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MIL is driving me crazy and I want her OUT

(115 Posts)
applesaretheonlyfruit Fri 31-Jul-09 12:13:40

Hi, I seem to be the only person my age with this problem. I am 40, ds8 and dd21months. MIL, 86, has lived with us for EIGHT years, since her husband died. She has always hated me, and I don't say that in a "poor me" way. Dh confirms this; there is a lot of talking behind my back, everything I do is wrong (to her). Constant small things; for example, at the end of every day I put the tea towels in the kitchen in the washing machine. I hate damp, dirty tea towels - bacteria fest. She constantly complains to DH about my "wasteful" ways. She would use a dirty tea towel for six months without thinking of washing it. It makes me feel sick just thinking about MY children wiping their hands or whatever on something like that.

Lets remember this is MY HOUSE, MY FAMILY and I don't give a toss what she thinks.

Anyway, now she has been diagnosed with alzheimers/vascular dementia. Had an MRI, substantial damage. All downhill from here..

We went away for a few days last week, but because of her condition my husband insisted on taking her with us. Imagine Dame Edna Everage, and her old assistant "Madge". Well, Madge is MIL. Sitting outside at a county house, and there is MIL, miserable as sin, ruining the few days I have on holiday with my family.

I don't know if anyone can understand this unless you have been forced to live with someone who hates you for eight years.

For my own sanity/happiness I want her gone from my life. My husband refuses on the basis that he is the only child. There are no other relatives on his side.

It will get worse I know. She doesn't have a bath for weeks, I think at the moment it is a month.. I feel like I live in a pensioners home but this is MY HOUSE.

Currently, and conveniently, she has forgotten we are married (only 15 YEARS). She keeps asking him "what are her plans" because she thinks dh is 20 not 53 and I am some sort of girlfriend.. passing through.

I am also worried about my dc's. And how her deterioration will affect them. Not to mention their safety.

Sometimes I feel like I am the one who is 86.. not just leaving my 30's..

Am I unreasonable to want MIL out?

StinkyFart Fri 31-Jul-09 12:16:46

If she has dementia then she may need more specialised care in order to keep her safe.

Speak to dr/consultant, you may also need to get a social worker to help you and your husband to decide what is best for her and your family.

LuluMaman Fri 31-Jul-09 12:16:47

she is ill. she has alzheimers. her behaviour , whilst intolerable is not her fault. maybe she was awful before then, or maybe it was not diagnosed.

is your husband against her going into a home?

YANBU, but her behaviour is not her fault

LaurieFairyCake Fri 31-Jul-09 12:17:05

of course you are nt unreasonable - I don't think anyone should be forced to care for someone they don't want to.

I would be looking for a residential home for her (and visiting her a lot). This is not about being uncaring but about realising that you are also entitled to family life.

Can you move so she has her own space?

Hire a carer for her?

LilRedWG Fri 31-Jul-09 12:19:03

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

pickyvic Fri 31-Jul-09 12:21:01

yanbu at all but i guess your main problem will be getting your DH to agree with you.

im afraid if i felt the same as you do it would be me or her.

steviesgirl Fri 31-Jul-09 12:21:27

YABU in one respect, she has Alzheimers and can't help being forgetful - where's your understanding there? She's old and set in her ways, so just try and be a bit more tolerant, she's on her final run anyway, she won't be there forever.

I can understand you being so fed up though if she dislikes you. But she's an old woman so where would she go? She only has one child to look after her. I think you've just got to weather the situation as she's at the end of her life anyway.

MmeLindt Fri 31-Jul-09 12:22:24

YANBU to feel resentful towards her and not want to care for her.

However, her forgetting that you are married is a sign of her dementia and not her getting at you.

