Need to get counselling, where to start?

I’ve been a member for a little while, mainly reading and taking comfort reading others stories so sometimes feeling less of a monster :-/

My dad has stage 4 lung cancer, diagnosed August last year aged 71. He was still working as a long distance lorry driver, spending weekends at his static caravan / mine in the winter when the site closed, since separating from his wife 18 months before, due to her infidelity.

On diagnosis, and having to give up work, my sister and I were terrified he’d go back to his vile ex wife as he was technically homeless, so I very rashly said move in with me. (probably should have discussed this with my partner beforehand…)
My sister has 2 autistic kids, one with learning difficulties and complex eating disorder, leading to hospitalisation twice this year so she’s more than enough on her plate

Dad’s brother took 9 months to die from the same diagnosis, 12 years earlier. Hence me wanting to give my dad love and comfort in his final months, thinking it was a final few months I’d be caring.

Turns out immunotherapy is a bit of a miracle drug. Here we are, 16 months later… All tumours reduced. Life expectancy - who knows.

My partner of 9 years moved out new years eve last year. We split up in March. I had no idea how hugely manipulative and selfish my dad is. How do we not know our parents to this extent? (or is it just me who was clueless?)

I’m now paying a fortune in rent for me and dad to live in his dream bungalow in his preferred location. (joint tenancy at agents insistence)

I’m lucky in a lot of respects. Dad’s mobile to a degree, he potters about the bungalow, uses buses with his electric wheelchair. Takes himself off to visit friends / family / the ex wife… He is perfectly able to be left alone so I clear off to visit my son / other family and friends most weekends. (having said that, if I go away, he stays with his ex wife as he hates being alone) I’m hugely aware I get breaks most carers can only dream of.

I’ve scraped together a deposit to buy a house of my own, a little 2 up 2 down in my ideal location but such a house would be impossible for dad who has osteoporosis due to the treatment and can’t manage stairs. He’d also hate to live where I want to be. So I can’t buy a house while I’m caring for dad, and at 45, time isn’t on my side mortgage wise.

Earlier this month my partner and I reconciled, on a long distance basis as he returned home to the south coast when we split up, I’m in the Midlands. I’ll be visiting him for a weekend, 2-3 times a month although goodness knows how that’ll pan out in the future if I can’t get away at weekends.

Some days I feel overwhelming resentment. My dad’s life choices left him practically homeless , no savings, static caravan with loan bigger than its value and working full time when he was diagnosed at 71. (static caravan now handed back to the HP company)
And here I am, picking up the pieces. Giving him a standard of living he’d never be able to provide for himself. Working full time in a very demanding job (working from home with flexible hours thank goodness) and juggling taking him to treatment every 3 weeks and regular appointments with the 3 consultants he’s under for oncology, steroid dependance and osteoporosis. Putting on hold my life, buying my home, spending Christmas with dad rather than my partner (who now cannot stand to be near my dad, and to be honest I can’t blame him after some of my dad’s antics)

Then well meaning people tell me how blessed I am to have the opportunity to spend this time with my dad before he dies. How I should cherish the memories we can make
(a snapshot of how we are poles apart - I’m vegan. His favourite TV programme which he never misses is about Alaska survival hunters with each episode featuring something being caught / shot / skinned in full technicolour glory)
So I spend my days feeling guilty for kicking myself for being stuck in this situation. Resentful that my life’s on hold until he dies. Terrified for the future: if his needs increase as I work from home and he lives with me = social services dream situation and terribly difficult to wrestle help from them, from what I see.

I contacted my employer provided mental health services and they said I needed ongoing counselling (they only provide 6 weeks), I should contact my gp / speak to macmillan.
Macmillan said nothing much they can do to meet my needs, I should self refer to gp mental health services.
Self referred. Cried for most of the phone assessment. They said I needed ongoing counselling but could offer only limited (can’t remember of it was 6 or 12 weeks) and there’s an 18 month waiting list while I’m not threatening to harm myself /dad.
So because I’m not threat to life crisis point and they can’t fix me in 6/12 weeks, I’m now off their books too.

Have come to the conclusion that I need to pay for private counselling. I’ve read a lot on this site from Bowlingbun’s contributions about how important its been, so I think I need to do it before going bonkers.
Where to start? How do you find a good counsellor?

Sorry its been a bit of an outpouring when the actual question probably was just the last paragraph. I think it’s just that I sometimes need to get it off my chest!

