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A friend pointed me to the site today, I've been reading it voraciously and decided to post an intro.

I'm 47 (48 next week), married for 16 1/2 years (together for 18) and raising three children - college, high school and middle school. Currently I am the "go-to" girl for my 91-year-old mother-in-law, who is in assisted living. She has two living children, her son - my husband, and her daughter (SIL), as well as multiple grandchildren.

This is NOT my mother (NOTmyCIRCUS!), her children are the co-trustees, but because I don't work full-time, I was relegated to care for MIL since she was in a car accident (her fault) in March of 2013, and after she stroked out while in convalescent care in April 2013. I have been responsible for all her myriad doctor appointments and follow-up since March 2013; I was the primary assistant in the sale and cleaning out of her home; I am responsible for paying all her bills, in addition to catering to her every weekly whim.

This is an extremely toxic and dysfunctional family (just was reading the caregiving and dysfunction thread!); my FIL, whom has passed, was an alcoholic; my MIL is a co-dependent narcissist and my SIL, she's a story unto her own, which leaves my husband, himself unfortunately, a functioning alcoholic (he would deny that) and also a narcissistic co-dependent (deny that too).

My husband has very very minimal coping skills (hence the alcohol), and has had issues in the past with Xanax, to the point that I had to do an intervention in 2008. He claims that he's only using it "like when I have to give a presentation, or have an interview", but the fact that he still even gets it filled pisses me off and I KNOW he's been using more, his personality has changed drastically again.

I provide financial and medical updates to all family members regularly; but having a discussion with my husband about HIS mother is next to impossible as he has no interest in discussing her and doesn't want to hear what the doctors have to say (because that would make it too real that she is declining...but that IS the natural tendency of life). Therefore, we don't have many conversations unless they revolve around him, his work, his music, etc.

My sister in law is useless, she stole thousands while she was living with MIL several years ago, when she was supposed to be caring for her. My interaction with her is only through email and text. When I see her in person, which is rare, I am civil, but my guard is constantly up.

MIL is an ungrateful and manipulative...(I know why FIL drank!) My interactions with her are several times a week, ALWAYS for me to bring her something. I know she is wanting attention from my husband, and he's not giving it to her how she wants it. BTW, I am NOT a doormat...I am very strong, just at this point not giving much of a shit about anything. Lost my own mother in '04, and my brother in 2012, I know tragedy...

She has multiple health issues: decreasing memory, hearing loss, cataracts, open wounds on her legs (from trying to get up and walk unassisted) that require weekly wrapping and treatment, wheelchair-bound due to a stroke, no/minimal circulation in lower extremities (which is why the wounds don't heal), and pain med dependence....and then there is the emotional issues....believing she will leave assisted living and move "home" (house has been sold); belief she can handle her finances (she can't and we give her allowance and minimal checks and monitor spending); belief she will become mobile (it's been 2 1/2 years, PT is not allowed because of the open wounds on her legs)...the list goes on and on. She complains about the people in the facility, feels superior to them, like talking to some of them is so beneath her. She has no compassion, and NO FILTER WHATSOEVER. Going to doctor appointments with her is embarrassing because she talks loud and say super inappropriate things. Doctor appointments consist of her constantly requesting pain medication (she's already on a boatload).

And how does this make me feel? Anger, resentment, anger, more resentment, MORE anger...

I am in process of finding a therapist to help me cope with where I'm at in life currently, because there are days that I don't want to be here. On top of that, my own father (86) is beginning to decline and call on me for more assistance..and to top it off, I myself have health issues for which I was hospitalized in May.

I'm overwhelmed and honestly toggle between filing for divorce and just moving away, or trying to stick it out with my husband (whom by the way will NEVER attend any therapy, because he doesn't have any problems...and as he's said before, "if we can't work things out, then we are just not as vitalized as I thought") WTF? I can't be vitalized with someone who refuses to take any responsibility for their addictions or their own parent and family?

