When Your Horrid Parent Needs You

My father has been a spendthrift all his life, but when it comes to me he behaves like a miser.  

He left my mother when I was two and my brother four and rarely paid maintenance.  He saw us occasionally when he didn’t have anything else to do but never managed more than a card for our birthdays.  Nor did he give either of us a present when we got married, saying that he was ‘absolutely broke.’  Instead he relies on a practiced wink and a certain charm to win everyone round. 

For the last thirty years he’s lived abroad and been looked after by one young woman after another, but he’s getting on, has various health issues and none of them are now prepared to look after him for nothing. 

As a result he’s decided to return to the UK and has asked my brother and I to pay his fare, find him accommodation, fill it with furniture, get him a TV, computer and car and provide a weekly sum for ‘extras.’  I mentioned his pension but he dismissed that as being pennies. 

He, just like I’ve read about Meghan Markle’s father Thomas, believes we should keep him in the luxury he’d like to get used to.  What’s more he wants to live very close to me so he can come over most days explaining it would also be ‘easier’ for me to get his shopping and cook his meals. 

My brother and I are both work for charities so neither of us are rich.  I’ve told him I am prepared to help him a little.   I have also insisted on various boundaries including that he can only come over once a week.  He was shocked.  I know I am right but I feel both guilty and resentful. 

Please help. 

OUR COMMENTS:

Your father seems to wants to put himself at the centre of your life when he has never made you the centre of his.  This is a difficult situation to manage.  Adults choose whether or not to have children and children are not obliged to have any financial responsibility for them in return.  The more so when the parent has not provided for their child or managed their  own money sensibly.

 

    In other words the relationship between parent and child is not a reciprocal one.  Parents should do their best for their children without expecting anything more than gratitude in return. In fact most reasonable parents prefer their children to focus on providing for their own offspring rather than them.   You are obviously aware that your father is trying to take advantage of you and the boundaries you have set up make sense.  Managing your feelings of both guilt and resentment may seem hard at the moment, but if you give in to his demands your guilt will vanish as your resentment increases.  Try to make notes of why you have made your decisions about him and what you are prepared to do, for example phone or visit him on a regular if infrequent basis.  You could also share ideas on how to manage him with your brother. 

 

In other words the relationship between parent and child is not a reciprocal one.  Parents should do their best for their children without expecting anything more than gratitude in return. In fact most reasonable parents prefer their children to focus on providing for their own offspring rather than them. 

You are obviously aware that your father is trying to take advantage of you and the boundaries you have set up make sense.  Managing your feelings of both guilt and resentment may seem hard at the moment, but if you give in to his demands your guilt will vanish as your resentment increases.

Try to make notes of why you have made your decisions about him and what you are prepared to do, for example phone or visit him on a regular if infrequent basis.  You could also share ideas on how to manage him with your brother.