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SUNSHINE63

Elderly Father and Sexual Advances

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I need some advice please. I went through a difficult divorce a few years ago after 23 years of marriage and my father, 78 at the time, began making sexual advances towards me. I was 47 years old and was not abused as a child! When it began, I just assumed his hand slipped, etc.. but it became increasing obvious he was trying to touch or kiss me inappropriately. I finally told him in no uncertain terms to stop. He did but his general behavior toward me became odd, though. For example, he acted jealous when I began dating. (I live in a small town about 3 miles from where I grew up) I really thought he might be getting some type of dementia but he is FINE! He functions completely normally in all respects (other than the obvious!) Fast forward to May 2012. It began again... but I went through some additional personal difficulties that I am dealing with and he knows about and he is actually acting mad at me. The advances stopped but any other communication has ended as well. He is acting like a scorned boyfriend! I am very confused. I have not shared this with anyone..not my mother, sisters or sons. I really do not know what to do. I have lost my normal relationship with my father and I do not know him any more. I have never heard of a father making sexual advances towards a grown daughter! We are from a "normal middle class, respected" family! Does this happen? What should I do? I certainly do not want to burden my mother (who is also 79 now) with this information. She cannot do anything about it. I am very upset and need some guidance or maybe just that someone else has dealt with this. Thank you for any insight...

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Wow, that sounds incredibly hard on you, sunshine63. I can't say I've heard of a similar situation before, but that doesn't mean a great deal. I'm not any kind of mental health professional. One question that occurs to me is whether any of your sisters might have been abused, but then I guess if you knew, you'd have told us. It's possible they didn't tell you, however.

There are certainly illnesses (physical or psychological) that could cause behavior changes in the elderly. That makes me wonder whether it might be a good idea to tell your mother, in case she can perhaps get your father to see a doctor. You didn't say why "she cannot do anything about it"; are they still together? Or you could maybe try to get him to see one, yourself. For one thing, there's no way to know whether he isn't acting similarly to others who are less able to defend themselves.

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Actually it is bizarre behavior on his part but I wonder if it is equally as bizarre of me not to confide in my sisters. It is amazing how much shame is wrapped up in this deviant behavior even when nothing actually happened to me. I am not sure my sisters would believe me because it is so "out of character". He and my mother are together. 60 years in October!

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Sexual abuse does cause the ... recipient? ... a significant amount of undeserved shame. That's one of its hallmarks, sadly.

I do think that, as you say, it is out of character for your father, which only increases the urgency for finding out why it's happening. If it is in fact a disease process, there really isn't any value judgment attached to it, and it's irrelevant how long your parents have been married. If he's sick, he's not doing this "to" someone else; he's sick and needs help.

Granted that this is out of character for him, since I understand your only motivation for telling your sisters would be to get him help, I'd be surprised if you weren't believed. What would your motivation for lying be?

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Has he been cleared medically? Could there be some early signs of dementia? Hypersexality is something that can occur in elderly folks who may have demential/alzheimers or some other brain changes both to males and females. I would recommend checking things out medically.

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Danni, he has not been diagnosed with any type of dementia disorder. That was my first thought as well. This behavior began a little over two years ago and his mental/cognitive state has remained the same. I am baffled. And it does not appear anyone else has ever walked this past... Oh well.

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Hi Sunshine. Welcome to our community. :)

I am so sorry you are going through this. :( Is your father on any medications that might cause such a change in his behavior?

Do you have anyone there who can offer you support in this? I hope you are able to confide in your sisters about what has been happening. I understand this is not easy for you.

Please feel free to express yourself here, if it is helpful.

Take care.

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Sunshine 63,

I am replying to your post to let you know that you are not the only one going through something like this.

I don't know if you are still on this forum - but I hope that you are dealing with everything ok.

I have recently had a very similar situation in my life. A big difference is that I have a very good idea as to what has caused this behaviour in my father.

I am 28 and a single mother with an 11 month old daughter. I grew up in a small town also, and recently moved back here to try and help my father overcome a meth addiction.