Ask your GP to recommend someone private.
You need to get out of this situation, meanwhile is dad claiming Housing benefit to contribute to the rent, claiming Attendance Allowance?
Keep a diary of what you do for dad and when.
Ask Social Services to do a Carers Assessment asap.

Mmm … father’s health ?

Is CHC / NHS Continuing Healthcare a factor here ?

Applied for ? Rejected ? Even known about ?

Thank you both.

Dad gets attendance allowance and I get 25% discount on the council tax because of that.

He had an assessment in September on discharge from hospital after falling chasing his ex wife’s cat.
Having read advice on the forum before, I emailed occupational therapy after he declined an assessment for carers because he said it wasn’t necessary with me being at home. So it’s on record that while we live in the same house and I cook and clean for him, that’s the limit to what I’m prepared to do, absolutely no personal care or lifting.
Home assessment and assessment for him was then done.
He was deemed able to look after himself with aids like perching stool, raised loo seat etc which were provided.
He’s not medically needing care as such, he doesn’t need nursing and if be astonished if he qualified for CHC. I don’t think he’d ‘qualify’ as ill enough to go into a home as he could cook clean and look after himself if he needed to.

I had a carers assessment at my gp surgery in October, blood tests and full medical mot.
As seems a common theme, if you’re not at breaking point and threatening your own safety or that of the person you care for, you’re deemed OK.
Will get in touch with the gp and ask for local recommendations for counselling.

Is it his personality and temperament that is winding you up so much?

You said you and your partner split up because of him?

Yes, it definitely is.

It’s my partners birthday on the 2nd, I’ve taken a couple of days off work to visit him as we’ve recently got back together.

Dad has treatment on the morning and physio on the afternoon of the 2nd, so I’ve told him he’ll need to organise taxis or get on the bus with his electric wheelchair (which he does every week to visit his ex wife, friends / family with no problems)
He was fuming, swore about not being able to afford taxis (he can, he’s £150 pw + disposable income after giving me some towards the bills)

Today he’s insisted on walking to the pub over the road, refused to use the wheelchair or his crutches because ‘I’m going to have to get used to managing on the 2nd aren’t I, getting myself to two hospital appointments’
Then he’s in pain all afternoon because he’s overdone it.

He thinks I should be there 24/7 to taxi him about, keep him company. Sulks if I go away.
Then when he can sense I’ve about had enough, it’s 2 days of ‘I’m sorry I’m such a burden to you, I’d be in a real mess without you, you’re an angel’ and then I’m consumed with feeling so resentful.

So I think I need to see someone to help cope with the feeling trapped, my life on hold till he’s gone. Resentment, followed by guilt at feeling resentful. It’s a horrible cycle I’m caught in

He is manipulating you, all that disposable income and he won’t take a taxi!!
In fact, it’s bordering on abuse, so yes, definitely you need to see a counsellor to sort out how to manage him.

There is surely no real reason why he can’t live on his own at the moment, from what you describe?
You are surely just a convenient “someone” to do the things he doesn’t want to, to run round him?

Yes, the reality is he’d be able to live on his own with a bit of help carrying shopping / cleaning.

I definitely need help in learning to manage him. I’m better than I used to be, a year ago I wouldn’t go out for an evening to visit a friend because he’d huff and sulk about being left home alone.

Thank you for time and input, it’s been massively helpful.


Welcome to the Forum. To be honest, it sounds as if you are pretty aware of what is going on and what you need. Counselling will be expensive but, I think, hugely beneficial. Not least because many stage 4 diagnosed cancer patients now live a long life.Many links to finding a decent counsellor here:

As for dad, I think many elderly and ill people become incredibly selfish. Only you can decide how much of your life you wish to devote to him. If you are in this for the long haul, you may need to at least claw some life back if only for your own sanity. Think of it as a marathon not a sprint.

Good luck, Anne

Thank you

I received an email from work yesterday, our company has recently undergone a merger of sorts so from January we will get some private medical cover through work

I’m going to hang on to see what they offer, with a bit of luck I might access something at lower cost through them as I’m seeing private costing £40 a session :astonished:

That’s good news Tina.
I found that after having very regular counselling to start with, I needed it less and less as I’d learned what I needed to do.
It takes a while to get to know your counsellor, once you have been through the getting to know phase, things can improve fairly rapidly.

That’s really reassuring to hear. I’ve read on the forum you saying how useful you’ve found it.

Thank you :blush: