How do you set up boundaries with an ungrateful, rude mother-in-law who is out of touch with reality? - AgingCare.com

How do you set up boundaries with an ungrateful, rude mother-in-law who is out of touch with reality?

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My husband and I had to move his mother in Feb 2011 due to her falling in Dec 2010. After moving her in and looking at her behavior before we moved her in I realized that she had some SERIOUS issues. She wants to sleep all the time, not bath, exercise or eat unless you nag her. She does have hypothyroidism and depression but even before she had these issues she was not a clean person. When she is sick she will vomit in the floor or go to the bathroom in the floor making no effort to go across the hall to the bathroom. She makes awful comments to me that I am "holding her hostage" "a drill sergeant" "mean" "a dog hater" (because we do not let her dog stay inside during the day-our 14 yr old son has a cat that hates dogs and she has tried several times to let the cat out of the house resulting in hours of us having to look for him). She will not take her medicine unless you stand and watch her do it, we also have to keep hidden any other meds because she will take them whether they are hers or not, she snoops in our bedrooms especially mine and my husbands. We had to install a double keyed deadbolt because if we leave the house and leave her home she will try to put mine and my son's two cats out because she thinks if she gets rid of them then we will let her dog stay in 24/7. We completely redid a room for her, her dog comes in the house in the evenings and stays in her room all night (we do make her put him in a kennel to sleep because he potties on the carpet due to her not letting him out when she lived alone), she has her own tv in her room, her own phone line with a separate number, we swapped appliances to make it easier for her since she has a hard time bending over. I am her main caregiver as I am a stay at home mom, however, I never realized that I would be getting a 2 yr old trapped in a 71 yr old body. I was the one who suggested we bring her home rather than leave her in an overpriced nursing home where she was not getting physical therapy after her fall. I set up therapy for her in our home but she was unwilling to do the work she needed to do so she never completely recovered. She lies to my husband about my son and I but instead of him saying "mom, let's be honest" he sympathizes with her. Some days I go to my dad's after I take my son to school because I hate to go home, but I can't stay long because I never know if I am coming home to the cats being let out, powdered milk all over the house because it was spilled and she walked all in it, tea bags all over because she spilled them and figured I would pick them up. But she acts like I am ugly to her. I know I am having burn out and I have recently developed high blood pressure (I was not at risk for it before her) and I am seriously contemplating going on antidepressants. Some days I just sit and cry because I am so upset that this is my life now, I am 38 and most days I see no relief in sight, I see myself being used up to care for this ungrateful rude old woman. We can't put her in a home, she owns a couple of rent houses that the rent goes to the mortgages that she and late hubby #5 thought would be a good idea. I have tried to talk to my husband but he always acts like it isn't that big of a deal and I guess since he is gone at least 8 hrs a day 5 days a week it isn't, he is an only child so there are no siblings to share with. She has a sister who lives about 4 hrs from us who has taken off work before and let us bring her there and if we lived closer she would help us out more but that just isn't possible. When I have asked my husband to talk to her he will say things like she isn't like you, I can't talk to her about stuff because we don't talk about stuff. I have even contemplated my son and I moving out for the summer, not sure how we would manage that.........I did contact an adult day center the next town over but they charge $62 per day, she has no money left to pay for it and my husband in a police officer so we don't have a lot of extra either and I don't think I should have to go to work to put her in adult daycare. She does not have dementia, or Alzheimer's and her current doctor that found the thyroid problem doubts she has depression, he thinks all her issues have been the undiagnosed thyroid but even after being on meds and getting the thyroid regulated she refuses to change her behavior. My dad has depression and a thyroid disease also so I am very familiar with both of them together and what to expect. She tells us all the time to let her move home where she can stare at the walls and not bathe if she doesn't want to. Any advice is appreciated. Am I just being ugly??????

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Your MIL is only 71? Lady, you could be looking at this situation for decades! This is no way to live -- for you, or for her.

Why can't she live on her own, and stare at the walls and not bathe if she doesn't want to and have her dog always with her? What are her specfic impairments that need 24/7 live-in help? If she is in her right mind (by legal standards) she has a right to make her own decisions, even if they are very poor decisions.

If she owns property or other assets, what is she holding on to them for? Her old age? I'd say that is here. She needs to spend her assets on her care. Her own small apartment (does your community have subsidized housing for the elderly and infirm?) or assisted living and bringing in whatever help she needs, or even you going in to provide help a few times a week, would be better for all of you, it seems to me.

She fell. She might fall again -- at your house, at her house, at a facility. My 92-y-o mother has fallen more than once, and she still lives alone in her little apartment. She doesn't clean it, or cook, or shop, or remember to take her pills -- we've arranged services for these things -- but she is comfortable in her familiar surroundings. We (she has 7 kids) do our best to help her stay as independent as she can be.

My husband has dementia and I know he could not live on his own, no matter how much support he had. So I'm not trying to say all elderly persons can be on their own. I know better. But have you thoroughly looked into other possibilities for your MIL?

You feel like you've taken on a two-year-old trapped in 71 year old body (well said!) and she feels like she is being held hostage. You and hubby and MIL need to find a better solution.

Before you begin your heart-to-heart conversations with Hubby, I suggest you follow Lilygirl's advice about going away. I'd say not for a day but for the entire weekend. Hubby will be a little more receptive, I suspect, when he has had full responsibility for his mother's care.

