At My Wits End!!

by Steve
(Birmingham, UK.)

Basically, my mother passed away 2 years ago from bowel cancer. She was ill for 6 months. During this time my father would ring me day and night blaming me (I am 48 yr old male, the eldest of 2) for causing her cancer, etc, etc.


After she passed away he moved to a retirement village 17 miles away from me (my brother actually lives about 5 minutes drive from my father). He was admitted to hospital with pneumonia and malnutrition about 18 months ago, brought on by his not bothering to eat, or being on yet another faddy diet, like eating nothing but cornflakes for months on end.

After he was released from hospital all was reasonable for a few months until he had a TIA resulting in another stay in hospital. He now has no concept of time and has lost parts of his memory.

Now, I am getting phone calls every morning, anywhere between 4am an 10 am. Every time its the same thing, woe and misery, he wishes he was dead, wants to know what I'm doing that day if if I'm doing nothing there's no reason why I can't come over for lunch. If I say I can't go over, I get the "I don't suppose I'll eat anything today then, I don't like going into the restaurant on my own".

I am not working and receive a small amount of money from a trust fund that just about pays the bills. Every time I go over there I use about 1.5 gallons of diesel at £6.00 approx per gallon. As I'm not working, he expects me over there 4 or 5 times a week as I've "nothing better to do".

I also sort out all his hospital appointments including picking him up and returning him home. It takes me an hour each way due to traffic to get to him, plus I'm there for 1.5 - 2 hours each time. That's 4 hours out of every day gone, with no time to do anything for myself.

If I tell him I've got something else to do, he resents it and gets funny with me, saying things like "I'll just sit and look at the floor and the clock until its bed time". I really, really cannot cope any more.

I am now not in good health myself. The stress and strain of the last 3 years has taken it's toll and according to the doctor, I am a walking heart attack. My blood pressure has risen to 163/101, I cannot sleep, I get panicky in crowds and break out in shakes and sweats. I just sit here and scream some days. My own apartment is a mess, but I do not care.

I feel my life is over, and the way its going he'll be attending my funeral before I go to his. I have sat him down and told him that I need a break and that I am having mental and physical problems because of the stress. The next morning, he phoned me again at 4am to make sure I had slept properly. I just want to sit here and cry.

How I want to walk away and never come back. Why can't he leave me alone just for 24 hours. A heart attack would do me a favour, at least I'd get some peace.

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The next Bit..
by: Steve

Thanks to all for all the comments. It's nice to know you're not alone even if it does feel that way sometimes. It amazing how just writing stuff down helps you to see things more clearly yourself.

It has now progressed to the point where both my brother and his family are no longer on speaking terms with my dad, and my uncle has now had enough as well after he phoned my Dad to talk to him about his obvious memory / Dementia problems.

My Dad hung up the phone, then phoned my uncle back 5 minutes later to say he never wanted to speak to him ever again, as every time they spoke all my uncle did was "tell me I'm going round the bend and I've lost my memory". This is despite the fact that he has to write everything down he's doing that day / week and go through it all like a check list as he can't remember otherwise. So he knows damn well he has problems, but when someone tried to explain why, he cuts them off!!

It's not going to change. I'm still getting the 8am phone calls every morning, but at least he realizes now that I cannot come over every day. This has forced him to start mixing a bit more again with the other residents.

I had a phone call last week at 9.45 pm. My dad had woken up looked at the clock - it said 8.30 or so - so he's got up, had a shave, shower, etc; opened the curtains and thought it was dark. So he called me to see if it was dark here as well.

He asked me where I was and I told him I was taking part in a quiz at my local club. He said they must open early before he realized it was 9.45pm, not 9.45am. He'd gone to bed for a nap on the afternoon, noticed the clock saying 8, and thought it was 8 in the morning, not evening. I don't know whether to get him a 24 hour clock, or if that would just confuse matters.

Sleep, oh how I'd love to sleep. Properly, like go to bed at 10pm and wake up the next day refreshed and ready to go, instead of lying there half awake with one ear listening for the phone. I daren't turn it off - if I didn't answer it would be panic stations.

