Difficult parents


#1

How can i help my parents and manage to deal with them when they are so difficult.

For several years since they turned 50 years they are constantly talking to me about dying. They say they are old and that they will die soon. Sometimes i was fighting with them. You are not old. 50 is not old. We, the children, are grown up, you now have the time and opportunity to enjoy life. Go to trips, go here and there do something for fun. No way, they are convinced they will die soon and talk to me about the cemetery and inheritance. it drives me insane. My husband's parents are much older then them and i never heard them speak about death.

They they are the most stuborn people. When they come to visit us they come witht eh car. it is a long way and i am always nervous. I ask them to take the plane. But they refuse they say that they are too old to travel by plane. That it's much too much trouble in the plane. However 2 days on the road with the car is not traouble. And when they come with everything: pot for tea, tea, coffe, sugar, soap etc. I always tell them that there is all of these here. The car is loaded. They unload everything in our appratment and they take over it. For the time they stay here we are ussually like guest in our appartment. They move things from here to there, they are always in the kitchen, they make grills or cook at 10 in the night. Sometimes i have no idea what is in the fridge while they are here.

They are asking me every 2-3 days if i am pregnant. Sometimes when i am nervous i tell them that since 2 days ago until now i didn't get pregnant.

They are complicating things all the time. For them the smallest thing or problem is like a tragedy. I'm talking to them trying to make them understand that it is not such a big tragedy.

My father makes fun of absolutely everything. Like he likes to mock things and thiks he is smart of funny. This stopped now but when i was a little younger on Christmas after he was full and the dinner was over he used to rub his belly and say "It was such a poor Christmas." I was always mad, how can you say this. There are people who are really poor and have nothing to eat and you say this after finishing you meal. What are you missing? But he was repeating the "It was such a poor Christmas" most probably because he found it funny i was pissed off.

Last thing happened last week when they called me that my mother is in hospital. I thought that something bad happened. Then i found out that she didn't took her treatment. her pills finished and she decided that she doesn't need to buy other. She decided by herself she is healthy. Now when i call home i have to ask if she is taking the pills. What can i do from so far away from them. How can i make them stop about death and take care of themselves.


#2

Cristy, you are right. It isn't reasonable behavior.
I think your father feeds off shocking and upsetting you/others. It gets a reaction and it gives him the power over others' moods and emotions. I wouldn't normally say such a thing but it is very evident.

Hard as it is, if you could only show no body language reaction or verbal response so he had nothing to feed off...but of course he might try all the harder. Teasing, whatever form it takes, may be fun to the person imposing it on others, but it is a kind of abuse to the recipient when it's taken as far as your father does. He wants you to react...and he's obviously drawn your mother into his ways, or at least she permitted or fed the behavior long enough that he probably won't change.

You are right about age but if you continue to argue with your parents on such matters, instead of making them open to a healthier attitude, will only confirm them more deeply in their attitudes. When you become upset or argue the point with them they are getting a reaction...and from what you convey of your father, he enjoys that. He enjoys upsetting you because of the way he approaches relationships . And it gives him power. You give him power if he upsets you or if you work hard at proving them wrong.

You'd be better, I might think, to say calmly, "yes, you're very old and you will die soon. I am sad, but of course it's inevitable. I will miss you." because the fact is that in their attitude, they are old. Don't say it crossly, but very pleasantly.

What is old? I can't help thinking of my Dad at age 88. He decided to drive, by himself, across two States 2000 miles there and back to spend Christmas with my eldest sister and her family. Every second week he was a volunteer at a youth Court for those young offenders who had no support. He did this until last year when he found he had very painful bone cancer. Just before he was diagnosed the dear man said to me. "I had to sit down walking into town today, and again walking back. I have never done that before". Each week he went to theological book club, and attended scripture readings each week. Every Wednesday he visited an Alzheimer patient. After retirement from the top of his profession, he received awards from local and state governments for volunteer work. He lived at home and did his own washing and cooking. He died at 89 from the bone cancer. He grew so thin but the twinkle in his eyes remained. To the last he remained uncomplaining and thinking only of us and of the God and his two deceased wives he was going Home to...my Dad was not old. He had a wonderful head of white hair but he wasn't old.