Over the past 6 months, it has been exceptionally trying, learning to be a Mum, finding money to get by, the separation from my partner of 5 years that I loved with all of my heart, helping my mother cope after a shocking and horrific domestic violence incident (just to name a few little treats that have led to my current explosion of emotion)! Whilst all of this is going on my father continues down his path of self distruction and addiction while I do not have the stregnth or ability to help him but felt I couldn't ask for help, and I didn't want to betray his trust, fearing it would send him further into this hole.

As in your situation he made frequent very innappropriate comments to me in regards to the way I looked and the thoughts he had of me. I did my best to block these comments out - thinking it was just the drugs, or i had heard it wrong, or interpreted it wrong - because he was my dad and that's not even a feasible scenario. He would also get very jealous and cause huge arguments whenever I mentioned any guy i might be interested in, and he did his best to sabotage those relationships.

To cut a long story short last weekend we took my daughter down to the beach - it was supposed to be a weekend trip, fishing etc - it was cut short when the first night my dad became very obvious in his intentions - touching my legs, brushing my hair behind my ears etc- not being able to block this out I absolutely flipped and asked him what his intentions were - and he confirmed that he was indeed trying to seduce me.

I felt like i had been kicked in the stomach so hard, I couldn't breath and i wanted to vomit. I had my friend come and pick me up and she drove me and my daughter home - he told me that after I left he tried to kill himself - and has thought about it many times since - but his car wouldn't go off the road.

He wrote me an email telling me that over the past 2 years he has developed these feelings for me and has fallen in love with me. Again when reading this email - i was physically ill, it's something that I never thought I would be dealing with!

Like you, we were a very supporting loving and well respected family in a small town. Mum and dad have separated (8yrs ago) but until now i would still consider us a close family unit. So again like yourself I never saw this coming.

I have no idea how to deal with this - but it helped me in some way just reading your post, and knowing that someone else has experienced something like this. I have told my mum, and I have been to councelling - which i think really help. but I am in such a state of shock and I have no idea where to go from here.

Sorry that i bombarded your post with my story - but maybe it might help your mind aswell to hear my story.

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I'm so glad I found this site. My Dad has done the same thing. My Mom passed away two years ago. They had been married 52 years. He was 77 at the time. I was 54. To help him move forward I offered to help him renovate a rental house he bought. I would rent it from him so I coukd be in his home state more (I live in a different state. I would split my time between my home and the rental house. I out quite a bit money into the renovation for him. The money didnt and still doesnt matter. I was staying at his house during the renovation and he made his move toward me. I backed away and went and locked myself in my room and left early the next morning. I moved into the rental house which was in shambles but I didnt care. I was in total shock and devastated that my Dad would do this. I am still so hurt by it. He came over the next day and said because I was clean skinny and white he thought we could be there for each other until we each started dated someone else. I was even more disgusted and horrified I didnt even know who he was. When that explanation didnt work then he said he was sorry he hurt me and he didnt know what he was thinking.  That was May 2015. I havent told anyone because I knew it would rip our family apart. Even though I still travel here and rent this house from him I have only been to his house once last Thanksgiving. Any other family get togethers I have everyone at the rental house. I dont ever want to go to his house again and yet I feel so obligated to. He comes by here to visit but doesn't stay long. Our relationship is very strained. When I am here all I can think about is leaving. My Dad has a very sound mind and is physically healthy. I still dont understand  how he could of done that. It doesn't even register with him how devastating this was and still is for me. All I want to do is to stay away from him but I feel like I can't because he is my parent. He was never a Dad that showed his emotions much to me growing up and was somewhat emotionally abusive. The only conclusion I can draw is he is sick mentally. Why else would he do something so cruel and selfish?

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Hello, rgm, welcome! :) 

I'm also glad you've found this site and could share your confusing, distressing experiences and feelings.

I'm sorry I don't have much to offer, just listening to you and sharing these few comments:

Quote

All I want to do is to stay away from him but I feel like I can't because he is my parent.

It seems to me this is a rather common feeling of many abused people, but it's "a bad advisor". Parents don't have "a right" (automatically, just because of their role) to hurt their children and, I think, neither to expect them to "be there for them" in case they are behaving abusively, cruelly, ... to them. What your father did could be a reason to avoid him, especially when he doesn't "get it" = doesn't realize that what he did was wrong and hurtful and doesn't become sure he won't do it again.

