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My dad is getting more depressed because our 'mean' mom tells him things that he does not want to do or can do. He does not agree with her being so mean to his children. But he sits passively and feels he is to blame for her insensitivity towards the children. She doesn't filter what comes out of her mouth. She told him yesterday that she had had enough of him. He tried to tell her that she didn't need to get up in the night to care for him. Yet she does. Our poor dad is the one with the health issues of depression and weakness. He has hospice coming into their home. He is very likeable and loves people. My dad apologizes for my 'mean' mom. He has to 'sneak' to call us. Today he apologized for not letting his own daughter borrow the exercise bike for 3 weeks. He knows he can't use it. But our 'mean' mom will not let him borrow it to us. It just doesn't make any sense. Her daughter needs it to recuperate from knee surgery. Both of us do so much for her with meals and visits, but she is so unappreciative and mean to us. She gives him his meds and meals. She follows him around. She lays out his clothes. The following around by her drives my dad crazy. She would never go to a therapist. She has pulmonary fibrosis and refuses any oxygen treatment. She is hard to be with.

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This situation is very familiar to me. My dad passed away in 2006. Before he died, it had become increasingly clear that he was no longer willing to tolerate my mother's emotional/psychological abuse, which was related to her extreme narcissism and in her case, heavy alcohol consumption. He too began talking to me on the phone when she was off getting her hair done. He was always an easy-going "nice guy" and never liked confrontation or conflict. He was sometimes passive-aggressive though. I did offer to start taking him to Al-Anon meetings, and part of what he liked is that he knew it bugged her, since she is in denial that she is alcoholic. But it also just brought him a feeling of serenity and acceptance, and the unconditional acceptance of the group members and support was just wonderful. And the hugs and lunch dates after meetings. And at times he did set boundaries a little better. When he was hospitalized in his last weeks, he stood up to her demands and even said "there will be a divorce if I go home and she doesn't let me eat a ham sandwich." She was not there for him in the hospital, finding her lunch dates more important than being with him. The night before he died he said A-L-A-N-O-N over and over in his sleep.

I felt that all I could do was to be there for him and when he did make a decision that was against her wishes, to be supportive. He changed his POA his last week to me for financial and healthcare and she was very angry, and still resents me for this. But it was his decision. She was wanting him to go to a nursing home and have extensive therapy to get him back to his prior level of function (which wasn't going to happen, he was dying of an asbestos-caused lung tumor), "because Medicare would pay for it." He just wanted to go home, and since he couldn't, I found him an Assisted Living placement for a day-to-day temporary placement. He only lived 3 days after discharge from the hospital.

You may not have Al-Anon, but if there can be someone that fulfills a counseling or pastoral role from hospice, someone who meets with him alone and without her being present, perhaps that could help your father find some serenity also.
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My aunt and uncle both had pulmonary fibrosis (they were in their early 80s) and died very quickly (within six months) of the diagnosis. I don't think you survive long-term with that diagnosis. So your mom is probably on a very short timeline.
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i dont see anyone asking "will she take revenge on him if you interfer?"
I would be afraid of her wrath unless you have a plan B just in case.
Good luck. you could threaten her with putting him in assisted living to get him away from HER. It took me about 9 months to find one for my mom, who wasn't ready for it yet, but I was so glad to have the option when the time came.
I like to say "my mother was used to 'holding the reins' in her first marriage and wasn't happy NOT doing that in her second marriage," It changed her. I could NOT live with her 24/7, we both knew that. I help with expenses, but I'm glad to do it.
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My parents have been married 61 years. My mother told me about 18 years ago that she never 'really bonded' with me when I was a baby (I am the first, a female and the next, my brother three years younger, was and is the 'golden child - and we are 58 and 55!) with three following. My mother is seriously NPD and the entire family has always said she is mentally ill. Much of that stems from the knowledge that she has always been manipulative and mean as a snake. My dad loves her - and I use that word loosely, because that is NOT love to me - and he is in serious denial, which he always has been. I have always felt she is strangely jealous of me and she has successfully cut me out of my father's life as well as besmirched my name and me to my whole family. When my dad turned 80 three years ago she did not invite me to his party, saying that 'we would just see them in a few weeks on the cruise' (the one I organized and helped pay for for my dad for his birthday). She hates me. It is no different than it ever was, and I was close to my grandmother, whom, when she died 22 years ago, I was told by my dad not to 'grieve in front of your mother because it hurts her feelings'. HER feelings have always mattered more than anyone's. I cannot be 'supportive' of my dad. I have bent over backwards all my life to find a way to relate to him while having to deal with her. He seems to revel in the light of being loved by me and wants me to take whatever abuse she puts out in order to have a relationship with him, regardless of how it hurts me. He calls it 'respect'. (My mother has been equally hateful and disrespectful to my dad; when discussing him once she told me 'I don't think I will miss Daddy when he dies'. He has done nothing but worshipped the ground she has walked on. I can't stand her. Sometimes things just are what they are. People will try to say it's 'dementia' and sometimes it is. And sometimes people are evil and the older they get the more evil they can become.
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Someone (like your dad) can't be talking into being more assertive. He'll either stand up to your mom or he won't. Maybe this is a pattern resulting from years and years of marriage. If so, it's unfortunately unlikely to be broken at this point.