Anyway, sorry for the verbal vomit..happy to be here and hoping to learn.
p.s. I have her dog too...sigh

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Good for you, keep venting.
I was going to say that addiction is a recurring illness, but uppermost in my mind concerning you is that it is not your responsibility to fix all of the dysfunctional people. So sorry that they have chosen you to use up and to be hateful towards.
No one deserves that, ever.
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Yes, Xanax and alcohol are deadly...already did the intervention in 2008. As for reporting, there are no appointments for another 6 months...I've already decided no more jumping through hoops for her, or any of them. I'll pay her bills but won't worry myself about her spending...they don't care so I don't care, period.

As far as him having an affair, doubtful. He's just and asshole...has to be right, have things his way. His best friend of over 35 years is just about done with how he talk to him...so, maybe hitting rock bottom is what he needs to pull his head out of his ass and understand you can't treat peopl like crap no expect them to stick around.

I appreciate all the input...please realize that I'm really venting and vetting all my emotions right now...praying dutifully and trying to refocus on myself.

My birthday is tomorrow...middle of a school week, so dinner probably. I'm low-key...
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I don't know how strong you are, but I find that I can't schlep my mom's portable wheelchair in and out of the car anymore. We use the transport from her NH (they also had transport at her AL) and I meet her there. It may not seem like you've gained much, but it's a huge lift to know you don't have the physical toll on you plus you avoid the drama back at the AL.

I was able to simplify what seemed like ongoing shopping by making sure she had extras of all toiletries and snack items. Then I mentioned that I'd be resupplying only once a week so please keep a list when things are LOW, not out. I eliminate emergency medication runs by using the pharmacies text alert when a refill was due. In lieu of that, I made a note on my calendar when she had about 10 pills left and called in for a refill, that I could get her on a weekly visit.

Is there something you could do at your kids' schools to help out? It'd show them that they and their lives are important to you, and would also give you another reason why you can't run to MIL.
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I'm new here also, as of today. I will also do an intro as you have.
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Happy Birthday! ! ! Tell us what you did on your birthday.
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Xanax and alcohol are a deadly combination, I think you know that.

Clear your schedule some, right now. You won't need therapy to decide: Stop reporting, informing any in-laws, or anyone for that matter about your MIL.

Your husband is most likely having an affair to treat you that way.

Stop spending your $30 k, stop it, stop it! Think of it as each expenditure is an investment to continue your current lifestyle.

Are you cooking, and he says that stuff? O dear H, as you turn off the stove, gotta go to the bathroom, can you stir this? Don't come back. With every roll of his eyes, or with every cruel statement, you bring back the prettiest blouse new from the store. Soon, you will be looking and feeling so good, he will take notice.

If you don't take advice given to you from those who know, offered generously from forum posters, (take what you want, leave the rest), there will be no one to save you when this gets worse.
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**Perhaps he can't deal with the crises in life, perhaps he was always self centered but it didn't show.. I can't really guess, but maybe marriage counseling is appropriate as well, although I doubt your husband feels there's anything wrong with HIM.**

GA: ABSOLUTELY CANNOT HANDLE THE CRISIS...which is why *I* am the one doing everything. NO COPING SKILLS WHATSOEVER! NADA. The typical child of an alcoholic/dysfunctional family where they NEVER talked about the issues within the family of origin and he will NEVER go to counseling...because there IS nothing wrong with him.

There are two older children, the oldest sister - the GOLDEN GIRL - was killed in a car accident in 1997...BUT, she is the one that raised DH. SHE was the one that "prayed to God for a brother to SAVE THE FAMILY". I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this in the 18 years I have been involved with this family...DH SAVED THE FAMILY! Yet, his mother has said, "I didn't even KNOW I was pregnant until I was 7 months along". Unbelievable BS...I've had three live children and been pregnant 5 times...you KNOW when you are pregnant. MIL apparently was "so depressed" after DH was born (allegedly grieving her mother's passing - another N - TWO YEARS PREVIOUSLY), that his oldest (deceased) sister had to raise him the first two years...

So, NO....DH has always been held to a high esteem for saving the family and can/could do absolutely NO WRONG in MIL's eyes...it truly has been the past couple of years that I've seen the co-dependent dance between the two.

