Each morning, our day begins with very early morning phone calls from Dad or his sitter demanding that we go up there immediately, followed by call after call after call all the rest of the day and into the night. It’s annoying. I make a crappy servant.
Most of the time, it is only me that goes because Debbie and Rebekkah can’t deal with the constant tirade of demands to get him the hell out of there. In the beginning, we tried to placate him with encouragement, stressing caution, and always avoiding his efforts to pin us down on an exact date of when he’s going to get to come home. These days, his mind seems to be returning just fine, yet his body is still shaky and weak. Instead of appreciating all that people do for him, he is lashing out with a sharp, mean tongue.
I had a nurse tell me yesterday that my father is “mirroring” whomever is visiting with him. She says that as an “alpha” male, he is struggling with the feeling of powerlessness and he uses this aggressiveness to reclaim some of what he is used to. It makes sense to me that this is what is going on. The sitters and nurses tell me that he acts out much worse when it is me or Debbie there than when Rebekkah or Matthew come to see him. Subconsciously, he knows they have boundaries that he can’t risk crossing. The key to this situation for me, then, is to set some boundaries for myself as well. The lady telling me this assured me that if he were to come home with me, it would only get worse.
My dad has apologized for some of the things that he’s said, but it hasn’t stopped him from being a complete butt again each time I see him. Yesterday, I went up there twice, and both times he interrupted conversations i was having with other people, cussed because I wouldn’t just take him home, ranted at how none of us are living up to his expectations, bragged on relatives that have NOT been there to help him at all, and the list goes on and on. He snapped at me continually when I didn’t read his mind and adjust to whatever it was he wanted from me that next minute.
Finally, something in me just clicked, and I laid down my first boundary with my father. I can’t deal with being anyone’s verbal punching bag, and that includes Dad’s. I’m sorry so much has happened and he is so sick and unable to care for himself right now. None of this was of my doing, and I can only do the best I can. So, I stopped placating him, and told him the truth about his situation, expressed my sadness, and told him I have to think about what my next move is because I have my own life to think of right now as well.
I, on the other hand, have decided to take the day off from Dad, and get my emotional feet back under me. I know from experience that you should never judge how loved you are by someone else’s willingness to give up everything and everyone in their own life just to please you. I love my dad. I’ll visit. That’s it. I can’t save anyone, nor can their happiness rest on me.
Thank you again for helping me through my confusion, sadness, and guilt. This road has been hard, and I’m not sure where it will all end, but I feel stronger today. The prayers are working!