How can I deal with my parents talking badly about each other to me? - AgingCare.com

How can I deal with my parents talking badly about each other to me?

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For most of my childhood my Parents argued and increasingly talked badly of each other to me and my Sibling as we got older, as well as to others inside and outside our family. After my second divorce, I moved to another State and rebuilt my life. I was very happy visiting and caring for therm remotely and having a nice quiet life with a few friends that were like my second family. However, I moved my Parents into my house this year because they only have their SS checks to live off of, have multiple chronic illnesses and declining health. Things were okay for the first few months. I was able to deal with their arguing like a Parent, but last week the arguing, bickering and talking badly about each other to me either became worse or affected me in a way that has never affected me before. My spirit is broken and I find myself thinking about what they said to me about each other all the time. It's like a heavy weight on me and I resent them for doing this to me. I feel like I have gone back in time and I'm reliving the aha moment I had as teenager when I realized they had an unhealthy relationship and not all married couples were like them. I vowed not to have marriages like them, but keeping my mouth shut to avoid an argument only allowed myself to be treated like a doormat by my husbands. I've since concluded my marriages partly failed because I did not have a healthy example of love between my Parents to follow. I have given so much time and attention to them and I lovingly and willingly did it up until this week. I have given up so much (i.e. friends, travel. taking care of myself etc...) because I truly believed it was my duty since they gave of themselves and sacrificed for me. I take care of them all by myself because my Sibling "didn't want to be pushed in direction they didn't want to go in." My Parents will celebrate their 50th anniversary next year and I always planned on having a nice formal party for them, but I no longer feel like it's appropriate since they can't even speak to each other nicely. I feel like I would be a hypocrite, but I know my Sibling is expecting me to plan and finance the party. I don't want to move them out of my house, but I feel like some things have to change if I'm going to survive this situation. They shouldn't say "thank you" and then burden me with their unhappiness. I don't have any "real" friends. My life consists of work, errands, taking them to their medical appointments and taking care of them. Any suggestions on how I can deal with this environment and my disappointment?

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It was a pretty quiet weekend.
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Not 43 years. 46 years. I must have blanked the worst of it out...
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Hugs to you Canttellu. My heart is in my boots reading your post. I feel so miserable for you that I just don't know what to say.

My parents bickered unceasingly for 43 years and only stopped then because my father dropped dead. I'm quite sure they'd still be at it if he hadn't. Do they even notice they're doing it? When I was still a teenager under their roof, I would occasionally run screeching from the room because I could take no more and their reaction to that was always astonishment. It seemed that they were genuinely unaware that there was anything to get excited about.

I wonder: what happens when you point out to your parents how badly they are behaving to one another? Do they individually get on fine with other people?

Your parents are going to celebrate their golden wedding. Fifty years of this. Oh BOY...
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People their age are not likely to change. I've noticed that my parents who have been married for 56 years argue more now than ever and it's over silly stuff. I think it's due to age, but I try to ignore it and when it's too much, I make a joke to diffuse the situation or I say say "Let's play nice." I try to embarrass them into being more civil. I don't expect it to work, but it's something. I can't fix them at this point, so I don't try.

I've never seen my parents marriage as a perfect one. They do things that I disagree with an find ridiculous, but that was their choice. I'm an adult and I make the decisions on how I will live. Maybe I do need some counseling...I've gone that route and it was helpful. But, it's up to me to make my life happy. No one else can do that for me. Besides, for all the grumbling my parents have done, they did have some good things come out of their marriage. They are committed to the family and never turned their back on anyone. That's more than what some people have. No one is perfect and maybe they did the best they could. I know I can do better and that's what I'm trying to work on.
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Move them out. You don't deserve this. Find them senior housing, NOW.
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You say you were in your teens when you realized they had an unhealthy relationship. It seems you harboured some pollyanna dreams that things would be different just because they are older now. I can understand that the constant negativity is weighing you down, and I would encourage you to take back your life and to look for alternatives to having them live with you. As for the anniversary, they HAVE managed to stick together for 50 years, and it is quite likely that their lifetime of nasty sniping does not seem at all dysfunctional to them. The state of their marriage is not really a reason to cancel the party, but you shouldn't feel obligated to do it if no one would appreciate it.
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