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Married Life of Aged Parents - Effects on grown up kids

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Venonimiss, Feb 29, 2008.

  1. Venonimiss

    Venonimiss Bronze IL'ite

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    Hi, I would like to get all your thoughts on something I am going through these days. I am the oldest of the three daughters of well educated, well earning parents who are in their early and mid fifties.

    Growing up, though they bought up their girls with good standards, good education etc - my parents always argued. They were 17 and 22 when they got married. We had fun growing up but it was full of my dad dominating, commanding and enjoying his selfishness (In some things) over my mom. My mom was always the victim. (That is what we thought while growing up and still think in most of their fights. But in fact when I see from a wife’s point of view – myself being a wife – Oooh you can control a man and keep him tied in many ways. Example: My mom hates alcohol, my dad doesn’t drink, but when with others if he is offered, he would hold a glass just to sip one through out the event – my mom would make hell out of this every time!!!). But yes, she was and is a victim of my dad’s bad tongue and ego. In a way, we all are!


    My dad is in respected medical profession and my mom climbed the ladder slowly, one step at a time and now she has a Masters in Science and is a lecturer. While my dad worked very hard at his job, my mom worked very hard in raising us along with helping my dad in their private businesses. In spite of all that, my dad never recognized her efforts and still refers her as a less educated!! It is hard for any one to go or say anything against his ego.


    If you start discussing why he has to hurt my mom with cruel comments, why he bad mouths my mom's family when they are not in front of him and why he doesn't acknowledge all her sacrifices and hard work, OH- he starts a big lecture about his decent and hard working parents, his best upbringing, his "Doctor Degree", his hard work of all these years, his good 'GOD' reputation among his patients, colleagues, friends and relatives.. On and on...


    When we girls were young, we couldn't say anything. But now we are all settled well, with good husbands and good jobs. Now as the eldest daughter, I always pick fights with my dad about how he treats my mom and vice versa. My sisters agree with me to some extent, but they are not as harsh as me towards my dad. They may be less emotional and more patient. They have some more reasons why they cannot argue and criticize too much about my dad - they both had Inter-Caste marriages, which was against my parents’ wishes initially & to which they later agreed.


    I, being the oldest, being the one who helped my dad financially for my sisters weddings and being the one who married according to his wishes - I think I am the right person to advice my parents. My mom confides all her stories to me and my sisters, and I explode and criticize my dad. But I know he loves me a lot and respects my husband a lot and loves my daughter to the core. But, I just go yelling - hoping that he would understand and change himself.


    They live in India and I live in US. So, I may hear what all goes on in India, but I don't get a chance to talk that openly to my dad and mom. But now they are visiting us here and in our hours and hours of parents-daughter talks, these complicated issues (some of which are my dad's ego, his faults, some are my mom's false insecurities, her female-heart burns, her bad memories of insults and ill-treatment by my dad from years and her faults). I yell at both and advice them gently to correct them selves and when the discussion was not going anywhere, I even told them that we all love them both and if they want, they can live separately and we will be in touch with both. They both are able, working and are not ready to let their ego down in any case. And I agree, it is a free world. You cannot and should not control anyone against his or her will. If you don't like something in the other person and the other person is not willing to change their perspective and consider you - it is better to go separate ways than killing yourself with mental tensions and useless arguments everyday!
    But looks like I criticize and yell at my dad rather harshly than my mom.


    In this trip (They are here for a very little time), I told my dad, not to come here and fight, since they are going ok with their lives when they are alone & just two of them back home. It is only when they visit their daughters, my mom complains on my dad and he thinks we daughters are all supporting my mom and gets agitated, irritated etc. So I told him, not to come here next time - if they are planning to fight and ruin my day!!!


    That hit somewhere - very hard. He had red eyes and thin tears in his eyes and was very hurt. What am I doing? He is my dad and he loves me the most - well - equal as his other daughters. He thinks, I have been a good kid, listened to him & settled well, helped him like a son when in need etc. I am exactly like him in looks and passions! And now I am hurting him and I said some words, which hurt my mom too. All I was trying to do was make them forgo their grudges and pains and live happy together. These are my parents who would die at any slightest sense of my pain and my attempt to do something else is causing pain to them and myself!!


    Does this happen to anyone of you? When parents become children (Or they remain the same) and fighting with each other and kids grow up (Already being crushed all their lives in these fights) and try to solve, advice the parents issues? Is it normal? Am I being too harsh? Should I just ignore, saying it will resolve by itself and not my problem? My mom pours her heart over when ever we meet!! My dad has his own versions!!

