How do I deal with a mother-in law who has dementia, and power and control issues?

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My husband and I moved in with his mother. She is 94, has memory problems and is mean to me. She has never really like me. She seems to be jealous of my relationship with my husband. She is irritated b/c she has macular degeneration and cannot her well.

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I think I can empathize with MIL here. I tend to get crabby when I am sick. I really try to restrain myself and I'm not proud of it, but I'm afraid I'm something of a grouch when I'm miserable. And if I had macular degeneration I'm afraid I would be a world-class grouch, at least until I went through the grief and acceptance process and made peace with it. So in your MIL's position, I might not be the most pleasant person on the planet.

And now, in moves my son. Well, that is OK, and he means well, but nothing he can do is going to give me my vision back. But the annoying thing is that of course his wife moved in, too. I'm sorry, but I've never liked her. I suppose she means well, and she's always fussing at me as if she's trying to help, but, darn it, it is my house and it is a huge strain to try to be polite to this person I've never liked when I'm not feeling well to start with.

Why won't they leave me alone?

(Actually, I like my daughter-in-law just fine and I wish we could do things together more. But I can imagine where your MIL is coming from.)

I share Nancy's question. If you and your MIL have never gotten along, how did anyone think this arrangement was going to work when she is likely to be even more demanding, grouchy, and difficult at this point in her life? Was moving in with her the best option?

Now that you are there, you can try the "let her know it is unacceptable to be disrespectful" approach. "Gee, my presence seems to be upsetting you now, and your disrespect is upsetting me, so I'll just leave the room now." But since she has "memory problems" realize that it may be impossible to "teach" her new behavior and you may simply have to remove yourself from the situation frequently. Also, if she has the beginnings of dementia, her conventional polite society filters are gone, and she may continue to burst out with whatever is flickering through her mind at any given time -- and that may be disrespectful!

Can you detach considerably from your MIL? Can your husband do most of the direct caregiving and you doing background tasks such as bill-paying? Can you bring in outside help for any tasks she particularly does not want you to help with (such a bathing, if that is an issue, etc.)?

It is not fair for you to be in this situation, and I don't know why the two of you didn't foresee that this wouldn't go smoothly. I suspect your very good intentions got the better of your common sense in this particular instance. Do everything you can to minimize the damage now. And if the only way to do that is to move out and/or bring in professional help, then you should both start looking into that.

Hugs to the three of you. I hope you can work things out to be a little less contentious.
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I would let her know that it is unacceptable n if that don't work then I agree that, hubby should step up to the plate n say something to back you up. Just because you r helping her out, it don't giver her any rights to be disrespectful toward you!!!!
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Asking a mother to treat a DIL respectfully is not asking a man to choose between the women. The MIL is also being disrespectful to her son by not respecting his wife.

I never will understand why some mothers are so insecure they can't support their sons putting their wives first in their lives. I am aware that many families teach the culture of "mom comes before wife" mentality.

I was fortunate that my husband rejected this backwards theory that his family also supported.

When you think about things from a nature's standpoint, it would be one confused animal that would place the needs of its parents before the needs of its mate and offspring. That species would never survive.
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given the circumstances she is angry not at you her issues are personal let her approach you if she needs help.
when she is nasty tell her her behavior is unacceptable, you are there to help, you are not there to upset her and you are not there to get upset.
your husband cannot see the forest for the trees do not make him choose between two people he loves
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There is only one person who has any power to adjust your MIL's treatment of you. It's not you. It's her son, your husband. If he understands that you are the priority in his life, he will do it. He can make her adjust her behaviors if he demands it.

I was lucky, at least my husband always put me first. My SIL was not so lucky, her husband put mommy and daddy first. Even though I knew I was first, which helped immensely, it took years for my husband to grow up and address the issue of how they treated me.

The only person with the power to make her adjust her behavior, is her son.
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I don't understand why your husband would want to move in with a mother who he KNOWS doesn't like this wife. That baffles me. He could still have 'taken care of' his mother without actually MOVING in to her house couldn't he have? With her attitude towards you already, knowing that you are living in HER house messing with HER things, is going to be a battle I'm afraid. I guess every time she does or says something mean or hateful to you, you're going to have to ask yourself this question: "is this the hill I really want to die on?". In other words, pick your battles carefully and don't go to war over every single hill. It'll drive you crazy in the end.
It's always going to be HER house HER rules and HER son I'm afraid. You and your hubby need to get on the same page now before she starts trying to drive a wedge between the both of you. Stay strong TOGETHER. Good luck.
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