I need to move mom closer to me but my stepfather refuses. Any suggestions?


My mom almost died and is now in a rehab hospital. Once she leaves there, she will need 24/7 care. I live in another state and I want to move her in with me to take care of her. My stepfather refuses because he "needs her here to take care of him". He is perfectly able to take care of himself, he is just lazy. Before she was sick, she waited on him hand and foot. I am afraid mom will try and continue as before and will end up killing herself trying to take care of him when he needs to be taking care of her. She knows she can't do it but but she will die trying. I've asked her to come and she says "lets go" but then he makes her feel guilty and she won't go. He refuses to move. This man controls everything, nothing is hers, not even her social security check. It goes into a bank in his name only. Any suggestions?

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And the guilt, I meant to say. That she feels guilt about taking time to get better instead of taking care of him.

Guilt, or fear, or both?

Anyway. Not conducive to a good recovery.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Countrymouse

Jeanne it isn't the waiting hand and foot thing that jabbed me.

It's that this lady became so sick that she was hospitalised; and that now, when she needs to convalesce, the husband is prepared to make no concessions to her wellbeing - even if he's half-joking about how she needs to get back in the kitchen, it's just not funny; and most of all that her income is going into an account to which she herself has no access.

It's 2018. It's an awfully, awfully long time since the Married Women's Property Act was passed.
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Reply to Countrymouse

How long has your mother been married to this man? There is a big difference between 18 months and 18 years. Has she seemed content in her marriage?

This situation seems abusive. There is support you can muster for victims of abuse. But I'm not sure how effective they are when the victim is unwilling to leave the abusive situation. If your mother has been thinking, "I wish there was some way I can get out of here," for years, this is her perfect opportunity. If she's been thinking, "Oh well, he is a good man at heart, and I don't mind waiting on him" you have a different situation on your hands.

But, what seems abusive to us, in 2018, may have seemed normal to earlier generations. I don't know exactly what you mean by "waits on him hand and foot" but that is certainly how I would describe my parents' relationship. That's what wives do, you know. We used to openly comment on and tease them about that aspect of their behavior. They were happy with it, so why should we interfere? None of their 4 daughters would put up with such behavior in our own lives.

Here is a little example in my family. We were at a family reunion, in a large community hall. I was sitting chatting with my mother's oldest sister when the food line started up. Aunt saw my husband in line and pointed to him. "Aren't you going to wait on your man?" she asked in a shocked tone. I answered, "Oh, has he injured himself? When we came in he was perfectly capable of getting his own food." She shook her head. She liked me a lot, but this behavior was very un-wifely to her. I told her, "Aunt, if Coy ever needs my help, you better believe I'll be there for him! Just not when he can help himself." I often thought of that conversation as I cared for Coy during his 10-year journey with dementia.

This aunt was in her early 60s when she became a widow. Her youngest son was starting college. She went off to college, too, to become an LPN. She was not a timid or passive person. Her husband had always handled their finances and when he died, she turned everything over to her youngest brother. She was certainly capable of learning to do it, but she just wasn't interested.

So, I urge you and other posters not to be quick to shout "abuse!" about behavior accepted by both parties as the norm.

Maybe your stepfather is abusive, even by the standards of the last century. If Mom wants to be rescued, get her out of there!

If she insists on going home, I'd work on seeing to it she has adequate help, including a house cleaner, maybe meals on wheels, a visiting nurse, and appropriate level aides. If stepfather objects, stand your ground.
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Reply to jeannegibbs

CM, excellent insight. Crail, contact SS and find out how to get her monthly allotment changed to an account w/o your stepfather's name on it.

I would also discuss the issue with the social worker at the rehab hospital. If they haven't witnessed the control, bring it to their attention and ask that they observe both your mother's and stepfather's behavior when he visits. They can institute action by calling APS as well, and I think it'll be a more powerful referral when the hospital calls.

Be prepared for a lot of emotional exchanges, and probably some bullying, as your stepfather fights this. Your mother will need a lot of emotional support; if you have siblings, or she has close friends, ask them to visit and support her so she doesn't feel torn between the two of you.

Start working on making arrangements for in home care in your own state. Having plans in place will reflect your determination and attention to her needs, vs. stepfather's insistence on maintaining control in his own manner.
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Reply to GardenArtist

Your mother is being abused by her husband. This type of behaviour is called "coercive control" and can be a prelude to worse abuse. Moreover, it has already led to your mother's neglecting her own health needs and becoming gravely ill as a result.

Get in touch with APS. Get advice about how to proceed. Your mother will need patient support and encouragement to get out of this frightening situation.
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Reply to Countrymouse