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I feel my family is falling apart...

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Old 17th March 2019, 10:29 AM   #1
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I feel my family is falling apart...

I am a 30 sth unmarried woman living and working away from her family. I am a single child with an unmarried aunt and a grandmother. These are my closest people.

Growing up my parents fought like crazy, almost every day. There was one instance of physical violence when my father slapped my mother and she responded. This was before I was born. Since I've been born, they argue constantly. Sometimes when I was younger it would almost get violent, but I would throw myself between them. My dad would threaten to leave. He was aggressive and cold. My mother was hysterical. They never hit me. They have always shown me unconditional support and love. My mother is possessive and jealous. My father is cold and emotionless.

As they are getting older, they seem to getting more mellow. Also, I do not live with them anymore so i don't witness it as much. Some time ago my aunt, my father's sister, accidentally told me over the phone my grandmother had fallen down and is quite sick. (she is in her 90s). My grandmother is a difficult and selfish person, not so much with me, but has been with my mother (her daughter in law) and she actually takes pride in never hugging her children. i guess my point is, no wonder my father is emotionally handicapped living around that. When her husband (my grandad) died, she started moaning about being left alone, which is why my aunt decided not to get married and decided to stay with her instead.

Since my grandmother has been ill, bad things have started to emerge. My aunt complains about having to take care of her mother. Mind you, my aunt has always had a very pleasant life. This is the first instance when she is expected to take care of someone (ok, not fair, she's been a great aunt to me) but it bothers me she doesn't thank my mother at all for her part in it (my mum, even though she doesn't owe it to her mother in law, went around hospitals like crazy asking to get her an appointment). My aunt never acknowledged that. And again, my grandmother has never been nice or kind to my mum. Also, my dad is there every day, cleaning his mum and cooking for her while my aunt is at work. And still, my aunt keeps saying she is completely alone in it. So my dad is there every day and my mum is going around hospitals begging doctors to see her mother in law.

My dad cannot feel in my opinion, he doesnt have a sense of empathy, I would call it a strong sense of responsibility, but he's been super unpleasant with my mum since the whole grandmother nightmare started. I mean, he is always unpleasant, he doesnt know how to say sorry. For example, he has always been disgusted by my mom's time of the month, but now he has no problem cleaning crap after his. my mom is really hurt and feels underappreciated, my aunt is on the verge of a mental breakdown and my dad pretends everything is okay (he doesnt even know I know about the situation). My mom is on the verge of leaving my dad, my aunt is now talking about moving closer to my parents apartment and I am panicking about the fact the three people I care most about in my life are acting and feeling this way.....

I am alone, I dont have a boyfriend or a husband, i could talk to friends but this is breaking my heart. also, some nasty family secrets are popping up and I feel like I dont even know these people anymore....

Could someone advise me on how to handle this?

Thank you.
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Old 17th March 2019, 10:51 AM   #2
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What do you mean your mother goes around to hospitals trying to get your grandmother an appointment? I never heard of making an appointment with a hospital. People make appointments with doctors and if hospitalk facilities are needed the doctor's office will arrange it. Also why doesn't your mother just use the phone?

It's very hard to take care of an elderly person and so caregivers have the right to vent their feelings from time to time. I don't blame your aunt for feeling overwhelmed sometimes and wanting to talk about that. If you can't have empathy for her then just ignore her. Stay out of the arguments and just be supportive when you are there. All of these people are older adults. They can work out their own conflicts so there is nothing you need to do other than be as helpful and supportive as you can be.
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Old 17th March 2019, 10:59 AM   #3
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Anika99, with all due respect, there are other countries in the world apart from the one you live in. So a bit of sensitivity would be appreciated. You come of as annoyed and rude and I don't really understand why.

Also who says I dont have any empathy for my aunt. I am irritated by her saying she is all alone in it, when clearly both my parents are helping her out as much as can. Again, it seems to me you are quite annoyed by me, not sure why, so I kindly ask you to ignore this conversation as your attitude and unkind words are not appreciated. Goodbye.

Last edited by Moderator; 17th March 2019 at 1:07 PM.. Reason: Redact quote and correct username
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Old 17th March 2019, 12:58 PM   #4
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Have you tried pointing out to your aunt, in a kind way, all the things that your parents actually are doing?
Sometimes people can get so wrapped up in their own thoughts and feelings that they can become quite oblivious, or selfishly oblivious, to everything else.

Perhaps if you tried to 'nudge' your aunt's perspective into a more realistic view of the situation, she'd be able to come around?

Wishing you and your family the best.
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Old 17th March 2019, 1:33 PM   #5
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You have an unrealistic view of the amount of control you have over this situation. You're obviously an empathetic, caring person, but you're going to have to be a resource rather than a manager. You'll also have to avoid being stuck in the middle as the person everyone complains to.

Let everyone know you're available to help. And then let them come to you as needed. Sorry, I know family situations are tough for everyone involved...

Mr. Lucky
Happiness is not a goal; it is a byproduct -

Eleanor Roosevelt
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Old 18th March 2019, 2:42 PM   #6
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Your family is in a difficult situation. This is your father's mother, and your father's sister (your aunt), correct? Try not to take offense when you hear your aunt complain about how hard this is for her even though you know your father is helping. In my opinion, that is between the two of them. Based on how you have described your father, if he gets wind of her complaining that she's doing it alone, he'll chime in with his opinion, right?

If I were your mother, I would step back and let your grandmother's two children sort out her care. It is nice for your mother to help, but if she is met with criticism, she has every right to step back and let them do a "better job" than they think she is doing.

Your family situation sounds very similar to my first husband's family. His mother did nothing but complain about life after her husband died. She expected her one daughter and my husband to cater to her every need. She lived with us for about three years because of her health and it had a very adverse affect on my marriage and my children. The bottom line is that you cannot change anyone's behavior. You can only control your reaction to them. Let them battle through their difficulties and just lend whatever support you are able to the situation.

As far as family secrets. My mother-in-law was the last of 9 children to die (and she was also the youngest.) While she was on her death bed, she revealed the secret that Uncle Jerry was not really her brother, but her nephew. He was her oldest sister's child out of wedlock. Their parents sent her away until she had the baby, then when she came back, they raised her child as their own. (Imagine growing up thinking your mother is your sister.) The fact that my mother-in-law knew this made me wonder who else knew and when they found out. I guess every family has their secrets. Not only that, I think most families, by nature, are dysfunctional. Do not take it to heart.
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