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Struggling with my dad

I don't even know where to begin with this. I am convinced that my had has BPD, I'm not scared of it, I'm just so lost at what to do anymore.

My dad was secretly raped and used by an older boy and girl for quite some time when he was young. He started drinking, smoking and using drugs when he was 13, and dealing not too long after. He had long hair and was apparently really attractive, and this led to being teased about being a also lead to him dressing up as a woman and going out on dates, and eventually that turned into some really fucked up prostitution. His parents separated, his dad was an angry man and would throw things at my dad and his older brother if they didn't do what he said or asked. My uncle and dad lived with their mum, my dad always had a bad relationship with his dad. 

Fast forward to his 20s, he moved to a country town where he met my mum, they met and we're married in three months. They had my older brother, myself, and my two younger brothers. They we're not-so-happily married for 19 years. We had started a business, and if we hadn't started out with too much debt, we would have been fine, but alas. The financial pressure got too much and we ended up having to sell the business. Unknown to mum and the rest of us, dad had picked up prostitution and drug dealing for a little bit of cash on the side. He was also living a completely different life, in another town with another woman, they had their own friends and would have bbqs. His reason for going out there was that he had a contracted job out there. Whether that is true or not I have no idea. I met this woman he was seeing once, and I could not believe that she had the audacity to show her face. I swore, at 14, that if I ever saw her face again it wouldn't end very nicely. Luckily, I have never seen her since that day. 

They have been divorced for about 3 years now and it has been a messy one. There is so much to the situation. My older brother and my dad don't really have a relationship anymore, they won't talk to each other. I've been the only one able to maintain an ok relationship with him. He would rant at us kids and once he started, I would tell the boys to go do something else becuase I didn't want them to hear it. To be honest, I don't know if half of what hes saying is true. He is a house painter and he spends a lot of time on his own, thinking. And I know for a fact that what he believes to be a reality more often than not isn't the case. 

I know that how he is behaving and acting isn't who he actually is, I wish my little brothers could see it. I was talking to my mum about dad, and she was saying that about 10 years ago, mum was in the same position as me...trying to figure out whats wrong. She spoke to a lady who specifically dealt with mental illnesses and she said that from her professional opinion (10 years ago) dad had BPD, she said that if he didn't have constant therepy or help it could develope into other mental illnesses. And that was 10 years ago. Talking to mum lead me to doing some research into BPD, and dad ticks most if not all of the boxes. 

I want to help my dad, I want him to be free and happy, but I don't know how to help him. My brothers and I have gotten 2 very long texts in the last 2 days, the first one went though all of us telling how we had hurt him and abadoned him in some way, the second one saying how its all our mothers fault that we don't see him, and again how we've abandoned him, that we're ashamed of him. He said that if we didn't reply, he'd "quietly disappear" from our lives and we'd "be free". 


I am 18 years old, my little brothers are 16 and 14. I'm sick of being mentally and emotionally fucked around. I'm sick of being the adult in the situation, and the glue trying to hold everyone together. I’m sick of hurting and being hurt and watching the same happen to my younger brothers. I'm sick of not having a father. Last year, one of my closest friends died and at the time I needed him most, he gave me a beer at 9am, and told me 2 or 3 weeks later that he couldn't go on and wanted to top himself. What father does that?! I cannot handle it anymore. My 16 year old brother refuses to see or talk to my dad. My 14 year old brother feels hes the one being abandoned, he feels like dad doesn't even like him. And my older brother, well, he's only just warming up to the idea that he doesn't hate dad. In my brothers books, if you hate someone, you'd happily watch them die...he doesn't take the word 'hate' lightly, so for him to say he doesn't hate dad is a big call. 

I know that I can't make anyone happy, and I've managed to get dad to understand that we cannot be happy for him or make him happy. I've been trying to tell him he needs to do things for himself. 


I'm getting desperate. I have no idea what is going to help him, so if you have any advice, I'm all ears.


Re: Struggling with my dad

Hi @Anon 

When I read your post and found out your age, I was shocked to hear that you're 18 years old. You sound years older caring for your father and family,  holding things together. I can see why you're feeling tired of it.

Is your dad open to seeking to treatment?  Or can he see how his behaviour might be problematic? It can be stressful and difficult if does not.  The thing is if he is not interesested in seeking help, no one can force him.

It's great that you want to help him, and have stood by him throughout this. You sound incredibly patient. Have you considered getting support for yourself? If he is unwillng to get support for himself, it doesn't mean that you can't. This is not to say that there anything is wrong with you (there is no right or wrong in matters like these), it's more that if your father is not willing to make some changes, then some type of change needs to come from somewhere to improve the situation. Otherwise, if no changes are made, it is likely that things will keep on going the way they are.

There are a couple of members on here who also care for their adult parents @Jes_riot wrote this post 'I am not my mother's parent' and @Jane1 wrote this post about caring about caring for their parent. You might want to look at this posts and contribute to them.

