Mother-in-law's stroke is ruining my marriage.


I really don't know whether to feel bad , guilty or be right . I'm not only married into a narcissistic family but the mother had a stroke 4 years ago , refused to rehab herself and demands that her children who has families stay with her along with care givers . She does have right side paralysis and can't talk but has her right mind trust me . She feels her kids owe her and their families aren't part of the importance to be taken care of before her . They refuse to put her in a nursing home which puts a strain on households time wise and fanatically . All kids are 50 to 60 years old . Some with small kids, college, grandparents and empty nesters who can finally enjoy the rest of their life but refuse to because some feel she comes before anything even wife's are left sick , kids events are missed and much more . Being a narcisstic son , I'm kept out of what's going on but required to except whatever and no questions asked . I guess my question is it wrong to feel it's my family that comes first along with trying to keep the quality of my marriage as to what's left of it a priority . All our kids are adults , in the military , college educated and we are grandparents of one 7 year old granddaughter . Our marriage is basically mute in many areas . He has only time for work and sit with his mom at nite when it's his turn and sleep at home leaving me to myself to travel and enjoy life at 50 . His mom does not need total care for anyone to stay all night and day . I'm I wrong to hate their situation to the point that I feel it's ruining our marriage and life ? 911 divorce is my next thought .

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hi,,, i just red your post so late... It has been a year ago,,,, and I also have the same situation as you are... My father got stroke and my husband is with me.. The worst is, we are not in our home country, only me, my husband and my dad, only the three of us are capable of helping each other.. Back with my father, before we are really in a not good situation or we do not have a good father-daughter realtionship. But because mother thought me how to respect, I did my daughter responsibility..

I know what you felt, because that kind of feeling was also felt by my husband as he said to me before. Me and my husband are Christian where we follow our decision or our plan based on Bible,. So after we prayed and studied some scriptural verses about marriage, one verses matches our situation. GENESIS 2:24 " a man will leave his father and his mother and he will stick to his wife, and they will become one flesh". It is God’s arrangement that their foremost obligation is to their spouse and so we based this verses on our situation,that no matter comes, or whatever problem may encounter, or whoever may come. My primary priority and responsibility is my spouse. On the other hand, ofcourse, i still need to respect my father. I also love him dearly, I took care good of him. But I need to be sure to give what my husband needs. Even though my father had a left paralysis , I am attending his needs after my work. I am also a Nurse working in a Homecare. I cooked food for him, clean his house and do what ever household chores he cannot do. And before my husband finish his work, i must sure that i already came home.

Ofcourse, it was very hard for me, to left my father alone at home with that situation. And also before I walkout from his house, I need to be sure that my father understand my reason and explain to him very well about our principles and for him to know how much I love him. 😊😊😊

Also the more you open up with your spouse, the more easier for you to fixed your problem. Don't let the space become larger between you and your spouse..If you try also to base your decision or plan on what God's wanted to, I know you are in a right path.. ☺☺☺

By the way, sorry for my poor english and grammar.. :)

I added some question, i have seen and red your other comments and expereinces regarding your in laws,, it is okey if I can have your email address, i can send you some literature about inlaws based on the bible.. ☺☺

By the way, it is a year after, how is you and your spouse? Also how is your mother-in-law??? also how is your kids? I hope they are all fine.. 😊

