My dad is an endless source of frustration for me

Posted by Kara

While I feel a certain loyalty toward him, we don’t have a very good relationship. Whether he sees it the same way, I am not sure. To him, I believe I am still the small eight-year-old girl asking to go swimming with her Barbie dolls. That girl was appeased by toys, clothes and movies. This big girl, while I still long for big-girl toys, clothes and movies, I need much more on an emotional level from him.

Without getting into too many details, seriously there is not enough time in the day to begin this story, I will share a current frustration. He is unreliable. On all accounts. Now I don’t say completely unreliable because at some point, he will usually come through. But that is after a lot of arguing, crying, yelling and drinking. It takes a certain skill in manipulation to get things done.

I have to trick him into believing it was his idea or it will some how benefit him more than me. I learned this at a very young age. Having divorced parents played well to my advantage. If my mom didn’t buy me Barbie’s dream house, my dad sure did. As I grew older, I used this power for good. Eff Barbies! I feel bad that I have to trick my dad into doing what’s right, but then I remember all of the years he didn’t pay my mom child support and I feel less guilty.

Don’t get me wrong….my dad is a good man. He really does have a kind heart. I believe deep down, well, I hope, that he genuinely cares about the people who still choose to be in his life. He’s just…sick. Last year he lost his house because the taxes were not paid on this. Now, I don’t really know whose fault it is. I’m not trying to point blame. I do believe he had an equal part in the loss of the house, but I have since given up arguing about it.

I know how to pick my battles. He has since been living in a tiny one-bedroom apartment with my Aunt Linda who is a hoarder. The dog remains in the kichen since he is yet house broken and nobody has taken the time to train him. I am guilty of this. We’ll focus on that issue another day.

The living arrangements are less than ideal. When he’s not sleeping on the floor in her apartment, he’s staying on a futon with his “girlfriend” in his apartment. What’s what? Why did I call it his apartment? Oh, because it is his apartment. He bought some random woman who he claims to love an apartment. So not only is he paying Linda’s rent (she lost her job), he is paying some other chick’s rent. As somebody who is living pay check to pay check, he sure made a stupid move opting to pay two rents rather than move into a bigger place. But…again…I’m choosing my battles.

He has been seeing a lawyer about getting his house back. It has been up for sale for nearly a year now. I think it’s overpriced. The woman who bought it almost sold it back to my dad. Somewhere in the midst of the legal hub bub, something went wrong and she backed out taking his $20,000 down payment with him.

As if this weren’t bad enough, another aunt died soon after this leaving all of her debts to him. She was a hoarder of a different sort. Instead of keeping four or five sets of dishes, she kept bills. Hidden. In purses. Hidden. In closets. He’s now seeing another lawyer about getting out from under her debt.

Time out. Every so often my dad will call me and we’ll have a conversation that reminds me he is a good person, he does realize what a shitty situation he is in and that he is very miserable. He cries to me on the phone abotu not being happy and how he’s struggling so much. This happens maybe one, twice a year. A couple weeks ago it happened. Until then I hadn’t spoken much to him since he asked me to bail him out of jail back in January (seriously, a whole other story).

So it was difficult to remain detatched because I want so badly to help him straighten out his life. He told me all of the advice I was giving him was right and that he wasn’t going to argue with me (trust me, this is a huge step forward for him). But he didn’t say he was going to take it either, unfortunately.

There are so many things he could do right now, starting today, that would help him lead a better life. It’s very difficult knowing what’s best for your father and watching him spiral even further out of control down a very messy, expensive hole.

Here is why I feel like I am a sucker. He calls me, crying, looking for answers, help and love. I give it to him and hope that he’ll start taking some small steps to fixing things. But does he? No. His lawyer continues to email me looking for him. Just today she writes that she hasn’t heard from him, he’s not returning her calls or emails and it’s important that he calls her. I do what I normally do: call him, tell her to call her and not to make a fool out of me. He does the exact opposite.

I write the lawyer and tell her I got his voicemail and I will try to get a hold of him later. “Is there anything I can tell him for you?” She replies with a small list of VERY SIMPLE things. Obviously it is tax related because she stressed the fact that April 15th is tax day. (Did you pay your taxes?!)

So yet again I am annoyed. All he has to do is sign a few sheets of paper, seal them in the self-stamped envelope and drop them in the mail. He’s not doing it. Because I want him out of this hole, I have volunteered myself to go to his apartment, find the paper work and have him sign it. I told his lawyer I would personally drop it in the mail.

Knowing this is no easy task, I feel a bit overwhelmed. I struggle a lot with guilt and need to not feel so responsible for him. I know that if I do this, I will be faced with so many other problems once I step into that apartment. Problems I’ve worked months to ignore because it’s not my responsibility. I can finally close my eyes in the shower again (don’t ask.)

I don’t know how to watch him continue to fall. How do I just stand back and observe this public suicide? He needs help but he won’t get it because he doesn’t believe he has a problem. I can’t carry him. Yet I continue to do so….

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