Both my parents are in their late 80’s and I am their only child. My mom is the sweetest and gentlest person I know but my dad insists on being mean to her regularly. I hate the way he speaks to her. I have confronted him many times asking him to be nice to mom. He does not hear himself because he thinks he is being normal. The problem is my mom has allowed dad to have his way over the years but she does not have the energy to do the things he wants her to do – like cooking three meals a day and taking care of his needs. He keeps saying she is not doing her share of the work. In the meantime he does nothing but calls for help in doing “man’s” work – like mowing the lawn, cleaning the eaves etc. I feel like taking my mom out of the situation and leaving him in his house alone. She does not deserve this kind of abuse in her old age. I am so hurt and distraught over this. It really bothers me. How can I help.
Habits are hard to kill and some become more entrenched as we age. There comes a time when we have to make tough choices. Perhaps your father just cannot help himself. It is who he is. If your mom did not stand up to him when she could i.e. when she was younger, he probably thinks that his behaviour is quite acceptable to her. Your scolding him will not help, your threats may help for a short time but without good counselling, he will not voluntarily change. It may be too late for counselling at this point in the game. Maybe they need their own space – maybe it’s time to get them each their own apartment in the same complex where they can see each other when they like. Or if chores are the problem e.g. cooking and cleaning the house, hire someone to come in and do the work, maybe that would solve the problem. Another suggestion is to segregate them in different parts of the house. Your mom can have a self-contained room where she can enjoy her peace and quiet. It’s a difficult choice no matter how you look at it but something needs to be done to stop the abuse of your mother. No one at any age needs to live in an abusive relationship.