Need Advice - WHAT Do I Do?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Dec 22, 2015.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I have a problem with my parents. My dad is driving my mom nuts and she won't say a word to him. She gripes and whines to me and to Jessi constantly though. It has been going on since he had heart surgery about a year ago.

    She cannot do anything with-o him telling her how to do it. Neither can ANYONE else that he knows. whether he knows ANYTHING about what is going on or not, he gives directions and hovers over you until you do it his way If he comes in and something is where he wants to put something else, he has a hissy fit. Today he came in with groceries while Jessi was making cookies and he just shoved stuff onto the floor. He came in and interrupted whatever we were doing/saying at least 8 times an hour - ALL afternoon. I counted and was horrified. The things he told us had NOTHING to do with the conversation or what we were doing or anything else. It was literally verbal diarrhea.

    In the past when my dad started this behavior, usually during winter break or summer break from his job as a teacher, my mom would tell him firmly that it wasn't okay and he needed to hold his thoughts until she took a break in x minutes. But for some reason she won't even tell him she is annoyed with him. And he is getting much worse. She has a small shed that she uses for sewing and it is in full view of the street. If he has something random to tell her, he just walks up and opens the door. No knock, and even if she is changing clothes to try on something, he just stands there with the door open. She wouldn't even tell him that it was very rude and that he has to knock.

    My mom was not ever meek or a shrinking violet. She is the ONLY person who can make several of my uncles stop in their tracks and apologize and not ever repeat whatever it was. But she simply doesn't seem able to tell him about this. The sad thing is that it would break his heart to know he was upsetting her and he would be even more upset that she has spoken to the rest of us for so long with-o ever saying anything to him.

    Do I push my mom to tell him what he is doing and that it upsets her? Or push her to set limits like "You can come in 4 times in the next 2 hours, but only 4 times and you have to knock first."? Or do I just leave it ale all alone and pretend she isn't saying so many thing to me?
  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Susie, I do not know what you should do but wanted to tell you this: behavioral change, including depression, anxiety and irritability can follow a heart attack.

    Also, your mother may be afraid to respond to your Dad for so many reasons. She may not want to disturb him or to cause him more stress. She may know on some level that he is more vulnerable. She may want to be there for him, to not add to his vulnerability. She may be afraid he will have another heart attack, if she puts pressure on him. All of this is not good for her, for him or their relationship.

    If it were me I would urge my mother to get professional help. A therapist or a support group for family members who have cardiac problems, or something similar. Ideally, your Dad would go to a group, too. Perhaps if your mom went, he would go.

    A therapist or a support group would give your mother ideas on how to handle it and give her support to do so.

    If it were me, every time she brings the topic up I would advise her to get professional help. I do not think it is your role to take responsibility for guiding her in this issue.

    My SO is controlling. He tells me how to do things and what I am doing wrong. He used to do it bad when I was driving. He is better, but still it is no fun. But I am not ill, and either he is. I know how stressful it is.

    Your mom should not have to live like this. I think she needs professional help to deal with it.

    I would also think that your Dad needs to go to the doctor. Perhaps this is something with which he can be helped, even if he does not want to go to a psychiatrist. There are antidepressants that help with low level anxiety and also with self-control, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) type thinking and behaviors. It sounds like he is having a hard time inhibiting his behavior. All of this could be helped by therapy and possibly medication, I think.

  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    PS The thing about the shed is particularly difficult. Your mom must feel she has no place and no time that is hers without interruption. And evidently she feels afraid to tell him.

    I agree with you. This may get worse. Something needs to change or she will get sick. Is your Dad back to work or did he retire? If he is working, how are things for him there?

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  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi again, Susie

    Somebody has got to help your Mom begin communicating directly with your Dad. But I do not think it is your role to do so. Your concern is appropriate. You are a loving daughter. It should not be your responsibility, I think, to be her advocate. She needs professional help. And he does too. That is what I think.

  5. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Susie, So sorry for your need to be here, you are a loving and concerned daughter to be writing this.

    My hubs had open heart surgery several years ago. He has other health issues, too. He can be grumpy and controlling to the point where, even when I am driving, he wants to tell me exactly what to do, it can be very frustrating. Sometimes it is just easier not to say anything because the "hissy" fit, as you call it, will just escalate. (good one, yes it is a hissy fit alright...)
    There could be a number of things going on as Copa mentioned. It could be diabetes, often times after surgery, folks develop diabetes. Low, or high blood sugar can cause irritability.

    I echo Copa, in that your dad needs a check up, maybe anxiety medications.

    I will tell you, Susie, my mother in law had subtle behavior changes, then not so subtle, then angry outbursts, nobody knew what was going on with her. I do not want to scare you, but looking back, I wish we knew then, she was starting dementia, then alzheimer's. I am mentioning this, because I know they have some medicines out there to help slow the process down.
    It may not be the case with your Dad, but it is worth it to get a check up. His regular doctor could help find a geriatric doctor, someone who specializes in senior care.

