Delicate family issue Ė Please Help

My mom recently informed me that my dad has been staying out all hours of the night and staying gone for entire weekends, sometimes even missing work. He canít miss any more days without a doctorís excuse, as he has no vacation. I live far from home now, but I did try talking to him, asking him whatís going on and he wouldnít say, but said that he would stop.

Mom said he didnít stop and continues doing the same thing. Dad and I really arenít very close, and I really am not sure how to talk to him. Mom and my siblings suspect that he is on drugs.

They are struggling financially as it is and Iím afraid heíll lose his job and theyíll end up losing their home. He really isnít close to any other family members, so Iím not sure if I should be enlisting help from others, especially since I donít even know specifically what the problem is. I know my dad enough to know that it has to be handled delicately, as too much pushing will push him farther away.

If any of you have dealt with a similar issue, please help me figure out how to handle this.
Formerly ladyjag123
I'm very sorry your family is going through this. I don't know what I would do.

I have a couple thoughts though. I'd want to find out what your dad is doing because it could make a difference. If it is drugs, you may be able to have him involuntarily committed for treatment. It won't be easy, but I think it can be done. My intial thought was gambling in which case, commitment is probably not an option.

Would your mom be willing to have a private investigator follow your dad and see where he's going? If he's cheating or gambling, at least your mom will know. If it's drugs or alcohol, she may be able to intervene.

I know these aren't great options, but I don't know what else to suggest. Good luck.
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My first thought is some type of mental illness or substance abuse. My BIL is bipolar and an alcoholic. This disappearing stuff is something he does when he's not taking his meds or has fallen off the wagon.

I really wish there was some advice I could give you. What has your mother said to him? I think it's her place to try to figure out what it going on and then try to enlist family members for some kind of intervention, if necessary.

I'm really sorry. It's tough when our parents struggle. We kind of expect them to always be our rock and it can be very unsettling to think we might have to take care of them. It makes you feel like a helpless kid again.
I'm not so sure there's anything you can do, living far from home and all. You talked to him and he continues to do whatever he is doing.
Maybe your mom can go to a counselor and brainstorm some ideas that way.
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It does sound like drugs and/or mental illness. I agree with Medussa that it is your mom's place, not yours, to figure out what's going on here. If she can't get him to tell her and he does end up losing his job, she might want to figure out what her options are and perhaps leave.
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That awful, ladyjag. I'm really sorry. I don't have any fresh ideas, but I wanted to say I feel for you.
Hate to say this, but could it be someone else?
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Hate to say this, but could it be someone else?
Originally Posted by Phoenix
Stuff like that usually doesn't get in the way of work, you know? It's bad enough that he doesn't come home much, but missing work is a huge red flag, because it's his livelihood.
true
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I agree with getting a PI to see what is actually going on so your Mom can decide on a course of action.
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I've done that...
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Thank you all so much for your kind words and for the advice. I think Iím going to have a talk with my siblings tonight and see if they know more than my mom does.

As far as him cheating, I hate to say it, but my dad has cheated on my mom before. I was too little to know what was going on, but when I got a little older, I figured it out and it was pretty blatant. My mom knew. They have a weird marriage, and I donít understand why my mom has put up when all that she has put up with over the years, including mental and physical abuse.

I feel like my mom is looking to me to fix things. Iím the oldest and have always been very responsible and pretty independent. I also think she sees me as the ďsmartĒ one that can fix anything, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Thanks again for all of your comments!
Formerly ladyjag123
I feel like my mom is looking to me to fix things. Iím the oldest and have always been very responsible and pretty independent. I also think she sees me as the ďsmartĒ one that can fix anything, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Originally Posted by ladyjag123
I don't know what to tell you about the other stuff. I'm just sorry you are going through this.

But the quoted stood out to me. If that is a habit of your mom, you should try and put a stop to it. If it is, that's classic codependency, and they don't usually stop on their own and it can escalate.
It's not uncommon for therapists to schedule a few pro bono hours each week. Of course, he'd have to be willing to go, and he'd have to be willing to take it seriously.

Basically, it's no one's responsibility but his. If he's not going to change, then he has to be left alone. Unless there's evidence that he needs to be committed to a mental hospital, no one can do anything to change him.

Last edited by Eilonwy; 03-09-2009 at 05:46 PM.
My 1st thought was that he was having an affair. Yes, men & women will skip work for the sex.

I really don't think she should be getting you involved. You said he's been unfaithful before & she knew about it. She is definitely being co-dependant & needs to go for help for herself. It's doubtful he will go because he doesn't want to stop what he is doing. She needs to learn to be able to separate herself from him. She needs to learn to not accept what he is doing & get on with her life. If he is willing to get help, then great. If not, then she needs to get help. It really isn't the children's problem. Just be there for her if/while she is getting help & getting back on her feet. I wouldn't even try to contact your Dad until he decides he wants to change.
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I don't have any advice, but I'm sorry to hear that you're going through this.

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