Hello, I am looking for some advice about how to deal with a stepmother who is not nice to my elderly, sick father and who is very abusive towards me. My father married her over 20 years ago (and didn't tell anyone he got married until later). My brother and I were in our early teens, and not told about it or invited to the wedding. I was young then (early teenager) and she threw out my things from my father's house (I used to stay every second weekend at my dad's house). She threw away my bed, clothing and belongings and she moved all her things in. For the last 20 years she has made my life hell and been cruel and nasty at every possible occasion. She calls me unattractive and stupid and every time I go to see my dad she makes nasty comments about me. My dad has done nothing about her verbal abuse towards me which has been very upsetting. I wanted him to stand up for me, which he never did. I am disappointed with him as a father that he married such a witch. I should mention my father is quite well off and has some money, which she told me is the reason she married him as she wants a nice lifestyle. I think my father knows that too. She is also a lot younger than my Dad.
YEARS LATER, my dad is now 79, very sick and receiving palliative care at home. She has told my father he is to put her needs first and his children last. The issue is that she is very nasty to my father and I am witnessing it. She calls him lazy (he is on oxygen and can't walk) and repeatedly tells him that he is a burden to her. I have never heard her say a nice thing about him in over 20 years. She has started throwing out all his things (in front of him) and saying he will die soon and she is cleaning out the house so she can sell it and move back to her home country (good riddance to her), but it is very upsetting to watch. She had the house painted when he was on palliative care (he is on 24/7 oxygen and bed bound) and the painters said it was strange she did this when there was nothing wrong with the paint. She also got all the carpets replaced. She yells at him that he is in the way of her fixing up the house that she is selling (it makes me so angry and sad as it is HIS house).
I go to his house to see him and she abuses me and tells me how horrible her life is and she can't wait for him to die. I don't care about her one bit. BUT I care about my Dad. However, after every visit to see him I end up in tears because of her abuse. I cannot sleep. She tells me I am stupid, lazy and don't do anything properly. She just sent me a rude message telling me she is the most important person as a WIFE and I am to remember that she comes first. It makes me feel sick having any communication or contact with her.
YES, I have reported her to the police and the agencies but they cannot do anything as my father is choosing to stay with her (so please do not suggest that I contact services, as I have done that already with many agencies). Because they cannot find physical abuse, no one will do anything. She has verbally abused him for years telling him he is useless and stupid etc. I want to see and visit him at home, but I don't want to be abused by her. She does not like me visiting him and makes it very clear she doesn't want me to see him. I go to see him for about 30 mins every second day. He is very unwell and on palliative care. He will probably not live for much longer, but I go because I love him. He is my dad and I feel I need to check on him. I have asked social services if he can be moved to a hospice (where I could visit him without seeing her), but my Dad said he doesn't want to go. I want to check on him but I don't want to be abused by her. The choice is; Do I stop visiting my dad as her abuse is too upsetting for me? Sorry if this is long, it is difficult to explain everything. Thank you so much to anyone who can give advice to help me. I'm not sure if I am posting in the right forum. Please help.
You could whisper, “Dad, I don’t like the way your wife speaks to you. I love you, and am going to sit here and hold your hand. I will have my music on, so as to keep my peace. If you want to chat, just hold up a hand, and signal me. I will turn off my music so that I can hear you.”
Every time your Dad’s wife starts to speak, switch those headphones on, until she is out of the room.
Kiss your Dad good bye as you leave, then click your music on, as you march out of there. Then, repeat each time you visit.
And it is very sad that dad is choosing to spend his limited time left on earth in misery by that sea hag he married.
Unless he wants to leave her there is nothing you can do. If you confront her she will block you from seeing him. Dad made his bed and unfortunately this is the result.
This isn't all your stepmom, no doubt she's a first class piece of work but, your dad married her and allowed her to treat his children poorly.
My dad did the same thing and it took me a while to realize that he, my dad, could have put a stop to the nonsense and he chose not to. I believe that he got a sick pleasure out of his wife treating his daughter like competition.
Me, I was alienated by the abusive behavior and lies. Only to be asked for help when she divorced him because he was old and sick.
I had to protect my heart, as you do. He picked her, he enabled her and now he gets what he asked for.
It is really hard to watch our dad being mistreated by his choices but, as I say, karma is no lady, it's a b!+ch.
Try to come to terms with the reality of what is. Most importantly, don't subject yourself to more then you can cope with by visiting to often, do only what you can. Your dad knows you love him but, make sure your presence isn't making it harder on him. My dads thang made it miserable for him when I visited.
Find ways to make a game out of her and her nonsense. I would say things in my head instead of listening to stepmom flapping her gums. You remember how adults sound in Charlie Brown? Wah, wah wah wah, wah wah wah. Translate her words into that. Try to translate her words into pig Latin, make jokes when she starts in, of course, in your head. Try picturing her as different animals, you know like an ant eater or sloth or anything else that can bring a smile to you.
I am so sorry you are losing your dad and the relationship has been so dysfunctional for 2 decades. It's hard to lose the hope that things will change because he dies. Great big warm hug! You can get through this with your heart and head intact.
One thing I want to add. If dad has a will, maybe she doesn't get everything. If he doesn't, you be the 1st one to the court house and open probate. Because the wife doesn't just get everything unless there is a will. That's poetic justice for these people! :-)
Just wanted to mention this in case anyone else is going through a similar situation - take a friend, neighbour, spouse or someone with you everytime you visit, as it might make a difference to the abusive person's behaviour...
This reminds me of what I did while having extensive dental work done in my 30s. I listened to Journey music at full volume thru headphones to drown out the sound of the drill. To this day, every time I hear a Journey song, chills run down my spine, and not in a good way 😣
Don't let the old cow prevent you from spending these last days with your dad. She should rot in hell for eternity for what she's doing.
As for her messages, do not read them, if necessary, block her.
Keep your visits short, do not engage her, cut back on the number of times you visit him, set your boundaries, take back your power.
Since your father does nothing about the abuse to both him & you, it tells you the whole story, she indeed is his priority, he even puts her ahead of himself.
Sad, so many men are so very weak and have their priorities all screwed up.
What country is your stepmother from?
I honestly don't think there is much that you can do. Your father made his bed all those years ago.
You have been dealing with this for many years.
Your Dad married this woman, and from all you say she wasn't worth much from the very beginning, but your Dad chose to stay with her, and not to address her actions toward his own children. You say you have some difficult and complicated feelings about Dad because of this as well.
You are now at the end of the trail.
Am I right? Your Dad is in palliative care.
I am afraid the time for family mediation, family intervention, therapy, etc, is over now.
So here is where you are. Dad has not long to live.
I would try to change my attitude (yes, I am saying LIE if you must), make peace with your stepmom as she is currently the "lioness at the gate" no matter what you feel. As you say, you have already talked to all resources, and they cannot help.
So, swallow hard, take stepmom flowers and candy and commiserate with her all you need to, and keep things as good for Dad as you can in his last days.
The day your Dad is gone, walk away. Just walk away. You are free, and you will be able to pat your own back, tell yourself "GOOD JOB!" and get on with a wonderful life.
We can't change others. You have learned that the hardest way. I am sorry for your grief, for the difficulties of this situation, and I wish you the best. I hope you will update us. I hope Dad gets hospice and gets all the peace and relief at the end you can avail him of.