Feeling Trapped

by Robin
(North Carolina)

Gosh... where to start!! My dad (81 years old) came to live with my husband and I (we are both 51) after my mom passed away in 2011. I had promised my mom on her death bed that I would take care of my father. He was completely devastated as they were married 45 years to the day that my mom died... yup, she died on their anniversary!!

The past six years have been extremely hard; not only because I feel trapped but mainly because I never really knew who my father really was until he moved in with us. When my mom was alive she and I always argued over everything!! My dad was my refuge and the one who always "understood" and didn't argue with me about anything.

But since she passed, I have come to realize (and resent) that my mom was taking on the burden of who my father was (behind my back) and she would respond based on his opinion. I never realized this when she was alive because she never told me, "well, your father says..." but always took on the weight. Living with my dad and realizing this has truly made me resentful and I have found myself not very happy being around him!

Not being around him is NOT an option. We live in a double wide mobil home and he basically has run of the house! He has his room, the room next to his bedroom (kinda like a dining room area which is where he does his puzzles on the table) and then the living/dining room area). He goes to bed around 6pm and gets up around 3-4am; so we do get the living/dining room area between those hours. So, for 14 hours the TV shows are his choice because he feel entitled that the TV is his during those hours!

My husband and I basically live in our bedroom. I work from home, so I am literally in here ALL the time. At least my husband does get to be our of the house for 34 hours each day he is working at the fire department (24 hours there and then 10 hours at his part time job).

I am on a low carb diet and he is diabetic and needs to eat at specific times of the day which doesn't always corrolate to the time I fix dinner; usually around 5-6pm. He refuses to come into the kitchen while me or
my husband is there even though there is plenty of room for two people. He is able to make his own meals

All he ever talks about is wanting to die; that he has no purpose in life without my mother here. He refuses to go to a senior center to meet others that may have the same interests as him... he says, "they are all old people". (that statement frustrates me... what does he think he is!!).

He is ALWAYS into my business; I can't walk in the living room or go out of the house without check in with him. Everyone Wednesday morning he says to me, "you going to bible study?" and/or, "you are going to be late for bible study, aren't you". It is like he is my alarm clock. About a month ago, bible study did not meet so I slept in; at 8:30am he knocks on my door very loudly and says, "ROBIN, YOU'RE GOING TO BE LATE FOR BIBLE STUDY"... I guess I should have updated my schedule with my human calendar! I know saying that must seem very sarcastic but these are the sort of things I go through EVERY single day!!!

I would love to be able to walk around my own house in whatever I'd like but I can't. He is ALWAYS here! I know it is very unhealthy for me to feel this way but I just don't know how to reprogram my mind and not allow these things to IRK me so much. I have tried talking to friends and a therapist but they just didn't understand it enough to be able to help me. I've tried reading books on this topic, yoga, exercising, swimming, taking walks, meditation, medicines and even where they put pins in your body (can't remember what thats called) and NOTHING works! I just don't know where to turn at this point. I am considering finding a full time job outside the home just so I can have away time each day from all the stress I feel.

Oh, then there is the financial side of things... he does get a social security check each month but thats only enough to cover his diabetic meds and other meds he takes. We struggle each month making ends meet with the bills.

So sorry this turned into being SO long. I don't even think I touched on everything. I hope someone can help direct me into a more positive direction!!

Thank you for your time and suggestions!

Comments for Feeling Trapped

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

by: Gina

Hi Robin, you are a saint for attempting to fulfill the promise to take care of your dad. When people make these types of promises, they have no idea what they're signing up for. That's why I believe you have guilt-free permission to redefine what 'taking care of your dad" means in 2019.

Your dad needs a purpose, a reason to get out of bed in the mornings.

Your dad is lonely even though he lives with 2 people.

Your dad, like most elderly, is losing his ability to see boundaries and his filter is starting to break.

Your dad may have untreated depression.

Taking good, loving care of your dad should not mean having no privacy, having increased stress, putting pressure on your marriage or finances.

One reason why your mom may have wanted you to make that promise is because back in her day nursing homes were all awful places. But things have changed. Also, people are living a lot longer, so this can be a very long commitment.

Being in a small home even with loved ones can still be a "sterile" environment for him, doing the same things every day, seeing the same people.

I suggest you and hubby (but not your dad) check out some of the local assisted living facilities. Your dad can get into a decent one even if he is on Medicaid (but there may be a waiting list). Preferably one that has lots of social actives and a bus that takes them on errands.

If you find one that looks promising, take your dad there for a visit. Do what it takes to bribe him to get him to just to go inside and look at it and see it isn't awful.

