Problems with parents

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  • #1
ideasrule
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My dad pursued a divorce about three months ago, and my parents are now separated. This didn't surprise me at all because for at least the past 10 years, it's been obvious to me that my dad no longer had any affection for my mom, especially because he's in an openly adulterous relationship. However, my parents are both very naive about romance because they've never dated any partner other than each other, so my dad didn't have the will to pursue the divorce until now, and my mom has been in denial this entire time about my dad's lack of any affection.

Anyways, ever since the separation, my mom has been extremely depressed. She was obviously not expecting the divorce, and even after 3 months, has not recovered from it. We talk on the phone every week, and she used to be so talkative that I would lose patience and try to hang up at every opportunity. Now, she only says one or two sentences in a sad tone before hanging up.

Tomorrow, I'm going to be visiting my parents for the first time since the divorce. It'll be awkward deciding who to visit at what time, but after I get that settled, how should I talk to my mom? What advice, if any, should I give? Unfortunately, I'm very distant from both parents--I've never felt comfortable calling them "mom" or "dad", never told them I love them, and never considered them people to look up to. Yet as a human being, I feel like I should be doing something to help, even if I don't truly sorry for my mom.
 

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  • #2
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Tomorrow, I'm going to be visiting my parents for the first time since the divorce. It'll be awkward deciding who to visit at what time, but after I get that settled, how should I talk to my mom? What advice, if any, should I give? Unfortunately, I'm very distant from both parents--I've never felt comfortable calling them "mom" or "dad", never told them I love them, and never considered them people to look up to. Yet as a human being, I feel like I should be doing something to help, even if I don't truly sorry for my mom.

I don't know that theres ever any appropriate advice to give someone who is going through the pain of a divorce. The only thing that helps is time.

Anyway, you don't like calling her Mom, you don't feel sorry for her, don't look up to her, never told her you love her, and don't feel close to her, so you're probably the last person who should be trying to comfort her. Hopefully she has friends, you know, people who actually like and respect her, who would be in a better position to comfort her.
 
  • #3
ideasrule
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Anyway, you don't like calling her Mom, you don't feel sorry for her, don't look up to her, never told her you love her, and don't feel close to her, so you're probably the last person who should be trying to comfort her. Hopefully she has friends, you know, people who actually like and respect her, who would be in a better position to comfort her.

The problem is that I don't believe she has any friends. She hasn't had a stable job in 20 years, and I've never seen her hanging out or chatting on the phone.
 
  • #4
Astronuc
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Tomorrow, I'm going to be visiting my parents for the first time since the divorce. It'll be awkward deciding who to visit at what time, but after I get that settled, how should I talk to my mom? What advice, if any, should I give? Unfortunately, I'm very distant from both parents--I've never felt comfortable calling them "mom" or "dad", never told them I love them, and never considered them people to look up to. Yet as a human being, I feel like I should be doing something to help, even if I don't truly sorry for my mom.
Now would be good time to tell your mom and dad that you love them.

Ask your mom how's she's doing - and just listen to her.

Ask your dad how he's doing.


At one time - before you were born - they must have had some affection for each other.


They are who they are. I'm sure there's a history there for both of them separately before they met, and afterward.
 
  • #5
lisab
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My dad pursued a divorce about three months ago, and my parents are now separated. This didn't surprise me at all because for at least the past 10 years, it's been obvious to me that my dad no longer had any affection for my mom, especially because he's in an openly adulterous relationship. However, my parents are both very naive about romance because they've never dated any partner other than each other, so my dad didn't have the will to pursue the divorce until now, and my mom has been in denial this entire time about my dad's lack of any affection.

Anyways, ever since the separation, my mom has been extremely depressed. She was obviously not expecting the divorce, and even after 3 months, has not recovered from it. We talk on the phone every week, and she used to be so talkative that I would lose patience and try to hang up at every opportunity. Now, she only says one or two sentences in a sad tone before hanging up.

Tomorrow, I'm going to be visiting my parents for the first time since the divorce. It'll be awkward deciding who to visit at what time, but after I get that settled, how should I talk to my mom? What advice, if any, should I give? Unfortunately, I'm very distant from both parents--I've never felt comfortable calling them "mom" or "dad", never told them I love them, and never considered them people to look up to. Yet as a human being, I feel like I should be doing something to help, even if I don't truly sorry for my mom.

Yes, I think it's right that you feel the urge to help. Problem is, it seems you don't have much of a connection with your mother, so it might be hard to get her to share her feelings with you. So why don't you suggest going somewhere together with her, like maybe dinner and a movie, or to a museum, or something she might enjoy?
 
  • #6
Evo
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I'm sure that in your mother's situation she'd welcome your company. It's always bad to be the one that gets dumped, and she's financially dependant to boot. Are you an only child?
 
  • #7
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My dad pursued a divorce about three months ago, and my parents are now separated. This didn't surprise me at all because for at least the past 10 years, it's been obvious to me that my dad no longer had any affection for my mom, especially because he's in an openly adulterous relationship. However, my parents are both very naive about romance because they've never dated any partner other than each other, so my dad didn't have the will to pursue the divorce until now, and my mom has been in denial this entire time about my dad's lack of any affection.

