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  1. #11
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    I would suggest that she see a psychiatrist specializing in geriatric psychiatry. They can be very good at piecing out depression vs. dementia etc. Depression is common in the elderly.

    Would she see a therapist to talk about this stuff with your dad? I finally had to say to my dad, "I love you too much to enable you" because that's what it is when someone just complains to you over and over again. They need to talk to a professional. Not a family member or a friend. My listening was keeping him just off the bottom but it wasn't letting him get better.

    I wouldn't tell a parent that they couldn't tell me they were depressed etc. UNLESS you have someone like my dad who just wants to talk about his depression and his mental illness all.the.time. If she talks like this a lot, then you have the conversation about she needs to get helpp--and you might need to have it several times--and then you draw boundaries and say things like "I can't talk about this with you" etc.

    So go with helping first, provide resources, etc. And then draw the boundaries you need. You may need to get some counseling for yourself on how to do all of this and that's ok!
    Mom to:
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    DD '05
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    RIP Andy, the furry first child, 1996-2012

    "The task of any religion is not to tell us who we are entitled to hate but to teach us who we are required to love."

  2. #12
    baymom is online now Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    I’m sorry you had to experience this, OP. What an awful thing to hear from a parent. I think we come from the same culture, so I can appreciate how she may be resistant to seeing a therapist or take anything for depression. Do you have extended family near by? Are your parents active at a temple/mosque/gurudwara? Do you live near long time friends of your parents? Any way for you to push her to seek community and fellowship while you take a breathe and strategize on how to get more professional help? Could you say you ‘need’ help and ask if she could come spend a week at your place? Maybe just extended time apart from you Dad would help. It’s so hard. Sending good thoughts your way.

  3. #13
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    I assume There would be a lot of resistance to therapy and/or psych medications. I agree with looking into the faith organizations for now. There are spiritual groups that help with these sorts of Issues and may be more acceptable. However, if it is actually depression then she will need treatment, and that may involve an intervention from someone who lives nearby. I’m not sure if she lives in the US or overseas. There is a shortage of trained professionals in this country and it was really hard to find someone who could even see my mom, never mind dealing with the stigma and resistance, But it’s well worth the effort.
    "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, "What? You, too? I thought I was the only one." C.S. Lewis

  4. #14
    icunurse is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    Ok. I'm going to try to gently come at this from a different angle. As someone who has lost both parents. What you make see an an okay existence might not be one for your Mom. She may, from her health issues, be struggling with pain or other resulting medical issues that either you don't know the full story or you can't understand how much it affects her. She may be at peace with her life, not meaning that she is depressed or suicidal, but rather feels as though she's had a pretty darn good life, she's lived to a decent age, and wants to get things in order because she is at peace with whatever happens. My Mom was sickly, but she would tell me that she was okay with whatever was in the plans for her. And my parents were cleaning out their house for years to have things in order. My grandmother literally tagged things for years before she died (and would tell us how any day could be her last....as she lived to 94). Sometimes, as hard as it is, you just have to listen and be sympathetic to the struggles older people face with changes in health, limitations, happiness and their own mortality. They vent and it may just be a bad day. But they are trusting you with their feelings. And they need to be heard. It's hard, but sometimes I think they do it to prepare you (even if that day isn't for a long time).

  5. #15
    hwin708 is online now Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    I don't think any of us can say for certain what your mother is thinking. It could be depression. It also could just be blunt pragmatism on an off day.

    My experience:

    I think myself and every single one of my friends has had some conversation with our parents where they, out of the blue, announced some plan for their stuff after they're gone. Every single one of us has been horrified. But clearly this is something people start considering when they are getting old. It is very normal.

    My mother has had health problems of late. Nothing major, and much of it resolved. But each time, she becomes convinced it is the end for her, or the end of her way of life. I think the health problems were a turning point for how she saw herself. Like she didn't think of herself as old. Then the health problems started, and suddenly she thinks of herself as an UNHEALTHY old person, who won't age as well as she felt her parents did. She thinks she won't be mobile for much longer, that she will be ill all the time, etc etc. All of which is a HUGE overreaction to pretty basic health problems. Health problems that are not all, or even mostly, age related. Health problems that I have to bug her to see a doctor about because - every single time - she says "why should I see a doctor? I doubt there is anything they can do. I think this is just how it is now that I am old." And guess what? Every single time she sees the doctor, it can actually be fixed or majorly helped. To my mind, this is crazy. But again, having talked to my friends, it is not entirely uncommon.