    Where do you go, what do you do - when you have your own stupid busy life - with husband and kids (Thank god they are normal and wonderful!! in my case and my sisters)


    Please put some thoughts. Thanks
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2008
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  2. sunkan

    sunkan Gold IL'ite

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    Re: Married Life of Aged Parents - Affects on grown up kids

    dear venus,
    all of us go through these issues, as the dad always thinks his daughters will agree as they feel they are proud of their father's contribution in this world woman to woman, may be you love your mom too much, and even i have taken up issues like this but never say not to come it breaks them, after all they build their world on us as children, and there is no reservation as to, i wont do this for her or that, they just do it as it is in my capacity that my little girl should be the greatest in the world and she understand me.

    she is my blood how can she refute kind of stuff, and yes always when we go to them after marriage, they just complain so u make the other partner understand that is ur mom, not as a fight.

    there should be no fight if your mother is mum the way u say. we are also at fault we have our complexes which allow men to c through and they get boosted,& some love by fighting a lot, they can't do without each other, that is their way of loving, so dont take to heart all these, just laugh and tell hope we dont turn up fighting like u both kind of stuff in a light moment and it should reach the point, so never cut your father off, you are in a better stand than ur mother for him, only later he will come to know when the daughters also have their spouse to give priority too,wife is everything though they will fight with wife but can never do without them, men have loved their woman to be fussy and bossy over them, but sometime woman get insecured and dont know the reign to hold and drive the life's chariot ..all the best, do not regret blood is very thick a sorry from you will set things right..sunkan
     
  3. Shilpa77

    Shilpa77 Senior IL'ite

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    Re: Married Life of Aged Parents - Affects on grown up kids

    Venus,

    The only difference is most of them haven't really opened up and you have!..

    and it is always the oldest child who is more concerned and desparate to resolve, not to say that siblings will not do, but the first child tend to be more responsible and takes a lot more initiative than others.

    No matter how painful it is, suggesting them to move out of the relationship at this age is not advisable. Sometimes people with these characteristics get used to each other so much that they cannot live apart and are moral support to each other.

    Venus, your intention as a daughter is genuine , i can understand that you were just trying for them to get along in every small chance you get, but as an elderly parent they cannot handle it, because come what may, children are the only support they can lean on when their legs get tired. telling them not to visit if they want to fight is not correct in my opinion either.

    You might be wondering what i'm trying to say here. May be you can try calling your mom first while your dad can stay at your sisters' and then swap after sometime.

    They defenitely will miss each other when they are separated.and will like a reunion. Haven't you heard people say that separation makes a bond stronger!!

    Secondly, i don't know how your husband or your sister's husband are close to your dad. If they are really close , you can have one of them talk to him explaining the kind of mental agony you and sisters are dealing with.

    Cheer up.. and don't be frustrated!
     
  4. Ria2006

    Ria2006 Silver IL'ite

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    Re: Married Life of Aged Parents - Affects on grown up kids

    My personal opinion, it happens in all the household to some extent. You are being rather harsh and rude. Its not right to suggest them to separate and live by themselves. I think that itself says, how much hurry you were in when you were trying to solve their issues. Imagine they saying you in childhood to go to Mentally retarded schhol, because you could not understand something very basic. Its as hurtful as that.

    I sometime feel in general grown up kids becomes more selfish and self centered. But before solving anyone's problems, we need to first resolve our own problems with those people. I feel your reaction to your father is geting affected by your childhood experience. Try being unbiased, calm and patient person. Yelling, asking not to come are rather long term adverse things for someone as dear as parents.

    World can never be 100% perfect for anyone. What we do of imperfections of our lives is what our character all about. I am sure you have several positives in each of parents to look up to. You are grooming and being patient with kids, right! Its as delicate as that.

    I want to narate a story which I read somewhere... I think it very much makes sense here...........

    An old father is sitting with his young son in backyard. Suddenly a crow comes and flies away ruffling old man's hair. Old man being rather slow to react could not see which bird was it. So he asked his son, "This bird was in such a hurry, did you see which bird was it?"

    Son, "Crow"

    Old man is little short on hearing by this age. He repeats again, "This bird was in such a hurry, did you see which bird was it?"

    Son, " I told you before, it was a crow".

    Old man repeats again, "This bird was in such a hurry, did you see which bird was it?"

    By this time, busy and impatient son had los his patience. "What is your problem, you have no other thing to do than irritate me. I told hundred times, it was crow".

    Old man said, "my dear son, when you were young and you asked same question ten times, I always answered you patiently. And you are tired at third attempt."

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  5. SoaringSpirit

    SoaringSpirit Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Venonimiss

    I totally understand your frustration and your dilemma about how to handle this situation. And like Ria has said, it happens in every house to a certain extent. The reason you are giving it so much thought and undergoing so much pain in the first place is because you care for your parents immensely.