 

Quote

 It doesn't even register with him how devastating this was and still is for me.

Did you actually ask him and/or tried to explain it to him? (If not, perhaps it's something to try (?).)

Quote

 He was never a Dad that showed his emotions much to me growing up and was somewhat emotionally abusive. The only conclusion I can draw is he is sick mentally. Why else would he do something so cruel and selfish?

Judging by  your brief description of your childhood relationship, it seems that he has always been "cruel and selfish" to some extend. He didn't understand and acknowledge your emotional needs then, he doesn't now either.

What do you think?

______

BTW, this topic reminded me of a "story" mentioned in this article (that about a surprising "moral" consequence of a brain tumor):

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/07/the-brain-on-trial/308520/

 

 

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Thank you LaLa. Having a completely objective opinion helps so much. I think I had hoped when my Mom passed away our family could realize how precious family is and make the most of what God has blessed us with. It just didn't  go that way with Dad. The second explanation he gave me I told him then how much it hurt me and that he was my Dad and it was unthinkable, he said he could live with it if it made me mad but he didn't  mean to hurt me. I knew he didn't  get it and by the way he said it  as far as he was concerned it was over in the past because he decided it was. I'm the type of person that believes in forgiveness and I do forgive him. I just have this emotional barrier towards him that I don't want to be close to protect myself from him. He obviously  cares little for me. I know he loves me on some level  but what he wants comes before anything regardless of how hurtful it is. More than anything I don't  want it running thru my mind anymore. I thought this site might be a way to help get to that point. I wish I could erase the entire incident from my memory. The one thing that was clear after this happened was I understood  the past better. I was always wanting Dad's approval when I was younger and it was always like I fell short all the time. Now I understand  nothing I would have done would make him proud to have me for his daughter regardless of what I accomplished. I guess in a way that's freeing after all of these years.

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I would also like to welcome you to the community, RGM.

I'm so sorry you went through this. :( Is there anyone from your family you could share this with and confide in? I hear that you are afraid the knowledge of this could hurt your family, but this is a heavy burden for you to be holding on your own. I hope you are able to get some support for yourself.

Did your father ever behave this way in the past? Is it possible he might be experiencing some dementia or diminished capacity of mental functioning? Often times this is not always clear right away but happens over time. I don't know if this could be a factor or not.

It's okay to put up firm boundaries and avoid or minimize contact with your dad. It's important for you to protect and care for yourself.

You mention that as a child growing up you hoped for your father's approval. I think it's true we can't always receive from others in a way that we hope for. Some may not have the capacity to give us what we need. That can be difficult and painful, I hear you. I hope that you are able to feel proud of yourself for yourself.

Take care and keep sharing if it is helpful. We're listening.

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Hey, rgm; I'm glad it was helpful :) !

However, I wouldn't say I'm "objective"; I'm rather "impartial" and that also only to some extent as I feel as to be "on your side" ;) . Nevertheless, it doesn't seem problematic to me because it's OK to "be on the side of victims, of those who suffer" and your dad doesn't seem to suffer in this particular context (although he might have felt "rejected", but... that's what's right when it's about an incest!) .

I think it's great that 1) he said he didn't want to hurt you and 2) you're able to forgive him. It doesn't mean now you have to act as if nothing has happened. I'm just emphasising some positive aspects of the situation. Another one: You've been able to understand your past much better and uncover the healing (-I hope so) truth: It wasn't your fault that you weren't able to gain his admiration, approval, praise. It's important to know. I hope it will have more positive consequences for you as you'll discover some more  impacts his relationship to you has got on your life.

Good luck! And feel free to post more about the way you're dealing with this all :) .

(BTW, you can have a look at the "Recommended reading" on this forum: perhaps you'll find there some articles interesting and insightful also for your situation.)

 

 

 

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Thank you again. I read the link to the article you posted and it was very interesting. It would be great if they could identify  physical factors that would help identify factors for impulse or irrational thinking/emotions and a way to help. It would be a prayer to many people. I think keeping distance between Dad and I is for the best. I'll always be kind and respect him as my Dad but I will keep the boundaries I have set. Just getting feedback from u you and another individual  on this site has eased my guilt of keeping my distance from Dad. So thank you so much.

