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A daughter's role (long)

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I am struggling big time today, so I thought I would ask you guys for help.

I have mentioned before that mom and stepdad fight, always have and always will. I have accepted that it is normal for them, however...

I am sick of him treating her like a piece of crap. My mom has changed so much since cancer. She is more forgiving, loving, accepting. Stepdad is more angry than ever and if you think you have ever met an angry person, he is it. He has no patience and thinks the world revolves around how he thinks things should be. He yells and cusses at us, strangers, whoever is in his way.

While mom was in the hospital, she said she needed a joging outfit that fits her. Mind you, she has put on 50+ pounds since starting decadron. Nothing fits her, so I offered to run out and get her a few 10 dollar jogging suits and asked her what color. Later that day, stepdad went off on me about how from now on, EVERYTHING needed to go through him and how he was sick of me offering "Mom, I'll get that for you" because he controls their money. He is yelling at me the whole time. I agreed and have honestly ever since been pretty distant from him and even dread going to their house most days.

Over the weekend, she wanted to go shopping for a few Christmas presents. In my mind, I think it is wonderful bc she is able to scoot down the stairs and get herself into the wheelchair and more than anything, she has the desire to go out! Stepdad told her no, period. I am not sure if it was because of the hassle or money. She told me about it through her tears and so I offered to take her out. She said no bc he would get mad and I knew she was right (I have never told her about how everything must go through him now bc she would probably punch him).

This morning, she told me through more tears that he called her an ungrateful witch yesterday bc she wants to buy a couch bc theirs is broken and my family has offered to have Christmas Eve at their house so she would be comfortable. Me and my aunts are cleaning, cooking, decorating, etc.

Mom said she has not had a bath in over a week, partly bc she did not feel like it, partly bc she does not want to ask him to help her. I have mentioned that their insurance may get someone in to help, but he just rolls his eyes, as if I am overstepping my ground!

Stepdad has 2 kids who have been over to see them like once in 4 months and my brother helps, but he is 20, in school, working, they pay for everything for him-still. He is in and out, so it not really a respite bc he always acts like it is such a hassle.

I work Mon-Fri 10-2, have 2 kids, a MIL who lives here, go to mom's from 2-4 or 5 nearly every day (last week only once bc I was so darn busy). today, I am off and taking Graden, my 5 year old over to hang out with nana while I clean all day.

I guess I feel like I have earned his respect and when I speak up, it's bc I have something to add.

I complied with everything running through him, but I am not sure I can continue. I have mom at my houe this weekend so he can get a much needed break (a poker party!) I told her we could go shopping then, put up my tree, be joyous.

I do understand that he has to be financially secure once she is gone, but right now she has 1000.00 disability from her job a month, he has SSI (he is 62), a large 401k and my brother has a trust set aside for him.

It is not really my business, until he doesn't allow her to get a few jogging outfits or buy Christmas gifts. Come on, get real.

Finally, one other thing she said this morning was, I know that no one is coming around bc of him. he makes everything miserable. Guess what? She is right! I have talked to both of my uncles who are very Christian men and they went on and on about how impatient, almost abusive, he is to her and everyone else.

What am I to do? Forsake my mother when she is so ill to make peace with him or go behind his request to make my mom's life as happy as possible?

Such a quandry, help!!

Don, I was hoping you would have some honest opinions...

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Lori...this is a really tough situation to be in and I'm so sorry that you're caught in the middle. Sometimes, women just "accept" this kind of treatment, rather than make any more trouble or problems. I just think it is terrible that your SF is so very inconsiderate of your mother right now. Apparently, this is more than his method of dealing with the pain of his wife's cancer, as you say he's like this all the time. IF I were your mother, I would take some serious steps to get away from this treatment. How can she possibly be positive and concentrate on getting better if she is constantly put in a bad situation by her husband. He should be loving and supportive of her right now and encouraging her to do some things that make her happy. Of course, maybe the stress of getting out would be harder on your mom right now that dealing with all of this is. I am just heartbroken that you are in this situation. Can you ask your mom if she would like to spend the holidays with you? If she says yes, what would your SF have to say? Honey, I don't have any good answerw but I can tell you that I am praying very hard for both you and your mom. I'm also asking God to have a long talk with your SF.