    Now, I have never heard my mother say that she wanted to die soon. But I have heard some pretty defeatist talk from her. She is, however, still a very happy, vibrant person. So, for MY mother, I would say these moments of misery regarding her aging don't define her, and are not a sign of a serious depression. Just a depressed moment. But I cannot speak for your mother.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by icunurse View Post
    Ok. I'm going to try to gently come at this from a different angle. As someone who has lost both parents. What you make see an an okay existence might not be one for your Mom. She may, from her health issues, be struggling with pain or other resulting medical issues that either you don't know the full story or you can't understand how much it affects her. She may be at peace with her life, not meaning that she is depressed or suicidal, but rather feels as though she's had a pretty darn good life, she's lived to a decent age, and wants to get things in order because she is at peace with whatever happens. My Mom was sickly, but she would tell me that she was okay with whatever was in the plans for her. And my parents were cleaning out their house for years to have things in order. My grandmother literally tagged things for years before she died (and would tell us how any day could be her last....as she lived to 94). Sometimes, as hard as it is, you just have to listen and be sympathetic to the struggles older people face with changes in health, limitations, happiness and their own mortality. They vent and it may just be a bad day. But they are trusting you with their feelings. And they need to be heard. It's hard, but sometimes I think they do it to prepare you (even if that day isn't for a long time).
    i completely agree with this
    '...everything can be taken from a man but one thing, the Last of the Human Freedoms, the ability to choose one's behavior in any set of circumstances, the Freedom to Choose One's Own Way.' -Viktor Frankle

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  7. #17
    citymama is offline Pink Diamond level (15,000+ posts)
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    I'm sorry about this situation. I would suggest you find a time to either meet up with your mom one on one, or if she's far away and not easy to reach, then find a time to talk to her on Facetime when your dad is not around, and gently inquire how she is doing and what prompted that statement. It couldn't hurt to invite her to stay with you for a week to give you a chance to have a heart-to-heart with her. You could say it would be a good way to spend time with grandkids during their summer break.

    What you heard could be any of the things people have said a above - ranging from speaking without thinking after a bad day to manipulation to clinical depression to a cry for help. She needs to be treated gently so she can open up. I know you are hurting, but it also sounds like you need to understand the situation better so you can address the underlying issues. I'm aware that people "of a certain age" in the S Asian community resign themselves to being aged and not long for this world. My grandmother would talk constantly about what would happen to her belongings after she passed, say to me as a young kid each time we left her home after a visit that it would probably be the last time I saw her, etc. She lived well into her late 80s and spoke like this for the entire 20 years I knew her. I'm not saying it's the same thing in this case, but there is often a drama element, a practical element, and a morbidness in some older S. Asian women that makes them talk like this. But it could be something else entirely. Once you talk to her, if you feel like something else is up, you and your sister could talk to her about how to address it - it might be easier together. Good luck.

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  8. #18
    California is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    From what you've written, your dad has been emotionally abusing your mom for years. And it sounds like it's become normalized for you all. Saying things like "It's cultural," and "It's their generation" is making an excuse for abuse rather than doing the difficult work of saying, "Yes, there's some cultural stuff here- but my dad is smart, not stupid, and he's choosing this behavior." If you yourself are open to therapy, I'd look for a therapist who can help you sort out how to be supportive of your mom, and work through the complicated emotions of being close to your dad and yet not enabling his abusive behavior by complaisance. It may be that your mom would be better off coming to stay with you for a while. She might get a fresh breath of life outside of a home where she's being yelled at and emotionally abused. Right now she may not realize how much being in an abusive home is hurting her.

  9. #19
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    Thank you all for the replies! A couple of things to clarify:

    - My parents live nearby, we see them about once a week and I talk to them 1-2x per day.
    - Both parents are very active in their spiritual community and consider themselves serious students of Hindu philosophy (e.g. go to meditation retreats, etc. Not sure how much this is helping with not verbally abusing your spouse though!!)
    - I don't want to imply that I think that yelling at your spouse is ok AT ALL in any culture. Just wanted to provide cultural context that is it common - not as an excuse - just as to why highly educated women still put up with a lot! She's not ok with it, but I think she feels that marriage is sacred, etc.
    - I have asked her to stay over many, many times. She has only done it a couple of times. And I'm happy for her to stay here, but I just can't hear about the marriage issues. I just freeze up and then lose sleep, peace of mind over it later. UGH.
    DD Summer 2008
    DS Summer 2010

  10. #20
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    I would actually recommend reading Atul Gawande’s “Being Mortal”. Your mother’s not dying, but she is aging. I’m assuming your mother is from Southeat Asia? The model for aging is much different there. She might be struggling with the knowledge that she will not have the same experience as those before her. Atul partially addresses that in his book. I do think you need to sit down and talk with her, and by that I mean let her do most the talking. But educated yourself about getting old and death first might be helpful in getting your thoughts and feelings in order.

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