Help me cope. FIL has been living with us for 5 years. I am at my wits end.

Follow
Share

I am at wits end. My FIL has been living with me for 5 years. He is a hoarder. It took me 2+year to clean out and sell his home and cost me around 20k. He lives with me complains and doesn’t eat. He spends at least $1k a month on himself with means more junk in my house and doesn’t even pay for his food much less any other expenses in our home. I suffer so he can waste.


He won’t let us have our privacy even in so much as closing his door so we don’t have to hear his super loud tv as he is has bad hearing. Sometimes it feels like I am in a concentration camp with multiple loud sounds to make me crazy. I can’t even relax in my own home. I am committed to his care. Cleaning, feeding and housing him. I work full time (actually about 50hr/wk) But it’s always about him. I just want my entire family to have a vacation to look forward to but we can’t.


My 16yr old lost his childhood when my FIL moved in as he is used by my husband for care for his father as well. I am at wits end. I feel so used by a man that has the means to help out financially here (big time) but won’t and is constantly complaining and actingly like he has some sort of right to run this house hold (into the ground) we are all so depressed we are about to fail. My first post...anybody help by at least empathizing?

24

Answers

Show:
He "doesn’t even pay for his food much less any other expenses in our home"

Nuh uh, no way - that has got to stop. Everyone pays their own way in this life and he should too, there is no way you should be giving him a free ride at your own expense. There is a difference between offering compassion and care and allowing yourself and your family to be his doormat, this arrangement needs to be renegotiated ASAP.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to cwillie
Report

Get.him.out. My son lost his childhood to my narcissistic father's incessant
demands. I'm now cashing out my retirement paying for health costs due
to damage incurred during his care. My son is furious. His other friend's grandparents are warm and loving to them. His narcissistic grandfather is
warm and loving too, but only to strangers My father only speaks to my son to ask him to do chores.

If getting him out seems too drastic, please take the other's advice. Lay down
the law, and make him contribute. I too scrimped and did without. And all
that did is encourage my father and his hanger's on to just assume more
money in the pie for them.

The kicker was when my husband died my father assumed I would lavish the
insurance money on him. Despite the fact he has enough to take care of all
his expenses. I truly think he was hoping to use all of my funds and keep his
intact to snag a young babe (he made some comments to that effect) . He's well into his 90's.

Narcissists will use you until there is nothing left. Your situation completely sucks now. Imagine though, unless you do something, it is only a warm up
for much worse to come.

My health is broken due to many many years of care giving and unremitting stress. And my experience is quite common. Simply put, your FIL is using your money and home to benefit himself. Your suffering is meaningless to him. Only you can protect yourself and your son. I very much hope your husband can see the light before it's too late. You could end up unable to work, with serious health care expenses and an unfunded retirement taking care of your FIL's expenses and needs. Please take heed of all the poster's here and our
concerns. Protect yourself.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to bettina
Report
bigsun Sep 2, 2018
Thank you. Your dad and mine could have been separated twins
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
" I am committed to his care. Cleaning, feeding and housing him. I work full time (actually about 50hr/wk)" Why are you committed to his care? Was this your idea or your husband's? I hope your husband is doing the hands-on care for FIL -- after all, he's HIS father.

I feel sorry for your son. When I was growing up, my grandmother lived with us briefly (probable Alzheimer's), until she had to be put in a nursing home. I don't remember those few months fondly at all. It was totally disruptive to our family.

How did you and your H get stuck with FIL's care? Does he have other siblings? If so, and there is the usual, "Oh, we can't put Papa in a facility!!!" outcry, then it's time for one of those sibs to step up and take FIL off your hands.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to CTTN55
Report
JoAnn29 Aug 30, 2018
Her profile says she told deceased MIL she would take care of things.
(0)
Report
Venting here is fine. That’s what this forum is for. However, we can’t stand up to your husband and father-in-law for you. If you want things to change, you will have to stand up for yourself to both of them.

First, this is your home, right? Did FIL pitch in money to buy this house? Is your name on the deed? If so, FIL does not respect your privacy so that absolves you from respecting his. Hoarding is not only expensive, it’s unsanitary and dangerous. Any part of his “hoard” that has leaked out of his room into the rest of your house has to go. Throw it out or donate it. I would say clean his room as well, but small steps. Anything he orders from now on goes back. Refuse delivery.

He must stop freeloading. I would even go so far as putting locks on the frig and cupboards. It would certainly get your point across. From now on, he pays 1/3 of the household expenses. If you don’t already have a separate account for your own, personal finances, open one now. As long as FIL freeloads, you make no contribution to the family finances.