A support service that you might be interested in COPMI. They provide support to people who have grown up with parents who have a MI. They also have some great resources on their website. Reach Out also provides support to young adults (up to 25). They also have a Forum if you want to speak to other people closer to your age, but of course you're also welcome here too. Smiley Happy


Re: Struggling with my dad

Hey @CherryBomb 

My dad went through a lot of counselling sessions, and tried many many different things about 10 years ago, but it wasn't because he wanted to. In his perspective he was forced to, but my mum said she didn't force him. To say the least, he isn't keen on seeking treatment. Although, he has been seeing a rehab councellor and seemed to be doing well with that. But I don't know if he's still going to that. As far as I'm aware, with this sort of thing regular therepy is needed. I don't wanna be like "Dad you need help" coz I know he won't respond well to that.

I'm very aware that you can't tell someone who isn't listening nor can you help someone who doesn't want help. 

I haven't really considered getting support for myself. I haven't really seen it as a necessary thing to do. I have a few very close friends, one of whom has been an incredible support. He's been through an awful lot and is incredibly wise and well thought out. 


In the last 24 hours, my brothers and I have gotten 2 massive texts. The first one he went through one by one, telling us where (in his mind) we went wrong, and where we've 'abandoned' him. The second one was him saying how my mum is to blame for everything and that its because of her this has all happened. 

The biggest thing we all struggle with is that he refuses to let go of the past. He will always talk to us about how hes been mistreated, how he's the victim. He'll say disgusting things about my mum and her family and its stuff that not only damages our relationships with them, it damages our relationship with dad too. 

So anyway, after texting back and forth today, I feel like we've finally gotten somewhere. I didn't react to the things he said I knew weren't true, and I didn't bother pulling him up when he condraditcted himself.  He said that all hes ever wanted to do was explain the differences (which he has done more than enough), and the only way he knows how to do that is through his life experience so that we could see what was happening to him, and in his view still is. He said he wanted us to see the manipulation he gets (also believes we get manipulated too). He went on to say "i guess we'll call this quits then. If you ever feel my experience in life can help you navagate yours, then feel free to ask". I've been trying to get this kind of response in 2 1/2 nearly 3 years. 


Thank you for your help CB. And thank you for the links to other pages. I'll check out the more youthy ones, but in all honesty, I appreciate more experienced and mature advice. That being said, I'm a firm believer that you can learn something from everyone. 


Thanks again. 


Re: Struggling with my dad


You're more than welcome to stick around here too as much as you.

I'm glad to hear that you made some progress with your father today. One thing I forgot to mention is that it might be helpful to sit down with your other family members to form a plan together. This way, no one has to deal with it on their own. Though it sounds like you and your family do this.

It's really great to hear that you have support. It's so important. Often people can focus on caring for their loved, they forget to care for themselves. So remember self-care. If you do decide you want support or information, another service I forgot to metion yesterday is ARAFMI. The specifically provide support to family and friends of people affected by MI. One of our moderators, @Hobbit  works there. So might be able to point out some resoruces.

Keep in touch, and let us know how you go @Anon 


Re: Struggling with my dad

Hi @Anon ,

Sorry to hear how tough things have been at home. From personal experience I know how hard it is, especially when you have younger siblings that you become reponsible for.

I would like to reiterate @CherryBomb 's suggestion about talking to someone yourself. The best thing I ever did to help and support my Mum with her MI was to go and talk to someone myself. I couldn't do it without the support from my friends and younger siblings (& the SANE forum) and really value their ongoing support, but by going to talk to a trained professional I found I was able to get some really good advice of handling Mum's epiosodes and talk through some of my nasty things she says (ie. threatening to take her own life). For me being able to workshop strategies for responding to Mum's episodes as well as how to maintain a good relationship with the rest of my family with someone who is trainned to do so has been invaluble.

Seeing a consellor doesn't mean that you are a weak person, it means that you are strong enough to realise that there are other people that skilled and equipped to offer professional advice for dealing with really complex situations.

If $$ is a factor, I went and saw my GP first and then got referred to a consellor, that meant my session were bulk billed and became very affordable. (I applied for my own medicare card too so my Mum didn't know).

All the best

Re: Struggling with my dad

Hey @Anon 


Thank you for your sharing your situation with your father. I to am in a similiar situation with my mother and i know it feels like sometimes when you are powerless and frustrated. The biggest thing i can say is that having information and people to talk to about whats happening with your dad is very important. 

For along time i thought i was along in this fight of mental illness with my mother but the more i talked about it with doctors / family / online forums such as this. has given me hope that people do care and are willing to help when the sick person is unwilling to help themselves. 

there is alot of different options out there for help and not all work it depends on the indivdual. i have found talking with my mother on past events that may or have may not triggered her mental state currrently have helped. by telling her it wasnt her fault or assuring her it was the right thing to do i have noticed change. not massive change but enough to make a difference. 

We have also found success in Meditation and yoga to help slow the brain down etc. this may be not helpful in your situation but it helps for us.

the other biggest thing is having your own support is crucial. im lucky i have a very supportive wife and uncle who have been my rocks. 

never lose hope even when it is the darkest there is always light ahead. Always.

Good luck






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