Ask Aunty S


Dear Aunty S

My father is a cantankerous old man and his demands are wearing me out.

I visit him every Sunday and I can barely drive the two hours home as I am worn out especially by his verbal abuse as he barks at me continually and has me doing jobs even my husband would struggle with.

I pay for a housekeeper to go in five days a week to clean and prepare meals that are easy for him to either eat or reheat.

I also pay for his lawns and garden to be done once a week yet he continually whines and says I don’t do enough.

His Doctor rang and told me to look after my father better.

When I explained what I actually do for him, he apologized.

My father was vicious to my late mother and my brothers and they have nothing to do with him since her death so it’s only me to care for him.

As he drinks and gambles there is no money left over for rates so I pay them because if he’s made homeless he says he will come and live with me.

My husband and children refuse to visit him as they can’t cope with him. They constantly tell me to stand up to him but I can’t as he scares me which is embarrassing.

I am happy to keep paying for his home help, lawns and rates but I want to stop visiting him as I detest this man and I just can’t do Sunday visits anymore.

How do I tell him?


Aunty S responds

I have heard your story many times over and sadly we seem to only hear about the elderly who are neglected by their children through the media. We never hear the equally sad tales of the adult children who are abused and manipulated by their parents.

The solution in your case is very simple my darling; don’t go back.

I know you are afraid but he plays on your fear.

Thank goodness you haven’t exposed your children to him as this would be a form of abuse and ever so wrong.
I have a friend who is still traumatized by her childhood visits to her grandfather.
Her mother would cry all the way home after visiting him but insisted on doing the journey every fortnight.
She was a kind woman who had no idea at the time of the everlasting effect it would have on her children.
When she did put two and two together, she walked away with not even a backwards glance.
Of course there are many wonderful grandparents; that goes without saying.

There is a misconception that old age changes folk into mellowed angelic like beings. WRONG.

Now back to your father; write him a letter explaining that you will continue to pay for his private home help, lawns and rates but Sunday visits are now over. Make it short and sweet.

The fact that you are prepared to financially prop up your father is admirable but maybe a little misguided.

The home your father lives in is way too big for him and if he downsized he would have money to pay his own way. He is far from destitute and changing his car every year does make me smell a rat!!

You are a dear sweet girl who is being taken advantage of.

Contact me anytime my dear; I am only a click away.

P.S. You may in time decide to visit occasionally but please my dear if he starts verbally abusing you, walk away.

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