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Hi all -- I am 43 years old and my husband is 47. His mother is 87. She fell earlier this year and long story short she is now staying with us. She was in a nursing home for rehab from the fall for about a month. She got out back in June. The rehab people told me she needs to do as much as she can for herself. She infuriates me because she will not do anything. She just sits on her ass all day. Her physical therapist (when she still had one before he gave up on her) said she needs to get up and walk around every hour. She wouldn't do that, so he changed it to every meal time. She won't do that either. I am tired of serving her every meal, so I had my husband set up a microwave just for her. I prepare her food and put it in the refrigerator. I just started this arrangement, but she hasn't gotten up off her ass to get her own food for a few days. It makes me irate. I'm not her slave. I'm not going to do it anymore. I would be more tolerant if she literally could not do it, but she can. She just won't. Yes, it's kind of hard for her to get up, but the therapist said she needs to get up and walk around or she will get blood clots in her legs and eventually need surgery that can be avoided if she just got up and walked around.


In addition to that, I resent her. She gave a piece of property that was supposed to be my husband's to some random "family friend" (we're talking several acres and a house). I used to like her, but now I've come to resent her.


I even find myself yelling at her every time I see her. I can't stand her anymore. I want to put her in a nursing home, but my husband is afraid of losing everything else he has if he does that. Part of me trying to reduce my anger and resentment is having her heat up her own food when she's hungry. If she doesn't, I'm going to go insane.


I don't think I'm being selfish. Thanks for listening!

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My father does the same thing...he likes to 'play helpless'. I am happy to help with things he CANNOT do but I refuse to help with things he WON'T/DOES FEEL LIKE doing. He has always had some woman (his mother/my mother) catering to him. Every time my aunt visits him she would do things for him that he should be doing for himself. That would push back all the ground I made with him.

I get tired of people throwing around the word 'dementia' as if that is the excuse for bad behavior, forgetfulness, self-centeredness, etc. Some seniors are just jerks and it has nothing to do with mental impairment. You proved that your MIL can do things, she just chooses not to.

I suggest you decide what you are willing to do. And after that let your husband do the rest. It is his mother and he is the one concerned about the inheritance. Let him really see the amount of work it is and he may decide AL is not so bad after all. I get where he is coming from. My father wanted to go to AL as he was not getting enough attention from me. It is $5K a month. Now he wants to move again as he doesn't want to spend that much each month. He wants free care....kind of like what your MIL is getting. I was against AL as it costs so much.....now I realize what a life saver it has been for me. Of course I did have to let go of the idea of an inheritance.
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Thanks cdnreader and BarbBroolyn.
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When my mom's team of doctors (neurologist, neuroosychologist and psychiatric nurse preactioner) gave her a diagnosis of MCI, they told us that on some cases it advances to dementia and in some it doesn't. My mom went for followup testing a year later and there had been no advancement. Sadly, she a stroke a few months later and developed Vascular Dementia.

One of the recommendations that was made when MCI was diagnosed was that Mom should do as much as possible for herself, get exercise and be around people. She had already moved to Independent Living at that point, so the recommendations were fairly easy for her to follow. There was no one around to cater to her every whim.
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Dear Erinm60,

I'm starting to think doctors don't know anything sometimes. I'm sure there are a good ones out there, but I feel my dad had the misfortune of getting all the bad ones.

I have to agree with you, the doctor should have told you and given you more information or least suggested your mom see a specialized doctor in Alzheimers or dementia.

Please don't worry about going on and on. I think its only natural. We are trying to be the best advocate's we can for our parents. We want to put our faith in the doctor but sometime that is a frustrating mistake. Even in my own case, I wish I had pushed harder for a second and third opinion.
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Hi simple underdog. So glad you got the responses you did. My mother was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment with amnesiac features versus non amnesiac features a year ago. My question to you and everyone is why did her dr tell me When I asked, Is this the beginning of Alzheimer's? And she said" I don't know". I've read every one with Alzheimer's started out with mild cognitive impairment, but not every one with mild cognitive impairment gets Alzheimer's. My mother does have a diagnosis of dementia. But apparently , there are 50 types of dementia. I'm just confused. Sorry for going on and on
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Here is a suggestion for how to share feelings and thoughts that do not put someone on the defense mode. Take ownership of them by using I statements of I feel or I think instead of saying You make me feel of think, or when you do ___ you make me feel or think. Sounds a bit simple but it does help.
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I do hope that your husband can get enough freedom to complete his PhD. I understand how important that is when it's been a lifetime goal as mine was.

