Toxic mother-in-law

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Mother-in-law with personality disorder making poor decisions.


My in-laws have been living in Florida for over 35 years, having moved there in their mid-50s after successfully filing "disability" from jobs in the automotive industry. Up until recent years, they've been living the good life, vacations, spending sprees on expensive clothes, jewelry, cars...I married their son 20 years ago. His relationship with his mother has been strained since I've known him. She's a narcissist, verbally abusive, controlling and manipulative. Due to her behavior, she's estranged most of the family and friends. My coping strategy has been to keep her at a safe distance. My husband and father-in-law got by simply by catering to all of mom's needs and never confronting her bad behavior. My father-in-law has been incredibly submissive; he goes along with her decisions and supports her actions, even if they're detrimental to family relationships. Dad has never stood up for himself or his family over her. Over the past several years, we've experienced numerous losses and major life stressors. Of late, my father-in-law has had serious health issues and requires care. Despite our best efforts at getting mom to realize they need help, including multiple phone and face to face conversations, locating assisted living facilities, private hire help, etc...she refuses to face reality, gets angry, and digs in her heels. We've had to call the police several times due to hysterical calls from her that she's going to kill her husband because he can't help himself and she "has to do everything." She's said several times she wants him in a nursing home. When she's in these states, she refuses to listen to reason. Yes, she has been evaluated by a psychiatrist (against her will) , and the behavior is not due to dementia. They say she's competent. This is her norm. She refuses to be treated for mental illness. She regularly calls him a bastard, son-of-a-bitch (true), says she hates him, he's not her son, he's disowned, she's going to kill him..... As a result, he's being treated for major depression now, has been close to suicidal and unable to work at times. Back to Florida, finally, with the help of protective services, my father-in-law has been relocated to a nursing facility. He's confused and doesn't recognize my husband consistently. Mom has been uncooperative with APS, and is now trying to have him moved from the facility back to home. She has no plans to hire help and provide the care he needs. Mom continues to call us frequently with threats, verbal abuse, and now demanding we send her money. My husband's emotional health and well-being are at risk. I fear for his physical health due to this stress. He's seeing a counselor who is helping him place safe limits and boundaries. Unfortunately, we're both at a loss and want nothing to do with her anymore. Dad is in a safe place for now. My husband doesn't have the emotional strength to go down there and face the abuse and conflict. I'm trying to be supportive to him and want his health back!
Your MIL sounds like a total nut. It sounds like your FIL is where he needs to be. Can your husband visit him without seeing his mother? I have to admit that I would avoid her like a rattlesnake. If he can't avoid her, perhaps he could just learn to ignore her? No one really has any power over you unless you give it to them. Good luck with this toxic lady.
Being uncooperative with APS, fortunately, is usually a good way for them to decide to "found" the case of neglect/abuse and keep him out of her clutches. Hope she doesn't catch on and start being sweet as pie with them. Any chance of getting guardianship and moving him to live by you? Will the APS social workers talk with you about it?
Keep as much distance as possible between you and MIL. Do not under any circumstances send her money however dire the circumstances. She has had a free pass for too long so don't be suckered in. Take care of your husband he's the one who deserves your care
I think it should go one step further and there should be an order of protection against her. She has already threatened to kill him, do not let her near him or contact him. Let her police department know how to contact you, because she will be doing something rash very soon. Just because she is "competent" does not mean she isn't dangerous.
I agree with pstegman, she can be very dangerous. This should be a domestic violence case. Please get legal advice as soon as you can. God bless you!1
It sounds like she has mental illness issues, such as bipolar illness. I would protect the FIL as much as I could, while I protected myself. And here I thought my MIL was bad.
Pardon me for being gloomy, but if your Dad was a sportsman and owned any rifles, shotguns or pistols, please get them out of the house ASAP.

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