One more Vodka and off to bed for me.

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Follow on - Forgot to Add
by: Elizabeth

Oh how I agree with 'anon' who said they all expect to get their fair share of the inheritance - absolutely no qualms about sharing the load then!

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I know Exactly How you Feel - Mines a Large Baileys !!
by: Elizabeth

Hi Steve - Your posts really ring true with me - every word. I have a stand up row with my dad every day. Tell you what - I am so sick of people saying - ahh - he's old - he can't help it - etc etc.

How come he is sweetness and light and gratitude personified if anyone else (e.g. Mums carers - who come in to help Mum wash etc., twice a day) does anything for him and yet treats me like dirt. I may be missing something but if he knows the difference between people and how he deems to treat them then he's not that far off his rocker is he?

He rang me today - I wanted ONE day off - so yesterday I cleaned the place from top to bottom - on top of everything and left it all ship shape. I also took their grocery shopping round and got everything they could possibly need and left him some money just in case he wanted something else - lives near shops and is 100% mobile, etc. So what does he bloody do? Rings me this afternoon to say I HAD to come round as the boiler is off (he has a prepayment meter which I fed plenty of money into yesterday).

He then says when I query it - see above - that yes, definitely - the pilot lights gone out. So then I query this further as the boiler is high up and you cant see the pilot light through viewing window unless you stand on a chair so then he moves the goalposts again and attributes this verdict about the boiler to one of mums carers (a favourite trick of his). Now bear in mind mums carers haven't been since 9am this morning and its now three o clock in afternoon (??).

I went round (because I'm stupid I guess) or rather stormed round - I was furious and hallelujah - the boiler - as I knew it would be - was working perfectly. So I tackled him and he said 'well the carer even said how cold it was before and it wasn't on, etc. etc., (impossible as heating is set on a timer and taped up - another long story - so he can't meddle with it).

I have rang the carers many times in the past and asked them if they've done or said xyz and always got a complete reassurance that they don't get involved with anything except washing my mum. So basically he's telling lies - devious lies to manipulate me into visiting on my one bloody 'day off'.

I left immediately determined he wasn't to benefit from this behaviour and he starts shouting -'hang on a minute - I've no milk' ( I refer you to above re: his vicinity to shop and housekeeping money, etc ). I told him I was getting him nothing and told him I knew his game - he couldn't bear me to have a day off could he ? I stomped out shouting at him and returned home and now I feel so guilty and just disheartened really.

PS I have a sister who brings them Christmas dinner every year and visits on Mothers day and sometimes Easter - lives nearby - and that's her lot. And you know what - she can do no wrong!

Yeah, Steve....mines a large Baileys - I'm gonna pour mine now - me and my dog gonna curl up on sofa - telly on - door locked - phone off.

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Join The Club!
by: Maryann

Steve, I know what are you going through. Since both of my parents are not well, I have been experiencing some anxiety as well. I have not been feeling 'right' for the past year. Although my blood pressure is relatively good despite all the stress, but I have been sweating a lot for no apparent reason. All I want to do is sleep because I am so exhausted from running to doctor to doctor, housework, running errands and performing my job searches online and networking (I am unemployed right now)

Two nights ago, I finally got to dress up to the nines and go to this fancy professional networking event in Georgetown Washington DC. It really helped that 'I got out of the house.' My father who has memory problems had berated me because I went out, but you know what I really bloody didn't care.

My mom told me the next day that my father had an episode because I wasn't home to cook dinner for them and he started to drop the juice bottle cap on the floor and started yelling at my mom.

Yesterday, my father had an episode at the supermarket deli counter when the deli woman asked him whether he was following the soccer on cable. He also yelled at me when I was driving because I told him I had to go home to check my mail and my apartment.

Steve,the bottom line is that you have to do something for yourself or otherwise you will suffer mentally! Take it from someone who knows. Just go outside take a walk, treat yourself nice, if you have close friends go out with them if you can.

Today, I am in my apartment and I am going to shop for a new purse which I really need. Steve my friend, my thoughts are with you.

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It gets Worse.
by: Steve

Well, part 3 in the saga.

