OMG! My mother-in-law has gone crazy!

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Today, my MIL threatened to leave the house on her own, drive her car (she is medically forbidden) and worst of all hit my husband. THis is NOT a person with dementia, she was just released from the hospital and neurologically cleared. She knows what she is doing, she is angry because my hubby is trying to take care of her and she doesn't want to listen.

My hubby isso upset he is falling apart! We are trying to get her into her own apartment but she HAS to have help around and she is resisiting. But she has already proven that, left to her own devices, she will not take her meds and put herself in danger by going against doctors orders.

I feel like I am going crazy. I guess I just needed to vent.


sounds like nightmare on elm street . i think if she was my mother in law , i prob leave her alone andlet somebody turn her in . you may have to call the dr and tell him that youre doing all you can and something needs to be done about it .
hope somebody can give you better advices than i can ,
i would just say ok mil you go live out on your own , shes not ready for a caretaker takin care ofher . how old is she anyway ??
I can relate to your OMG, and how you're feeling. We're living in a terrible situation, too. Can you have her seen by a Geriatric Assessment Clinic? Her Primary Care Physician can refer her. But, as for refusing meds, that a toughie... They have to be harming themselves or others to force anything; something you probably can't do without a physician's help. And one cannot force them to follow doctor's orders, either. I feel for both you and hur husband in your circimstances. Keep us posted how things are going.

This might sound nuts, but treat her like a child -- a cowardly one. She's going around throwing tantrums and then pretends to be helpless for fear of retribution. Give her a timeout and put her in a corner where she can contemplate the errors of her ways. Short of wanting to smack her right back (which is natural in this case), take all the privileges away. And if she complains about being treated like a kid, tell her it's because she's behaving like one and needs to grow up whether she likes it or not. Can you get your husband to go along with this? If not, it won't work.

Question: Are you "angry all the time" because you are mad at yourself? Believe me, my suggestion will help you manage that anger ... at least some of it.
To edvierajr, I only wish that would help us dealing with similar circumstances. We've tried everything we can think of, and yes, they do act like children. My mom is an adult child, used to getting her way, and when she doesn't get the desired results, screams, "Abuse!" So, our hands are tied from "trying to manage her behavior." She has falsely accused me of things I didn't do, and even called the police and written to a judge to "accuse" me of not meeting her demands (I mean "needs"). We are powerless to affect any type of positive change.

I read your story of success with your mother, and marvel. What a blessing that she was able to grasp what you were doing, and make the changes. I only wish what you suggest were possible with our loved ones. They have resisted from the beginning, and mom is now using the law to turn things back on me. I dare not even say a cross word, lest they haul me away to "protect her." This is worse than any nightmare we've had, and fear the ending is not a happy one. It is hard to reason with unreasonable people, but when they start accusing their Caregivers of things that aren't true, it makes things impossible. Treating our elders like children may take away their dignity. It's a fine line when all we're trying to do is help, and they bite the hand that feeds them. No amount of love can reach certain hardened hearts. Even physicians and the law cannot force compliance, unless things reach a certain point. Sometimes they must experience the consequences of their actions, as they teeter too close to the edge, just out of our reach or ability to help. And sometimes, we experience those consequences as. Ours is worse than a bad Hollywood flick.
Wow, thank you for the responses!

It is alarming to me that so many people are experincing this situation!

edvierajr: I am angry all the time for a lot of reasons. Your suggetion is great but we have tried it and it doesn't work because, at the end of the day, my hubby feels horribly guilty. He was raised to feel that way. He was raised as if his only reason for being born was to take her s***. So, when she turns abusve and noncompliant, he feels too guilty to put her out. She is my MIL. I am a no nonsense person. I would have literally put her out and chnaged the locks. This experience would have ended my relationship with her. I think she needs consequences; hubby and his sister have been conditioned to believe they are awful people if they let her experience the results of her actions.

I am angry because I am from a different background. My parrents would sooner die than live with us, have taken care of themselves and are relatively healthy and have all kinds of insurance to ensure that they will be cared for on THEIR terms. They raised us to live as independant strong people, not to feel indebted to them for birthing us! So, I can't understand why this is happening. I'm not stupid, I'm just... baffled.

