How to deal with my parents visits?

Posted by mmpgh @mmpgh, Jun 13 3:59pm

I'm an adult, married with a teenage kids. One about to go to college. As long as I have lived apart from my parents, I didn't want to stay long when I came back home. I would leave early go back to school. Now every time they visit I feel anxiety and shut down. When they leave I feel sad.

My mom talks to everyone about nothing that makes any sense to anyone. But she doesn't say much to me. My dad doesn't say much period. My kids and my wife notice how I change when they are around. No one likes it.

When they visit, sometimes they stay at a hotel and sometimes they stay here. If we aren't doing anything they sit on the couch not saying anything. I don't really know what to say to them either so I don't say anything. My wife finds herself doing most of the talking. My wife is annoyed with them everytime they visit and we both can't wait until they leave.

I had a messed up childhood. Can't say it was my parents fault. I didn't tell them what was going on. My therapist says they didn't pay enough attention to me.

I love them. They are my parents. I don't want to go into this state when they visit. How do I change? They aren't going to change. How do we make these visits better? How do I not let them get me so down?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Depression & Anxiety group.

@mmpgh I can relate to how relationships change with parents as they age.
Have a 90 yr old mom with medical and medication issues that has her sleeping more, lethargic and depressed. In February visited her and she didn’t recognize me and conversation was at a minimum. About two days later she seemed to “come back to life” and more talkative.
Something I did differently is that I did NOT stay with my mom but stayed with my baby sister that is a safer place to for me. Made sure to visit her and being respectful ( to myself and to her).
Maybe having parents stay in hotel is not such a bad idea for it gives you both your space.

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I am facing the same situation from the opposite side, my children wanted for nothing, caring family, education, upper class neighborhood, obviously too much. They, like you, expect me to fly in for holidays, stay in a motel 😒 The tables will be turned eventually and you will better understand the situation.

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I will share what helped me: My parents were divorced and my father outlived my mother. Not until after my mother's passing unfortunately did I become interested in her family background. This was likely so because she herself was not interested in it, but after her death I received a trunk with old letters and photos she had saved from relatives. I used them to formulate the family history and when I saw my father I would discuss with him aspects of our genealogy. And he contributed his side of the family genealogy as well. I wrote down what he had to say and have saved it. I shared with my father old photographs my mother had and he could often identify where they were taken and who was in them. I used a special photo marking pencil to label them. I also made copies of what he liked and gave him a photo album of them. Would your parents be willing to share old photographs with you?

I found taking a interest in my father's past broke the ice. I learned a lot about past family health history in the process, and that was particularly helpful later to a sibling that was in need of that information. I later regretted not spending more time having my father identify who was in his personal collection of photos. I had only concentrated on his many framed ones.

If either of your parents cook, copying family recipes could be another approach. Other ideas that popped into to mind is I find having a particularly nice flower arrangement present can have a very cheerful effect on the atmosphere. I also recall the many puzzles that the Mayo Clinic had in various stages of completion in their waiting areas. You could get one going in advance with no expectation that they join in with you causally working on it.

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@linh

I will share what helped me: My parents were divorced and my father outlived my mother. Not until after my mother's passing unfortunately did I become interested in her family background. This was likely so because she herself was not interested in it, but after her death I received a trunk with old letters and photos she had saved from relatives. I used them to formulate the family history and when I saw my father I would discuss with him aspects of our genealogy. And he contributed his side of the family genealogy as well. I wrote down what he had to say and have saved it. I shared with my father old photographs my mother had and he could often identify where they were taken and who was in them. I used a special photo marking pencil to label them. I also made copies of what he liked and gave him a photo album of them. Would your parents be willing to share old photographs with you?

I found taking a interest in my father's past broke the ice. I learned a lot about past family health history in the process, and that was particularly helpful later to a sibling that was in need of that information. I later regretted not spending more time having my father identify who was in his personal collection of photos. I had only concentrated on his many framed ones.

If either of your parents cook, copying family recipes could be another approach. Other ideas that popped into to mind is I find having a particularly nice flower arrangement present can have a very cheerful effect on the atmosphere. I also recall the many puzzles that the Mayo Clinic had in various stages of completion in their waiting areas. You could get one going in advance with no expectation that they join in with you causally working on it.

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Addition: I should add that I had worked through many feelings towards my parents in therapy at a earlier date.

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