Who does the actual caring? You or DH? If it is all going to rest on you then you need to look into alternatives.

babyball Fri 31-Jul-09 12:22:43

I don't think you are being particularly unreasonable. just think you are clearly a lady at the end of her tether. Also in a difficult situation as DH is an only child. Is there any way she/DH would agree to you researching some respite care if she has Alzheimers? It may be worth contacting charities such as Help the Aged for advice as well.

steviesgirl Fri 31-Jul-09 12:22:52

And why does she hate you btw? Maybe it's because you are self-centred.

Katisha Fri 31-Jul-09 12:24:09

Actually I think the OP has a right to consider the impact this is going to have on her own relationship and her children because it WILL get a lot worse.

Will your DH not consider a care home? I admire his sense of duty but I am not sure that the whole household should suffer because of the ineeds of the ill person, if there is an alternative. It will affect the DCs surely?

LuluMaman Fri 31-Jul-09 12:24:53

my friend was carer for her elderley father who had a host of problems as well as dementia

the impact of her and her childrens' lives was huge. she is also a lone parent

she could not go out for more than 2 hours at a time as her dad could not be left alone, therefore working was not an option

the children were distressed by seeing his health deteriorate

3 times he collapsed at home in front of the children and had to be taken in an ambulance to hospital

so i don;t think it is selfish to not want the burden of being a carer when you have young children

there should be a middle ground of carers/respite and maybe a home in the future

Stigaloid Fri 31-Jul-09 12:25:22

I disagree with LilRedWG - i can fully appreciate how someone introduing on your domain and belittling you and making you feel hated for 8 years can make you reach the end of your tether. I think you need to speak to someone about some help as this is clearly affecting you and causing you great stress. Alzheimers is a very difficult disease to deal with and you have a 21 month old child to deal with as well as an 8 year old - to be made carer to MIL whom you do not have a good relationship is a lot to ask. Unless DH considers giving up work and being the main carer, asking you to do so is unfair. You either need to get a carer in or consider respite if it is causing you so much distress.

I am sorry for your DH that his mother has this awful disease, it must be very hard on him to watch his mother go through this.

ZippysMum Fri 31-Jul-09 12:26:03

Apples, just wanted to pop in to say I disagree entirely with LilRedwg. You sound neither mean nor selfish to me and eight years is a very long time to cope with something like this.
Can you talk to DH and come to some sort of compromise? For example for MIL to spend a couple of days a week in a day-care centre, or with some respite from a care assistant or similar? You do need to put yourself and your immediate family first, and you are entitled to make, with DH, decisions about your own home!

Stigaloid Fri 31-Jul-09 12:26:45

sorry that should read "intruding"

applesaretheonlyfruit Fri 31-Jul-09 12:30:08

"self-centred", hmmm. Steviesgirl Can you confirm that you have shopped for, cooked for, cleaned for an elderly person who finds you intolerable for marrying her son.. for eight years... If not, then I'm not sure you can help me.

LilRedWG Fri 31-Jul-09 12:30:39

Message withdrawn

LilRedWG Fri 31-Jul-09 12:32:06

I'm going to walk away because I don't want to get in a fight. Needless to say, this has hit on a sensitive issue for me.

Apologies for any upset I've caused.

LuluMaman Fri 31-Jul-09 12:32:50

the DH is presumably at work , whilst the OP is the carer for her MIL and also looking after two children, running the house etc.. and has been doing so for 8 years

that is a long time.

to do it for many more years, with the alzheimers thrown into the mix is a massive burden

if the DH is such a devoted son he should want what is best for his mum and his wife and children and that is probably not a terribly unwell and difficult woman living with them, whether she is his mother or not

AuntieMaggie Fri 31-Jul-09 12:35:29

I think the OP has a right to feel like this too.

Did she always hate you or just since she's lived with you.

Yes she is your husbands mother but you didn't marry her, and you have a right to be happy and I wouldn't be at all happy at someone bad mouthing me in MY HOUSE whether they were family or not.

It's one thing to have your MIL living with you, it's completely another to live in this situation. And I don't think you are selfcentred - you have put up with this for 8 years.

I know she is ill but I seriously think you need to find a way that your husband can feel like he's caring for his mother but that you have a happy marriage and a life without her as well. She could live for the next 20 years and then you've spent almost half your life being made to feel like this. I understand she is ill, and maybe some of her behaviour is down to that, but that isn't your fault and I don't think that you should have to feel like this just because she can't help it.

I would also think about whether her attitude to you is having an effect on your dcs now let alone her illness and if she gets worse.

randomtask Fri 31-Jul-09 12:35:35

I think you've lived with a horrible situation for a long time. Suspect if it was just the recent alzheimers behaviour you'd be able to handle it better. I also think your DH should have dealt with her bad behaviour before she got ill, but it's too late for that now.

My Granny got alzheimers when I was 5 and Mum considered moving her to ours but realised she couldn't care for all of us properly. Can you get a 'home help' type person to help her when she needs it? Or, can you move her into sheltered accomodation where she can have a warden to help her who is trained to understand. My granny used to go wandering in the middle of the night and also go to the cash machine, take out her pension then walk up the road with it in her hand. In SE London. My Mum was petrified she'd get hit on the head and mugged. sad If she went to sheltered accomodation now it would make the move to nursing home easier for her in the future (having listened to colleagues who's mothers refused by that point at their personalities had changed and had to be sectioned).

BTW, I totally understand about being annoyed with your MIL and other people thinking you're unreasonable. Mine is interfering, causes my DSS a lot of worry and stress, causes DH to be so stressed he talks in his sleep and makes us feel like we're not a 'family unit'. However, as DH's first wife died as did his brother, I spend a lot of time being told I should feel sorry for her. I very much appreciate that but suspect people wouldn't say/feel the same if it happened to them. DH regularly says 'what about your feelings, what about mine, what about DSS's?' when people tell us we should put up with our family being ruined.

Good luck, it's a horrible situation.

VinegarTits Fri 31-Jul-09 12:35:36

I can certainly understand how you feel and i dont agree that you sound like mean person.

My own Gran lives with my parents (she is my dads mum. dad is an only child) and sometimes it is like caring for a small child, although i loves my gran to bits, she is stubborn and demanding, and i can see the stress in my mum face sometimes.

When they go on holiday they have to take her with them, they dont get time alone and i feel so sorry for my parents because their own dc are grown up, yet they still dont have any freedom.

But at the end of the day, i know my parents wouldnt have it any other way, as my Gran is part of our family and she will always be loved and cared for by her family, just like a child would be, you wouldnt abandon your children because they were 'difficult' to live with, would you? think how you would feel if it were your own mother? and your dh felt how you feel?

MmeLindt Fri 31-Jul-09 12:38:17

A good friend has her MIL living in the same house, and they have never got on. It is a massive burden on her and her relationship wiht her DH.

I can understand that adding the stress of caring for your MIL would be almost unbearable for you.

Will your DH consider any other options?

steviesgirl Fri 31-Jul-09 12:38:32

I'm sorry for implying you are self-centred. I don't know the whole story.

MamaKaty Fri 31-Jul-09 12:38:58

What a difficult situation to be in - I'm a carer specifically for people with Alzheimers and I know what a massive burden it can be on families.
I would advise that you start by contacting your local social work team and asking them for a carers assessment - perhaps they could start by offering respite care such as somebody to help with her personal care regularly (to deal with the not washing issue) and perhaps set in place day centres, etc so that she is not in the house 24/7 with you.
They could also provide respite care a couple of times a year, perhaps to coincide with your family holidays, etc so you have time to enjoy your children.
Particularly as the dementia progresses, you will probably want to start visiting local residential or nursing homes. I am completely convinced that it doesn't always have to be a last resort, but if the right place is found, it can make life much more positive for the person involved as well as the family doing the carer. Visit all the homes that are options (probably ones within a certain radius of your home) and get a good feel for the atmosphere and culture in them.
There are no quick and easy answers; but perservere and keep communicating with your DH as much as possible.
Good luck x

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