Going to therapy is for ME...and will be during the day for ME
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Just read your latest, posted while I was typing mine.

If your husband's verbal abuse hasn't been a longstanding issue, then he obviously has some problems that developed recently as well. Perhaps he can't deal with the crises in life, perhaps he was always self centered but it didn't show.. I can't really guess, but maybe marriage counseling is appropriate as well, although I doubt your husband feels there's anything wrong with HIM.

Still, you don't have to live your life as a verbal punching bag.
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Circus, without seeming too focused on the psychological issues, there definitely are some with self esteem. Just think about this that you wrote:

Your husband says: ""f*ck you, you're selfish"...apparently frequently.

You write: "that's the story of my life...how selfish and what a b*tch I am. Sigh...it's a no-win.:

If anyone spoke to me like your husband speaks to you, he'd be very sorry. I'd be out of there in a flash, even if I had to stay at the YWCA for a few nights just to get away and get reoriented into a more positive and HEALTHY environment.

To me this suggests a pattern of verbal abuse; think: battered woman syndrome.

As to the "story of my life", there are some serious self esteem issues when someone throughout her life has been treated as you have and rationalizes it.

These should be the first topic of discussion with your therapist.

I hope he or she helps you through this; there is no point in living in a life of misery, but it will take some good therapy to help you realize that so you can get out of this life and into a better one away from your husband and his mother.
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p.s. My husband and my relationship HAD been good...until the past couple of years...particuarly since I've lost my brother in 2012 in a horrid, freak accident...and my sister-in-law underwent treatment for lymphoma (stress-induced from my brother's death)...as well as dealing with my own father. I canNOT talk to him about my feelings, because everything will turn to HIS feelings...so it's pointless. I honestly don't have anyone close to talk to about where I am in life. My May diagnosis was a complete DVT in my left leg and a pulmonary embolism...I shouldn't be alive, yet I am...and there are days that I wonder WHY THE H*LL AM I??? What's in this for ME???
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I apologize for the delay in responding, was a crazy (as usual) weekend. I appreciate all the feedback. I'd like to address some of the concerns/advice offered up...and would like to iterate first and foremost, that what I'm going to say aren't excuses...it's just not realistic opportunities RIGHT NOW.

First Garden....I would LOVE to just say NO....but it is much more entwined. If I were to do that, *I* would become the ultimate betrayer...the ULTIMATE SELFISH B*TCH (yes, that is what I've been called over and over and over by DH). The passive-aggressive behavior would continue with comments like, "FUCK YOU, you selfish bitch, if it were YOUR family, *I* would...." The truth is, if it were MY family, he would have NO INVOLVEMENT AT ALL! It would be me, again...and it will be me as my own father continues to age and require assistance. I have an older brother who is the trustee, who doesn't even LIVE IN THE AREA...I LIVE HERE...so everything will fall on me without any legal ability (except the POA that I demanded my father get last year before he had a bladder cancer "procedure".

IF I were to tell my husband I'm done it would continue to go like this: "well, you're now forcing ME to take time off work, time away from supporting my own family"...and that would be my fault.

IF I were to tell my husband I want to be paid for my time and efforts (which I have said), I'll get the "fuck you, you're selfish"...that's the story of my life...how selfish and what a bitch I am. Sigh...it's a no-win.

Financially, I can't afford to leave (and btw, it was MY house first). DH can't leave, we can't afford it and we don't have the 'luxury' of his mother's house any longer. We live paycheck to paycheck as it is...and my inheritance I received back in 2008 is (what little is left) what I use to counteract continual overdraft. I have been looking for work, but to no avail, and I fear it isn't happening because there is something more with my health (I had a CT scan last week and see the pulmonologist on Friday for the results, and honestly, I'm scared shitless).

I feel caught between a rock and the proverbial hard spot...and literally take one day at a time.

