I am the eldest of four children and the only girl. When we were growing up, I was aware our father was never kind to me. He often said he was disappointed his first offspring wasn’t a son and lavished love and attention on my three siblings who were boys. Our mother, on the other hand, saw how he treated me and lavished attention on me, which enraged him even more.
When our mother passed away, he married a mother of two who has now deserted him because of the mild stroke he had. It’s obvious that he’s now frightened of living alone in his old age.
I’m happily married to a very caring man and have children of my own. The problem now is that our father wants to come and live with my family. I don’t want him to live with us and to tell you the truth, I don’t want him round my stable home.
What should I do?
Kike, by e-mail.
Children learn about love from their parents as they grow up. If they’re lucky – and most of them are – children loved genuinely and unconditionally, give a lot of love back.
Unfortunately, your dad clearly didn’t love you in that way – which was a grave error on his part. We all make mistakes but this was a particularly bad one which has affected you greatly.
Since it’s very difficult as an adult to give back more love to your parents than you received from them as a child, you should stop feeling guilty for not being responsible for your father’s welfare now he’s old and ill. Do what you can for him – but don’t drastically disrupt your own life in the process.
Maybe your brothers, who were the favoured ones, could now give back to him some of the love he’d lavished on them.