    My suggestion would be to treat your parents with love, affection and most importantly, a lot of patience. Try to deal with them like you would handle sibling rivalry within your kids -with lots of care, caution and with the thought to tell them both that they are equally lovable and valuable in their own right.

    If I may take the liberty to say so, parents do become kids of some sort as we, their kids, grow older. All these years, the frustrations and disappointments that they had bottled up to keep the environment at home peaceful, are now coming out without any hesitation. They also have an empty nest to deal with. It is hard.

    What I’d suggest is –
    • 1. First, know that you will not be able to change the equation between your parents. You can only help keep the balance, if at all.
    • 2. Have a heart to heart talk with your Dad about all the negative feelings you have about what he did to your Mom. Ask him genuinely and let him say his side. You will be able to better understand why he did some things that he did. Mom’s are in general more emotional and more expressive of their pain, so sometimes we tend to overlook the Dad’s side. This will help clear a lot of anguish you have in your mind about your Dad’s injustice towards your Mom.
    • 3. Talk to your Mom separately and listen to her grievances about Dad. But also remind her about the good things that Dad has done for her and for the family. And point out that not every Dad or husband does it.
    • 4. Find common interests of your Mom and Dad and bring about opportunities for them to follow these interests actively.
    • 5. Sometimes, rather than tackling their complaints directly, just silently listen to what they have to say and then divert their mind to the common passions they share.

    I am also the oldest one among my siblings and I know exactly how you feel. We have the urge and the strong desire to set things right even when they are not in our power. Be easy on yourself. Enjoy this time with your parents and create wonderful memories out of this time. I know that’s what you truly want in your heart.

    Warmest wishes,
    SS


     
  6. Venonimiss

    Venonimiss Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear Sunkan, Shilpa, Ria and SS - Thanks for reading through my post and giving your thoughts. I am glad no one said that I am the meanest person! I went through each and every line you all wrote - many times. Yes, I know what I want - I just didn't know how to handle the situation. I must be patient and less argumentative on the snap.

    Sunkan - My parents, out of anger and high emotion, say that the other partner can stay away if they don't like the situation. Based on that comment, I was saying that they could live apart. But I know with all my heart that they will live together, fighting with each other till the end, but can never live apart.

    Shilpa -There was an occasion where my parents were away from each other for couple of weeks, for the first time in their married life. Two years ago when both my sister in London and me in US were having babies in the same week. Though it was a short trip of 3 months out of India for them, my parents split. My mom stayed in London and my dad stayed here with me for 3 weeks. But my mom couldn't be without my dad. She felt lonely in spite of the entire crowd in London. When they met again in US after 3 weeks, after the babies were born, my mom expressed her feelings and cried, but my dad didn't. May be he missed her or may be not! But there was no change in their relationship (Good and bad) after their being apart from each other.

    Talking about Sons-in-law, my dad can converse in a civilized manner only with my husband (Since the other two are against his liking). And surprisingly or luckily, my husband has a similar dominating father. So my husband not only understands my dad's point of view but he suggests that I should take it easy "since that is his way of doing things and I cannot change it"!!! I don't know if I am a lucky one to get a husband like this or my dad is lucky to get an understanding SIL! So - They talk and my husband suggests that my mom should be more tolerating and less insecure at this stage of their lives.

    Ria - Yes, every thing I say or do, is an effect of my child hood experiences. And I am not able to go beyond those and be mature, when I talk to my parents. May be it is b'cos - somewhere in my mind, I know that my parents love me so much that they can never abandon me, in spite of all the hurtful things I say. But I should change that.
    Just because my parents love me, no matter what - I don't have any right to hurt them.
    But my intention was not to hurt them in the first place. I wanted them to be happy with each other! I am just loosing my point in my rage!

    SS - Yes, I want to spend this last one-week with them in my house very happily (They are leaving next Friday). I don't know what to do different to make them feel loved (Other than all the shopping for them, all the driving them around the town), but I will have to talk to them lovingly, may be cook them a good meal (My mom didn't let me enter my kitchen since last 2 weeks she came).

    Sunkan - like you said, I already hugged my dad and cried and talked to him alone saying that I just said what I said in emotion and he said, "All these things are normal in families. If you won't say all these - who else will say? You have every right to say these things as a daughter" etc. And he even joked "even if you don't want me to come, I will still have to come for my grand daughter (Oh - they became such good pals. My daughter loves both Thatha's and Ammamma's big bellys, to jump on and sleep on).