Is there a way to have a heart to heart talk with him about your concerns about him, his mother, and about his PhD work that sounds more like a teammate and less like a confrontation? He should at least be open to hearing your feelings and thoughts without feeling put in a corner. Maybe, you seeing a therapist for advice about this would help you find some new tools to help in this situation.

I hope for the very best for you and for him.
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Thank you, Sunnygirl -- I saw your post after posting above. I appreciate your suggestions. Yes, I was saying Assisted Living as well. I also agree -- it would be better for her too. She can have activities and socialization in a place like that. Here, well, we have our own lives and she just watches CNN all day (which also drives me crazy). I'm glad to know Cognitive Decline means beginning of dementia. It's hard to tell, you know? Yes, I think she needs alternate care. The battle with my husband is not an easy one. I think it would be easier on him, too. He just doesn't realize it. Ugh -- not sure how to push this without destroying my marriage. I'm happy with my marriage -- but, I'm not happy with this (obviously). It also infuriates me b/c my husband is basically giving up his life to take care of her. He's on a timeline to complete his PhD. He's completed all of the coursework and just needs to do the research. Well, he's been having to take a leave of absence for over a year and you only have 10 years to complete (and the time ticks whether you are actively working on it or not). Sounds like a long time, but he's already 5 years in and the time just keeps ticking. I'd hate to see him lose something he's worked his entire life for over this.
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BarbBrooklyn -- Thank you for your insight. I was thinking that, but really wasn't sure, so that helps. Thank you!!! Yeah, that's what I'm thinking about inheritance (and I personally don't really care b/c I never felt like it was mine in the first place). But, my husband -- that's another story. Maybe he's just in denial? Yeah, she's going to eventually end up in a nursing home and that's what is infuriating about her giving that other property away. It was the one thing that we had that we could easily leverage to provide her care. And she gave it away like it was nothing.

cdnreader -- thank you for your support and thank you for your input. I value every single post. Thank you. I agree -- we give too much. Thank you for validating my anger and resentment. I never used to understand why there were caregiver support groups. Good gravy -- I do now!!! I want her in a nursing home. I agree -- I deserve to be happy and in less stress -- especially in my own home. I'm sorry for you feeling like you made a mistake not addressing your own resentment and anger. It is a very hard thing, I'm learning.
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It sounds like you have given a lot of things some thought. So, I'd just add that if you do consider having her move elsewhere, I'd explore what her level of care might be. It may be that she doesn't need a nursing home, but, perhaps Assisted Living. They are less expensive and would provide her with much assistance in care, meals, medication, physical therapy, doctor transport, activities, socialization, etc.

And as BarbBrookyn said above. When the doctors say Cognitive Decline, they are saying the beginning of dementia. This can progress at varying rates. For my LO is went fast.

Regardless, of your decision, I'd find alternate care for this lady, since your anger and dislike for her is so palpable. And the stress from dealing with this is also very hard on you physically.
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Dear simpleunderdog,

I wanted to lend my support as well. I hear you. It is hard caring for an elder. I know you've already gotten great advice from the other posters. I sometimes think us women give and give till we are burnt out. I'm starting to think its not right. The resentment and anger is real.

I would try and use whatever inheritance she is holding over you and your husband to live in a nursing home. Your mental and physical well being should be the most important thing. I feel like a made a terrible mistake not addressing my own resentment and anger about caring for my father after his stroke.
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So, you say she's been diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment. For many doctors, that's a kind way of telling someone that they have the start of dementia.

Yes, she shouldn't count on you for room service. You cook, she can serve herself. But don't count on there being anything left to inherit. She's going to need full time care before long.
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simpleunderdog,

You are welcome. I've shared the title of that book with many on this site over the 6 or so years that I've been on here. You are not being selfish and others have walked the journey that you are in. I wish you and your husband the very best.
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cmagnum -- thank you for the reply and I definitely think your response has merit. It makes me feel less crazy and less selfish. Thanks for the suggestion too. I will absolutely check it out.
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simpleunderdog,

It is not unusual for an only son to become enmeshed with his mother which I wonder if may be underneath his inner conflict. He's not protecting ya'lls financial future. He's trying to keep his mommy happy without thinking about your being happy. 

