How do I say no to giving care to my in-laws? - AgingCare.com

How do I say no to giving care to my in-laws?

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I feel I am being forced to be a care giver by my husband. It is his epectation that I do much of their care. I resent this and it is very negatively effecting every aspect of my life including my physcial and mental health. I am becoming bitter and angry. I do not want to do this anymore. My husband will say that I am not responsible but then almost daily either a caregiver does not show up or he is busy and I am told to fill in as of course he cannot leave them alone. I am considering leaving as my only way out but it is hard after a 33 year marriage that was good up until this situation.

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robi how is it going?
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Having been in a - what I called jokingly way back when - a 'practice' marriage to a man who 'wasn't married even though I was' (can you tell I use humor to keep myself from crying!?), I can tell you, there were so many broken parts it is shocking to me now that we lasted a total of 17 years. He had me convinced that he couldn't cook a meal, manage the money, 'babysit' his own children, or call his mother on the phone. Those, any many other things, were basically 'women's work'.
To the point of the person above who says a lot more must be wrong, he/she is correct. They ARE his parents. I suspect that if you felt he'd do the same for you (in caring for parents or any other thing) you would be much less resentful.
I am now married, and have been, for ten years to a totally different kind of man. A real man, a man who loves me with his whole heart and to whom my wellbeing and happiness is paramount. And his, to me. If I were taking care of his mother, or him, mine, and anything got to be too much something would change immediately. Unfortunately, unless you DO take that month long vacation and let him see what he'd be facing if you weren't around, probably nothing will change, particularly if you have been at this for a long time. By the way, I did discover that my ex could do the following: compliment me on what I cooked or how I looked, buy me flowers spontaneously, fix his own sandwich, call his own mother (or not), etc. But it came when I finally could not take it another minute. My depression had grown so deep (and my five year old told me that it seemed like 'you love Daddy a lot more than he loves you') and my resentment so overwhelming at his cold shoulder that I knew it would kill me to stay another minute. Oddly, once he only did those things in order to keep me I felt more angry than ever, knowing he'd had it in him all that time and he could see me dying on the vine and never once tried to be there for me until he realized his gravy boat could be permanently empty. It all felt manipulative. I don't know about your husband and his motivations. But I do understand your feelings. Get a good counselor, ask him to come with you (so you can both hear each other) but if he doesn't, then go alone. And - drop the ball with things that he needs to attend to. He will not know you are serious if you have always threatened and never acted. God bless.
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Calling you irresponsible is unfair. His parents, his show. Walking out is going to make things worse, so I'd help him out by looking for reliable caregivers. Don't bottle things up. He needs to know how you feel.

Taking care of your in-laws is a heavy workout, and I guess he assumes that since you're home (don't know if you work) it's your responsibility to take care of them. He's mistaken.
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Take a month's long vacation by yourself and let your husband take responsibility for his parents. This just might open his eyes to how much you do for them and start sharing in the responsibilites when you get back. If it doesn't work it just shows how much of a person your husband really is.
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I would also ask if there are any other issues in your marriage that need to be addressed. If so then this is another symptom and you should consider getting counseling of some kind.
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Rovana again - I would like to add: I worked for years in a Japanese company and was told that it is the duty of the wife of the oldest son to care for her parents-in-law. Needless to say, oldest sons, unless there is a LOT of money involved, have a hard time getting married - Japanese women have some options these days and don't necessarily have to put up with what was all too often a very abusive situation. Nowadays, oldest sons find themselves marrying Filipino, Thai, Indonesian women who are economically desperate.
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Cindyb, Robi is not denying her husband's parents care - The issue it seems to me is very often not denial of care, but arguments over exactly how the care is to be done. There is nothing wrong, finances allowing, to place an elder in assisted living or nursing home as long as they are decently cared for. It seems that Robi just had this dumped on her as her "woman's obligation" by her husband without careful and frequent discussion and consultation. I never heard of anyone being required to care for in-laws as part of their marriage vows! A good marriage is a treasure worth preserving, but there needs to be good communication between partners, particularly when it comes to such a stressful situation. And this must be between the partners, the issue of "my parents don't want to go into an AL facility" simply should not control how care is going to be given. The caregivers are carrying the load, so they get to decide what they can manage.
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If this situation is actually gravely affecting your health and sanity, I feel that it is tantamount to "abuse" that you do not need to take. Yes, you've been married 33 years, but that fact should not be "used" against you and take your very life, soul, and spirit away from you. If it has truly gotten to a serious point, perhaps it is only consequences which will cause your husband to see the light and the truth of this situation.....that this situation is unfair and abusive to you. Perhaps you need to tell your husband that you will indeed leave him if he doesn't relieve you of this undue pressure. I agree with others who have posted here, that before resorting to this ultimate step, you ought to try getting away for at least three weeks in the form of a vacation or trial separation. I feel for you....you don't need to put up with this. Good luck!
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Robi,
Please do not let the this situation ruin your marriage.
Maybe you can let him know you will fill in on 1 or 2 days a week but you should make sure you have a backup caregiver or 2 even. My sister in law uses her children's babysitter to also watch my mother in law when they are gone.
Or you could have 2 caregivers who rotate days and then it might give you an extra person to back up the situation if one can't make it.
Also there are alot of other services to help (meals on wheels, driving services, etc.) Maybe they have a good neighbor who could look in on them if one of the aides doesnt show up....
Keep thinking of back ups that you can call in instead of running in there yourself.

Don't let a temporary situation ruin what you have worked so hard to acheive.
A 33 year marriage in these times is something to work and fight for!!
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Hi tlhanger, after I sent my recent post, I realized that "Nigle' must have posted something before your response, which I mistook as being directed to me. I'm sorry I misunderstood - thank you for your kind reply. Perhaps the site deleted "Nigle's" follow-up post before I could read it. In any case, all the best to you and I hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend.
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