Author Topic: Would love some MIL advice  (Read 3913 times)

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Offline sunshine

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Would love some MIL advice
« on: December 08, 2012, 07:37:17 PM »
Hello everyone!
I'm new here, and spent a lot of time reading through the posts before I registered. I like the feeling of warmth and support here, so I feel like this is a good place to ask my question.
Let me give you some background. I've been married for 18 years. My MIL has told us over and over that she will break us up. I just ignore her comments. My husband has no other family and I don't want to come between him and and his his mother, but she makes him upset with her comments. I just keep quiet. When her husband died, she moved in with us. My husband didn't like it, so he found her a place to live. My MIL blames me. Now she wants to see us every day. Before her husband died, we saw them 3-4 times a year. My husband told her we would see her 1-2 times a month. My MIL blames me. She said I am on drugs (I'm not), and she will take our child away. She said I am evil and am ruining my daughter's life, my husband's life, and trying to kill him, that I am going to leave him. None of this is true. I haven't had a cross word with her, she lived with us, I cooked and cleaned and did her laundry. I don't understand? We welcomed her into our home, and now she hates me? I tried to talk to her at Thanksgiving but she denied everything. Can this relationship be saved? What went wrong?

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Would love some MIL advice
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2012, 11:08:34 AM »
Welcome - This is a place you can call your cyber-home if it feels like a fit. My take is that we can never get into the mind or emotions of another to make sense to what appears senseless to us...(and I'm with you on this one.) We can't change others, either by doing something or not doing anything. I would guess that your MIL can't face, much less accept, her son's ability to hold his own. The whole thing has to be somebody's fault and it can't be hers or his. He is doing what he has to do and you and not taking the bait. I see that as the high road. Beyond that it seems to me that any improvement will have to come from your MIL. People do heal from loss…she may. And if and when she does, you are conducting yourself in such a manner that she can be welcomed back. I'm really impressed by that. But/and the ball is in her court. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Offline ImBack

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Re: Would love some MIL advice
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2012, 09:42:39 AM »
Wow. Your MIL is a piece of work. I could never have a relationship with anyone who would actively try to destroy my marriage, and harm my child's family life. Sounds like you and your husband would benefit from marriage counseling.  Maybe individual counseling for him? Seems like his Mom has caused some real damage all around.

My MIL tried something similar to what your MIL is doing: our therapist called it the divide and conquer tactic: divide your marriage to get your husband "back" for herself. My husband cut ties with his Mom 7yrs ago.

Offline Pen

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Re: Would love some MIL advice
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2012, 10:49:49 PM »
Welcome, Sunshine. I'm sorry you're going through this but glad you found us. I agree with Luise that these are your MIL's issues and she will have to deal with them. You gave it a go; she blew it and lost out. Try to ignore her cruel speech and move on.

Welcome as well, ImBack.

Sunshine & ImBack, if you haven't already done so please take a moment to read the pink highlighted items under Open Me First on the home page. We ask this of all new members to make sure the site is a good fit. You'll find information regarding how this whole thing came about and our guiding principles.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline sunshine

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Re: Would love some MIL advice
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2012, 03:00:45 AM »
Thank you for your replies.
I think it's going to be very sad if my MIL doesn't stop saying these things to my husband. She isn't doing anything to break us up, and we've been happily married for a long time. By that, I mean that her words do not hurt us, they only hurt her. I'm just letting my husband deal with it and she isn't saying anything to me. Sometimes she doesn't speak to me at all. My husband doesn't want to be around her very much because of it.
What I hope is that she will get past this and at this point I am willing to give her some time, not get into a fight about it. There is a change, not with us, with her. Obviously, after so many years, this has not been a hate-filled relationship and I have a lot of concern for her feelings, as unwarranted as they may be. Not sympathy, just concern.
My sympathy is for my husband. I am just at a loss as to how to handle this. I am stuck and confused.

Offline Pen

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Re: Would love some MIL advice
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2012, 06:22:32 AM »
Sunshine, so your MIL's behavior is fairly recent? Do you suspect a physical/mental issue that should be addressed by a professional? How long has it been since she's had a check-up?
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline sunshine

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Re: Would love some MIL advice
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2012, 06:50:11 AM »
Hi Pen,
Yes, right away, I did suspect a physical reason for my MIL changing her behavior towards me. I really couldn't convince my husband because he thought everything else was the same and why wouldn't that change? Now he sees some new things going on, like she says very strange things, needs help with tasks that are very easy because now she doesn't know how to do them. I have been concerned. My husband asked her to go for a physical during the summer but she responded with a lot of anger and didn't understand. She thinks if she isn't sick it is a waste of money to get a check-up.
It's hard to stand by and watch this going on. My MIL does not think I care about her, so I can't speak to her. My husband thinks I am making excuses for her.

Offline Pen

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Re: Would love some MIL advice
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2012, 07:24:29 AM »
Sunshine, I hope you can find a way for someone to gently guide her towards getting a checkup. I'm sure you've already researched resources for older people in her area. Perhaps there's an agency that is equipped to help with this very delicate but necessary reality check for your MIL. You're a great DIL even if your MIL can't appreciate your concern and care right now.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline sunshine

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Re: Would love some MIL advice
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2012, 03:09:30 AM »
Pen,
Thank you. I haven't looked into anything, it didn't even cross my mind! I guess my frame of mind has been that we are here to take care of my MIL, services are for people who do not have family around? She does not need too much help right now. She does not cook at all and does light cleaning. My husband checks on her, makes sure she has food, everything she needs.

