I'm not sure if this is the right forum to post in, so I'm taking a wild guess. My 90-year old father in law (FIL) has mild dementia, is very lame, practically deaf, and suffers from Type 2 diabetes. For most of the last 2 years (he lost his driver's license to a failed test), my wife has been insisting that we look after him in his own home (both she & I are health care professionals). Although we do have home care coming, they are mostly next to useless as they will not do most things around the house. My wife wanted me to bathe her dad - she told me it would just be until home care started - but now, both she and FIL EXPECT it. I have been injured as a resulted of bathing him (I developed tendonitis in my chest & shoulder) and despite this, she STILL expected me to help him. When home care staff suggest a bath, FIL says 'my son in law will do it', and when I complained, both my wife and her mother condescendingly told me I should feel privileged to bathe him as he appreciates it so much. I am so angry with the two of them I can hardly contain myself. My wife also expects me to be a ready, willing & able participant in cleaning his house (he is very messy); doing his yard work (eg. mowing lawn, shoveling snow, garden, etc), in addition to his personal care. Although she has 2 brothers, 1 lives too far away to help and the other refuses. We no longer have any life together as EVERY weekend that I do not work is taken up with looking after FIL and his needs. There appears to be no end in sight. My wife & I have not had a night out together in 3 years; my wife always makes excuses for not going out ('Papa needs this or that, and I'm too tired to be bothered after being there all day'). We do not even get to do anything with my wife's 10-year-old, as looking after FIL and his needs can take as long as 4 hours a day. My mother in law (MIL) defends her son's refusal to help ('he's always so busy'), and continues to insist I help with her EX husband (yes, that's right).
My MIL is another piece of work; we have been living with her since I married my wife (5 years). Over those years I have come to hate her behavior; she is an arrogant, self-righteous, condescending 87-year-old bully who believes she is right and everyone else is wrong. She is frequently rude and insulting to my stepdaughter (age 10); but she believes that adults - and especially ELDERLY adults - are ENTITLED to be rude to children and that adults can demand respect but not give it. She also believes her age gives her a free pass on rudeness & insults directed at me & my wife. I am close to losing my temper & yelling at her or walking out the door.
Has my wife chosen her parents over me? I really don't know. But I've felt for a long time that she believes her DAD comes first, and then her mother. I feel like I rate last in this marriage, and have been seeing a psychologist for some time to try to figure out where to go. I have considered leaving, even temporarily, to try to get my wife & her parents to realize I am not a slave, and there is more to life than looking after FIL. When I've tried to make these suggestions before my wife has shot it down & accused me of 'selfishness'. My MIL believes that your first priority should be looking after housework and aging parents; she believes there is no time for fun things like movies or dinners out. She also is convinced 'we are going to fall on hard times', so my wife & I need to stop taking vacations. I can't stand my in-laws and my wife's behavior anymore. What do I do?
Assandache, you are right; I have wanted to move out of that house for quite some time. However, my wife won't hear of it as she feels 'sorry' for her mother and there are also child care issues involved (we are both shift workers; getting a babysitter to come for 3 hours at 6 a.m. is impossible - no one will do it). A lot of people have told me I need to grow a spine and start telling my wife, MIL & FIL a very simple word - 'NO'. As you correctly point out though, this is likely to 'rock the boat'.
Before the home care staff visits, you might as well tell your wife and FIL that you will no longer bathe him on the days that they visit. For example, if they come twice a week - Tuesdays and Thursdays - then tell them that you will bathe him only on Saturdays OR Sundays. If he doesn't allow them to bathe him on those days (Tuesdays/Thursdays), too bad. He will remain stinky and unclean until your day - Saturday/Sunday.
Set up a schedule to do the yard, house work, shopping. And do it only on those days. If nobody picks up after themselves, then...too bad. If wife complains, maybe it's time you decide what it is you really want in your marriage. Or you can tell her that you will concentrate on the yard while she concentrates on the household chores. It's called sharing the duties. You may need to remind wife that THEY are HER parents - not yours. Therefore, she should be helping out more and quit complaining. But, this is only doable on how far you are willing to go in "rocking the boat" of your relationship. I've never been married, so I may be waaaay off on this.
Do you really want this to continue?