My husband and his Mom are driving me crazy!

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I have been married almost 2 years, and my husband and I together for 4. His mother was diagnosed with Parkinson's and the beginning stages of Alzheimer's. She lives with us. She lived with him before we were dating but did her own thing. , he fixes her meals, her bills and tells her when to take a bath, she doesn't even bother to try anymore. I feel like this is his doing also. He says he doesn't want her to struggle, but doesn't let her do things for herself, she used to do her own hair, clean her own room now he does it all, and constantly complains about it. He also gets upset with me if i tell him about things that she does or things that happen concerning her health. I feel like i am an outsider in their world. I also do not like being alone with her because right before Christmas she got a bad bruise on her hand (she bruises easy and gets them all the time) and when he asked her what happened she said i had done it by accident. The incident she claimed it happened was 3 days earlier and he was in the room. My husband says he believes me but i feel it shouldn't even be in question. I have 3 children who all moved out so it is just me, my husband and my mother in law. I feel alone and afraid. We can't go on vacation or trips without having to plan ahead for her, and when we are away it can only be a day or 2 and he has to call at least 3 times a day. I know i am sounding selfish, but i have taken care of my siblings, my children and i thought that i would get some of my life back when they moved out, i feel cheated out of the rest of my life, because now everything we do or plan for our future revolves around her.


Hi Summer, sound like to me that you are so frustrated what's going on with your husband and his dearest Mom...... I do not think you are selfish at all!! Your MIL could afforded to hire private caregiver for once in awhile, so you and your hubby have a time to enjoy or quality time? If he is only focus on only his Mom and not you... you have a two choice, wait till MIL to die or tell him "Sayonara".... My question is did you thought about his family when you decided married your husband? Or you could be your MIL's caregiver... Hire the private caregiver....
You are not being selfish, but your husband is being blind. I find your comment "I feel like i am an outsider in their world." says it all.

How old is he? Is this his first marriage? How long has he lived with his mother?

Your feeling like an outsider to their world is because your are emotionally and he needs to transfer his primary attachment from her to you which may necessitate some marriage counseling for him to see the light.

My armchair guess on this is that he possibly one of those mom enmeshed men. That is a difficult change. Even if he will not go, it would benefit you to go.

Does his mother have the funds to afford paying for some caregivers? What are her health needs? How old is she?
He is 42 and his mother lived with him and his ex wife for 5 years before she left and we got together, so i would say about 9 or 10 years now she has been living with him. I am his 3rd wife. He is my second husband. His mother has Parkinson's and the onset of Alzheimers and she is only 71 years old. I am in counseling i tried to get him to go, but he wants instant answers, almost like a perscription. I have a suspicion that his ex wife left him because of his mother. He treats me well, no abuse, drinking ect... He buys be stuff too ALL the time, i feel like he is trying to substitute that for time not spent. I have tried to talk to him, and he says "don't i treat you good, buy you stuff we are together all the time" while yes he is home every night, mentally he is with her, she is the topic of 80% of conversation. He complains about all he has to do for her, but i cannot say anything. I am so frustrated. He constantly reminds me she has no one but him. When we decided to get married she still did things for herself, and before we got married i admit i did start to have second thoughts about it because of her health, but everyone told me it was natural to be nervous. This past year has been the worst. I have considered leaving, because i have suggested hiring a caregiver part time, and that turned into an argument he then says "i know you hate my mom" so i dare NOT suggest a home, if anything happened i think he would blame me. Sorry to vent so much i have no where else to turn to...
It's fine to vent. This is a safe place to do that and people vent a lot here.

Your suspicion that his ex wife left him because of his mother may well be correct given your current experience. I don't know what else to say since he want go to counseling with you and will not discuss reasonable changes for her care with you. Maybe someone will have and idea for you.

Good luck and keep in touch. Come vent here all you want.
Summer, sounds like you are between a rock and a hard place. Just a note, my boss' wife had Alzheimer's for 15 years. Are you ready for that?

