I'm having a bad relationship with my elderly parents
I am in my 50s and am having a bad relationship with my parents, specifically my father.
We have had huge explosive rows regularly since I was in my teens. In my teens and until I left home at the first opportunity, it was physical violence too. My father is not 100% monster however, he is basically a good person, but very weak. It has been like having a jealous older sibling who will not allow you to be better than them.
We had another explosive row a few weeks ago, with lots of shouting and me leaving their home in tears for the umpteenth time (every few months).
I have a fiery temper too, but it is in reaction to him - I am not like that with anyone else. I feel stronger than I ever have and have resolved never to go back to their home when it is only the 3 of us as that is the only time it kicks off.
Also - he intermittently makes my mum's life a misery. I have tried so many times to help, but she doesn't want to change things and she is actually quite manipulative - I can see it quite clearly now.
I am also extremely worried about them dying, and me being full of regret for not being nicer and spending more time with them. Complete conflict.
Please help with some advice or by sharing your own experience!
An old saying: “You don’t have to answer every barking dog.”
You and your father have been “ doing a dance” all your life and it’s mutually destructive. Now.... You are getting tired and he’s getting old.
Is this the kind of attention you need from each other at this time in your lives?
Because it takes two to argue, what would happen if you just left when things got heated or even changed the subject?
You can't help your Mom if she doesn't want it. I'd stop trying, TBH.
You also can't force your father not to be abusive. That's on him, not you.
I understand your conflict. It has to *suck* to want a relationship with your parents that you don't have (and likely will never have). But it is what it is.
I think if there are ways you can deescalate, maybe try to do that and see how it works. If you can't, it may be worth going low contact and accepting that you can't force someone to be someone they choose not to be.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful and helpful replies Susiedqq and Silviagirl.
I have some re-reading and a lot of thinking to do.