Long story short. Married my DH 43 years ago. Knew well before the marriage that his mother DID NOT APPROVE and DID NOT LIKE ME. (Told to me by 5-6 of her neighbors, family & friends, so I am likely to believe it).

I'm 20 years old and thought I could "make her love me".

What a dummy.

No matter what I did, said, planned, bought, or birthed was "good enough" for her. Out of DH's earshot, she would whisper the most heinous things in my ears. I would literally drop me jaw at some of the things she'd say.

Most 'visits' with her ended with me crying the whole way home and my DH mad at me for being 'rude' to his mother.

She is the type of person who remembers a slight from 70 years ago as if it happened yesterday. Every freaking detail. She'll tell you a story and it doesn't make sense-then you realize it happened in 1960. But she is as angry about it as if it happened yesterday.

She had a miserable life. Shotgun marriage (1948) which was scandalous, I guess. Hated my FIL and finally were divorced 30+ years ago. Still talked about every single bad thing he'd ever done--that's all she talks about and the poor man has been dead 16 years.

I gave up YEARS ago trying to find the perfect gift, whatever, for various occasions. As my kids married, I began to truly see how very sick she is, and how it was really HER job to include me in the family. Not the other way around.

Couple of years ago she had it out in front of me, and the whole family at a little party. I mean, the filter CAME DOWN. Told me she'd hated me since the day she met me, blah, blah..I could go on forever. I'm sitting there with tears streaming down my face, the whole room is silent and my niece (who is crying too) said "Love of G-D Grandma! Shut up!"

DH, who had not begun to wear hearing aids, heard none of this.

So--I talked to her later and told her I would gladly step out of her life completely, since I had made her so miserable. And I did.

DH was taking her a Mother's Day gift last night--and you'd thought someone had shot his dog he looked so miserable. Offered me $100 to go with him. Ha.

When he got home, he told me she has been having 'episodes" of faintness and falling. Ok, don't care. She had knocked her fall pendant and the alarm went off, but she can't hear, so she ignored it. Couldn't hear the paramedics breaking open her window, either. They checked her out, and talked to SIL, and said she really shouldn't be living alone. But she will not move from her home, no matter what.

Dh gently broached the idea of my stepping in a few days a week to 'help out'. I laughed so hard---and said, "She has plenty of money, She can hire out" But she doesn't want strangers. Tough beans.

He left town this am, pretty steamed at me for my flat out refusal to be involved in her care.

He does, now, after so many years, believe all the things I said she did/said to me. He thinks I should forgive and forget. I remind him I am IN THERAPY over some of this crap.

Just help me stay strong. The guilt DH has is HIS, not mine. I did ask how much 'care' he had given MY mom over the years and he had to admit he hasn't seen her in almost 2 years.

It's not tit for tat---it's just self preservation. I cannot and will not take care of her. I will get a job and work to PAY for care but I will NOT hands on care for her.

Just need some support from the forum----I have to stay strong. Dh is really going to ride me about this.

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Mid, read Dorker thread my dear one. Your advice, mine, so many others. Do not fall for the flying monkey charade. It’s the first step to you full time and your move to downsize including her. Your DH cannot help his programming. Nor can Dorker nor can MINE. The only thing we can do is to keep our boundaries. You did forgive, you prompt for cards and you don’t trash her. To quote my therapist, get off the cross, they need the wood. Forgive and forget does not require that you provide personal and entire service. DH doesn’t want to perform the personal service. Why is the expectation that you will? Told my husband that I cannot care more and do more than he would. Your MIL made your boundaries and her feelings clear. You are abiding by them. Going alone to assist multiple days a week? She’d have you suicidal. DH can do it. Your feelings are less important than his comfort, and when his next episode happens you’d have both. No is a complete sentence. It has been for me.
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Midkid58 May 2019

Dorker's MIL is so much like mine, I think it has resonated with me a little too much.

I have not, and will not support MIL as much as Dorker did--and I'm sure Dorker just got roped into it, slowly, piece by piece.

I have forgiven her. She's nothing to me. My therapist said to me, once, "Jesus said turn the other cheek. He didn't say to stand there and be beaten to death."
Hold that line! Stand strong.

This part: "DH was taking her a Mother's Day gift last night--and you'd thought someone had shot his dog he looked so miserable. Offered me $100 to go with him. Ha."

My own dH was looking miserable about Mother's Day too. He looked like he was being tortured if the subject came up. I understood, so intervened and followed up
by seeing that he sent a card. His mother will complain, saying why didn't you just send the money you spent!

