Problem with Parents

Problem with Parents

Postby faradie » Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:29 pm

Both my parents are in their 80s and their relationship is bad. My father is the submissive one in the relationship but my mother is the problem. Their relationship ran into problems some 20 years ago when my father ran into financial difficulties. Ever since then my mother has treated him very badly. The way I analyse her behaviour is that at a young age, her father died leaving her with the responsibility of looking after her 2 brothers. This must have affected her badly as she is very stingy and equates happiness with money. All of her kids (3 of us) try to tolerate her but it is a torture visiting them which I do every week. Now my dad is having health problems and she is complaining of depression. All of the family members are christians except for me. I am a buddhist and I know that the key to happiness lies in understanding life and is sourced internally. The problem with her is she believes that God will take her away to heaven! She does little to change. No wonder she is depressed - so much negative karma for being stingy, treating her husband badly etc. This affects me as well. It helps when I do my meditation successfully but I must admit many times my practice is disturbed by speculative thoughts about her. She is old and things are difficult to change for her so how do you think I should proceed?
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Re: Problem with Parents

Postby Dechen Norbu » Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:48 pm

Many old people are simply grumpy... so perhaps that's just how things are and you must live with it. :lol:

In alternative, have you ever discussed this with your mother? Perhaps an honest talk, avoiding accusations and blaming, about the situation could do some good. I doubt it solve things for good, but it may help your mother. She seems just to be adding suffering to pre existing suffering, meaning, she solves nothing and only makes things worse than they are. I'm sure she doesn't want to make it worse, but perhaps that's the end result.
A hint would be avoiding religion in this conversation. She has no certainty about God's existence, let alone heaven. Keep it human, here and now, action and consequence and show her how her behavior only makes things worse and solves nothing. Nevertheless, if she keeps acting like that, perhaps you could consider taking your father to live with you for some time. Call it a prolonged holidays and keep him with you for a couple of months. She will probably start missing him and stop acting like that. If she doesn't, there's a saying that goes more or less like "better alone than in nasty company" here in my country. If she treats you father badly, why does he put up with it and doesn't get a divorce? People are free to live their lives with happiness, even when having 80. Anyway, seems to me your mother needs a reality check to understand what she's been doing. Spending some time managing loneliness on her own may be the best remedy.
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Re: Problem with Parents

Postby Karma K Sonam » Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:23 am

Difficult - there is a famous Phillip Larkin poem about parents but I can't repeat it because the first two lines are a bit rude.

Sometimes people just cant or wont be helped. I know that you said that this is having a negative impact and I feel for you I really do, but you can also use this situation. The teachings show us that other people don't determine how we feel, we do. We choose how to react, how we see things, how we take things on board etc. This could be a great opportunity for you to engage in some really meaningful practice of letting go - if nothing else it will make the situation seem more bearable.

You Mum clearly has a different perspective on things - there is a reason why she thinks she is going to heaven and I would tentatively suggest that that is because she feels she is doing or has done something to earn that place in heaven and it might be useful to talk to her about this and get a deeper understanding of her point of view.

Whatever you choose to do - whether it is something or nothing, my heart goes out to you and I wish you all the best, :heart:
don't forget to stop and smell the daisies.
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Re: Problem with Parents

Postby Jinzang » Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:01 am

The cardinal rule is that you can't help anyone unless they ask for help.

If your parents ask, suggest some small change that will show quick benefit. This will increase their confidence both in you and that things will get better.

For difficult emotional problems, I recommend reading the book The Sedona Method and doing the exercises in it. They fit well with the practice of mindfulness.
Lamrim, lojong, and mahamudra are the unmistaken path.
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Re: Problem with Parents

Postby faradie » Fri Sep 02, 2011 2:57 am

Thank you for your kind thoughts. There is a famous chinese word called, in english, "perservere"; I think this is the route that I'll need to take. I cannot run away or the problem will resurface in future, I guess I have to live with it. I know that there is not much I can help her for she is unwilling to change and I suspect a little bit mentally unsound. After all her christian god is there not lift her away to paradise when she dies ya?!!!
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