I grew up in a very similar situation to what the caller experienced. My mother was diagnosed at the age of 30, I was 7. I am now 45 years old. I remember having to be the caretaker of my mother when I was still very young because my mother’s anger and inability to deal with her disease drove my father away. That being said, there was VERY,VERY little known about the disease at that time (70’s and 80’s) and nobody really knew how to help me suddenly be the parent to my mother – like taking her to the bathroom, instead of the other way around. I too, felt guilty when I grew up and was healthy, and had happiness because my mother couldn’t. I know now it was partly the disease process shredding her brain and taking away parts of her personality and also most of her physicality.
My prayer for the caller is that she can learn NONE of what happened to her father is her fault. She was the CHILD, not the adult. And if she can accept that no matter how sick her father ever was, his wish would have been she find happiness in her life. Part of his anger came from the fact he wouldn’t be able to give her that.
Long time listener and learner,