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My M-I-L recently was diagnosed with late stage cancer and has moved in with us to be closer to treatment.

Problem is, I do not like the woman, . There are deep rooted issues as well as she is just selfish and has a very negative attitude about everything (so contagious). She is eternally ungrateful. This is why I stopped visiting her ten years ago; in the last 10 years I have seen her only a handful of times.

Now that she is living with us, she expects to be waited on, even though she is not weak or frail, yet. She is ever present and disrespectful. I have asked for alone time, but she interrupts for the smallest reason. It has gotten to the point where when it is time to come home from work I get physically ill.

I know my husband needs my support, but it is so hard to be there. I have considered moving out of the house and renting a room just to get away.

I can't discuss my feelings with my husband because he gets upset that I don't like his mom and feels like I am badmouthing her (maybe I am?).

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Amanda, reading through some of these posts and I am sad to see such a load placed on your shoulders. No you should not just suck it up. You are the daughter-in-law, not the son or daughter. Out of the goodness of your heart you are taking care of your mother-in-law. Does your husband have siblings? It is up to your husband as to how much he will allow your MIL to disrespect you. If he doesn't have the nerve to address this, it is time to find other arrangements for her. This is very unfair to you. I know some would have you feel guilty, but this woman has never treated you as a daughter.
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Amanda, I have had full blown panic attacks and I can tell you that during the attack she has no idea that it starts in her head. Then if people act dismissive it makes it worse. On the other hand you can't coddle the attack. There are a few tricks that might help her if you set them in motion before the attack. First make sure she knows that even though she is definitely feeling what she's feeling that it is adrenaline that is causing it, she can't die from it. If it gets to the point she passes out her body will take over and breath on it's on. Once she feels it happening she can breath into a small paper bag , she can also consciously force herself to count between inhales. For example: Inhale on a count to 3 , exhale on a count of 5 - counting slowly.
Also depending on where she has cancer that might worsen this problem.
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Tigerlilly, I do believe you are right. Hubby and I talked about it last night. What really made me think that it was anxiety was that she had one just before the CT last night.
I do think we ALL need counseling.
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What I am trying to say is that she most certainly fears death (most people do) and she feels vulnerable and alone. She knows she has cancer, she starts to think about it, she is alone and home, her fear rises and BAM...hyperventilation that she doesn't even recognize.
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I just had a thought about mom's breathing problem. Do you think mom is hyperventilating? Many years ago when I was a young mother I use to hyperventilate which causes impairs breathing, causes dizziness and makes your heart beat triple time. I still have this occur occasionally when I am stressed. The thing is that when it is happening you don't realize that it can't kill you, you assume your dying and the more fearful you become the more you hyperventilate. Usually once someone talked to me and calmed me down the issue went away. It is a psyhcological problem, but the person having the problem doesn't know that. You think you are dying. If this is the case, counseling would probably help her a lot!
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Amanda, your hubby is in an impossible situation. He loves his mom and his wife and can't please either of them. His mother is dying, and like you said he probably as a bunch of baggage from when he was a kid to work thru while she dies. Then his wife, who he knew didn't like his mom is becoming the woman that no man wants to be married to, a nag. Now as a woman myself I know how we tend to nag and do the passive aggressive manipulation to get our men to do our bidding, so let's just face that ok? Take your husband out on a date alone and tell him how much you love him (I'm assuming you do) and how much you admire his wanting to see his mom through till her death. That shows what a caring and unselfish person he is I think. Tell him you WANT to be supportive but you're having a hard time and ask for his help. Just throw out 1 or 2 problems that he can actually fix and see what he says. I also would sit mother-in-law down and tell her how sorry you are that she's dying of cancer (I'm assuming you are sorry) and how you wish she didn't have to go through this. Tell her you want to be there for her, but you're having a problem with (name the problem) be specific what it is you need her help with. Take both of them OFF the OFFENSE and get them to let down their walls. If you don't it'll be like hitting your head against a cement wall. Normally I would say that your husband should be putting his mother into a facility or something, but since she's dying I won't. Having just lost my own mom to cancer in April of this year, and seeing my dad take care of her as well as us kids, your mil needs to be around family while she's going through this. So I'm afraid if I were in your situation I'd suck it up, put on my happy face, plug in my ipod and go about my business. That is, if the things I suggested fell on deaf ears. Sorry
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HI AMANDA!