Offline Pen

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Re: Would love some MIL advice
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2012, 06:59:48 PM »
Caregivers can easily burn out. Not only is there often help for the person needing care, the caregivers can sometimes get respite as well. Take advantage of whatever is available - you'll be a better caregiver if you have a little backup every now & then :)

If your MIL is ever diagnosed with something that requires nursing care, check to see it there's a PACE program in your community. It allows people to stay in their homes while the nursing comes to them, rather than moving into a facility. It's been found to be less expensive and better for the patient to stay in familiar surroundings. Funding comes from public & private sources, I believe.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Would love some MIL advice
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2012, 07:26:54 PM »
Yes, and there's more information on PACE on my other site: www.AgingWithWisdom.com.  Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Offline Keys Girl

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Re: Would love some MIL advice
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2012, 08:36:54 PM »
Sunshine, looks like you pulled the short straw when it came to MILs, here are my suggestions.

Now she wants to see us every day. No.  Every day is for someone who is getting paid for spending time with her.  That would be a nurse or companion at her expense, of course.  You have a life to live, so putting it on hold to babysit the "Misery Loves Company" Dept. shouldn't be an option unless you want it to be.

What went wrong? Her husband has died.  The equation of her life has evaporated, he was likely her major source of companionship as well as someone that she could blame for everything (I'm guessing) or listen to her litany of complaints for everyone else she blames (I'm guessing).  She lost her spouse and now you've gone up the line to #1 scapegoat. (I'm guessing)

I would suggest grief counselling for her but if she doesn't cooperate (I doubt that she would, in my experience miserably unhappy people don't really want to get happy and it's impossible to reverse a lifetime of pointing the finger at everyone else).

I would follow through on your husband's commitment to spend more time with her than you have in the past but not a minute more.

If she gives you any more of the "Blame" game, stand up and leave IMMEDIATELY.  Don't see her again for at least 30 days.  The next time she says "She will break you up", get up and leave, IMMEDIATELY.  Don't see her again for at least 30 days.  She may not change her ways but at least that will give you 30 days of peace and quiet.

I don't know why you would want to save this relationship, listening to someone say they will break up their marriage for 18 years sounds pretty miserable to me.  Being bold and brazen enough to tell you that to their face is indicative that she has no respect for you, (or anyone else likely) IMHO. 

Smart move of your husband to move her out of the house.  If circumstances deteriorate don't forget to remind her that the option to move (her or you) out of state without identifying which one to her is always open. 

She's been bold and brazen for a lot of years, and now that she's a widow she'll be even more angry, afraid, hostile so she'll try to get everyone to drop their own lives to accommodate her so she can control everyone's lives.  IMHO.

Good luck,
KG
"Today I will be as happy as a seagull with a french fry." Author Unknown

Offline Monroe

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Re: Would love some MIL advice
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2012, 09:41:48 PM »
Pen,
Thank you. I haven't looked into anything, it didn't even cross my mind! I guess my frame of mind has been that we are here to take care of my MIL, services are for people who do not have family around? She does not need too much help right now. She does not cook at all and does light cleaning. My husband checks on her, makes sure she has food, everything she needs.

Sunshine - I'm with Pen - it sounds like she needs a thorough check-up.  Such an abrupt personality change could be a sign of dementia.  Dementia is not simply forgetfulness - it also includes things like personality change, becoming more hostile.  If I understand correctly, you had an acceptable relationship with her for much of your marriage -- it's only now, after her husband died and she's quite a bit older that she is doing these strange things and being very hostile to you?  I would make sure you take her to a doctor that specializes in aging issues - dementia is progressive, but there could be some medications that could improve her quality of life. 

Offline sunshine

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Re: Would love some MIL advice
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2012, 03:23:39 AM »
Thank you for your replies.
Since my last post, my MIL fell and injured her hand while out eating at a restaurant. She insists she was pushed but can't describe what happened. We think she just fell. We were sorry she fell, but thought a visit to the doctor would be good.
This is her version of how it went. When she arrived they did her vital signs and her BP was high. Before she could get her X-ray, the doctor wanted to speak to her about BP medication. My MIL became angry and refused to discuss it. She ended up walking out of the clinic without getting her hand treated.
I asked my husband to call the doctor but his mother won't tell him where she went. My husband thinks her hand is fine, she just has a bruise and is using her hand without any trouble.
I think she will fall again so I told my husband to tell her if anything like that happens again, call him and he will take her to the doctor.
I know he should not be at her beck and call but at least he can try to get her checked out if he is there. We both wondered if the doctor started asking too many questions and that's why she left.

Offline Pooh

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Re: Would love some MIL advice
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2012, 11:45:18 AM »
Welcome sunshine.  I'm playing catchup but it does sound like their is something up with MIL.  Dementia can also cause paranoia as well (like thinking someone pushed her) so I agree that she definitely needs to have a doctor check her out.  I know you guys are doing everything you can think of but if you have a trusted Doctor, maybe you or hubby can call and talk to them about how best to get her to a doctor?
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell