My Brother-in-Law is Driving Me Crazy.

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My bil is the primary caregiver for my mil. My husband and I live next door so I help out alot. My mil has dementia and cannot be left alone. My husband works 14 to 16 hours a day and is so stressed from his job that he has a hard time dealing with my stress.. My problem is I feel like my bil takes advantage of the fact that I will help take care of his mother. For instance, he made plans to go out of town for 3 days. The day before he left he sits me down and starts giving me instructions for caring for his mom. Without even asking me!!!! When my husband got involved and told him I had a problem about not being asked he became very vocal and rude to my husband. When he came back from the trip he was very rude to me. There was another instance when I told my bil and mil that I had to take my cat to the vet to be put down the following day. My brother in law says Oh, I have to go to the dentist tomorrow, are you going to be around? I had that cat for 16 years it was a heart wrenching decision to have her put down. I don't know if he just didn't hear what I said or what. I don't know how to put this all in words. I just feel soooo stressed. It's so hard to see my mil in this condition. She can't remember one minute to the next and drives us all nuts asking the same questions over and over. Dealing with her and my bil is taking a toll on my health. My blood pressure is too high.
I am having horrible thoughts. About 20 years ago I was the one who had to make all the arrangements for my mothers care. She had Ms and severe depression. She made suicidal threats all the time and hit me with emotional blackmail. That was really hard on me and I had an enormous amount of guilt.
This situation with my brother in law and mil is bringing back all those emotions I felt with my own mother. I just don't know how to deal with it. HELP!!!


Anyone who needs 24/7 care (she cannot be left alone) is alot of care. Too much care for one household. Has your husband and brother discussed caregiving responsibilities, expectations, the future? Do you and your husband want to be part of the responsibility of keeping her at home? There are a lot of really difficult questions that have no right or wrong answer but need to be discussed. If you are able and want to help with care then sit down with your BIL and a calendar and let him know when your are available. Has anyone talked about paying for outside help? Does your mother in law have any financial resources or could your husband and BIL contribute to paying for some help. You definitely need to have a talk with your husband and set out your boundaries for involvement. This is his mom and brother and they need to work out a plan. It sounds as though you need to care for yourself right now. I hope you will make your feeling known and they will listen.
Hi debmcd, thank you for your comment. I don't think my husband has really discussed caregiving responsibilities and expectations. He works 14 to 16 hours a day. I don't work right now so, I think they feel I should always be available. My mil recently had a stroke so now she really has to be watched. She is having physical therapy twice a week and now some one will come in and bathe her. That helps alot. There is another brother and sil but they cannot be depended on at all.
I just feel trapped,angry and guilty for feeling the way I do. My husband and I don't really have any quality time for ourselves as we are always taking care of mom on his days off so his brother can have a break. This is just a hard situation and I just need to buck up and deal with it.
You have really hit the wall. Our bodies are wise...they tell us when to listen up. You are still reeling from caring for your own mom. I really like deb's comment about setting boundaries. I see what the BIL is doing...he guilts you into thinking that, because he is the primary caregiver, that you should be on his beck and call and be glad about it. This is unacceptable and needs to stop. Also, your hub needs to be more involved. I realize he works long hours...but you do, too.
There is only one way to deal with this: be direct, be firm, and follow through on your decsions. Tell the BIL that it is no longer appropriate to call you at the last minute for help. If you are available and willing, you will fill in. If you have prior engagements, he will have to make other arrangements. Give him a list of agencies who can send some one out in an emergency.
No one can make you a victim without your consent. Your hub and BIL are the ones who need to hammer out a plan for their mom's care. They are not in charge of your mental health and are. Please take care of yourself and make those changes now.
There are two sides here. Is your bil her full time caregiver? Are you his only relief from her care? If this is the case he probably thinks your help is a needle in a hay stack compaired to his duties of 24/7. So this is probably why he gets rude. From his point of view he's the one going crazy, he's the one that needs a break. Giving you the routine run down tells me he's in control of her daily routine needs and just wants to be sure she is getting the routine so nothing changes, which is a major priority for dementia. If that changes it can be days until shes stable again. Then there is you, you have things you need to do and want to help but he's pushing your buttons when he assumes your waiting for him to need you. I think before you all explode, you need to discuss your feelings on the matter. You may be able to get help from respit care or adult day care, but planning for the future should be a topic discussed. Example of two sides: My sister agreed!! This was clearly agreed!!! That she would pick Mom up every other Saturday from my job (hairdresser) during my work hours only. She was always late not like 10-15 min like hours "Hello I was busy working" thank god everyone was really understanding and looked out for her. Then when she finally got there she would complain about the most rediculous things. It took me about 3 hours in morning to get her clean groomed, dressed,pills,breakfast and she would say "you should tighten her bra"
she had no clue of what a morning I had and what it took to create Mom's appearance and hygene. Like I wasn't working while she took her time getting there and coworkers and customers kept her content. I just wanted to punch her. Then she said "why are you so mad?" and look at me like I was nuts for no reason.
I would like to put all of the practical issues aside for a minute and talk about your feelings. If no one has ever experienced the type of trauma you have mentioned, they do not understand that you will almost always have flashbacks that impact the way you deal with current situations. You need to talk to your doctor about how you can make it through this situation that is not going away. Your husband needs to be made aware by your doctor of your health limitations. You are his first responsibility. Next, all of the people involved in your mother-in-law's care need to meet together to discuss who can do what, when. You can be your mother-in-law's guardian angel, but you deserve to be well and must be looked after also. Otherwise, as you need to point out, the family will have two of you to look after. I was my father's primary caregiver during a long illness and became ill about three months after he passed away. I have asthma and ended up with serious pneumonia. I am just beginning to get well and have learned a great deal from what has happened to me. Please know that we will listen whenever you need to vent because that is probably a big component in staying well during care-giving . You will be in my prayers.
Hi wuvicecream. I agree, my helping out is probaly a needle in the haystack compared to what he goes through but..... He signed up for it! He has another brother that he helps out financialy all the time so I feel that other brother owes him. I am truely battle scarred from what I went through with my mother.
My bil had the benefit of a wonderful,caring,doting mother so now I feel it is time for him to pay her back. He does have other options. He just won't explore them because of some personal issues.
As far as the trip he went on. He didn't ask me for help. He sat me down and TOLD me what I was to do. It is the second time he has gone out of town and assumed her care to me. I get angry beyond belief because this is HIS mother.
Throughout my 16 year marrage I have always helped out with his family. Now that it is affecting my health and my mental state, I need to step back.
Imso: your last post is so need to step back and set some boundaries. I think the thing you object to most is incosiderate behavior - being told what to do rather than being asked. Your BIL is harboring some passive/aggressive tendencies. Also, men are generally not raised to be caregivers, so he may aslo think he is doing something so noble because he is male. Whatever his problem is he will not respect you until you communicate your concerns in a calm manner and, more importantly, follow through with your plans. You have to use behavior modification techniques to undo 16 years of his rudeness to you.
Also, you need to regroup, deal with those issues concerning your mom, and get healthy.
Please let us know how it went....

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