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Should my dad look after my sister (34) after a big operation? I think he is being ridiculously selfish.

(205 Posts)
Chillijamntuna Fri 12-Jul-19 05:03:33

My sister has lived abroad for many years in the French alps, she does downhill mountain biking and is very into the young exciting lifestyle.

She has been very bitter that my dad has only visited her once since she moved there in her twenties (it's quite an expensive resort) I suppose because she was the young free and single one, partying, working in bars and flat sharing, she has always popped back to the UK each year so me and my dad (Mum died) have been a bit shit and lazyI suppose (I have had money struggles and been gaining qualifications for 5 years) and she is pissed off and increasingly angry with me and mainly him about this.

Anyway, recently my dad said he'd bought a passport and was going to go and stay with her later in the summer.
Yesterday, she broke her collar bone in 3 places and will soon be going for surgery to repair it with pins and plates.

I said to my dad (thinking it would be an amazing opportunity for him to 'show up' for her) that he could bring his trip backwards and go out there to take care of her as she recovers from her operation.

He reacted SO strangely, he said "well she can't pick me up from the airport so that's £80 for starters on top of two flight to/from France in peak season" then how am I going to get from where she lives to the hospital, the hospital's in another town and what am I going to do when she gets out?" I said "err take care of her, show her that you care, make her cups of tea, help her with practical stuff" he said "well she's got loads of mates can't they just make her a cup of tea?" she doesn't really have mates that she can ask for help, they've all started having babies now and she is also very full of bravado and can't ask for help if it kills her.

I said that it wasn't really to do with money/ practical stuff/ cups of tea it was to do with showing he cares (she often feels he doesn't)

Anyway, I have just had surgery today myself, I am literally bankrupt at the moment and have a two year old but I will go out to care for her if he doesn't. He is living with his partner, in her house paying a portion of rent, has no debts/money worries, owns a property outright, is working a lot and enjoying life in the sense of buying himself things.

To be honest, I'm quite baffled at how selfish he is being. He then got all shirty and said "I'm a good dad". So odd and childish.

The backstory is pretty long so I'll spare you but he brought us up single handedly so maybe he now wants to do what he wants to do but we've never been needy and both me and my sister have always stood on our own two feet and not asked for anything as adults.

IABU to suggest that he do this?

BritInUS1 Sun 14-Jul-19 14:00:35

YABU - he can't afford it, it's just her arm (hardly major surgery), if she needs help she should get back to the UK

Letthemysterybe Sun 14-Jul-19 13:46:58

I think the idea of him going out to help is nice in theory, but in reality he would probably be more of a hindrance than a Help and if they are just hanging around her apartment he would probably get on her nerves if they aren’t that close and used to spending much time in each other’s company’s.

DanceItOut Sat 13-Jul-19 23:13:04

I’m torn. Obviously your sister has isolated herself a bit by moving somewhere without any family and apparently not the sort of friends who can take care of her but as a parent I can’t imagine not going to my children if they needed me. I also say this as someone who has a brother that lives abroad. If he needed me, not just wanted me but needed me I would be on a plane within 24 hours even if I had to use a credit card to do it. So I guess really what I think is that your dad should ring you sister as should you and be asking her does she NEED you. Not does she want you or would things be easier with you but does she genuinely need you? If she says yes to either or you and says that she needs you then whichever one she feels she needs should go. Family is family. I have kids and I can’t just fly to and from other countries tries when I feel like it, I haven’t been on a plane since 2006 actually but if my brother rang and said he needed me then I would drop everything and get me and my kids on the next plane I could reasonably be on.

EllenMP Sat 13-Jul-19 22:38:26

I don't think the hospital will discharge her if she can't care for herself and doesn't have help. Leave it to your dad and sister to work things out between themselves. I think your sister will be able to manage as she will be on her feet before they discharge her and will have one arm she can use. Not easy, but she will be ok. Give her lots of love by phone and invite her to come stay with you here if she is able to travel.

angelfacecuti75 Sat 13-Jul-19 21:50:51


angelfacecuti75 Sat 13-Jul-19 21:50:26

I can see it from both sides....I can see why your sis wpuld miss her family but she chose to live abroad...(my dh 's mum and step fil has moved abroad). I cam see why your sis needs help. But also I can see why your dad , after looking after you for that long feels its 'his time' now that you are both adults and might not feel comfortable about being someone's carer. As long as she can walk and take taxis etc , she'll cope. I'm sure she could take a couple of days longer in hospital surely so they can loom after her as long as she doesn't need to pay for it?! I can't see me leaving my son short though.. but i think men are different to women...couldn't his partner go with him or ur sis help u woth the cost of the trip if u do end up going?

