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Im not my mother's therapist!

Someone give me some direction please....parents have been married for over 40 years...dad has Parkinson's for the last ten but doing quite well.  I moved a few hours away due to marriage and husbands job so my mom feels that she wants to be closer (i would love that but we arent totolly settled where we are so I told her be patient and we are working on coming back closer)  Dad doesnt want to move, been in house for over 20 years  I get 10+ emails a day about real estate listings from mom spanning hundreds of miles, like she isnt even focused on a location-and she picks ones far away from everyone- my dad has 2 brothers in the same town and she wants to look at a house that is over 3 hours from anyone they know.  She is chomping at the bit and complains to me all the time, my dad says this has been her M.O. forever-live somewhere than hates it and wants to move...this the fourth place they have lived as married folks before kids and after me and my brother moved out.

I cannt be a marriage therapist or support her obsession to move yet she tells me im the only one she can talk to-my dad is stubborn and doesnt want to go anywhere.  im afraid she will wear him out and he will cave, hes 72 cant drive b/c of his illness-if he moves where he doesnt know a soul and cant get around b/c of new surroundings, im afraid he will deteriorate very rapidly.  shes being so selfish.  how do i not ailenate her but not get involved but still be on my dads side????

Re: Im not my mother's therapist!

  • NukkeNukke member
    Fifth Anniversary
    try, in the best way you know how, to suggest therapy for her.  She seems to have some anxiety--maybe it's partially to do with your father's parkinsons--and needs some professional help.  She needs individual therapy, not marriage therapy.
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  • WahooWahoo member
    Ancient Membership 2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker

    Why does she want to move?  Is it just "grass is greener" syndrome?  Is there something that she specifically wants?  A larger city?  A more rural area?  More house for her money? 

    I don't necesessarily think your mom is a bad person for wanting to move, and I don't think her choices mean that she has some sort of phych problem where she replaces a new house to run away from other problmes in her life.  I have been married for 11 years, and I have lived in three different homes so "four different houses since she married" isn't necessarily a problem.  Particularly since during the first 20 years of her marriage her life was probably changing dramaically - having children, changing incomes, making choices avou where to send you and your brother to school. 

    Your mom has been in the same house for 20 years - her wanting to move now that her life situation has once again changed (kids moved out of the house, kids no longer need to remain in same town for good schools / friends) isn't that big a deal.  Heck, I might move once my kids have graduated from HS - although that is 12 years away!  As for wanting to live in a different town than her ILS - that is NOT unusual (or selfish) either! 

    Why is your mom selfish for wanting to move after 20 years in the same place, and your dad isn't selfish for "being stubborn" and refusing to move?  What if they move to a town where there is an excellent senior transport system?  Access-a-ride?  A community for 55+ where there are health facilities and many other ammenities for seniors?  Why not ask her why she moved to her current home in the first place (my bet: because that's where your dad wanted to live, and because it seemed like a good choice for you and your brother, and not necessarily for her), and what has changed IN THE PAST TWENTY YEARS.

    I would tell her that she needs a marriage counselor b/c she presumably can't move without your dad's buy-in, as the house is most likely 1/2 his.

    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
  • It's really their problem to work out, she shouldn't be pulling you into it.  The way I see it, you have two options - 1.  Have a firm chat with her and tell her "Mom, I'm sorry, but I can't be your therapist, I can't be at your every beck and call, and I feel really uncomfortable when you speak to me about these personal issues you have with Dad.  And frankly, this is not my problem, you two have to work this out."  Or option 2 - ignore it, delete all the emailed listings, ignore phone calls or immediately change the subject when she brings it up.  I'd pick the one with less drama, less hurt feelings, etc. 

    I understand your concern about your Dad but honestly, it's up to the two of them to figure this out.  If she wears him down and he caves, that's his choice (albeit a bad choice but what can you do?).  Bottom line is don't take on their problems.

  • If your mom truly wants to move, could you help her direct her energies in a more constructive way?  Just to prevent her making a decision based on a whim, that will turn out to be a serious mistake?  It sounds like she is starting with the house, which is the wrong way around.  Location IS most important, especially if she is thinking of making a major, not local move.

    Help her figure out what she wants in a community.  Good medical care  (very important for your dad, and for her too as she gets older), activities she enjoys and will enjoy going forward, affordable housing and cost-of-living, low crime, good accessibility to her children, etc.  There are resources out there that can help her identify a few areas to concentrate on.  Is she retired?  There are lists of best places to retire.

    Then help her figure out what she wants in a house.  One-floor living?  Small yard, for lower maintenance?  Close to town, so she and Dad can walk to appointments and entertainment?  Three bedrooms?  Craft room?  Availability of in-home care for your Dad as his disease progresses, or even eventually a nursing home?  Look on-line for questionnaires that will help her figure it out.

    Suggest she and Dad take short trips to some of these areas ( do NOT suggest she contact a realtor there yet -- she could make a hasty decision).  At the very least, they'll have a short break together.  At best, she will be able to eliminate some areas.

    Don't negate her desires.  If she's been in the same house for 20 years, it probably is no longer right for her.   Belittling her wishes may just make her more stubborn.  Be as involved as possible in her decision-making to help her choose correctly.  And, if she does it carefully enough, it may take her a long time to reach a decision -- maybe even long enough that she will change her mind.

    I think she may just be daydreaming, trying to escape some of the realities of her current life, with children gone and an ill husband.  But without proper support to help her be realistic, she could find herself in a nightmare.

    BTW, we moved five times within seven years.  Four times in a long marriage is not footloose!

  • I appreciate the feedback, it is helpful. 

     Thank you all for listening...I can drive my husband nuts and my brother, well he doesnt seem to care and does whatever he wants without thinking once about my parents or me.

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