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My parents live on their own. My father is mentally completely fine but unfortunately has declining MS (having trouble walking), had bladder cancer with cystectomy and now has been diagnosed with Stage 4 urothelial cancer. There may be treatment options that will begin soon to extend his time; however, the main issue right now is that my mother is verbally abusive to my father and anyone around to the point where even though we walk on eggshells and coddle her, she screams at him and us. I end up shaking when I am there and crying for what he is going through. At a time when he needs emotional support and compassion she is just the opposite. The physical therapist when I was there recommended he get a motorized wheel chair to supplement his walker, so he could at least get out of bed everyday when going through chemo. My mom refuses to let him get a chair. When I was there this week, she even commented "why can't you walk" when he was struggling to get back in the house after an appt. She also sort of pushed himout of her way. She is 100% abusive and needs treatment or meds but my dad says he doesn't know what to do and neither do the rest of us. I actually thought about contacting social services but I don't know where to start. Of course I do love my mom but this is unacceptable and she has always been angry, controlling and nasty. Help please!! This is gut wrenching for me to watch happen. I have offered for my dad to move in with either my sis or I but he wants to stay in his house which I understand and we are in the NE and they live in the south. He also feels bad for my mom and I'm sure loves her but he has always been abused as have the kids. He is the opposite of her and always has been. There is nothing but sweetness in him and that has always been the case. He knows she is sick (mentally). We have urged her for years to get help to no avail. Again, please help me if you have any good advice.

You say "we walk on eggshells" and so I assume there is more than one child? You and at least one more sibling? If not, if only YOU, do you have a husband, partner, support in this?
The first thing to understand here is that things have never been any different. It was going to be my first question but you said that before I could ask. Yet and all, when they were each more well and able, they chose to stay together. He may not even recognize her if she were to change.
You do not say that either your Mom or your dad have dementia. You do say your Dad "doesn't know what to do".
This is now a decision (as it ALWAYS HAS BEEN) for your Dad to make. You kids are going to have to get together and make a plan of attack. Can one of you accept Dad into your home? Would he want/accept Assisted Living. THEN, one of you throws a casserole on the floor in the kitchen and screams "MOM! Help" and she guides the cleanup while the other sibling or your partner in crime goes to Dad WITHOUT Mom there and tell him he needs to tell you when this must be addressed. Tell him that you will take him out of the home situation to your own home or wherever, and that you will support Mom separately.
And yes, I think that Social Services is a GREAT idea. Your Mom may be mentally ill. But she needs to have the law laid down.
I also think that your mother (and perhaps your father as well) are deep in denial about what is happening. Whatever her relationship, she is exhibiting fear that he cannot "get up and walk; what's the MATTER with you".
Do know also that kids see and read things differently and more seriously than the parents who have been doing this dance a lifetime. When partner and I hang a picture (That's too low it should be higher eye level no it is not it should be lower and on and on and on) the kids say "Stop bickering!" if they are around. To us? We are perfectly fine. We are hanging a picture. It goes on every time. It's a negotiation.
I don't have much else for you. Just trying to troubleshoot ideas, BUT knowing that not everything can be fixed.
Your Dad is very ill, may be looking at hospice in future and your Mom may not accept that. It may have to be inpatient hospice. After that is over you will have a mentally ill Mom to place in care eventually. I dearly hope you have support of another great sibling. And you DO need the support of social services I think. In fact you need all the support you can get. I hope you will update us.
And keep foremost in your mind that, in fact, NOT EVERYTHING CAN BE FIXED. Some things are endured. Get help for yourself for ideas, troubleshooting, boundaries and peace.
I am wishing you so much luck going forward.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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My heart aches for your sweet dad.

I had an uncle who was simply a beast to everyone, including, mostly, to his angel wife.

She developed cancer in her late 40's and died a few years later. Her kids blamed their father for his hateful, mean, vicious attitude for causing the stress that led to cancer. True or no, he made her life a living hell. And his kids'.

Nobody ever stood up to him. He absolutely scared the bejeebies out of me.

Once the kids were all out of the house they begged their mother to leave him. She wouldn't.

Similarly, your dad won't leave your mom and try to establish some measure of peace in his life when he needs it most. Guilt is huge in these kind of relationships.

Have you ever sat down with your mom and been straightforward and honest and said "Mom, you are destroying any possibility for peace or joy for dad and we won't put up with it on his behalf?" Calling someone out for being unkind to another person sometimes makes the abuser see that their abuse is not going unnoticed.

Mom probably needs meds of some kind--and some counseling. Maybe dad needs to move to a place where he can find peace and comfort. Maybe you DO need to call APS and inform them of a senior in an abusive relationship.

This just stinks. Watching parents who fight is so depressing. I am so glad my inlaws finally divorced--we didn't have a fun time with them ever, as MIL picked at FIL nonstop for EVERYTHING he did. It was awful. It's been 32 years since they split and 16 since FIL died, and MIL continues to be the nastiest woman I know. Still bitch7ng about poor dad, who isn't even here to defend himself.

Be very aware, no matter how concerned you are, this is dad's 'normal' and he may be unable to function in a different dynamic, sad as that is. He may well choose the devil he knows, over the one he does not.
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Reply to Midkid58
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First - your mother can't stop him from buying needed medical equipment, she can rant and be nasty and refuse to help with the process but because he is competent he can still order and pay for whatever he needs without her consent, and you need to encourage him to do so.
Second - your father's time may be short, but even if his treatment is successful he needs a more supportive environment where his physical and emotional needs are met and that doesn't sound like it can happen living as your parents do currently. Big changes are inevitably part of their future and neither her raging or his denial are helpful, I think it is past time for the family to make some concrete long term plans.
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Reply to cwillie
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