Mother in Law out of control a year post stroke. How do I back away?


My Mother in Law suffered a stroke during our engagement. We re-organized our wedding dinner reception to take place in the facility where she lived so that she could participate and we have been trying to accommodate her every wish since. She has been in and out of Assisted Living because she hates it and is non-compliant. Recently moved back to an independent living apartment with her 82 year old husband against our wishes. She is in a wheelchair and shows no interest in getting stronger (has fired 3 PT companies because they tell her things she doesn't want to hear) but wants to control everything. She calls and cancels doctors appointments, calls her insurance company multiple times a day, refuses to get on the facilities wheel chair van for doctors appointments, etc. My FIL suffered an injury recently and is now in rehab (we hope temporarily) so we've had to secure 24/7 care for MIL during his absence. She hates the caregivers so we've had to spend more time caring for her while he has been in the hospital than we've been able to spend with him. She is so disruptive and demanding and nothing we do is good enough or the right thing. She is often times combative when not getting her way (cursing and kicking, screaming, shaking her fists) and will call our cell phones over and over and over again if we are not with her. Often times her calls will be for things such as, my blanket is not covering my feet and I need someone to come help me know it's an emergency. My husband and I are the only two family members in the State. We are exhausted as we cannot do anything, not even have a nice dinner together without being interrupted. We have both taken so much time away from work trying to keep her calm that we are scared to take anymore. She refuses to listen to reason or professional opinion much less ours. This is no way to begin a marriage and honestly I don't know how much more I can take. I have my own parents and family obligations and am spending so much time with my new in laws that I hardly have time for my own parents. This makes me feel guilty as the toc is ticking and they are also getting older. I want to be a good wife and support my husband but this is sucking the life out of us both but me more than him as he is a Mama's boy and he just wants to make it all better for her while I really just want to find her a safe place where she can be cared for properly. It has been recommend that she be moved to skilled nursing and her cell phone be taken from her and while I agree this might be the right move she is going to to absolutely FLIP out if this happens. How do I just back away from the responsibilities of caring for my in laws without being insensitive to them and my husband. I want to support him but this situation is aging me, exhausting me and causing me to have my own health issues. Too young to be this stressed. HELP!



Boundries should have been set from the beginning. This woman will not get better if she doesn't do for herself. From the start your husband should have told her he is now married and his responsibilities have changed. Your feelings should come first. So, he needs to set boundries. What is she going to do to him? You can back off but still support him.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to JoAnn29

Rae, I dealt with this when I was first married as well. Hubby worked for a family business run by my sweet FIL and domineering MIL. In addition, he has a mentally challenged sister who also ran the show. Hubby was totally intimidated by them and many weekends while we were dating and as newlyweds we took his sister out and about, paying her way ourselves. If we didn’t go where she wanted or buy her souvenirs she’d throw a fit. Mind you, she was 16, not 2. I know how helpless you feel. If it were me now, after 43 years, I’d tell my hubby to go pound salt and hand,e her himself. (He even told her once she could drive my very first car around the business building! She didn’t know how to drive. She would have injured at least herself and wrecked my brand new car.) as I said, let your hubby do as he pleases with his mom. If he goes to see her, have a convenient hair appointment. Go for coffee.)

And thanks for your compliments!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Ahmijoy

Ahmijoy - You are a SMART COOKIE. Thank you for your feedback and encouragement. YES, she is spoiled and yes everyone caters to her in order to keep her calm. It's easy to do when you don't live close by.
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Reply to RaesAuntieP

It seems like you are in between Mom and Husband. Mom rules Husband and he lets her. She has run your lives from the time of your wedding, and possibly before? She has the consummate dictatorship. Why should she change? When she acts like a spoiled 2 year old, she gets her way. She does just as she pleases and leaves you to clean up her mess.

Does your father-in-law cater to and care for her? It must be extremely difficult for him to live in that situation. Even though he’s injured, rehab must be like a vacation for him.

If you are the only one who thinks MIL needs to be admitted to a SNF and maybe even Memory Care, you’re sunk before you begin. You will never convince your husband or anyone else to go against this little tyrant, even for her own good.

You are too young for this kind of stress. Disengage. Let everyone else handle MIL. If you each have your own phone, block MIL’s number on yours. If Husband wants to dance to the tune she plays, let him. Nothing you can do. Just don’t get involved. Lend s sympathetic ear if he wants to talk, but stop trying to fix things.
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Reply to Ahmijoy