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How to go low contact with father but keep relationship with mother?

(8 Posts)
Topuptheglass Tue 30-May-17 08:34:30

Has anyone any experience of this?

This could be a long thread with a lot of complications but to keep it readable I'll try to be brief.

I can't figure out how to name change as I don't remember my password but if anyone recognises me please don't judge me.

My parents split up 16 years ago (in theory) but still act like they're married. They live close to one another & my father acts like he has done no wrong. (He has had numerous affairs, the split was the result of one with a close friend being revealed)

My siblings and I were all grown up & left home when they split & after a shirt time my mother asked us to forgive our father as she had and wanted to be friends with him.

This is, we believe, when her Alzheimer's started. She forgets his abuse, emotional & physical, of her over the years & the emotional & physical abuse of us also.

Anyway for years we'very been able to avoid our father as much as possible, but we want to see our mother. We usually invite them to our houses (myself & siblings) for events & occasions.

However, something tragic happened last week & my father's behaviour has left us all reeling. (In fact if his history wasn't as evil as it is we might think it was onset of dementia also)

When confronted about his behaviour he says he doesn't understand what he did wrong. He speaks without thinking & we're very sure it was obvious to everyone at the event that my father is the most selfish man in history.

We've all decided as a result not to have anything more to do with him. I think it might have to start off as low contact rather than no contact, but how do we go about it without our poor mother losing out on things?

I'lf we don't invite for Christmas/easter/mothers day etc then quite often he will go up the pub and leave her alone. We live a bit away & although a sibling cares for mother daily, father does it at the weekend, but we never know if he goes to the pub & leaves her alone.

I hope I've covered most things, I'm happy to fill details in as we go along.

Has anyone any advice?

I do need to post on the stately homes thread, I'm almost 40, I've had counselling for my childhood but it's really the events of the past week which has sealed the decision in my (& my siblings) minds.

Yoksha Tue 30-May-17 09:18:10

Why would any one judge you sweetheart? If I've understood your OP, your mum is early stage dementia, & you suspect your Df is exhibiting possible dementia?

As far as your Df is concerned, he needs to see his gp. Without appearing nosey, was the tragic events an escalation of his behaviour towards your mum? If so, I'd be inclined to put safeguarding in position via SS as she is considered a vulnerable adult. As a family, you & your siblings need to schedule a meeting and agree on basic behaviour acceptabilities from you father as he takes care of your mum at w/ends. Can't you organise a w/end rota excluding the sibling who cares for your mum during the week? Maybe once a month each? That way your dad is not so much alone with her. Have you looked into monthly respite for your mum? My mum was awarded 1 full week in six to give us as a family a regular total break.

As a family you don't have to give your dad so much credence in both your mum's life & you as a collective group of siblings. He ruined this both as a husband & a father with his behaviour. I'd be extremely angry with my father if he'd behaved in the same manner as yours!

Parents who behave like your dad & continue to behave in an entitled manner need shoved unceremoniously into the sidings. Tough shit if he doesn't like it. Present a united front to protect your mother. Flush this piece of low-life shit out into the light. Create a plan of care with help/advice from SS. Quietly and unobtrusively take his power away from him. Nasty people usually get worse as they get older. He may have dementia, he might be getting more toxic. Only you who's on the ground can come to a decision.

Pintrest have excellent pins on dementia. Wish it had been available for advice and tips when I was looking after our mum fir nearly 8yrs. I hope you navigate a healthy path through this for all concerned

Yoksha Tue 30-May-17 09:19:45

* sorry, didn't finish properly. Your dad gave me the rage.

Topuptheglass Tue 30-May-17 09:50:08

Mum was diagnosed with Alzheimers in December. She has very poor short term memory but believes her parents are still alive (they're not) & that our dad is the kind man she believes she married (he's not)

At the minute she has carers once per day. She lives in a fold with supervision available (though only by pulling security cords) & doesn't want carers more often (she is rude to them & makes her own breakfast before they arrive 'out of badness' <her own words>)

Dad at the rope old age of 78 still works daily. Much as they act they are 'together' we know he's still with other women & doesn't actually want to care for mother the way she needs cared for. In fact, he doesn't believe she has Alzheimer's saying she's just a bit forgetful.

