How do you continue to care for someone that is filled with resentment and hate?


Filled with resentment and hate for all of those that are "living" around her? My MIL suffered a stroke years back and they say that she may be suffering from Alzheimer / dementia. We (my husband and our family and my BIL) live with my MIL to TRY and care for her. My husband and I cook and clean for everyone (7 people total), work and care for the house and grounds and are treated with nothing but anger and hatered by my MIL. On occassion she takes it out on my BIL. She has other children as well that have just stopped coming around, stopped calling her and never assist with her care.
She can still get around and do things for herself. However, she refuses to shower (which she can still do on her own as long as someone is there), she refuses to wear incontinence panties (we lay them out but she throws them on the floor or in the trash) then wets and poops her bed or other areas of the house, she refuses to eat with us and on the rare occassion that she does, it is usually not comfortable for anyone. She says nasty things to people and at times does things that seem quite intentional to be mean and spiteful. In her mind, I feel that she thinks that we should all lay down and die with her. That we should all stop living our lives. She has come right out and said that it makes her mad for things we do as simple as going to visit my parents. This may sound harsh but I refuse to stop living because she may be dying. It has turned into nothing short of a living hell in this house!
I have an 8yr old son who is constantly surrounded by hate and depression. He is afraid of my MIL and usually flees the area when she is around. I can not even imagine what this may be doing to him. Rarely do we have his friends over due to the fact that you never know what will happen with her on any given day from her being rude and nasty to walking around half nude and refusing to get dressed because she does not want to.
I do a lot of praying and soul searching. I try to put myself in her position. I've tried to help, I've tried to be patient and kind but it just does not matter what I or anyone does. I just want some form of happy back in my family's lives. I want life to be all that it was meant to be when you're a little kid for my youngest son.

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SuzieQ, I understand what you are going through and know that what seems like an easy answer is not. Our lives are bound together in a complicated way. I am like you. My life would be easier if I placed my mother -- and maybe I'm dumb not to do it -- but I no more have it in me than you have it in you to leave with your son. I understand.

Your MIL reminds me of my own grandmother (father's side). She was a fashion plate and very self centered. She absolutely hated my mother, who stole her little boy away from her. MIL had a stroke when she was in her 60s. She ended up depressed and shut herself off from everyone. The only thing I remember about her was that she was behind a closed door in her bedroom whenever we visited. She regained most of the use of her body after the stroke, but a severe depression lingered. No one realized how severe it was until she shot and killed herself. She had always been mean and reclusive, so the depression just seemed like an extension of personality perhaps. Maybe if people had known, they would have sought help for her state of mind.

Talk to your husband about setting up an appointment with a geriatric psychiatrist. Your MIL will probably fight the idea tooth and nail, but maybe there is some way to convince her it will be good. If depression is contributing to her bad behavior, medication and counseling might help. If you can find a counselor she likes, your MIL might find it rewarding to talk to them.

Your MIL is probably mad at life and resentful that everyone else's life is going on like normal. She doesn't realize that her own life can go on like normal, even though she is older. Old is normal for everyone who lives long enough.

For your son -- I would try to take him out hiking or doing something he enjoys every weekend. Let him know that it isn't him, that grandma is just sick and grumpy, but that you're hoping it will get better. He can still have a good life even if the Tasmanian Devil goes through the house at times. Maybe you can make it so it is not so serious an issue with him.

Much luck dealing with this. It isn't easy to have a hateful person in your life, but I get the feeling your family has the ability to work through this. Assistant pastors can come in handy, too. There may be people in your church that would love to help out, if only to involve your son in recreational opportunities.
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Well if you won't move and sell the house, then you have to investigate other options. Evaluate MIL finances, supplemental help, etc. Senior center director or NH can help you sort out and understand options for getting MIL out of the house and into skilled care.
Option2: use moms money to hire skilled help a few days a week.
Option3: get mil and bil into group homes, hud apt or whatever. You sell current house and move to apt, smaller home or whatever that has 2 br and no room for outsiders. Use money to help supplement others, but at least out of this toxic environment.
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SuzieQ88 - I am so sorry for your situation - sounds like it is very tough - and something that you are not able to get out of. If you are not willing to try to put her in nursing home, you then have to try to make some changes - set some boundaries with MIL - don't respond to her nastiness - or make a stock reply - "I don't appreciate that - and am not going to listen" and walk away from her have everyone in the household do the same. I would certainly get her doctor involved and see if there is some kind of medication that help. I would contact the department of aging in your area and get someone in to shower her at least once a week, sometimes folks will do more with a stranger than family. I would certainly take the stance with her and her other children that it is your home and that you are willingly taking care of the nasty old bat, they need to help - they could take her to lunch and shopping or come and sit with her, on days when you want to have company, let your son have a play date etc. Not only does that at least give you a little respite but it also gives them a dose of her which may make them more understanding.
Keep the lines of communication open with your husband and kids especially your youngest son - families have gone thru this kind of stuff for years and come thru it - don't let her mean and insular nature set the standard for your home, treat her with respect and request she do the same to you, explain, explain the situation to your son and show him that you can rise above it and as a family work together to make this very difficult situation better. Good luck, I know that this is not easy.
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SusieQ: I completely understand your frustration. My situation is different, but spending hundreds of hours reading fellow caregiver stories in many different forums, I have learned that the core issue is the type of dementia patient the caregiver/family is trying to care for. Some dementia patients suffer severe symptoms of fear. This is manifested in anger and lashing out. Mixed with the damaged brain's cognitive inability to know right from wrong (socially acceptable) words to use, the patient can say extremely shocking and insulting things. In my research, this is more common with vascular dementia types (stroke, heart, etc.).

