Anger and resentment towards my mother in law.

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Hi all -- I am 43 years old and my husband is 47. His mother is 87. She fell earlier this year and long story short she is now staying with us. She was in a nursing home for rehab from the fall for about a month. She got out back in June. The rehab people told me she needs to do as much as she can for herself. She infuriates me because she will not do anything. She just sits on her ass all day. Her physical therapist (when she still had one before he gave up on her) said she needs to get up and walk around every hour. She wouldn't do that, so he changed it to every meal time. She won't do that either. I am tired of serving her every meal, so I had my husband set up a microwave just for her. I prepare her food and put it in the refrigerator. I just started this arrangement, but she hasn't gotten up off her ass to get her own food for a few days. It makes me irate. I'm not her slave. I'm not going to do it anymore. I would be more tolerant if she literally could not do it, but she can. She just won't. Yes, it's kind of hard for her to get up, but the therapist said she needs to get up and walk around or she will get blood clots in her legs and eventually need surgery that can be avoided if she just got up and walked around.

In addition to that, I resent her. She gave a piece of property that was supposed to be my husband's to some random "family friend" (we're talking several acres and a house). I used to like her, but now I've come to resent her.

I even find myself yelling at her every time I see her. I can't stand her anymore. I want to put her in a nursing home, but my husband is afraid of losing everything else he has if he does that. Part of me trying to reduce my anger and resentment is having her heat up her own food when she's hungry. If she doesn't, I'm going to go insane.

I don't think I'm being selfish. Thanks for listening!


Hi, Underdog. First, don't beat yourself up for being angry at your MIL. Your feelings are completely normal and understandable, given the circumstances. Second, the only person you are truly harming is yourself (and perhaps your husband). I know this is a LOT harder than it sounds, but try to release most of that anger. As you know, you cannot control your MIL, you only can control your reaction to her. Accept that she is who she is, go out for a walk, listen to your favorite music, put on a funny movie, whatever helps you escape from the anger. Again, I know these are hard to do. Wishing you well from Southern California
Thank you, daughterdoctor for the reply! Yeah, it's *really* hard. That is what I'm struggling with. I'm generally a happy person. I've never been this angry in my entire life and I just don't know how to release it. I can control my reaction to her, yes. The problem is every time I look at her I get angry all over again. I feel like she deserves to feel some of the pain she caused us. I don't like feeling angry and resentful all of the time either, though. I guess I just talk to her as little as possible and hold to making her get herself something to eat? I feel kind of guilty doing that, but I will get even more resentful if I don't. I mean, she's not a 2 year old child...
For me, the only way to control my anger and resentment towards my mother (and my siblings) was to reduce the amount I was willing to do for her. Cooking for her made me especially angry (yes, also because of the a$$-sitting), and I stopped doing it. I moved out of her house after about a year, and I limit my contact with her and moved an hour away so she can't call me every ten minutes with things that she needs.

Your problem seems to be not so much your MIL as your husband. He is afraid of "losing everything else he has?" Do you mean things he doesn't have, but hopes to have when she dies? If she is holding an inheritance over your heads, you and your husband need to reach an agreement as to exactly what that's worth to you. If it's worth more to your husband than to you, maybe he should be the one waiting on his mother.
Underdog, in addition to what you and Carla say about not doing anything for your MIL that she can do for herself (I agree!!), remember that the best way to "get back" at an abuser is to live your life well and free from her influence. Pick a time when you can be alone with yourself and dig down deep inside and ask/answer what it really is that is making you so angry. Sometimes it is a thought, fear, or belief behind the apparent reason that is really driving the emotion. If possible, also bounce your feelings off a neutral third party such as a therapist or spiritual counselor. And as Carla said, you and your husband need to consider whether material wealth is worth the toll it is taking on you. Often, in the long term, it is not. The two of you are of an age that stress, negative emotions, and the impacts these have on health (physical and emotional) are harder to recover from. Life is short.
Has she been diagnosed with dementia? Has she been evaluated for it?
I'd be careful in assuming what a senior who has had a stroke can do. Their brain can be affected and they may have lost what is called Initiative to do things. They may see food in the fridge, but, not have the ability to retrieve it. It has nothing to do with the arm muscles, it's the brain that is not working right. A physical therapist may not know about this. She may also suffer from depression.  Sometimes, there are medical reasons for behavior and it's not the person trying to upset you. 

 I'd discuss it with her doctor and have her evaluated to see what level of care she needs. In the meantime, I'd ensure that she is provided food, water, medical care and whatever she needs. If you feel you can't do it, I'd call someone else in to do it. If's risky to provide care for a person that you dislike so much. I hope you find her some help and that things improve.
I agree with Sunny on all points; you need to get clarified what is going on with her on many fronts and not assume that she is doing this willfully.
I wonder if you were consulted before this person was moved into your house.  (Yes, it's your husband's house too and she's his mother, but he should have assured 100% buy-in from you.)  Without knowing more about your situation I'd be pretty hot over rightful property given away also.

If you're not careful, this could wreck your marriage - and I say it from the standpoint of a person with some extremely difficult in-laws.  Spouse and I have had to work hard to manage the problem together.  You might want to consider some light counseling to help with communication skills.

Your spouse definitely needs to be taking the lead here - why isn't *he* serving her meals??
I'll share this in hope that it might help. Before my LO's strokes were diagnosed, she had a foot injury that required her to wear a boot. She was able to get up and around though, plus a bedside toilet was provided. However, she insisted on using diapers. She also would not get out of bed for meals. She just laid in the bed or napped. Her physical therapist, who came to the house, thought she was lazy, unmotivated, spoiled even. I was upset too. HOWEVER, they were wrong. It wasn't long before her other dementia symptoms became clear. It was brain damage, not her being lazy or intentionally uncooperative. I learned a lot from that experience, so I never assume that someone is being lazy or knowingly being uncooperative. I hope that this is not the case with your loved one, but, I would explore and consider possible causes.
simpleunderdog..Totally understand your feelings I am in the same boat my MIL has said some very nasty things to me in the past I can not forget the things she has said to me no matter how hard I try. Unfortunately she is living with me & has had a minor stroke 6yrs ago but milks it a lot she does nothing comes to the table to eats & sits right down after her meals which are all made by me!!! If she sees me coming she will sit down so that she will not have to try to even pick up her dishes...beyond lazy is what she is its very frustrating especially after you have been treated so badly by this person..I also have a lot of resentment towards her. Its like shes got a slave for free!!!

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