Worried adult daughter, what to do

  • 6 Replies
  • 911 Views
*

summer15

  • New Member
  • *
  • 2
Worried adult daughter, what to do
« on: January 09, 2019, 12:07:47 AM »
I am the oldest daughter of aging parents. My mother has complex-PTSD from a terrible series of losses in her young adulthood. I have compassion for her, despite many years of complicated and painful interactions. She can be loving and funny, and then suddenly jealous and cruel. Needless to say, my self esteem has suffered.

As is often the case, my Dad was an incredibly kind, stable, and generous person. However, he has enabled her PD behavior and her alcoholism for many years. I do have my own anger to work out about my Dad's enabling, but I still believe he truly cared about trying to do the right thing. He was stuck in a very complex situation.

Now, as my parents are aging, my Dad is losing his way. He seems more confused and irritable, and is unpredictable with his support and advice. He was rarely confused when I was growing up, he was often very real with me when my Mom was erratic and angry.  Now, he can be as unpredictable and avoidant as she is.

What the hell is going on? Is this just the process of aging with a PD parent? They have been through a lot of stress with recent retirement, but I never expected to lose my Dad to PD-like behavior. I am very sad, but mostly I worry that if he stays with her, he will fully lose his sanity.

I know my parents need each other, but they are becoming very anxious and enmeshed. I love them so much, no matter how much I'm hurting. Do I just need to let go? Or is there some way I can try to help? I want to figure out if my Dad's behavior is just aging, dementia, or enmeshment with my Mom.

Any thoughts welcome.


*

candy

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 159
Re: Worried adult daughter, what to do
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2019, 07:07:52 AM »
summer15,
have you been reading about fleas?
It helped me recognize that my M who I love very much became more and more irrational being with PDF. As you describe it it worsened with their retirement. I think maybe thatís what happens when someone (your F, my M) who used to go out and have a professional life outside the relationship, is now exposed to PD-behavior 24/7.

I point out to my M when I see her behaving odd herself (like F or enabling). Sometimes this helps and she is able to see it herself. But in the long run maybe us ACONs have to detach a little.

We cannot make our parents happy. They have to do it themselves. Like any other adult.

*

daughter

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 4568
Re: Worried adult daughter, what to do
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2019, 11:26:25 AM »
You didn't disclose your parents' ages, but certainly old age can bring dementia, confusion, personality changes, etc.  Your father may be experiencing such symptoms.  But I also note the contradictions in your description of your father, as both "kind, stable", but also the enabler who didn't intervene in your mother's mental health issues, didn't compel her to obtain professional help, didn't rein-in her pd-disordered behaviors and mannerisms, etc.  Our parents, if still married to one another, are enmeshed, so even as the overtly pd-disordered parent displays obvious behavioral problems and inappropriate expectations-demands, the other parent, the enabler, often also behaves in an inappropriate and self-entitled manner, including requiring their children to tolerate (so also passively empower) the overtly disordered parent via acceptance, obedience, and dutiful attendance to her/their needs and expectations.  Perhaps you're realizing these traits in your father, that his own fleas/pd-disordered thinking have become more difficult for you to brush aside as "not as bad as mom".

Moving forward, it's likely a delicate balance between your parents' genuine need for more assistance and/or supervision, and emotionally distancing yourself from their pd-disordered behaviors and expectations-demands.  Be wary.  They may both feel that it's your "duty" to "attend to" their perceived needs, to allow them to live/behave however they feel fit, no matter how inappropriate at this stage of their competency to do so, no matter how time-consuming and/or emotionally-draining for you.  It's okay to seek "outside" assistance, to not "do it all yourself", to hire the help, call the agencies, etc.  You have no obligation to self-sacrifice yourself to your parents' needs, whether real or perceived.  Really, truly.  Given that we've been trained from childhood to see our parents as all-powerful dictators of choice and demand, we often lose sight of this fact.   

*

Kiki81

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 215
Re: Worried adult daughter, what to do
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2019, 04:58:47 PM »
Daughter x2.

Also, its possible for you to have "compassion" for your parents and not be their provider-of-anything. You can have compassion *at a distance.*

*

Iguanagos

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 517
Re: Worried adult daughter, what to do
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2019, 05:06:07 PM »
I'm sorry you're dealing with this.  Just wanted to mention that confusion and agitation in an elderly person can also be signs of a UTI.  One more thing to consider.  I agree with the others that this is certainly not solely your burden to carry, even as the "eldest daughter".  You have to take care of yourself first and foremost, and only then can you be in any position to help anyone else.  That's not how our PD parents raised us, I know, but that is the truth.

*

Peace Lily

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 306
Re: Worried adult daughter, what to do
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2019, 05:28:00 AM »
One other thing to consider - could your Dad be depressed? Retirement is a difficult process to go through. Loss of social interaction outside the home, loss of identity and self esteem perhaps ( no longer the bread winner, now defined as retiired). For different reasons my kind and wonderful MIL became depressed and was very difficult to live with. She was emotional, irritable and started using emotional blackmail on us. This is NOT how she normally is. When we eventually realised what was wrong and She got treatment it made a huge difference.

I agree there is a contradiction in what you say about your father being kind and yet he never stepped in to protect you. That was HIS JOB and responsibility as a parent. I am so sorry.

I totally get how painful it is coming Out of the FOG to realise your one good parent is an enabler, who put your Mum first (himself first) every time. He also acted on BPD mum's orders and carried out her dirty work including physical punishment. I wrote a poem about him and his behaviour last year. Will try to post it on here in the relevant section.
"It is not the the bruises on the body that hurt. It is the wounds of the heart and the scars on the mind". Aisha Mirza

*

Peace Lily

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 306
Re: Worried adult daughter, what to do
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2019, 05:37:57 AM »
Poem posted under "unsent letter".
"It is not the the bruises on the body that hurt. It is the wounds of the heart and the scars on the mind". Aisha Mirza