My Parents Are Living with Me and Ruining My Relationship

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

My parents and siblings moved in with me and my husband about a year and a half ago for what was supposed to be a five month period to get back on their feet. Now, present day, my husband and me have a baby of our own. My mom does her best but my dad has not worked in three years and does not want to even try. While my dad is doing nothing we are supporting them through out the week. I should also mention here that my dad has a BIG problem with prescription pain pills. This is putting so much stress on me and my husband that we argue almost every other day, when before they moved in we never really had a disagreement. All this is causing anxiety, depression and now I think I have become bipolar somehow. I am looking for any help possible.

A: It is time for them to move out. You are 21 and already have your plate full with your husband and baby. While I don’t know what the living arrangements are – if you own or rent, the age and number of your siblings – but the issue is clear. They have overstayed their welcome and it is time to be clear about them moving out.

Talk with your husband about the plan, but whatever you do, have a plan to confront them and let them know this is no longer working and that they have to move on. Pick a timeline that is clear- 30 days, 60 days – something that can begin the countdown.

Your father’s disability may qualify him for treatment. I would enlist your mother’s help in getting the physician prescribing the medication involved in finding rehabilitation options. If your dad hasn’t worked in 3 years the state division of vocational rehabilitation may be able to help with treatment and training for employment.

I would find the county social service office and call them and make an appointment to go with your parents to meet with them about getting housing for your family. They typically can provide you with information on applying for low-income housing.

By not setting a limit you are not helping. Clearly there is no motivation for them to leave, and if you don’t provide one they will not accept responsibility on their own. You are enabling their behavior by not acting in your best interest and that of your husband and child.

I would also encourage you to find a couples therapist for you and your husband while you are going through this with your mother, father and siblings. You can use the find help tab at the top of this page.

I am not suggesting this will be easy. As P. J. O’Rourke has so eloquently said: Because of their size, parents may be difficult to discipline properly.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Jun 2010

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2010). My Parents Are Living with Me and Ruining My Relationship. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/06/12/my-parents-are-living-with-me-and-ruining-my-relationship/

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