If you think my armchair response has any merit, you may benefit from a book written for wives of mom enmeshed men. It's called When He's Married to Mom: How to Help Mother-Enmeshed Men Open Their Hearts to True Love and Commitment. You are not alone in your struggle. 
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OK -- I'm back and have more time to reply now. CarlaCB -- yes, I totally understand. The more I do for her (that I know for a fact that she can do for herself), the angrier I get. My husband is an only child and he grew up on a farm with several acres of land. We've always talked of moving there one day. His mother would not listen to him 5 years ago when he started talking to her about preparing for when she would need care. So, he either pays the bills to keep that place with her income or uses her income to put her in a nursing home. He realizes she might have to go into one one day and he is very angry with her as well. I know he is just trying to protect our future financial situation, but this is not helping. If I push it hard enough, I can make him take her to a nursing home. I found that out today. I told him I don't want her here again and he said he would take her "right now". But, I don't want him to take her there b/c I forced him to. Then he will resent me. Yeah, I'm not going to wait on her a** anymore. I don't mind cooking b/c I always cook on the weekends and prepare meals ahead of time, but I'm done serving every single meal. I know she can get off her a** and get something out of the refrigerator. We took her to Walmart not too long ago to get her toes done and then we couldn't find her. She was driving in that little cart all over the store and buying food. So, she can do it. She has demonstrated that.

DaughterDoctor -- yeah, "abuser" is right. I'm done letting her abuse and take advantage of me. I think another thing that has triggered my anger is I started realizing that she's been taking advantage of me and not really caring about me for the 22 years I've known my husband. I even worked my a** off helping my husband fix up a rent house of hers. I told my husband then that I didn't want to spend my very limited free time that way and he reassured me that it was worth it b/c he would inherit one day. So, I never asked to be paid for my labor. That's just one instance. Now, she goes and does this behind my husband's back (did I mention she didn't tell him for a year?) and she never even offered to pay me for my labor. I don't work for free. And, I started getting angrier remembering all of the passive aggressive things she's done through the years. I'm not stupid. I know what she's doing. I used to just smile and try to look past it, but now she's in my home, in the middle of my living room -- all day, every day (she can't climb the stairs and all bedrooms are upstairs). I get mad just looking at her. Maybe I shouldn't, but I do. You are right -- I need to figure out what is truly bothering me and this is probably some of it. And, I'm done being her room service. I told my husband today that I didn't want to serve her meals and she has to do it herself (I've already said it, but I repeated it). He said just don't do it. Let her starve. She'll do it. Lo and behold, she actually got off of her a** today and got herself something to eat. I do not want to live in a constant state of anger. You are absolutely right -- life is short and stress and negative emotions are not something I need or deserve. I'm going to try this with her getting her own meals, but I don't know if I can. We will see. I find myself hoping she has another "incident" so she'll have to go back into the nursing home and Medicaid will pay for 100 days. I know that sounds awful, but it's what I start thinking. I'm like, "yeah, I want a break."

BarkBrooklyn -- she has not been diagnosed with dementia. She has been evaluated for it. I was more tolerant when I thought she might have cognitive problems, but it's become quite obvious that there is nothing wrong with her cognition.

Sunnygirl1 -- Yes, you are right. I agree with that as well. I have been around stroke victims. My grandmother had a stroke and I know what that looks like. She could not walk, she could not feed herself, she could barely talk. I've also been around seniors with dementia and this is not that. This is pure and utter laziness. My husband begged her to clean her house his entire life. Now I know why it never got cleaned up. She's lazy. I understand people get busy and I don't expect perfection (that can go to the other extreme too -- my mom's house is like a museum), but you should at least try to contribute to the maintenance of your own home. No, I don't expect her to do that here (and I don't want her to), but I want her to feed herself. She can. I agree about it being risky to provide care for someone I dislike so much. My husband is doing the majority of it, but I'm the one that cooks in our house. I think that serving her meals and feeling like her room service was really making me angry. So, hopefully her trying to do some of it herself will decrease my anger. It also helps b/c it limits my interaction with her. I would become angrier and angrier when serving her meals b/c she wouldn't even say thank you -- just expected me to do it. Today I told her she better start trying or I was going to tell my husband we need to start looking for a nursing home. Maybe that helped. I don't know. I wish she wasn't doing it willfully, but unfortunately, she is.