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20 hours ago, IrmaJean said:

I would also like to welcome you to the community, RGM.

I'm so sorry you went through this. :( Is there anyone from your family you could share this with and confide in? I hear that you are afraid the knowledge of this could hurt your family, but this is a heavy burden for you to be holding on your own. I hope you are able to get some support for yourself.

Did your father ever behave this way in the past? Is it possible he might be experiencing some dementia or diminished capacity of mental functioning? Often times this is not always clear right away but happens over time. I don't know if this could be a factor or not.

It's okay to put up firm boundaries and avoid or minimize contact with your dad. It's important for you to protect and care for yourself.

You mention that as a child growing up you hoped for your father's approval. I think it's true we can't always receive from others in a way that we hope for. Some may not have the capacity to give us what we need. That can be difficult and painful, I hear you. I hope that you are able to feel proud of yourself for yourself.

Take care and keep sharing if it is helpful. We're listening.

 

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Thanks IrmaJean. Before this incident I had come to accept  as far as a healthy daughter/father relationship Dad couldn't  give what he didn't  have. He grew up in an severe alcoholic home so I know he has never dealt with the emotional damage that he grew up in. When I had attended  AL anon for family members a few years back I recognized the actions and reactions he would have, his emotional distance to his kids. I made peace with it and when this happened it just brought it all back. Only one time do I remember Dad being so close it was uncomfortable to me. I was 19 at the time. I think he is healthy. He is very active and is very conscientious of his health. I will keep watching for any changes. I appreciate so much your opinion and ideas. As I told LaLa, another individual on this site, just telling someone has helped so much and has eased my guilt of keeping my distance from Dad.

Thank you so much.

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I'm a caregiver for my Dad who is 70 years old, and I'm only 27. He has everything from COPD, to heart failure, to needing kidney dialysis 3X a week, and uses constant oxygen and a walker. He's an ogre at 6'3" and 225 lbs. (A slow one.) But apparently still very prominent in his sexual needs. I live with him because I have to, but sometimes I'm not sure whether he's calling for me from my room to help him find his glasses, or to suggest something very sexually inappropriate! He has dementia some of the time, but mostly he solicits me when he's half asleep in his lounge chair. It's awkward and startling, and confusing to say the least. I hate it. So you're not the only one. I even brought this up to my Mom (divorced) and my sister, and stuff hit the fan - so he stopped, for awhile. But it's started back up, again. I have NO idea what he could be thinking. I refuse any advances with as much sternness as I can muster, but I'm passive and I just wish that I could yell at him to stop. It's nearly impossible though, since he's almost deaf and I need to stay here since I have no other place to go.

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Welcome, Raggedyanne2. This sounds like a challenging and difficult situation. :( I took care of my dad at home for some time and it was probably the most challenging time I have been through in my life. It was very difficult as it was and he is generally soft spoken and gentle, always respectful. I can't imagine how painful and upsetting this must be for you.

Have you discussed your father's behaviors with his physician? If it is a manifestation of dementia, possibly a medication could be helpful? Could you speak with your mother again about this?

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I know what you are talking about from personal experience. I was the primary in home caretaker for my 90 yr old father and I am his 64 yr old daughter. I was totally shocked when he made sexual advances towards me, as it  was so totally out of his character. I felt so creeped out and just freaked out at the situation. I knew my siblings would not believe me.....I felt the shame I had done something that triggered him treating me like a sex object. I am sorry this happened to you., but thankful to find this thread. Thank you for sharing...

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A person can't do something that makes it okay to assault them sexually.  Not unless you change the definition of assault.

Yet somehow, guilt is a common reaction.  You need to know you didn't cause this.

You saw the earlier responses: he may not be entirely responsible, either, because of dementia or other issues he may have.  Or, he might.  It might help to have him seen by a doctor, but you need not feel like you're the one who has to do that.  And, you're the only one who can decide how to deal with him in the future.  Take care of yourself first.

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