April 13, 2012 - submitted by Gabriella, Brazil

This week my parents had a major fight. I watched it all, and it's been very painful for me since then. I always thought they had a good - not perfect, but a good relationship, and suddenly, everything seems to be going down. I see both of them very unhappy and mad at each other, and I do feel like I have to pick one side of this story. But I could never do something like that. I just wanted to stay quiet about it all, but they keep telling me how sad they are with each other, and I just feel completely lost. I do disagree with many actions of both, but I'm not strong enough to tell them - especially my dad. And the idea of a divorce couldn't be worse for me. Do you have any idea of what can I do, if there's any way to help them?

The Oracle replies:

You know what, Gabriella? I think you've been put in a tricky situation rather than placing yourself there. It sounds as if your parents have somehow stuck you in the middle of their fight. It is THEIR fight so I'm afraid that it's not down to you to pick sides or find a way to help them. They need to help themselves.
Try to bear in mind that couples do fall out and they do have pressures from time to time that will manifest themselves as rows. This could be a minor blip and nothing for you to worry about.
If you feel it's more serious than that and you feel strong enough, talk to them together or write them a letter to tell them how torn you feel. Ask them if this is just an argument or if you should worry about their future together. You have a right to ask that but not to expect anything more.
You may think your parents would benefit from mediation but you're not the person to do that.
If they fight in front of you, perhaps interject and ask that they respectfully don't or at least, try not to. If that doesn't work, I suggest you tell them you are leaving the room and listen to music to drown it out.
Your split loyalty is totally understandable and you may have decided who you think is wrong and right but let me tell you something from experience... Whatever you think you know and whatever you see and hear does not mean you have the complete picture. The truth is theirs so your snapshots of what's going on won't necessarily be what's actually going on.
Try to stay out of it other than to let them know what impact their arguing is having on you.
Remember, even if divorce sounds like the worst thing in the world - and it may not come to that - think if it meant your parents weren't sad any longer, maybe you'd eventually see it can sometimes be the best solution for the entire family.
Over to you.

I am sorry you are caught in the middle of this situation. Of course we all want our parents to be happy and getting along, but sadly this is not always realistic. Many things can cause discord in a marriage; stress and money problems, or one mate may be going through a mid-life crisis. All these things can cause problems. Some disagreements in a marriage are normal and to be expected, but if this turns into a tense situation where the two can't be in the same room with out fighting some help may be needed. THEY need to get this help as it is THEIR marriage. You are not the cause of the problem and it may be too big for you to solve and it is not your responsibility anyway. The most important thing you can do is tell them how you feel when you see them fight. Let them know how it upsets you and how insecure it makes you feel. It may make them think. Gabriella what will happen with this is what will happen, I would love to tell you it will be alright, but sadly many times it is not and it may be a sad time but you will survive it. Life changes and so will you, I wish the best for you, Laurie.

Gabriella, I am very sorry about the hard time you're going through right now. But you know, sometimes these things happen in families - the parents drift apart. Every once in a while, they manage to work it out. Other times, they go their separate ways (which, by the way, doesn't mean the end of your family) - many parents who have separated still manage to have a decent relationship. So, if the worst happens, don't assume that your life will become painful. It just means that things weren't meant to be the way you thought. What you can do is let them know how you feel. Let them know that you love them. Let them know that you want them to figure it out, together. Let them know whatever you feel is right. As long as they're aware of your support, love and hope, things will be okay, in one way or another. Keep in mind that your parents probably love you more than anything, so whatever happens... you'll always have that. Stay strong. Sincerely, Medina.

Gabriella, you're right not to take sides and don't let them pull you into their fight. Just love them both, taking sides only boosts one side and alienates the other. Many people look to another person, in this case their spouse to make them happy. The only one who can make us happy is ourselves. We are the key holders to our own happiness. A relationship should enhance and support who we are, not be who we are. I don't know their situation, many times one wants to grow by changing jobs, going back to school, etc. and the spouse doesn't like change, fear of the unknown and fights against it, not realizing this fighting against it, will bring the biggest change, a split in the family. If you feel you need to say something to your parents try "Please look at Mom's/Dad's side and perspective, then really put yourself in each other's place." Usually one of the underlining problems is fear. Understanding where each other is coming from and how they are feeling on both sides, will help them to negotiate with each other for a win/win solution. I'm not saying all things will be solved, they maybe too stubborn to see each other's point of view. They should probably seek marriage counseling. Remember, they both love you and love them; maybe your example of unconditional love will help. Dawn.

I totally understand what you're going through, it happened to me too. It is very important that you don't feel obligated to pick one side of the story. Keep in mind that their fights have nothing to do with you, and getting involved won't do you any good. Maybe you should try to talk to your mom privately, if you think that she will react well. In my case I'm closer to my dad, so I approached the topic with him, and I tried to make him realize his mistakes. He agreed with me in many things, and promised me that he would try his best. I also found the courage to talk to my mom, but she didn't respond as well as my dad. At least I knew that I had done what I could to help them, but the rest they had to figure it out by themselves. What I'm trying to say is that you must never feel guilty if they aren't able to solve their problems. It is totally unnecessary for you to hear them complaining about each other. My parents used to do that with me, until I asked them to stop because it made me sad, and it kept them thinking about their problems all day long, which simply made things worse. Try not to think about the divorce, which is the worst scenario. My parents were able to work it out, I really hope yours too. J Sincerely, Carla from Venezuela.

Gabriella, im sorry to hear about what you're going through. As much as you feel you do, you dont have to pick a side. Your parents are adults and only they can work things out themselves. If you do feel pressured into taking sides, I suggest talking to them and telling them both how negatively it's affected you. I understand the idea of divorce upsets you, however, divorce can be a good thing sometimes. Unfortunately, because neither you or your parents are happy, change will most likely come. Whether or not its divorce, it does mean something different, and you must try your best to understand it. Try to keep in mind that it's not because of your actions, but the relationship between them that you aren't responsible for. As for helping them, let them know how much they mean to you and that they aren't alone. You can also recommend that they go to marriage counseling which could help a lot. Remember that they'll always be your parents no matter what. Hope it works out well for you. Love, Darem.

My parents would get into fights, too, but something always amazed me, where they would always start each day off anew, and put all of their differences aside, each time the sun rose. Your parents may not think to do that, but that doesn't mean you can't influence that. If you carry a cheery disposition, when you're around your parents, then you can have a lot of influence to them.
Don't pick a side, just try to bring them together for different reasons, they may be at ends with each other, but they won't let that interfere with their parenting to you, and that is a great way to get them to bond. My major suggestion is to remind them that you need them, and try to cheer them up. Find something they can both get along with, and use that to establish a good foundation to fixing this. Best wishes, Bradley H.

Friend, sincerely it is painful to see a high level fight, but in every family there is normal discussions.
Maybe between your parents that love never existed because it is impossible to love a person is finished. If your parents love, their love will never end.
Whenever things happen for a reason and when this one fight just keep silent until the end, and when the fight ends wait for the two to calm down and talk to them with care and understanding. A parent like to talk to their children, the best tool to solve problems is through dialogue. If that does not seek a professional who can help as a psychologist.
If you feel that they will not work relationship must be separated and if after that are comfortable, the best thing is that they may divorce.
Maybe it's something hard for you but it will be harder to be watching those fights. I hope they solve the problems. Kenia. (*Thanks for resending in English, Kenia. O.)

Try to stay united to both of your parents. Don't choose to defend one or the other. Children should never get involved in adults' issues.
Also, talk to them and beg them not to make you be part of it. Ask for it in a good way. Telling you the problems will just worsen things and make you awfully uncomfortable.
I don't think you should speak out and tell your opinion in this kind of cases, just leave it to them.
Of course, you can support them by trying to bring happiness and good energy to the house, by trying to dispel the bad vibes and don't add any negativity.
As for your very self, I know you mustn't be having a good time...
Blows like this make you stronger and somehow grow up and become more mature.
Never give up, keep smiling even when things get out of your hands, and keep on living your life in spite of it all. Hope this helps a little bit. Love, Caro.

I've been in your shoes and I know exactly how you feel. The relationship your parents have with each other is completely independent of their relationship with you at the moment. Let them work it out. Remember it's your parent's conflict, so don't feel obligated in choosing one side over the other. I'm sure they undertstand that this stress is nearly unbearable for everyone involved, so don't feel hesitant to talk to them about how you feel. If it's difficult to engage your parents directly, you can write a letter to each parent to better express yourself. Whatever action you take, make sure that you give your parents as much love and comfort as you can because they need you now more than ever. Warm regards, Blake.

Thanks to all those who wrote replies. Team Oracle is open to anyone so if you fancy replying, click to read this week's question, and send us your answer.