Hellebore7 -- I was "sort of" consulted before she moved into my house. My husband is an only child. She has outlived almost all of her relatives. The ones that are left have their own health issues and can't take care of her. She's a hoarder and we got a call back in April saying a neighbor found her (she had fallen over the crap in her house that she refused to clean up for over 20 years) and taken to the hospital. She stayed in the hospital for a few days, then was taken to Rehab (also a nursing home). Rehab released her before 100 days were up b/c they said she didn't need to be there and that she could live elsewhere. The doctors told us she can't live alone anymore. So, here we are. There really isn't much choice in the matter unless we want to spend a lot of $ per month on a nursing home. I don't care if we go through all of her money putting her in a nursing home, but my husband does. And, you are absolutely right. This could absolutely wreck my marriage. I've said on more than one occasion that this situation makes me want to leave. And, I'm not kidding. My husband understands my feelings, but doesn't know what to do. I'm going to *try* to be more tolerant if she at least gets her own food...but I'm not sure I can. And, yes, I have considered counseling. It's not a bad idea at all. Yeah, I'm done serving her meals. If she doesn't do it, he's going to b/c it just makes me irate.

Sunnygirl1 -- thank you for sharing the story about the foot injury and dementia. I wish it were something like that, but it's just not :(.

mollymaid2 -- Thank you so much for your understanding. Yeah, I keep thinking now she is getting paid back for being shitty to me in the past (she's one of those that will be shitty to you with a smile on her face and you don't realize it until later). Good grief -- 6 years -- I'm sorry you've been dealing with this for so long. I've only been dealing with her being in my house since early June and I can barely stand that. I find myself not being able to wait until she has to go to the doctor (my husband takes her and her doctor is a few hours away), so I get a few hours of my house to myself again. Yeah, this woman won't even throw her trash away. Leaves it on the little TV tray I have next to her. I told her if I get roaches in my house b/c she wouldn't throw her trash away, I'm going to be p*ssed. So, I put a trash can right next to her a**. She better use it. Yes, I totally understand! I told her I was done being her slave! My heart goes out to you b/c I know exactly how it feels.

cmagnum -- yeah, that's what I'm thinking too!!!!!

Okay, I know that was long, but wanted to take the time to respond to everyone since you took the compassion to take a few minutes out of your day to respond to me. I just keep telling myself that adversity makes us stronger. I'm going to be freaking Wonder Woman, I guess...

Much compassion to all!
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Your husband is worried about loosing it all if his mother goes into a nursing home? What about the possibility of loosing you if she doesn't go to a nursing home? What I am saying is that he needs to realize that he's married to you, not his mom.
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Thank you so much to every single one of you for all of the replies. They really help *a lot*. I wish there was an option here for me to reply to each post individually, but since there's not, I'll just say I'm reading your posts and processing them. Thank you!!! I have more to say, but don't have time to say it right at this moment. I will reply more later.

The short answer is -- I completely understand what you are all saying about dementia and a stroke. However, she has neither. The only thing she has been diagnosed with is Mild Cognitive Impairment. She didn't have a stroke. She did fall. The nursing home/rehab center told me she needs to do as much for herself as she can and I shouldn't do things for her that she can do for herself. She had CAT scans and everything. If anything, her health has only gotten better since she's been here b/c we make her eat fruits and vegetables and stuff that is good for you rather than the junk food she would get at the dollar store...

My husband tells me she's always been lazy.

Thanks so much to all and sending compassion your ways!
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simpleunderdog..Totally understand your feelings I am in the same boat my MIL has said some very nasty things to me in the past I can not forget the things she has said to me no matter how hard I try. Unfortunately she is living with me & has had a minor stroke 6yrs ago but milks it a lot she does nothing comes to the table to eats & sits right down after her meals which are all made by me!!! If she sees me coming she will sit down so that she will not have to try to even pick up her dishes...beyond lazy is what she is its very frustrating especially after you have been treated so badly by this person..I also have a lot of resentment towards her. Its like shes got a slave for free!!!
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I'll share this in hope that it might help. Before my LO's strokes were diagnosed, she had a foot injury that required her to wear a boot. She was able to get up and around though, plus a bedside toilet was provided. However, she insisted on using diapers. She also would not get out of bed for meals. She just laid in the bed or napped. Her physical therapist, who came to the house, thought she was lazy, unmotivated, spoiled even. I was upset too. HOWEVER, they were wrong. It wasn't long before her other dementia symptoms became clear. It was brain damage, not her being lazy or intentionally uncooperative. I learned a lot from that experience, so I never assume that someone is being lazy or knowingly being uncooperative. I hope that this is not the case with your loved one, but, I would explore and consider possible causes.
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I wonder if you were consulted before this person was moved into your house.  (Yes, it's your husband's house too and she's his mother, but he should have assured 100% buy-in from you.)  Without knowing more about your situation I'd be pretty hot over rightful property given away also.

