Posted by: Liza | 2009-07-16


My dad fainted again. He' s been discharged from hospital, but he just can' t manage to live in the retirement village where he is currently anymore. His flat is a complete mess, he never remembers to take his medication and that causes him to faint regularly.

My aunt (dads'  sister) is pressuring me into getting him into an old age home with frail care. I really don' t mind taking care of it, but I told her that she would have to drive me around if needed since I don' t have a car. She' s very pushy and I have a difficult time ensuring that she knows that there are boundaries for acceptable expectations when dealing with me. I' m quite sure that she' s going to expect me to pay for the old age home - which I definitely cannot do. She fully expects me to do what the rest of the family refuse to do.

In the past she' s put so much pressure on me that I landed up in hospital with severe depression. Then she had the utter gall to call me (while I was in hospital) and yell at me because I wasn' t doing anything for my dad. This after I had ensured my dad would have a home when he was released from the public psychiatric hospital. She still wasn' t happy that I didn' t have him released immediately. I even tried to explain to her that I couldn' t have him released before a full assessment was done since he had assaulted someone in a demented rage and there were legal ramifications. Besides that doing this from my hospital bed was costing me a fortune in cell phone bills.

How do I make her understand that putting pressure on me isn' t going to have a positive effect with my bipolar?

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Our expert says:
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Caring for someone you love when they come to need more intensive caring, can be a burden in many ways, emotionally and financially, even though you may not begrudge it. When there are other family members who ought to share these burdens, it's especially galling to have them all assume that you will do everything needed. Maybe you need a family conference, to discuss what's needed and how they will all share the burdens involved.
And she obviously has to recognize that driving you into a depression, let alone into hospital is of no possible benefit to your father or indeed to herself.
One understands her potential anxiety that your dad needs help, but why does she see her role as limited to shouting at you ? So, back to your eventual qustion --- how does one ensure that she understands this ? well, given that there's none so blind as them who Will Not See, if she won't listen calmly while you calmly discuss this ( maybe easier if there is no immediate emergency at hand ) maybe you could write her a letter calmly outlining the problem and the dimensions of a necessary solution ( including her active assistance ).

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