Family Divisions

I’m trying not to reveal to much because I haven’t worked out how to change my name into something more anonymous as I have a lot to say. So I’ll say what I think I can.

In about three months time it will be one year to the day that my Mother died.

This year we (me, my brother, my sister and our father) should’ve been spending some time together. Maybe inviting friends but instead there are (sadly understandable) divisions or ostrich head sand burying.

The biggest division is between father and daughter and he has upset her so much by what he has said that her therapist has insisted she puts up boundaries. Our brother has his own life (he’s the only one that has a family) but what that means I’m the only family member our father sees. I’m the classic middle aged man living with his parents but now I’m briefly staying at a friend of my sisters who is aware how tense things are. When I’m with my father he feels like a dad-weight.

I’m trying to get Dad to consider therapy but his doctor is Dr Carlsberg with his Special Brew medication. Everyone asks me how he is. Why can’t they just turn up at the house? Oh no. They have to ask for his permission and they’ll get fobbed off with delays or cancellations. I’ve had various emails from my Godparents wanting to visit us but I can’t say yes and set a date. Oh no. Dad has to be in charge. Kick kick kick kick kicking that can down the road. He tells me he’s emailed them but I wonder if he’s lying to placate me.

Is this kind of division common? How do people resolve it.? My sister once wrote, “I know you want the ideal family all jolly.” That hurt.

Wish I could tell more. I want my Mum.


Sorry for the loss of your mum. I’m probably not the best person to be answering this as my family are pretty bloody useless. My mum is 87, my dad died 2 years ago and my brothers are selfish arseh&les. I’m basically coping with my husband dying soon at 43 years old, two young kids and no family support. It hurts…
Anyway, looking at your situation (as I see it) everyone is grieving in their own way and there really is little you can do about that. You can recommend things like counselling but it’s up to your dad to accept it (if he’s anything like my mum that just won’t happen).
All you can actually do is concentrate on yourself; your life, your friends (if they’ve stuck around long enough) and finding a way to get through it all. Be there for your family if they need you, but concentrate mainly on you now.
Hope that makes sense, as I said I maybe not the best one to give advice with my shambles of a life right now.


Hi , I feel for you we had a similar situation with our dad many years ago. He said things like “it’s alright for you, you’ve only lost your mum. I’ve lost my wife. At the time we were all upset with him, he ruined a family holiday and many family occasions. He seemed to be wallowing in it and just making everyone elses life miserable. Fast forward 30 years and I find myself in his situation recently losing my husband and I have to say I understand how he felt. It is so hard when you find yourself on your own without the person that kept you grounded and made you feel safe and secure and it must be especially hard for men like my dad who didn’t even realise how it feels to be vulnerable and he was totally overwhelmed by grief to the point where he excluded us all. To be honest he was always “hard work” but he did get better over the years and we healed the rift and hopefully your dad will too.

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Thank you both of you for these comments. I do have a mixture of crossness, pity and sympathy for him. With my whole heart I hope things will heal but when he does things like constantly invite Mum’s carer over months after she’s died (I don’t know what is happening but I do see several bottles of empty pink prosecco under the kitchen sink from time to time) and even have her sleep over in Mum’s bed whilst he sleeps in my sister’s old bed because (apparently) some cowboy plumbers ruined her kitchen and house and verbally abuse my sister at work because I met her friend calling her a nasty evil woman and not his daughter and probably never was he’s not making it easy for himself or everyone else.

But I also know he’s hurting. He’s an ordained minister who still uses his Reverend title but has completely lost interest in his calling. He spends his time watching UFO and Ancient Aliens. No bad thing. He said, "This’ll mean trouble for religion " 23 years ago his parents died within days of each other. And as a result he spent a lot of time writing to angels. So a complete change there and not one I am going to judge. My sister (who has a strong Christian faith) believes it was false in the first place. I asked Dad did he expect God to cure Mum of Alzheimer’s. He said yes.

At worse he has a temper that I call “self-righteous anger”. We have got used to these blow up one moment and then calm the next or act as if it did not happen but other people are not used to it. He’s frightened and alienated friends, doctors, carers, nurses and even Sue Ryder palliative carers. He even exploded on the day Mum died and because of that we did not get a Sue Ryder nurse to sit overnight. They were that frightened. Luckily my Mum passed away in the company of my sister who guided her as the music of Bryn Terfel played.

I don’t see people as either good or bad. In my early years of my relationship with my partner in the early years it dawned on me that she will die one day and it became too much to think about.

Thank you both. I have great sympathy for and at many points empathy with what you have told me.

Thinking of you both and sending you love.


I lost my husband 16 weeks ago (aged 52 suddenly abroad, 11, 19, and 22 year old still all at home) and he’s behaviour is similar to mine. I say I’ll arrange for someone to come but I don’t because I don’t want to see anyone. I don’t want people just turning up if I’m having a bad day. And yes had the medication prescribed too. I have family members avoiding me like the plague don’t think anybody knows what to say or do.

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