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My MIL lives with my wife and I, in a rental home. My MIL has threatened my life and has mental health issues, and my wife’s family won't help, stating their mother has burned that bridge. This woman has cheated the system for years. She has scammed and schemed to get assistance that she may or may not need; she refuses to follow her doctors orders, “self-detoxing” is what she calls it. My wife is afraid of her mom ending up in the street, meanwhile I fear MIL as she sleepwalks with kitchen knives. Needless to say, I don’t sleep. My wife and I just celebrated our 1st anniversary, having been together since the day we met, four plus years ago. Literally have spent only one night apart the entire time.
I am so in love with my wife, however, I cannot live like this any longer. MIL is a hoarder. She has destroyed this rental house, which she has never paid a penny to live in, meanwhile, her eldest daughter refuses to assist us or, as her financial caretaker, see that MIL needs to help with the bills. We live in a very warm climate most of the year, as an example, our electric bill is 3x the avg house in the entire city of millions. MIL demands the HEAT is on and set to 80 year round! So I have to sleep with a portable AC for a 600sq ft space, as my bedside table. Our water bill is 4x the median since MIL trained her 13 year old dog to pee on blankets she lays on the floor, which she washes one at a time, all day long. I am afraid. COVID got me hard, work has not been easy to find, and I have received zero unemployment or stimulus. My wife, she is amazing, has a great job and the luxury of working remotely, but she is going crazy too. Her and I argue, constantly, about the situation, and I ask for her to see it from my perspective, but she cannot. I give her options for resolution but, any attempt with her mother is met with an immediate attack or my wife just gets to her boiling point and blows up at me. My family is near, and we try to see them a few times a week, only to be accused of abusing MIL. She threatens to call the cops everyday, she has threatened my life but I cannot call PD or I may lose my wife. I am lost and soon may not be found.
The fact of the matter is, this is just the tip of the iceberg. My MIL needs help, serious help, but I have witnessed her play the role for a few mental health professionals, showing them her best behavior, only to see them drive off and her true colors return. How can a mental health professional spend a few hours with an individual and state that the individual is of sound mind? Why would the state not require her to be taken in for an actual assessment? She is a danger to herself, but others more so, myself included.

Get rid of the knives 🔪
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The OP has not returned.
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Beatty Nov 14, 2020
Surprised? No. Sigh..
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First off, I am sorry for your heart wrenching dilemma. Families can be a real pain in the butt. From my perspective what your family needs is some very good boundaries. You say your MIL has no money and yet she is filling your home with junk, how does this occur? You say you cannot take it any more, are you willing to change that term to; I won’t take it any more? There are some great tools available in the way of books. Knowledge is power. Your darling wife is placating her demanding and abusive mother and letting her rule your roost. She needs help in realizing that it is time to stop pleasing her her mommy and lay down some very clear boundaries as an adult daughter of a difficult mother. She may start with a book called difficult mothers and adult daughters. It will help her see the truth and get her started with some boundaries. It helped me understand some things. And for you dear lost soul, it is also time for you to lay down some boundaries for MIL and your sweet wife. Boundaries are not bad and it does not mean that you are unloving or mean. They are a better way to love and show people how you wish to be treated. As far as the rest of the family not helping, there is not a thing you can do about that. Know where your power is and what you have control over. Thinking they SHOULD be doing anything will only cause you and your wife pain. Is you have decent insurance get some counseling for your self and your wife so you can learn better how to deal with all of these emotions and your situation, again knowledge is power and with this power you will gain strength and clarity and even possibly find a new solution to your dilemma. You are not lost, you are growing and sometimes it feels like that. You’re looking for answers that I am pretty sure you already know and that is what is crating the conflict inside. Let your wife know how much you adore her and how much you want your marriage to survive and that is why you will be putting the hammer of truth and boundaries down on mommy dearest. Your wife may just end up adoring you even more. Find some books on boundaries and absorb the knowledge that will help you find yourself once more. I wish you peace and know, it won’t feel great at the start however you will gain tools to help in every area of your life.
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Reply to AKATammy
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Buy pee pads for the dogs.
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Reply to Sendhelp
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Sleep walking is caused often by the newer sleep medications. People can do amazing things while asleep. Maybe your MIL is over medicated?

Fix that.