Finally and most importantly, if your husband is one of those who’s about to implode, speak very frankly with him. Get some brochures from facilities and tell them this is it. Tell your son, if he’s not already, to join clubs at school, sports, whatever. He needs to be unavailable. Stand up to husband on his behalf and tell husband your son is no longer going to be an uncompensated home healthcare worker. If husband says he foots the bill for your son, remind him he’s also footing the bill for Pops and his dad does nothing.

This is truly a situation where you need to put on your Big Girl Panties and speak up. Things change or Dad goes to a facility, or if he’s competent, Independent Living.

Good luck. Let us know how it works out.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Ahmijoy
Report

A lot of us empathize with you - many of us have been in some version of your situation. I think many of us want the parent or in-law that moves into our home to be "welcomed" and don't look into what we want/need as a future sustainable state before or at the time of the move. We back into these situations where the elder is dominating our home. I compliment you on still being commited to your FIL's care despite your less than wonderful experiences.

The dynamic of your household needs to change. That's hard to do after things have run along a different path for several years but it is doable. Painful but doable. When you start turning things around, the household tension level may get worse before it gets better. You do not list dementia as one of your FIL's problems so I'm going to assume FIL is capable of changing his behavior.

First, your FIL needs to join the household as a member and stop being a guest. Guests don't share household expenses but members do. If he's 1/4 of the household then he needs to be paying at least 1/4 of the household expenses. As a member of your and your husband's household, your FIL needs to understand that his _requests_ will be considered, but he (like your son) is a non-voting household member.

Second, as a member of the household, FIL needs to confine his things to his room while retaining enough space within that room for himself and others to safely maneuver. When he fails to do that, you or your husband will choose and discard as needed to return his room to the desired state.

Third, maybe you need to look for some compromises that would accommodate your FIL's needs while still making things tolerable for the family. A hearing amplifier that sits on a nearby table or hangs around the neck with ear buds allows the hearing impaired to hear without high sound levels. Maybe a wireless intercom system would make FIL feel he would be heard if he needed help and more willing to close the door.

I hope your son didn't really lose his childhood caring for his grandfather. I don't think helping his grandfather like a child would be expected to help any other member of the household is harmful. I occasionally expect/require older siblings to help or take younger siblings to the bathroom, put on a movie for them, fix a sippy cup, etc.. If your son didn't attend his events or couldn't invite his friends over because of your FIL's presence, then that's regrettable and he probably did lose at least some of his childhood.

I get a feeling from your post that finances are tighter than is comfortable right now and that the financial stress might be making other stresses/issues more irritating. Hopefully if you can taking the first step above will help resolve the financial aspects.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to TNtechie
Report

Unlike many of you, I made my decision long ago that mom would not be living with me (or me with her.) Even before the dementia, 4 hours was the MAXIMUM I could tolerate her and her behavior and prejudices (maximum mind you, not the minimum, which was about 10 minutes one time!!)

With onset of dementia, it became clear to me that she would have to move. When brothers heard the cost at the first place we checked, they were all gung-ho to take her in for that amount. Sure bros, but try to understand first what you are taking on!! She, on the other hand, now had it in her head that she was "fine", "independent" and could "cook." Despite having enough funds to cover AL and checking them out for years, so it was her intent to make use of one, she adamantly refused to move, even if it was in with bros. One has 10+ years more before he can retire, has no room for her in his place and would not be home to monitor her. That won't work. The other lives 2 days away and during a recent visit didn't even know how to relate to her during a short visit - whatcha gonna do with her all day every day dude?

On top of being unable to stand some of her behaviors, she outweighs me by a lot, esp since gaining 20 more lbs, so I could not lift her if I wanted to, and she cannot do stairs - the only ways in/out of my place involve full flights of stairs. Additionally she tolerated us having a dog while growing up, but always tells me to stop adopting if/when I lose one. I have many cats, which would drive her nuts AND they could be a trip hazard for her sometimes. Then there is ongoing construction (purchased needing some rehab, not done yet, not even close!)

Even with a special caring relationship and some assistance, eventually full time care-giving is likely to take a toll. All my best wishes to those of you who have taken someone in to care for and my sympathies to those who have no alternative. Those who can find an alternative, do it! Without guilt, as you have done your time and need to ensure your future health and retirement funds!
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to disgustedtoo
Report
bigsun Sep 2, 2018
Thank you
(1)
Report
I most definitely Empathize with you, as my FIL came to live with us at the age of 74, after his wife passed away, because he was terrified to live on his own, but he always did pay his own way.

