My mother-in-law just had open heart surgery and now is living with us full time. Any suggestions? - AgingCare.com

My mother-in-law just had open heart surgery and now is living with us full time. Any suggestions?

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I am having a hard time. She had open heart surgery a year ago on our anniversary of our wedding. She is serbian and wants my husband all to herself. She has gone to the neighbors and said I am beating her when I work all the time. She says she wants to do anything in her power to get us to divorce. My husband doesn't see that she never showers, throws away all the food we have prepared, doesn't brush her teeth, hides dirty clothes and food in the room, she is getting worse and my husband doesn't see it. She is so mean to me. My husband has to give her the pills because she will flush them otherwise. I so want to put her in a home where she could maybe be happier but my husband says it is too expensive and wants her to live with us. I hate him for it and he lets her be mean to me. My family is supportive but says its up to me to stay or not. I picked him and my vows were important but is love enough?

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Hey Jackie! You seem to be suffering from the f.o.g. that Mil attacked you with.
Fear, Obligation, and Guilt.

It takes time to heal from an assault such as this, but you can and will go on.
Draw near to your own family at this time, and be kind to yourself. If, in your mind, you must rehearse what has happened, that would not be healthy for you.
Did you see a counselor, therapist yet?

How are things today, after 4 months?

Best wishes as you continue, walk straight ahead, hold your head up. Smile.
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Thank you so much for saying that. I appreciate that.
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I would also keep in mind that regardless of what people say now, as her condition progresses, they'll see that she was sick, declining, and in need of help. And that you tried. They'll then feel bad that they didn't see what you saw. Your husband will see that too.
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You are right. I think I was just trying so hard to do the right thing, I forgot about myself. I let her take over and I lost myself. You are right I can't control her or my husband.
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Recognize that you can't control what she says, and try to stop letting it affect you. Do the people she's talking to really matter in your life at all? Do you wonder why what she says about it does affect you so much? That might be something to consider, whether your own self worth and self esteem are dependent on what others think of you.

This is the kind of situation that doesn't have good options because of the refusals and adamant positions taken by MIL and your husband. Try to remember this and focus on the things that are important, like your own self esteem.

I think it wouldn't hurt to explore with a professional, including your rabbi, why you feel like you're "a mess" b/c of MIL claims you're the "cause of everything bad in her life."

Even if you know it's not true, I'm wondering why it's affecting you so seriously. Again, I think the cultural differences or perhaps your MIL's strong, willful and antisocial behavior might be the causes.
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You are right. I am not accepting it anymore. She ran away from home like a teenager so my husband is getting her a nurse and she is at her place condo with no furniture or clothing. My husband is bring her stuff. I feel sad because it did not have to be that way. But if my husband thinks she can take care of herself I have to be okay with that because clearly she did not want me to help her. My parents say everyone will see that she is unfit and this time it might be too late but it is not my mom. She has made her choice and my husband seems fine with it because he is not going to argue with her or even stand up to her. I am still feeling sad because I did not want her to chose this. You are right though the culture differences is something I have to live with. I was hurt to because some of the neighbors and my husband's friends helped her get an uber all to get away from me. My husband says people were jealous because she had new clothes, a great place to live and misery likes company. My parents said to just leave it alone. I feel like I am a mess because she is telling everyone I am the cause of everything bad in her life.
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I agree that there may be dementia involved and open heart surgery means she was under anesthesia for several hours - contributing to the loss of memory and confusion as to her place in your home. If your husband won't support you in placing his mother - the suggestion that he needs to do the caregiving himself. It might help if you a work schedule to keep you away.
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Jackie: Your MIL won't have won, she'll have lost. She'll have lost a fine caring loving woman, and gained a weak man who won't speak up to defend his wife. Please don't do that guilt thing, the one you're currently doing, b/c if you're miserable, she certainly HAS won.

Take your parents advice, is my thinking. At least get away for awhile and let that silly knobhead of a husband see how hard it is. (Sorry if I offended -- far too many husbands are macho s**t heads.)
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You all are right. I definitely need a time out. I am so stressed out. I need to spend time away and clear my head and figure out what I need to do. You are all right. I need to go to these facilities and see what it is all about and in therapy bring them to show him and with a therapist then I might have some other person in the room. I should of kept the money but I did not want anything from her. I feel like she would guilt me like she does my husband and I want to be as independent as I can under the situation. My parents say I should just get away and go and let them figure it out for themselves but I feel then I have let MIL win. She wants my husband all to herself. I am fighting for my marriage. It is super difficult but all the support I have here is so nice. It is like I have some great friends here. It means a lot to me.
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Mil gave you money. You say you don't need her money, and gave it to your husband. Husband says it is because of the cost of care that she is living with the two of you.

You did go out into the serbian community and talked to some people who said this is all normal. Now, I recommend you stand up and fight for your rightful place beside your husband. That does not mean your place is as a servant. A woman's role can be one of managing the household.

Take some money, and go out into the serbian community again, seeking a caregiver-type person with the cultural norms to take charge of Mil's bathing, cleaning her room, while still respecting her dignity. Mil will feel better, maybe act better when she is cleaned up. Someone who speaks her language and culture, but who knows you are the woman of the house, not her servant. Clean everybody up, get dressed up, and start having friends over to your home.
You can buy mil a wonderful dress with her money, showing her how much you care.
Just guessing here, because I don't have a clue about your life or cultural norms.
You just seem so sad, and tearful, and burnt out. I wanted to help.
If I was in your situation, I would run from her and use the money to rent a room in a decent household, move in there myself maybe. But I hate any kind of abuse, no wonder you have been crying.
Keep checking back so you can get support here.
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