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I decided I needed to look for outside support because I am just so angry lately. My boyfriend and I live with his mother. The cause of her health problems is morbid obesity...the actual cause of each of her problems. He took over caring for her at just 21 when his father became fed up and left. For 9 years I have been aware of this situation and supported him in doing so. We now live together with our 2 year old. My "mother-in-law" has decided that she no longer needs to lift a finger. She IS CAPABLE of cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, going out, her own hygiene, etc. The purpose of being with her was because of the problems caused by her weight she can't work and therefore needs the financial help. HOWEVER, she will cook 3 meals a day for herself, but will NOT cook a meal for the family...will actually come to me in the evening to ask what I will be making; the cooking she does do (again only for herself...) leaves ME with full sink of dishes eachtime that she will not touch; she will bring urine soaked clothing to the washer & dryer which is in our family room...and leave it there until I have no choice but to wash it because of the odors; urinates on the bathroom floor and will not clean it up; etc. We pay 100% of the bills and groceries...her $700 a month income ($500 after health insurance) is "her money"...so she can go for her girls nights out, order junk through the mail and buy extensive amounts of junk food. It has gotten to the point that if it is not a free outing, my boyfriend and I and our daughter do not leave the house because we can not. I've reached a point where I feel we are being completely taken advantage of! And he has a brother, who lives alone has 3 times our income and does NOT help with anything. Is it wrong of me to think she should do what she is capable of??? Is it wrong of me to want us to have a weekend a month where we can just concentrate on on us and our daughter and she could stay with her other son or sister??? I don't know what's wrong or right anymore but I'm completely overwhelmed. If he brings anything to her attention...she makes him feel guilty. He has had it drilled into him by the family that this is completely his responsibility as the youngest son. I'm just so lost in this all :(

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He has some responsibilities as a son, true. Was he never taught that he has some responsibilities as a significant other and as a father?

He may be the youngest son, but if he started this at 21 and has been doing it for at least nine years, he is not a baby anymore. It is time to cut the apron strings. I am all for children helping their parents. Really. But that is ALL children, not just the youngest or oldest or the one with the biggest guilt complex. ALL children should help their parents. And "help" is not "give up their own life for their parent," it is assist the parents to meet their own needs when they can and to arrange for care when it is necessary.

I take it that his mom is getting disability payments? It is time to get outside assistance to make better arrangements for the family. If she has one, son should call her case worker. If not, call the Social Services department of your county and request an assessment for disability services. I personally know two elderly women who each get only slightly more that what MIL gets for income, and they each live independently, in subsidized housing and (in one case) with Medicaid. Their children chip in for extras once in a while. The choice is not that she has to live with her child or live in the streets. Other arrangements can be made, and I suggest that you and your partner start working on finding them. Wouldn't it be nice to visit MIL a couple times a week and help her out with some household chores that are difficult for her?

Whose house are you living in? Are you renting? Does MIL own the house? Does her son?

Have medical options been explored, such as surgery for the obesity?

Don't let the other son bully you into the nonsense about the so-called duty of the youngest son. BS!. Don't let MIL play the poverty card. That can be dealt with. Get some help figuring this out from a professional social worker. Her son -- both of her sons -- should indeed help her, but one should not be offering up his partner as a servant.

That you are uncertain about whether that youngest-son nonsense is right, and that you have lived with this for years, makes me think that you have some confusion about what is normal and what is expected in a family situation. Believe me, this situation is dysfunctional.

Get help.
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