There's another element and that's as they never formally separated or divorced, he's still get next of kin. They don't own property but her savings etc would go to him.

Social services have advised getting someone to be her power of attorney but we're not sure if we've left this too late now?

Yes, we're going to plan a rota & all help out more. Recent months have been taken up by a terminally ill family member who devastatingly passed away last week. It was my father's behaviour in the aftermath of this has hurt us so deeply & finally made us discuss our lives growing up.

I don't want the memory of our loved one overshadowed by the negative behaviour of this selfish, greedy man but we have to let him see he has behaved appallingly.

He won't see his GP. He says he isn't forgetful (he isn't, but he's so empty, no empathy, no sympathy, not once has he enquired after us or how we'recommend coping with our massive loss. It's his loss too but he acts so detached)

Thank you for your reply. I'm so afraid of being recognised but we've ignored this problem for so long it's now come to a head.

Re: weekends, mother doesn't have a landline & has stopped using her mobile phone. Father usually makes dinner then they go out a drive - most of us live at least 40 miles away apart from the one sibling who makes mum lunch in the week, so we'Re not always aware if they're out or if he has abandoned her in favour of the pub.
He is against carers for her (personally I feel this is so he can still manipulate her) but mum is blind to him, she adores him & asks for him all the time, she recently turned against my sibling as she & dad had words over his behaviour - she believes he is the young man she married when he's an evil bully.

Topuptheglass Tue 30-May-17 09:51:51

Excuse my typos I'm on my mobile!

Yoksha Tue 30-May-17 10:44:16

As far as your mum's concerned can you possibly deal with her attempts at trying to keep control of what's left of her abilities by adopting a line of least resistance? IYSWIM?

Possible suggestions is not to try and reason on any emotional level with her. It seems like she is living in her reality. It's cruel to attempt to make her see your realities. It's not a criticism of you and your siblings. You're going to have to get smart. Put your big girl pants on. Take subtle control. Is there a record of your father's abuse of your mum? Something that would help you have as ammo against your dad as you go for collective POA. Or, have all your siblings + your dad on POA and just oust him collectively on any decisions.

My mum would really believe she was in an airport departure lounge going away on holiday. At first I would chastise her. It breaks my heart now when I think back. Then it dawned on me to enter into her reality. I became a very good actress. As she regressed back through her life I'd be her older sisters. I'd have simple convos with her. Short term memory meant it didn't go on long. She reached right back to about 4 and I was her mother. It had mixed results. You have to make decisions based on your reality.

It might benefit you to google The Office of Public Guardianship They have advice on protecting adults under difficult situations.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 30-May-17 12:58:38


re your comment:-

"Social services have advised getting someone to be her power of attorney but we're not sure if we've left this too late now?"

I think that unfortunately this has been left too late. Once a person has lost mental capacity , they will not be able to appoint an LPA. If the person’s family or friends then want to be able to make certain decisions on their behalf, they will need to apply for deputyship.

This is what you need to look at and I would suggest you contact the Alzheimers Society as well:-

I was wondering why you still feel so obligated to your mother because she when younger certainly put you all in the firing line of your dad's abuse. She did not leave and stayed within the marriage for her own reasons, she got what she wanted out of the relationship.

Quite apart from your abusive dad whom you should have nothing to do with in any event , the problem also here is your mother because even before she was diagnosed with Alzheimers, she was really in thrall to your dad. She has excused all sorts of abuse from him towards you all. By staying with him as she has done (and they are not divorced) she enabled his abuse of both she and her now adult children.

Topuptheglass Tue 30-May-17 20:02:53

Thank you @AttillaTheMeerkat I'll look into that link.

I also agree re: enabling mother. I'm totally torn over how I feel about that.

After speaking to my siblings today it's clear we've all hard decisions to make. My mother is vulnerable. My sisters told me stuff today about our parents relationship (they're all older than me) & it might not have been as easy to leave all those years ago with a large house full of children.

There was never any money to leave, she never worked (too many children all born very close together) and a drunk for a husband.

I know I sound like I'm making excuses for her, but I'm really not. I had months of counselling and am all too aware of the FOG factor. In fact if I could convince my siblings to go no contact/report the abuse I'd be all for it.

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