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Author: FlyingCircus Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 741098  
Subject: Re: Unanticipated ER Consequence Date: 12/14/2002 1:33 AM
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1HF,
with regard to the italics below:
I believe this has nothing to do with early retirement and resentment of it. This is about your father's depression and anger at getting old. Why do I say this? Because my wife went through this exact scenario - exact - with her mother for the last few years before she (mercifully, to her) passed away of a stroke this summer at 72. And she also had the same kind of lousy relationship with her as a teenager and young adult. They sound like birds of a feather.

My wife took it personally, got extremely angry and upset at the controlling, the btiching, criticisms. Nothing she could do was good enough - and she did a LOT for this woman. We had long talks about it, because I had been subjected to that behavior more subtly earlier in the marriage and reacted the same way - until I realized it wasn't about me, it was about her. When my wife stopped trying to change her, and stopped taking it personally, she handled it much better. It didn't change her mother's behavior, but my wife was able to brush it off much more easily.

My mother in law became nasty to everyone around her, but still managed to convey caring and a smile when possible. The mood swings were amazing. She was frosty to her granddaughter. But I digress. They had several runins over not being able to read her mind.

The point is, I'm guessing that your 75 year old father is mentally becoming your dependent - hence the signs of withdrawal. Unfortunately, you may need to start treating him similar to how you'd treat a child. Firm, fair, unwavering, and above all unemotional about making the right choices. He probably desperately needs your attention, and to believe that he is still of some use in the world. It's not about controlling you - though he may seem that way - it's about being part of your life.

Here was the single best thing that worked for us: "come over for dinner every Sunday. When you feel like you need to go, go." It was something she could control, depend on and be part of - and it made a HUGE difference in her attitude. She could play grandma/family elder for a few hours until she got tired, and then would leave. I actually got to enjoying those visits because she was so enjoyable during them!

Just my observations. Could be wrong. Think about it. You don't want him to leave this world thinking you didn't care about him.

FC
. About two months ago, he made the mistake of chewing me out essentially for not being able to read his mind and anticipate his needs....I thought I was accepting his used but repairable junk and dinner once or twice a week in exchange for helping him with things he is physically incapable of (he runs a hobby farm). He thought he was buying me mind, body, and soul....I returned some of the assets and offers of "help" are now refused while control of my life is once again being withheld. I feel stronger because I'm now fending off his tentacles without using my career as a crutch. He's treating me with more respect, but he's showing signs of withdrawal and is becoming more demanding with others who are still dependent on him. I feel bad about that, but there doesn't seem to be a safe way to help them. He won't acknowledge that he has a problem despite the misery it has caused him and others.
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