Also, I am angry because of what this is doing to my hubby. Last night he was so upset he couldn't sleep. He suffers from migraines and when he gets stressed like this, he has "complicated migraines" in which he looks like he is having a stroke or a seizure. He breaks down a lot and is having a hard time working. He (and the kids) is my life and I am ready to choke her for doing this to him when he has sacrificed everything to make her happy and comfortable.

In fact, she is the ONLY one in the house not screwed up by her living with us.

the one good thing is that, if she were to call APS, they would remove HER, not come after us, which is the last thing she wants. She has really manipulated this situation to her benefit, simply by being who she always has been. A bitter, passive aggressive, spiteful person.

secretsister and lharebeck, thank you for your response, too. It sounds like things are rough all over. I am still angry, but at least not alone.
Dear angry, you need to consciously stop being angry and so does your husband. This is what mil wants. I live in a very similar setting, only "she" is my mother. Sometimes it would be so easy to pack her bag and set her out on the curb. Of course i would never do that, but it is a nice thought at times.
I was angry all the time to, in the beginning. But after about 2 yrs, and after much prayer I came to the conclusion that I must consciously make the decision to not let her get under my skin.
Yes, I have my moments when I could just freak, but then I get a hold of myself and choose to not give in to anger.
I can really relate to the guilt that your husband feels. My mother always controlled me with guilt. Growing up in her home was very toxic. But I continue to break free of that bondage.
I let my mother think what she will. You see, in her world she is always right, so trying to make her see reality is not gonna work and I had to accept that. I care for her with a "hands off approach". That is I oversee her care but I don't force her to do anything. If she doesn't want to take her meds correctly I don't worry about it. If she doesn't want to eat, fine; she will eat when she's hungry.
Document everything. Talk to her doctor, without her. This will be extra documentation. Your hubby needs a counselor that specializes in adult children of abusive parents.
You can choose to be angry or you can choose to not be angry. Have the last laugh and stay calm.
And don't think that I only have this outlook because it must not be so bad in my house. It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world, but I choose to be a survivor.
Angery- If she is threatening I am sorry I would call the police they have all sorts of social workers to deal with things like-she will only do it once. All the trouble she will cause will not make it worthwhile for herself-your husband might just have to place her for both your sakes since healthwise he is suffering greatly. And you are not alone you are with people here that care about you and suffer along with you.
Yearight, Thank you and you are right. But it is so hard. It is kind of a moot point now. She accused my husband of abusing her (he would never hurt a fly, NEVER) and she escalated to not just threatening him, but smacking him across the face and then threatening to hit him with her cane.


She has been sent to hubby's sister and I have made it clear to her that she is not welcome here anymore. I will not tolerate lies and physical aggression in this home.

195Austin, actually, when this little episode of Jerry Springer was unfolding at out house, we considered calling the police, but we were afraid that she would tell them that hubby has hurt her (she has bruises from Cumadin) and that the officer would believe her and charge my hubby. This nightmare is unbelieveable. We have done all the right things by her and it makes no difference and now she feels okay hitting my husband. Wow.

Thank you for the support! It really helps! She is not with us anymore, but the nightmare is far from over. She's just down the street....
When did you send her to your husband's sister's place? Sounds like a good solution for you, and for peace at your place. Do you think she'll act the same way there? Amazing. Praying for healing for your husband.
I would begin at once keeping a detailed journal. We were in a very bad situation with our now-adopted daughter, where the natural parents were accusing us of abuse so the courts would remove her from our care. We were advised to keep detailed records so that we could submit them as evidence. If nothing else, it would make you feel better to vent because you're writing everything down as it happens. Give yourselves 10 minutes every night, together time, to cry and get it all on paper. I'm new to this so I really have no authority and I hope it doesn't get that bad for me in the days to come, but my unprofessional opinion or suggestion, whatever you want to take it for, is that she needs to be placed in an assisted living facility if she is partially able to care for herself, or a nursing home if she isn't. Nobody deserves to be treated the way your husband and, by extension, you, are being treated. Especially for trying to do your god-given responsibility of taking care of your elderly parents. You deserve some peace. It wouldn't be abandoning her, because you've tried to take care of her. You could also visit her and she would know you still care. If she hated it enough, you could firmly explain that the only way she would return home to you would be if her behavior changed. Tell her the guilt trip is not going to work any longer. Tell her you're an adult now with your own family and that while you're willing to do what you can to help her, she is not going to run your life or make you miserable any longer. You deserve better than this.

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