...

Tomorrow, I'm going to be visiting my parents for the first time since the divorce. It'll be awkward deciding who to visit at what time, but after I get that settled, how should I talk to my mom? What advice, if any, should I give? Unfortunately, I'm very distant from both parents--I've never felt comfortable calling them "mom" or "dad", never told them I love them, and never considered them people to look up to. Yet as a human being, I feel like I should be doing something to help, even if I don't truly sorry for my mom.

Don't get yourself too much into their problems, they might pull you down too :uhh: Personally, I have rarely come out as happy every time I visit my parents. I am always amazed at their stamina, how they are getting old and still have too much energy to outspeak each other. :rofl:

I also understand that it is too hard to say you love them even when you start changing and start appreciating them. Just do something you haven't done before, buying a gift making a hand card etc if it is too hard to say the words. It is easy to do.
 
  • #8
ideasrule
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Yes, I think it's right that you feel the urge to help. Problem is, it seems you don't have much of a connection with your mother, so it might be hard to get her to share her feelings with you. So why don't you suggest going somewhere together with her, like maybe dinner and a movie, or to a museum, or something she might enjoy?

For some odd reason, my mom seems very open and is willing to tell me almost anything. She often complained to me about her relationship problems, and my response was always something along the lines of "How am I supposed to know what you should do?" My dad isn't as open, but he told me about his divorce plans a month before telling my mom. I don't know what the purpose of that was, but if he hoped I would make things easier for my mom, he didn't succeed.

Are you an only child?

Yes. I know I'd be extremely depressed if my only child didn't consider me a respectable person, but I can't force myself to respect anyone, nor do I think it's a good idea if it were possible.

Don't get yourself too much into their problems, they might pull you down too Personally, I have rarely come out as happy every time I visit my parents. I am always amazed at their stamina, how they are getting old and still have too much energy to outspeak each other.

Same story here. Hopefully, all the yelling and fighting will come to an end after this divorce is finalized.
 
  • #9
lisab
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For some odd reason, my mom seems very open and is willing to tell me almost anything. She often complained to me about her relationship problems, and my response was always something along the lines of "How am I supposed to know what you should do?" My dad isn't as open, but he told me about his divorce plans a month before telling my mom. I don't know what the purpose of that was, but if he hoped I would make things easier for my mom, he didn't succeed.

If I can make a gentle suggestion...when your mom tells you her problems, don't try to give solutions. It's likely she isn't looking for them, she just wants to vent her feelings and frustrations a bit. Try saying things like, "How did that make you feel?" or "Yes, I understand that would make you sad."
 
  • #10
FrancisZ
My dad pursued a divorce about three months ago, and my parents are now separated. This didn't surprise me at all because for at least the past 10 years, it's been obvious to me that my dad no longer had any affection for my mom, especially because he's in an openly adulterous relationship. However, my parents are both very naive about romance because they've never dated any partner other than each other, so my dad didn't have the will to pursue the divorce until now, and my mom has been in denial this entire time about my dad's lack of any affection.

Anyways, ever since the separation, my mom has been extremely depressed. She was obviously not expecting the divorce, and even after 3 months, has not recovered from it. We talk on the phone every week, and she used to be so talkative that I would lose patience and try to hang up at every opportunity. Now, she only says one or two sentences in a sad tone before hanging up.

Tomorrow, I'm going to be visiting my parents for the first time since the divorce. It'll be awkward deciding who to visit at what time, but after I get that settled, how should I talk to my mom? What advice, if any, should I give? Unfortunately, I'm very distant from both parents--I've never felt comfortable calling them "mom" or "dad", never told them I love them, and never considered them people to look up to. Yet as a human being, I feel like I should be doing something to help, even if I don't truly sorry for my mom.


My parents' marriage was never a stable thing growing up. Really, if I had to chose a better role model for marital bliss, it would have been my grandparents instead. They've been separated for year now (my parents again); though still never officially divorced.


Now would be good time to tell your mom and dad that you love them.


That is very good advice; so ditto. There's more here than meets the eye, it sounds. But obviously: your mother is emotionally crushed; and could do with a lot of support.

This likely will change the three of you forever. And I think a positive outcome would be one in which you actually grow more firmly attached than maybe you've ever been.

It is a lot to take onto yourself, of course. But if we were talking about my own mother: I would honestly consider moving in with her for the time being; even simply to distract her for a while. You might not even need to say anything or do anything in particular. Sometimes: it is even your mere presence that is enough to change conditions, and motivate a sort of restructuring, and (hopefully) a healing in the house.


My older brother's divorce was very unpleasant (she divorced him also). When he moved back home with us: his depression was even to the point that you couldn't relocate an article of clothing (or any possession of his) from the last place that he left it--even with the good intention of helping him to clean up. As they say: no good deed goes unpunished. He would throw a fit and argue every time he saw you over it.