Being very educated in the giatric care world for over 25 years working in the nursing home , hospital , and private sitting ive seen things you wouldnt believe . Because we are not perfect people , God knows the differences between abuse and truly taking care of our love ones when they began to age and need help on many levels . What people dont understand is there are professionals and facilities to take care of our love ones for A REASON .Abuse comes in many forms . To try and keep a love one in a certain state at home even with day to day help from professional sitters is noted with a somd form of abuse . Example . There is 24/7 care of nurses , dietary nutritious care with what foods each needs to help with diabetes , cholesterol , low salt diets ect , socialization, physical therapy , occupational therapy , meducation given on time and know other ways to give it if it's refused by our love ones , lab values done without the struggle of trying to take them to the office , care for demetia and among other areas in certain facilities that are educated to handle them without the stress and not sure what to do. The doctors make rounds at these facilities and theres no hassel of getting off work are the correct transportation to get them to the Dr's office , immediate care given as simple as an Iv started and family members cant , replacing an NG tube, needing a catheter because their retaining urine are needs a specimen without having our love ones admitted to the hispital , nurses able to call the doctors office and receive immediate care , cpr given on the spot if needed with more than enough help , so my point is God has educated people to be certifed, licensed and aware of how to deal with things that can easily go wrong in minutes at home . Educating your self with the mimimum doesnt even scrap the surface of trying to keep an ederly parent at home . Yes, if the parent can still do 90% or more of their care should stay with you BUT to give your love one the best care available is to place them where they can get it and if thats not helping by Gods law i dont know what is . This also keep the day to day stress mute , not knowing and the risk making them sicker at home in trying to say its the right thing to do . I dont care if the family all take turns and get some education . The point remains , your not educated nor have the skills to do the care needed to take care adults and if you are , your still a man show with no proper equipment needed at your home on many levels. Example If you have a bed ridden parent and you can only give them a sponge bath in the bed , thats a form of a basic need . You cant put them in a shower of a warm bath nor tube. Thats really a form of good skin care and circulation . Again my point is not knocking the decision to keep our love ones at home nor help and try to get all family members to adjusted and educated . We are all imperfect people and family members are not all going to agree on what to do so in thinking about whats best and giving realistic care that will benifit our love one and our families , facilities should be at the top of the list and families should not have to struggle , become fanacially strapped and over stressed. Caregivers at home dont compare to whats needed for certain family members so again if they cant give themselves 90% or more care to themselves, they need a good facity to care for them and families should not be made to feel guilty or feel guilty because your parents had children and by right your obligated to take care an assist but not a guilt ticket to hold up your life and strain your family . I dont think God would want what he put together to not florish as he put your parents together so you can go out abd make your mark in life as drs , lawyers, judges , teachers , nurses , homemakers , dentists , store clerks and much more , the world would drag drastically because we have families with children and retirements that we worked hard to get so one day we can enjoy the rest of what we have left and thats not keeping parents at home to delay that and thats why Facilities are made for all kinds of parent needs . Again we are not perfect and God know all of our hearts but im positive its not a sin nor digrace to place our love ones in a caring facility and contine your life .

...wait - was that the doorbell?

That's one helluva post, been there!

Care for the Elderly
“Little children, we should love, not in word or with the tongue, but in deed and truth.”—1 JOHN 3:18.

How can parents and their adult children prepare for “the days of distress”?
When may parents need more help from their children?
What practical help can you give to someone who is caring for an elderly parent?
1, 2. (a) What difficult challenges and questions do many families face? (b) How can parents and children be prepared for changing circumstances?
IT CAN be very painful to realize that your parents, who used to be strong and independent, can no longer take care of themselves. You may hear that Mom or Dad has fallen and broken a hip, has become confused and wandered off, or has been diagnosed with a serious illness. On the other hand, it can also be painful for older ones to accept changes in their health or circumstances, especially when this limits their independence. (Job 14:1) What can we do to help? How can they be cared for?

2 An article on care for the elderly said that even though it can be difficult to talk about the problems of aging, families who plan ahead will be better prepared to make the right choices when health-care decisions have to be made. We must realize that the problems of old age cannot be avoided. That is why it is so important to prepare as a family. How can families lovingly work together to make these difficult decisions?


3. What may families have to do when elderly parents begin to need more help? (See opening picture.)
3 The time comes when most parents are no longer able to take care of themselves and need help. (Read Ecclesiastes 12:1-7.) When this happens, elderly parents and their children should decide together what care would be best and what they can afford. It is wise to have a family meeting and discuss what kind of help is needed, how this help will be given, and how everyone can cooperate. All should do their best to be realistic and communicate openly. Can the parents continue living safely on their own?* (See footnote.) Talk about what each one can do so that parents receive the care they need. (Proverbs 24:6) Some may help by providing daily care, and others may be able to help by paying for health-care expenses. Everyone should know what his role is, but as time goes on, duties may change and family members may need to take turns caring for different responsibilities.