I had the opportunity to speak with my friend who directed me to this site yesterday....three hours of discussion and she made me feel so much better that I am not alone. She made an interesting statement, which still hasn't completely sunk in, but said that DH HATES his mother and his family, which is why he acts the way he does. I attributed his behavior to denial...but when she explained his hatred towards his own family, it sort of makes sense. BUT, if that is the case...WHY would he jeopardize his OWN IMMEDIATE family by treating me so shitty???? Honestly, he cannot take responsibility for his actions at ALL...he constantly has to blame others and I'm sick of it!

I have decided I will do the absolute MINIMUM when it comes to MIL. No more going out of my way to appease her needs. If she needs something, she'll need to wait if she doesn't have the decency and respect to give me a couple of days notice. Paying the bills isn't a big issue, it's all online...but I'm no longer going to 'care' about her spending (NOTmyCIRCUS...NOTmyMONKEYS!)...and I'm no longer going to put my own emotions on the back burner.

I left a message or a therapist recommended by another friend of mine (who's a MFT), so I'm hoping to hear from her today. AND I'm going to continue to utilize this board for support. Ironically, I was the administrator/owner of a Narcissism board for YEARS....you would've thought that I would have been able to recognize MIL as an N-Co when I met her, but...like all Ns, she was so convincing that she was a lovely woman. Oh boy....was that a mistake...and my husband is the typical alcoholic/addictive N-co....and what I've found is that they ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS project their shit onto the person they want to keep close and that ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS pushes us far, far, far away.....I, at this point, am almost to Pluto in distance....

Thanks again for being here, I appreciate you all.
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Circus, a suggestion........Small steps. Maybe start with some slight attitude changes towards all these people in your life. Not confrontational but start backing off. "No, I can't see mil today, have a job interview". (Maybe you do maybe not. Hell, go to the mall for s couple hours).

I think some strong messages can be sent by a change in attitude and showing people that you also are going to have a life.

You sat you are worried about finances and are not ready to take action at this time. I'll bet you could get by on much less than you think. Maybe tell hubby you're thinking about a trial separation, going to look at an apartment. Do it in a calm and reasonable way. Someway, somehow, these folks around you have to begin to see you shedding this doormat image.

I bring all this up not to criticize you, just thoughts..........
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You're smart to get a therapist. That will give you some coping skills and a place to vent. This site is good too. I might also see a family law attorney and get advice on rights and obligations. Information about your financial and legal situation is invaluable, even if you don't divorce down the road.

I might also look around the place where your MIL is staying. Are you doing too much? The first place that my loved one entered seemed to always have issues transporting her to doctor appointments. I stepped up and provided her transportation and after that, they slacked off. I then found that they were able to arrange for all the other resident's transportation, but not her. I believe it's because they knew I would take care of it. That service was included in her monthly cost, but they were not providing it. I did complain, but soon after moved her to another facility. Immediately, the new place took over her transport. I do attend her doctor appointments most of the time, but I don't have to. They have a notebook with her medical chart from the facility and they can handle it.

What items does she need every week? I would make her a nice bag that includes things she may need like toiletries, treats, etc. and let that be it.

It sounds like this place and your MIL's family may be relying on you too much.
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Oh! and I wish you the best of luck!
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Dealing with alcoholic loved ones is too much for many of us. I have found the 12 step program, Al-anon to be a life saver. It's free and there are meetings in most areas. It's a sister program to AA. Alanon is for people who are affected by the drinking of others.
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NH is nursing home.. but I see it;s assisited living... and they should still be able to do some things to easy your burden! Good luck
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It would bug me to be paying all that money to assisted living, then have to do so much for your MIL. I wondered if she is a bit spoiled and demanding. I wish your hubby would get your back, instead of avoiding the issue.
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Sorry for my crappy autocorrect ugh
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Ps I had a job until I was hospitalized in May 😢
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Carla...it's all me... I make the wheels go 😩
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GA...I totally agree...things have not always been this way, it's of late. Husband turned 50 and can't cope with that...his attitude pushes me further and further away. My grandmother passed in 2005 and I inherited my mothers portion and put it into investments and 529s for the kids and paid bills and then the crash. I have about &30k left that's liquid. I quit my corporate job when my Mom died in '04 and raised our girls. I'll have a if inheritance when my dad passed but I can't count on that. I was working until May when I was hospitalized and diagnosed with a blood clot in my leg and lung. I'm looking now for another job but it's few and far between. I KNOW what I need to do just cNt financially do it now. Hence why it sucks. I've been dealt a pretty shirt hand of late..lost my older brother in 2012 just before Christmas....he and I were super close despite age 9 years diff. I don't have any close confidantes and I hate what the girls deal with...as much as it annoys them it annoys me 100x.