Having him here for 13 years until he passed away at age 87 put an incredible amount of stress and pressure on our living situation, as as he aged and became more frail (and a fall risk), he became even more dependant upon us, to the point where we were unable to let him stay home alone, which caused us to become near shut-ins, right there beside him.

My FIL was also a Narcissist, and our lives became All About Him. He had an elevated sense of self, and tried everything possible to rule us through (FOG) FEAR, OBLIGATION AND GUILT. "You can't leave me her alone, what if I fall", "who will cook my dinner, I'll starve", "you PROMISED you would Never put me in a home", I'm going to leave you All This money, so you Have to take care of me", "look at all I've done for you, you Have to take care of me", and the ever present I'll Never go to a Nursing home, they are Horrible places", So we were stuck with him, all by ourselves as his other 2 adult children refused all and any help whatsoever, and now I understand why. He was Difficult their whole lives!

In the last year of his life, when my husband and I were at our wits end, we convinced him that him being here was taking it's toll on our lives, our health and our marriage, so we placed him into an Assisted living facility, just around the corner from our house. It Worked out pretty well for me, but it definitely was still a lot of work for my husband, who visited him every day (old brainwashing goes deep), and took care of his every need. 12 weeks in, he fell and laid on the floor overnight until he was found the next day by my husband, he was transported to the hospital where they diagnosed him with Pneumonia, and upon further tests and investigation they found a mass in his lung, suspected Cancer, which had metastasized to his rib bones. Upon release from the hospital, it was decided he would return to our home on Hospice care, where he passed 9 weeks later.

We made very big mistakes from the get go, he Never should have been allowed to come live with us from the start. We would have better served him (and us) had we set him up in an Apartment near our home, let him Learn to be self sufficient, but he begged us for Years prior to losing his wife, again, all part of being a Narcissist.

I wish I had known then, what I know now, as I did care about him, but I just wish we hadn't given up so many years of our lives and set boundaries from the start.

Please, learn from our mistakes, find out all you can about alternative Senior Living Apartments, Assisted living, Board and Care homes, and follow through getting him set up in one. Your Lives, Your Marriage depends on it!
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to staceyb
Report
bigsun Sep 1, 2018
Great. I'm not making mistake s
(0)
Report
See 2 more replies
Bottom line, you have ONE life.
You don’t get a “do-over”.

I have been in similar situation, caring for my own mother (16 years). My husband and I are captives to her care. Have not had a vacation in 4 years. Have a pop-up camper but no opportunities for weekend getaways. Siblings who will not share with care. My guilt is that this choice of mine, and it IS A CHOICE, changes life for my husband also.

Someday soon I will be too old myself for taking a nature hike. I will have given my life away.

Start by contacting your county Council on Aging, or whatever it’s called where you live. They will help find alternatives. Then DO IT. Get him out.

Remember, no “do-overs”. This is your life.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Starfish
Report
disgustedtoo Sep 2, 2018
Maybe use those same resources to find respite care for your mother and take a long overdue and well deserved vacation.

As you yourself said, you only have one go-round, no do-overs... a long weekend, a week, even two, go for it!!!!! You might like it so much that you get a do-over on that... ;-)
(5)
Report
It seems your FIL has no sons or daughters. Why are YOU doing this? Why have you become the only responsable for such a hard duty? Why were you left alone with this? … Don´t you think it´s time to put some boundaries, some rules? What else are you going to accept.?
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Paula44
Report

GOOD Grief! I am frustrated for you too!  If you don't mind my asking, where is your husband (his son) in all of this?  It sounds like you are the A-Z in this whole affair.... 

Five years it about five years too long it sounds like. 
Like me, it sounds like there were no "ground rules" established when he moved in.  While my FIL is not a hoarder, I can understand how frustrating this is.  While it may sound like a foregone conclusion, let me just say that NOW is the time to sit him down and let him know your family's expectations.  It is absolutely ridiculous that he is spending $ on more junk than help take care of himself and his costs.  IF he lived anywhere else he would have to.  Just because he is there does not give him the right to sponge off your family and continue to make not future plans....  If you keep this up, you will be crazy and broke.  Also, while it is great to have kids help as in a normal family unit they should and would want to, it is much different when a cranky elder is living in the home and stealing everyone's peace of mind.

YOU NEED a vacation, and not just one every 5 years.  The reason I can say this loud and clear is because I am in the same boat, with never planning anything for just us.  I do not have a square inch of house to myself other than my bedroom. 

The upshot is that you have got to get your husband in the loop and formulate a plan (together).  Believe me, I know all about being the "relationship DD"....  If FIL can't comply, then let him deal with living somewhere else, end of story.

Hope that helps some, please keep us posted!
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to sidelined
Report

See All Answers
Related
Questions