Follow
Share

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.

Find Care & Housing
Keep going to see your father. But, from now, until he passes, go there wearing a LARGE set of headphones.

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.

Ahhhh. Peace!
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to cxmoody
Report
Orangesky Jul 7, 2022
Great idea, thank you! I might pick a song I already hate, so that way I don't associate other songs with her and her abuse. She will probably ask me to take the headphones off and say she wants to talk to me (about how her life is so hard and how she is doing up the house and what colour carpet do I like?). She makes me sick.
(1)
Report
I think you should tape record your step mothers tirades and play it for everyone at dad's funeral. Just a little payback for her evil ways.

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.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to sp19690
Report
Orangesky Jul 9, 2022
That's a good idea :) I love the term sea hag lol that is exactly what she is.
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
Seems to me that dad who turned a blind eye towards his wife's abusive behavior is now getting the abuse directed toward him. I don't feel any sympathy for him at all. You were once defenseless children and he did nothing.

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.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to sp19690
Report
Orangesky Jul 7, 2022
Yes, you are right. He is such a kind gentle man and she is so loud, mean and selfish. Everything is about her. He is so vulnerable now that I feel I should check on him as I am so worried and he is my Dad and I feel a duty to him. You are right, if I try to defend myself or say anything to her she will definitely block me from seeing him. It is awful having to accept being verbally abused. I am angry at my Dad for putting me in this situation.
(3)
Report
See 1 more reply
Orangesky, I had a similar situation.

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! :-)
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal
Report

Not sure how to edit my original post - but just wanted to say that my father passed away. In the final few weeks of my father's life, I took someone with me when I went to visit him and that seemed to make the stepmother behave herself a bit more (because I had a witness to her abusive behaviour then). It is interesting how she behaved much nicer when there were other people and there were other witnesses to see what she was doing. So this seems to me that she didn't have dementia or other health issues as she was well aware of her horrible abusive behaviour towards both me and my father (and she was able to 'control' her abuse depending on who was around). Disgusting vile woman.

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...
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Orangesky
Report

I agree with cxmoody. Keep visiting dad but wear the biggest set of headphones you can find to drown out the evil stepmothers voice.

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.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to lealonnie1
Report
Orangesky Jul 7, 2022
Thank you. Yes, I like the headphone idea, I'll have to choose the songs very carefully or I will forever hate them as they will remind me of her. She pretends to be a 'Christian' person too and prays all the time in front of me.
(0)
Report
I am very sorry about this mess you are in. Me, if she started on me I would pick up my stuff and leave. I would tell Dad, that you cannot take her abuse and that every time she starts you will leave.

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.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to MeDolly
Report
Orangesky Jul 9, 2022
Yes, he is a weak man (he is gentle and kind) and she saw that from a mile away and took advantage of his gentle nature, but he should have stood up to her years ago. He is my father and I love him and care about him, but I am also angry at him for putting me in this situation (and allowing the abuse) and I feel guilty about being angry at a sick dying man.
(1)
Report
Anyone else thinking of the poster who's 60 y/o father wants to marry his wife's former caregiver, and is apparently already alienating the children?

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.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to CTTN55
Report
Orangesky Jul 8, 2022
Oh no, that sounds like a horrible situation too. I really don't understand these people who want to alienate people's children from their lives. It is so cruel. My stepmother is from Poland. And tells me all the time how she cannot wait to go back to Poland and retire like a queen after she sells my dad's house (she calls it her house, even though it was my childhood home). She is motivated by greed. Yes it is sad my dad made his bed years ago by marrying her but I'm not sure even he knew back then how cruel she would turn out to be.
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
WOW! she is like a child - only into herself. You are blessed she has not locked you out!. You are not there for her but for Dad! Since she is only thinking of herself tell her you would like to relieve her of taking care of Dad for a while. Let her go to the store or take a walk or she can have her spa time now that you are there. Give her a candy, so she can leave you alone with him. Bribe her. Whatever it takes so that these last few times you can visit are peaceful.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Ohwow323
Report

Well, you have painted us a portrait of the stepmom from Hades!
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.
Best wishes.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to AlvaDeer
Report
Orangesky Jul 9, 2022
Yes, my Dad is receiving at home palliative care but they are not very helpful, a nurse visits once a week to check on him and that's about it. I have called up to ask if palliative care can visit him more often. I am very polite and civil to my stepmother. I have never said anything bad to her as I don't want her to block me from visiting. I don't yell at her or comment on anything or do anything wrong as I don't want to create anxiety and conflict for my Dad. But I have had over 20 years of her ongoing nastiness and I've had enough. I tolerate her yelling at me and I nod my head in sympathy when she says how horrible her life is. I am the one who took him to hospital when he was sick (she refused to call the ambulance) and I arranged carers to visit every day (and I pay the money for it). I will continue to be polite and civil, but I will not go out of my way to be nice to her as she is horrific. I've had enough of her repeated ongoing verbal abuse towards me.
(2)
Report
See All Answers
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter