Awkward MIL conversation.

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About 4 years ago, my (then) fiancé brought his mother with dementia to live with him. He has no other relatives in the area and has been taking good care of her. We had been dating about a year at that time.

About 1 year ago, he & I bought a house together, bringing his mom with us to the new place. We got married a month ago. Recently, I had a free afternoon and took her to lunch. We were having a friendly conversation when she said out of the blue "Do you know (my son's) wife? What do you think of her?" I said "Uhm.. that would be me." She said "Oh, I meant my other son's wife (her only other son passed away 4 years ago and was never married)." Before I could stop the conversation from taking a weird track, she blurted "She's not very sociable. I don't know what he sees in her." Needless to say, she was talking TO me, ABOUT me. Very awkward and not making me feel very warmly towards her. I told my husband about it and he says she has never said anything bad about me to him. Knowing this was bothering me, he said something to her but of course she doesn't remember a thing and then apologizes but not even knowing what she was apologizing for. And I wasn't really looking for an apology, just a little upset to hear that's what she thinks about me.

Since I never knew her before she had dementia, I'm not sure how to move past the awkwardness if she feels this way about me. It's not like we can talk it out. I doubt she even remembers what she said. Presumably, we'll be living in the same household for some time and she's generally a pleasant person. Suggestions?


Time to arm yourself with all the knowledge you can gather about dementia. Yes, dementia patients will say the darnest things. Go to the link below and scroll down to the articles, pick out the ones that are happening now with your Mom-in-law. And anytime she says something off kilter, remember it is the dementia talking, not her.
The fact that she said these things directly to you is a clue that she's not oriented as to who you are, so I wouldn't put that much stock in her alleged negative opinions. She may even be imagining someone other than you.
BTW, my mother occasionally would make a similar comment, such as when she told me I was a nice person to take care of her, but she didn't know who I really was. That was difficult, very difficult.

Or when she'd ask one of my friends if she was Mom's daughter.
Let it go. My Dad would think I was his girlfriend, and tell me my daughter (me) wouldn't like you(me) living there. She didn't really say anything bad. She just doesn't know you.
Oh Tracey... this is almost funny.. but I;m sure it was not to you...I am sure she has no idea who her son is married to.. so don't take it personally. She may also think her other son WAS married.. did he have a girlfriend he brought around, or maybe she was mixing up a TV show? My MIL lives with my BIL and wife.. and she thinks to this day my SIL is "one of those girls who works here". SIL corrects her.. says Nope it;s just me and I am your daughter in law... we laugh about it. My mom visited them this week, so I am sure my mom also now works there... I am sure you are right and she no longer even remembers it.
Sometimes you have to let it roll.. you say she is nice , so write it off! At least your not his mistress....or housecleaner...LOL
tracy, it was one of those awkward moments that in the future will probably be funny to you when you think about it. People with dementia do this sometimes -- split the same person into good DIL/evil DIL. At least at that moment you know she was talking to the good one. :) I wouldn't worry about it at all. Maybe you'll keep being the good one in her mind.
My husband once said to me, obviously uncomfortable with the question, "Are you my first wife or my second wife?" Even in fairly-well-oriented individuals with dementia there are moments of extreme confusion. Sometimes they are aware of the confusion, and sometimes not. You have to learn to let it go, and not take it personally. There is no reason to assume that what someone says in a period of confusion is more "real" and "true" than what they'd say if they were in their right mind.

It's the dementia. If it weren't for the dementia she wouldn't have said that. And dementia does not always speak the truth.

Let it go.
I would let it go too. Don't harbor hurt feelings that she has a negative feeling about you, because she likely was not even thinking of you or describing you.... No matter what she said. Dementia patients get things mixed up and say things that aren't on point, that make no sense and that are jumbled up. My loved one said that her neighbor was a great person who brought her cat food for her cat. She talked about how she did so many things to help her. All not true. The woman did nothing for her. She talked about how this certain man in her regular assisted living facility walked over and did this and that. Not possible. The man had no legs and was in a wheelchair. If you didn't know better, you might have believed her. Of course, she had no idea what she was saying or memory of it.
I agree with Sunnygirl. Let it go. She's got dementia and doesn't realize what she's saying. My mother-in-law lives with me too. I sing the theme song from Frozen a lot in my head!
Dementia can be difficult but don't give up, I found my mother was very jealous of my nieces husband, I think it was partly because he was new and my mother did not know him, perhaps if you acted as the third person with humour it would help. I often do this with my mother. She may say something like ' oh my daughter doesn't visit much" then I would say'really it thought she came often she seems really lovely to me' then she might say ' oh does she that's good, it does work. Concentrate on her and her son it will get better, remember illness changes disposition,

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