Follow
Share

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?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
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.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thank you so much for saying that. I appreciate that.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

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.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

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.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

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.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

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.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

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.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

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.)
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

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.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

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.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

How old is your Mil? After open heart surgery, many can and do recover and live independently. What does the doctor say is her illness, if any, and her prognosis?
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Jackie, The cultural and faith based differences will always be an issue that you and your husband would have to work through. Either you can or cannot submit to these expectations within the marriage. If you cannot, or don't agree to, it is ok. There should be no guilt, no regrets.

In the United States there are laws that prevent abuse-even if that were the cultural norm in another country-one cannot live that way and should not have to live that way in a free country. However, it is very sad that a human being is abused. If love were enough, if faith were enough, the laws protecting you should be enough. This would allow you the freedom to leave. Please keep America a free society by not accepting abuse, and if you cannot make real changes, then leave to a safe place. If divorce is not the answer because of your faith, then live apart without divorcing.. In my opinion.
Living with an enemy inside your home, hell-bent to get the two of you divorced
is just wrong.
You are not so alone, you have friends here.
Hugs.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

I left my husband after 30 years of marriage and 10 years of abuse. It was very difficult. We had tried counseling repeatedly. But in the end, I left and am slowly finding my way back.

I agree with the other posters, but if push comes to shove -- if I can do it, certainly you can. [[[cyber-HUG]]]
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

I think CM has a point - having successfully defeated Jackie, she can rely on her son, but I suspect it would only be a matter of time before she becomes demanding of him and expecting the same kind of service. It might be a good experience for him to see what she's really like.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

H'm. What's the betting, though, that MIL would be as nice as pie with her son in charge - having got exactly the situation she'd like to make permanent - so that he'd have even less understanding of the problem.

Jackie, I don't mean it's not a good idea to take time out, I'm sure it is. But make it a rest for yourself rather than a lesson for your husband. Maybe you'll come back with some fresh ideas about how to wake him up?
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

I am in complete agreement with the other posters, and yes, there is fantastic support here on the AC! I think you should plan a weeks holiday (soon) away on your own with your parents or a sibling, as you said that you don't have many friends in the area. Let your husband see what it is like, caring for his Mother all on his own. This would give you time away to decompress, enjoy your own family, and have time away from the situation to really think about what it is that you want, without there being a threat of you abandoning your home. Your parents would enjoy a little time with you too! This would help you to put things into perspective, and allow you to go home refreshed, and ready to tackle the situation head on. Goid luck! I'm in a simular situation, and I understand how hard this is!
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

I think Jackie said her husband's main objection to moving his mother into an ALF is cost?

For me, it's very difficult to guess what part of the problem is cultural and what part is Jackie's MIL being just incredibly hostile to her, for reasons that may well have absolutely nothing to do with anything Jackie's ever done.

Well! A hostile old woman with health problems is one thing. You can outrun her, for a start :) But I think I'd find it harder to cope with a husband's indifference to her hostility, or rather his wilful refusal even to acknowledge it.

How were all the respective relationships going before your MIL had her surgery and moved in?
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

You are not alone. Many men do not understand the dynamic between their mothers and wives. They like to think of their mommas as Venuses who birthed them in a clam shell in an enchanted forest.

These men do not know how to set boundaries with their mothers and want to avoid conflicts with their mothers by sticking their heads in the sand and letting their wives do their "dirty work" for them. When it comes to their mommas, many men are cowards or just too timid. Wives see this side of their husbands and it's very unappealing.

Stop going to check on your MIL during the day. You are being abused and by continually going back to your abuser, you are enabling her to abuse you more.

Stop trying to help your MIL because she doesn't want your help. Let your husband deal with his mother and experience her in all her stinky glory.

You have a supportive family and be grateful for that! Make use of that network of support that you have. Would your family want you being abused like this? What does your mother have to say? Are you truthful with your family? This is not your fault and you needn't feel ashamed of what is going on.

All that said, if you choose to fight for your marriage, then tour some assisted living facilities and gather brochures from ones that are affordable and satisfactory. At a counseling session with your husband, do not let him turn it into fixing you! Rather, pull out the brochures and present them to your husband and tell him to pick one. You will have a third party in the room to witness your efforts to heal your marriage from this intruder. And that's what your MIL is right now - an intruder. Your counselor needs to help you convey this message to your husband. If he doesn't get it and continues to make it all about you, the counselor will explain that he's destroying his marriage.

