I need some advice on how to help my mom… while also not helping my mom. She has recently become very vocal with me, particularly online, about some marital troubles she’s having with my dad after 30-plus years of marriage. Mostly, I think she isn’t feeling seen by my dad, feels neglected and distant from him, related to some arguments about big decisions concerning retirement, etc. I don’t think they would ever divorce at this point (immigrant family and they don’t have much of a support system in the U.S.—my mom relies on my dad entirely financially) The way my mom has been expressing these problems to me makes me uncomfortable—she’ll send quotes via social media (think empowering woman quotes about a woman not chasing a man who doesn’t love her… Pinterest-style).
I don’t really feel like I can be the person to hear about my parents’ marital problems. I don’t know how to help, and honestly don’t want to be the person TO help, and I REALLY would like to stop receiving canned quotes related to how my parents don’t love each other anymore. I’m an adult; I wish I could be there for my mom in this regard, but I just can’t. I love my dad. I know he is oblivious and my mom’s problems with him are rooted in reality, but I have a lot of trouble providing advice or even just LISTENING to her feelings about him. It makes me very anxious and upset. How can I help my mom, while also not being her main soundboard for these types of feelings?
—Not Taking Sides