Grandpa is very mean and controlling with grandma, makes her do everything for him! How can I intervene?


Both my grandparents have diabetes and other health problems. My grandma is getting weaker by the day. She has a bad back and horrible pains in her abdomen constantly. My grandpa is on oxygen and has a catheter and is even weaker then her. He NEVER gets off the couch I'm surprised he doesn't have sores and can even walk when he does get up(which is hardly ever). He constantly is having her do things for him he can clearly do for himself and is VERY mean about it. He will call her out to living room at least 30 times a day just for random things he could definitely do. I try to help when he call hers Ill go out instead and ask what he wants but he always says "I don't want you. Get your grandma" Her health is dwindling as the days go by. I'm scared he is going to end up killing her! What can I do???

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I agree: there's no way of knowing how your grandparents grew their relationship over time or what changes would benefit both of them - don't meddle unless you're really, really sure it'll help.

I'd just add: you could help your grandmother by checking that she is being looked after medically. If you find she hasn't taken the time to get her back and tummy examined, perhaps take her to the doctor? - whatever's necessary and appropriate.
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Lizony, some good answers above. Alwayslearning comment is so very true, and what someone as young as yourself would find hard to imagine. Why would someone allow herself to be bullied and used in such a way, as though she is a servant? It is a generational thing. My Aunt and Uncle lived such a life. I saw him repeatedly treat her as though she was dirt under his feet, just around to serve him, wait on him, do for him. But when she left for a trip overseas with my Mom, her sister, he was like a fish out of water, floundering around, gasping and afraid that she'd never return. He called her constantly. And she worried about him the entire time she was gone. What would he do without her? Would he be eating properly? etc etc. Many of us family members over the years would encourage her to stand up to his bullying, which in a way, it was! He bullied her w/ words, and he controlled her. She was quite timid, and simply allowed it, and in some ways it empowered her to know that he needed her and honestly couldn't survive without her. Very strange dynamics, but the bully is really a weakling, and the slave is the stronger one, because she/he truly knows that the one pretending to be strong is smoke and mirrors. And one other thing to keep in mind, Liz, is that your Grandpa may be a proud man who hates to be seen as weak in anyone else's eyes. Perhaps he is comfortable with your Grandma seeing to his particular needs, but may find it demeaning for another person (even a kind and caring granddaughter) to wipe up after him, or help him turn over, etc etc. He may hate what he thinks of as weakness, and doesn't want it to be exposed. I admire you for being a caring granddaughter, and being there to support and help your grandmother. Since Grandpa won't allow you to do much in caring for him, at least you can do as much as possible to help make your Grandma's life a little easier. Just having someone there who she knows what she's going through, and can talk to her, and allow her to vent about her frustrations and fatigue....that alone is helpful!!
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It's hard to watch, isn't it! But they're both participants in the dynamic. Especially if you have offered to help outright and he's so clear that he wants her, Ferris1's idea to go ask your grandma how she feels is your best bet. And she may or may not be able or willing to put words to how she feels, but the suggestion is really to support her, more than trying to stop him.

And this is your time to learn some really essential things that will be useful for your whole life. First, it takes two to tango: your grandma has a role to play in whether or not someone else runs her ragged, whatever generation she comes from. And two, other people's relationships are always a mystery from the outside. It may look terrible to you, but this may be the way they stay deeply connected with each other after all these years! Maybe if your grandpa STOPPED calling on your grandma all the time, THAT would do her more harm than being left in "peace" because the way he needs her has been so important to her all this time. I'm not saying that's how it is. I'm saying, we can't know. But they keep choosing this way of interacting -- both of them.
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I have a feeling that it has been the family dynamics all along, and they may both be comfortable with it. My father also let my mother do everything for him. He was not abusive with her, but it was just an expectation. It was probably bad for him that she did everything. It allowed him to sit in his chair all day long and fade away. I don't know, but he might have done better if she had forced him to participate in life.

You can do some things to make it lighter, like fuss at your grandfather if he yells. But if it their usual family dynamic, I would let them work it out.
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First, how old are you and are you living in the house full time? Older couples will want their spouses to do things for them and I am assuming they are in the 80s category when spouses took care of their husband. What does your grandmother say in all of this? Maybe she likes "taking care" of him. Unless there is actual physical abuse, psychological abuse is very hard to prove, and your grandmother is the one who should have written us. At best, ask her if she minds doing for her husband, and what her feelings are. My best to you all.
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