The Neglected Parent

I’m 26 married man, have a baby, my father live with me and I take care of everything for him, I have work, My mother blame me for not visiting her everyday, I go once a week, I have told her that I have bunch of responsibilities and I’m not able to do that. I love her and I want to make her happy.

Sarah Bowman
Sarah Bowman, studied family dynamics formally and informally all my life

Visiting your mother once a week is a lot more than I have ever been able or willing to do. It was not the way things were done in my family; my parents did not visit their parents that often, either, when I was a child. On that basis, you are going well beyond the call of duty, though I realize in some families a weekly visit to parents is considered normal.

There may be no way to satisfy her desire for more attention. As others have suggested, she may be jealous of your father. Obviously, you can do nothing about that, meaning she must deal with her own feelings. In other words, if that is the root of her problem and she wants you to make arrangements for it, she should bring it up for family discussion. This does not mean that you have to change living arrangements but it will allow her to air her feelings and it will allow you to weigh the facts with her, helping her see what really is at stake, i.e. your own family and sanity.

I assume there were adult reasons many years ago for her and your father to live apart or to divorce, reasons to which you may not be completely privy. Airing that dirty laundry now does not seem wise or healthy. If she feels a need to rehash it, she may need to see a professional therapist whose job it is to help people work through and come to terms with life issues. It is a fact of life that adult children of divorce may end up having one parent living with them but not the other. The parents need to accept this.

The children must find a way to stop themselves from feeling guilty if the “left out” parent piles on the guilt. Sometimes the only way to protect oneself from such undeserved guilt is to cut ties with the person (in this case your mother) or to severely limit contact. Can you find a way to kindly inform her that you love her and wish to spend some time with her but this can be done only if she quits her whining and begging for more time, etc.?

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