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Lori, you can not desert your Mother. Is there anyway you can get your SF alone and talk to him about how important your Mother is to you and all you want to do is to help him take care of her. She needs you very much now and maybe if talking to him doesn't work you need to do some semi-deceitful things to make sure your Mother has what she needs.

This is really tough for you and my first reaction was to bop the guy. Good luck, I'll say a prayer that the situation changes.

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I'm sorry you are going though this! Is there anyway you can tell your Mom what's really going on?

I would just keep doing all of the things you want to do for her and tell Step Dad that's just the way it's gonna be! If she wants to go shopping, then take her shopping. If he doesn't want any part of it, fine. Tell him she really wants to goShe's been your Mom longer than he's been her husband. I know that's kind of harse but to bad.

Hang in there


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this sucks, Lori. he sounds like he's just TERRIFIED of the whole thing, but it doesn't mean he can be obnoxious to you. I definately you should find a low-pressure moment to speak to him, maybe there is a middle ground for you two.

I'm so sorry you have this to handle, on top of everything else.



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Visions of 2 x 4's are dancing in my head :roll: .

Anger can be a major component of depression. Maybe (from a safe distance) you could suggest to you SF that he should see his dr. so he can better cope with the situation. Explain that his anger is making it hard for your mother to take care of herself because it's so stressful for her.

Not excusing his behavior at all. Like I said, my first thought was to adjust his attitude with lumber. :twisted: .

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You are such a devoted daughter to Mom. You keep up doing whatever she wants to do - go shopping, decorating, laughing as much as possible. Try to keep her spirits up. Maybe have her stay over with you for a few days on the weekend (bath/spa time) and let her really have a break from this man. Sorry, I just feel he's being really unfair to her, after all she's been thru. God bless you.


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Thanks everyone for responding and caring.

Well, after a 9 hour visit today, I think mom is feeling a little back to normal. She cried and let it out several times, how he hurts her, how good it feels to talk about it, etc.

She spent precious time with Graden, talking and coloring. We even played a game of Yahtzee (that took a whole lot of begging, but she did it despite being very tired).

Stepdad was nice to me today. He was gone off and on doing errands most of the day.

Mom asked him to get a handrail for their staircase and it was another "God, aren't you ever satisfied look" from him, so when he was on his way out today, I asked him about getting a handrail and he was so mad, slammed the door, etc. But when he came home, he was better and said he had someone coming over tomorrow to measure for the handrail. I am relieved about that bc once she starts HBO on a few weeks, they will have to go up and down one a day for 2 months. Right now, she comes down like once every 2 weeks.

Thanks for the support, it definitely gives me a feeling of comfort to know that what I am inclined to do (make her happy) is what you guys would do/are doing.

As for now, we are planning on shopping and putting up my tree on Saturday. Fingers crossed she is feeling well and that stepdad does not hide the check card. Sorry, that was mean (but possible).

And no, I would not tell her that stepdad has me running everything through him and a divorce would not be something she could handle. Knowing that, I think I am inspired to go back to my old self, being there for HER every step of the way. She has always been here for me. I welcome my turn.

Please say a prayer that all of this grief he is giving her does not adversely affect her health. Unfortunately, we all know it does, so please pray hard.


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HI Lori,

I have no answer for you but to keep doing what you are doing. She is your mom and she needs you. I know you cannot have your mom with you too long as you have your MIL living with you, but a couple of days with peace and quiet would be good for both of you.

I hate to say what I feel like doing to him :evil:

Your mom needs reinforcement and encouragement that she will be alright, not what she is going through because of him. It hard to stay positive when you are walking on eggs.

Just be there, like you are. You are a wonderful daughter and she needs you with her as much as you can.

Take care, I know this is a heavy burden on your little shoulders, with a familiy to also look after. I am just concered about her mental state. She has to keep a positive attitude. That means so much toward her getting well and beating this thing.

You also have to take time to give yourself a break now and then. You need Lori time.

I wish there was some way you can talk to him about how he is affecting everybody. But that would probably only make him more angry. :twisted:

I will be sending prayers to you and your mom.. for some peace of mind, and for him to be more considerate and understanding.

I am sorry to hear you and your mom are dealing with this negative force.


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OK, I apparently need more help. I called mom this morning and she was balling bc my brother and SF are ganging up on her again. She is apparently "mean to them and they never do anything right."

