How do I cope when she makes me miserable?


When she first moved in I tried to make her feel at home. I am speaking about my husband's grandmother. She had to move in with my husband my one year old and myself. I stay at home with my son, he has Down syndrome so I didn't trust anyone to care for him the way I when she couldn't live alone anymore, she came to us. She is a spiteful person. She loves to get on her phone and talk loud enough for you to hear. She is always talking about me and when confronted she lies. As a result I no longer really want to have any thing to do with her. She will then act nice and toss in her snide comments. She complains that my son has too many toys I shouldn't get him any for Christmas. Things like that drive me crazy! I don't know what to do and I am miserable everyday. Some days to the point my chest hurts and my head throbs. I have to rise above all of it but I don't know how. I feel like a failure and a terrible person because I really at this point have no interest in speaking to her at all. I just want to keep my distance. She is of sound mind it's just a mean mind, from what I understand, it always has been. We can't put her in a home because it would kill my husband to do so and would end up resenting me for not being able to handle it. I am feeling pretty down these days and that is why I'm here. I need advice on how to overcome this and be comfortable in my own home again. Any help would be great but please no derogatory things. I have enough of that in my life just now.

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you are a good person Nikki. God bless you and your family. Dealing with someone who is snippy when all you are trying to do is impossible. i actually ended up in therapy from taking care of my father. so i am going to tell you what my therapist told me you need to be more selfish. it is your home not hers you welcomed her with open arms and you are there to assist her as a family but not to be a doormat and she needs to understand that. she is a guest in her sons home and if she doesn't have anything nice to say she shouldn't say it at all. i really think your husband and you need to sit down and talk with her and explain that she has no right to treat you and talk the way she does. you are a good person and need to be treated with respect!so here are some coping methods my therapist told me. when she really gets to you excuse yourself go to that beautiful baby boy of yours and get a big sloppy kiss (though my baby is my dog). if you really wanna get back at her make her favorite cookies and don't let her have any. and finally take away phone privileges if shes not paying the bill then take it away. I've even put my father in a time out. don't be afraid to take back your home.
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And...really...why do YOU feel so bad about not liking someone who is jealous and negative? Let's say you are right and keeping her in your home really is best for the family, you should not have to pretend it is OK to be criticized and picked on all the time. If she is really totally of sound mind, she's the one who ought to be feeling bad about making a stressful situation more so, while she is receiving care she needs...but I'd also bet her judgement and social skills, particularly empathy, could be slipping a little, or even a lot. Negative tendencies a person has always had commonly get even worse with mild cognitive impairment on top of them, even if its is still mild and they are more or less oriented and recognizing familiar people and all.

The other difficult thing to consider is building contingency plans for what happens as she gets worse, which unfortunately may happen. If she gets to the point of being directly abusive, which occasionally occurs as well, you really really need a Plan B. Can hubby talk about it with you, or is he really too devastated by what is happening to his grandmom to really deal at all?
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Nikki, you are a wonderful caring person and I do not want to hurt your feelings at all by saying this - but when you say no one but yor can be trusted with your son's care, I worry. Down syndrome means special needs for sure. But, most people with it may benefit a great deal from having time apart from Mom and achieving a little emotional independence, even though they may always need a guardian and chief advocate and guide in their life. Don't let guilt or over anxiousness rule out snybody but you being totally responsible for everything - I know it feels and seems like the most virtuous thing to do but it may not be totally best. You can check out other care situations to the best of your ability and keep a close watch, but absolutely should find other people who can be involved if at all possible - everyone's life may be richer for it.
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Your husband's first responsibility is you and that baby! He needs to be a man and talk honestly with his gm or immediately find another place for her to live. Does she not have children to care for her?

Sometimes older people feel they are the boss of everyone. A bad habit that needs to be broken. You do need to talk to your husband about the situation and he needs to find a solution. This is your home and grandma either needs to be a happy, supportive member of your family or other arrangements made. The well being of his wife takes precedence over grandma!

Hopefully you have your son involved in all the programs available to him. This will get you out of the house and interacting with other Moms. Good luck!
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This is an untenable situation the way it is, and it needs to change. You should not be miserable in your own home.

It is not true that when the grandmother could no longer live alone she "had" to come to you. Other arrangements could have been made, and they can be made now. If GM can be convinced (by hubby) to show respect to you and perhaps help out in ways she can mange, MAYBE that would be sufficient. Otherwise she simply will have to move out.

I think that you and hubby need to go to counseling to learn how to handle this.

Meanwhile, don't take GM so seriously. She can talk all she wants, but she really has no power, you know. For example, here are some possible responses to her complaint that your child has too many toys:

"Things have changed a lot in three generations, I guess." (This should be said conversationally -- NOT as an argument.) "When you were a child what was your favorite Christmas present?" Try to start a conversation about past memories.

"Oh GM! I think you might have misunderstood. We don't expect YOU to buy toys for Child. Hubby and I will decide what we think is best and what gives us pleasure, but we certainly aren't trying to tell you what you should do." (Again, not in the tone of an argument, but just clarifying what you are deliberating assuming about her motives.)

"Thanks for your opinion, GM. This is our first Christmas with out first child and we'll probably do a few things you would consider foolish."

Keep firmly in mind that no matter how unpleasant it is to hear her negative opinions, she has no power to make you do anything. Treat her kindly and politely but don't indicate that you are giving in to her opinions.

Your husband should be sticking up for you and setting boundaries with his GM. But don't be too hard on him. He is young and hasn't figured out his role, yet. Counseling could be very helpful for both of you.
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Nikki, you are taking care of a child with Down's syndrome, so I know your life is full. You don't need your hubby's grandmother sniping at you. It sounds like you and your hubby need to sit down and have a talk. It is not fair that you should be miserable in your own home. He needs to address this issue for his family. He doesn't have to put her out, but he does need to address her behavior toward you. You are his wife and he should have your back. That's what good husbands do for their wives.
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