Awkward phone conversations

Sometimes, I really don’t know what to say to my mom. She complains endlessly about suffering from depression, picks fights and disputes with people who cares about her who really aren’t trying to harm her, but she insists they harm her, and she expects me to constantly feel sorry for her and is always asking why I don’t come home more often as though home is the most amazing and lovely experience I could possibly have. Today, she was complaining about missing Ed, and said that my dad didn’t want to hear what she felt and what she had to say. “Your dad is useless to talk to,” she mumbled. “He doesn’t care how I feel. No one cares about me other than you. I have no one other than you.” Then, she went on to tell me that my aunt’s good friend just got diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer, but she’s coping well because her husband is so supportive and always comforts her. “She’s so lucky,” my mom comments. “Her husband actually takes care of her and helps her and listens to her. He comforts her with words. I don’t have that.”

I couldn’t say anything. What am I supposed to say to that? Everything she’s saying is true. My dad doesn’t comfort her; he doesn’t know how to. He is so emotionally inept that just the mere thought of him trying to comfort someone makes me want to scratch my nails on a chalk board. And what am I supposed to do — defend him and lie, or agree and risk getting yelled at later for criticizing my dad?

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