How do you live with parents who are mean?

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My sister has been on disability for 20 years because of a rare blood disease and has lived with my parents for all those years. She has one son who lives an hour away. My brother lives in the same town. I live 2 hours away and am not in good health. Over the years my parents have gotten meaner and meaner. First it was just with each other. Now it seems like my sister, who lives with them, has caught the brunt of it and she is about to lose her mind. She has tried to be a peace keeper, the voice of reason, a good daughter. My mother I believe is addicted to Tramadol because of fibromyalgia and possibly the beginnings of dementia, etc. My father had a stroke 4 years ago and is even more controlling and aggressively angry than before. No physical violence. Just an atmosphere of withheld apologies. I visited last week and it all hit the fan. The entire 5 of us were at dinner and my mother was handing a knife to my father and he was concentrating on opening the plastic on a pie. She screamed in her most hateful voice 'Take the knife'. I felt like I'd been jolted by electricity and said 'Wow Mom!'. Nothing more was said. They acted like it had never happened. That's how they roll. I couldn't wait to get home. After I left the next day my dad yelled at the top of his lungs at my sister sitting right beside him in the truck about something so trivial its not worth mentioning. There is an air of constant building contention in the house and my sister and I just wait for the next volcano to erupt. My poor sister is losing her mind. I'm not there to take the load off. My brother is little to no help. I've had 2 serious sit downs with them in the last 5 years and nothing changes. My sister is stuck there. I hate to watch my parents live out their last years in contention. Neither of them has any patience and refuse to go to counseling. Any help any of you could give as to how my sister can find a place of peace and stay out of their way would be appreciated. I've told her she needs to create her own space with a comfortable chair and a TV but she hasn't. She seems to be kind of co dependent. I think maybe a little scared of mom's bad moods. I'm so grieved. Thank you. Just reading this forum has helped me see we are not alone. They are both close to 80. Separate living is not an option and they are not ready for a nursing home. My sister leaves the house in mom's car and sits in a parking lot and calls me and just cries and cries. I feel helpless. What do you do about a house filled with rage??

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Hi Countrymouse, my sister has no car and she lives with my parents because she has horses. (See my response to Jeannegibbs above). Shes's not going to move. She just needs to develop coping skills to deal with my parents.
Thanks for your response.
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Hi Jeannegibbs, great questions. My sister lives there because they live on a farm and she has two horses. So she either gives up her horses, which are therapy for her when she is in pain, or she accepts the situation. She feels stuck but will not get rid of the horses.

You're right. My parents do need to be evaluated for dementia, etc. But my dad will not admit he has any health problems at all. Very frustrating.

My sister has to get her blood checked 3 times a week and is tethered to the lab in her home town because if her body has destroyed her immune system she has to get a neupogen shot to force her bone marrow to produce components of the white blood cell that her body eats up. It's complicated. So she can't leave home and come stay with me.
Yes my sister is getting counseling but the parents won't go. It's really like they aren't thinking straight. And I feel helpless.
Your comments are all valid.
I appreciate your response.
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My parents bickered incessantly. It was their way of life. It wasn't until much more recently that I realised, or got to learn about, how much impact that kind of stressful atmosphere can have on people's mental and physical health; and it wasn't until my father very suddenly died that mother seemed to understand that not everything that wasn't perfect about her life was his personal responsibility. Don't it always seem to go...

Your sister. She needs to establish her own home; but if she's been rooted in your parents' household for twenty years, and she is significantly disabled, there's no pretending that it's going to be easy or simple for her to pack up and move. She needs an experienced, capable advocate and adviser - does she have a key worker or social worker of her own? Could you help her find one?
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Why does your sister have to live there? I realize that she is on disability, but none of the several people I know who are disabled live with their parents. Perhaps you could explain this a little more.

And I think you are right about the co-dependency dynamic, if she is unwilling to create her own space. Would she consider some therapy?

From your brief description, it sounds like both of your parents may have dementia. It might be useful to have them each evaluated, just to help you know what you are dealing with. Would they cooperate with a "checkup for insurance purposes"?

It is your sister I feel most terrible for. Could you and/or her son and/or your brother give her some respite by bringing her into your homes for a weekend now and then? Encouraging her to get counseling would also be helpful. And it might help all five of you if a medical evaluation of your parents would help you understand what you are dealing with.
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Thank you Eastapple66 for you detailed answer. I'm so sorry to hear about your situation. This is a tough stage of life but I never expected it to be such a bad experience. I prayed for you that you would have the strength to face whatever is ahead. It's the new normal. My parents are so changeable it makes our heads spin. I told my sister last night to just cherish the good moments and walk away from the bad in order to keep her sanity. You are correct. It is moment by moment day by day. This forum is very helpful. We are all doing our best or we wouldn't be seeking help and suggestions from each other. And God will honor that. Lord bless.
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I have cried myself to sleep as I sit in my car in her driveway as I not wanted to go in or go home
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Dear cyncyn17 first off I'd like to say how sorry I am that you and your family are going through this. It sounds all too familiar and most people reading this can identify with you more than you know I'm sure from their own personal experiences I know have been experiencing over the past year and this past month has been excruciating with my mother period I am 51 years old and I was widowed at 26 my in-laws turned Outlaws overnight it took 10 years to get back out there and I met a wonderful man to whom I've married for 13 years in the beginning of June trying to care for his mother long distance has just ended us with sorrow she had a stroke and passed before we could get her from Arizona to Pennsylvania she was 87. Suffer from MS and Hashimoto's disease and many other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis since the age of 12 I've had shingles 4 times the first time at age 6. My husband is been disabled to since 2007 a work-related injury no fault of his own and will never return to work. That being said caring for my own mother has also been like trying to ride a bike and carry an infant together at the same time. I feel so many people are much like ourselves even though stories differ many of them are very relatable. You do the best you can even if you have to do it one day at a time one hour at a time one minute at a time just to get through. Just know that you're not alone hopefully you will get some inspiration reading through the stories of others and what they have to offer. May peace be with you and your family. My mother is now for some reason saying stuff like I'll never get close enough to her to lay another hand on her as long as she lives. This is so disheartening because I have never laid a hand on her at all I've never have been violent with her growing up my father was an alcoholic and both of them were always in physical confrontations with each other. I don't know if she is transference and I must speak to her doctors about her meds. I do know that Tramadol is and does cause depression with many people when used for long periods of time. After long it is a good idea to go over all of the drugs that are involved and make sure that they are taking what they should be in the right dosages check and double check the doctors work. Pharmacists sometimes can give you better answers than doctors can as far as drug interactions Etc. Don't give up peace be with you
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Bumping this. It's been on for 2 days and 0 responses. We desperately need help.
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