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I posted back in February and then in April about my 78-year-old MIL moving with us out of state. My last posts have more detail that would be impossible to reiterate here, but bottom line is she was supposed to come stay with us as an independent roommate, but the week she got here she admitted that she lied about her income and needed us to essentially take care of her financially. After several months of paying all her bills, I nipped this in the bud — I began enforcing the original agreement that she was to pay $500 towards rent, and after months of paying her car insurance, medications, groceries, phone bill, etc I began flat out refusing. I told her she needed to get a job or figure something else out but that we would no longer be paying her way. She resisted very dramatically, acting as if we were forcing her to go without her medications and food, and allowing her car insurance to lapse so she could lament that WE “let it go unpaid,” and telling a neighbor that we refused to pay to fix her flat tire so that the neighbors chipped in and bought her a tire (😳), but I firmly kept telling her that she is a grown up and must pay her own way because we are still a young family and our responsibility is to our young child, not her.


Finally, after many weeks of my taking this tact, she got a small part time job in retail up the street. She now has her own money but still refuses to buy her own groceries and if I refuse to include her in all our meals (which was getting very expensive), she’ll act like we are abusing her and start saying that the doctor is concerned she’s losing weight or may be diabetic. It's all manipulation, and it's caused a lot of grief in my otherwise-perfect marriage because I finally began refusing to reward this behavior (my husband still allows himself to be manipulated by her and guilt-tripped —he always has).


After several really crazy incidents (her speaking badly about me daily to my 9 year old daughter, treating our daughter badly when shes angry at me, pretending to “break down” on the highway and making my husband leave a business meeting to go retrieve her to make him feel guilty for telling her we would no longer be driving her everywhere and running all her errands since she insists on keeping her $500/month car payment, and $200/month insurance, catching her in repeated lies), we told her this is not working and she needs to find her own place ASAP. However, she has refused to do so, and it has become clear to us that if we want her out, WE must find the place and WE must pay the security deposit and WE must move her. She no longer speaks to me, making my home so tense I can hardly bear it.


Anyway, here’s my question: when she first moved in, I took her to several doctors appointments to have her tested for dementia. The doctor says she does not show any dementia, just normal aging. However, her behavior is so bizarre we feel he has to be wrong. Aside from the constant lying and refusal to do anything for herself and all the daily manipulation, (I know this sounds really crazy) we think she has been cutting our clothes. When we told her we expect her to help out around the house, we began finding bleach stains and clear scissor cuts in our clothes. Last week, I left my phone on the counter and when I came back in the house, it was gone. We searched for hours, and after I mentioned I was going to try to GPS locate it in the house, it suddenly appeared in a place I already checked a several times. I found out yesterday she had “accidentally” told her doctor’s office to put all her copays on MY HSA card, draining my health account of over $300. What is my next move? Should I have her re-evaluated? Maybe she needs assisted care?

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Your husband is gaslighting you.

He will do whatever it takes, what has he done?

I would tell my mom to treat my wife and daughter with respect in THEIR home or she could live in that car she is so attached to.

He is a coward when it comes to his mommy or she would have been gone or treating you and your daughter better.

Next time your daughter comes crying because grandma is evil enough to try to traumatize her, pack a bag and tell your husband you will be back when psycho b is gone.
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BlackHole Jul 2019
Amen.
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HE won't allow?

I suggest you take your daughter someplace safe for the summer and let him figure this out.
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PowerOf3 Nov 26, 2019
I’m with Barb, you and your child should stay with some friends or family and let him handle her. He’ll figure it out real fast he’s going to lose his family and be stuck with her!
If she’s competent enough to commit fraud (and yes I’d call your credit card companies to contest the charges), vandalism (on your personal property) and verbal assault (on your child about you) she is plenty capable of handling her finances or lack thereof.
Its going to be hard for you but you need to make your husband choose!
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I agree with others, that this doesn't sound like dementia, more like mental (un)health. It has obviously been life-long based on the history you provide, so don't expect anything to change. You and your husband need to find a NAMI group and take a class to learn how to deal with her without letting her control you and take advantage. Here are some suggestions that may help a little until you can move her out:
1. Do not pay her bills, any of them.
2. If she is eating with you, do not serve the food at the table. Put it on plates in the kitchen and everyone gets a plate. Everyone gets fed, and she cannot take larger servings leaving someone else without. If she wants more to eat she will have to buy her own snacks.
3. Your daughter is old enough for an explanation that grandma isn't always right in the head. Get books on how to explain this without scaring her or making her defensive for either of you. At her age she needs her family to love her and to feel secure.
4. You have a right to feel secure in your own home. If MIL interferes with this she goes. This isn't a debate, it is a basic need. MIL was able to manage before she lived with you and she can do that now. Husband needs to understand this.
5. Your husband has been abused by her his entire life. He is still trying to earn her love and respect. This will never happen. He needs help to accept this. It isn't his fault, she just isn't capable of normal relationships and never has been.
6. Does MIL have siblings or cousins that she likes? If so, send her there.
7. Do NOT make this between MIL and you. It isn't. It is between her and the world. You are just one of her victims.
8. If her "friends" want to help her or give her money let them. They will eventually see through her, so don't worry about what they think of you based on her whining.
9. Hide your money and valuables. Don't leave cash or credit cards where she might find them. Put jewelry in a safe deposit box.
10. Take pictures of the damage she does (cut up clothes). You may someday need them for legal purposes.
11. Let your extended family know what is happening. Don't complain, just spell it out factually. You may need their support now or in the future.

