I'm so disheartened and angry.


I've posted before about in-law care-giving. Aged mother in law, lives in same town.

We are at the tail end of a visit from sister in law from several states away. Sister in law has been here for 3 weeks caring for her mother. A much welcome respite.

It had been discussed, prior to her arrival here on the scene, she would be talking it over with her mother, to try and get her mom to come up to her home, for a stay of maybe a few months.

This, in my opinion, is absolutely essential, as I am expecting twin grand-children, due in about 1 month (if they don't come sooner, as is the case a lot of times with multiples pregnancies). The expectant mother also lives locally here, and has a 4 year old daughter. I will be on that front, helping .. as much as is needed. And not on the front with mother in law and care-giving, and have made that as obvious and apparent as I know how to make it. It would be great if mother in law would agree to go to her daughter's home (several states away) for a period of a few months .. and allow me the latitude to put my energies where I want them to be, on my daughter who will have had a c-section .. and my grand-daughter (4 years old) and new twin babies.

Nothing doing. Mother in law has dug in her heels, and will not hear of it, going to stay with her daughter for any period of time.

What are her reasons?

In mother in law's defense ... her daughter ... I don't even know how to describe it. I will say that when her daughter comes here to visit, she all but breathes for her mother and if she could find a way to do that, she'd do that too. She is the most nervous nelly, never sit down - ever ... worry wart, do everything, all the time .. person that I've ever encountered.

A great example, as I was taking her to the airport yesterday for her departure, . I reached into the fridge to grab myself a bottled water and shut the fridge and turned to walk away, as I've done for all of my 50 plus years living on this earth .. and she said to me, "Oh make sure that fridge shut". WTH???? Like I don't know how to shut a fridge? That's just a small, very small slice of what she is ... how she is.

She is so very hyper-vigilant, seeing to every minute details down to it's finest most minuscule point, fine tooth comb, questioning every point along the way, "should we do thus and so, but maybe if we do thus and so, then such and such will happen, maybe we should do it thus and so .. but then so and so might happen, maybe we shouldn't do thus and so, but do "x" "y" and "z" instead, but if we don't do it that way then ..........", on and on and on and on it goes. And usually in hyper warp speed, as to every single friggin thing.

If her mother moans .. "what's wrong mother?, why did you moan, are you alright?".

Mother: "Yes, I'm fine, I was just sighing out loud".

Sister: "Why did you sigh? Are you hurting, are you sure you're alright, why are you sighing what's the matter?"

Mother: "For God's sake __________________, I was just sighing, .. calm down, I'm fine".

Sister: "Are you sure, .. because if something is wrong you need to tell me".

Mother: "Everything is fine, I'm fine".

Sister: "Are you sure, we did a lot yesterday, did we do too much, maybe we shouldn't of gone to two doctors in one day .. was that too much for you, are you too tired now, maybe we need to move those other doctor appointments so we won't have two in one day, is that too much for you, for one day .. is that why you were sighing .. what's wrong, are you sure you're alright".

Hopefully that kinda gives a little bit of a snapshot of what goes on when sister is in the ring directing things.

So in mother in law's defense.. I do get it, why she wouldn't be chomping at the bit to go to her daughter's home.

BUT ....

The only experience she has with her daughter, in the last years as mother in law has aged and been unable to go anywhere much, has been the daughter coming here, periodically, for periods of about 3 weeks at a stretch. When her daughter comes here, she moves heaven and earth for her mother and then some, and doesn't sit down, doesn't stop .. the WHOLE ENTIRE TIME.

Is there a possibility maybe (as I said to mother in law, when she expressed that isn't happening - talking to me - her going to her daughters .. ever) .. could it be possible that maybe if you would go to where she lives .. she'd be more busy managing her own life in that setting than your's and she would get out of your backside .. and not be as hyper-drive-vigilant as you experience in her, when she's here, could that be possible.

The daughter is retired, lives several states away. Does come here, generally, every few months .. and stays for a period of about 3 weeks at a stretch. I wish I could make a list of everything the daughter did when here this last time, but it would take up the whole character allotment:

Find Care & Housing


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Lol, Linda!
No problem. I actually love learning new words - I’m a total geek that way. Others may scoot by an unfamiliar word when the definition can be surmised from how it is used in the sentence. Not me! I stop - switch out to my Webster’s on-line app and look it up.

One of my all-time favorite words is “Exacerbate”. I can clearly remember the first time I every heard it several years back. I still get enormous pleasure in being able to legitimately use it in a sentence.

And - there are just so, so many opportunities to use Exacerbate here in this whole MIL drama! It practically make me giddy!

EmilySue, that's precisely what brought me here eons ago.

SIL does a stellar job ... in the past at least, coming here and standing on her head juggling plates with her feet....bringing all things MIL into a bright shiny functional.

That's been the gig for more than 2 years ... an essential live in CG for the duration of what would generally extend to about 2 or 3 weeks.

She goes back home... the wheels fall off the rickety bus pretty quick.

No one here to act in that capacity.

I'm the one that began some time ago pointing to the fact things run pretty okay .. with someone there 24/7 CG'ing....that she Obviously needs more support and can't live alone and take care of herself.

That's precisely what started all of this and yes it's been pointed out how she does better with that kind of support.

SIL's approach heretofore has been some feigned deluded vision that her mom is now

"Taking her meds"
"Stringer via PT"
"Recovered from ______"
"Realizes now she had to do better"

Take your pick ... the above and more. Justification she now resumes life in IL. Her mom stays put where she wants to be ... in her home.

And the directives flew hourly ....

"mom doesn't feel well can one of you go ck on her"

"Mom has the chits again .. she doesn't have BRAT type food can someone go get that and take it to her and ck on her"

"Mom says her hands aren't working"

"Mom seems confused and disoriented.. wonder if she's gotten dehydrated"

"Mom says her ankles and feet are swollen and painful"

"Sounds like mom needs _______ about the dog"

"Mom needs to get to the doctor/dentist"

"Mom needs her rx's ... I know you were just there this morning but she forgot to tell you"




It went .. the above and so much more ... that's why I drew some boundaries ... if she's fine to be left alone .. then she s fine that I'll come by one day a week... that's it.

Since I drew that line in the sand it's been a circus of SIL from afar trying to direct on this end as to all the need and MIL ... as old folks do ... has declined even further.

So yea "gee SIL..Looks like you found the magic bullet to all this ... she does so much better with your round the clock care ...looks like maybe we know the solution now"

To her "oh she's stronger now" ...or...."oh she'll take her meds now" ...or ..."she understands now, she has to do better" ...or ..."she's Recovered now"

As she deposits her in her home.

Same song different day and the directives from afar ...

Broken records

Wait, wasn't DH the one the other day when SIL took mom out of rehab saying something along the lines of, "Good! She doesn't need to be there anyway"? And "just hold the phone"? Now he's angry that his sister stayed behind doing the hand holding and undid the rehab opportunity, when verbally he was basically hand-holding and passing the buck too?

On the other hand, I do understand the frustration that his mom gets fixated on going back home, and keeps harping on that, and he gets angry that he can't fix it. My mom does this too, except she gets fixated on coming back to live with me. It is very much like dealing with a toddler. I agree that he should still check on his mom, but perhaps change the subject when she starts on that track. Or end the call if it gets to be too much. Important above all just to let his mom and sister know that he cares and is there.

Right now besides this, I think the best thing you guys can do is just watch and wait. I believe it will be a matter of time before SIL REALLY can't do it anymore, and then it's time to resurrect the AL conversation. At that point, DH and SIL will need to present a united, unflappable front to MIL. I'd be surprised if it's not soon.

Sorry, Rain...I’ve had a lifetime to find new words that are more descriptive than stubborn, oblivious, unreasonable, self centered.

I’m starting to feel like an illiterate moron. Just in case anyone else is as well:

Definition of recalcitrant 
: obstinately defiant of authority or restraint
: difficult to manage or operate
: not responsive to treatment

The word of the day is: Recalcitrant

I’m not even related and I want to hit him upside the head. It takes more than one sibling to get a recalcitrant parent to transition. Not only do you help each other stay on task and balance emotion with practical, you form a united front to your parent that change has to happen. Is it difficult to see their mom this phase? Of course. But that doesn’t alter the fact that she can’t be home alone and can’t be cared for by SIL.

My sister and I are very close, and we’re pretty strong people. But neither of us could’ve gotten our mom transitioned to AL alone. We had to sit and tell her that neither of us could do day to day caregiving any longer. Was it really awful? Oh yeah. I had to do the same thing with my FIL, telling him he couldn’t return home and in his case, AL was not an option. Except I didn’t have a sibling there to support me. Gut wrenching. But you still do it.

I'm glad to see his anger, actually. Better than all the hand-wringing and coddling. I would say it's a good step.

Hey - if SIL does rehab MIL's strength enough to even entertain the crazy idea that she could live alone again.... well, that would mean she could also live out her time in SIL's home with less care from SIL. So - if MIL's health rebounds, it may help to praise SIL and remind her that it is all due to her "wonderful" FULL TIME efforts, and obviously MIL's health does not last long without those continued FULL TIME efforts. "Thanks SIL - You are doing a helluva job! I'm so glad this move with you there for her FULL TIME has helped her so much. You are doing the right thing, apparently. Keep up the good work!"
(a little tongue-in-cheek perhaps, but basically the whole thing is SIL's choice at this time.)

