Wedding Woes

Therapy, therapy, and more therapy.

Dear Prudence,
My father died two years ago from complications due to alcoholism. It was a long time coming, and I lived on the other side of the country and did not want to deal with the daily aspects of his care. My mom took care of him as he died but only in the most cursory ways—feeding and housing him. In all other ways she seemed to hate him: freezing him out and ignoring him when he spoke. I firmly believe that my mom should have left him, and it makes me angry at her for staying with him and enabling his alcoholism. I am having a lot of trouble talking to my mom now. I feel angry every time we speak. I currently can’t afford counseling, so my only strategy is to avoid her and wait out my feelings, which since my dad’s death have wavered between clinginess, distance, annoyance, and anger. Should I talk to her knowing that she most likely wouldn’t be receptive, and that this might be best worked out in counseling? Should I wait for my feelings to change on their own?

—Blaming Her

Re: Therapy, therapy, and more therapy.

  • Therapy to understand her reasoning - alone and with her - conversation and time.
  • @DrillSergeantCat's suggestion of AlAnon is great, since the LW can't afford counseling.

    I find it interesting that the LW's anger at his/her mom, for staying in an unhealthy situation, seems to have really sharpened after the father's death.  Death can certainly bring out weird and/or unexpected emotions in people.

    I can only guess at the mother's motivation.  Perhaps she stayed in the marriage because she felt it was her obligation, even if she had grown to hate her H over the years.  Personally, I find it commendable she took care of him until the end, even if it she wasn't so "warm and fuzzy" about it.

    I'm sorry for the LW.  He/Her seems both mad that the mother never left but, at the same time, also seems mad that mom was so cold to dad, in the end.  Seems like there are a lot of conflicting emotions going on.  I hope they eventually find peace and start a better relationship with their mom.

    The LW doesn't say this, but I'll assume they didn't have a very good childhood with an alcoholic father.  Perhaps the anger at mom goes all the way back to her keeping them in that situation and has now manifested stronger with dad's death.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • There are free therapy groups since you can't afford counseling, but honestly your mom is not a bad person for feeding and housing your father. I could understand feeling disappointed in the decisions she made, but I don't understand the anger. Seek out some group therapy and AlAnon.
    Another vote for Al-Anon here, and a grief support group as well.
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