Pour out your heart to Jehovah, who can give you the peace you need
4. As circumstances change, where can family members find help?
4 As you begin caregiving, take time to learn as much as you can about your parent’s illness. If he or she has an illness that will continue to get worse, learn what you can expect to happen next. (Proverbs 1:5) Contact government offices in your area that provide services for the elderly. Find out what programs can help your parents to receive better care or can make your caregiving easier. As you think about these difficult changes, you may begin to have some unpleasant feelings, such as deep sadness, shock, or confusion. At these times, you can share your thoughts with a friend you trust. Most important, pour out your heart to Jehovah. He can give you the peace you need to accept and work through any situation.—Psalm 55:22; Proverbs 24:10; Philippians 4:6, 7.

5. Why is it a good idea to learn about health-care options ahead of time?
5 It is a good idea for older ones and their families to learn about health-care options ahead of time. For example, they may find out whether it would be practical for a parent to live with a son or a daughter, live in a nursing home, or use other options available. In this way, families can prepare for the “trouble and sorrow” that happens with old age. (Psalm 90:10) Families who do not make plans may be forced to make decisions in a hurry when problems eventually come. This is almost always “the worst possible time to make such a decision,” says one expert. When decisions must be made quickly, family members may be under stress and may not agree on what should be done. However, when we plan ahead of time, it will be easier to adjust to changes.—Proverbs 20:18.

A family can meet to talk about what help is needed and what each one can do (See paragraphs 6-8)
6. Why is it helpful to talk about where and how elderly parents will live as they get older?
6 It may seem hard to talk with your parents about making changes in their home or about the need to move some day. Yet, many have said that these conversations helped them later. Why? Because it is easier to talk about difficult matters, listen respectfully, and make practical plans before problems arise. In a relaxed setting where family members can openly share their preferences, they will feel closer to one another and will remember the love they share. Older ones may want to live on their own for as long as possible. When parents talk with their children about what kind of care they would prefer, this will greatly help everyone if decisions about care have to be made.

7, 8. What should families talk about, and why?
7 Parents, during such a discussion, tell your family what your wishes are, how much money you are able to spend, and what options you prefer. Then, if one day you are not able to make decisions for yourself, they can make the decisions that you would have made. They will probably want to honor your wishes and do everything they can so that you can remain independent. (Ephesians 6:2-4) For example, do you expect one of your children to invite you to move in with his family? Or are you expecting something else? Be realistic and remember that other family members may have different ideas than you do. It takes time for all to adjust their thinking.

When we plan ahead and communicate well, we can avoid many problems
8 When we plan ahead and communicate well, we can avoid many problems. (Proverbs 15:22) Talk to your family about medical care and your preferences. The information on the Health Care Proxy that Jehovah’s Witnesses have should be used when having these conversations. Each person has the right to know about treatments that are available, and he has the right to accept or refuse treatment. An Advance Medical Directive document will show what a person’s wishes are. Choosing a health-care agent will allow someone you trust to make the appropriate decisions for you if needed. Older ones, caregivers, and health-care agents should have copies of the Health Care Proxy in case it is needed. Some older ones keep their Health Care Proxy with their will and other important documents about insurance, banking, contacts with government offices, and so on.


9, 10. When may parents need more help from their children?
9 Many times, all in the family want the elderly to maintain their independence. As long as parents are able to cook, clean, take medication, and communicate well, children may not need to control every part of their parents’ life. However, as time passes, if it becomes difficult for parents to walk, if they are unable to shop, or if they become unusually forgetful, children may need to make adjustments.

10 Older ones may become confused or depressed. They may start to lose their hearing, sight, or memory, or they may have difficulty using the toilet. If some of these problems appear, medical treatment may help. Visit a doctor as soon as such problems begin. Children may need to take the lead in scheduling visits to the doctor and in other more personal matters. To make sure that parents receive the best possible care, children may need to speak on their behalf, help with paperwork, drive them to appointments, and so on.—Proverbs 3:27.

11. What can be done to make it easier for parents to adjust to changes?
11 If your parents have health problems that are permanent, you may have to make changes to their care or to the home where they live. The smaller the change, the easier it will probably be for them to adjust. If you live far from your parents, it might be enough for a Witness or a neighbor to visit regularly and let you know how your parents are doing. Do they need help with only cooking and cleaning? Would small changes in the home make it easier and safer for them to move around, bathe, and so on? Maybe a home-care attendant is all that elderly ones need to live on their own. However, if they will not be safe on their own, more permanent assistance will be needed. Whatever the situation, find out what services are available in their area.—Read Proverbs 21:5.* (See footnote.)