Rachel1874 Sat 13-Jul-19 20:56:11

I think if you move to a foreign country, you should realise that help isn't readily available. Maybe he is upset she went in the first place and never came back. If he raised you both all by himself he is probably a bit hurt by that. No I don't think he should have to go and look after her.

lboogy Sat 13-Jul-19 20:25:44

I think the responses give an insight into how close members are to their family and how much disposable income they have.

You may think you know your dad's financial situation but the fact that he's upset about potential costs for seeing her, I suspect he has less disposable (discretionary) income than you might be aware of.

Even so, sounds like he's done is duty as a parent and doesn't want anymore parental responsibility. He wants a holiday and thus should be entitled to one.

However, if it was my dad I know he'd drop everything to come visit me, but then he has the means to do so, plus we are very close, so there that.

manicmij Sat 13-Jul-19 19:43:00

Perhaps he feels he did it on his own bringing you both up so your sister should manage look after herself. Will you sister be in hospital long or more likely an overnight stay. If your father did feel like going he could go once sister is home. There may well be an element of "she chose to live as she does and where she does" so she can deal with it.

CorBlimeyGovenor Sat 13-Jul-19 19:36:25

I don't think that he should be forced to do, neither should you become a Martyr and go after major surgery whilst bankrupt and with a toddler. That is just daft! She's broken her collar bone, not her leg. She'll have use of one arm and two legs. The collar bone is also easily accessible, so it's not like major abdominal surgery etc. And she, presumably, doesn't have dependants to be cared for. I don't think that your father can be expected to drop everything and rush over there. Has he dropped everything and rushed over to yours re your surgery to demonstrate that he cares? Has he been making you cups of tea and providing childcare? If yes, then he's clearly not selfish. If no, then do you feel that he should be prioritizing your sister over you? (Genuine questions). I don't think him visiting her is necessary. She might not want him to anyway, esp if she doesn't have a spare room etc or they're no longer that close. Why can't he just call her and see if she needs or wants any help, or just call to check up on her. A card and bunch of flowers could show that he cared.

distantdog Sat 13-Jul-19 19:18:17

To be fair it's not "France", it's the French Alps - public transport not designed for the tourist industry is extremely limited. Getting to another town is really not that easy without a car or expensive taxis. I have had treatment in 3 different hospitals in the region, at least one of which is completely inaccessible by public transport.

DreamTheMoors Sat 13-Jul-19 19:10:46

You said you’ve got a young child, just had an operation yourself and that you’re bankrupt but that if DD doesn’t go - you will. My sister and I are not close either, but if I were given the choice of who I’d want looking after me I’d choose her every time. Your mothering instincts are what she needs - not her father standing there looking at her when she obviously needs assistance. You & DD should be thinking about what’s best for DS - not arguing over whose job it is to go.

skybluee Sat 13-Jul-19 18:55:18

I find this thread incredibly sad.

"Actually I can see his point of view. He hasn't been over to see her and probably had a vision in his mind of having a nice holiday, seeing the sights etc ....not being stuck in a flat making small talk and cups of tea and shuttling too and from hospital all day long at some expense. Yabvu OP. I could guarantee it'd be the last trip he does"

This kind of thing - he's her dad. I never in a million years would put a holiday above helping out a friend or family member. It's France, not the moon, figuring out how to get from one town to another is probably something that takes 2 minutes. It could have been something that brought them closer, she will be mobile, they'd have been able to get out to cafes etc.

We don't know if the sister even wanted him there but I find his attitude quite shocking. Yes, of course, have the nice walking holiday instead of being around for someone post op. I guess that sums up the whole relationship.

Aridane Sat 13-Jul-19 18:46:02

I told her that it worried me that she seemed to work 50 hour weeks yet count afford a card, she flew off the handle at me

I can sort of see why your sister flew off the handle in relation to that comment about not receiving a birthday card!

