Heavy topic re: parents marital problems

  1. warning: kind of a heavy topic for friday...

    but i figure this is a good place to come to for advice from all points of view....

    i talked to a few people about this back before christmas and got some wonderful words of understanding and advice (thanks especially michelle nurse! ) but, i decided to let it go as things started improving between my parents. frankly, i got tired of thinking about it and needed a break. my mom won't talk to me about it or much of anything, but my dad seemed more positive over the past months.

    hmmm, let me sum up, mom had been having a non-physical relationship (don't know if i buy that knowing the guys multiple past affairs) with a married family friend. went on for a few months before my dad found out, kept going on after dad found out and gave many chances for mom to "decide". finally it seemed like mom realized what she almost lost (dad, sisters, family etc) in jan. & agreed to counciling from their church and all seemed improving. my parents started building the home they'd been planning on land they had already bought, etc.

    i find out today at lunch with my dad, that mom has not been honest about the past couple months & contact with this guy, has been again drinking to "fill the void" she said, which causes her to not have any memory of what she's said or done (unfortunately saw this first hand on father's day) and told my dad that if "the other guy" would ask her to call him she probably would??

    i'm kind of like huh what happened here. needless to say, my dad is lost as to his next step, he's made it very clear to her that he's bargained with her and suggested enough ideas and solutions to deal with her obvious unhappiness with their marriage or her life or whatever, that he can't do that anymore-so if he finds out anymore of the same she will have to leave.

    this breaks my heart that it has come to this and she still doesn't seem to believe it is reality. she is still doing lots of planning for their new home and keeps reiterating she wants the home because it's best for them and their future, as if everything is well. the only thing i can gather is she just doesn't think she will ever lose my dad, she can have her cake and eat it too. the financial burden my dad is now set in is just another problem since he never wanted it in the first place, she felt she needed the security of a home "they'd never sell".

    sorry that was more than a sum up. :imbar i guess this just took me by surprise, i thought things were getting better until now. i post this because i'd love to understand from any or all sides if anyone's been there. i'd like to understand my mom & what it will take to put a rest to whatever she's going through. (if that is possible) and i'd also like to be able to give my dad some wise words or encouragement. he's become very close to me through all of this and i'd like to be able to offer more. my grandma (mom's mom) also is clueless.

    do you think there is anyway i can make a difference to my mom, the last time i tried, she refused to listen or talk to me. i'd appreciate the help.
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    Oh Leslie - I'm sorry your family is going through this.

    I can't really give you any advice from a personal stand point because I grew up in a one parent household. I can tell you that whatever your mom is going through, I don't think there's anything you can do to snap her out of it. Just be there for her? And don't place too high of expectations on yourself in this situation. Don't say things to her like, "if you loved us" or "do this for us". You'll only disappoint yourselves.

    Are your parents still in therapy? Sounds like there's alot of avoidance and denial going on. Even if your mom is no longer going, I would suggest that your dad continue with it. I hope that whatever ultimatums he lays down, he can stick with them. If he can't, it only reinforces to her that she can continue to walk all over him. And please don't take this the wrong way, but are you in any therapy? It sounds like you're family is in turmoil, sometimes we need an outsider to help us cope. (even though you've got great help here at allnurses )

    You're in my thoughts Leslie. Please keep us posted, and feel free to PM anytime!

    Heather
  4. by   live4today
    Hi Leslie ((((hugs))))
    I'm sorry to hear you and your parents are dealing with such upsetting mattters of the heart. Heather has given you wonderful advice. Coming from a home where my parents EVENTUALLY divorced after 30 years of marriage, and numerous separations during those 30 years, I know from firsthand experience the heartache involved when a family disintegrates because of one partner or another. Not only am I a child of divorced parents, I've been divorced once before...making my children products of a divorced home, too.

    Here is the advice I was given when I was going through the "run away husband" period of my life: My brother told me to either STAY in the situation and keep complaining about how he wasn't doing right, or to GET UP OUT OF IT and MOVE FORWARD with my life, never to look back in his direction! My Pastor said he would pray for him, as did others. Then, one day I was in the shopping mall looking around when I stumbled over this bumper sticker that said "If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it was meant to be. If it doesn't, hunt it down and kill it!" :chuckle Well...I didn't hunt him down and kill him...in the literal sense of the word, but I did MOVE ON and live my life as if he never existed before...with the exception of putting up with him for the children's sake. My MOVING ON is what triggered in him the need to want to return, but my Momma didn't raise no fool, so looking back to a life with him was out of the question!

