How do you not feel resentful when others don't help?

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My mother-in-law battled cervical cancer 2 years ago. We moved her in with us and we were the only ones that took her to and from radiation (daily), chemo, doctor appts., etc., my husband has 2 brothers that refused to help. If my husband misses work, he doesn't get paid, so the task was mine. Even though it was difficult, we got thru it. She has now been diagnosed with breast cancer. Again, I am the one that has to take her to the appointments and will be the one that takes her to her daily radiation treatments, doctor appts., filing paper work etc. I am feeling resentful that the brothers will not help and the majority of the tasks are left up to me. How do i deal with this without my feelings affecting my relationship with her and my husband. It's not that I mind doing it. Another problem is the distance between where we live. I have a 100 mile round trip everytime I have to go get her and take her home. The days she goes to radiation it's 30 miles to CARTI and 30 miles back to my house then 20 miles to work. I'm feeling overwhelmed and would appreciate any advice anyone has

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Top Answer
First of all, what a wonderful and caring daughter in law you are. It is normal to feel resentful when you are doing the brunt of the caretaking; especially in this situation where the two brothers actually refuse to help. How sad is that for your mother in law that her own children won't help in her time of need.

She must think the world of you and what you are doing for her. And it is so understandable to feel overwhelmed with the distance you have to travel. I do understand as I have had all the traveling and caretaking to do by myself.

I too have felt resentful in the past for going it alone. But, for me anyway, I tried to let go of feeling the resentment as in the long run it made me feel even worse on top of all I had to do. It's not easy to let go of it, but when you consider all the kindnesses you are bestowing on your mother in law suffering once again by another bout of cancer; just realize how much she appreciates it and I'm sure your husband does too. I know you are feeling overwhelmed and that is exhausting. But this too shall pass and you can look back and feel good about all you did for someone in need. Bless you and take care.
Your feelings of resentment are normal as I had them when I had to do it all for my mom and now have to step in and try to get things done for my mom's friend while her sons aren't doing it. However, in the long run you will not have the guilt feels that your siblings will have when she passes away. Better feelings of resentfulness now then guilt the rest of your life.
My father was ill for an extended period, and my husband and I took care of him and my mother for most of time. At various times, I felt resentment toward my siblings. However, I have realized that they were the ones who lost so much. My father died and everyone was angry with me for making decisions. I have to remind myself daily that I did the right thing. You are doing the right thing, too. That's what really matters in the end. I am going to admit something that does not make me sound like a nice person, but I have felt contempt for my siblings for not helping. I pray about this, but I am one of the youngest, have a child in school, and both my husband and I worked full time as teachers throughout Dad's illness. The others were retired. I realize that there are doers and talkers in this world. Just keep doing what you are doing and being a caring person.It's worth it. Rebecca
Is it possible for your husband to talk to his brothers? Are the brothers married? I admire & understand your love & compassion for your mother in law. But you need some help, this responsibility is not yours alone. I know the resentment is not towards your MIL, but to the others who do nothing. These type of people will feel no guilt when your MIL passes away. If you got sick, who would take her? Sending you a big help & hope you get some much needed help.
Hi jarn,
First, that's the way it is with human nature, there are givers and takers. Secondly, since you have to drive a distance, I would ask the brothers for gas money. Tell them that this is a way they can show appreciation for you taking care of THEIR Mother.
Also, I doubt if the same people who shirk responsibility have it in them to feel guilt after the fact. They would be expressing it now if they did.
Make sure you do not get run down from doing the job. Get some gas money from them, or keep asking them to participate until they cannot stand it. I would ask them once a month when are they going to take a turn, just to annoy them. If they send money, say "Thanks!"
Why wouldn't you feel resentment? Sounds perfectly justified to me. For your sake and MIL's I hope you can feel it, acknowledge it, and let it go. You are doing fabulous work, and it is a shame to add the stress of continuous resentment to all the other stresses in your life.

I'm confused about the traveling. Isn't your MIL living with you? Or was that during her first bout of cancer? Would bringing her back into your home reduce stress, or add to it?

I hope that your expenses for caring for MIL, such as gas money, are coming out of MIL's funds. That is only fair and appropriate. If she has no funds (no assets, no SS or pension check, etc.) and it is coming out of your pocket, then by all means ask your BILs to chip in. But the preferred course would be for her to pay for her care, to the extent she can.

Your BIL's behavior is not only putting all of the caring burden on you, it is depriving you of something precious. According to Pauline Boss, a well-known clinical therapist, researcher, and educator, "We now know that our well-being is tied to our connections with other people who love and support us." When we cannot count on our families for this, Dr. Boss urges us to build a psychological family. That is, a close knit circle of friends who act like family in their love and support. These are people you can share holidays and birthdays with, who you talk to in person, on the phone, and through cyberspace. Since his birth family brothers are not there for him, I hope that your husband has such a "psychhological family" to support him, and that you do, to.

You are performing an invaluable service in the care you provide. Be proud.

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