12, 13. What have some adult children done to honor and care for their parents who live far away?
12 We want our parents to be safe and comfortable because we love them. It gives us peace of mind knowing that our parents are cared for. However, many adult children do not live near their parents. Some of these children have used vacations to visit their parents to help care for them and to do chores that they are not able to do anymore. Children can show that they love their parents by making regular or daily phone calls, writing letters, or sending e-mails.—Proverbs 23:24, 25.

13 Even if your family live far apart, you will have to decide what daily care is needed for your parents. If you do not live near them and your parents are Witnesses, you can speak with the elders in their congregation and ask for advice. Above all, pray to Jehovah about your parents. (Read Proverbs 11:14.) Even if your parents are not Witnesses, you must “honor your father and your mother.” (Exodus 20:12; Proverbs 23:22) Of course, not all families will make the same decisions. Some decide to have an elderly parent move in with them or move closer to them. However, this is not always possible. Some parents may not want to live with adult children and their families. They may prefer to live on their own and do not want to be a burden to their children. Some may be able to afford home care and prefer that option.—Ecclesiastes 7:12.

14. What problems may arise for those who do most of the caregiving?
14 In many families, the son or daughter who lives closest to the parents seems to do most of the caregiving. However, caregivers should be balanced as they care for the needs of their parents and the needs of their own family. There is a limit to each person’s time and energy. And if the caregiver’s situation changes, the family may have to review the current situation. Does one member of the family have too many responsibilities? Could the other children do more, maybe taking turns to provide care?

15. What can be done to prevent a caregiver from burning out?
15 When an elderly parent needs help all the time, there is a danger that the main caregiver will burn out. (Ecclesiastes 4:6) Loving children want to do all they can, but caring for their parents may become overwhelming. Caregivers who provide this constant care need to be realistic and may need to ask for help. Some assistance from time to time may make it possible to continue providing care without using a nursing home.

Talk with your husband or wife, another family member, or a trusted friend about how you feel
16, 17. While caring for aging parents, what feelings may children have? What will help them to understand their feelings and stay balanced? (See also the box “Appreciative Caregiving.”)
16 It is upsetting to see the painful effects of age on our dear parents. Caregivers sometimes feel sad, anxious, frustrated, angry, guilty, or even resentful. At times, an older parent may say unkind things or be unthankful. If that happens to you, try not to become offended. One mental-health expert says that when we have upsetting feelings, we must first admit that we have them and then try not to feel bad about ourselves for having those feelings. Talk with your husband or wife, another family member, or a trusted friend about these feelings. Such conversations can help you to understand your feelings and stay balanced.

17 The time may come when it is no longer possible to continue giving a loved one the kind of care he needs at home. The family may decide that a loved one needs to receive care in a nursing home. One Christian sister visited her mother in a nursing home almost every day. She says: “We just could not provide the 24-hour-a-day care that Mommy needed. Accepting nursing-home care for her was not an easy decision to make. Emotionally, it was very, very hard. However, it was the best solution for her in the last months of her life, and she accepted that.”

18. What can caregivers be sure of?
18 The responsibilities of caring for your aging parents can be complicated and emotionally difficult. When caring for the elderly, there is no set of solutions that will work for everyone. Yet, if you plan carefully, cooperate with your family, communicate well and, most of all, pray to Jehovah, you can fulfill your responsibility to honor your loved ones. When you do this, you can be proud because you are giving them the care and attention they need. (Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.) Most important, you will have peace of mind and Jehovah’s blessing.—Philippians 4:7.

In some cultures, it is normal for parents to live with their adult children, and this may be what is preferred.

If your parents are still living at home, make sure that trusted caregivers have keys to get into your parents’ home in case of an emergency.

P.s. The irony in my life right now is I'm working to get MY priorities reset; hubby and son first, me second and mom third. However my hubby is a wonderful, generous, giving man and whenever I talk about just walking away from my controlling mother he is the one encouraging me to stick it out!