    So, everyone - Thanks so much. This invisible weight on my heart is less now. I will just be silently listening and still love my parents from now. It is a test for me – But this is my chance to grow up. Have a good weekend; time to go home from work.
     
  7. kavya007

    kavya007 Gold IL'ite

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    Hi Venonimiss,

    I can perfectly understand your situation. Though they say that this goes about in every home, the degree differs. My parents also don't get along well. My dad is very dominating and he has a huge ego and a sharp tongue. My mom is very sensitive and emotional. My parents have been separated for long periods of time because my dad used to work abroad. They both never missed each other and seemed to be happy to stay away from each other. I think my mom does feel very lonely sometimes.

    When I was young their behavior would bother me very much. Even after marriage their were some major fights and it bothered me very much. I used to confide my insecurities to my husband and during a time when I did not get along with my in-laws my husband used this against me. I was deeply hurt and my trust was completely broken. I realized that I am better off venting to my friends then my husband. And it is always better to be self reliant. I realized that it is a bad idea to bad mouth about my family to my husband.

    Nowadays I have come to terms with the situation. My dad is 67 years old and my mom is 55 years old. I feel that they cannot change beyond an age. I used to advice my mom to separate but now I have stopped telling her that because I know they need each other during their old age. My brother and I do not live close to my parents, so now I feel separation is a bad idea. One thing I do suggest my parents is to take up meditation course or yoga course. I am benefiting a lot by taking the Art of Living course and I suggested my parents to take up that course also. I keep telling my mom that my dad is too old to change and to ignore him. I hope this helps.

    Thanks,
    Kavya.
     
  8. Varloo

    Varloo Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Venon,
    you have received some sound suggestions from our members already. They have summed up the situation well and offered you help on how to handle this.
    My father was a a simple person who did not earn even moderately and was a mama's boy thro and thro. So my mother always used to snap at him for his inability to earn (we were six children and lived in a joint family with uncle who had a good job and only 2 daughters) and her pathetic plight in bringing up all of us. She used to be very bitter at times.
    She was right in her way but father was brought up like that and so could not go against his parents. We used to pacify my mother saying that he may find it very difficult to revolt against his parents because of the way he was brought up.
    No one can bring a compromise between a couple, even their dear child. Only they have to sort them out. Also one can never say who is right and who is wrong .
    When myself and hubby have great fights, I never try to bring my son into it. He might not know whom to support and might resent both of us.
    Now spend the time with your parents happily and SS have given excellent tips to handle them.
    one thing I would suggest is to apologise to your father for you hard words. He would surely forgive you and return happily.
    Have a great time with your parents!
     
  9. SoaringSpirit

    SoaringSpirit Silver IL'ite

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    Hope you had a wonderful weekend with your parents Venonimiss.

    As for what else you could do to spend the time with your parents memorably, I would suggest take a day or two off from work if you can. Try real hard. Plan a day's trip to a close by park with your parents and your little one. Hubby is optional :). Just spend the day chit-chatting and relaxing. Taking a walk etc. You will be amazed that when one is in a relaxed mood so many things automatically fall in place. You will not have to think hard about how to make your Dad feel good or how to make him know how much you really love him. Thoughts flow naturally when you are put in a relaxed and positive environment.

    I do this exercise regularly, 2-3 times a year. Not only when my parents are here but with my kids too. I take a day off from work just like that when the weather is good. We spend the day outside. We take picnic baskets, bikes, frisbees, whatever and have fun the entire day. It helps HUGELY in bonding. There is a special strong bond you develop doing this. Of course, it rejuvenates you also for months to come.

    It is these small things that really form a part of our memories. Years down the road people may not remember what you gifted them or what you fed them, but I think most people will vividly remember the time you spent with them. Do not compromise on spending time with them.

    Anyway. Just my 2c. It has done wonders for me so I felt like sharing with all of you too.

    SS
     
  10. Kamalji

    Kamalji IL Hall of Fame

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    Venon,


    I am a male , so I dont know how I fit in.But let me see .

    Your parents as u say both love you and yr sisters.Your mom carries stories to you about Dad, but dad dosnt.

    I feel let them live their lives, any which way they wish to, fighting or peacefully.You are not the moral keeper to the world are u ? Keep out of their way, just tell them not to fight when infront of you, and forbid yr mother from telling u tales,.Tell her to fight her own battles.They are both intelligent and smart, and it seems both have ego’s/

    As u said yr mom rants when Dad has a drink.That is wrong.And that is what must be bugging dad a lot..So the fault lies partly with both.Both are Grey, its not one is white and the other is black.

    Leave them to their fate to fight and solve their own problems.

    Regards.kamal
     

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