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Happy2755

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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #1 
I am so happy to have found this site, I often feel very much alone and a lot of people can't relate to what it's like having a manipulative, toxic parent. My father is 65, an alcoholic and has recently been diagnosed with copd and emphysema. He's been having episodes of not being able to breathe and has been hospitalized for a week at a time. Right now he is at the hospital and has been there for about 5 days, he should be getting released soon to go home where he lives in a mobile home on my uncles property. We have a very turbulent, dysfunctional past. I had an unstable, neglectful childhood to say the least, I found myself abusing alcohol and pain pills. Over the last year and a half I started going to councling and finally deal with a lot of issues that I was trying to cover up all these years. I started feeling confident enough to be able to put up bounds with my father. Now that he's gotten sick he's trying to suck be back in because he has no one, I feel like he's dumping all his issues and health problems on me because he doesn't want to ask anyone else for help. He has 4 brothers and sisters that are close by well and they are perfectly happy letting me deal with this all my own. I work 50 plus hours a week, have a family and all of them are retired. The worse his health gets the more he's dumping on me, I really feel like he believes I should offer him to come live with me, which won't happen. Ant advise on how to deal with the guilt and manipulation? Thank you
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DanaS

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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #2 
Kudos for taking good, positive steps to deal with your issues and for developing the confidence to start setting boundaries.

It may be helpful to remember that you don't need to provide a reason for saying "no."  Someone who pushes boundaries can really put you on the defensive if you say "I can't because <reason>" and it's during the course of justifying/defending/explaining that you are having all your guilt strings pulled which make you feel manipulated. Try to remember that if he asks you for something, you are allowed to say: "I'm afraid that won't be possible." or "I'm sorry, I can not accommodate that request." Full stop. You don't need to provide a reason, when he asks "Why not?" 

If he asks "Why not?" and you provide an answer, then you'll find yourself doing that little dance where he give a counter argument to every reason you have. The longer that goes on, eventually you'll run out of reasons and you'll end up feeling guilty or selfish.

So if he asks for anything you can not (or don't want to) help him with, then stick with "I'm afraid that won't be possible" then try to change the subject and redirect the conversation to other things. If he keeps pressing and won't take no for an answer, then you need to end the conversation. "As I've said, that won't be possible. If you're really stuck on that subject, perhaps I will give you a call later when you are feeling up to discussing other things."

Setting boundaries is plenty hard enough. Enforcing them is tougher still. You are helping your father to the extent that you are able to, but it does no one any good if you can't also take good care of yourself. Like being on an airplane: if the masks drop out of the ceiling, you're supposed to take care of your own breathing first, before you can help the other person get theirs sorted out.
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Happy2755

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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #3 
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and reply to my post. Sounds like you might have some experience with someone like this in your life as well because that was some great advice that I will definitely try and use. Sometimes dealing with a manipulative person makes you feel so run down and exhausted that it just ends up being easier to give in. That's probably what they are banking on anyways.
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Christa4

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Posts: 50
Reply with quote  #4 
You did get some good advice from DanaS.

I would say that just not responding is sometimes the best thing I can do. My father isn't manipulative, but he has a lot of anger and wants to argue his position. The times I just completely keep my mouth shut turn out the best for me. Then I don't inadvertently egg him on or feel guilty about something I said. It is not my style to respond with silence. I am pretty honest & direct. But I cannot stand being criticized - and after decades, it's a given.

You are not going to change him after all these years. If he doesn't respect your own needs, nothing you say will change that.

I would feel some guilt, too, but I don't think you should.
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