My mother is not okay. And I do not know what to do.
I believe it started to get worse when she went to college. We all had problems way before that, but things began to scale up after that. She dropped university when she was twenty and decided to pursue higher education because she genuinely wants to be a dentist and become financially independent. My dad is a dentist as well, so he helped her a bit with that. In Brazil, going to a public university to get free education often means moving out to a big city, so my mom applied to a private college nearer to home. It also allowed her to go to school in the mornings, only three days every week, so she could be with her family and help my dad around his dentist's office. So far, so good.
But you see, my father always was a difficult person. He has his ups and downs like everybody, but his behavior is starting to impact my mom way more than before.
First, she had to switch institutions about three years ago because the university she attended was too far from home. She would need to spend an entire week in that city because the school would not let her do part-time classes anymore.
That meant she would be out of the house for most of the week. She didn't want to stay that much time away from us. She was also worried about what my dad would do in the meantime.
Even though he had plenty of help around the dentist's office, my dad would always get stressed. He is very anti-social, and I suspect he is not in love with his job.
Before he met my mom, he would only work a few hours a week until he had enough money to go out of town and visit the beach. Once he would have spent every penny, he would go back to town and treat the patients whose pride wasn't wounded enough to stop them from coming back there. Because he thought saving money was more important than paying bills, his electricity and water would get cut several times. He had debts all around town. It was a mess.
My mom helped him a lot. She made the business work. But when she wasn't around, my dad would get sloppy. He would get in trouble with patients sometimes. And he would get resentful. So he would take it out on the kids.
Now, he never beat us or anything. And to his credit, we were three spoiled brats trying to figure out how to manage ourselves. We could be very unreasonable at times. We were also studying in another town, so we would wake up at six a.m. every day to get to the bus. We needed to go to sleep early and have dinner at a reasonable time to do so. My dad didn't like that. He wanted to get home and rest. Things would sort themselves out. I fought with him every day my mother was at college until I finally learned how to make dinner. But the arguments didn't stop after that. We would get home for lunch and sit at the table. Back at those times, I was having issues with my self-esteem and had just broken up with my best friend. My siblings were also having problems of their own. My sister, for instance, only recently started to learn how not to bottle up her emotions and express them in a better way. My brother was always trying to please my dad. Who, in turn, would criticize pretty much any hobby or pastime my brother liked. My dad would always have something to make everybody finish the meal feeling four times worse than before. And we had to swallow it. Mom had enough on her plate with college already.
After she decided to get transferred, she ended up in a university with a different curriculum, which annulated the two years she already had on her belt as a student and made her start over. Mom was so sad about it. She hoped she would be able to graduate before I got to college.
And then the pandemic came. I am still living at my parent's house, and mom is more stressed than ever. It was way worse in the first two months of the outbreak. Both my mom and my dad got panicked. He started bossing around the house, and she was too scared to do anything but what he told her to.
Then my grandmother got the Coronavirus. And developed dementia. She passed from one hospital to another, and fights ensued in my mother's side of the family to see who would be responsible for her. My uncle got the shorter straw, and he tried to submit grandma to euthanasia. Mom managed to stop him before that, and my grandma died in June of this year.
My mom is in shreds right now. My dad doesn't support her, college is starting to get more and more demanding, the dentist's office staff isn't making things easier, we are running out of money, she has no friends. I don't know how I can help her. Truly help her. All I have been able to do is listen. But it doesn't help that much.
In case you may be wondering, she is trying to get help for dealing with her stress. But it is mostly alternative therapies. She has bad experiences with physicological therapists and does not trust doctors. You don't need to recommend any phone numbers, since I live in Brazil and already know the ones we use. She also doesn't want to get a divorce before she graduates and gets a job. I just want to know how I can make her feel better right now.