a couple - he relies on me more and more emotionally and for all decisions.

My husband is sympathetic to my bad relationship with my father but even he thinks I should "just get on with it" that it's my duty. No, no, no! What about me, my health, how much it is affecting me. (The situation with both of my parents' declining health has been on-going since 2008.) I'm stuck between the demands of two men who expect me to run around after them as PA to both. Most days I feel like I'd like to run away, Shirley Valentine style.

If I want to have a day off speaking to my father and listening to his droning negativity - (after having been with him for two days of that week) and I'll ask my husband to speak to him, my father always tells him the same thing - "I just want to hear J's voice". I find it so oppressive, cloying and needy - and a bit creepy. I can say quite honestly I would be fine with not having to see my father for months on end. I must be such a bad person!

My father says he is dreading Christmas this year "more than ever" and doesn't want to put up one light - but still expects us to join him in his misery, he will make no effort to try and quell the negativity just for a day or so - and for me to be stuck out in kitchen cooking all over the Christmas period (so he can tell me the turkey has been cooked for too long and is too dry). Just awful.
PS: I did have some strong words with my father a while back and told him that he is difficult o speak to on the phone as he doesn't listen, it's all one way and a conversation needs to be two way as I need to find out information from him - his reply was that what I had to say was "boring". Just great.

I see that my father was emotionally abusive to my mother and although he thought they had a good marriage, the reality was a different story for her. They met at 15. She was a passive doormat, pampered and spoilt him for a quiet life and to quell his hideous temper and created a monster - in turn she was 100% dependent on him and he created a monster in her.

My self esteem is affected by how much I dislike my father and the fact that I am "of" him.

Reading back over this, I seriously need some counselling for all these issues.
I found counselling hugely helpful, life changing. At 60 I was finally given "permission" to say "No" to my mum. Perhaps most of all, I was told I had a RIGHT to a life of my own. Sadly, I now realise how much time I spent helping others to realise their dreams, neglecting all my own in the process.
You will never change dad, but you can change your response to dad's demands. Maybe starting by putting the answerphone on more?
Bowlingbun - such good points - allowing yourself permission to say NO and a right to your own life (without a demanding parent constantly steamrollering over your life). It's the putting it into practice ... the constant Guilt and Resentment battle.

Emotional distance is what I crave. I've spent my entire life trying to detach myself (from both parents) and now he's trying to reel me in further. I just know he would be delighted if I left my husband and went to live with him - as his need of me is much greater than that of my husband.

I do get so angry that my estranged elder sister has got off scot free from all of this.
Dump the guilt. What would happen if he had no children, or they lived the other side of the world? He would have no support whatsoever. He's lucky, really lucky, to have someone he can talk to every week, never mind every day. The more you do, the more he will want you to do. After I was widowed, my mum dropped unsubtle hints about wanting a live in daughter. My eldest son laughed. Much as I love my mum, we are very very different. I'd be packing up to come home again before I'd ever unpacked. I married at the age of 19, now I'm 64. My house is how I like it. Mum had OCD amongst many other things. I couldn't cope with that!!!
I'm re-reading yet again all the fantastic wise advice and thoughts on this thread of the 'experienced' - Thank You All.

BowlingBun, I'm going to work hard on dumping the Guilt.

I realise it is a long process for carers to allow themselves permission to "reclaim" their life (and happiness) so as not to lose precious years (on an ungrateful caree, as in my case).

Trying to recover from a particularly unpleasant Christmas (for various reasons, Boxing Day A&E visit which couldn't be helped but still nonetheless awful) spent with my father that reconfirmed all the issues/grievances in our relationship.

This New Year I'm going to try and implement some changes with regard to my father's care and if he is resistant - then he'll have to just get on with it. Tough Love it will have to be. Also I now have some health issues that need addressing so I have to recoup.

Good Wishes to All for 2017 - despite circumstances, to find some Light in your life - and a Way Forward.
J - personally, I think you should not just dump the guilt - I think you should dump your father.

He really does not deserve you (doesn't deserve anything nice to be honest - I've just re-read your description of his treatment of your mother and that made me despise him totally!)

I would, if I were you, sit down with your husband (I'm disturbed that your husband thinks you should look after your ghastly father - why? Does your husband think of himself as like your father, ie, that a woman should look after a man????? Does he not realise how awful your father is??).

Anyway, sit down with your husband, tell him you're going to withdraw from contact with your father, and leave it up to social services.

Then phone your dad's GP and tell him you're no longer involved with your father's care at all, and let him sort out what has to happen next.

Put your phone on answer phone, and delete your father's calls unlistened to, or get your husband to listen to them 'just in case' or whatever.

I have the suspicion that you, like so, so many children of dreadful parents, are 'subconsciously' hoping your father will change his horrible ways and become the loving, appreciative, positive-minded dad you long for him to be. But he won't. He won't change, he'll only get worse - needy and demanding, ungrateful and insulting, self-focussed and selfish.

He doesn't deserve your care or love, and you don't deserve to be landed with him for a dad.

And why has your older sister not bothered to lift a finger? Because she's his daughter, that's why!

All the best to you for the coming year - but really, the decision is up to you to break the chains. and leave your dad be.

(Yes, you'll 'feel bad' - ie, 'guilty' - about doing so, but with time, that lessens, believe me.)

Kindest wishes, and time to be strong. Jenny
PS - please do take Bowling Bun's recommendation and book some counselling for yourself, to strengthen you in your bid for freedom from the 'thralldom' in which your horrible dad has held you all his life.

PPS - If you 'feel bad' about abandoning your dad, think what would happen if you went under a bus? Your sister would not lift a finger for him, and so the SS and GP would HAVE to sort out his care - they do that already for those who have no family (or who have driven them away)!