So my husband is going to see his family in the next week or two. He started a talk with his mother about what they want/need when an emergency happens, and when he goes to see them he's planning to ask where all the paperwork is and talk with MIL about his dad having memory issues. We are hoping to talk his parents into to re-scheduling the memory studies—MIL cancelled because FIL was scared they'd give him a lobotomy. I can't believe this is finally going to happen. I wish it had come sooner. I worry it could be almost too late, but I am thankful.... At the same time, I am having trouble believing it will happen until it actually does.

It really surprises me for as much as his mom has vented to me about the stress of caring for her parents (who are both still alive) and trying to find help for them she seems super in denial about how much it will turn our lives upside down if she doesn't make plans with us for her and her husband's care if she is incapacitated. They live hours away from us, and she really injured herself in July to the point she needed therapy. She wasn't supposed to drive so she had FIL (who has been having hallucinations and memory loss) do it. I've noticed they buy a new car every year.

They gaslighted us saying it's every 3 years (it is not) and their financial advisor told to do it, and DH believed it. I don't buy it. I've noticed FIL's quirky behaviors for 9 years. MIL denied it and even normalized his oddball behavior while it was happening. MIL finally was upfront about it this summer. Guess how long it's been going on? 10 YEARS!

I've been carrying anger about this for a while. I had an abusive family (that I finally walked away from for the sake of my child and husband—as much as for myself). They had gaslighted me through childhood about physical and emotional abuse and even being kidnapped. It's taken years of therapy to work through that and to actually see life for what it is. On top of that, DH didn't seem to get how bad the abuse from my family was until he actually saw my stepfather get violent with me a number of years ago. Then he was right there with my gazillion therapists telling me "this is not normal" and supporting me every moment to set up healthy boundaries. As much as it confounds me that it wasn't real to him until he witnessed it, I will forever be thankful for that. It's part of why I am trying to be as supportive as possible for him through this.

But this stuff has been triggering for me. I know it is human nature to hide things like this when you are afraid and to normalize them. I know dementia is an older person's greatest fear over death. Still, I feel resentful on so many levels...and I feel stupid, too, for not pushing my observations on DH harder earlier (though I don't believe there would have been a kind or even healthy way to do that as he was so strongly in denial until this summer). DH is finally taking action going to visit his parents. Some people here suggested I come with him, but this first time, he asked to see/talk with his parents on his own. I feel that is the right choice. His father doesn't trust me at all.

I feel pretty angry with them all. I feel like our lives could be put on hold or even into a state of chaos, because MIL unrealistically expects us to swoop in and rescue them and until this point, DH was completely wearing rose-colored glasses.... He finally has been waking up since his mom told us about his dad's memory issues and hallucinations. I tell him about my fears. I believe he is listening and will do his best, but I still feel angry about it.

So how can I put these feelings away for now? My anger (and his own at this whole situation) is causing a wedge in our marriage. It's also complicated my relationship with/feelings for my ILs. I love them. I used to call MIL once a week. Now I don't feel comfortable speaking with her, because I'm so angry about this and also scared of what I hear from her next. She keeps getting hurt or sick, and she keeps torturing herself (and keeping herself from having a life outside her home) to take care of her husband. It's like watching a slow accident and not being able to do anything when you actually should be able to.

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Thank you, Everyone! I needed to vent. I appreciate you listening and the advice.

Yes... I have been limiting the few conversations we've had since July to chitchat. I think she needed that, too. But I need to get over the fear of speaking with her and take charge to keep our chats upbeat for a bit so she is not feeling alone, but I am not getting pummeled with sadness (at least for a while until I can handle listening again)... I love her, but I was getting fried and frusterated.

DH said he really appreciated when I've updated him. His mom will not talk to him about the scary hard stuff, and he said I've been helping him wake up a little faster and take action sooner than he would have one his own. She doesn't want to "trouble" him. I understand that as a mom...but I feel it is so important to be upfront with kids—especially about the hard stuff. I hope we remember this in 20 years before we get to that stage in life so our child never has to go through this.

DH is getting information now. He said he's going to keep asking tough questions and not let go until he gets answers. I know I need to let myself trust him and be more patient. Trust issues are my Achilles heel. I'm used to being let down and hurt by those closest to me, and I need to stop expecting that.

So I will be supportive in other ways—like researching local care for them in case (when) an emergency happens. When DH comes back from his trip, hopefully we with have more 411 to work with things and hopefully DH and ILs can set things up so everyone is ready if/when an emergency happens.
Helpful Answer (2)

Greta, I faced a similar situation with my failing parents beginning about 6 years ago. I was left as the last man standing to deal with dads dementia and moms health issues.

Luckily I got involved just in time, was able to get POA, legal stuff and financial stuff taken over. It wasn't easy and I'm just now wrapping up some loose ends.

Hubs needs to learn how to handle dementia. It can take some finess, fibbing a little and accepting the fact that elders reasoning is no longer good. Explaining, arguing etc are not effective with elders when the executive reasoning is slipping.

Anger, feelings......Oh yeah. My folks are good people but did little to prepare for old age. Your hubs will be going through just what I did. My advice, take a breath, dive in, do all that the elders will allow , but maintain your life and marriage first.

Also, I'm 600 miles away. I'm not moving home nor will I move my folks in with me. My wife is very supportive but I would not do that to my marriage. As things fall apart I may have to move one or both of my folks closer to us, but right now they are stubbornly hanging on on their home.
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All of us project our past experiences onto current situations, even reading on this forum it is clear that some of the things that are real hot button issues for some people don't phase others in the least. I'm glad your DH is finally overcoming his denial, but don't bee too frustrated if it is just baby steps!
Is it possible to re-set your relationship with your MIL to more of an arms length one? By that I mean do not allow her to dump her worries on you but tell her she needs to talk to DH about that, keep the conversations with her friendly chit chat. There is another thread right now that you might identify with - I'm so disheartened and angry
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I don't know that anyone can plan well enough so that there isn't some upheaval in their adult children's lives, but I do understand your stance as well. I only wish that there at been more peace in dealing with the transitions within my own family. Trust me, there were so many times that I was later proven 'right' about the issues, but now it's a family deeply divided.
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