August 21, 2018

My father was abusive to my mother, now he is is frail, very frail. Should I feel guilty he is alone?

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The following letter has been edited for clarity and coherence.

Dear AmoMama, 

My father is a very, very difficult man. He was abusive to my mother and started on my older brother when my brother started becoming an adolescent.

My mother would not stand for the abuse of her children so she took her 3 children away from him when I was 14.

I remember my childhood. I remember all the bad times and the very few good times as a family. So, my father lived his own life, remarried, divorced, had girlfriends did what he did.


My mom raised her 3 kids, never complained and gave us all the love we needed. Now my father is frail, very frail. My brothers want nothing to do with him and I feel really bad that he is alone.

He is miserable and no matter what there is no pleasing him. He lives 7 hours away by car, so a quick pop-in is impossible. Should I feel guilty he is alone? That he has no one? What is my duty as a daughter? I am 51, I have a family of my own. I am so torn!!


Dear Subscriber,

Remember that old saying? "As you sow, so shall you reap."


Sadly you father is now reaping the fruits of a lifetime of mistreating and neglecting his family. He chose to live as he did, and you have no reason to feel guilty for his situation.

You are not responsible for his actions and his choices, and that is what has brought him to this place in his life.

Your brothers have already shown they will not get involved, and your first duty is to your family, your husband, and your children. It is understandable and commendable that you feel empathy for his pain, but he is not your responsibility.

Contact the relevant authorities in the town he is living in, and find out if there are any programmes for assisted living he could apply for. That would be an act of kindness and fulfill your filial duty.


Be strong, be happy, be yourself.

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