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Frustrated With Close Family Members


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Hi Everyone

I'm hoping that someone will have some advise for my problem. My mom died Aug/05 and then my husband June/06. My dad has tried really hard to support me but I am feeling overloaded. I don't think he has really dealt with the loss of my mom and is very lonely. He has really cut himself off from everyone but my sisters and I and my kids because they live close. My only nephew lives too far away. My dad has a very grumpy exterior but is so soft inside. I think he is very depressed and just plain lonely, but so am I. He is 78, I am 55. He thinks he should advise me on everything I do, both financially and personally. He gets mad if I don't get out and when I do he gets mad also. I think it's because I can't include him in everything I do, to be honest I don't want to. My kids think I see way too much of him and think that he is trying to become their "father". I know he just cares about me and wants to "fix" things for me so it will be ok, but I told him he can never "fix" things. I do love him and think maybe I should put up with this as life is too short and I don't know how much longer he will be here, but it causes so much more stress on me than I need right now. My kids also need me, I well remember how I felt when my mom died, of course I was grieving for her and also my husband at the same time as we knew he was dying just 1 month after her death. I don't know how to please everyone???? Any suggestions ???

An example was this past weekend - my daughter and I decided to go explore the ice roads ( for those who don't know we live in NW Ont, Canada and the lakes freeze quite thick- enough to make roads and to drive big trucks , plows etc) Dad had told us he wanted to watch curling. He was very angry when he learned that we had been on the ice, but we knew we were safe and had a full tank of gas, were just a call away from friends and my son who was at our cabin and had 2 cell phones with us. He was very angry and cranky and words were exchanged between my daughter and him. He left without eating dinner and now wonders why I haven't called him. I really don't know what to say to him. It's his crankiness I am having a hard time with. Jane

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Jane

I have learned life is to short. just maybe put up with him, there will be a time you won'thave him and then it will bother you. i know it is hard but he is old and set in his ways. maybe he is so lonely and depressed that is why he is acting this way. he probably misses your mom and the companionship. try to have as much patience with him as you can. Lori

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Jane,

I agree with Lori. Right now he is probablly feeling like being needed. While your mother was around he had her to take care of and now he just has himself. I am sure he is feeling lonely like the rest of us are. I have a 7 year old to take care of but after he goes to bed there are 2 hours to myself. Sometimes those 2 hours are a God send other times I just can't stand the time alone. You might just let him know how you feel, each of us needs our space even when we are married there are times when we just need to get out and do something without the other. It sounds like he will understand, he might get mad at the begining, but after he has had time to think about it he will realize that you do need to do some things on your own. Hope this helps and everything goes well.

Derek

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Thanks for both of your replies - I knew that in my heart but sometimes feel so torn about what I should do. I know that I am still his "little" girl and that he feels he has to watch out for me and my family. Rick was very close to my dad, and dad told me he is having a harder time with Rick's death than my mom's, probably because of the age difference. I know there will be a time when he will be gone and I will miss him so much - maybe I am afraid of becoming too attached and hurting the same as I did for Rick. Does that make sense - nothing seems to these days. I have switched back to my old effexor maybe that will help as it gets into my system. While going off and onto the new one, it was as if I had gone right back to the days after Rick's death - eight months on the 18th but seems like 18 years. Thanks for caring Jane

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Just a thought, Jane ~

Your father's overly protective behavior toward you and your daughter could stem from his fear that, if death could take not only his beloved wife but his son-in-law, then certainly it could take his daughter or his granddaughter, too. Even if he is not aware of this fear, it could be operating at an unconscious level.

In any case, I agree with Lorikelly and Derek that this calls for patience and understanding on your part (to the extent that you are able) ~ and as always, good communication between you and your father. When you talk to your father, do your best to communicate with him on an adult-to-adult level (as opposed to child-to-parent), and bear in mind that he may find it difficult to respond in kind. That is, he may be very accustomed to communicating with you in a parent-to-child manner, forgetting that you are a grown-up woman with a mind of your own. You can choose to gently remind him that you are an adult, and reassure him that you are quite capable of taking care of yourself and your daughter and being careful with your safety.

On the other hand, you can re-frame the whole thing: You can simply decide that your father really does mean well, he is older and set in his ways, he is coming from a protective father-masculine position, and you're not going to let it bother you if and when he does this again.

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Thanks Marty,

I really hadn't thought that he may be concerned about the possible loss of one of us and I should have as my son at 18 put my car through the ice (being foolish as one can be at 18 and thinking himself invinsible, as well as partying the night before). The circumstances of us being on the ice road were so different than when he was there. Thanks for pointing that possibility out to me. This is realy a great helping site. Jane

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