Sometimes, if you can identify what is making them fearful (you will SEE anger, but it is really fear), then you can address that fear and calm them. Sometimes, you can not. I know, with my husband, if I don't recognize it right away, then it becomes a full-blown panic-attack (verbal explosion) and I have to ride it out until the meds the doctor gave me to 'slip him' kick in. Never argue with them.

Sometimes leaving is simply not an option for different reasons. Do not feel bad about your commitment to keep her home and care for her. This is a common issue and completely do-able. Let me give you some hope.

First, One of the best tips I learned here from the Angels, is to write out a list of all her symptoms (without emotion) and take it to her doctor. Also explain that you and your family are committed to homecare. Come straight out and ask the doctor for medications to control the depression and temper episodes. My husband is on several for depression and I have a Xanax prescription for anxiety attacks.

As you gain experience identifying the triggers, you can slip her a Xanax before the event that causes stress and fear for her. My husband goes from satan's spawn to super-duper lovey and compliant within 10 minutes. It is totally her fear that is making her act this way. Learn to identify the triggers; address them beforehand and get some meds.

Once you get her to the doctor, he can order periodic homecare from skilled nurses to come into your home x-days a week to help you and your family with her care-all covered by Medicare. Depending on her supplemental plan, the cost is minimal. (for us, it's $20 co-pay per visits). If you can only afford 1 visit a week ($80 month), then that is still some respite.

Slow your roll and take a deep inhale. Put emotion in your pocket and think like an investigator. Please keep us posted. Here is a big 'ol hug for you...(squeeze)
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When was the last time MIL was seen by her doctor? Has she ever been seen by a geriatric psychiatrist to be evaluated for depression? Do you all see this behavior as normal? If not, why isn't someone getting this seen to?

I'm a big believer in prayer, but also in the idea that God helps those who help themselves. Start by taking some action. Call mils doctor and make an appointment for her to be seen.
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Like CMagnum, I'm not suggesting that you leave your husband permanently. I am suggesting that you remove your children from your home at once to protect them from the abusive behavior exhibited by a person living in the household. Probably Child Protective Services would do the same given the info you presented. Better mama keeping them at a hotel or shelter or a friend's house than to be in foster care until the situation is resolved.

I have an 8 year old boy myself and some other children. This mama bear doesn't let anyone mess with my baby bears.
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I like everyone here am more concerned for the mental health of your 8-year old son and the effect all of what you have described will have when he has his own family.

That being said, it seems like you and your husband are handling things as well as could be expected under the circumstances. The things your MIL does are things that everyone would react to differently. She doesn't shower; she won't use her incontinence underwear, she's downright nasty to everyone except those lucky siblings who aren't there, don't want to be there and will make sure to stay away BUT do want their opinions about keeping her out of a home to matter and to hold sway. I think it is about time for you and your husband to make plans for WW III but make sure you have planned well and have all your ducks in a row before the proverbial first shot is fired.

I don't know how big your house is or if you really love it and love living there. However the first shot over the bow could be an announcement that you are selling your home (you don't have to give any reasons really) and it is time for everyone to consider other living arrangements for BIL and MIL. You and your husband and sons could start fresh in a downsized (if necessary) comfortable home just the right size for your sons and your husband and you. Now the "other" siblings will just have to get involved and help deal with what now will be the new living arrangements for everyone. As you are busy trying to help your husband keep his business alive and you are busy selling your home in order to ______ (you fill in the blanks) your husband's siblings will at the very least need to get involved to the extent of locating the best new home possible for their Mother. Wouldn't you think? If not a one of them steps forward, this the scenario that is most likely to happen, then you and your husband owe them nothing in return and even better you should feel free, (of course once the two of you are happy with your decisions and whatever else you did in order to return to your previous life which I hope was as a small but happy and contented "nuclear family" of your own meaning), should you wish, to bring in the "specialists" and let them figure out the best place, taking into account their own personal and relevant circumstances, for your BIL and MIL. These specialists seem to be everywhere these days. They are the people, for instance like those you would meet at the local Council on Aging, (generally a wonderful group of people and almost always the best single place with which to start any search for help in family matters like yours) whose job and credentials and professional interests, make them well-suited and especially capable of identifying family situations that seem on the verge of exploding and working out manageable solutions that actually have a chance of working out, leaving even the biggest whiners and the grumpiest complainers, with very little or possibly even nothing to complain about. God forbid! In the meantime protect your eight year old son as much as you can, encourage him to be with his friends outside the house, make certain he knows that what is going on in an aberration and that life is not usually like this, though bad things can always be out there. With your MIL I would either avoid her as much as possible (unless that causes problems) and then try to take little steps to get your messages across. Like the pooping in the bed, which naturally in the most vivid thing you mentioned and so it comes to mind "quickly". In that same way please don't rush in t"quickly" o clean it up the poop quite so "quickly." Maybe as it lingers there it will open more of her senses besides just that of "smell." BTW all of what I have said above would be very different if you had begun your post by telling us your MIL had throughout her life been a kind and loving person, MIL and GM. Good luck to you.
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I cant imagine that WW III over moving her will be as bad as the WW II that you are in right now. At least the war would be moved to another location. You and your family need that geographical distance.

