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Visiting father - lots of tears, depression/anger, retirement.. Any suggestions(11 Posts)
I am positing here in hopes someone has some ideas. My 64yr old semi-retired dad is visiting and I am running out of patience (have a 2 yr old and am 8 months pregnant): my toddler said the other day 'grandad crying' and that is the reality.. I can hear him in the lounge now (5am) crying.
I know this is his depression: he has been depressed (and seeking treatment - psychologist - and taking medication) for 5yrs; the last 2 yrs more intensively, after a small business semi-failure. There was a lot of workplace stress he took home (yelling / crying / anger about employee mistakes - he emotionally abused my mum a lot) and 2 yrs ago, had a breakdown and the bank forced him to step side and my mum / brother are running it now until we can sell. It was a good thing but he cannot see it. He moved away (closer to my sister) and has a complicated personal relationship from his wife (my mum: he is upsets now, because it is increasingly likely that she will seek a divorce because she is over his dramas and abuse.. He yells and screams and cries a lot. He can be fun but that guy seems lost - whether in mental illness or personality, I not sure. We thought he might have early onset dementia as he is very disorganised and forgets a lot, but doctors say it just ageing / stress / depression).
He carries a lot of anger about all this and we have spend many many hours (over YEARS) talking about this... And I just cannot do it anymore. We can talk for hours a day (he is crying and yelling) and then he forgets we have talked / I have listened and the next day it is the same ' woe is me' story again. He cannot see the mistakes he made and there is no gratitude at all for my mum/brother stepping in to help at a really difficult time.. We just fight (because he complains about family shutting him out now; b/c he yells at them on phone) and then he cries on the couch.
I know this is the depression but is it his personality too?? He can cry 1-2 hours a day (at least)... And then yell - at what point do his drugs stop this / will they ?? (they just do not seem to help! And they cause him to be so sleepy as well). We have all asked him / tried to book a health / depression retreat as a 're-boot' chance for a few weeks, but he won't. I don't know what else to do.
Yesterday I said to him: I need to ban talking about the past business stuff in 2016. I can talk about future stuff (offers etc) but I cannot keep talking about the past - and he got all upset about how people don't ban topics of conversation etc. And I said: I am pregnant and over it.. (I have high blood pressure in this pregnancy and am on lots of drugs.. so I do not need stress)
I cannot do this anymore.. We need strategies and boundaries.
How do I enforce then? He is here for another 10 days.
Wow, no advice but massive hugs and sympathy. I absolutely agree about banning the past. Going over and over the same stuff clearly isn't helping and must be driving you mad.
Can you plan outings for each day to the park, library etc and try to insist he comes and engages with the outside world?
Another ten days sounds a looong time.
You are not his parent and you are not responsible for his emotional needs.
I wonder if his abusive personality has simply switched from outright abuse to emotional blackmail as he has got older?
Any chance of sending him home early? "Dad, being here is obviously upsetting you so it's best you go back to your own home where you will be more comfortable."
it is not healthy for your DC to be in this environment.
Thanks guys! It is a good reminder: I am NOT responsible for his emotional state (MANTRA!)..
I guess I feel like I should give some support given his mental health problems BUT he also has to contribute meaningfully. And you are right, it is an abusive personality that has worsened as he got older; I guess I have always tried to talk and reason with him, get him to change his views, come up with new things for him to try.. Which he does not etc... But it never works and I think I am over trying. I need to conserve my energy for my family.. My toddler saying 'grandad crying' and then saying to me yesterday what's wrong mummy (cause I was crying too; she never seen me cry like that before) is not on.
I actually said that to him: if you can't respect my wishes and not talk about the past, you will need to leave - I need to put my wellbeing first, as I am 8 months pregnant!!!! I need to realise that this is about him and he has to want to get better... Thanks for helping me see that I not being unreasonable or unsupportive!!
He actually is going away for a few days (I am not sure if that will be better or worse for him - but will give us all a break!), so only 4 more days here out of the last 10'days..
I think he needs urgent medical help. His forgetting a discussion that has just taken place is a worry, it could be meds, dementia or on purpose.
He has it. I am a bit disillusioned with the medical / mental health support services. He has had assessments for dementia (GP thought he might have but no) and has a regular psychologist .. I think it is a mix of all three things you list: he just so stressed and angry and upset (combined with his MEDS that make him sleepy; he resists taking them but is). He has had a trillion assessments..
Which makes me think that is mostly personality.. Can people just be stuck in past, bitter and angry?
Unfortunately, Eve loads of people are stuck in the past Like PP have said, you need to put yourself and your immediate family first: it's clearly not helping your dad talking to you for hours about things, because the discussion never moves on and he continues to see himself only as the victim. As he continues with therapy and meds, this might improve - or, if he's always tended towards being a bit EA, it might not: being a victim is one of Lundy Bancroft's types of abuser, from something I read on another post yesterday.
Is there any reason he's staying with you for such a long period? Would it be possible to limit his visits just to a couple of days in future? It's stressful having anyone for that long, never mind them being severely depressed and you being pregnant! And you are totally right to refuse to keep going over and over the past - if he tries, just shut the conversation down. He also has to buy in to his recovery - you can't do it for him, as harsh as that sounds. And if he's exacerbating your stress (as it sounds form your post) this is not on - especially as you are pregnant. It doesn't mean you're not being supportive, but it does mean you're not enabling him to fail to move on from his problems.
Could you find one or two sentences to say when he takes off eg that is really hard dad or lm sure it will get sorted out. Don't try to engage in explaining defending or trying to change him. Sounds like he should be in hospital as not right he is left in such a distressed state. Pleaselook after yourself as he will not take on board anything you say so save your energy. Could you call his team and say you think he is a danger to himself being at home so could he go into hospital. This is too much for anyone to cope with.
Having been through similar with my mum, what is cruel but clear is that as long as there is any family support you will not get anything from adult social services. You can (and eventually will) bring yourself to your knees physically and emotionally trying to deal with him and no-one will give a damn. You are pregnant and have a toddler (who should not be witnessing this from his grandad) and, even though he is your dad, I think it is time to step back.
I agree that he needs to be sent home and you need to tell his doctor and adult social services that you cannot support hm any further. Only then will he start to get the additional support from them that he needs.
Sorry but he sounds selfish and up himself. Does he have any empathy with you and your situation? End the visit, focus on your unborn child and stop feeling responsible for him. He's sucking the life out of you. He's your past, your toddler and unborn child are your future. Brutal maybe but puts it into perspective. And yes some get a kick out of feeling sorry for themselves and playing the victim. Look after yourself.
I wouldn't let my dad sit in my house crying for hours a day, sorry, but you have to protect your own children, and the thing is that all that crying, moaning and talking has no effect. He does sound like he might have dementia or at least memory problems and so forth, but sad though that is, I really think your children have to come first, as well as your own self and sanity, and having him do this repeatedly is just not ok. I would encourage him to return home, continue to engage with medical profession and visit him for very short amounts of time yourself (and even not let him stay at yours again). For a child, being around people having a breakdown and uncontrolled emotion in an endless way is extremely scary, please don't allow this.
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