MUCH LOVE TO YOU. LET'S SEE IF I CAN HELP A LITTLE.
SOUNDS LIKE YOUR HUSBAND IS IN DENIAL AND M-I-L IS WHO SHE IS. YOU NEED TO KNOW AND UNDERSTAND CANCER (CAN BE) ROOTED IN UNFORGIVENESS TOWARDS GOD, YOUR SELF AND OTHERS. LET ME INTRODUCE YOU TO A SITE CALLED BEINHEALTH.COM. THERE YOU WILL FIND A BOOK: A MORE EXCELLENT WAY BY HENRY WRIGHT. HE HAS ALSO WRITTEN A BOOK NEW INSIGHTS TO CANCER. HOPE THIS HELPS YOU. TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF YOURSELF AND PUT YOUR ENERGIES INTO MAINTAINING YOUR MARRIAGE. WHEN YOU SUGGEST ALONE TIME, MAYBE IT IS TIME TO DO DATE NIGHT WITH YOUR HUSBAND OUT OF THE HOUSE. MEN DO NTO HANDLE SICKNESS LIKE WOMEN DO. YOUR RELATIONSHIP NEEDS A SHERO AND YOU ARE IT. DON'T LET THE PERSON YOUR M-I-L IS
CONTAMINATE YOU. YOU ARE GRACIOUS TO HAVE HER IN YOUR HOME. AND YES, PEOPLE WITH SUCH ISSUES ARE VERY DEMANDING. DO NOT ENABLE THE TOXIC BEHAVIORS. ENCOURAGE HER AS LOVINGLY AS YOU CAN TO BE INDEPENDENT MEANING ALLOW HER TO DO TEH THINGS SHE CAN UNTIL SHE CAN NO LONGER DO THEM. DON'T ENABLE. ENCOURAGE.
SAY YOUR PRAYERS AND I WILL BE PRAYING FOR YOU.
BLESSINGS,
DPRAYS
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"I am constantly summoned in the middle of the day, about once a week "she can't breathe" (this week it was three times)."

Not breathing is an emergency situation. When she calls you, say "OMG!!! Do not move I am calling 911" and do it. I sus pect that this attention seeking behavior will stop once you call her bluff. Let 911/ER handle it and stay at work until you hear from her.
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I say, do move out. Let the husband see what he is up against. Life is too short to put up with these things and people. Don't move back until you husband (child, really) has developed a backbone and became a good leader in his family. If that never takes place, then so be it. The marriage wasn't worth saving.
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You may want to point out to the hub that since he is so close to the situation it leaves very little room for perspective. That is why counseling is so important. If he won't go, you should go by yourself. You need to figure out how to deal with the situation until you two can resolve it. Many children are raised to think that they need to do everything for their parents regardless of how they were treated as children. You may suggest to the hub that his childhood issues may actually be getting in the way of getting appropriate care for his Mom.
In the meantime, you need to set limits. Inform the hub that HE will be taking Mom to the ER when she has "breathing problems." If he cannot get away from work, he will have to make arrangement for her to be transported to the ER until he can arrive. And follow through with it. You are jeopardizing your career, which he doesn't seem too worried about.
You are running interference between your hub and his Mom...and they are both taking advantage. Your MIL needs to be in an ALF. When she needs hospice, she can have it there. (btw, contact them...your MIL does not need to wait until her last days in order to qualify for it. Go online and look at the requirements. Cancer is one of the diseases on the list. Since she is healthy now, this might be the time to get her moved and start with the care.)
When you talk to the hub, tell him that you are going to look into a few ALFs just for information. Gather the information and narrow it down to one or two places. Then have your him and your MIL visit and choose.
Sometimes you just need to be proactive for yourself. If you continue to pick up the slack of caregiving for your hub and put up with the MIL's nasty behavior, this situation will only get worse. I hope the hub sees the light and starts to value you more.
good luck
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I am so sorry to hear about what you are going through. I, too, have a mother-in-law who is very hateful, controlling and manipulative. It is strange that her mother (1923) was only a year older than my dad (1924) and two years older than my mother (1925.) Her father (1919) who just died Thursday, was 5 years older than my parents. I was an orphan before my mother-in-law was. I also took care of my parents in my home where as she utilized assisted living and nursing homes. Not saying that is bad, but anytime my plight came up, she always said that I was young and could handle it. No sympathy much less empathy for what I went through nor any acknowledgment that I have MS. It was all about her and her woes. And of course, my parents were never as bad off as we said even when they were on hospice.

I totally respect you for putting up the boundaries you have with your relationship and not wanting to be around her. I have been able to do that because of distance, too. And fortunately, my husband does stand up for me for the most part. That is one of the most important things in this equation. I do think a talk is in order. Your health, sanity, and possibly your job is at stake. Everyone else seems to be falling apart and are expecting you to take care of everything, so you will need to stand up for yourself. Best to you.
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I care for a 78 yo emotionally abusive female family member with cancer also. One thing has helped: Xanax. 1/2 mg 5 times per day. It has changed the situation from an intolerable hell into something fairly manageable. Good luck with your situation.
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I think you should sit both MIL and Hubby down and have a big heart to heart discussion. Make it plain what the rules are and what is expected of everyone living under your roof. I think keeping things out in the open is the best way to handle it.
PS before you get everyone together, make sure your husband knows you expect his full support.
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Thanks everyone.