    I say this to say that perhaps your father should MOVE ON with his life while your mother figures out what the heck she wants out of life. Her behavior in the marriage MAY or MAY NOT have anything at all to do with your father, or her feelings for him. Your mom sounds like she is in a 'place' in her life right now where she is trying to discover herself separate from her marriage and family. That happens to the best of us, it doesn't make us 'bad people' either. Your mother would benefit from seeking therapy. This particular age of her life is not easy to live through, unfortunately not all of us decide to behave the way your mother is behaving when going through that phase of our life, and...some do.

    All you can do is love her as a mother, and try to see her as a woman -- separate from the role you see her in as your mother, and let your parents work this out between the two of them. Encourage your father to seek therapy even if your mother refuses therapy for herself. Be the loving daughter that I'm sure you are to them both, and pray for them to find a way to resolve their difficulties. This is the best thing you can do for yourself. LIVE your own life, and pray for theirs, especially for your mother.
    I'll keep them both, and you too, in my prayers each day. :kiss
  5. by   prn nurse
    Sounds to me like mom is a master manipulator.
    Don't buy it that mom is drinking and "doesn't remember".
    Mom knows exactly what she is doing.
  6. by   bagladyrn
    If your mother's drinking is causing this much pain in your family, I would suggest that you and your father contact Alanon for help in dealing with the issues. ( AA is for alcoholics, Alanon for families dealing with the drinker)
  7. by   nursedawn67
    Sounds to me that mom needs to be honest to her self and to the family and get some help...she can't do it alone....no one can. Be there and support her and your dad. Take care and good luck with whatever is decided. (((HUGS))))
  8. by   LilgirlRN
    The affair and the drinking aren't the problem, they are a symptom of the underlying problem.
  9. by   oramar
    Underlying problem is that there is something she is not getting from her life and this is the way she is compensating. I don't know what it is and either do you. Long time ago she needed to face up to it like a grown up and start to deal but she didn't. This is the result.
  10. by   Lausana
    Thanks guys for the responses :kiss What a wise bunch-I knew I came to the right place.

    I'm going to be at my parents' tomorrow & am going to give a woman-to-woman talk another try. I'm going to give her a chance (and hope she will) to actually explain some of what she's feeling, she usually just avoids talking about it. (she has stopped therapy) That's really all I can do.

    But my heart aches for my little sisters (12 & 5) who need a mom now much more than me. But I don't think she'll be a very good mom until this is over, this is all about her. It's one thing to think that & another to actually want her to leave. I don't think she's neccesarily being manipulative, just not being honest with herself, and in turn not to us.

    ANYWAY, thanks again all

  11. by   prn nurse
    Mom's in limbo and cannot make a decision, because,...the man she wants is still cohabitating with his wife. If he left his wife, Mom would be outa there in a New York minute. And, my guess is,...mom would leave the two little girls behind. You don't deceive, lie, transgress and all the other stuff she is doing, if you put your children first.

    This man is her first and only concern now. Why not tell the man's wife what's going on? They are all adults, get it out in the open.

    Drinking "to fill the void" means getting a buzz on, drinking to oblivion...sleeping it off....killing the hours..."can't bear to pass the time sober....it hurts too much without sweetie," so, she drinks until she can be with sweetie again. It's a surefire way to "fill the hours".

    The local church pastoral counseling cannot fix this. Your mom doesn't want it fixed..She wants to be with her hunny.

    Don't buy that "it's not physical", ..... when adults have affairs, they're not holding hands.

    Your dad need to see a lawyer, a good one...big time...real fast....to find out where he stands legally.
    Last edit by prn nurse on Jun 22, '02
  12. by   kids
    ((((((((Leslie & family))))))))
  13. by   ktwlpn
    Originally posted by Lausana
    Thanks guys for the responses :kiss What a wise bunch-I knew I came to the right place.

    I'm going to be at my parents' tomorrow & am going to give a woman-to-woman talk another try. I'm going to give her a chance (and hope she will) to actually explain some of what she's feeling, she usually just avoids talking about it. (she has stopped therapy) That's really all I can do.

    But my heart aches for my little sisters (12 & 5) who need a mom now much more than me. But I don't think she'll be a very good mom until this is over, this is all about her. It's one thing to think that & another to actually want her to leave. I don't think she's neccesarily being manipulative, just not being honest with herself, and in turn not to us.

    ANYWAY, thanks again all

    I am sorry for what you are going through. It is tough to see people that you love in pain....However my take on this situation is that a child should not be put (or put herself) in the position of mediator or therapist in this type of situation-not even an adult child.Yes-offer your support to both parents and to your siblings who will really need you-but I don't think it is appropriate for you to be privy to the intimate details of your parents relationship-they should not manipulate you into the middle of their problem-they are both using you in different ways-as a shield,as a crutch.....Help your self-help your siblings find help(AA ,alanon etc) and accept the fact that you can't change them or control them.All you can do is protect your self from the fallout.....
  14. by   prn nurse
    That certainly is insightful advice klwlpn. Words of wisdom.

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