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How To Help Critical Loved Ones

Judie Rappaport
November 10, 2015

Dear Judie,

Dad (85) has congestive heart failure but is mentally clear and in control. We’ve never had a positive relationship or communicated well. Chitchat or watching TV together wasn’t a part of our lifestyle. He’s always been critical; now he’s intolerable. No matter what I do, he criticizes me. When I explain how I feel, he says I’m too sensitive and tells me to toughen up. I cook his meals, wash his clothes, and clean his house to help him remain at home and all he does is criticize me. I’m hurt and exhausted. I want out.

  • Alicia, PSL

Dear Alicia,

Dad’s congestive heart failure and life-long negative behavior will both worsen with time. Protect yourself from this no-win, emotionally harmful situation. Tell Dad you’re sorry you can no longer help him, but you’ll help him hire a caregiver/housekeeper to replace you. When he criticizes you for leaving, say; “I’m sorry you feel that way, I’m doing the best I can,” hand him the phone numbers of a Home Care Agency that offers homemakers/companions and a restaurant that delivers, then walk out the door. Stop by daily to check on Dad; make the same offer, but do not cook, wash, or clean during your visits. Dad will eventually get the message. Continue protecting yourself; seek counseling for help coping lifelong toxic behavior.


Judie Rappaport, President & Founder
Preferred Lifestyle Services

Trust Yourself. You Have the Knowledge, Insight,
and Power to make the right decisions for you and your parent. ©


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