Maybe find out from the facility when their next social event is and attend it with your dad. Have him look into one of the apartments. He may like the thought of privacy and autonomy.

The facility will take care of his meds schedule, but this may cost extra so you will need to figure this piece out. I'm not that familiar with this portion.

As your dad ages, his health will get worse, his attitude will get worse, his evasiveness will ramp up and his daily care will be utterly draining. Why wait for this to turn into a full-blown crisis on all fronts?

Getting him into his own place doesn't mean you don't love him. It doesn't mean you're not "taking care" of him. It means you understand reality and value your marriage and sanity. Wishing you success!

I'm here for you
by: Bittersweet

Hi Robin,
I'm glad my response brought you some comfort. But as I say to people when they give me condolences: "Thanks, but it doesn't change anything."

People can say they feel bad for you or give you words of encouragement but it doesn't change a dang thing. You still have that burden. So many people of our age are dealing with the same thing and frankly, it doesn't make me feel better.

I would rather NOT be dealing with it than hear people tell me they're sorry or feel bad for me. But some day when it's over and others are dealing with it, I'll have a little smirk on my face and I'll be thinking; "Your turn."

My mother is still in rehab but Medicare is getting on my back about getting her home. She's as good as she's going to get and they won't pay for her if she is not continuing to make improvements.

So it looks like she'll be home soon. However, I'm am working with a local Elders chapter that will help me place her in adult day care and will also help me get her on Medicaid, or in my state; MassHealth. It is indeed a process.

But in the end it will be worth it because if she ever needs to go back to the home, she will already be on MassHealth.

I'm so not looking forward to getting her back home. She will be a full time job. My life is over until she dies. Even if she were in a home, I don't get a break because I'm there every night and she wants me to get her ready for bed.

It's like I'm the only one who can do it.
So my dear, do whatever you can to lift your spirits. Do some sewing or take up something new. Perhaps painting. It really helps with the anger and frustration.

by: Anonymous

The Thanksgiving holiday reminds me of yet another year since my sweetheart passed away. That event created a solitary option for my mother. There was no way I would've tolerated mom's abusive behavior toward my wife.

A couple months back mother turned 87, I recently became 58. I am the youngest of three...all sons.

I make no excuses for my mother, but her childhood had to be quite the hellish nightmare. In my youth, I personally saw grandma use my younger female cousin for a punching bag, more than once. No exaggeration. A fistful of hair in one hand, repeated blows to the head and face with the other.

It's only logical, then, that my own childhood experience would be similar. Although, thank heavens, no where near as severe. Still, without question, there are not many happy memories from my childhood.

This Christmas brings my ninth grandchild. I love every one of them and do everything to keep all of them from the terror that is my mother.

This, the latest chapter of my life, is nothing compared to the events of younger years. At the same time, I cannot help but step back and be in total awe of the amazing experience that life is.

Please hang in there. It really is just a moment in time. And, when it has passed, you will appreciate that you didn't give up. Who cares what anyone else says. Ultimately you are the only one whose opinion matters.

We Can Completely Relate To One Another
by: Robin

Hi Bittersweet:

Thank you SO much for responding to my post. Even though it isn't for a good event, I am happy to know there is someone else out there feeling the same way I do... not that I want you to be feeling the way I do... I wish there was a local support group for this sort of thing!

Yes, I know, I am stuck with him. It puts a sour taste in my mouth to say that about someone who brought me into this world. I think the hardest part for me is to see that I wore rose colored glasses and held him up on a pedestal all those years I blamed my mother!

It is just so disheartening but that is exactly why I feel the way I do about him... like my husband says, I need to figure out a way to push past that feeling and that it would make me feel so much better everyday!

I'm extremely stressed, like you are I'm sure. It has been six years since he moved in with me but it feels like 30!!

Every single night he goes to bed he says, "I think this is my last night". He just wants to die and it puts such a negative energy in this house. What makes it even worse is that I work from home; so I am rarely out of the house except to go shopping, church and bible study.

I have been considering getting a job outside the house (can't remember if I already said that in my original post) just so I can have some human contact on a daily basis; other than my husband.

Just like you, I don't have any outside help either. I am an only child. He doesn't have much family left other except a sister and a brother who both live in different states from each other and they have their health problems.

Yes, I agree also that I feel like I am living with him instead of the other way around. I definitely liked your response to people when they say, "he took care of you when you were a young", I'm going to have to remember that!

I am glad to hear you have had a little reprieve while she has been in rehab. How long was she out of the house? I haven't had that luxury in six years!! We do go on vacations two times a year and he stays home, so, at least I do get that! But I WANT MY HOUSE!!!

