at my wit's end, don't know what to do...
hi all, I'm new to this board.. I will be 43 next week, married with three wonderful kids 19, 17, and 11. my parents live just 10 minutes away and are 66 and 64... just to give a bit of history first, they have been married 45 years and have ALWAYS fought. Not the physical kind, as far as I know, Dad has never laid a hand on Mom and viceversa.. but they would get into these vicious verbal, screaming fights, telling each other how much they hate each other, etc and have always done it in front of me and my two younger brothers. Mom had bipolar illness but it was treated with lithium, she was able to lead a somewhat stable life. Sometimes they would have a blowup then stay mad at each other for days. Dad moved out and filed for divorce once when I was about 16 but went back to her.. The stress level in my home was awful, I hated it so much and always swore I would never do that to my kids..
Fast forward, I married an easy-going laid back man, we rarely ever fight and if we do, it's usually about something important and he never lets either one of us stay mad, it always blows over within a few hours. We've taught our kids to treat each other (and us) with respect and to try to work things out instead of fighting. Screaming and yelling is only an occassional thing such as when that little brother really pesters them, etc but is not an everyday common thing.
As for my parents, they are still together and it's even worse. Dad is retired and health/physical ability is still good, he mows, goes out on the lake fishing, etc. Mom has had a string of illnesses one after the other, I mean this woman cannot win for losing. Besides the bipolar illness she developed diabetes, horrible triglyceride problems, essential tremor, neuropathy, and now the latest, Parkinson's. Cannot walk well anymore and depends on Dad for total care. She is angry about it all and everything is now about her and how horrible things are for her. She sits in her electric lift chair and cries all the time and harrasses/henpecks Dad to death no matter how much he does for her..screams how much she hates him. yes, we do realize she may be suffering depression but she insists she's not and Dad will not say anything to the doctor about it. They get into these horrible horrible screaming matches and she will look at me and cry/scream "I HATE HIM!!" and Dad yells right back at her that he is trapped and doesn't want to be there. I have discovered I am now so emotionally affected by this, I cannot stand it. My two brothers have moved away to another state.. they came in one weekend to have a workday and both left shell shocked and said they will never bring their kids back because they did not want to expose them to our parent's situation and emotional level in the home. I have tried to just stay out of it and deal with it the best way possible and just help where I was needed. I had to go over a few times during the night to help Dad get Mom out of the floor where she had fallen, helped her use a potty chair when she couldn't get to the toilet, cleaned up incontinence accidents, cut her nails and moisturized her skin, cleaned in the house, just all different kinds of things like that just trying to be with her and take some of it off Dad. A few weeks ago they had a real biggie, it was so bad Dad's face was an odd shade of gray and he was in a sweat, I became alarmed he would have a heart attack or a stroke so I intervened and told them they could not continue to live that way, Dad needed a vacation and they needed professional sitters or caregivers come into the home and provide a buffer of sorts and take some of the load off, etc. I said it in a nice but firm way. Dad turned on me and it got ugly. Yelled at me that I better not tell him what to do and I just wanted to run things instead of help. (what the freakin hell?!?!?!) and Mom just totally went ballistic because he jumped on me and pratically had a seizure she was so angry. I could not believe it, started shaking all over and just told them I was going home to calm down. By the time I got home I was shaking so bad it scared my husband and oldest daughter so bad they wanted to call the doctor.. I could not stop for a couple of hours. By that night I had fever and chills and diarrhea that lasted for the next two days. This week is now coming up on a month since I've been back over there. My brothers called checking on me to see what happened (apparently Dad told them I had gotten mad at them and left and wouldn't go back over there) when I told them what happened they both chewed out our parents saying this type of living situation is totally unnecessary and is toxic for everyone..tried to convince Dad to set up sitters or in-home care, housecleaning services, and they would pay for it... so of course Dad ripped into both of them too... he has yet to talk to me since it all happened. They both said Mom cries alot because I have not been back over there. I feel so bad for not trying to spend time with Mom and try to get her out of the house, etc but I know if I go see her she will want to re-hash everything that happened, pick it apart, cry, get mad again, etc..and I simply cannot deal with it anymore. I don't know if all those years of fighting has left an effect on me and it's come to the surface or what, I really don't understand it but when I think about trying to help anymore or do things for Mom I get physically sick to my stomach all over again. I'm sorry this is soooo long, once I started typing it just all came out, wow... Would love to have anyone's opinion or feedback, anything.. thanks so muc