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Feel like I need to go NC with Dad; DSis upset(15 Posts)
Namechange for this. Background: am one of four siblings (two DSis one DB) all in our 20s/30s. Parents together apparently happily for many many years. All got on well.
Then over about 5 years Dad really changed - paranoid, angry, fixated on money, would spend hours on hours ranting and raving at Mum/us about how we'd all ruined his life. Very unlike him. Very upsetting (obviously). Massively confusing and upsetting for all. Plus memory issues, and seemed unable to follow a conversation any more. Suspected some kind of... I don't know, mental illness? Early dementia? But there is not much you can do with someone who won't listen to concerns, won't see GP. Believe me I tried. Mum actively scared of him due to yelling/aggressive behaviour - he was always such a gentle man
Anyway after years of this Mum moved out, they are now getting divorced. Dad seems to have got a bit better (can sort of have a conversation now, memory issues improved) but now just pours all time/effort into getting as much as he can out of the divorce. It has been dragging on for years now, and he is still such a ranting, angry bully about it. (Eg - thinks me & bro/sisters should pay to financially support (former SAHM) Mum so he can pay less in settlement, because he "spent so much on birthday presents for you four when you were little, it's the least you could do").
Anyway so it's all a massive fucking mess. And I appreciate he sounds horrendous from this but he genuinely wasn't for most of my life - he's like a total stranger now. It is awful and confusing and bloody exhausting to deal with.
Anyway: current issue is that youngest sis is trying to build bridges with him again and wants me/bro/middle sis to join in. "What if he dies still estranged from us?" So she wants us (especially me, I was youngest child and arguably the favourite) to phone him every other day to try to "cheer him up", update him on his two DGC that I have (who he shows close to zero interest in and wouldn't recognise if they passed him in the street), and generally chat in a friendly way like nothing ever happened.
Other sis and bro are sort of on board with this in theory. Sis #2 has health issues atm and is opting out on those grounds. Bro thinks I don't need to be all chatty with him, but could at least try to reason him out from his little fortress of paranoid ranting. (Which means hours of arguing with him as he gets angry and yells at me.)
But I just don't want to. I feel so so very sad about all that's happened, I'd hate it if he stayed estranged for the rest of his life, especially if he's ill, but I have just HAD it with years upon years of dealing with this. Trying to reason with him, trying to get him to get help, trying to be a friendly presence in his life, trying to get him interested in my DC, trying trying trying. I've just got nothing left to give any more.
AI being totally U and a bitch for all this? Has anyone else dealt with similar? I feel like I should never give up on my own father, but I just can't take any more of this
Yanbu at all.
If your siblings want a relationship with him then fine, but they should not be pressuring you to have a relationship with him.
YANBU. You are not a bitch. If your conscience is clear you must not let this ruin your life.
And he should support her financially NOT YOU!
They seem to want you to do the work in building a relationship with him. Is that right? You will call him and what will they be doing?
Either way. You are responsible for your relationship with him as are they. If it is too hard for you then step back. If he starts to settle down, become less shouty and more interested in you then maybe proceed cautiously. But if all you are going to get is abuse then don't stand there and let him abuse you.
Thank you, this has helped. It's so hard to deal with all the guilt from nor being able to fix this to any degree.
The DSis who is driving force behind this has been doing a lot to try to be in touch with him, to be fair to her - lots of fraught and tearful visits/phone calls. (Don't think it's helped in any way though). Oldest DSis has done some; DBro less recently but has been doing a lot of practical advice/support for Mum (he lives closest).
All seem to feel that I'm not really doing enough. Not helped by Dad whenever anyone does speak to him complaining that the others don't talk to him any more. Argh, it's just shit all round.
You have to do what's right for you. There has been more than enough pushing around in your family. You should take notice of your thoughts and feelings and act accordingly. I'm so sorry - it sounds horrendous
YANBU this is a different man - hopefully some counselling will help you separate who he is to who he was?
Does your dad think he's the same? Was it a very sudden change? It sounds like a brain injury. My dsis had encephalitis (although she was critically ill & unconcious for a while). She was totally changed, but thought she was the same person & was acting normally. It sounds like your dad needs an mri, which i appreciate, you probably won't be able to do.
Yes, he thinks he's the same, mostly. Change happened over a year or so, so not overnight but not very long-term either. I wish I knew what it was. I go back and forth between depression, dementia, etc, but nothing quite seems to fit. Me and oldest DSis did write a joint letter to his GP early on describing our concerns, but GP got him in on pretence of a checkup and then read him the letter - result, Dad furious with us and refused to engage with GP. Sigh.
It's so hard to know how to tackle this. I feel like if he's genuinely ill I shouldn't treat him the same as if he's just choosing to be nasty, but if I can't tell and the result is the same... Other DSis (the one really pushing for me to phone him more) wants to feel we've all tried as hard as we could, I think, but I feel I already have done that and any more at this point is just going to give tons more stress for no result.
I did get counselling for a while when this started and it helped. Not sure I could afford it now but might start saving up.
How about writing a letter to your dad? I don'tthink there's much you can do. If you write to him, it's more difficult for him to ignore what you are saying.
I have heard that a brain tumour can change a persons personality.
But I don't want to diagnose anything but it may fit.
Me and oldest DSis did write a joint letter to his GP early on describing our concerns, but GP got him in on pretence of a checkup and then read him the letter - result, Dad furious with us and refused to engage with GP. Sigh.
That's a bit crap!
When did you contact the GP? Would it be worth phoning GP again and explaining - they will have to observe your df's confidentiality so there is a limit to what they can say to you, but I think they can listen to what you say and then decide what to do - maybe a home visit or another screening invitation? Even if they tell your df you've phoned can you be worse off than now?
As other pp have said it does sound as though there could be a medical cause. Not remembering that others have called him for instance. And I would be inclined to have another go at getting df medical attention if you are up to it. Even if there isn't much that can be done to help him medically, it could really help you all to know that there's a medical reason. Many many sympathies, it sounds very difficult.
Sorry I have no ideas or suggestions but I really do think he is ill. That doesn't not change how painful and difficult and distressing this is especially as he refuses to engage. You all inc. your Mum must be devastated and blindsided
I think you need to look after yourself, decide how much contact with your Dad you can tolerate it without it being detrimental to yourself. I wonder if your siblings just haven't moved along as far in terms of you accepting the situation for what it is and hope he'll change?
GP has been told about current state of situation (much the same as it was when we wrote original letter). Not sure what if anything they have tried - if he won't engage with them there's not much they can do really He did say after first disastrous GP appointment that they think there's nothing wrong with him at all, but later let it slip that they wanted to do some tests he refused.
I have considered brain tumour as well but I would think that would cause him to progressively get worse, as would dementia I suppose. He doesn't seem to have got any worse over the past few years though. In a way (and I know this sounds awful) I wish he was getting worse, just because then he'd at least get to a point where doctors would be involved and he couldn't just ignore them
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