After much contemplation, I finally came to the conclusion, that what my brother was really saying (in these seemingly ridiculous outbursts from time-to-time): was that he simply needed, at moments like that, to feel somehow in control of the variables in his life; and the shirt on the floor, or the cup of coffee left out to get cold, was his way of controlling his environment. In other words: he needed to feel secure somehow; and crazy as it was, putting some object in a particular place--and yelling if anyone moved it--was relieving to him two-fold. Firstly: it made him feel in control at least over that minute situation. And secondly: by yelling about it, he released his anger (much to my chagin).

Would make a great Sith Lord (my brother), I've thought sometimes. : )

569px-Makashi.jpg


Anyway, he's a little better now; and in a new relationship. Really, I think the only thing that will eventually heal him more, is a partner that he feels that can trust in again.

So for myself at least (as an innocent bystander in this sort of emotional tumult): I always envision being as an unyielding rock poking out of a stream; one in which waves pass around, but never move said rock. In that: I am a constant myself for my brother.

It helps, just being stable for other people.
 
  • #11
Drakkith
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Other than being there for them and listening to them talk, I don't think there is much you can do. It is unfortunate that so many people get married and have so little experience in life that they don't even know how to handle it.
 
  • #12
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Ideasrule, you said that you never told your parents you love them, but do you in fact love them? Growing up, did you feel that they loved you?
 
  • #13
I like Serena
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In my family we've all been leading our own lives basically, interacting little, let alone meaningful.

However when my father passed away a couple of years ago, we have spent quite some time together, sharing and talking (not solving!).

I found it to be a very special time where we all got to know each other much better than ever before, appreciate each other, and have really meaningful conversations.

I think that when people are leading their own respective successful lives, there's little need for interaction, but when someone is in trouble, that's the time when the family connections you have really count for something.
Just talking and listening is enough, and I've found it very satisfying.
If you didn't much before, I think you'll find you start caring more.

Anyway, mothers are really easy. It doesn't matter what happened in the past. Any attention you give will be valued more than you know. That's just how mothers are. They don't forget who their children are!
 
  • #14
ideasrule
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Here's a very belated thank you to all of your advice! Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), the trip did not turn out as planned. The day before I was about to leave, my mom claimed that my dad didn't want me to visit. My relationship with him is friendly but very distant, so I never called him to find out if this was true, and instead canceled my trip at the last moment. I'll have to go back on August 22 anyways because my housing contract ends that day, so I'm not too sad about not going back.

My mom, however, is decidedly less happy. She said, about 5 hours after I canceled my trip, that she regrets telling me about my dad and that "I really miss you". She seems more depressed than usual, but it's not as if I can reverse my decision and buy another plane ticket.

If I can make a gentle suggestion...when your mom tells you her problems, don't try to give solutions. It's likely she isn't looking for them, she just wants to vent her feelings and frustrations a bit. Try saying things like, "How did that make you feel?" or "Yes, I understand that would make you sad."

Thanks! That's a good suggestion, and I have to admit I should do that much more often.

Ideasrule, you said that you never told your parents you love them, but do you in fact love them? Growing up, did you feel that they loved you?

I've thought about this too, and I think my honest answer would be "no, I don't love them". I can't read their minds, but if I had to judge whether they loved me based on what they're willing to do for me, I'd say "yes, definitely". I know this is a very strange situation to be in, but it's no easier for me to force myself into loving my parents than it is for you to force yourself to hate yours.
 
  • #15
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Here's a very belated thank you to all of your advice! Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), the trip did not turn out as planned. The day before I was about to leave, my mom claimed that my dad didn't want me to visit. My relationship with him is friendly but very distant, so I never called him to find out if this was true, and instead canceled my trip at the last moment. I'll have to go back on August 22 anyways because my housing contract ends that day, so I'm not too sad about not going back.

My mom, however, is decidedly less happy. She said, about 5 hours after I canceled my trip, that she regrets telling me about my dad and that "I really miss you". She seems more depressed than usual, but it's not as if I can reverse my decision and buy another plane ticket.

Thanks! That's a good suggestion, and I have to admit I should do that much more often.

I've thought about this too, and I think my honest answer would be "no, I don't love them". I can't read their minds, but if I had to judge whether they loved me based on what they're willing to do for me, I'd say "yes, definitely". I know this is a very strange situation to be in, but it's no easier for me to force myself into loving my parents than it is for you to force yourself to hate yours.

Speaking as (someone with a 50%+ divorced friends rate) and (more importantly) a parent of 4 - no need to re-invent your role in the family.

Why not allow your mom to mother you (a little) during your visit? As for dad - instead of trying to get him to talk or explain what he's thinking (especially if he's never done it) - maybe tell him he's taking you out to dinner or some other activity? If he wants to discuss what happened - he will - otherwise let him focus on you.

As silly as this may sound - consider making your trip more about (your parents) keeping up with you. If they're busy trying to keep up with you - maybe they'll re-focus a bit - remind them of what they have to be proud of (you). During quiet moments, watch for signs and be ready to comfort as needed. Find new comfort levels with both of them - separately.
 

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