Lilliput, my MIL was living in a very rural area and the nearest treatment several hours away, she refuses (and once treatment begins, may be unable) to drive that far; we live in the city surrounded by great hospitals. We discussed it and there are not many options. Her move in with us was intended to be for the duration of treatment, and she should move back after that is complete, but the cancer is so advanced palliative care is the only option. I know there will be a time when hospice care is needed, but at this point she is not ill enough.

I have been trying to get hubby to counseling for the stress of the illness and care taking, but also because he is taking this so hard. I think there are a lot of issues that remain from when he was a child and I think he is still trying to please her and get her approval, but never will. He thinks that counseling is for the weak and will not be able to help.

Just like RLP, I have been avoiding home because I think she is mainly seeking attention. I am constantly summoned in the middle of the day, about once a week "she can't breathe" (this week it was three times). When I pick her up, she is fine, not until she is on the phone with hubby or in the ER (with a nurse around) does she start to wheeze and cough; when people leave, she is fine. Doctor’s can’t find any reason for the symptoms. Hubby can’t respond to these calls because of the nature of his job, he cannot just tell the boss “family emergency” and walk away (I also fear my boss may be getting fed up with this too).

When I try to discuss the attention seeking or putting limits on her stay is when I am accused of badmouthing.

I just feel like I am trapped in this situation with no way to get out.
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My store may be close to yours I will explain I hope you do not get mad.
My boyfriend had lived in my home for 9 years,he was a drunk however I thought I could change him.I am getting to the point.I kicked him out after I had had enough.I did not hear from him left on really bad terms.Finally one day 1year and 7 months later he showed up at my door looking terrible.I promise I am getting to the point.He was 6'2 tall when he left he showed up to be 5' he had bone cancer which had crushed his discs in his back bone on bone.He came with my gargage door opener and a look of death.At this point all the anger and hatefull things that had been so much of our relationship where no longer important,the sorrow in his eyes and the aloneness was so over welming that I could not turn him away.I took care of him for 3 years before he finally died ,I missed 73 days of work the last year of his life because no one was there for him because he had treated people so badly.But, in those 3 years and the final week I know I had consold a dying man.All he had wanted is to be cared for and loved,so I hope you can put your self in your mother in laws shoes,knowing you will probably die from this terrible disease you want to be taken care of like a child,and you want to be loved,you will find if you get rid of your anger you will feel better and the relationship between you and your mother in law may even become a friendship.And I know your husband will love you more for this,do not move out stay for the long haul and you will be rewarded with a sense of honor that you were able to over come adveristy and give to another human being.
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The real problem here is you husband. You must be first in his life and something tells me his passive agressive behavior is not helping. I know, this is the way my husband behaves. When his mother was alive she could do no wrong. She was a very nice lady but intrusive in our lives about religious matters and how we raised our kids. He also has a sister who was very much like your mother-in-law. He never stood up for me. Let him do most of the work since she is his mother and you may see some changes. Good luck
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Your story is not unusual. My mother in law just detested me because I existed and was married to her son. Yet, I was the one she selected to care for her when she was ill. I finally had to find work related activities that kept me from home a great deal of the time because she wasn't really as ill she wanted us to think - just wanted constant attention. She soon decided to move. Good Luck!
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How was it decided that your MIL should move in with you? You say that she is still relatively healthy - could she live in assisted living with extra help from you two? Who is handling all her care? If it isn't a "team" effort, your husband will never understand how many demands are placed on the primary caregiver.
You two need to sit down and make a game plan. How long will his Mom be there before you need to consider an alternative? At some point, you two will not have the medical expertise that will be needed. Have you considered calling hospice to see what they can offer? Ask her doctor about it. (btw, hospice care can take place anywhere)
Until you have a calm, rational discussion with your hub, where no one becomes emotional or accuses "badmouthing," nothing will change. Maybe if you went out of town to visit a friend and left the hub with the full responsibility he may see how taxing this is for you. Also, set a time limit for when you two will look for alternate living space for her.
I fear that this situation will make you physically ill. It is difficult to combine two households under the best of circumstances. With your history with your MIL, it may be impossible.
Have lots of talks with the hub. Counseling may be good too, if you are at an impass. Do it sooner than later.
good luck
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Also, I feel guilty and selfish about the way I feel.
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