MY parents have been married for over 30 years and in all the years I was growing up, I’d never seen my mum truly happy. Dad was often violent towards her but she says he’s better now. I’m sure she only stays with him because she’s too afraid to leave. He has completely erroded her self-confidence. I’ve told her many times that she can come and live with me and my family as we have a decent guest room where she could be independent if she so desires but she says she can’t leave him on his own as he’d never cope.
What can I do to help her see that even though she’s now in her sixties, she still has some quality of life to live.
You can’t force your mother to leave. Believe me, if she were as unhappy as you suspected she is, she wouldn’t need that much prodding to leave. Your mum’s obviously loyal to her husband and most women prefer the comfort of their own territory to living in strange surroundings, albeit with family. In the meantime, let your mum know that you care for her and that she will always have a haven with you if she needs it. You might even encourage her to spend the odd weekends with you, if her husband will let her!