And try to get the thermostat/heat setting "fixed", so the heat won't turn on!
This is called a constructive eviction. Consult an attorney. Where someone makes it too miserable to live somewhere, so Mil moves in with her eldest daughter.

Start by removing all knives and sharp objects from the home. Get her the proper treatment. Get a second opinion.
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"she refuses to follow her doctors orders, “self-detoxing” is what she calls it".

Hmm. Is MIL alcohol or drug dependant?

Or *self-detoxing* off her psych meds?
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"My family is near, and we try to see them a few times a week, only to be accused of abusing MIL".

Sorry I don't understand this part at all. YOUR family accuse you of abuse towards MIL? Why?
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Sendhelp Nov 13, 2020
Looks like the Mil accuses them of abuse by leaving her alone.
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Your master suite is 600 sq. ft.?
It is hot and you allow an interloper MIL to run the heat?

You are a golf professional but have never spent more than one night apart?

You see your family a few times a week, disregarding the Covid Restrictions?
Is your Mil a vulnerable adult over 70 and you don't stay home?

Even the self-employed can receive unemployment, have you filed?

Sorry, but your story has red flags and holes in it. How famous of a Shawn, professional golf pro are you?
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I am afraid you have a WIFE problem, not a MIL problem.
Sorry. I am afraid you may have to strike out on your own. To be frank, love is NOT ENOUGH.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Please take her to emergency room for an involuntary psychiatric admission. If she refuses to go or threatens either of you, call the police to have them restrain her and have her admitted. She needs psychiatric help and needs to have a different living situation. DO NOT LET HER COME BACK INTO YOUR HOME. Pack her belongings and store them until she has a different living situation.

DO THIS TODAY!
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Reply to Taarna
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Married one year, together for four, rental home -- I feel like you and your wife are very young, and by extension, your MIL is, too. She could be around for a very, very long time.

You have some hard thinking to do -- Is this how you want to spend years and possibly decades of your life? As someone mentioned above, love is not enough. A successful marriage needs to have two people who are like-minded on the big issues, or it's nothing but years of trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

Your wife is also in a very, very tough situation. It's her mother, and she can't just kick her to the curb. I get that, but sometimes it's simply impossible to make two situations -- the marriage and caring for the mother -- work together.

Counseling would probably be the place to start, but honestly, you should also move out in order to feel safer until something is resolved with her mom. This marriage may not be salvageable, but if you want to try, you have to look out for your safety first and foremost. If your wife doesn't care about her own safety, there's not much you can do but take care of yourself.
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Reply to MJ1929
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You can’t continue in this situation. Stacy and Lea are right about installing a nanny cam.

One more suggestion regarding the camera. Play it back so your wife can see. Maybe that will shake her up and will see the reality of the situation.

Best wishes to you and your wife.

Someone let me know if the OP is allowed to let us know on the forum that he has a GoFundMe page set up. I don’t know the rules about that.

I tell you what, private message me and tell me about the page. I will absolutely contribute. You don’t have to give these horrible details on your page. You have needs because you are out of work due to Covid.
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Sendhelp Nov 14, 2020
NHWM,
You have a soft heart. I doubt very much that AgingCare wants us to connect with or donate to strangers on this forum. It is ill advised, imo. for privacy reasons. Have you ever read the rules or guidelines of this forum?
A golf professional can earn $6 million just this year. Anybody can complain about their bills being high. I don't think Shawn is asking for money.

You are way too sweet, generous, and maybe a bit too innocent.
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Sorry, but if your wife is okay with a dog urinating on a blanket all day long in the home, with the heat being up to 80 degrees while you require a portable AC unit bedside to sleep, with her mother wielding knives at you, and with arguing all day long with her beloved husband over this hellish situation, then SHE needs lots of therapy along with her mother.

Sometimes love is not enough, my friend. And this may be one of those times. Get the nanny cam installed, as Stacy suggested, and present the results as evidence to a mental health profession so your MIL can be properly assessed.

If that doesn't work, and I wouldn't bank on it, then it's time for YOU to issue an ultimatum: It's her or me, dear wife. I cannot and will not live under these conditions any more. If that results in divorce, then so be it. YOUR life is on the line here, and that's all that matters. Your wife has put her mother BEFORE her husband, and in reality, that's NOT okay. You've allowed it, and now you are questioning your OWN sanity! I don't blame you.

