Follow
Share

My husband and I made the big move, sold our house, renovated my parents basement and moved in recently with them. My mother had gone through cancer and chemo therapy, my dad has some health issues.

The main problem is my mother arguing constantly with my dad. She accuses my father of putting her down in front of people and us, that he can never say a good thing to her, always nitpicks on every little thing she does (wrong). That he doesn't communicate with her, that he keeps everything to himself.

She is crying all the time, wants to move out, says she can't take this mental abuse anymore. This has been going on for almost as long as I can remember, except the last few years its gotten worse.

When I told her I would help her find a place to live if she is that distraught, she says good, but then goes on and on...if only my dad would be good to her, then she could live longer and be happy. I also gently tried to suggest that a professional therapist may help her deal with the issues she has with my dad and her anger with him, but she said no. She insists he has to change, and if she moves out, her problems will disappear.

She also has a hearing problem, which means we all have to repeat everything two or three times and speak louder. We have been trying to convince her to get a hearing aid, but she is resistant to the idea.

She feels that my husband and I are not supportive enough and don't understand her and that we don't stand up to my Dad and rebuke him when she feels he has said something that upsets her.

My dad is not going to change, and yes, at times, his method of talking to her (or anyone else) is sometimes not the most diplomatic. (Think of an Archie Bunker type but old school European Slav). My dad does panic at times and gets a bit worked up over small issues but I usually don't have a problem dealing with him. He has a hard time articulating what he means when he is worked up, but if I listen carefully and let him talk and understand what he's saying then he calms down and he's okay. My mother's way of dealing with him to harangue non-stop so he gets even more worked up. She doesn't know how to listen and interrupts and talks very loudly.

Does anyone have suggestions or ideas on how I can handle this situation.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Thanks for the responses. I did speak to my Dad privately and told him that I was going to speak to our family doctor to recommend couselling for me, so that I would learn how to deal/respond when these situations occur between my parents. I said maybe if Mom sees that I 'm going for help, perhaps it will prompt her and my dad to get counselling. My dad seemed open to the suggestion.
They have both been very good all week. I told my Dad that Mom is very fragile and he has to double his efforts to reply and respond in kind.

I'll start with counselling and see how things develop.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I think the fact that your mother and father have been married for a long time and have been bickering like this for the whole time is telling. You offered her a solution and shes not interested, it sounds like she enjoys being a martyr and just wants to complain. My aunt has also been complaining about her husband for about 40 years, but refuses to seperate or take any action. Personally, I would leave them to it and move out to preserve your own sanity and your marriage. When she decides to take action, she knows where you are. You can't change people that don't want to change and sometimes tough love is the only option.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

JaneB's posting is right on. This has to be difficult but not a surprise to you and your husband. What I am no reading is how your father responds to her threat to move out. Have you discussed that he go to counseling? If she won't then perhaps he will belly up to the table and see if someone can provide him alternatives to deal with your mother. Perhaps if she sees his efforts by going to a counselor she will at least consider that he wants to change things.
Overall what you may have is a couple that have communicated this way for years and as much as they say they hate it (or she says) feel comfortable with it enough that it is better than "change".
Is your father passive aggressive? I've seen husbands you actually want to be viewed as the victum of an emotional wife. Her acting out of control makes them look in control. Little things that they know will bother her they refuse to stop doing under the attitude that they will do what they want and that the wife is just unreasonable..... they are not trying to get along and in fact poking at the fire....yet want to come across as the innocent guy with the difficult wife.
You and your husband may want to take the approach that everytime the verbal stuff STARTS the two of you get up and walk away. Walk into another room, to another level of the home, outside or even drive away. You will have to do this EVERY time for awhile. Even if it during a meal or your husbands favorite sporting event on t.v. If mother or father jumps you about your behavior just say that you care about them both but will not be drawn into their ongoing inpersonal problems and are not going to be abused by hearing the ranting. Remind you care enough about them to change your life around them but that this is an aspect you are NOT going to witness, try to solve, or ignore... you will just remove yourself. Only the two of them can resolve their communication style and it doesn't appear either one has a real interest.
Just my thoughts.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Yikes. This is hard, because it's a pattern of such longstanding. And the fact that your mother is saying she wants to move, only to stay and complain, shows she is just ratcheting up the drama, not actually asking for help. My advice, when people say they want something and behave another way, is two parts, and you have already done the first part by taking her literally: "You say you want to move; let's find some apartments for you to consider." You are trying to get her to what's real in the situation, and her response has told you she is NOT in the level of distress she claims, to the point she claims. Good information to have.

I'm sure you've tried telling her she doesn't know how to listen, and that this communication issue is 50% hers. The need for the drama is going to prevent her from looking at the behavior in a way that shifts it in any obvious way. But don't for a minute believe you and your husband aren't being supportive "enough." You changed your entire lives to support them. That's the truth.

Part two: Get thee to a counselor, go. You and your husband. You have to find the way to navigate this choice to live under the same roof with them, despite the fighting and misery. A counselor will be able to help you find ways to stick together, and maybe even to mitigate some of the more egregious bits of behavior. A local church will be able to provide low-cost counsel, even if you can't afford private help. Good luck to you!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter