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Bad daughter?


Registered User
Mar 19, 2005
Dear All

I saw Dad a few weeks ago (I live some distance away so I can't get there often), and I'm so disgusted with myself. For the first time in my life I couldn't look my Dad in the eye when I saw him. I think it was because I can't stand the haunted look in them, but I avoided eye contact with him for the entire day. He's progressing quickly now, and although he's still living on his own (with carers), it won't be for much longer. He's been found wandering at night on at least one occasion, and has had several other unpleasant episodes.

A few days ago I was watching a TV program and suddenly burst into tears (much to my husband's amusement) because a young boy had made a model of his grandad in the garden, and I got upset that my girls will never have a grandad like that.

I hate the fact that 'my Dad' is long gone, and has been replaced by a shell of a man that I pity. I don't want to pity him, but seeing him not be able to go into a toilet by himself makes me want to scream.

I work with dying people on a daily basis, and have no problem communicating with them and their relatives, but my own Dad.................. I just don't know what to say.

There's nothing that anyone can say, I know, but I need to know that I'm not alone here. Someone tell me to pull myself together and stop being so selfish, please!!!



Registered User
Feb 22, 2006
sort of north east ish
MrsP said:
Someone tell me to pull myself together and stop being so selfish, please!!!
sorry Kate, I can't really help with that one!

I think it's very different working with people who have difficulties, and caring for family or friends. Much as we might care for patients or clients, it's not the same shared history with them. Don't be hard on yourself for finding it difficult.

It's really horrid to see someone you love deteriorate like that when there's just nothing you can do about it. It's not selfish to be upset and wish you didn't have to witness it.


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Ok pull yourself together and stop being selfish. Does that feel better? No I didn't think so.

In truth, what you are feeling is perfectly normal - it would be a pretty strange relationship if you DIDN'T feel sad looking at the man your father has become. I mean what's the alternative? Every single aspect of this disease seems custom-built to hit all ones hot buttons: the helplessness, the lack of awareness, all things that you don't associate with the man your father once was. When you take care of dying patients you may have empathy, but you don't have the emotional connection, the history, that you do with your father, and it is probably best for your sanity that you don't. If you were wrong about anything, it was that your career would make it easier to deal with the situation (if indeed you did think that).

When you see a once capable person so totally lost, wanting to scream is a reasonable reaction. What takes real effort is NOT losing it, and I speak as someone who has, on occasion, compeltely lost it. By all means try to achieve eye-contact (and physical contact, because when so many other things are gone, physical contact can be important) but don't beat yourself up about not achieving it. Looking into someone seyes when they have dementia is something I find particularly difficult myself: it's very much a case of the lights are on but nobody's home.

I'm not sure how far along on this journey you are. Some days, some moments will be better, some worse. All you can do is to do as much as you CAN do, and try not to beat yourself up about your perceived failings. The one thing this disease has taught me is: I'm not perfect (shock, horror). It is a salutory experience and one, frankly, I could have done without, but possibly I'm a better person for it. Or possibly not. However, there's not a lot I (or anyone else) can do about it.

Take care


Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Kate, it`s too painful isn`t it, to look your dad in the eye. You know how understanding you are with others, but when it comes to your own, you lose the professionalism as it is so personal.

Don`t be so hard on yourself. Of course you`re not alone.


Registered User
Dec 1, 2006
Hello Kate, it's very different, supporting other people professionally and then trying to do the same for your own parent. It's really really hard because, as Jennifer said, you simply cannot put your emotions in a box and throw the key away.That person is part of your life. Don't beat yourself up, just do whatever you CAN comfortably do and try to get carers to do the rest. It's still your dad there, and he does still need you, if you can hack it, but don't be afraid to step back when you need to, whether to recreate or to forget for a while. Then maybe just hold his hand for a minute the next time you see him because even small things come to mean quite a lot, I reckon. Look after yourself. Love Deborah


Registered User
Jan 4, 2006
Hiya Kate,
As I see it you have a choice (we all have a choice) - to walk away because we cannot stand it and make provision for someone else to do the caring (and I am not talking here about when the time comes for a Nursing Home - that is not walking away) - or to grit our teeth - forget the person that our loved one used to be, and get on with loving the person that they are now. I cope by not looking back - not trying to remember - the time will come in the future when I can do that - mum needs my love where she is now.
So we all make our choice.
Just my way of dealing with it.
Love Helen


Registered User
Jul 2, 2006
Newport, Gwent
Hiya Kate

My mum's Consulant calls AD the long goodbye, very apt isn't it.

Helen is so right when she says to get on with loving the person they are now.

I think a lot of us go through a sort of grieving process for the person who they once were, and that takes time, and just when you have settled down and got used to how things are, there is another change.

Give yourself time, try to focus on the here and now, dont look too far into the future, who knows what that will hold.

Take care.


Registered User
Jun 6, 2007
You are not a "bad daughter" you are a loving daughter who is trying to come to terms with this awful disease. If you are like me some days you will cope better than others.

It is really hard to see the person you love change. I still haven't really come to terms with the changes in John and some days I'm really angry that we have been cheated of our future and all the things we planned. He is no longer the man I feel in love with, but there is still enough of that man left for me to continue loving. Although I'm sure this will get harder as things progress. I just pray I will have the strengh to deal with that.


sue k

Registered User
Jun 26, 2007
warrington cheshire

you're not being selfish at all, youre hurting because you love your dad so much , and it hurts you deeply to see him like this. My dad is a not the dad i grew up and the tables have turned full circle, he needs me to care for him now and hard though i find that , i will be there for him whenever i can , luckily i can get to his care home most days. Never feel guilty for not seeing him as often as you'd like , just treasure those visits as and when you can .

take care and dont be too hard on yourself xx


Registered User
Jun 14, 2007
Hi there,

No you are not a bad daughter, but i know how you feel. I went through the same thing about 2/3 years ago when my mum was at that stage. We got calls during the night saying she was wandering the street etc. It is so upsetting to see someone you love and who is so close going through this. I had a time also where i didn't see mum for a few weeks as she was so difficult to handle and i just couldn't cope for a while. Now i regret pulling away but at the time it made me stronger to cope with what was ahead. Not something i'm proud of but we all cope in different ways. You're right he is not the Dad that you want him to be but treasure all the times you have with him because he is still your Dad underneath it all.

Thinking of you with best wishes.



Registered User
Apr 26, 2006
not a bad daughter never

no one wants to see some one they love in that situation
i wish we could wave a magic wand
i know what you are saying
my hubby is just 60 been ill for years
at times i cant look straight into his eyes he is not there
anymore but thats this illness i am so glad that i can still touch and give him a kiss however much it hurts
not much good
love bel xx