You are not alone, but in addition, your MIL has behaved like an evil person towards you all along. I get it. You must preserve your sanity by never going there.

You can, just refuse to discuss her at all with your husband. Isn't it amazing how they both can keep trying to suck you back in to the dysfunction? And how a commercial hallmark day can come between your peace and happiness with your hubs? And now, she has fallen, but you are not the one to even consider giving her care. Please don't do it, and no need for the guilt, in your case.

Stand strong. Maybe tell hubs that you would be happy to discuss his mother with him in joint therapy. End of subject. Or say, "Can we talk about this another time,,I have a headache".
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Midkid58 May 2019

There will be no huge discussion about this. He can rant to me, but I will not do a single thing for her that I do not want to do.

Once, when she thought I 'might' be the one who 'puts her away', she was in a panic. I said to her "Don't worry. I will treat you with the same exact loving kindness you have shown me all these years." The look of utter fear on her face made me feel a little vindicated.

In truth, I would take excellent care of her. I'm not a monster.
When hubby starts, just simply state, "Darling, "no" is a one syllable word. It requires no further explanation." ..... then walk out of the room. Repeat as often as necessary.
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Mdkid, forgive and forget is for you so you can rid yourself of the poison and enjoy your blessings.But it doesn’t mean making yourself a servant, putting up with vitriol from a woman who has beaten you down at every turn. What a load of bs...he’s got some brass ones.

Dear heavens, Mothers Day just brings out such pain for so many.
Hes mad because you’re not stepping in so he can be stepped out. Stay strong. Your backbone is forged by years of’ve got this. And we’re sending you reinforcing vibes.
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I am wondering why your DH wouldn’t understand your unwillingness to do this. His mother will never “forgive and forget” and it’s not fair to think you should.

BUT... forgiving and forgetting is likely how your DH survived while growing up with this narcissistic, bitter troll of a mother. He’s done it his whole life so he doesn’t get why you won’t do the same.

Hearing loss or no, it seems he didn’t hear some of her tirade that day because he learned early on to tune her out.

The moment you both said “I do” is when he should have known that his wife and later his kids would take priority over mom.

As people like her get older, some families just shrug it off with “oh, they’re just old, let them do whatever.” Nope... unless it’s dementia or another issue they can’t help, there is no excuse to allow people to act like that.
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Midkid58 May 2019
The moment he said "I do" he is when he felt he could offload his mother onto me. Worked for a few years, then began to fail.

I know he puts me his heart...but she has so classically trained him to feel guilty for her sad life, he takes it. 677 years old a terrified to go see his mother w.o backup.

He actually took a grandchild with him one time. MIL had no idea who this random kid was. Isn't that sad?
As the expression goes you reap what you sew. I think under no circumstances should you come to any aid on this matter. Doesn't she have another child besides your husband?

I did have one difficult relative who apologized for some of who she had been as she was approaching the end but she was nowhere near as bad as your MIL. This to me is not a situation of forgiveness. I doubt she has asked for that. Fortunately if she has funds for her care then strangers can see to it. Even if she didn't I would not step in. Many people have difficult lives but don't necessarily turn into miserly tyrants. Let her fend for herself as she has certainly alienated you.

I know how much you have endured with your husband's health which is very admirable. She is not in the least bit deserving of any effort on your part towards her.
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Midkid58 May 2019
Thanks--you all have followed my mish mash story lines. True, when DH had his liver transplant, she was 'too stressed out' to deal with it, so she didn't, Not even a card.

Same with the motorcycle wreck that almost killed him.

Same with the stroke & subsequent surgery.

Ditto for the 2 heart attacks.

Actually blamed me for all of the above as I am 'very stressful to live with".
What is wrong with your husband?

That he thinks that his mother can be hateful to you and you will step up to provide hands on care?

No way. No how.
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Midkid58 May 2019

I am feeling SO MUCH BETTER!! I hesitate to put "my pain" out there, because I like to think I am tough--but I know today I needed some support. I have from all you amazing people.


No, in reality, he does KNOW and I mean KNOW that I will NOT provide ANY hands on care for his mother. I wouldn't not call 911 or something, but as far as bathing her? Wiping her bum? Changing her clothes? I did all that and then some for DH's father and it was a gift of LOVE, not duty. Now, that man LOVED me and I knew it.

Going to be interesting.
My question is, why can’t your husband take care of his mother?

i agree, under no circumstance should you get involved in this. I doubt your MIL has changed and all that will happen is.....the same emotional and verbal abuse she’s subjected you to in the past. You owe the woman nothing. You don’t owe it to your husband either.