You need to stop being the victim, take action, give him a couple of options for housing for his mother, and be prepared to accept his decision. But I think first he needs to see what it's like to take care of his mother himself. And while he's learning that very hard lesson, you need to go about your business and prepare yourself for whatever happens.

One more thing from my experience with my own MIL. You are not her child. You must relate to her like a grownup woman. She doesn't respect you because you have taught her it's okay not to respect you even in your own home. As long as you're still living at home, stand up for yourself and set boundaries.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Thank you. I will. It means a lot to me that there is still people that are kind out there. I feel so alone but today is the first day that I feel better. Thank you to everyone from the bottom of my heart.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

You're quite welcome! Let us know how this is working out.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thank you for the hug Babalou!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

You are right, I have a lot of thinking to do. I am just scared. You are right about the cultural differences. I need to limit my interaction with her and let her rule the place while my husband sits back and lets her control everything. I don't know if I can live this way but I am scared of moving on. I don't want to hurt him. But he has hurt me by not doing anything or even in my view caring about her. I needed an outside interperation and you are right, this is unhealthy for me and just going to get worse. I had no idea or thought about the cultural differences because I figured since she has been out here so long she was american more but you are right. It is a huge factor. I have no friends just work so this has been hard and I don't want my parents to worry so you are right maybe the pastor of the serb church and my rabbi can help because I have no support.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

We have been together for 10 years but out of that ten married for 6.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Jackie, I'm glad you see that there are cultural issues which aren't going to change. This may be the key to reaching a decision and help for you.

As I was thinking over your situation, I was remembering the nature of men in my mother's cultural community. Armenian men typically are dominant. They're the boss - they even lead in the open circle dances! Armenian women either accept it - some are docile and meek, or others become strong and aggressive to battle the male dominance.

These are cultural factors that I've seen from personal interaction and observation. And I haven't seen much change over the years. Mountains only move gradually or during volcanic or seismic events. And women generally can't equal the force of either of these.

So, you need to move yourself away from the mountain (not to be corny or simplistic or anything).

You'll need to decide (after lots of thinking, perhaps counseling and discussion) whether there's a way that you can accept the situation, probably with nominal if any changes. If so, then work on methods of acceptance, such as limiting your interaction with MIL, limiting what you do for her, etc.

However, if this isn't the way you want to be married and live for perhaps several years, then you begin to think about finding your own way and moving on w/o MIL, and perhaps without your husband.

I know it's easy to write this - it's a lot more challenging because he is YOUR husband, so hopefully this will seem like more objective advice because I'm outside the situation looking in, not literally trapped inside looking out.

It seems to me you have resources of your own, especially working, that you could work on and leverage into supporting yourself. Are there any children involved?

Again, I really would contact JWF - in my experience they offer more than any other religious outreach organization and don't limit their clients to Jewish people. They were even recommended by one home care social worker a few years back. And when I've briefly chatted with a representative at the Area Agency on Aging caregiver expos in past years, they were always ready and willing to extend their services to those in need.

But do give yourself all the time you need so you don't feel pressured into making a decision.

I would draft a series of steps that could change the home situation. Try them, if there's resistance and things can't be changed, it would help you inch your way toward a decision - and "inching" is approprate - this isn't a situation to be decided lightly, as it may seem from my posts - but again, I'm outside it, and I'm projecting into the future.

And, I'm glad you're crying tears of happiness!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Jackie, how long have you been married to this man?
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

For the first time, I am crying because I am happy not depressed.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I appreciate everyone's help. Atleast I don't feel so alone right now.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

You are right. I need to talk to the doctor and let him know she is not taking her meds without supervision. I agree she needs more help then what we can give her. I worry about her too when she is by herself. I feel like she is going to hurt herself and no one but me cares. I agree Dementia is something my parents think she has but my husband won't even acknowledge it.
Yes, you are right I am jewish and they are othrodox. Maybe my rabbi can help me. I agree it is a mess and their culture is never going to accept me. It just hurts.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

You are right. I need to go to the church and ask for help.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Are you a member of an Orthodox Jewish sect? I don't think so, based on what you wrote.

Personally, I think this is an intractable situation, and the love you feel for him is going to diminish with what I suspect is an ingrained attitude toward male and female roles. The MIL intervention was the trigger, and you're probably seeing attitudes that existed but until this time weren't reflected as strongly in his character.

What you also might want to consider is talking to your rabbi or Jewish Welfare Federation - they have an extensive variety of support and outreach options (at least here in SE Michigan that's the case).
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter