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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 4, 2008
    Posts
    121

    Default Parents venting to kids (adult) about each other?

    Following the spirit of some of the other family threads, I thought I would ask for others opinions/experiences.

    I really do have a wonderful family, and I love both of my parents. My sister and I are both adults, married with families of our own. I have stayed close with my mom and dad, and talk to them several times a week on the phone.

    A few years ago their business went bad, and they ended up in a very precarious financial situation. That really exacerbated their pre-existing semi-normal issues with each other. The problem comes when they want to use me as their outlet. My mom does it more than my dad. He will start to, then catch himself and say, "that isn't your problem, so what is up with you?". Mom however, tells me how scared she is about money, and how much she wishes she had left my dad before things went bad. She now feels she has to stay with him since they have so little retirement. Although, she still seems to be considering leaving.

    OK, this is where I get uncomfortable. My dad can be a crusty grumpy old man, but he absolutely adores my mom. He would do anything for her. He feels like such a failure for what happened to the business and is trying very hard to find a new way to bring in money. She isn't very supportive of him and does essentially call him a failure, at least to me. I will love them both no matter what happens, but I don't really want to be in the middle of it. It kills me to listen to her talk about him and the situation. Should I just be a good daughter and suck it up and let her vent and talk to someone, or should I explain that it is breaking my heart and while I support her no matter which way she goes with things, I don't need to hear these things about my parents?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2008
    Posts
    6,854

    Default

    You have to draw lines. My parents like to complain about each other to me, so I have informed them both that I won't take sides. So if they violate the rule and start complaining to me about the other (usually my mom is the one that does this), I start pointing out all the ways they have mistreated the other one (and I assure you the ways are many!!!!!). It quiets that crap down a bit.

    If they want to complain, I will be the other spouse's biggest defender. You don't need to listen that, it is unfair to put you in that position and ask you to take sides. If they do, just take the other side! It works. If she starts complaining, describe to her how much he adores her and how hard he works to fix the past problems. And how she could be more understanding. You aren't going to save their marriage with a lecture but you are going to protect yourself against being her dump, and being used as a pawn.

    She has friends to vent to, I'm sure, doesn't need to lay that on her kids.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 1, 1999
    Location
    flyover country
    Posts
    1,738

    Default Boy that is tough

    I had something sort of similiar happen with my mom and my sister. Are you closer to one than to the other? I can imagine if your dad's business has failed in this economy, he probably feels like a failure. [I know I do].
    Is there any chance of counseling?
    My nearly 82 year old mom burst into tears this morning wishing my sister and I were closer. This is after years and years of her telling me terrible things about my sister. It has affected our relationship but I cannot tell her that.
    Even if your dad is a grumpy old man, [mine sure was] doesn't she still love him a little? Doesn't she realize it would break his heart if she did leave?Did she mean it when she said 'for richer for poorer'
    I guess try to support them both if you can. If it tears you up too much, tell her you cannot help her and she is destroying you.
    My mom would tell me things that would enable her to blow off steam but she would end up getting me so stirred up I would blow a gasket. tell her you want to help her find a solution but not to just whine.
    Hope that helps
    Another killer of threads



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2006
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    4,827

    Default

    Well, you could always start bad-mouthing one of your Mother's parents, and then ask her how she likes it.

    I'm a divorce lawyer. One of our judges actually has a document called A Child's Bill of Rights in a Divorce, that he makes both parents read and initial before he'll sign an order in a case. Number one on the list of rights is the right to love both parents and not have to hear negative things said about either parent. I think that should go for adult children, too.
    Analytical thinking is the first casualty when opposing sides polarize, and that shows lack of common sense on both sides.
    Denny Emerson



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 4, 2008
    Posts
    121

    Default

    Thanks for the thoughts. It sounds like a lot of folks have had similar situations. I really want to be supportive of her, but it is really tough. I know she loves my dad in some way, but I think mentally she thinks she would be happier without him. I don't necessarily think she is right, or considering all the other factors, but I don't share that usually because I kind of feel like that would be overstepping my bounds as I feel she does some times.