I had 2 patients, a husband and wife. Married over 40 years. I worked with them in their home. He had HIS side of the house and she had HER side of the house and they rarely interacted and when they did the husband was a complete jerk to her. She would talk to me about it occasionally, tell me how unhappy she was with him and that she should have left him years ago but now she was stuck. And this guy was a jerk. Rarely have I ever met anyone as "mean" as this guy. He was just mean, period. Mean to me, mean to his wife, mean to people who called on the phone. He was almost impossible to deal with and because he was so awful I had to keep telling myself that he was a miserable old man who was stuck in his house. He would verbally attack his wife, scream at her, it was awful. Then he turned on me one day. His wife never stood up to him but I had no problem is saying to him, "Please stop screaming at me, it's very disrespectful and inappropriate". He kept screaming, spit flying out of his mouth because he was so enraged, and I called my agency and told them I was leaving. They supported me 100%. I wasn't stuck there in that house like he was and like his wife was. Maybe your dad feels stuck? And what's he supposed to do? He probably just wants to keep the peace.

Be supportive of your dad. Be there for him. Some say "It's never to late to change" but I disagree. Sometimes it is too late to change.
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Let dad move in with you so he doesn't have to deal with "mean mom". We can not change people, we can only change ourselves. Changing others can be a full time job in itself. Both of my parents are verbally abusive literally. My mom is charming to the world but it is only a facade behind closed doors she is Dr. Jekyll turned Mr. Hyde and my dad is her follower and posse so he is a bully like her. They are still independant but I limit my time being around them because negative people can drain your energy. I do not plan on caring for them if they become invalid because they mistreated me. I am only caring for my elderly grandpa because he was more like a father figure to me than my own dad.
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My mother and my brothers Tom and Steve died of pulmonary fibrous. If she needs oxygen, your Mom has very little time left. Could it be your Dad realizes that and forgives her. Maybe you could shift your focus from Dad to being with your Mom.
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If this meanness in your mom is recent, it's likely a result of dementia. If she has always been mean-spirited, then your dad is certainly accustomed to her personality by now. In my husband's family there was a couple who could have been described in the way you describe your parents – she was nasty, he was charming. But, being a newcomer to the family and seeing them objectively, what I noticed was that he was a bit of a martyr. He subtly enjoyed the role of long-suffering husband. She, to me, was well tuned to his personality and became more and more 'hardened' over the years from being constantly cast as the b*tch in their relationship. I'm not saying that's the case with your parents. You know them best.
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A similar situation existed with my parents but nothing would have made my father leave my often-mean mother. In the end, at age 85, she sat at his bedside in the hospital for hours, just holding his hand. She has arthritis so that can't have been comfortable. They just had that kind of bond, despite her disrespecting him in their daily lives. The love remained.

Now Mom has dementia and I'm her caregiver. I do protest when she does or says something mean. My position is that we can disagree without being disagreeable. And, no, it doesn't always do any good nor has she changed. It's more a matter of respecting myself.

What I’m leading up to is to raise the possibility that your father's needs might better be served if he lived somewhere else, perhaps with the help of hospice? But my guess is he won't separate from the meanie.