I hope your sister manages to conquer her demons

Aridane Sat 13-Jul-19 18:43:49

I was about to post YABU and a whole load of other stuff! However, am glad to see your update, that you’be apologised and are stepping back

FelicisNox Sat 13-Jul-19 18:07:58

I don't think you are BU but I don't think your dad is either.

Visiting for a nice time when you can go out and do lovely things is one thing, going to play nurse maid and be in each other's company 24/7 with not enough to say to each other is quite another. Particularly after a gap of being in each other's lives.

Your sister has lived her life on her own terms and is now having to deal with the consequences of those choices. It's sad but it is her choice.

You say your dad raised you single handed and I dare say he's enjoying his life once again.... he's probably had a difficult life up until now.

He is a good dad.

His job was to love and care for his girls, put a roof over their head, clothes on their back, food on the table and to raise his girls to be independent. He's done that.

Is he being selfish? Possibly. But there's worse things. It doesn't mean he doesn't care.

Talk to him properly and ask him what's going on and also talk to your sister: this is all from your perspective, she hasn't asked for a nurse maid and maybe this will give her the impetus to re-evaluate her life.

Would I go out to my child? Yes but I don't expect everyone to feel the same.

JustAVoidReally Sat 13-Jul-19 17:43:40

I don't think parents are BU in not wanting to do family gatherings and caring for people in whatever exciting country their offspring have gone to live in.

I would be there like a shot if one of mine were bedridden or terminally ill or something. Short of that they can come home as much or for as long as they like.

An exciting life abroad is all very nice but it is not something you expect to impose on people who don't want it. If they want to spend some time with their family, or be looked after at home, they would be better off being in the country their family actually calls home.

SnuggyBuggy Sat 13-Jul-19 17:27:07

If she isn't able to get out much for the time being would now be a good time to start a regular facetime catch up?

SolsticeBabyMaybe Sat 13-Jul-19 16:21:09

I don't think anyone's being unreasonable really.

As pp said it sounds like your dad is quite worried he will get lost traveling alone, he's just got a passport so I'm guessing he isn't an experienced traveller. It also may be way too expensive for him.

I'd definitely talk to your sister about what she will actually need before going OTT about this.

vincettenoir Sat 13-Jul-19 14:18:06

I understand where you are coming from because my Df is exactly the same. I’m sorry that he can’t step up for you both and know how painful this can feel.

distantdog Fri 12-Jul-19 21:38:30

^ you could still help her and make her feel loved by checking in with her on this stuff.

As I said, I was pretty stunned by the high level of aftercare I got after my operation (and I wasn't living alone) * but * I did have the top up insurance (for 13 euro a month) which mean that everything was covered 100% and she may not have that (if it isn't part of her employment contract or - as I did as a self-employed person - she hasn't chosen to take it out... which people don't, don't get cross with her if she hasn't).

It's worth checking in with her (gently) and seeing if she's spoken to her GP about how she can get to/from the hospital etc. as a single person because they will help her sort something out if a friend can't do it.

Notcopingwellhere Fri 12-Jul-19 20:16:16

all’s well that ends well

But is it though? Has your sister’s op gone OK, does she have a better idea now of how long she needs to be in hospital/what her needs will be, is she upset that nobody is coming to help her?

Singlenotsingle Fri 12-Jul-19 20:14:44

She might not want someone moving in when she's not well. She might find that she's looking after him, rather than the other way round. And if you go, she might prefer it to be when she's fit, able to take you round and have fun. Check with her first before you start making any arrangements.

jacks11 Fri 12-Jul-19 20:05:11

Are you 100% sure that he can “just move it forward” if he is still working. I know I couldn’t change holidays on a whim.

Chillijamntuna Fri 12-Jul-19 19:42:24

justasking111 she doesnt sound that great herself this is off the mark!
She has an 'attachment avoidant' personality type because of her very difficult early years and this makes it inordinately difficult for her to reach to to others and ask for help. She is constantly helping her friends out and goes above and beyond for them in thoughtful and practical ways. Your son having good people around him when he hurt himself in Bermuda is part luck and probably because he is not so damaged from early rejection that he can't ask for his needs to be met.

@distantdog I agree

I have spoken with my dad and smoothed things over, apologising again for suggesting he go out there. He had already decided not to and is going for a nice walking holiday out there in September so all's well that ends well.

Lesson learned - don't get involved.

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