Caregiving Dad Angry and Resentful

by Helpless Stress Head
(Victoria, Australia)

My mum has terminal cancer and she does complain a lot but my dad has got to the point where he is angry with her all the time and he wants me there constantly. As soon as I arrive he knocks off and wants to be waited on.

I work full time have a family and live 1.5 hours away and my house is going to the dogs and I am stressed to the max. I am an only child. I just want to know why dad is being so self centered when we know mum doesn't have long. Mum has given her life to him looking after him all the time and he can't give her a few months care!

Maybe it is a man thing as my husband is now resentful that I am spending so much time with mum - do they ever grow up?

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Anger is the Result of Fear
by: GARY

Most men have a harder time accepting things they cannot control. When a loved one is dying from a disease or suffering the debilitating effects of aging, it is the loss of control over the situation and the fear that results from that loss that tends to drive emotions to expressions of anger. This can be as true for female spouses as well but not so much so for female caregivers.

For you, set boundaries for yourself, bring outside help in when and if you can and organize assistance from a community of friends.

Getting Dad out of the house frequently may help his overall disposition. Bless you for the work you are doing and the care you show.


It's a Guy Thing
by: Anonymous

Men are accustomed to being pampered in our sexist, male dominated society. They do not like it when they are no longer entitled. When the woman who has been waiting on them is no longer able to take care of them they expect another woman to step up to the plate.

It's a male domination thing. I have read that when a woman has brothers, they expect her to be the one to take care of the ailing or aging parent(s) because she's a female.

Good luck, sister! I feel for you.

Tough Times
by: Anonymous

I'm so sorry for your situation, it must be really difficult. It sounds as though you are lacking support in every direction and that must be so hard. I suspect that your father and your husband are not acting this way because they are male, but because this is who they are, sex doesn't matter, personality does, and you can't change who they are.

The thing you can change is how you respond to them. You are not responsible for your mums illness, you don't have the power it make it easy or OK, so don't let them expect that of you. Do what you can and do what you feel is right, don't feel guilty if you are sad or angry or impotent... no-one can expect more of you.
Thinking of you....

Anger and Fear
by: Anonymous

You are certainly being pulled in different directions! In my experience, anger is almost always based in fear; afraid of losing her, fear of being alone, fear of the unknown future, fear of own mortality. The list can go on and on.

When I became very ill my husband basically abandoned me emotionally. Although I really felt alone through my illness I understood he simply didn't know what to say, how to console or comfort me, or what to he did nothing.

I'm not saying I didn't feel resentful of his 'abandonment' I just understood.
Hope this helps a bit. I sure feel for you.
mary in santa rosa ca

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