Please make an appointment for your MIL's evaluation of her dementia to be updated and don't let her be the only one who informs the doctor of what is going on; get husband and other siblings together for a family meeting; explain the daily reality without getting dramatic; inform them of the doctor's input and then ask for their support in moving her out.

I didn't mean totally leave your husband, but take a couple of nights off with your young son to get out of the abusive environment. It's not about being "that kind of person." Sorry that you took it that way.

Take care and take no prisoners! Keep in touch.
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I would like to thank everyone for the comments/answers. It means a lot to me, knowing that there are people out there that care enough to take the time to respond to others in need of support.

Our situation is very complicated on so many levels. I'd have to write a book to explain it all. So for now, I am here. I'll protect my youngest son from the drama as I work on what comes next. I love my husband and would never consider leaving him with this situation on his own. He is doing the best he can for right now. We made a promise to each other through good and bad; I intend to keep that promise. It is hard for him to do much more because he owns his own business (one of the many complications) and has to keep it going through all of this (IT'S STRESSFUL for him too). It is only him and my middle son doing the work. If he stops working, the jobs stop. I work for the business at home doing phone and bookkeeping. If he does not work, all 3 of us loose our paychecks.

As far as $, MIL and BIL both collect something, him from dissability and her from SS. They do contribute to the bills. MIL is all set on autopay by me so I do not have to worry about keeping up with that (I take care of her account for the most part) because she can no longer take care of bills or money. We have a "house account" that we all deposit into.

I know some will view me as weak for not getting up and leaving but it is just not that easy. If the tables were turned my husband wouldn't either. I guess we are just not "that kind of person". So maybe we opened the door to all of this and now need to figure a way out but with his 4 other sibilings, 3 of which are not touched by any of this on a daily basis; World war 3 will undoublty errupt over moving her out and into a home until she is on her last breathe. That is a guarentee!
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Stop. It sounds like the "may be suffering from Alzeimer's/Dementia" has become is suffering from it and suffering badly. Your husband and you need some of the information form this site to educate yourself about this disease. How long has it been since she was fully evaluated by her doctor?

Stop trying to put yourself in her shoes. She's depressed and abusive and she's in dire medical shape with dementia it sounds like to me.

Stop offering yourself and your 8 year old son as targets for her abuse. Until she can get medical help, ya'll don't need to continue to be her easy targets.

Stop praying and waiting for things to change. Make things change by doing the following.

Stop searching your soul, search your heart as a mother, and take your son out of that abusive environment for at least several nights in a hotel and on the way out of the door tell your husband that she's his mom, she's needs serious medical help and somewhere else to live, and you will return when he can tell you that he has the ball rolling in the right direction, but just say this as calmly as possible without yelling. There's already too much emotional drama in the house.

Your husband should have stopped offering you and ya'lls 8 year old son as convenient abuse targets for his mom. As a husband and a father, I would not have stood for this inside of my house. I would have gotten her to the doctor to find out what was going on with her and moved her if need be. It's no wonder the other children don't come around anymore. They have no idea what do for an out of control mom and are probably afraid and just as lost as to what to do.

Take care of yourself and your son. Maybe your husband will follow your example and take care of ya'll as well as himself by getting something positive done for his mother by stop letting her walk all over this whole situation. She's out of control and needs serious help. Praying, soul searching, trying to identify with MIL and being patient with her while getting the @#$%! knocked out of you will not bring about any productive good.

Evidently, your husband is powerless to make the first move. So, you will need to make the first move by protecting yourself and your son.

Do take care of you and your son this afternoon. Keep in touch. Let us know how things work out Keep coming here to vent and ask questions, but most importantly take the first step in getting out of the drama of mama by doing what you need to do to protect your son and you. Good luck! It will all work out.
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