How do you cope with a dying parent?

Postby Sunnyunited » Fri Jan 24, 2020 9:47 pm

As I have now reached a point where I don't know what else to do in order to help somebody I love, I do what everyone in the 21st century does.
Seek help from the internet.

Leaving out some details, let's just say our mom took care of us our whole life as a single parent, while our father really didn't give a damn. As an agressive alcoholic who would constantly beat our mother, there wasn't a lot to do for her but leave him and raise us on her own, doing the best she could. He never cared, never sent a letter, let alone money and we despised him our whole childhood long for not fulfilling his "duties" as a father. I grew up telling all my friends that my father died a long time ago just so I wouldn't have to talk about him.

As time passed, we got the call that he's got a severe disease and probably only one year to live. While the shock was bearable for me (as I considered him dead since I was a child), my brother totally flipped.
He is unrecognizable since the diagnosis, full of temper, telling my mom she did a bad job raising him, insulting her, being extremly aggressive just like a totally different person. You can hardly talk to him without having him tear up or being completely irrational. What I do understand is him explaining, that having on of your parents die is just as telling you, that you are next. I somehow get that it might be a "quarter life crisis" for him but I just don't understand how you can grieve for such an evil person.

What angers me most is the fact that he tries to make him a better person than he was, claiming he loved us but couldn't show it, that we should have kept in touch with him, the list goes on and on. It is mostly things that simply couldn't have been prevented because of my father's persona.

The situation stresses me a lot. Not only is he hurting my mother and me he is also wasting his precious youth doing nothing but grieve for a man who isn't even dead yet, trying to undo things that lay in the past for decades almost.
Talking to our father is not an option.

Is there anyony who has had a similiar situation or could give me some advice in this awful time. It would be very much appreciated and I thank you for reading all of this!
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:59 pm

Sunnyunited wrote:...my brother totally flipped.
He is unrecognizable since the diagnosis, full of temper, telling my mom she did a bad job raising him, insulting her, being extremly aggressive just like a totally different person....but I just don't understand how you can grieve for such an evil person.

What angers me most is the fact that he tries to make him a better person than he was, claiming he loved us but couldn't show it, that we should have kept in touch with him, the list goes on and on. It is mostly things that simply couldn't have been prevented because of my father's persona.

The situation stresses me a lot. Not only is he hurting my mother and me he is also wasting his precious youth doing nothing but grieve for a man
...Talking to our father is not an option.


So the issue is more about how you must cope with your brother.

It sounds like he is angry because he doesn't believe you or his mother. He doesn't believe that this man was/is as evil as you believe. Why?

In a previous line of work I dealt with significant numbers of divorced parents and most often it was single mothers. There was a common thread that seemed to make a difference in how the kids responded to not having a father. When the mother painted the father as all negative, nothing but evil, it tended to eventually backfire.

Now it might have been true that the father was a deadbeat jerk with no redeeming qualities, but that didn't really matter. All that mattered is how the mother talked about the father. That was a critical difference.

Another thing I noticed, in line with the first, is when the father was used selectively to blame for a particular event or outcome. When mothers would say, "If your father paid child support then you could have gone to the school you wanted, but he's a deadbeat," that would eventually backfire. Again, it didn't matter if it was true. Maybe the father was a deadbeat, but the kid would only buy so much of that.

My advice is to try and understand better why he believes his father was not such a bad guy. He obviously is seeing things differently than you. Don't try to prove him wrong, even if you believe he is wrong. Try to understand why he blames your mother. He has a different perspective than you and that is key here. Why does he have the different perspective?

Any idea?
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#2

Postby Sunnyunited » Sat Jan 25, 2020 12:16 pm

Thank you for your reply I really appreciate it!
Is there such thing as Stockholm syndrome where you tend to sympathize with someone who did you wrong rather than kept you hostage? I think wanting the love and affection he never got from him is the keypoint and now he is realizing it's getting to late. I'm not a psychologist though, who knows what's going on in peoples heads.

You've helped me a lot understanding the matter!
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#3

Postby Candid » Sun Jan 26, 2020 8:50 am

Sunnyunited wrote:Is there anyony who has had a similiar situation or could give me some advice in this awful time.


What sort of advice were you looking for, Sunny?

There's nothing you can do about your brother's relationships with each of his parents. Nor is there any Stockholm Syndrome-equivalent relating to a person who somehow "did you wrong" merely by staying away.

Obviously it's possible your brother has had contact with your father that you don't know about, and which has given him another perspective on what went on back there. For instance, you can't possibly be certain that "He never cared, never sent a letter, let alone money" -- only that "we despised him our whole childhood long". All of this follows from your mother's version of events.

Maybe if you actually listen to your brother, you'll have a better idea of why he feels the way he does.
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