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Parents hate each other!(14 Posts)
I don't really know what I hope to achieve by posting this, there's nothing I can do, but my parents relationship seems to have taken a really bad turn for the worst. They never really had much in common as far as I could see ( apart from us)- they had an arranged marriage and met about a month before marrying. My youngest sibling moved out a few years ago, and since then they have got more and more distant. Now, just after their 40th wedding anniversary, it seems to have descended into barely disguised contempt. They came round to mine to see the DCs and it seemed as if they had not spoken at all, even though they live in the same house. They barely spoke to each other in my house. My DH said they might be better splitting up, but what's the point? They live as far as I can see in different parts of the same house anyway. They are also quite religious, so won't do it. I'm not sure how to handle it, if at all, or just ignore it. My siblings aren't really the type to chat about things like that, so I just wanted to write it down really.
The only thing that is yours to handle is your own relationship with them. Unfortunately you can have no influence on their relationship with each other.
You can discuss with them how they make you feel when they are actively snubbing each other while under your roof, if you want to. Or ask them one-on-one to open up to you about how they feel in their marriage, just so that they can hear their own wants and needs out loud. But that's about as far as you can go.
I feel for you - I've just been through a very similar situation with my parents. They've been married for 53 years and never happily (I would say emotionally abusively), but due to religion don't want to split either. Dad is 80 and Mum is 76.
To be honest there's nothing you can do. Dad got to the point of saying he wanted to commit suicide, but still is thinking he needs to stay. Well, it's his choice. It's their life, their relationship and their choice to stay or go.
Same here. You can't do anything; it's their relationship. My parents is also du switch off now when DM complains about DF. I have no feelings for DF as he has been very horrible in the past. for you and me and them.
Don't know what happened there! My parents still together due to religion and I switch off now.....
Thanks everyone. I know I can't do anything. Not nice to hear others have the same problem and come to the same conclusion, but you know what I mean!
In my parents case, I don't think there has been any emotional abuse, but my mother is very strong willed, and does not listen to others' opinion easily. This means that she nags and nags to the point where she just gets ignored, so then she gets frustrated that nobody listens to her, which in turn seems to have led to open insults and slagging off. My dad' answer to this is to leave the house as much as possible, which winds her up again. I suppose my main problem is my involvement in it. I've told my mum I want no part in their issues. ( my dad doesn't say anything much anyway) It is just sad for everyone involved. I suppose their religious beliefs mean they think they will be happier in the next life!
Sorry for the hijack, but I'd be interested in any advice on this too... my parent's relationship is awful - my dad is very sick and frail, is only 64 but looks more like 84 due to cancer and the treatment which have both left him very damaged physically. My mum is 61 still works full time and is his sole carer when she's not at work. She's always been quite harsh with him, and obviously no one knows what happens behind closed doors so I don't know really how is is with her in private, but in public he is very quiet and subdued whereas she cannot seem to help herself in putting him down, berating him, insulting him, talking to him like dirt, treating him like a child. Its horrible to be around them.
They don't eat in the same room, don't sleep in the same bed/room, spend their whole lives separately in the same house. It must be so so lonely for my dad. I know that she's tired from working full time and I guess looking after him but he does as much as he can for himself but he's virtually house bound. He would do anything for her (if he physically could) and seems to just suck up the abuse but I hate hearing it! She's very closed off emotionally and gets really really defensive if you ever mention how she is - she's always saying she'll die before him because of overwork! He was diagnosed 11 years ago with a brain tumour and they were told it was terminal and that he had a year to live. He suprised everyone and is still here - he took part in a trial of a new cancer drug at the time of diagnosis and is the only one still alive out of all the people on the trial. I try to give him as much attention and love when I'm there and talk softly to him as he doesn't much of that from her.
Up til now they've not really looked for help in terms of practical help so have just been struggling on. They've just recently started accepting some help - he has a button he can press if he falls, and paramedics come to the house, they've made a couple of very minor changes to the house.
I just don't know how to be around them anymore. It hurts so much to sit there and hear how she talks to him. She has her own point of view obviously but its not his fault he is the way he is. He's stopped going out for meals with us now as she won't even let him have a starter because he takes so long to eat, but this is due to the medication he has to take to control the seizures - he can take up to an hour to eat one course. She's fed up obviously but still.... I have tried to broach the subject but as I said she gets really really defensive and goes on the offensive. The doc put her on ADs but I don't think its working... she hates going to the doctor for anything! Not sure if its a lost cause. Any ideas?? Hope this doesn't sound too unsympathetic to my mum - but she's an intelligent woman, there is and has been help out there but she just hasn't gone for it before now.
