How can I help my family/dad?

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Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/5/2010 11:14 PM (GMT -6)   
I hope someone can offer me good advice.

I am 24 years old. I moved home after I was laid off from my job out of state. It took me about a month to get another job, so I am trying to save some money again before I move out. However, a big reason I went out of state was because of the condition of my family. Now returning, I see it really has not changed, and I need to figure out what to do to help myself, and my family.

The issue is my father. A lot of the family drama is based around him. Ever since I was a kid, him and my mother have been screaming and fighting non stop. I have an 18 year old brother, and I used to take him out of the house when they got at it. When I was in fourth grade, I found detailed emails and chats towards random women and ****. My dad didn't really stop with it until I was in 9th or 10th grade. It was tolerable at the time because he had a great job and was very talented at musical theatre.

My grandfather died when I was 18 and my grandmother died a few months ago (both his parents). Between the two deaths, he slowly regressed. No more musical theatre, and due to budget cuts, he took a less important job (cubicle) in his company. He also began seeing a psychiatrist, but acts zonked out since he takes so many drugs. Now, he takes days off of work (and uses FMLA to account for them), and watches tv all day. On the weekends, all he does is sit in his spot on the couch and watch TV. Today, it accounted for seven hours. He says the characters on West Wing are his "friends" (I'm serious), and spends hours cueing up shows on TIVO so he can get me, my mom, or my brother to watch them (we watch a little in the morning, and Top Chef-that's it).Besides the TV, he screams at my mom to get him things-Diet Coke, food, whatever. He is also 6'7, about 400 lbs, and has a lot of health issues brought on by overeating.

Besides the laziness, our house is a level 3 (I guessed) hoarding situation. Us 3 spend every weekend trying to throw stuff away, but he will snatch the bag out of our hand and pick through it for "recycles". We have rooms in the house with black mold, and we have closed them off. My dad's parents clothes are stacked in the garage. The living room, kitchen, one bathroom and 3 bedrooms (mine included) are clean-but we can't use a bedroom, the garage, the basement, or our hallway/pantry. THE BACK OF OUR HOUSE IS A DIFFERENT COLOR THAN THE FRONT because my dad refuses to paint it. I can remember this being the way of life for years.

My mom has been afraid of divorce because she makes a lot of money, and did not want him to take half of her retirement. But it is off the chain here. My dad once threw a bag of wet trash at me because I refused to keep it in my car. Our kitchen table is stacked with junk, and we havent eaten dinner as a family in years. My mom is a prominent member in the community (35+ music teacher). She is seeing a therapist (this is number 5), but I don't believe her when she says she is finally going to follow through with a divorce. My dad recently pushed her into a door. He acts this way because he is unhappy, but I'm sick of it. I told her me and my brother would live with her, but I'm worried. I'm seeing my dad's traits start to come out in my brother, and I know living in this situation was not healthy for anyone growing up.

So, what to do?

getting by
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Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 40395
   Posted 9/6/2010 9:10 AM (GMT -6)   
Are you seeing a counselor? I am just wondering because you could use some extra support and to sort some things out.

I am sure that this is very difficult for you. But you might not be able to fix this. It might have to work itself out. Your father might die at an early age due to his health and weight. I don't know if your mother has taken that into consideration yet. Maybe because she doesn't want to divorce. But this is her choice. The black mold needs to be cleaned up. It is a really bad health hazzard. It is toxic to us. So I would start her on that. This is not your responsibility, though I know that you want to help. But don't let it ruin your life or anything. This is your mother and father's problem. I hope that your little brother is going to be okay.

Keep posting and let us know how things are going.

Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2268
   Posted 9/6/2010 5:00 PM (GMT -6)   
I think Karen gave you some really good advice. If the rest of your family agrees, you could maybe try an intervention. You should get a professional involved if you are considering that. If everyone's on board it might at least help a bit with the hoarding. If your dad isn't going out & can't get to any credit cards or bank accounts it could keep the house from filling back up for a while, even if he doesn't actually change. But there are people who can break that habit with help from family & professionals. Interventions are really tough on families, though, so if everyone's not on board or you aren't able to get help from an OCD/hording intervention specialist, it will probably only make things worse.

For you, I think the most important thing is to spend as little time in the house as possible. Go to the library or a job search center to work on finding a job. There are also a good number of temp jobs right now, so you might try listing your info with a few staffing agencies & see if something works out. And I've seen more "Help Wanted" ads placed in windows of restaurants & retail stores lately. If you can even land a low-paying job, there are inexpensive Room Shares listed on Craigs List that could get you out of your parents' house.

If you are really concerned that it is a horrible environment for your little brother & there aren't any relatives that could take custody of him, you could report the situation to Department of Children & Families (sometimes called Child Protective Services). I would suggest you get out of the house first for your own protection. And if you have any photos of the piles of junk & black mold that will go a long way to getting a caseworker out there. In those cases, often the court will mandate that the home be cleaned & the mold be removed within a certain amount of time & if it's not the child can be temporarily removed from the home until it is cleaned up. It's a harsh line to take but it might be the motivation your dad needs to throw out the stuff (they can also hook him up with counselors & resources in your area to help him deal with the anxiety/trauma or whatever he's feeling that's making him want to hang onto all that stuff). And if he doesn't & things are really that awful, DCF would try to place your brother with an adult relative. Barring that he would likely stay in a group home (foster families usually don't take in teenagers) until he turns 18 or someone is willing & able to care for him (e.g., if your mom divorces your dad & gets a place of her own).

It's a last resort to be sure b/c it could mean that your brother ends up in a group home until he's 18 & then is totally on his own, but if there are dangerous health issues and your dad is negligent and/or abusive, there is that option.

I hope that helps. Gosh, what a difficult situation. I definitely agree that finding a counselor for you (there are ones that work on a sliding scale based on ability to pay) would be helpful for a little while.

take care & let us know how we can continue to support you,

getting by
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 40395
   Posted 9/6/2010 6:07 PM (GMT -6)   
I forgot that you were temporarily living there. Could you get a place for you and your little brother? Could the department of human services help you if you explained the situation? That could be an option. I just know that the environment is toxic in more ways then one, and I would like to see you get free from the situation.

Also I think Frances gave you some very good advice.

Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies
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