Your husband reminds me of my husband. He has a tendency to elect me to do things for and with his family, things he would not and does not do for MY FAMILY. 3 months after my MIL died, he tried to guilt and manipulate me in to taking the kids to his sisters house for swimming and a BBQ. The problem with that? It was actually a birthday get-together for my MILs partner! The one who stole her money, lied to her on her death bed, lied to us, hurt us and put us through hell right after she died! The kids and I had not seen him since father’s day which was BEFORE the web of deception was discovered and before my husband had gone & confronted him and fought with him over the phone on 2 occasions. And my husband thought I would not only be ok going to this party for him, but also without my husband being present! Sometimes I really don’t understand men and what goes through their minds! I still can’t believe my husband did this! Needless to say, I refused to go. Anyway!!

Again, why can’t your husband help his mother?
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Midkid58 May 2019
He can't bear to be around her. So much history, SO much abuse suffered at her hands as a child. He has tried and tried to forgive her---and she IS aware that this is the root cause of the distancing. I will add that his older brother has not seen nor spoken to her in about 2 years. He told me that the abuse was so bad he and DH should have been removed from their home. As a psychologist, I guess he'd know.

Recently--maybe Christmas time--DH stopped by to fix something for her, For some reason she felt the need to tell him that she was preparing to divorce his dad and move in with her sister and get an education so she could support her older son. She got pregnant with my hubby. Flat out told him he was a mistake and ruined her life. With 2 kids, she was stuck.

Of all the rotten things to say to someone. He was broken hearted, but too macho to say much. Just curled up on the bed and felt lousy for a couple of days. I could have killed her for that.

So--he's not clueless about anything. He just does not want to see her, talk to her, deal with her. I guess he figured that would be my job and for MANY years, it was. It has only been the last 5 or so that I do not put up with her crap.

Facing the possibility of actual hands on care is too much. He asked me knowing I'd say no and look like a meanie--but it doesn't work. She will have to be content with outside care or a ALF. The "talk" with sister is happening when he gets home from a business trip.

He is her POA. In our state, he & sis can have her declared incompetent against her will. Psych OB will obviously agree. I do not want to be a part of that hot mess.
Oh, and DH has an older brother ( aged 70 and not in great health himself) and a younger sister age 61, also not in great health. She has her single daughter and 2 grandkids living with her--very stressful situation. Her DH refuses to work, and has been sporadically employed over the years, so that's been hard on her.

MIL hates him as much as she hates me, but he is quick on the uptake and insults her so rapidly she can't even react. I don't play like that.

It's not unthinkable that she might outlive both Dh and his brother. She's only 89.
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lkdrymom May 2019
Maybe you should. Sometimes people like this only understand when you give them back what they are throwing out.
Dear Midkid, you have received so much support in the three hours since you posted, that you must know how many people care for you and hope so much that you can survive this without cracking! I remember your post months ago about the time your family finally heard how MIL spoke to you, and I also was shocked to think that this is still going on.

It sounds quite likely that MIL will have another major event that will mean she has to go into care, whether she likes it or not. If you can, stay on side with your sister-in-law. If she has more guts than your husband, the pair of you may be able to get him to take some initiative (not including leaning on you!). Just stay well away from MIL!
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Midkid58 May 2019

Yes, the support has been amazing. I am working in the yard and come in occasionally and see that another post has gone up. My spirits are much lifted!

Yep--that meltdown of MIL's in front of most of the family was pretty epic. About half the family heard it firsthand, the rest heard it within minutes. Actually, DH took her home about 15 minutes after the whole thing went down. He was upset with his mom but he has never, and will never, step up to her in my favor. I quit "needing" that.

Being a MIL to one DIL, I have worked my behind off to be the MIL SHE wanted. In fact, before each of my kids married, I talked to their respective spouses and said I wanted total honesty and transparency in our relationships, knowing how rocky in law relationships can be. Told each of these wonderful people that I wanted to be the MIL THEY wanted me to be. Just ask, or tell me if I am overstepping. I can tell you that my sons in law are stellar, amazing men. I love them as my own son. My DIL is wonderful, talked to her for over an hour today.

Thank you all for weighing in. My heart is much lighter! I will talk to DH when he gets home and let him know that I will support whatever decision he and sis make about MIL's ongoing care, but not to ask or expect me to do a single thing.

Actually, my SIL totally 'gets it'--her MIL is no prize.
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