Yes, all he does is sit in front of the TV all day. He also does jig saw puzzles but he complains every single day that he is going to have to stop doing that because he can't see and he refuses to go to the doctors, other than to get his medications refilled every six months.

I have tried to get him to go to the senior center which is only 3 miles from our house. He says, "I don't want to be around all those old people" and "what am I going to do but sit around there all day".

I try to explain that he will meet others that may have the same interests as he has; he used to love playing cards and pool - they have both of those activities there! But he refuses to go! I am so desperate to get him out of this house its crazy!!! I never thought I'd feel this way about my dad!

I try to put my focus on my one true Father in heaven. But when I'm in the midst of my agony it is hard to do that! I just want to figure out a way to not be so angry! I am beginning to think its not possible while he is still alive. He is just a negative, miserable old man!

I wish you luck also!! I do sew but the only place I have for my sewing machine is outside my bedroom in a spare bedroom which is right next to his. There is an accordion door that blocks those two bedrooms (and bathroom that's in the center) off and he does that instead of closing his bedroom door so that he doesn't have to get dressed to go to the bathroom which means I don't have access to my sewing machine in the evening when I would want to do that! Ugggg!! Yep, I'm definitely angry and resentful and many other things.

I too am a realist and I have accepted this is how it will be until he dies... just hope its sooner rather than later, for both our sakes!

You're stuck
by: Bittersweet

Hi Robin, I read your article and identified with you on so many levels. I am not going to blow sunshine up your skirt, you are stuck with him until he dies or has to be put in a home. (If it comes to that.) I have had my mother for 12 years and like you, I have to inform her of everything I do and everywhere I go, who I'm with and when I'm coming home. It's ridiculous.

I'm 62, divorced and have a boyfriend who I see on weekends. I work a full time job and take care of everything...house, car, yard, shopping, paying bills....all of it...I have absolutely no outside help....even though I have 3 brothers..mostly useless.

I sometimes feel like I'm living with her instead of the other way around. It's like she makes the rules, she does what she wants and I have to obey even though it's MY freaking house! I have no privacy and like you, spend a lot of time in my room. It is so not fair.

She recently had a mild stroke and has been in a rehab ever since, but they are looking to release her very soon and the crap will start all over again. Only now, I'll have a little more control. She absolutely has to go to adult day care. She can not be home alone all day.

She can not drive anymore which means she won't be going to the dollar store and buying more crap. I have to arrange for help to come in for when she comes home from daycare.

My life is upside down, all for her. I used to enjoy going out on the weekends with my boyfriend, it was my outlet but it looks like even those days are over.

I hate when people say; "Well, she took care of you." My answer to that is; "You can not compare a parent caring for a child to a child caring for a parent." It is not the same. My mother had me at 31 and I weighed 6 pounds. I'm 62 and my mother is 130 pounds. Big difference.So don't even go there.

I really don't have any words of advice....your dad sounds like he just wants to sit around and watch TV so it would be useless to suggest he get into a hobby or a social scene. My heart goes out to you as I know exactly your position. It is not easy.

We are at a time in our lives where we are supposed to be taking it easy, taking on less, relaxing more, enjoying ourselves, but no, most of us have had to take on our parents. And that is a miserable job.

I dread the day my mother comes home from the rehab...I won't lie, I've been enjoying having my house to myself. And when she gets home, it will be a burden. I still say it's not fair. Oh, and mom is 93, BTW.

Good luck sweetie. Maybe you could do a hobby at home? I make jewelry and it's very relaxing and enjoyable. I hope you get some good advice...but I'm a realist, this is how it will be until he dies....sorry.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Elder Care Anger and Resentment.

Home | Site Map | About | Contact | Privacy Policy | Disclosure

© Copyright evSky Incorporated 2008-2019 | All Rights Reserved

Eldercare for

Aging Parents

Are you having a difficult time with being the "Caregiver" for Mom and Dad?

Click Here to Read What Others are Saying and Leave a Comment About Your Own Experiences....

Or Start your Own Discussion Page!

Recent Articles

  1. I'm fed up

    Jul 22, 20 01:11 PM

    Hi I'm 20 years old and i live with my mother and sister. My sister is 18 and she works at our local grocery store and is usually doing her own thing.

    Read More

  2. Get anger and make Quarrel with other people

    Jul 08, 20 01:46 PM

    Hi, My father's age approximately 70 years old. Now a days he get angry with any one and make Quarrel. I do not know why he make like this? Some society

    Read More

  3. La Gorda

    Jul 08, 20 01:44 PM

    My hubby and i are the sole caregivers of my elderly father who is 85. I have 2 siblings who do sweet FA as they can't stand him. He's a misogynistic,

    Read More