    I am sorry for your heartache for your Mom and Dad.
    You are a love to try and find help for both of them.

  6. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Susie, that is a tough one for sure. I do know that after major surgeries peoples demeanor can change.

    Your mom may be concerned that if she says anything it will cause more stress for him.

    You may want to suggest to her to talk with his cardiologist and perhaps they can direct her to a support group.

    Ultimately it has to be your mom's choice in how she deals with him. Of course when he behaves towards you in an unacceptable way you can tell him so. Do your best to say it in a calm matter of fact manner.

    Sometimes, there is nothing you can say or do to curb the way someone else acts. My mother in law is a very negative and noisy person. My husband has told her before to try and not be so negative and noisy about other peoples business. My mother in law replied to him that she is not that way and can't believe he would say such a thing. If the person truly has blinders on they will never see how they truly are even when it's pointed out to them.

    I'm so sorry for what you are going through.

  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Susie, I could be totally wrong here, but maybe it's possible that in addition to whatever is going on with your Dad, that something is also going on with your Mom? From other posts that I only vaguely remember, she was something of a powerhouse before. Is her personality changing a little as well? If so, it might be worth getting both of them evaluated.
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  8. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Susie, I remember my father had a bit of a personality change after his bypass surgery. Apparently it is not uncommon. But I do think your father's behavior seems over the top. I would suggest having him evaluated by his doctor and making sure they know all of this. It might be his medication.

    Perhaps your mom is putting up with it because she's afraid to upset him after his heart condition? It's surprising what you will do to hold on to someone...maybe she's afraid of losing him?

    Big hugs. :grouphug:
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  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I agree with Copa. A support group for family members which both parents attend could open conversations they may not be able to have with one another. If Father refuses, Mother would still benefit from sharing her frustrations and concerns with those in similar places in their own lives.

    Is your father afraid Susie do you think? Could he be pulling the door to the sewing room open like that out of fear that she may not be there? Forgetting common decency because he is afraid of being alone, and doesn't know how to communicate that?

    Or maybe, is unaware of it, himself?

    That business of pushing things off the counter while cookies are being made. It's almost as though the father is screaming "I am afraid; afraid you are not seeing me. Afraid I don't matter in the same way, now." Maybe, the father wonders whether he really did make it through the surgery, or is afraid something essential is going to come apart unexpectedly. Or maybe, he sees himself now as mortal in a way he did not, before. Or it could be the trauma of the surgery itself. With having been treated in such an impersonal way by those whose concern is his physical health and not his essential, human self.

    How awful for him, and for all of you.

    Thoughts and prayers for your father going up, Susie.

  10. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Susie,
    Here is an article I found talks of depression after heart attack or surgery.....

    Is your Dad still working?
    If he is, it could be hard on his body, if not, this can make folks anxious and depressed as well. I hope your Dad is willing to go to the Doctors and check this out, some men can be stubborn, and refuse to look into anything.
    Then, of course, there is not much you can do.
    Very good advice.

    My Dad had a series of health issues in his late 70's, a quiet man, he became even more quiet.
    My Mom is ill with stage 4 lung cancer. She is stable for now, by the grace of God. She has changed, too, unable to take the stress of company for too long. She gets anxious when things are out of place. My lil sis has stayed with her more often than I. She lives a bit closer, so was Moms caretaker during chemo, and is able to visit more often. She has noticed Moms a bit more anxious about things that ordinarily, wouldn't bother her.
    Mom is very routine oriented. Right down to how the lights should be turned off sequentially, at night. If, not done correctly, she starts sighing loudly. Mom used to be pretty patient, but age and illness, has changed her. I think it is because as she battled her illness, her world has become smaller being in her home most of the time, and that is just what can happen to some of our aging parents....I have to consider this when I speak with her on the phone and visit, she is changing.....

    Maybe for your Dad, being home and recovering, this is what has happened. His world has become smaller, and he wants certain control.....or, company can make him anxious.

    I can only imagine what is down the road for my hubs and I, we change so much as we age, unable to do the things we did before, arthritis and ailments affect the way people act and feel.

    Hopefully, we age gracefully, but you know, that is just up to time and circumstance....

    Have you seen the movie "Grumpy Old Men" ?

    I think I will watch this with my adult may be able to explain things for them.....hubs can get grumpy and short with words. He has never really been a "talker".
    So, as he gets older, he is a bit "crustier". He refuses to see anyone about it, too.

    So, maybe I will have to get some anxiety medications, or some more wine......

    I hope you are able to help Mom and Dad.

    It is true, though, it is up to them, how they want to address the issue.

    Perhaps when Mom vents to you and your sib, you can gently remind her there is help for the both of them.

    Take care, Susie