You gave this option a good try. It isn't working out. Time to come up with another plan!
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It is your husband's mother & he needs to face his responsibility for her. Go away for a day on the weekend with your friends & let him deal with mom for the day. I do wonder about the doctor's diagnosis, sounds like she has some problems if she was in a home previously. How could she afford the home? Does she get socials security & any other income? Perhaps it is time to sell the rentals if the income is less than the mortgage. You are a very young woman to take all of this on & with no help. If your husband is no help, you must take care of yourself & your son. I'm so sorry you are dealing with all of this. You deserve better.
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I think your heart was in the right place and that you meant well, however the reality of this situation is it is NOT working! Your husband needs to step up! I agree you and your son need a break, take a long weekend away and let your husband deal with his Mom. Things will change and change fast! Think about supervised apartment or even assisted living for her. I have been my families caregiver, caring for my grandparents and my Father. I do understand what you are going through... however someone who is rude and unappreciative of your efforts needs to move on. If you will not do it for you do it for your son... He needs a happier Mom and and better home life!
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I just wanted to update everyone. I did start taking antidepressants and am feeling better. BUT I also turned over ALL the care of the MIL to my husband. Boy what a rude awakening for him! HaHaHa! If he forgets her meds, he gets to come home from work to give them to her, he has to make sure she bathes, eats, takes meds, etc. It didn't take but one time of him cleaning up dog poo for him to tell her that if it hapoened again the dog wouldn't come in the house any more. What a relief for me to not be responsible for her and having to put up with attitude off of him and her. He is not so sympathetic since he has to deal with it. I think it was a rude awakening for both of them. I have no plans to take back over her care, she is his mother so he needs to be the main caregiver, not me. If she is sick or sonething while he is at work I help her out but I only do what needs to be done to get by until he gets home. I no longer feel taken advantage of and I can actually be around her and him without wanting to choke them! Thanks so very very much to everyone for their advice. Blessings to all
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This person is only 71 years of age??? That is not old, at all. You are in for a ride unless you take steps now to regain your life back.
My suggestion: Talk with your husband about other arrangements for his mother. Find an Assisted Living Facility to board her. Don't use the money excuse. It's worth spending the money on a new arrangement. Cut back somewhere else.
You didn't come into this world to be abused inthis manner. Take charge. Forget the vacation-for-a day. A one-day respite will not help. Good Luck!
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I have to agree. She must sell her assets and get her own place. You should not give up your life to take care of such an ungrateful person. Save your life and test your husband. See if he will help you or just stand up for his mother.
Good luck to you. Maybe taking some responsibility for herself will help with her depression. If not, it's her problem. There's no dementia/Alzheimers so you shouldn't feel guilty about this. Tough love...
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I agree with Jeannegibbs, Margeaux, Jaye, CherylS, & N1K2R3. Girl, get out while you still can, and run for your life! If you don't speak up, this will never change. Your husband is just fine with this arrangement, because it takes the pressure off of him. You are basically doing his dirty work! Save yourself!
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Everyone else here has said the same things I thought of. Also you have to look at the laws in your state. Better yet, she should write a trust that way assets will be protected. I'd look into independent yet assisted living. I have been through equal hell like yours for the last 5 years and guess what. The minute we got medicaid (home health care) for my father I got breast cancer. The body can not deal with the rage and stress so if you know what's good for you - take the advice NOW. Because I warn you - every woman I know who got BC was undergoing unrelenting severe stress. You must take care of yourself. I'm sorry I didn't. I hope I've learned my lesson. You can also tell your husband you are going to leave him if everything you tried failed. 38? Unless she's terminal you may be suffering for years and I warn you- YOU will get sick.
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Do not put up with this situation! I completely agree w/previous posters, you are quite young, so is MIL. We recently had a horrible scenario gong on at mom's.
Mom is 91, w/ALZ. Her sister was 93, and sounds like your MIL. She had a vari ety of ailments, congestive heart failure being the biggest. Our mom & she were inseparable, lived together. My sis moved in w/them into mom's home. For about 3 years she at first did lots of the caregiving. But as time progressed, sister hired caregivers, since she also has a full time job. Throughout all of this our aunt's behavior was horrible. I don't know how my sister lived through it. I would suggest many times she be placed in assisted living, and last year a NH. My sister didn't want to do this because she'd say, "but what w/this do to mom." The separation. Well things really got out of control with my aunt, to the point my sister wasn't talking to her anymore. My aunt died in Jan. These two ladies are lucky in the sense they were/are financially secure. So yes, my aunt used this fact w/respect to her money. Interesting, she wanted to leave it to my two brothers, her nephews who never have gotten their hands dirty doing any caregiving. I feel that when you hear an elder has savings, rentals and all of that, it should be used at the end of their lives for care of them first and foremost of all. So I agree that it may benefit you to have that talk w/your husband about his mom and her assets. There must be a way these can be used so that someone w/no gratitude burdens a daughter-in-law, prematurely w/health problems. This must be very difficult for you and your son. My heart goes out to you! Margeaux
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Oh my gosh. Another Narcissist leach attaching to a perfectly good family. Ditto what everyone else said. It's a consensus, an army behind you. How did your husband endure with her for a Mother? Sounds like the poor guy has tuned her out, now it's time to Turn her out. Egads, these situations make me nuts. Please draw the line now and get her the heck out of your house. No negotiating, not waiting to see if she does something Really bad or weird or Gross! Yikes!!! You are a dear young girl and you have been subjected at a very early age to a nightmare. You will carry on and this experience will be important in the scheme of your life, somehow.
All the Best to you and let us know how it goes!
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