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Messed up family issue. HELP!(27 Posts)
This is a seriously messed up family problem.... I just don't know what to do.... HELP! (I'll try and be brief.)
My Mother passed away just over a month ago. I have a step-sister (from my Mother's first marriage, whom my Dad adopted over 20 years ago). I call her my Sister, and it took me well in to my teens to realise that 'Dad' wasn't my Sister's real Dad. Now, I'm in my early 30's, my stepsister her mid 40's - my Dad his mid 60's.
Since my Mother's passing I've noticed some 'odd' behaviour in my Dad. I would say, signs of him "losing the plot a bit"... Repeating stories and anecdotes, things he'd told me the week before. Only small things, and I know he's suffering because of my Mother's death - but I've been worrying about his mental health and his seemingly quick grieving process.
Well today, I got a call from my sister [separated by 10+ years, we rarely chat, but more recently after Mum's passing] and she told me that my lovely, supportive, caring father, who has (essentially) been her father for almost all her life: "tried it on with her".
She was in floods of tears. As if she'd been assaulted. She said: "I've got to tell you something, something that's going to hurt you, but i don't know who to speak to.... Today, Dad tried it on with me, about 8 or 9 times, he had his hand up my top and everything, offering me massages...." Gobsmacked, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. "He asked me to have sex with him." She said.
I checked to see if there could be some misunderstanding - are you serious? are you sure?? But she was crying and told me "NO. One or two weird things you MIGHT be able to say it's banter, but it was 8 or 9 times he tried. He tried to have sex with me, his daughter" she sobbed. [My sister suffers from an illness that leaves her in bed, prompting this awkward encounter.]
My sister's children (especially her youngest) are so in love with their Grandpa [his behaviour is like NOTHING i've seen in him in my 30 years] but because of today, Sister now wants to cut all ties. I feel like I'm in the middle and about to hit a sh*tstorm of horrible nastiness.
Do we confront him together? Has he gone fully mad?? Do I speak to him alone?? Does he need counselling/medical help??
I know it's not incest - because they're not related by blood... but still... W . T . F .
ADVICE PLEASE xx
Without meaning to be vulgar or to worry you etc.
But he may be in the stages of either ahlzimers or dementia (it is very common for the person to become highly sexualized with this illness)
In his confusion he may mistake your sister for your mother.
You should speak with your father and take him to his doctor they can assess him etc.
The only way to move forward regardless is speaking to him. Good luck op.
I immediately thought dementia. My uncle who adored my aunt for 45 years and was the kindest, loveliest man developed dementia and started beating my aunt! I hope this doesn't upset you but if it is completely a change of character, please talk to his doctor.
RainbowWish - Thank you so much. Your advice is massively appreciated. And you weren't vulgar at all, worried I was! Will take him to the doctor. TY
Thank you. Kind of you to reply. Will get him checked out.
Hugely inappropriate sexualised behaviour is commonly characteristic of dementia.
However, that's pretty full on and I have no idea if you would ever see an episode like that without also seeing much more noticeable signs of dementia than you mention.
I would speak to his GP first, or a dementia charity, for advice on whether it is likely to be dementia or a nasty and deliberate assault on your sister. Also ask them for advice on handling his behaviour.
Even if it's a result of dementia, I would fully support your sister in not seeing him again - and her children - that was awful for her. And for you
Your sister should cut ties for now. She would be crazy to do anything else. You should support her wholeheartedly.
You should get your dad to the GP asap. If he is ill, and it sounds like he is, then he needs help soon. Preferably before he does something he gets arrested for.
Protect yourself and be prepared. If he does have dementia then you will be at risk of inappropriate behaviour too because rational reality isn't part of the equation.
You can help your sister to protect herself and her children without rejecting your potentially ill father.
Has he had a stroke of some sort without anyone’s knowledge. There is a condition where people loose their inhibitions because of brain function
Can I just say I am so sorry that you and your sister are having to deal with this so soon after the loss of your D mum.
It does sound like dementia although quite advanced if you have only very recently noticed any other symptoms. Is it possible that your mum was covering for him (maybe even without being fully aware that she was doing so?) and now that she has died, his symptoms are more obvious to everyone?
Wow. Ok, thanks so much for replies. Cutting ties with my father seems like an impossibility to me. Apart from the fact that I love him very much and this is completely out of context for anything in his whole life, it seems that it may almost definitely be dementia related - in which case, I'm all he's got.
In terms of noticeable signs - I've always thought 'yeah, he's maybe a bit on the autism spectrum' but nothing sexual or violent at all. And I would like to add this was in no way violent.
Doctor needed I think. Anyway thanks all. Massively appreciated.
Surely it is too young for dementia? mid sixties?
so sorry to hear about your mum op.
I don't know if this is dementia but it is clearly a mental aberration.
He has just lost his wife (of what I assume 30+ years) and needs some sort of help.
I hope that you and your sister both see this as an aberration and can work as a family to get him the help he needs.
I just googled "dementia triggered by trauma"
And it sounds like it could be it.
Thanks Slarty and all, for all the kind words.
Yes, if there has never been anything inappropriate in the past, he's ill rather than a longstanding predator but a) your sister needs sympathy and support, and not to have to pretend it didn't happen and b) your dad needs a proper assessment and most probably ongoing support for himself.
Sorry this has happened in your family.
My DM had vascular dementia (small strokes kept occurring and worsening her condition). We only noticed how she had deteriorated mentally when our father died and she really didn't grieve for him as we would have expected. They had been a loving couple and married for 50 years and she was upset the day he died in hospital and a little upset on the funeral day but other than that was quite matter of fact.
but I've been worrying about his mental health and his seemingly quick grieving process is what concerned me from your post, in addition to the behaviour which your sister has suffered.
My DM became physically aggressive and rather rude - a complete change of character for her, so it is possible that your DF is reacting inappropriately due to his mental health. People can suffer from dementia and Alzheimer's at any age in their adult life, though it is more prevalent in old age.
Go with your DF to the GP they will do a few memory questions but will probably refer your DF to a Geriatrician and the Memory Clinic of your local hospital.
It maybe best if you get someone else to go with you when you visit/speak to your DF if you are concerned for your safety.
OP - I had an aunt and uncle when I was young who we spent lots of time with. (They weren’t actually relatives but they were good friends of my granny and they were all referred to as auntie this uncle that. ) They were both lovely and totally decent and appropriate.
When I was an older teen, I used to clean their house. Around this time the man, who has been a fine upstanding member of the community and very reserved, started acting very inappropriately. He would walk around the local church yard flashing at people and taking off his trousers. He tried it on with visiting carers and started wearing ladies clothes. He was diagnosed with dementia and actually ended up in a secure care of the elderly Ward.
All of this came out of nowhere and was very upsetting for his wife. I was talking to a nurse who was visiting her and she was saying that very commonly the first thing to go is inhibitions and social etiquette. Inappropriate sexual behaviour is not at all uncommon. He seemed like a totally different person.
I think he needs to see a GP very quickly. I am so sorry you are going through this. It must be devastating. I hope he is agreeable to it. If he isn’t, I think you need to contact them yourself as it is an issue of safeguarding women in contact with him.
Good luck. I wish you strength.
OP this must be very distressing for you.
It does sound like dementia, possibly.
I've also heard of someone who had a brain tumor (not to worry you but I just wanted to mention it) who also developed disturbing behaviour.
Please make sure your sister is totally supported. I think the fact your dad is not actually her biological dad is not really relevant, My son is not related to me biologically, he is adopted, but is still completely my son. So for your sister it must be just as distressing for her/your father to do this, as it would be if he were her biological father. Plus her inability to move away must have added to the terrible situation. Please help and support her.
"She was in floods of tears. As if she'd been assaulted." For her it would be exactly being assaulted, and I can totally understand her wanting to cut contact with her/your dad, and wanting to protect her children. It's not about her rejecting your/her father but about her protecting herself and her kids.
Do you have children? Please consider carefully what contact any children in the family may have with your father now.
Please speak to the GP and get help. Please don't feel at all 'bad' about robustly seeking help for your dad and protecting yourself, your sister and any children/women in the family. These two things are not separate. Protecting family members is also protecting your father.
These articles may be helpful.
Thank you all so much. I will update with situation when we know more.
You are kind people indeed. TY.
After my dad had a stroke he had to go into a care home and I was told he made suggestive comments to the staff particularly at bath times. This was totally out of character for him also. It seems a brain trauma can make some people lose their inhibitions. Perhaps your dad has had a mild transient stroke brought on by grief and no one has realised because it left no physical signs. He does need a medical assessment asap. Perhaps all women (and children) he has contact with should never be left alone with him for the foreseeable future. At least there would be witnesses then of any inappropriate behaviour which could be reported to his doctor. Do you both have the same doctor?
Come back to the thread if you need support. You are going through such a tough time and I can imagine it may be hard to talk to people IRL. I really feel for you x
Ring your GP and get proper advice/help urgently or try the Alzheimer's society. In the meantime, he mustn't have access to any children.
My grandad made a pass at me when I was helping clear his house just after my gran died. He put his hand on my knee and invited me upstairs twice, I declined, and he dropped it. Even with that very gentle approach I was mortified. I was 21. But he was grief stricken, went on to be diagnosed with a type of dementia and I also looked a lot like his wife.
Your sister must have felt incredibly vulnerable. I’m really sorry for both of you. My grandad never did it again and it didn’t stop me loving him but I was a bit wary from then on just in case.
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