    I am not sure exactly how to bring up the "please don't complain/talk down about my father to me" conversation without hurting her feelings or making her feel like she can talk to me about how she is doing in general, but I might have to try.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 1, 2008
    Posts
    4,674

    Default

    Hang up, seriously. It works.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 2, 2004
    Location
    Whidbey Is, Wash.
    Posts
    9,218

    Default

    Yep, I get it, one-sided though. Sucks a big one, and I can't say anything at ALL or I'm branded a traitor.
    Aisha, my heart from 03/06/1986 to 08/22/2008.

    COTH's official mini-donk enabler.
    Odie, aka the Evil Burrito, is on Facebook.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 22, 2008
    Posts
    803

    Default

    Tell your parents (mom especially) that you are happy to listen to and be supportive of her... IF she goes to see a marriage counselor. If she refuses, politely tell her that while you are not qualified to offer advice, there are professionals who specialize in such things and you would be happy to help her find one.

    Is venting natural? Sure. Is it fair or considerate? No way.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    May. 12, 2008
    Posts
    3,874

    Default

    My mom used to do this to me with my dad when they were going through the divorce and after that. Now she does it with each of us.

    She will complain to my brother about me, complain to me about my brother and sister-in-law and complain to my sister-in-law about both of us.

    My brother talks to my mom only when necessary, my sister-in-law has not picked up the phone to my mother's call in two months and vary between 'yelling' at my mom and nodding my head and saying 'I don't know' a lot.

    So, now it is 'why doesn't brother call/e-mail more often?'

    My answer is either 'I don't know' or (right now especially) 'He's in the desert, you think he just has oodles of time to talk to you? I haven't heard his voice in three weeks, all good - quit bein crazy!'

    Usually the 'yelling' method works the best for getting the idea across. Because you are an adult, she may not immediately think 'daughter may not want to hear badmouthing about dad' and needs a reminder.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 9, 2005
    Location
    uk
    Posts
    15,265

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by alittlextra View Post
    Following the spirit of some of the other family threads, I thought I would ask for others opinions/experiences.

    I really do have a wonderful family, and I love both of my parents. My sister and I are both adults, married with families of our own. I have stayed close with my mom and dad, and talk to them several times a week on the phone.

    A few years ago their business went bad, and they ended up in a very precarious financial situation. That really exacerbated their pre-existing semi-normal issues with each other. The problem comes when they want to use me as their outlet. My mom does it more than my dad. He will start to, then catch himself and say, "that isn't your problem, so what is up with you?". Mom however, tells me how scared she is about money, and how much she wishes she had left my dad before things went bad. She now feels she has to stay with him since they have so little retirement. Although, she still seems to be considering leaving.

    OK, this is where I get uncomfortable. My dad can be a crusty grumpy old man, but he absolutely adores my mom. He would do anything for her. He feels like such a failure for what happened to the business and is trying very hard to find a new way to bring in money. She isn't very supportive of him and does essentially call him a failure, at least to me. I will love them both no matter what happens, but I don't really want to be in the middle of it. It kills me to listen to her talk about him and the situation. Should I just be a good daughter and suck it up and let her vent and talk to someone, or should I explain that it is breaking my heart and while I support her no matter which way she goes with things, I don't need to hear these things about my parents?
    tell her to grow up and act her age, and that due to how things are now she also part of that rather than shake her responsiblities on to you and try and find a way out, she should be using her energies in finding a way out of the mess that they both entered in, and if that means getting a job then so be it as one cant support themselves without one

    do be aware that she could hoping that one of you will take her in, to help her get away from this it wont reoslve anything but just bring more pain and hardship and also stress on your own families and the rest of the familes dont take sides but tell her striaght your life your mess deal with it



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