Narcissistic Father w/ rare cancer - my ruined mental health

Hi all,

I’m 25, hold a bachelor’s and master’s degree, work at a Fortune 500 corporation. Since the onset of the pandemic last year, my dad was diagnosed with a rare cancer - Chordoma. This manifested as a tumour in his spine that greatly affected things like his mobility.

I have complex emotions towards my dad - I attend therapy semi regularly and I’ve only just come to acknowledge that he potentially suffers from Narcisstic Personality Disorder (NPD) - as a result of his childhood and upbringing, but this is something that he never got help for due to mental health still being a taboo in his culture. As a result, I feel that as a child there were elements of emotional abuse, constantly made to doubt my self worth, nasty things being said about and towards me, constantly attributed the successes of my brother and I to him. A lot of these experiences have created issues for me that have persisted into adulthood that I still deal with.

After a not too successful initial operation, I decided to intervene in dad’s treatment and care, and got him the under the care of the leading expert for this rare tumour/cancer in the UK. When he was in hospital, after a long week of working I would prepare food for him and travel by train (during a pandemic), to go feed him, sponge him down, moisturise him, help him shave, brush his teeth, cut his nails, etc. No one else would visit him because of the pandemic but also he has a very strained relationship with his siblings because of the way he is.

I found him the best care, the best rehabilitation, in the hope to get him the best possible outcome, because he is still my dad. In the past few months I have had to uproot my life and become his full time live-in carer as he is receiving radiation. Yes, I am still working from home full time. But this has been incredibly toxic environment for me. I care for him all day while working and he is still so nasty and horrible to me, even after everything. Makes me feel worthless, useless, is always saying how these are all things I ought to do anyway. But I feel trapped because there’s literally no one else would do anything of this for him and I’m too soft to just leave him to his own devices, even though he treats me this way. I am still receiving therapy remotely during lockdown and my therapist suspects as a result of this whole ordeal I have PTSD / GAD, and I will need to see my GP to try and obtain medication. I am knowingly putting myself through hell fully acknowledging this will have long-term impact on my own psychological wellbeing and mental health. It’s doesn’t sound fair or sane but I don’t know what else I can do.

Is dad a UK resident?
Has no one mentioned a Social Services Needs Assessment? NHS Continuing Healthcare?
Is he claiming Attendance Allowance?

You do not HAVE to do anything at all for him. Think of yourself as his care organiser, rather than hands on carer.

Hello Lisa and welcome to the forum

I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling. It’s important to get all the support you can with caring for your Dad. Have a look through our help and advice pages here for information on what you’re entitled to:

Your wellbeing is equally as important, try and take regular time for yourself to recharge. We run weekly online meetings for carers if you’d like to chat informally with people who understand your situation. It’s a chance to take a break together. Sign up is here:

Best wishes