We moved in with my MIL when my DIL passed. She makes it very hard on me to live there. Any advice? - AgingCare.com

We moved in with my MIL when my DIL passed. She makes it very hard on me to live there. Any advice?

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We agreed to move in with her because our home is small and she was not eating and is scared to stay alone and afraid of the dark. She was getting very depressed. Sometimes I feel she puts on an act to keep my husband there. I have since moved out and back to my home because she is so critical of me and everything I do. I stayed for a year and couldn't take it anymore. But my husband promised his dad he would take care of her and not put her in assisted living. We are the only ones that can take care of her. So we thought we could do this as a temporary situation for the better of the good. However, I feel like I ran out on my husband and left him with a huge burden. She will not allow me to move in personal items that would help me make that more my home, she is very critical of the way I cook and clean. She can't walk through the room without making some harsh comment towards me. She is very happy with the new living arrangements. Any suggestions? I would love to help my husband and live with him.

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Your husband needs to grow some. That's all.

And what everyone else said, too.
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You are not the one who deserted her. Your husband choosing to honor an agreement made with his Father (out of guilt) is wrong. He deserted you by not standing up for you and setting boundaries. I know we all have guilt. I live with my Mom (talk about critical and difficult). I am going to look into LTC because I can't continue to do this, and my brother refuses to contribute in any way re assistance.
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I like the comment about telling her like it is. People like that are more cunning than they let on, start taking the upper hand because YOU have it NOT HER. Her reign is ended. If she expects you to LIVE there for godsakes then her choices become: KISS YOUR BUTT AND SUCK UP TO YOU or go to assisted living if she can afford it. If you are living there to DO for her, take care of you, she needs to be thankful, grateful and mannerly to you for your sacrifices to her. Keep on telling her that over and over. If she critisizes you make sure your husband is part of it. HE needs to tell her mom, you are not allowed to treat my wife like that we will be leaving, then the two of you go together. Let her stew a while. I am thinking of this like training pavlovs dog kind of a thing. I'm in the middle of this experiment myself. She might be trainable. Your husband is more important.
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I know exactly what you are going through. My husband and I have been married over 40yrs. and he's always been all about his parents. We have always lived close to them so he has always delt with them and their problems on a daily basis. After his Dad passed about 20 yrs. ago, he always goes by his mother's before work and first thing when he gets off before he comes home. This past week, he spent night and day with her (she's 92, can barely get around with her walker, and no short term memory) and finally gave up to put her in a NH two days ago. His crazy hoarder sister that the home health nurses turned in for elder abuse had moved in about 2yrs. ago to be her caregiver full time. Anyway, it has been really ugly the past few days. After he had to spend 24hrs. a day in that nasty mess of a house crazy sister had created and take his Mom to the bathroom about once every hr. and fix her meals, he finally figured out that it was NH time. I had already made up my mind and told my two boys, that if he chose to quit his job and stay with his Mom, it was time for me to go my separate way and get on with my life. They agreed and I guess had a talk with him. He put her in a really nice home, had to get POA and an order of protection against crazy sister who tried to kidnap her from the home the very first day. Anyway, long story short, when it all comes down to him having to take care of everything without your help, it probably won't take long for him to decide to come back home. Good luck with the situation. I can totally identify with always playing second fiddle to Mom and her needs and it isn't fun! Wives should come before parents.
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Moving in with someone else is always tricky. It might be hard to get them to move in with you, but then it is YOUR home, not THEIR home. I think she will always see it as hers. The other option is to get her into an apartment close to where you live so that you can eat meals with her, spend time with her, check on her, etc...

Realistically, though, even if she would have moved-in with you, I think she'd be a problem. She probably was truly lonely and depressed but that doesn't mean she'll appreciate your efforts. Helping someone does not necessarily bring appreciation.
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You seem to be the cup that runeth over in you MIL's eyes,,Your husband made a promise to his late father I get that, but what about the promises that he made to you first. He is your husband and needs to act like one, you seriously need to put your foot down here and come up with a better plan of care here. First you and him need to discuss the situation and make your husband see your side of the coin here. He promised not to put her in a home but that didn't necessarily mean to put his marriage in jeopardy. So first you give him your demands as to how you want this resolved and be strong about it no "if's or but's" here. Then the mother has to be approached and whether it is both of you or just your husband doing it she has to made to understand that you have a place within this situation and she either likes it or lumps it. It's good that you have a go to place to be able to get away from the animosity. I so dearly wish you all the best of luck, sounds like you are going to need it and make sure that all of your feeling's are put out there. Best of luck to you.
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Lupus? Well, she's not putting on then, is she. And, yes, that makes a difference. The key difference it makes is that the death-bed promise your husband made to his father was unusually foolish. It was given under duress, and took no account of your MIL's predictable future needs.

WHY do people do this? What is it about leave-taking that makes people detach completely from truth-telling and reality? Perhaps when I get there I'll understand, but for now… it beats me.

Be that as it may, it was a promise your husband made to your father. Your husband now has to examine it and decide whether he feels obliged to keep it. The factors he needs to take into account are his mother's welfare, and whether he will be able to ensure it living alone with her (he won't); his marriage, and whether he is prepared to sacrifice it to the unfeasible goal of ensuring his mother's happiness (if he is, he will be breaking his promise to you, of course - he's all right with that one, is he?); and the consequences of breaking his promise to his father, which is a matter of internal soul-searching - would he be able to accept the necessity, what would be the likely impact on him of breaking it?

Essentially, he has made two mutually exclusive vows. He has to sort out which has more wriggle room.

Can you help him with this? Can you help him, specifically, by moving back to share his mother's house with him? Well, you could try setting out conditions and gaining agreement to them from both your husband and your MIL. But given your MIL's likely progression, there is a limit to what change in her behaviour you can expect. And given that you've already been driven to walk out once, how much, realistically, can you be expected to take?

I sound harsh on your husband, I know. I feel harsh, and I'm venting. He made this absurd promise without pause for thought and you are suffering the consequences. In due course, so will his mother suffer because her needs will be too onerous for him, or for him and you together, to manage. He has been a noble idiot; other people are paying the price; and you're the one who's feeling the guilt for this?

I'm sorry, but this is all on him. Get him to look you in the eye and come up with a real-life plan.
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I meant earplugs and headphones - listening to music and blocking out her criticism.
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I agree with other comments here. You going back home is good for you. It is too bad your husband feels he must keep such a promise. His mother is taking advantage of it.

I don't know a lot about lupus but my SIL has it and works a job and is a single mother. I know she often feels terrible, but she can take of herself. Perhaps your MIL is further along and there are other disabilities that come along as she ages, but from just what you wrote, it seems she is manipulating you both.

You can try to build a temporary life focusing on yourself while hubby takes care of mother. Or you can live there and find passive ways of dealing with her criticism. Or become more assertive. Counseling for yourself might help. After 31 years with this woman as your MIL, confronting her might be difficult.

You might try living in her home with earplus and/or microphones and not engaging with her. Stay in your part of the house if you want to be near hubby, but avoid joining her.

I'm just throwing out ideas. But one thing I've learned on here is taking care of ourselves is very important.
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Kim, if she is not taking her meds, the Lupus will spread. If it gets to the kidneys, the patient's personality can get really nasty. Then comes the hallucinations. Stay away, she will burn him out very soon, and then he will find a nursing home for her.
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