www.nami.org - look for a chapter near you and get information about how to manage family members with mental illness. You can't fix this and she doesn't want to fix it so don't try. Just do what you need to and get your safe, loving family back to normal.
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gdaughter Jul 2019
And I Will just add to this excellent response that my mom DOES have dementia and she can hide or damage some things...it has been an absolute godsend that we now have a couple rooms that we have placed exterior door handles/lock on, i.e. you need a key. I would let only yourself have a key and hide a duplicate (tape it somewhere where it can't be seen or fall) when mil is not in the house. This would protect your valuables/clothing. Not saying btw that your mil HAS dementia...just that this can work to protect belongings..
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Read about Narcissistic personality Disorder. Not dementia but far uglier.
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Teri4077 Jul 2019
Yes, that was my thought, too. And looking back at her history it sounds like it has been there all along.....
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Jomichelle: You married into a trainwreck family. Not a criticism. Just a fact.

Read what DrB, Takincare and Isthisreallyreal have advised. Over and over.

You need to kickstart the correction. Carefully. Methodically. Respectfully. But - you. Your husband doesn’t have the b*lls.

Do your homework. Make a plan. And don’t back down.

Some good takeaways: Your daughter needs feel safe in her home. Your daughter deserves - and needs - to be nobody’s pawn and nobody’s sounding board. It’s MIL against the world, not just you three. Keep it neutral; no complaining or venting. Document, document, document.

If you are concerned that this will affect your marriage, too late. It already has affected your marriage.

You are already locked into the role of “always being the bigger person.” Take that mindset to the next level — and continue to “be the bigger person” as you engineer MIL out the door.

You only get get one shot at giving your child a non-deranged, non-pathological home life. Your MIL blew it during your husband’s upbringing. Your husband is making the same mistake with your daughter’s home life.

Your husband’s footprint is more passive, but that does not excuse it — and it does not mitigate the damage.

If your husband is incapable of recognizing this, it does not give him a free pass.

Big hugs. Stay focused. No negative talk. Do your homework and git-R-done.
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You don't have to have dementia to be crazy. You don't have to live with crazy. It is time she is removed from your home. So this should now be a legal issue.
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What she needs is psychological help for being a thief. Your husband's lucky he hasn't been fired yet for missing work because of her! She needs to move and your husband needs to address her issues as an adult. I'd say help your husband get a backbone and kick her out. Her behavior is criminal and she needs to face the consequences of it. Press charges after you've installed cameras catching her in the act of vandalizing your property.
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I hope this doesn't sound harsh, but it seems to me like you've got a nuclear-powered malignant narcissist on your hands. Her actions are bizarre, but not in the way they would be if she had dementia. People with dementia do things like put their car keys in the freezer or forget to eat. Her behaviour makes perfect sense, however, for a narcissist--she demands unconditional attention and care, responds with passive-aggression if she doesn't get her way, recruits flying monkeys to shore up her own credibility, stokes division within the family, and lies and steals with glee. Of course the doctors find no signs of dementia--she's sharp as a tack. It's not surprising you didn't see the signs of her narcissism sooner--unfortunately, malignant narcissists come across as perfectly normal, even charming, until you live with them.

The only way I've ever found to deal with malignant narcissists is to put as much land mass between myself and them as possible. Your young family is your top priority in life, and you must not allow your MIL's presence to tear you guys apart.

My advice: Tell her that she has two weeks to find a suitable living arrangement (apartment, roommate, etc.) or you will install her in assisted living. Then make good on that threat--collect brochures for AL places and put them around the house, call facilities while she is watching and make appointments for tours, start stacking up boxes for her to pack her things. Chances are she will try to guilt you by pretending to get sick, or she might even "let up" on her narcissistic behaviour. Don't fall for it. Remain positive and firm. If she asks you why you want her to leave, simply say the current arrangement is not working. You owe her no more than that. If she doesn't find her own place after a few days of this, that first visit to the AL facility will probably do the trick. Do not give her any options--stand firm and do it for your family. Narcissists have a habit of living to a ripe old age, and you will never have any peace unless you put your foot down now.

My 92-year-old mother is a malignant narcissist, and I've been dealing with her toxicity for 56 years. The only way I can tolerate her is to live at least 1,000 miles away from her. I wish you all the best, and BE STRONG!
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I see references to Dr. Les Carter's counseling (the flying monkeys). I encourage Jomichelle to look him up on YouTube. Everything will start to make sense.
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Have you ever considered that she's just a self-centered nasty person? Many of her behaviors sound that way. All craziness is not a sign of dementia!
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Oh, boy. I’m so sorry. Maybe she needs to be in custody, if she’s vandalizing your personal property. I would think that would technically be against the law. And “accidentally” charging her doctor bills to your account sounds fraudulent, though I don’t really know how health accounts work. Seriously, what will she think of next? Slashing your tires?

I feel like this really should be your husband’s problem, but you may have to do the legwork of finding her a place. In my state waiting lists for decent senior housing are very long. Maybe you can find her a small apartment or even a room for her to rent while she’s waiting.

Your husband may well be good and kind, but he’s also kind of wimping out by allowing his mother to engage in behavior that makes his wife and daughter miserable. He’s a husband and father before he is a son.
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gdaughter Jul 2019
Filing charges would be a way to get her arrested and out...but then she will have to deal with hubby. Is this marriage destined to fail? Hope not...
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