SIL will either adjust to her new cg'ing role, or she won't.

Well for heaven's sake he can change the subject, then, can't he? Gordon Bennett!

All he has to say is the equivalent "I know how you feel, mother" and then talk about something else. Ask how the dog is. Tell her about his day. There is no need whatever for him to bang on about where MIL is going to be living. And if *she* does, then he just says "well I just rang to say hi, must run."

It's really not that difficult. There's no discussion necessary - nobody is going to move MIL back home alone, whatever.

At this point, they have been home to SIL's house since Friday. I know that DH hasn't called to check in and see how it's going there, and I know why.

He gets angry.

I don't blame him. I have tried to encourage that he take that anger and channel it towards direction in all this ..

His response falls about like this ... "Dorker I say all the right things and mom even agrees that I'm right ... sister agrees that I'm right .. but then the next time you talk to mom, it's more of the same, .. she just keeps reverting back like a damn kid that you've told em no ... she goes right back to her default .. that's not her home, ... she doesn't want to be there, .. she wants to be in FL. It's a broken damn record".

Here here! Yep.

He says of it all, "sister blew it .. she shouldn't of pulled the rug out from under the damn set up" then prefaces it .. "but we weren't there, we don't know how dismal it all looked .. she just didn't have the heart to leave mom in that kinda setting. But I'm here to tell ya, she starts with that about bringing her back here, .. she better be packed and ready to stay there with her .. I'll help . but I can't do it f/t and she can't live there alone ANYMORE!".

He's disgusted with the fact his sister didn't step away from the hospital and all the hand holding, to go check out rehab sites . and if she didn't like what she was seeing, .. work towards another setting .. and then just undid it all. He's angry .. and I don't blame him, I am too.

I don't think he has the patience/tolerance at all, ... to go up there to IL . and be of any use, in the respect of "direction" .. not when you have SIL running interference with all her whirligigs and excuses and one more this one more that.

As he put it .. "she can have at it, she doesn't want to follow through on anything that needs to be done, we've talked all about it .. and we will help on this end, if the setting is to be here, but damn .. make up your frickin minds .. staying there in IL, ..??....coming here to FL .. but wherever it is .. it's NOT gonna be living alone . PERIOD ........ ".

He doesn't have the makeup to put up with it. Nor do I.

As I told him, "just wait .. she will be letting us know that her plan is to strengthen her mom thru PT that is to commence, and then her mom will be "strong enough" to be left alone again, as she wishes in her home, just wait ........ it's coming ....... ".

He says, "No .. leave her there and in a week she'll be calling that she's got the chits again . or that she can't think right .. no .. that's not happening".

He can't even bring himself to call and check in on that end.

I don't blame him one bit. She can have it .. since all suggestions .. all the way from "bring in a psych eval", . "what was that cog assessment" .. "leave her and go visit some sites, she'll be fine there, that's what hospital staff are there for" ... all of them .. doesn't matter what .. goes unheeded with her nonsensical excuses while she holds her mom's hand at the pity of it all.

Have at it.

DH's take much like mine .. the weather one, in particular .. pretty much incenses him beyond all measure. His words: "That's all a bunch b'chit .. that's exactly what that is .. she doesn't go outside except to go to a damn doctor .. she acts like they have her out in a frickin tent or something .. she's inside sister's home .. get over your damn self with that weather b'chit".

I agree.

I agree, Dorker---do NOT go to IL and DO NOT be a part of the "team". All you will get is grief and pushback. I've been in your shoes and trust me, everyone will be mad at you if you step up and direct the show.

This is now DH's and SIL's call. You have your opinion, and the right to have it. They don't have the right to drag you back into the mess they've allowed MIL's life to become.

I LOVE that the church lady called. That maybe the most effective tool used so far--someone who is really very removed from the situation---weighing in and asking SIL WHY she wasn't working madly to find a better placement for MIL.

Sometimes hearing the same thing from a different person, makes a bigger impact. Who knows?

I do not want to think how your DH and his sis are going to handle MIL's demise, then she does go to meet the cloud. I think they are going to suffer mightily, to be honest. They're not even dealing with the "preamble"--how will they deal with the reality??!!!

I am so mad at your DH I could spit. Seriously. Poor guy, can't stand to see his mom so sad he won't go visit her??? WTH? Gee, I hope MIL has the thoughfulness to pass away after hunting season, or on a day that will only take a "long weekend" for DH to be off work/play.

TRY to get away this week. And try not to talk to SIL at all--just live your life. The whole idea of getting MIL to IL was so you could have a break--and it's worse than ever. Please take care of you. If DH doesn't want to deal with his family, then don't you do it. You've done enough.

Your SIL is giving me ulcers. HOW did she function in a career? I'm wondering about her state of mind!

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