Perhaps the remedy here is for you to learn to separate your emotions from the situation as much as possible and let these people continue to lead their own lives. Based on your description of the relationship patterns and your mother's rigidity, it's doubtful either will change at this point.

Blessings to you to be strong enough to maintain your own mental health and avoid getting drawn into their drama.
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Since your profile indicates that you are taking care of your dad who has depression, jeanne asks the important question of what is ailing your dad, as the hospice seems to be for him. Generally hospice is brought and when a doctor certifies a patient to have 6 months or less to live. Why is your dad weak, not usually a symptom of depression?

My question to you is: has your mom always been 'mean' or is this a newer turn of events. As I read your description of her behavior, especially after directly or indirectly caring for 8 family members or friends with different types of dementia, it sounds to me as if your mom maybe in the early stages of some type of it.

Pulmonary fibrosis involves progressive scarring of the lungs which leads to more and more systemic hypoxia (lack of oxygen). Reduced oxygen can lead to the death of many brain cells. She's refusing to supplement with oxygen which has apparently been recommended, so this can only become progressively worse if that's the cause.

You don't give your moms age but I'm sure my zing she's not a candidate for a long transplant? Have you ever dealt with dementia patients? Stubbornly refusing to do things that are so very obvious to us along with general crankiness, crabbiness, controlling and/or argumentative behavior, what we might describe as 'mean' or 'set in her ways' indicate early signs of dementia to me.

I believe you need to get her a neuropsychiatric evaluation to determine if she has some level of impairment. If so, she should not be the one taking care of your dad,rather she should be getting some care of herself. ementia people cannot be easily reasoned with, another symptom, so all of your good logic you are attempting to use with her falls on deaf ears (such as your sister needing the exercycle for rehab).

Are you their health POA? Perhaps a succinct email to their doctor could set the wheels in motion to clarify the situation for you.
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How can you make your dad be something he isn't? You can't. However, he CAN make YOU as passive as HE IS! Or, you can stick up for him next time the need arises. Do ya get my drift? I , mean, (no pun intended, & I'm not mean ; ) what's wrong with your mouth? Are you scared of her, too?
Your mom is doing quite a lot for your father. What is it YOU do, if anything?? Huh? She needs some help. Instead of being part of the problem... Be a part of the solution!
You posted the question, so you are somewhat aware, right? Do the right thing. Just do the right thing. May God also be your partner, director and friend regarding this matter. God bless!
In closing, let me just straight out ask YOU to verbalize support for your dad when mom starts in, sure, you're gonna get her wrath, but your self esteem will soar! Why? Because you have done something of moral fiber! You actually had a backbone! No whimp, here, right?
See the humor in things, learn to laugh at yourselves when arguing is present. Learn to 'do the right thing' and remember life IS the gift...make the best of it!
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Sorry to be mean about this but it has been a marriage long pattern and this won't change at this stage. As far as the exercise bike is concerned yes it was mean but his daughter can exercise her knee perfectly well without it.sure it is nicer to sit on the bike and watch TV but she can exercise just as well by walking or climbing the stairs. I know I did it.Mom seems to be taking good care of Dad even if he does not like to be micromanaged. Call Dad don't expect him to call you. Does she need all the food delivered and the other help you provide. Back off and if she has to ask she may be more appreciative
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I know a person who is mean sometimes but not all the time. I have found that if I remain calm and in a matter of fact tone say, "that is a mean thing," or "what a mean thing to say," she stops, at least for a while. It is important not to make it a confrontation which will lead to more mean things and anger on both sides. It also makes a difference if your mother is intentionally mean. It sounds like she might be overly protective, and not see herself as mean. If your dad is so passive, maybe she sees herself as his helper, keeping the kids from taking advantage of him by borrowing his stuff, following him to make sure he's ok. If that is the case you might remind her that letting him have some space is helpful to him. Making his own decisions is good for his mind. If she is truly worried, getting one of those buttons for emergencies is another idea. If she is doing it to be a bully and manipulative, then at least identifying and calmly calling out the behavior as such could help.
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Who is the hospice for ... your Dad? What is his ailment?
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