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I wouldn't normally delve into the problems in my family, but currently they've become so stressing that I feel the need to talk about them - but have no close friends with parents who were together at a time they could remember. (In most cases, the parents got divorced before they were born or when they were very young, so all my friends only know about life after a divorce - not in the awkward pre-divorce stage.)

So, here goes:
My family's always kinda been teetering on the edge, so to speak, but lately things have become completely chaotic between us. My dad is in a business that requires him to leave for week to month long business trips every week or two, and so is out of the house quite often. He has a definite two-sided personality. Sometimes (rarely, I might add) - He and I get along very well - he has a great sense of humor, he takes things lightly, and is overall just good to talk to (he's very intelligent.) However, He is very prone to change his mood at the drop of a hat - one little thing goes wrong in his day and suddenly everything is wrong. He, while not saying outright that he's angry, chooses to mumble under his breath in a stage whisper tone, saying things along the lines of "I don't know why I pay for this **** house, kids don't do anything..." so on and so forth, often blaming whatever just happened on me or my sister being lazy, or on my mom being lazy. Needless to say, these accusations are very far-stretched, and often very hurtful.
My mom and I just recently became close with each other, and she, like me, is prone to anxiety attacks and depression. She is also working a full-time job, and trying to clean house, cook meals, and pack and unpack my dad's bags for his trips at the same time. Needless to say, this stresses her out beyond belief and she often, after coming home from work, will simply go to sleep straight away. This isn't a problem for anyone else in the house except for my father, who thinks she's being lazy and not doing her part in the family.

The whole problem arises with my dad's gambling problem. He spends thousands of dollars each year on gambling, and the money my mom makes pays the bills, and he mostly uses his income (which is much larger than hers) on gambling. My mom confronted him about this several times recently, and instead of stopping or at least cutting down, they've ended up completely miserable with each other.
He says she doesn't clean, she doesn't keep the house up like she should, she doesn't care, she spends too much money.
She says he doesn't care about anything more than money, and he spends too much gambling.

Today was their 20 year anniversary, and the current situation is him giving her the silent treatment (we've yet to figure out why) but buying her some roses and jewelery anyway, and then, after she'd left for work, betting me $20 that she doesn't get him anything at all. I told him that of course she hasn't, she hasn't gotten a chance as she had to work today, and he continued saying that he does everything for her and she does nothing for him at all.

Basically, for the past three months, both of them have been either complaining about each other to me, asking me questions about each other (often questions that the answers to decided whether or not they get along that day) and generally acting like a couple of twelve year olds.

I'm at a wit's end.
My mom's been constantly talking about moving out of the house and her and I getting an apartment of our own.
I can't lie and say that it's not very tempting, my dad's mood swings are very, very scary to me and, on more than one occasion, have been brought to tears out of fear due to his words or actions.
However, I know that that would be very unfair to my dad, that he really does, in his mind, believe himself to be a great father, and that he works himself to death to provide a house and such for us. I simply couldn't just leave him in a five bedroom house with just himself - not to mention with the frequency he's gone the house would likely have to be sold altogether.

I've been told by several people that I'm almost eighteen and can just move out as soon as I get the money - but with my job search now coming to a total of 30 businesses denying me and very few oppurtunities still open to me, due to my lack of a high school diploma and being under the age of 18, along with not having a driver's liscence or car to get any job outside of town. So, There's no way I can make the money to move out, is what I'm saying.

The whole situation is making me really hopeless, and while I'm not posting this hoping for some miracle solution to get my parents to go back to the way they were together, I am looking for a little big of support. Juggling the stress of finding a job, having a boyfriend living many hours away, and handling my Bipolar and Anxiety issues while being in school is hard enough, with this whole mess everything is just seeming horribly hopeless.
First things first:



I think you've hit the nail on the head with one of the things that you've said: "acting like a couple of twelve year olds." One of the secrets that you don't get told about growing up is that most people never get much past being teenagers. They act like they are responsible, but inside they feel like confused teens, wondering why their body is so old, and confused about where all the years went. Everyone, children, teens, and adults, all have their own feelings and issues. As we get older we see more clearly that "Dad never cooks andmakes jokes about it, but really he's afraid of showing his inadequacy compared the ideal of modern men", or "Mum is a bit homophobic". Things that you never really saw until you got to the point of gaining perspective about them.

It sounds like your father is the antagonist in all this, but you also say that you see he does work hard for his family, so you are seeing some of the good things he does too. Mood swings are usually caused by something, and men are very good at shutting those reasons away, only letting them be shown when it gets too much for them to handle. What do you think might be troubling him inside? He probably won't want to talk about it, but perhaps if you could work out what is really the problem for him then you might be able to help in some way. It might be that there's a lot of pressure on him at work and he doesn't know how to talk about it... And he probably doesn't want to either.

Men usually don't really feel the same release from talking about things as women do. They tend to prefer to hide things away inside and try to work their difficulties out by themselves. When someone asks a man 'what's wrong?' the man can feel like the person is really saying 'I don't trust you to be able to work this out for yourself, so let me take over.' To the average man, an offer of help is very emasculating.

I've got to get back to work now, and I'm not really sure this has helped... I just think that trying to understand your dad's motivations might make things easier for all of you.

*hugs again*
All I have to say is this sounds all too familiar. Frighteningly familiar, actually.

Feel free to contact me just for talking sake. My profile is current as far as contact information goes and PMs are always acceptable.
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