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She is quite dramatic and co-dependant. She lives with my husband and I because of her financial issues. She helps watch my 8 year old as she is reasonably healthy. We are grateful for her help but her negativity and gossip is very draining. She is a very righteous woman of 73.

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Great advice!! Thank you! I will let you know how it goes:)
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Disengage...there's always a load of wash that needs to go into dryer or something that needs to be checked in another room. I also used my iPod a lot, listening to an audiobook, so my mom got used to me running around with earbuds in. About family gossip, I'd mention that there are things we don't know so I cant really offer an opinion or pass a judgement....then leave the room. If she persisted when I got back into the room, I found a reason to leave again. And if need be, there's the direct approach, which is "yes, I heard that news story but don't choose to be focusing on that negativity."
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Hmmm, I don't think there would ever be financial issues serious enough to have my MIL living with me if she was reasonably healthy. You poor thing! I know she is a big help with your daughter, though.

My mother is a very negative person most of the time who rarely has too much nice to say about people, especially women. I just tune her out or leave the room when it gets to be too much. The negativity will certainly wear on you.
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Can you gat by with saying uh huh, uhhuh, not agreeing or disagreeing?
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