Move out and see if your wife comes to her senses and realizes all that's at stake here.

Good luck
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NeedHelpWithMom Nov 13, 2020
Yes!
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"I cannot call PD or I may lose my wife".

or

You may lose your LIFE.

Maybe leave your home for a few days in order to get some perspective. Stay with a friend. Borrow a tent. Camp. Go and think.
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Reply to cxmoody
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"I cannot call PD or I may lose my wife".

Can I ask why?

IMO your wife is going to lose YOU if you both cannot start to communicate about this very serious matter.

I would start with a sit down chat with your wife. Explain your point of view. What do you both want as an outcome here? Are you on the same page at all?

I would immediately start thinking about your action plan. Then tell this clearly to your wife. Ensure it is only what action YOU can take (as you cannot control either of them).

May look something like this?

1. If ANY violent behaviour by MIL to us or others - I will call the Police.

2. If I feel MIL is in danger of self-harming - I will call the Police.

If this results in a crises team / pysch hold then it is needed.

3. At any time I feel unsafe living or sleeping in my own home, I will leave & stay with a relative.

If you decide MIL must be housed elsewhere (I would) then add this:

4. I require communication to what steps we will take to remove MIL from our home. We will need professionals to help us. I will support you & help you to do this.

A tough love approach. Any thoughts?
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Reply to Beatty
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Do you have a nanny cam? Or a recorder on your phone? You need to get evidence to present to the mental health professional. They wont just believe you.

To remain sane, I avoid it as much as I can. Walk, hit a punching bag, anything to destress. I do not know the answer.
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Reply to Stacy0122
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Scared,

I hardly know how to respond to your posting. Calling your situation a nightmare is an understatement.

I could not live with a woman that was a threat to my life no matter how much I loved my spouse!

You say that you have made suggestions to your wife. Care to share those with the forum? Tell us a bit more please. What was your wife’s rejection to your ideas?

Of course your wife’s family cut off your mother in law! They are wise and value their lives.

Something has to give here. I wouldn’t blame you if you left your wife as a last resort. This is not working. You know that this will never work.

I can’t imagine how your wife can place both of you in harm’s way. She is not seeing the situation clearly. She is not listening to reason.

There is no question that you love your wife. You are literally willing to risk your life for her. The question becomes how much does she love you? She is expecting far too much from you.

We cannot demand that others love or respect us. That is their choice to make. We can choose to love and respect ourselves. Please love and respect yourself and leave if she will not ask her mom to leave your home.

Your mother in law is destroying your lives. I don’t advocate for divorce unless it is necessary.

Perhaps if you leave temporarily your wife will see that she is loosing someone very special that cannot withstand this anxiety any longer.

I know what it is like to have a mom living with me. My mom lived with my husband and I for 15 years but she was never a threat to our lives and it wasn’t during the first year of our marriage. My gosh, you’re newlyweds! You should not be dealing with this situation!

I am very sorry that Covid has effected your life so greatly. Do you have someplace to go if you leave such as a family member or friend?

My heart breaks for you and your wife. Please update us. Best wishes to you and your wife.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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I had the same question in mind tonight, just different circumstances. How to keep your sanity. Easier to help another than myself so here goes my thoughts on your situation. You deserve a break and time to talk with your wife so you two are the priority. Covid circumstances have made home life where caretaking is involved untenable for many.

Your mil's threats to call the police is a power move if you let it be, but if she is unharmed then just explain this if it ever happens. Maybe better yet call ahead and provide this warning. My mother called the police sometime ago and complained that she wanted a clean house, indicating that I somehow was not doing the job when one her grandchildren moved in to finish a college class. The officer understood this was coming from an elder pov. It was not my job to accommodate everyone's needs, nor was it the police's job. Much later, I learned the term "gray rock" which is the appropriate reaction to such madness. Tonight, I forgot about going gray rock and it was to my detriment.

Finding the best way to deal with a situation may take a bit of elder education and support. Family caregiver is such a benign title for which your job, yes a job, entails much responsibility. What options have you proposed?
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Reply to Pasa18
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You and wife are both overwhelmed indeed. Maybe a marriage counselor can help find a solution. Or a Social worker.

Talk to your wife calmly about how you feel. Assure her you love her and you know you both feel overwhelmed. But you want a better situation. And suggest both of you talking to someone.
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