So no, only in their minds are your parents old. You have to stand a little apart and see what is really happening. Your parents are tied up in a world you probably cannot penetrate to make more wholesome. You can only be pleasant, kind, but detached in the sense that you don't allow yourself to be drawn into their "routines or allow your distress to show to them. The degree to which they have atrophied their lives is in bringing their own crockery etc. Have compassion as if you would someone a little crippled, as your parents are crippling themselves by their attitudes...so as much as you can, rise above it and the behavior that is rude and intrusive. I know it's hard and I think I'd find all that behavior hard to endure, but I pray you can with compassion and with practical wisdom, float above it rather than engage.

And as for repeated questioning about being pregnant, it is actually rude and it is actually you being pressured because your mother wants to have grandchildren. Pressuring won't make it so, and you need to be able to figure how to deal with your parents before the children come, therefore soon, because they might not be easy to have in the house when you have little ones.

Practice scenes/scenarios in your mind, about how you will respond when certain behaviors arise, that will not feed the problems, the pressures, or the teasing, but will enable to help you feel you have been respectful without buying into your parents problematic characteristics and behaviors. I hope you can...


#3

There really isn't much else to say after Trishie's great response.

But at least be glad your parents are talking to you about your inheritance. Any of us could die at any time and even though they aren't really old, they could be killed in a car accident. I hope they do have a written will. If not, it sounds like they would cooperate just because they think they are the verge of dying anyway.

Airplane travel IS a pain now days. I would rather drive than fly but sometimes flying is necessary. As for staying in your apartment, you could ask them to stay in a hotel, or you could pay for a hotel. If they ask why, just say "Well we are trying to make you a grandchild and we need our privacy!":D

Let go and let God take care of them. I know they are frustrating to you. Pray for them, it's really about all you can do, but you can start setting boundaries for yourself and your family. It's important to do it now, before you have children, or they will trample all over your family once the kids are there.

(if they live that long...LOL)


#4

Trishie your answer is indeed great and it acknoledged some things to me that i already thought about but didn’t want to say them. My father wants to shock and my mother just got in his game.

What they told us about the not taking pills is that the pills are expensive. I know for sure that my parents are not that poor that they can’t afford to pills. They are not rich but they are not also poor, they have a normal life. And as i told them if you don’t have money to buy pills tell me or my sister and we will be glad to send you monthly the money for pills. However this is not the issue here. They like to play the victims lately. They are old, sick, tired, poor, alone and they are going to die. When they talk to me is only to complain. On Christmas when we went to visit them my father told me that he will die anyway and that he will pray to God to take his life and give ma child instead. OK, father, this is ****, please stop it. ofcourse he went on with this.

Also from the hospital my mother went back to work. When i asked her why she told me that they can’t afford to loose her job. She’s been working there for more then 20 years. I doubt that she can’t afford 1 day of medical leave. More likely is the martyr game again.

And yeah, are you pregnant? Since last week, no.


#5

But while being aware your parents’ limitations, do be understanding Cristy. :slight_smile:
It’s good to see things clearly so you can choose healthy ways of dealing with the difficulties that arise from your parents’ attitudes. However there will be reasons, probably lost in their history, for why they act and think as they do. There are many kinds of disability, including the relationship and attitude disabilities from which your parents suffer…there is possibly some kind of fear (or a range of fears) that underlies some of their behaviors.

It is at least conceivable that. by choosing to respond to your parents without buying into their weaknesses, you could influence them to more wholesome attitudes, however, the person you are aiming to change in this is you. If they see that you are trying to do this, if they feel you are changing, they may be fearful and redouble their efforts, or they may become very critical and resentful, but you need to remain in command of your own peace and responses, and not just be reactive to your parents.

Hopefully you can untangle yourself from the matching reactive responses to the triggers of their words and actions, and you can become mature and wholesome in the way you deal with them and with any aspect of your life.
This is the aim: not to hurt of punish your parents in any way…and I’ve known you long enough to understand that you wouldn’t wish to hurt them…but so that you can grow and respond in healthy ways and not allow others to dictate your own mental state and reactions. You are luckier than they, as you have potential to learn from all this. May God bless your parents and you.

Books and information do exist to help individuals to deal with difficult relationships.

Warm regards, Trishie


#6

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