Family Relations/"Daddy Issues"

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Question
In order to ask my question I must give you just some of the background information about my family. I am 22 years old, my little brother is 15, my mother is about to turn 55, and my father is 88. Yes, he is the biological father of both my brother and me. My father is the kind of man very stuck in his own generation. Men on the TV don't know how to dress, no business can give away anything anymore, and unless you went to an ivy school how can you expect to be anything important are some of my father's favorite things to say. He is a retired surgeon and loves to boast about how he performed the first butt lift in the north east. My father is also the kind of man that treats women like items, very typical of his time period. Not to mention, his children, at least just my brother now, are trophies to him. Are horrible thing I realized growing up which meant he was bragging about having sex in his 60s and 70s. He is also the kind of person that asked my grandmother out first and she turned him down because she realized what a terrible person he was and then he went after my mom. It's been an embarrassment to have a father this old growing up. I can still remember growing up the times my father would corner me against a wall threatening to knock my teeth out with his stupid pinky ring pressed in my face and him poking me in the chest with his stubby finger and how horrible I felt. Needless to say I wish my parents had gotten a divorce a very long time ago. Now that my father is much older he has been suffering from vascular dementia and not only is a cruel uncaring person, but now he can't remember all of the horrible things he says and does about an hour afterwards. He has very few if any friends at all anymore because he thinks he's too good to do normal activities for his age and thinks all other old people are incompetant loons. I know it's wrong to hate someone but I struggle everyday with a growing hatred for him. I know the forgettfulness is not his fault and even though it makes things harder to deal with it still doesn't excuse all the years of torment and cruelty. Since the onset of dementia he has gotten into so many fights with my mother and called her such horrible things and he even bit my mother during a fight once. My question is, how in the world am I supposed to deal with this old man that I struggle not to hate everyday that I know as a normal human being needs help and care and I have no desire to help him because of the horrible anger and dislike I have for him inside me?

Answer
Gabriella,

I am so sorry for this situation you are in. It does seem very difficult. I would make attempts to move out of the house as a first option to mitigate these issues. If that isn't an option then you need to find some way to not be in the home as much. This is more of a band aid to the issue, but it is a start. If he is being seen by a doctor for his issues then they also probably have resources for therapist who deal with age-related issues such as this. I would suggest you and your mother to one or some type of support group. You are not alone in this. There are many people who struggle with relationships and don't know how to deal with the push/pull you describe in this relationship. If you haven't sat back and reflected on how this can effect you in a positive way for the future, I would encourage you to do that. This could be a thing that really makes you a stronger person and could really focus you for what you want in a future relationship.

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David Simonsen

Family Relations

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Dr. David Simonsen

Expertise

I am a licensed Marriage & Family therapist with a Ph.D. in Psychology. I work primarily with teens and families on a weekly basis. You will get the straight truth. I will not pull punches.

Experience

I have been working daily with teens and families for the last 10 years.

Organizations
AAMFT; AACC; WAMFT

Education/Credentials
M.S. in Marriage & Family Therapy; Ph.D. Psychology

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