My brother went round to see my dad as he "was passing by and had a few minutes".

My Dad has always been one for bringing up things from the past that everyone else had forgotten about. His mind has always worked that way - he takes what you've said and twists it to suit his own ends. He isn't exactly all sweet and innocent, he's started some right rows that have gone on for months. He would deliberately start arguments after thinking about it all day, and he already has answers planned for any comment you may come out with. You could never win.

Basically, my brothers visit turned into a slanging match within minutes with my Dad bringing up stuff from 30 years ago (in a way its a pity its his long term memory that hasn't gone, I had a feeling this was coming, he'd been on about my brother not visiting amongst other things for a few days, and had obviously got his argument planned).

My Dad phoned me to say that my brother left swearing at him, and that he doubts they'll speak again. My brother sent me a message saying dad has gone insane this week, bringing up things from the past with his usual twists, and now he doesn't want any more to do with him.

Ice and lemon in mine please, and make it a double!!

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Practice Meditation
by: Anonymous

Turn to spirituality. Do your responsibilities to the extent possible - trying to get help from outside too. Do take time off to take care of yourself. Tune off for a couple of days a week.

When a child is tantrum - thrower, you ground him for a few days before you listen to him again. Do that. Have faith that your father is in the best of health in medical terms. If he is suffering from some illness get him his medication. Take a job or something and try to be creative in life. It takes some stresses off you.

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Following On....
by: Steve

Thank you for your comments, it's nice to know you're not alone in all this.

It's now 2:20am, and an hour ago I had a phone call from my Dad who was in a panic. I was over at his place today for a couple of hours.

At 1:30am I had a phone call from him in a panic. He had been outside his apartment and couldn't understand why there was nobody about. He had heard voices that had woken him up and he thought it was me and a friend in the kitchen. He was worried that I had somehow disappeared and he couldn't understand why we had left without saying goodbye.

I was there on my own this afternoon, and he closed the door behind me as I went as I was taking his rubbish out to the bins.

As far as I can tell he must have fallen asleep not long after I left, and woke up thinking he'd nodded off for a few minutes. He must have been asleep 12 hours which wouldn't surprise me as he goes to bed around 11 and wakes up around 4 each morning. It probably caught up with him.

He now refuses to believe that I wasn't hiding in the apartment, thinks I was out in the car park when he phoned me, and is convinced there were 2 people there. I told him at was 1:30 in the morning, not the afternoon and that I'd been left 12hrs but he wouldn't have it.

Last week he phoned me asking if I knew where my mother was as she'd gone out and he was sure she'd come back but he couldn't find her now and he'd looked everywhere. He thought she was hiding behind the curtains!!

Why oh why have I run out of Brandy!! But it's amazing the difference even typing this down makes.

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Share the Load
by: Anonymous

What's wrong with your brother? He's only 5 minutes away from your father. Isn't he expected to do anything for him?

What I've come to realize is that parents decide that some of their offspring are entitled to live free of responsibilities to them because they simply "can't" or because "they have to put their children through college" or some other rubbish.

What it comes down to is that the adult child who takes responsibility and assumes (usually wrongly) that his or her siblings will also contribute equally is operating under a misapprehension. What actually happens is that once that person starts to be responsible, the other siblings take that as a sign that they are off the hook, and that it is YOUR responsibility now to do everything. And your parent(s) take this same attitude, supporting the notion that the others do not have the same degree of responsibility to their family of origin as you do.

But, trust me, they all expect to receive an equal share of any inheritance, no matter how unequal their contribution to the parent's welfare in their old age. No one wants to acknowledge the unfairness of this situation because it would mean that they would have to actually do something. And the parent(s) would have to face the reality that the others don't care enough to do anything.

This may not help you, but tell your brother that you can only do half the "dad" duties and he can take the other half. If he retorts that he's got a job and you don't, reply that you need to look for a job and need the gas money to look for a job. No matter, he is still a son and has half of the responsibility for your dad.

Good luck.

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You're not alone
by: Christine

You are not the only one experiencing this. Please know that my heart is with you.

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