Here’s the situation:
Last night, my family came over for dinner to my husband’s and my apartment. We had a wonderful time, and we are close with my family, seeing them usually at least twice a month (we live about an hour away). Anyway, my dad brought in a movie for one of my brothers to watch, since he didn’t want to play poker with the rest of the siblings. The movie was rented by my dad without my mom’s knowledge, which wasn’t really the issue, since he does that often enough. However, once the movie was put on, it had a lot of cussing in it (done primarily by the bad guys) and violence, which is also not unusual for my brothers and dad. They make sure it doesn’t contain any sexuality, but violence is generally not even counted in decision-making. I don’t agree with that necessarily, but then again I’m a woman and I’m also their child so I am not going to try to “correct” their decision-making. Well, my mom practically blew up at my dad, critisizing him to no end. She basically asked him how he could pick out a movie like that, accusing him of not checking out the movie first (which he HAD done), insinuating that he had bad decision-making skills and no brain. All this was done in front of my siblings.
My parents have really been struggling with discipline in the past. I have 3 teenage brothers. The oldest thought he might be bi-sexual and in his counseling talked about how he wanted my dad to have more of a relationship with him. I have a sister who’s out of the house now, mentally-ill, who took 95% of my parents’ (esp. my dad’s) attention growing up, so my dad’s relationship with all of us has been weak, as he is a one-person-at-a-time kind of person. It didn’t affect me so much b/c I’m a girl and I had a strong relationship with my mom, and when I got into college, really strengthened my relationship with him. However, he doesn’t discipline. And my mom complains to me about it all the time. Since I’ve gotten married, I’ve realized many things about my parents’ marriage - one of them being that my mom really puts my dad down a lot. She critisizes him often and his primary love language is words of affirmation (I had them take the test in the book when I was reading it). So, no wonder my dad doesn’t take initiative - my mom tells him to do it and then tells him that he is doing it wrong. She belittled him in front of my brothers, which chips away at the respect they hold for him. How are they going to listen to him when he’s trying to discipline if my mom basically has no respect for him and doesn’t trust him in the first place and they all see it?
I was so upset by this that when they left, I just burst into tears. My husband suggested writing an email to her, telling her in a loving way, my observation. I’m not sure if I should. I’m not as upset about it now, but it still bothers me. And I think if she was more aware of this, maybe she would stop. She’s always open to change - she’s gone to therapy off and on for the past 30 yrs, so I know she’ll at least possibly listen.
Any thoughts or suggestions?