Not sure whether I should “meddle” in this situation which is why after a lot of tossing and turning I’ve decided to put it on the forum for input.
It's about the dynamic I'm witnessing between my parents which has been going on for some time now.
My dad is a quiet man. My mother is gregarious. Both are retired. An educated woman, my mother has an active social circle and regularly sees her friends etc. My dad does not have an active social circle although he has a few mates down at the local pub where he drinks. And he enjoys a drink. As a factory worker for most of his life, he's worked hard and is a genius around the house with his hands.
My mother is many good things but she is also, how can I put this, a nag.
I say this word very carefully and with much consideration but I can find no other word that suits what she does. If I could give you a few examples to illustrate what I’m trying to get across.
Dad will sit down and have ONE beer and she’ll go on and on and on about it for ages. I mean days later.
Dad will ask her if she would like a glass of wine as he’d be going out to get a six pack, she’ll say no then two hours later she’ll say she wants a glass of wine and will tell Dad to go and get it.
Dad had a tooth out recently. There was an infection in the bone and it was very painful for him. Mum said more than once “oh you’d think no one else had a tooth out…” and said this on the phone to a friend. He doesn’t complain but I could see he was hurting and so arranged with his dentist to prescribe him Panadeine Forte and he really appreciated it. Mum then said, “don’t know why you bothered with getting him that…beer’s his Panadiene Forte”. As this was in front of other people, I told her that her comment was not appropriate and to pull her head in. Oh didn't I wear it.
Mum miscalculated a bill, thinking she'd paid it. Dad picked it up and posed what I thought was a fair query. She went ballistic saying he was wrong and how would he know, he could barely read (which is not true) and how dare we question her (because the entire world was against her now). I calmly picked up the bill and pointed out that it did not appear to have been paid and when I called to check found that it had not and discreetly fixed it.
Mum doesn’t drive so when Dad is doing something I will offer to drive her where she needs to go and she’ll say “Oh your father has nothing better to do..he can do it..” The day after he had his tooth pulled he looked like death so I insisted on taking her out and although he said nothing, he slept in which to me meant that he needed the rest.
I've heard her on the phone on a few occasions to my sister or hers basically bagging him out. I remember as a child her doing this to me and I recall telling her, at 9 years old, that it wasn't my place to know those things about my dad. She called me Daddy's Little Stooge.
I’m looking at what I’ve just written and I feel I’ve betrayed her by writing this and that it sounds really bad. Mum was isolated when we were kids, had no one to talk to, a lot of things were going on that I didn't understand. I want to add that my mum is not an evil person. You can sit down and have a coffee with her. She is very generous but she is very judgemental and thinks that what she says about Dad is okay either because it’s her marriage and don’t you dare interfere or that's it's a laugh and I don't have a sense of humour.
I’ve now pulled her up on a few occasions as it’s gotten to the point where what she has said to or about Dad has really ****ed me off or it's alarmed me. To my surprise she’s either denied saying what I’ve heard or has thrown what I can only call a tantrum which, of course, upsets the atmosphere in the house.
I’m spending Christmas on my own this year because if the spotlight isn’t on her then it’s not worth having a spotlight. Even tonight when I was over there she admonished Dad for helping the kids open their presents. "Taking over again" she said. At which he stopped and you could just see the defeat on his face. It really hit me. And without thinking I realised I was thinking to myself, you b*tch. You rude, arrogant b*tch. And I could feel the anger well up inside me. She places a lot of expectations on Dad and I can see it’s getting to him. Once fiercely protective of his wife, he no longer says anything when I tell Mum to pull her head in. Others have noticed that Dad seems to have “lost the light in him” (gosh, I’m tearing up a bit here - oops!) and I am really worried that he’s being nagged to death.
Even the dog senses something isn't right and she's very protective of him.
I’m not trying to make my Dad out to be perfect and I don't want to interfere where I shouldn't. After all, while an adult, I am the child. But for a while now my mother’s behaviour is concerning me to the point where I am really starting to resent her. I don’t know who she’s becoming but whatever it is I don’t like it. And that hurts me too.
Ultimately, I feel I should do something but am not sure how to go about it.
If anyone has any suggestions as to how I could go about addressing this or if they've been through something similar and could fill me in on what they did I'd be grateful.
Apologies for rambling.