Blondie it sounds terribly difficult for everyone concerned.
You say they've started to accept some help, thats a good sign surely?
Any change in the right direction is good even if it is only a small change, the point is that they could be moving out of the pattern that they were stuck in.
wrt your mum's anti D's is it possible that they've not fully kicked in yet?
Could you take your dad out for a meal without your mum being present, Blondie? And would it be possible for you to be with him in his home or your own for a few hours to give your mum a break?
Blondie I hope you don't mind me saying so but I think your post sounds quite critical of your mum.
In black and white she is working full-time and is a carer, is coping with the stress of your dad's illness and is getting criticism (and you don't know what your dad is like when they are on their own. Plus it is very hard to take criticism off anyone who isn't in those circumstances, let alone your own child.
I would focus on giving some practical help as much as you can and leave the judgement at the door. Even if you don't say it directly to your mum, things such as the 'soft talking' will imply it.
Maybe I didn't explain properly - she was always harsh with him even before he was sick. It just got worse once he was ill. When I said I tried to broach it with her I didn't mean I criticised her, what I should have said was that I tried to ask generally how things were with her. I know her too well to approach it head on! Yes, it is hard to take criticism off anyone not in those circs but I have offered and offered to help, take him out, come down on my weekends that I don't have my son to help with housework, etc etc etc but all she says is hmm yes, I may well take you up on that but then never does.... Like I said she is an intelligent woman, and always has an opinion on what others should or shouldn't do but has always been very closed off, had barriers up when the subject of her/her life is even gently broached. She is overly critical in a lot of areas, not just my dad. She's the type of person in other areas of her life to be quite two faced (I think because she hasn't got the balls to say whats on her mind to the person's face) - she'll be nice to my nan's face for example then bitch and moan about her behind her back. If she won't accept my offers of help how can she moan??
izzy - yes, that would be a nice idea... will have to think about how to go about that without getting her back up.... I have also posted before (under a different name, a long time ago) about ishoos we have in our mother/daughter relationship - it has never been good though. I moved 40 odd miles away to kid myself that I never saw her because of the distance... I actually have to make an appt in her diary if I want to see her! She can be very helpful when she wants/when there's a problem, but as soon as its sorted she disappears off again. And before you comment on that issue - I have two other sisters/nephews who she sees all the time - she has the time in her schedule to go out with them, go to shows, look after their kids. I thought once I had my son she'd want to see him lots too. No chance. I'm a single mum who works full time so I know what its like to be busy! But anyway thats digressing!
The only judgement I have is in the way she treats/talks to him. He's disabled, he's not a vegetable/child/possession to be treated however she sees fit!
Maybe another way of describing it is she acts like a martyr a lot of the time, but when help is offered it is effectively refused....
Ah I see, sorry it's hard to comment appropriately sometimes on here where you obviously don't know the context.
Izzy's suggestion seems to be a good one then... see dad on his own - gives everyone a break! Good luck Blondie with what sounds a really hard set up.
Blondie your post reminds me a lot of my own parents' relationship. My mother is always putting my father down and insulting his views, his habits, his upbringing... She has also forced him to resign from a job he loved, and lately has denied him the right to carry his own credit card (all their accounts are joint). But in her view -- especially if you try to draw her out on her behaviour -- she is the martyr.
I hate the way she treats him, and I hate being around them. It seems clear, though, that I cannot change the way they relate to each other. And it is my father's choice to stay in this relationship: clearly he gets something out of it, and/or his denial is so deep that nothing I say to him would change things until he was willing to hear it.
I don't have advice per se, but I can share what my plan to deal with them is. Since I can't change their relationship to each other, the only thing I can try to change is what I am willing to accept when in their presence. So I have decided that every time my mother puts my father down, I will highlight the behaviour, state how it makes me feel, and ask for it to cease ("Mom, you just told Dad he is incapable of x. It makes me upset/angry to hear you say that. Stop it."). I know it is unlikely to change her: I am fairly sure she will only turn on me and pull out the martyr act. But at least I have to state the limits of what I can tolerate, and walk out if need be.
Obviously, your situation is complicated by the fact that your father is ill and needs care. I would echo the other posters who said to do what you can to make sure that all the practical and medical help your father needs is in place.
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