Supporting spouse - PIL, dementia, controlling SIL(210 Posts)
Quick background info: We have been NC with controlling sil (csil) for over 15 years for multiple reasons having lived away (the latter 4 years, at the other side of the world). 20 months ago when H retired we returned about 40 minutes drive from pil’s home. H also has a B and N(ice) sil (nsil) who along with csil live 5 minutes drive from pil.
csil has always been extremely (joined at the hip) close to pil and has over decades been a toxic influence on them and her brother and his wife until eventually bil and nsil saw the light and went no contact with her also. Despite csil’s best efforts both sons aided by their wives (me and nsil) managed to maintain a loving relationship with pil. Pil tried to steer their ship through all the ups and downs of their fractured family relationship - appeasing csil (as she screamed the loudest) allowing her full control of their lives.
Csil was widowed tragically in her early forties with two young children (she is now 58). We as a family were very supportive to her when this happened but sil decided ‘that part of her life was over’ and wore her widow’s weeds with aplomb. As the years passed sil and pil’s lives became more and more entwined with pil heavily involved with childcare so csil could carry on working. As pil became older csil then gradually turned the tables until neither could live without the other and she became the support to them. Eventually pil could not make any decisions for themselves, ran everything past her, domination of them was complete. Both of her now adult children still live with their mother. Both are ‘odd’ neither have managed to maintain adult relationships; their mother was highly controlling as they grew up; both were very unpleasant to us, we assumed this was due their mother’s toxicity - we did not add flames to any fires. NC was our way of managing csil and her little family.
csil in my opinion, has serious mental issues. She catastophises everything. She has cried wolf so many times that we now do not react until we see first-hand whatever crisis occurs (usually a storm in a teacup). Her anxiety levels are sky high and her anger and jealousy at my Dh - (her brother) even higher. Mostly I think the fact we moved away from the area and dared to have a happy life beyond the narrow confines of her life has angered her. She is now trying to use her ailing parents as a tool with which to control us and her other brother and wife.
Fast forward to the situation today : Both pil are now 90 (fil) and 87 (mil). Both with memory problems both 100% reliant on her, who is now self appointed carer. She is paid by pil to be their carer and because there are no assets (social housing - no savings) we volunteered to top up her earnings to make up her ‘wages’ so that she wasn’t out of pocket. Csil will not countenance outside help, until both brothers forced the issue and a cleaner was brought in to lighten the load. Nsil and I do not get involved in any decision making but support the brothers in a weekly rota to help. DH and I go every Tuesday. He does the grocery shopping, I prepare and serve the main meal (lunch), prepare afternoon tea for them to serve themselves and do some light housework. Bil and nsil do the same on Sundays. Csil manages everything else. Fil is blind, confused, has a severe tremor and diabetes. He has insulin injected every day (by csil because she is an ex nurse and fell out with the district nurses). Mil is on a zimmer, struggling to walk, completely confused and does not recognise she is in her own home now. Csil refuses point blank to consider care home for either of them and is in the process of autonomously taking them into her own home. Pil will do as they are told and are under complete control of csil.
Both brothers do not agree that she should do this but she is overruling them and steaming ahead with it.
Epic story. Thank you for reading if you have stayed with it.
I am using this as a way of keeping check on events as they unfold and will welcome constructive advice how to handle the fallout when csil crashes and burns. I am seriously worried about her (as much as I do not like her). Nobody could cope with what she is insisting on taking on.
I will add that DH has been emphatic that he has not worked for over 46 years to become a carer. I offered to take father into our home (fog) to lighten her load but DH will not budge.
Currently financial assessments are being made and occupational therapists are assessing csil’s home. We are aghast.
I’m back home now, baby on the mend.
Father discharged from hospital. He has forgotten where he was living (carehome) but staff welcomed him back and a resident pal in there shook his hand and sat with him in the dining room to have his evening meal with him.
I spent yesterday afternoon sitting on vigil with mil who is now end of life. Peaceful. When opening her eyes she sees and I know she knows who I am. There is recognition and a smile of love there. We brought dad in to see her. I felt privileged to witness their reunion. Both their heads together with my arms round them both. My heart broke. The care and compassion in the hospital is lovely. We can visit 24/7. H took father back whilst I stayed with her.
Csil although still poorly came to see her mother, I took a step back and left her with her. Her daughter was making her way through the city to be with them. I went home and will return tomorrow to take Fil back to visit in the morning. We will all try to manage her passing by maintaining vigil between us in the coming days/hours what ever it takes. Sad.
Mil died peacefully last night. A blessed release for her. Family pulling together.
So sorry to hear, but hopefully a comfort to know she is free of all of the pain and confusion.
I'm sorry for your loss, may she rest in peace
Bit of an horrendous week health-wise as csil’s illness turned into double pneumonia; I and H went down with the nasty virus that grandchild had - this wiped out the three of us. Nsil and bil along with our sons stepped into the breach to keep up daily visits with Dad whilst H liaising with his siblings by phone/email/text have managed to arrange the funeral (20th). Christmas is upon us H and I are not prepared. Today I am doing domestics whilst he visits dad. The first day after our illness. We are chasing our tails to catch up. Dad is doing well considering. I think enjoying all the attention. We will be able to give him better quality life (trips out) now Mam is gone. He can manage getting in and out of the car. First get the funeral and give Mam her lovely send off.
I'm so sorry - but hope the good parts of life go on showing through.
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