I know their are wives out there who have wonderful relationships with their MIL - I've just personally never met one! I'm lucky that MIL no. 1 lived in a different country and MIL no. 2 lived clear across this country before she passed 8 years into our marriage. Neither hubby had a great relationship with their mom which probably helped as well. When I posted the quote from traditional marriage vows I was thinking of your hubby, 911 - not properly taking care of YOU when you were ill. My hubby no. 1 left to return to Australia 3 months after our son was diagnosed with multiple disabilities. I was terrified of dealing with my son without a partner but now 20 years later I know without a doubt it was the best thing he could have done for our son. He made our marriage hell by constantly putting HIS first wife and their son before me and our son. The only contact we have had was 15 yrs ago when I had to find his sorry a#% to get him to sign off his parental rights so hubby no. 2 could adopt my son. Some people never get it - never will. I only had 3 years invested in my first marriage when it fell apart - I cant imagine how it must feel to contemplate leaving after all the years you have invested into your marriage! But yes - after coming out the other side ( that's what I call it when parents can get their own lives back after raising their children) you are certainly entitled to "chill" and focus again on just the two of you. Sadly since your man can't/wont see it that way you may have to focus on just you. You have only this one life to live and it's way to short to spend what time you have left being an after-thought! If your hubby can't put you first I'd say it's time for you to put yourself first - make plans to live your life as you would like but be prepared to do it without him.

You apparently hit the nail on the head with your statement that your husband is "not allowed nor strong enough to adjust and put boundaries in place to protect his family in fear of her being upset and the siblings ostracizing him".

Do you think this will change, and if so, how can you make it change? And realistically, since you can't, how can you adapt to reach a compromise that doesn't require you to be subordinate to the dominant matriarch?

Given that your husband also has PTSD, he has a lot to deal with, and his mother's domination has the possibility of exacerbating his post-war trauma. to me that's a more serious concern than challenging the control system in place.

Have you considered moving out of the area to get away from the family?

I don't see any real solution as long as the family has been primed to support your MIL, so you're going to have to be strong enough to stand up to them if you want to fight for your husband. Are you willing and prepared to do that, and is he? If not, then you have some serious decisions to make.

I hope for your sake, sister 911, that you live in a great community where there are lots of things to do, activities to participate in, hobbies to pursue, and where you have good friends and neighbors. Perhaps you can write that book. - NYDIL

Before her stroke he would still make her needs first before our family , it just wasn't this bad and she taught them that her as well as their siings are true family and that family comes first no matter what . It took me about 15 years in our marriage to realize his family is very disfunctional on so many levels and since she got sick within these past 4 years it's gotten worse . she is milking the situation . I can tell he really know it's wrong but he's not allowed nor strong enough to adjust and put boundaries in place to protect his family in fear of her being upset and the siblings ostracizing him . Because they have done it not only to him but others . Short story for example ( happen a few years ago ) . His brother was getting remarried out of state , we had a big argument . At the time because we had a lot going on . Our daughter was in college and had a baby . We was helping so she could finish but it was a family strain in more ways than one . He decided to stay so we could regroup our family and situation . His mom called him to demand his presence and his siblings came over to get him and he left.. My point is I wish nothing but the best for her health but I've put to much in my marriage , build a family , put 3 kids through college and know I want to chill and enjoy life with my husband as well as my only grand daughter who we help raised since birth and wait more grand babies with my husband . I mention the nursing home and expressed it to the other 5 siblings but the answer is NO because she would go down . .trust me , that wouldn't happen . She's to proud , selfish and thinks only of herself and they couldn't deal with the guit . She raised them to serve her . There are 3 siblings that doesn't stay but 2 of them gives orders .. There's another sibling that is dependent on the mother that they really took her life and molded her to stay with the mom since birth really . She was ruled slow and not able to take care of herself . Trust me when I say her life was stolen to slave for mom . As a medical profession observation , she could have had a life and family I can write a book on this family and mother.... They all have the same personality disorder - narcissist behavior . But I let him know how I feel and I'm sick of the situation and he needs to regroup soon are he can go back and stay with mom where I got him from . Trust me all of the past wife's and husbands of the siblings are glad their out and the newer ones has no idea of what they have gotten into . I've did my better , worse --sickness and in health and for sure for richer or poorer . My husband also has PTSD and a retired veteran . He deserve to chill to !

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