I called my brother and told him that whatever it took to make her happy, do it and if he thinks she is being mean, oh well, get over it. I explained that the steroids are evil on the patient and that if she chose to forego them bc of how horrible they make her feel emotionally, she would probably die. Maybe he will get it and it will rub off on SF. It all started last night when she asked brother to take her to the bathroom. He did his usual moaning and groaning bc the game was on. She is devastated again.

I am calling a family meeting tonight.

What would you say to them?

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I, personally, would start by acknowledging how hard this is on all of you, that you're all scared and tired of your mom's illness having such a central role in your lives.

then I would say something about harmony being more beneficial to your mom that the specifics of what you, or your SF or your bro would have for her and that that should be the priority.

maybe you could show them some of what people have said here, since it's more neutral? do you have someone who is neutral, a cousin or friend of the family who might act as a supporter and mediator? so hard, hon. I'm sorry for all this.

on another note, your pictures were great - what a handsome boy!!!



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please know how precious you are to us.

This is so hard for you and so unfair to your mom.


I want to remind you of a loving post you sent to me in Sept................you said in that post

"thank God for my Step Dad", when you were helping me understand that I was not alone stressing as a caregiver.

I wonder if the stress of this whole thing is just getting the best of some very good people.

The situation is bad, not the people.

??????? Just a thought.

I only want to tell you that we are praying our butts off for all of you and hoping that your family meeting can bring some peace to your mom's household.

You are a very special young woman and my hat's off to you.

Lots of love and support.

Pat and Brian sends a big hug.

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Thanks for the huge effort Katie, if only I could memorize all of that, but maybe a simple print and read and pretend it's from me..

As of last night, mom wants brother to move out and I told her that is not a solution. She won't even hear me about that, but I asked her to zone in on his faults, like a lack of compassion and that we make it our goal to help him learn that very valuable life lesson. In the meantime, Sf says if he moves, so is SF. he called me later to say he would never leave my mother. He did open up about his anger and it was a very sweet moment when he said he is so angry bc this was not what he wanted for his retirement. I said, let's take her to Vegas, i am not sure she could even do it, but she did Elton John, while in the hospital!! He just smirked, like the cost would be too great. I'll keep working on him about creating some joyous moments.

I told mom she has to let go of her anger toward brother bc in my mind, it is a choice, focus on her wellness or anger. Maybe I am wrong and I should just support her, but it is miserable at their house.

Thanks again everyone. I love you. Somedays this place saves my life, not just my mom's.

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I can really relate to what you are going through. My SF was the one that was sick, and my mom was the caregiver, and he still treated her horrible. A lot of it was his frustration because he couldn't do the things he used to do. He hated depending on her for everything. And he hated the fact that she now had to control the money. My family hated going down there to visit because he was so mean. But we knew that we had to stick by my Mom and give her all the support we could.

You are doing a great job. Your Mom really needs you and you have been there for her. Just ignore him. I learned over the years to ignore my SF, and when he said something I didn't like, I would just walk out of the room. You don't know how many times I wanted to lash out at him, but I knew it would just make my Mom more miserable.

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Hang in there I have a feeling things will get better around your moms house.

Where would your brother go? I know he is in college. He really has so much growing up to do yet. Some are more mature and some need time. I pray that he realizes how sick you mom is and comes around to help her before it is too late.

By the way, I love the pictures you posted under Katie's Just for fun. I especially like the one of you, your mom and your adorable little boy. That looked like such a fun time.

Take care and I am thinking of you. Great chatting with you in the chat room last night.

Maryanne :wink:

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Lori -

I certainly can't add much to what KatieB said! Yet, you are in my prayers; I am so sorry that you have to deal with all of this at once. You are a fantastic daughter, and your stepdad's behavior makes me want to knock the crap out of him. I am sure there are reasons for it (and one NOT being that he doesn't care about your mom.) My dad and I do everything for my mom, and many days I just have to remind myself that she would do the same for me. One thing that has helped us is a schedule...we know what hours are "ours" to help her....and which hours provide a break. Sometimes it is the constant need for stuff that gets to me...just having a break to watch a dumb TV show helps.

Do you have neighbors or any friends who could help and stay with her a few ours a day...and then send your stepfather away for that time period or to another area of the house when they are there?

You are there for your mom -- you have to keep doing what you are doing as I am sure you are one of the main factors keep her going. Yet, give yourelf a break somehow, someway.

All my love...and intense prayers for you.


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