I am going to South Dakotabto see my college kid in two weeks...alone, but of course I've gotten shit for that. I just don't care anymore...but I can't make a move yet.

My dad while failing will live another 5-10 years...my inheritance will sustain me...:but until then I'm sorta stuck.
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Sorry to hear about your sorry situation. I'm glad though to read, "I am in process of finding a therapist to help me cope with where I'm at in life currently" That is both good and really the only move you have left short of just leaving.

How are the children holding up under all of this. I know that when my mother got married again, I had high hopes of a different and better family with a step-dad and step-siblings. That all went to hell in a hand basket for he was evidently already an alcoholic like my mother's dad (I think in response to his divorce from his wife having an affair) only to be followed by mom becoming an alcoholic which she had sworn to my dad she would never touch because of her dad and also made her intrusiveness, etc. much worse.

Alcoholics are great boundary breakers and living in the same house as child with one or two is tough.

GardenArtist asks very good questions to reflect upon and answer for yourself.
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In your position and at your age, I would look for a job. The kids are gone or in school. They have a full life of their own. Then if your MIL needed something you could just say that you can't possibly do it because you're working.

Another good thing about working is that you can save some money. Then if you decide to tell your husband you're fed up with him and his mother, you'll have the money to fall back on.

That's what I would do, anyway.
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I would trade in the therapist for a travel agent!
You need time away from MIL - hubby or SIL can step up or not.
Take some time for yourself to think things through.

Let hubby and SIL deal with it for a month, clear your head and see if you are happier with or without your husband. Maybe you need him to go to rehab before returning.

Give yourself space and time.
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Circus, your children have a right to grow up in an environment in which the parents are as happy, functional, loving and supportive as they can be. Children should not be exposed to an environment in which their mother is tolerating the situation until they graduate or reach some other milestone. What kind of attitudes do you think they're learning from seeing how you're treated? If you have daughters, do you want them to grow up to be treated as you're being treated?
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It seems to always be the way, that the one competent and functional individual within the family gets saddled with care of the difficult elders, with no support from the remaining family members. In this case it's even more outrageous because you're an in-law, not a blood relative. I'm so sorry you've been put in this position.

Without knowing more about your situation and the people involved, it's hard to advise you. Are there any tasks or contacts with MIL that you could realistically transfer to someone else? Sometimes just limiting your contacts with the elder can reduce stress and buy time. Can you "just say no" to some of MIL's requests? Can someone else take her to doctor's appointments?

You always have the option of simply exiting the situation and letting the chips fall where they may. Just remembering that may help you let go of some stress.
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Hey guys, thanks for the feedback it's a shitty spot. Pam, what is an NH? MIL is in an assisted living and will remain there.

Banal out....therapist is for me only...my husband would never go...that's part of his denial.

Garden, I will respond to you when I get to a real computer! There is a lot to address...


STP, part of my resentment is directly at my husband...and telling him I'm not opens up just more drama that I'm not prepared to deal with right now. I'm stuck and hoping that the ability to participate with others in the same position AND get me some counseling will help things. There is coming a time I feel, that I will cut my losses and move on. My kids are 13 1/2 and 16 so right now I just need to try and cope...
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Wow, just Wow... she is in a NH? let them pick up some of the slack if I read this correctly. If they can!
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Circus, forget the family therapist. Find yourself a therapist who can help you understand why and how you got into this mess, and help you get strong enough to leave.
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And I think Windy is right that women get saddled with these unwanted caregiving responsibilities more than men do.
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