Helping a problem father?
May 31, 2011 5:38 PM Subscribe
My irresponsible father's health is declining and relatives are trying to get me to move him in with me, but I don't think I can cope with it.
posted by anonymous to human relations (50 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I don't even know where to begin, but I'm going to try and keep this condensed. My father has always been extremely emotional, judgmental, and irresponsible. He tends to deal with things by lashing out, assigning blame, and then becoming despondent and taking everything personally. He has chased away most of the people in his life at one time or another for years at a time. I don't really have any positive memories of him and hate that the situation is what it is. He's been extremely verbally abusive and eventually, my Mom left him. It's hard to say but for years he blamed the divorce on me. He's an alcoholic who as far as I know hasn't ever abstained for more than a month or two. Twice in college, after the divorce, (during periods of lucidity) I tried moving back in with him to support him and make sure he got to AA. Both times he never did any housework of any kind, never really kept a job, and continued being verbally abusive and negatively emotional. Every time he'd get drunk he'd kick me out of the house, and eventually I left. He tried dating but couldn't keep a relationship.
Fast forward a few years, and he's not doing so well physically. He can't drive very well anymore and he frequently falls down and the ambulance has to assist him. Rheumatoid arthritis, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, and so on. For a few years he's been living a state away with his father but now my grandfather's getting to old to take care of him. (I am midtwenties, he's 50, and my grandfather's just over 70.)
Today my relatives called asking me to start taking care of him--specifically, for him to move in with me. My heart dropped. Frankly, interacting with my father is torture to me. There's just nothing positive there. He loves me, which just makes the way he acts hurt worse. Every time I gave him the benefit of the doubt he's made me regret it. I don't think I can survive living under the same roof with him. My wife agrees.
He has no income or assets I'm aware of, I'm an only child, and nobody else knows what to do. I think he's chased most of the people in his life away. In addition, we're young ourselves and living paycheck to paycheck between living expenses and student loans for the foreseeable future. Now what? I don't know what to say, I don't know how to help him, and don't know what to do. I don't want him homeless but I can't have him here.