If you're not careful, this could wreck your marriage - and I say it from the standpoint of a person with some extremely difficult in-laws.  Spouse and I have had to work hard to manage the problem together.  You might want to consider some light counseling to help with communication skills.

Your spouse definitely needs to be taking the lead here - why isn't *he* serving her meals??
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I agree with Sunny on all points; you need to get clarified what is going on with her on many fronts and not assume that she is doing this willfully.
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I'd be careful in assuming what a senior who has had a stroke can do. Their brain can be affected and they may have lost what is called Initiative to do things. They may see food in the fridge, but, not have the ability to retrieve it. It has nothing to do with the arm muscles, it's the brain that is not working right. A physical therapist may not know about this. She may also suffer from depression.  Sometimes, there are medical reasons for behavior and it's not the person trying to upset you. 

 I'd discuss it with her doctor and have her evaluated to see what level of care she needs. In the meantime, I'd ensure that she is provided food, water, medical care and whatever she needs. If you feel you can't do it, I'd call someone else in to do it. If's risky to provide care for a person that you dislike so much. I hope you find her some help and that things improve.
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Has she been diagnosed with dementia? Has she been evaluated for it?
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Underdog, in addition to what you and Carla say about not doing anything for your MIL that she can do for herself (I agree!!), remember that the best way to "get back" at an abuser is to live your life well and free from her influence. Pick a time when you can be alone with yourself and dig down deep inside and ask/answer what it really is that is making you so angry. Sometimes it is a thought, fear, or belief behind the apparent reason that is really driving the emotion. If possible, also bounce your feelings off a neutral third party such as a therapist or spiritual counselor. And as Carla said, you and your husband need to consider whether material wealth is worth the toll it is taking on you. Often, in the long term, it is not. The two of you are of an age that stress, negative emotions, and the impacts these have on health (physical and emotional) are harder to recover from. Life is short.
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For me, the only way to control my anger and resentment towards my mother (and my siblings) was to reduce the amount I was willing to do for her. Cooking for her made me especially angry (yes, also because of the a$$-sitting), and I stopped doing it. I moved out of her house after about a year, and I limit my contact with her and moved an hour away so she can't call me every ten minutes with things that she needs.

Your problem seems to be not so much your MIL as your husband. He is afraid of "losing everything else he has?" Do you mean things he doesn't have, but hopes to have when she dies? If she is holding an inheritance over your heads, you and your husband need to reach an agreement as to exactly what that's worth to you. If it's worth more to your husband than to you, maybe he should be the one waiting on his mother.
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Thank you, daughterdoctor for the reply! Yeah, it's *really* hard. That is what I'm struggling with. I'm generally a happy person. I've never been this angry in my entire life and I just don't know how to release it. I can control my reaction to her, yes. The problem is every time I look at her I get angry all over again. I feel like she deserves to feel some of the pain she caused us. I don't like feeling angry and resentful all of the time either, though. I guess I just talk to her as little as possible and hold to making her get herself something to eat? I feel kind of guilty doing that, but I will get even more resentful if I don't. I mean, she's not a 2 year old child...
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Hi, Underdog. First, don't beat yourself up for being angry at your MIL. Your feelings are completely normal and understandable, given the circumstances. Second, the only person you are truly harming is yourself (and perhaps your husband). I know this is a LOT harder than it sounds, but try to release most of that anger. As you know, you cannot control your MIL, you only can control your reaction to her. Accept that she is who she is, go out for a walk, listen to your favorite music, put on a funny movie, whatever helps you escape from the anger. Again, I know these are hard to do. Wishing you well from Southern California
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