My parents have been married for 52 years. They always had arguments when we were younger but it wasn't an issue. In later years, the fights have become more mentally abusive and they have separated several times but get back together. I believe that my mother is suffering from mental instability but refuses to see a Dr or take medications. Several yrs ago, my sisters and I have had major fallouts with my mother and have gone for several yrs without contact. My father is still able to get around and drive but rarely communicates with us so that he doesn't upset my mother. He does volunteer occasionally and is more social than her. He also does all of the shopping and errands. She rarely leaves the house and doesn't really have any friends. She paints, draws, and listens to music. She is very opinionated and has little tolerance for people who disagree with her beliefs. She also operates on her own time schedule and wants to be the center of attention. As a result, she has been thrown out of her dr's office and dentists office for getting into altercations with staff and patients. She has a history of causing scenes to get attention and using that to manipulate all of us. Several days ago, out of the blue, she called me crying, and saying that my father was mentally abusing her, screaming at her, and doesn't care about her. Today, He called asking if there was room at our house for him, saying she is the aggressor and he can't take it anymore. Neither my younger sister nor I want to get drawn back into their drama. Our youngest sister lives an hour away and is too involved in her own life to be helpful. I feel guilty for not wanting to get involved but this is also affecting my family and marriage. I'm torn over what to do. My mother keeps reminding me that I'm the oldest and that I need to do something. My first thought is to tell them to work it out on their own, but then I worry about something bad happening. I really don't have the time or energy to be a referee/marriage counselor. How can I help them without causing problems in my own family or burdening my sisters?

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Your mother sounds like she might have some mental issues. Do you know why she was referred for treatment, but, wouldn't go? Regardless, it doesn't seem like your father will be able to continue living with her or caring for her any longer. I'd advise him to seek advice from an attorney who handles both Elder Law and Family law, so he can get his rights explained. And, in the meantime, I hope he seeks shelter in a safe place. There are agencies who assist those who are the victims of domestic violence. Verbal abuse is violence as well as hitting.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1

Thank you all for your input. I never answered my father. I talked with my sister who suggested that I refer them to dept of aging and let them handle it. My mother called this morning wanting me to come over and talk. I am sick so she decided to talk on the phone. She told me that they were fighting again yesterday and she walked to the neighbor and called police. The fight wasn't physical so PD suggested they separate. My mother started rambling on about the past and how she handled everything and that now i'm the only one she has to deal with this. I finally told her that I wasn't going to be their marriage counselor. She started yelling and told me she wouldn't bother me anymore and hung up. I have contacted my sisters about getting together to discuss the situation. I'm waiting to hear back from them. Not how I wanted to start my day..
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Reply to vlc2746

I'm sorry, that's a tough situation. You can fix people or others peoples situations.
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Reply to mathisawesome

You can’t fix this. There are many ways you can make it worse, like taking in your dad, which would make your mom furious and make her see you as the enemy, plus make it hard for you in your own home. When they’ve been at this for years it’s not likely to get better. It’s up to dad to separate and find where to go if he desires to leave. If you can get mom to the doctor for a good assessment that would be great, I wouldn’t be shocked if she refuses, if so that’s not on you either. Sorry you’re dealing with such a mess
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Reply to Daughterof1930

Just because your the oldest (which I am and hated it) doesn't mean its ur responsibility to mend their marriage. Once you move Dad in, you won't get him out. With all u have going, u don't have time for this. You know its Mom. Think she may need to be evaluated. Dementia will heighten already mental problems. Yes, I think Mom has always had a mental problem. Anyone who can't control their actions has some kind of problem. Tell Dad you have no room. Tell him to get a hotel room for a few days and let her calm down. If when he gets home she is still aggressive tel, him to call the police. They maybe able to have her kept for 72 hrs for observation.
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Reply to JoAnn29

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