Supporting spouse - PIL, dementia, controlling SIL(217 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.
Happy New Year Slugslasher.
Hope the year ahead is less eventful; glad you have made it thus far & that FIL is happy.
Happy New Year Slug.
That's a really lovely update, I'm very glad he is contented in his life now. Thank you for sharing.
A quick update on Dad: He’s absolutely fine. He spent Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day being ferried between the home and Csil and bil’s homes (they live minutes away). We visited with grandchild during the holidays. The home made Christmas special with entertainment throughout but dad missed out due to being hosted elsewhere. Today New Year's Eve we visited and helped make party hats with glue and glitter whilst Dad sang along with a huge smile on his face. The carers say he isn’t a bit of bother and they clearly love him. He hasn’t once mentioned mam so I do hope the days of him being on high alert for her are behind him. I came away today feeling I have never seen him so happy since the whole scenario of him losing his independence when this all started in my OP.
The relief that mam is no longer suffering is a huge comfort for us. Dad still has quality in his life. He looks content, he has constant visitors (shared out between us all).
Relationship between us and Csil is extremely ‘fragile’. Both brothers are going to take her to task regarding what she has been saying (for years) to extended family then will go ‘no contact’. I personally am keeping well away from that situation as I made that decision for myself a long time ago. We shall carry on visiting Dad and making sure he is looked after but have as little to do with her as possible henceforth.
HAPPY NEW YEAR and thanks again for being my sounding board. Much appreciated.
You’re probably right @WitchDancer. We were snubbed by all members of ‘her’ party - all her family, some extended family and all of her friends.
Our friends and entourage sought her out and acknowledged her. We don’t play her games. I just kept a wide berth and looked after dad and family. We just want peace from it all.
If all the cousins are talking to each other, I would think they'll be able to make up their own minds as to who is the one that's not been truthful. Karma and all that jazz.
I'm thankful that yesterday went as well as can be expected, it sounded like a lovely service.
Funeral was yesterday 19th (not 20th as stated earlier). A beautiful fitting humanist service which depicted her life to perfection. We managed to get Dad through it all. He enjoyed seeing all his extended family; mam’s brothers with their families along with friends of ours who have been in and out of their lives as we celebrated ‘hatches matches and dispatches’ throughout the decades of a long happy marriage and family life. Three lovely favourite pieces of mam’s favourite artists (Shirley Bassey, Johnny Mathis and Nat King Cole) to send her on her way. A little reception with food and drink at a local club where everybody re-acquainted after years of living life. A funeral can be a bitter-sweet time for all. On return to the home after dad asked where Mam was. He had forgotten it all.
A sizzling snake-pit deep within emerged as various cousins (the next generation below us, talked to each other. Csil has been dripping her poison for years amongst the wider family depicting her brothers as uncaring, leaving everything to her and basically “we have got our wish and put parents in a home”. We don’t rise to any of this but Nsil and Bil are currently very angry and on the verge of confronting her. H and I are looking further than confrontation as we know we still have a long road to tread whilst Dad is still here. We just want some peace and enjoy Christmas with our own family. Csil is trying to dictate her terms for dad (regarding visits), we are again needing to assert our right to leading our own lives. She meanwhile is dripping poison about us everywhere. We carry on.
Thank you for your good wishes.
Hi@Slugslasher . I do hope the funeral goes as well as it can. I greatly admire your level headed ability to cope. We went through very similar events with my PIL, all so difficult to deal with. Anyway, I'm wishing you all well.
I'm so sorry - but hope the good parts of life go on showing through.
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 sorry for your loss, may she rest in peace
So sorry to hear, but hopefully a comfort to know she is free of all of the pain and confusion.
Mil died peacefully last night. A blessed release for her. Family pulling together.
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.
Fil responding to treatment, is the darling of the ward. May be discharged soon.
Drs will be discussing with family no longer treating poor mil who because of her complex needs is struggling. I think all siblings will agree. Not sure if Fil will be included in the decision-making. He is aware she is isolated because she has flu and understands he can’t visit because of it.
Meanwhile I am nursing a very poorly baby. You full time working parents - I just don’t know how you do it. Both parents here are 50/50 and share the load but it is so tough isn’t it. Throw in the mix they have builders in. (A subject for another thread 🤓). Other grandparents coming tomorrow, I am going home too.
Oh my word, what a year you had! I hope your Grandchild is on the road to recovery and the others are comfortable throughout their troubles.
There's a hand to hold here if you need it 🤝
Despite it all we are a good team. Thanks for good wishes. Fil admitted with chest infection and is on a drip for dehydration. Csil is ill now. H sent her home and told her to stay away for 48 hours. Family pulling together. Friends too. Other grandparents being drafted in at the weekend I’ll return home by train and hopefully be able to support H and in-laws.
Yes it has been a year since my OP. Blimey!
Slugslasher, you are in the right place looking after your grandchild, and your husband has bil and nsil for support . I just realised that your first post was exactly a year ago - what an awful lot life throws at us sometimes, and how things change in a year.
What an overwhelming situation for you all. Hope your little grandson soon feels better
A bit of a nightmare going on for all us at the moment. Mil now has pneumonia and still tests positive for flu. I’m not sure if she will be strong enough to get through this. Meanwhile fil has gone into a depression and has refused food for the past few days. It appears (to me) he may have lost his will. I am currently down at the other end of the country helping with a very poorly baby as H drove back home on his own to be with his family to assist. I had to make a difficult decision to remain with grandchild knowing one of them may die before I get back home. The last I heard (last night) Csil had ordered an ambulance for fil because she was worried about his heart. She will have waited hours for that and then hours (I expect in A&E).
Little grandson is not bouncing back from whatever virus he has picked up. I am needed here to help as they are juggling work with no backup as their nursery can’t accept poorly babies.
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