I am trapped in my own life and feeling guilty for it.

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I'm a newbie here and needing some reassurance. My mother-in-law has been living with us for the last 9 years. And I am exhausted. I work full time, am diabetic. I hate coming home to be told what to do and how to do it, and to have her continually bring up my shortcomings to my hsbd. I do her laundry, take her to her appts, take her on weekly grocery shopping outing for her snacks, cook her main meal of the day. She does nothing to help around the house, but has plenty of ideas on what needs to be done. She is physically capable of setting the table, running a dust rag, etc. And I feel like I have no time for myself; then I feel guilty for feeling this way. She is the only parent we have left between the two of us. But my hsbd and I have very little "our time" and the stress is beginning to show. This has been quite the financial burden as well. She pays $300 a month to help with expenses, but at this rate I will need to continue working until one of us dies and I will be really peeved if she outlasts me. It feels like a merry-go-round that I can't get off.
I am a quiet person and she just won't quit talking. I find myself fantsizing about running away or what it would be like without her. But then I feel like a bad person for having those thoughts.
She has isolated herself from friends and family, doesn't call to connect with them, refuses any invitations to go out with us or others.

What is appealing is having her in some sort of assisted facility. We worry about her safety as she has a tendency to fall. We have provided her with a Rescue Alert, but she says she would be too embarrassed to use it.
Wow - this has really been a pity party. Sorry to go on so - I guess i really needed to get it off my chest. Any suggesions or ideas on how you've dealt with similar situations would be greatly appreciated. Until then, I guess I'll just keep keeping on.


Wow, it sounds like your life is similar to mine, only, the people I'm caring for, don't live with me. I've been thinking that, the better situation for me, would be all of us living under the same roof, but after reading your post, maybe not. I completely understand your feelings, that you feel guilty for having. That's when I do step away for an evening to just be with my daughter and my hubbie. Is there any services that your MIL would qualify for, where someone could sit with her, and you and your hubbie have a date? What about siblings? Does your hubbie have any siblings that could take a few hours ? There's a couple that live across the street from my parents, and they are living with 'his' mother, in her house, they 'take turns' doing things on the weekends, so that they get a break, but that still doesn't give them 'together' time, which is hard on them.
I can relate to the way you are feeling. I am my Mom's caregiver and feel like her personal servant. I don't have a life of my own any more. I have thought of putting her in a facility, but I think it would be just as hard. I would have to visit daily and do her laundry, etc. And she would catch whatever is going around, infections, colds, etc. It does feel good to have a pity party sometimes. I look forward to getting this over with and feel guilty about that too! The suggestion to get a night out is a good one. Good luck to all!
Janny, every situation is unique and each of us is doing the best we can. I would say to you to not feel guilty for wishing to have a life of your own. It might be a good idea to explore the possibility of having your mother-in-law move to a care facility, which would allow you to still visit her and give her plenty of loving attention. Having aides come into your home would be another way to ease the pressure on you. It does sound like your MIL would benefit from some socialization with people her age. You will probably get some good suggestions/advice from some people on this site, but my main message to you is to applaud you for what you have done for your MIL, and to support you in not feeling guilty, because you have no reason at all to. Good luck with this.....nine years is a very long time to care for someone.
I know the feeling, and it passed...I have no life now....

Get out while you can......
I don't see the reason she has to live with the two of you. When people say that they want to 'take care' of their parent, WHY does that always mean the parent has to LIVE with them? I don't get it. To 'take care' of someone can be done in a multitude of ways, the least of which is to actually have that person live with you. Time for you and your husband to sit down together and figure out a different option. Don't expect her to go happily along with you either, you guys have spoiled her pretty good by now. This doesn't have to be a bad thing, this is a good thing for all three of you.
Janny - DO NOT feel guilty because you want to run away or fantasize about life without MIL. I've seen - and done my own pity parties and your's is nothing compared to that - so easy on yourself, girl. It's completely normal - the fact that you reach our for support is great and means you're still emotionally healthy. 9 years is plenty of time to put in - if you're a diabetic then stress will only aggrivate your condition and you SHOULD NOT - absolutely SHOULD NOT - sacrifice your own health to take care of her - especially not if you have to continue working for a number of years. You need to speak with your husband about MIL moving in to assisted living. If necessary, tell him that your doctor thinks your blood pressure is too high and you must reduce your stress. MIL can have her own little studio and eat all her meals in a restaurant style setting. If she can't afford the monthly rent there are some that will accept medicaide to supplement the cost. Start calling around. The next time MIL begins to run you down tell her that she can always go live some where else - you'll help her pack her bags and boxes.

If you can't talk with your husband then go away for a long weekend and leave him there to tend to momma. That ought to convince him, if it doesn't consider moving out for a bit - on your own. Sometimes we have to push them into understanding what we really NEED and that we mean it when we say "uncle"!!!

and... be careful for manipulation - being too "embarrassed" to use a medic alert is just stupid and she's using it to keep the two of you close by instead of enabling your chance to have some independence. she will only get worse from here on out - i bet if I spoke with you for 10 minutes, I'd find other manipulative behaviors. She's probably running your household. If you're working and contributing YOU deserve more respect and consideration - especially from your spouse...
Best of luck to you. Let us know how it goes and hang in there!!
Thanks all for the input. A lot to think about and plan for. I'm not feeling so overwhelmed today - just venting and finding this group has been a great help.
If my mother-in-law actually lived in my house I would have slit my throat a long time ago. As it is, her little home is attached to our home by way of a space used as her "utility room", but the door locks from our side. She has no idea her front door key will unlock that door and I pray she never will. I spend a lot of time running up and down the stairs taking care of her....right now it's the simple things....making sure she bathes, giving her meds, etc. If she becomes bed-ridden at some point in the future I will definitely hire someone to come in and help. I just retired after 25 years in EMS and my husband is a physician so we have a lot of options for help. But I will NOT give up my life to care only for her.
Wow this is very encouraging. My thanks to you all. I am a Newbie to agingcare.com too, I was beginning to think I was the only Nutter on the planet trapped in my own life. In a nutshell, due to circumstances beyond our control, we have had an aging parent live with us for the last 18 years. Firstly my Mum in Law and now my Mum.
It is always easy for people to say not to feel guilty. I feel guilty all of the time so I can empathize with you. I care for my mother who is confined to her bed expect for getting on the porta pottie or the wheelchair for an hour at a time. (using a hoyer lift). I have resentment toward my sister (who does nothing), I have resentment toward my mother (who can't help the way she is) and I generally resent having to be in this situation (which I volunteered to do-go figure!) The only thing that keeps me going is that I know it won't last forever. It sounds like your MIL is still capable of doing some things on her own so an assisted living facility is something to look into if you can afford it. They are pricey. Good Luck and know that you are not the only one out there who is guilt ridden.

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