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Elderly mother in law, abusive FIL

(5 Posts)
NettleTea Sun 09-Oct-16 22:38:35

Im not really sure what I want to ask, not quite sure where this post will go, but maybe someone can point me in the right direction, or at least offer some advice. Ive posted in Elderly relatives but think there is more traffic here. I hope Im not identifiable, although I think alot more people are aware of this that PIL think

My MIL is ill. She has a progressive debilitating disease and has struggled through with alot of ongoing pain. She is still mentally astute and apart from being very tired at times, still very much on the ball. People like her.

FIL most likely has a personality disorder. He can be charming but he basically is a selfish bully who has got his own way most of his life and has alienated most people and driven away others if they stand up to him or if he thinks they are getting in the way of him having all of MIL's attention. Despite this there are a handful of MILs friends who are old boots and wont take his nonsense, so she still has friends around.

There are ASD cluster illnesses within the family - FIL may well have one of these, but the fact its never been addressed or dealt with potentially caused the trauma that developed the personality disorder. He has grandiose ideas about himself and has run his own inherited business most of his working life as he seems unable to work in employment. Or rather NOT ran a business - acted as Lord and master while MIL tried desperately to keep the business afloat and dealt with all the financial side. FIL had his head in the side as to all things financial, just concentrated on his status symbol hobby, and shouted if things went wrong/he had no money. Bits of the business have been sold off over the years when cash flow was bad and a few years ago my DP took over the management and has tried to inject new ideas and keep things afloat whilst simultaneously working full-time in other employment. The new ideas have been a success despite FIL often trying to scupper them, and throwing fits as to how his business is being taken away from him - despite the fact that his home is tied to the business and he would have been homeless if it had needed to be sold. The set up is complicated and suffice to say it has not been thought through, resulting in a situation where it cannot be passed onto DP without huge cost, with other siblings entitled to a share, but results in the fact that as shareholders PIL dont qualify for things like pension credit nor get help with any other costs.

When MIL first got ill I helped her get attendance allowance. She has had someone from her disability section come in and go through all the stuff to check what help she can get. We had a lovely friend who was doing some cleaning for her and who agreed to take on a fuller role as carer and last year we sorted Carer's allowance for her. She was cleaning, doing personal care, cooking, walking dogs, etc. PILs house is tiny, but it has land and as MILs needs became greater and more constant it was very hard for our friend to travel up and down to be around when MIL needed her as she doesnt drive. She had previously been living in a shared mobile home at MILs but she split with her partner and he works for PIL and had been there originally so he got to stay. She was offered another smaller unit to stay in, and after a few altrications with FIL we spent a long time clearing a previously rubbish filled area to site it, fitted it out with electrics and were set to build a fence to give both she and PIL some privacy from each other. Once it was all done FIL went totally ballistic and threatened to burn it down with her in it. Friend, who had been struggling with FILs temper and aggression, ended up having a breakdown and going home to her mother, signed off by doctor for 2 months.

As usual MIL had tried to appease FIL and had managed to persuade herself that it was for the best and that FIL was now going to step up to the mark. This is the pattern that follows the expulsion of anyone who was friend and now is enemy. That lasted 2 weeks before MIL broke down in tears and said she couldnt cope. They called social services and were awarded 2 hours help a fortnight. She has struggled on, including organising a huge birthday party for him, and cooking a meal every day.

Now she is very unwell. She is in hospital. I am very worried that he is going to try to get her home asap so that she can get back to being the dutiful wife. She seems to have turned a bit of a corner. She is telling people he is useless. He wont help her, or he will do the absolute minimum he can get away with with alot of pushing, and then he has a tantrum about it. I think she is realising that she doesnt want to rely on him to go home, but I do not know what her options might be, given the stupid financial arrangements have never been sorted. They are as broke as can be. I cannot do anything as am looking after 2 SEN kids and have taken over alot of the business stuff for her. DP cannot deal with FIL - he has Aspergers and the chaotic and manipulative mindset and behaviour of his father has meant that although he is trying to manage the business, he cannot really interact personally with him without needing alot of recovery time. Other siblings are far, far away and wouldnt/couldnt do anything anyway. Im very worried about her and what might happen. FIL scares me, although I dont think he would hurt me physically. Nice friend is potentially coming back and DP and I have raised the spectre of the small unit for her again, but fear that FIL will kick off again, despite that area having sat unused and uncared for ever since it was moved away (he said he needed that space and we were taking over all his place)

Is there anything that can be done when someones unreasonable behaviour is threatening the welfare of their partner. Or does it need the partner (who may be in a really unwell place) to do/say anything. FIL is such a loose cannon. He really only cares about himself. He is jealous of the attention MIL is getting. When they were telling him about what he needed to do to care for her, he was only interested in telling them about a 'heart attack' (read indigestion) he had while out with the dogs. He was actually angry that he just had a chest infection a couple of years back and not TB because he thought he deserved some more attention and he was bored now of people worrying about MIL.

what help might be on offer. will they actually send her home to be looked after by him? can we do anything to protect her from his neglectful, resentful ineptitude?

NettleTea Sun 09-Oct-16 22:38:53

god sorry. that was long

Myusernameismyusername Sun 09-Oct-16 23:01:56

Ok you need to talk to the discharge team about your worries for her. And social care. Be honest. Tell them what you really think, and get your DH involved

I fear she isn't safe.

As for ASD... he sounds like a bastard. She needs support.

I used to work in older adult care and concerns would be taken into concern it's far far worse to say or do nothing

annandale Sun 09-Oct-16 23:13:43

I think anyone can raise a safeguarding concern. Google 'adult safeguarding' for your county or city and give them a call. You don't have to be certain what you want to happen before you talk to them. If you think that MIL probably wouldn't have ended up in hospital if she had had proper support, that would be a good thing to say.

Separately to that, have a think about what you think your MIL would ideally like to happen. Ignore the financial side first of all - what would she like? To be in her home alone, to be in a nursing home, to be in the new place with family/carers? Then have a chat with her if you can - not focusing on all the things your FIL has done, but about what she wants. She may ultimately find it difficult to imagine a life away from him but having that conversation could help her to stop focusing on him for a short while and think of herself.

NettleTea Sun 09-Oct-16 23:15:31

Thank you. I spoke to her sister in law. She and MIL's brother came up on Thursday and she said that brother had seen a few things when they came for the party. Will speak to the discharge team in the morning.

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