Hi, I’m new to the forum. I was looking at a few of the previous threads and noticed people here actually get what I’m saying. People keep suggesting I deal with my father like a normal, rational adult. Then that doesn’t work and they act surprised. Like, “explain to him that he shouldn’t fly to London during covid to visit a bank and then take the boat back. I’m sure he’ll listen if you explain the regulations currently in place.”
But he doesn’t listen and now he’s in self-isolation for another week.
He’s had at least three strokes -possibly the first one was in '10 driving back from London to Hollyhead. He nearly crashed into other cars and the hedge before I managed to convince him to pull over and called the police, who called an ambulance. He had one while I was abroad and I only found out when he was in for a check-up and needed me to collect him. I mentioned it in passing to someone and they said “oh yeah he had that stroke back in March… didn’t you know?” He’s super secretive.
My mother, his wife, died a decade ago from cancer. He lived with his mummy until he married her, and both of them did everything for him. So he expected me to clean our (kinda big) house perfectly from 14. This argument became most of our relationship for the last decade. He hoards and loves DIY so most rooms are filled with boxes of random stuff.
The downstairs bathroom doesn’t work -most of the taps don’t run hot water and haven’t for years. You’ve got to reset the water to make the boiler come on. He boils a kettle of hot water and brings it to the bathroom to shave his face. The kitchen floor has a gap in the wood floor running from one side to the other. In the middle of that is a wood stove. He takes a fire-starter and lights it at the gas cooker, then walks across the floor -dodging the gap, the cans and wood all strewn across the floor to put it in the stove. The recent stroke has made his legs shakey but he thinks that’s still the best way to do that job.
We’re not sure if a support worker could even offer support in a place like this.
Cleaning it is impossible. You could perfectly clean the kitchen but when you come back later to make your dinner he will have left tea and bread and food all over the counters -even though we have a mouse problem too. He won’t clean the mess he’s made for days or even weeks and he’ll blame everyone else for why it’s like that. This has been true for years.
For the hoarding things he’ll call you to help him. He picks up a box and chooses a number of items from it to throw away. Repeat that for an hour and repeat again next week. He considers this part of the regular house-cleaning that every normal family member should be a part of. I’m horribly arachnophobia and spiders start living in the spaces and I’m terrified to deal with them. Two big ones got into my room before I was kicked out -but he’s so selfish he won’t help me with my spider problem. But of course, I’ll clean the kitchen for him, help him build a porch, go to the pharmacy for him, make some food for him… but one spider in my laundry? “Oh it’s just a little one”, he’ll say laughing at me.
Finally, he seems stupid but he’s not. He has always spoken oddly and acted abnormal. Theory goes he probably has autism but it was never diagnosed. He completely lacks the ability to emphathise with another person. You can imagine then why “try talking to him and explaining your side” never works. He thought it acceptable to laugh at my efforts to clean up before he came back from Hospital, then demand I help move boxes (the same ones we’ve moved for a decade now) and when I refused because it’s madness he kicked me out during this pandemic.
He’s starting to think maybe he shouldn’t have done that because he’s bad with computers and since I’m not there I don’t help with them. It cruel but I’ve basically been refusing to assist since May.
I was living away from home but he wanted to help me go to university for a masters. I told everyone I couldn’t depend on him -but they told it was fine. He’s so nice and helpful! He’s offering to pay for your masters, you shouldn’t pass that up! Now he’s trying to put me into London in all this madness, without a job or a place to live. Oh, and again, I got kicked out. He gets me under his control and if I won’t do as he wants I get threats and lose my stability again. But he’s so kind.
Which brings us to yesterday evening. I had invited a friend to my new place when he called me. He started with “I’m losing the will to live” because everything he does is going wrong. His covid payment is done online and he can’t get it right. He has some paperwork to fix but won’t pay for the advice he needs. He’s trying to build a porch with wobbly legs and shakey hands.
He can’t relax because he suffers from terrible depression and sitting around causes it to eat him alive. He’ll start drinking and sleeping to get away from it. He thinks he doesn’t have a problem with drink but right now he’s “drinking water every time he wants to have a pint”. (He’s on warafin so I tipped the nurse off that her numbers aren’t settling because he’s drinking and I think she had a serious word with him about it.)
He has to be doing something or the depression beast will come for him -he’s never learnt to deal with his feelings. But he avoids it by driving around in the car (he’s a taxi driver), but there’s no work for him right now and he’s been advised to stop driving. Or he’ll do DIY (that he never finishes). You need to two things to get into my house via the front door. The key for the latch and a a screwdriver for the hole where a key should go in the lower lock. (getting that open for the ambulance was stressful). In winter it swells up (it’s wooden) and you have to PULL and PULL to get it open. But rather than replace the door he’s building a porch. It’s going to look like the house two doors down (no it won’t). Last time he had a stroke he build a shed. We already have an unfinished shed but he built a second one.
He can do basic things like get up, wash and make his food. Anything complicated he’ll get wrong. He makes dangerous decisions. He organised a power of attorney before this started (there were so many complications with his mother because she didn’t have one) but I have no idea when you can say “you are a risk to yourself and others and need help”. He’s always been very independent so he’s going to hate that process. I think he imagined he’d be far less aware of his surroundings when that time came.
Lastly, I live in Ireland so UK supports won’t apply. We travel between to the two countries kinda often but we aren’t UK residents. Really I’m just looking to know how other people have dealt with stuff like this. From people who understand he’s not just a difficult father -he’s a difficult father with multiple strokes.