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to tell my Dad that his partner of 30yrs hates me?

16 replies

shandyleer · 03/06/2011 12:35

Dad is in his late 80's, his partner in her 60's. They've been together for 30 years, but have never lived together, and she wasn't instrumental in bringing me up.

In January Dad was diagnosed with Crohn's and so moved in with her. In February she was diagnosed, totally out of the blue, with lung cancer. In March, her son rang me up to say she couldn't cope with my Dad anymore and he would have to come to me (they live in Wales, we live in England).

This was absolutely fine with me, I love my Dad dearly. The only issue I had was that she hadn't been open with my Dad in that he thought he was coming here temporarily, whereas her son had actually told me she didn't want him with her anymore.

I didn't want to hurt my Dad's feelings by telling him this - he's obviously very fond of her, and I felt it was her place to tell him, not mine.

Last weekend we arranged to go back to Wales for the weekend. The plan was to drop Dad at his partner's house (she had said he could stay for the weekend) and for myself, DH and children to stay at my mum's.

DH has a long-term illness, and had recently been in hospital. When we got to my Mum's, he began bleeding quite heavily. Overnight, the bleeding got worse, so at about 6ish on Saturday morning we woke kids up and drove home (the idea being to take him straight to his usual hospital where the docs know him and know the complexities of his illness). We didn't have time to pick my Dad up from his partner's house.

My brother has agreed to drive my Dad back to us as, now that Dh is in hospital again, I don't want to travel too far afield. When brother rang Dad's partner today to say he wouldn't be able to bring Dad back until Sunday she started shouting and saying how she couldn't cope with him, how bone idle I was, how I couldn't wait for my dad to die so I could get my hands on his money and get him off my hands, how I've never done anything in my life, how she hates me etc.

I am so shocked. She and I have never been close, but I had no idea she felt such vitriol for me. I cant stop crying and shaking, I feel sick. I can't believe she would say such awful things. Dh thinks I should tell my Dad, not only about her not wanting him back at all, but also about what she has said today. I don't know what to do for the best.

OP posts:

Goblinchild · 03/06/2011 12:43

Don't think that she's always felt like this, people often say dreadful things when under stress. She has lung cancer, may be feeling guilty and defensive about not coping with your dad as well and is lashing out at you.
You have been the best sort of daughter, the kind that steps up when there's a problem and says 'of course he can come to us, for as long as he wants and needs'
I know that you have other tricky situations to deal with, an ill husband and children, but you have taken on your dad as well. Bone idle? She really doesn't know you at all.
Don't lash out at your dad because his partner isn't coping, does he need to know what she said? What could he do to help? He may be pleased that he doesn't have to go back to his house, you said they'd never lived together, so who would be looking out for him?


squeakytoy · 03/06/2011 12:47

It is possible she is reacting this way because she is so scared of her own illness. (I remember your previous thread too). People do lash out and say things without thinking when they are ill like this, so hopefully she is just acting this way because of her own worries.

She must know she isnt going to be around much longer, and is trying to ensure your Dad is going to be cared for after she has gone perhaps.

The bit that confuses me is that they dont and have never lived together, so how was she caring for him before this?


JackyJax · 03/06/2011 12:48

Oh poor you: what a shock. Sometimes I think it's not about you: it's unlikely that she's harboured such negative feelings for you for so long. I think perhaps she paniced about having to look after your dad and ended up saying mean things. There's nothing you can do about what she said, except remind yourself that you are a good, decent person, flawed like the rest of us but fundamentally good. Her words are hurtful and you don't need to spread that hurt further. It won't help your father to know all of this about her. In fact it would be very hard for him to feel that his partner of 30 years had behaved to his daughter like this: such a conflict for him. You can do nothing about her what you can do is look after yourself and your dear dad. Most people would not speak to you like this and you don't deserve it: that's why it's particularly shocking.
Sending you a supportive cyber hug.


ApocalypseCheeseToastie · 03/06/2011 12:59

She sounds very stressed to me.

When my mum had major cancer surgery she went to my sisters to recover, one day my sis just flipped, started screaming and shouting in my mothers face about how she couldn't cope with her being there etc. My mum just calmly packed her stuff (in agony) and went home.

Have never quite forgiven my silly twat of a sis, partly because she's well known for being a drama queen At the end of the day though, now my mums dead. She has to live with the way she behaved, not me.


shandyleer · 03/06/2011 13:44

Thank you for your messages, I know none of you know me but its reassuring to have wise words and cyber support!

I guess she is under a lot of pressure, and having thought about it for a while, there's nothing useful to be gained from telling Dad is there?

Squeaky, she wasn't caring for him before. Up until December he was fit, active and independent, living his life and keeping busy. It was only when he became ill with Crohn's that he moved in with her (January time).

Sorry to hear about your mum Apocalypse

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MadamDeathstare · 03/06/2011 13:53

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lesley33 · 03/06/2011 14:08

Agree that medication can negatively affect people and how they are.

But you are right, there is nothing to be gained by telling yoiur dad this. All it would do is really upset him, at a time when he doesn't need any additional stress.

Just to say about the fact that your dad wasn't told he was coming to stay with you permanently. I don't know what happened, but sometimes in these situations both the person dying (your dad's partner) and the partner (your dad) lie to each other about what is happening e.g. You just need to go into the hospice so I can have a rest and then when I feel better you will come back home - when there is no chance of them ever coming back home.

To say to someone you love, you need to go and stay with your daughter because I am too ill to look after you and as I will die soonish you won't be coming back to live here - is incredibly hard. And sometimes both people realise it is a lie, but they can't bear to say the truth openly.

So she may not be being horrible in not telling your dad the truth.


shandyleer · 03/06/2011 19:05

Well it seems I needn't have bothered asking your advice lovely ladies - partner has told Dad herself what she said "and what's more I mean every word of it". I'm beginning to wonder if you're right about the medication affecting her thinking - she rang me this afternoon to tell me that I needn't bother telling him cos she'd just done so. Today has not been a good day. Sad

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WhoAteMySnickers · 03/06/2011 19:18

I think you need to cut her a lot of slack. The woman has lung cancer. Presumably either it's terminal or she's undergoing some heavy duty treatment. After telling you (albeit via her son) that she can't look after your dad he gets dumped on her really because after agreeing to a weekend she now has him for a week and she wasn't given much choice. I can see why she would get frustrated and lash out.


Goblinchild · 03/06/2011 19:22

How is your dad coping with being dumped? I'd blame the invasive treatment and medication she must be under.


shandyleer · 03/06/2011 19:36

WhoAte - they are supposed to be partners, they have been together for 30 years. And he wasn't "dumped" on her, although you're right, that's very much how she sees it. If she had told him the truth about her feelings/intentions, he would never have gone to see her - as it was, he was desperate to see her as he felt he should be with her in her hour of need, not realising that she neither wants him nor needs him.

Goblin - he doesn't really realise he has been dumped as he has not been told as such. He's aware that she "needs some time on her own", as she keeps saying it each time he asks when he might see her. He's getting slightly confused these days, so is perhaps not seeing things as clearly as he once did.

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mumnotmachine · 03/06/2011 19:44

My Mum was diagnosed with lung cancer last year, and given a terminal diagnosis as it was too advanced for treatment.
She was "fine" with diagnosis at first, but as it sank in she became increasingly bitter, anxious and angry- at everyone and everything.
You are all under a lot of stress, as everyone is poorly around you, I don't think her anger is aimed st you intentionally- you are just the target at the time.
I think you should tell your Dad what you have been told as it is unfair to leave him not knowing- it could cause a lot of bitterness further down the line.

Please be sure to look after yourself as well during this time, its incredibly stressful all around, but you need to take time for yourself too


izzywhizzyletsgetbusy · 03/06/2011 19:46

For the sake of everyone involved, your dad needs to be out of there and back home with you asap.

Is there anyway your brother can do the journey tonight, or can you or another family member go get him and bring him to your home, or spring for a taxi?

Please try and cut your dad's (ex)partner some slack, and cut yourself some too. It's possible that she may have misguidedly thought that, when you didn't collect him as planned, it was your intention to leave him with her indefinitely at a time when the poor lady most probably needs care herself.

In any event, she certainly need to concentrate on herself at the present time, and she can't do this if she has unexpectedly assumed care for your dad over the past week.

Get your dad back home with you and give him a big cuddle. Then write a loving letter to his (ex)partner explaining why there has been a delay in collecting him, and thank her for stepping into the breach even though you know she is not in the best of health.

Show that, no matter what she may think (and as you've been advised, it most probably is the drugs talking) you have a generous heart. Thank her for the love and care she has shown your dad duriing the past week, and over the past 30 years, and assure her that your door will always be open to her.


mumnotmachine · 03/06/2011 19:49

Agree with Izzy- lovely words


DirtyMartini · 03/06/2011 19:51

You are dealing with so much, and you're being very understanding; I don't know that I'd cope half as well in your position. Nothing much to add to the insights people have given already, except that I wish you the best.


shandyleer · 03/06/2011 19:52

Izzy, you sound like a lovely forgiving person, thank you (and everyone else) for your words.

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