Right now your mom-in-law probably could do things for herself, but your husband rather spoil her and do many things for her himself. Even with early Alzheimer's, my boss' wife was still helping to run their business. But there will come a time when his mother will be afraid or unable to take a bath/shower herself and unable to use the bathroom.... will your husband be helping her with that, or will he recruit you to help her?

Your husband needs to use some tough love with his Mother as long as she can still do things for herself. I would think she would be pretty bored just sitting around watching her son do all that work.... or is it a case where mom-in-law's ex or late husband use to do all that for her?
I would suggest therapy. The real fix is never to marry into something like this. One cannot hardly ever change dysfunctional relationships. Do not marry into it. Your children are grown and out so I think you have options and the best one is to admit a mistake and leave. YOu love your husband, he probably loves you, but that dynamic has gone on since he was a child. He has a 'problematic' (to understate it) relationship with his mom. There needs to be boundaries but he is incapable of seeing that. You may well never be able to get him to see it.
good luck.
I really have nothing new to add except to add my voice to the chorus of "stay in therspy" to figure this out. Don't nag him to go. Just go, grow and make whatever changes you need to make for yourself. Only he can decide how many wives he's going to lose before he starts acting like an adult.
Here's the only book that I'm aware of on this very subject. If you buy it, I would not let him see it.

When He's Married to Mom: How to Help Mother-Enmeshed Men Open Their Hearts to True Love and Commitment by Ph.D. Kenneth M. Adams Ph.D. (Author), Alexander P. Morgan (Contributor)
First, it would help if BOTH of you learned more about MIL's disease. Parkinson's with Dementia is very much like Lewy Body Dementia. What is written about Alzheimer's probably won't fit as well as literature about her specific condition.

One of the things you would learn is that most dementia patients don't "lie" -- they tell the truth as they see it at a particular moment in time. Saying that a bruise was from an accident you caused was not a lie to get you in trouble. It is very, very hard, but the first tactic for keeping your sanity around a person with dementia is NOT TO TAKE IT PERSONALLY. You say your husband believes you. You have no reason to be afraid of interacting with MIL.

Another thing you will learn is that dementia -- all kinds of dementia -- gets worse over time. Parkinson's with Dementia (PDD) tends to progress faster than most cases of Alzheimer's. So MIL probably worse than she was when you got married, and there are things she can no longer do for herself.

Also you and your husband would learn (what you already suspect) that allowing and encouraging persons with dementia to do as much as they can for themselves is therapeutic. It is definitely not best practice to do everything for them. Distinguishing between what they can do and what they genuinely need help with takes practice and patience.

I think that knowing more about dementia and caregiving strategies to cope with it would help both of you. I also suggest joining a support group for people caring for those with dementia.

But there is more wrong here than lack of knowledge about dementia. It sounds like your marriage is on shaky grounds. If you had posted here before you moved in with them I suspect you would have received many cautions. You can't go back and change that now, but you can decide if/how you want to correct that mistake.

Congratulations on being in counselling! You are in a very hard spot and getting an objective third party to help you work things out is wise. It would be better yet to involve hubby, but that is not under your control.

Feeling an outsider in their world is not what you remarried for, right? Ask the famous Ann Lander's question. Are you better off with him or without him? Consult a lawyer to understand what your legal options are. Be sure your husband knows how serious this is to you. Don't accuse or threaten or belittle him. But do let him know about feeling like an outsider. Do let him know you are rethinking your marital status.

I hope everything works out for the best. Please keep us informed. We care.
Summer, "buying you stuff, don't I treat you good" + no interest in counseling + you are his 3rd wife does not bode well. I can speak from experience that while gift giving from the heart is nice, it should not (and cannot) take the place of real love. Real love will care about what you care about. I'm wondering if you could take a few days off, spend time away with family or friends, take time to clear your head and listen to your heart.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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