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Manufactured illness and no one in family questions it

(143 Posts)
EasterHolidayRain Sat 26-Mar-16 18:55:32

My MIL has faked one illness or another since my husband and I got married. Starting from our wedding night, 3 hours in. She has had two epileptic seizures, foamy mouth, shaking body, then going to hospital for checkup. Till date, I haven't seen any medical reports confirming or neither my husband has but he doesn't ask for reports either. Her epilepsy has now been cured apparently when questioned why she had no seizures in the two years since our wedding night. She has only had two seizure, one when she was first told about me, the other when we got married. I didn't think of anything when these happened but I now feel this was deliberate. Or may be she could not cope and went into some sort of bodily reaction? I was reading on the internet and found that it never goes away, you can only take medication to control seizures. Also, she claimed that last seizure fixed it, and then later said the doctor has taken her for a fool, she only had mild symptoms but he continue with medication for 2 years unnecessarily. Continued with now she is suffering with side affects of those strong medication and so it goes on.

I think everyone got bored with no new seizures, then moved on to having BP problem. Recently she has been reporting that she can feel like sharp pain in nerves in brain to the extent she feels they might as well burst. She needs attention 24/7 and if you don't massively overreact for her well being, she says one day she will be gone and we will realise what everyone ignored her pleas for help. For someone who has been taking BP pills for more than 2 years, one would think they know their average BP but she plays dumb. Then one day when I pushed for it, she said 130/90, surely that is not someone with critical high BP problem. She is overweight and I thought that goes with the territory. It shouldn't be a surprise. She complains insomnia and a lot other things which do not have physical symptoms.

And there are reported unhappiness in general and feeling of suicide. I had to warn my husband that they can't bend me just and it is a cheap way of trying to get things your way. I will not be bullied. If marrying me has been so worse then he should be the one wanting to commit suicide, not his mother. But I can't help but think how can he just accept and keep passively quiet knowing she is acting out. MIL's family seems frustrated but they all join the circus when these episodes happen rather than confront it. I don't know what to make of it, they obviously say I don't care enough and act aloof.

When she was staying at ours once, she screamed very loudly. We went to check up and she said she was sleeping and don't know what happened. It was a continuous loud scream, not something I thought someone while sleeping will make. She screamed until I got up, woke up my husband and we went to her room and stopped as soon as we entered the room. So we didn't 'see' her screaming. I know I'm being very critical, but think she does this now so she doesn't even have to explain or tell lies in which to get caught. She was rather asking my husband what it could be. But he asked her to go to bed and asked me to not to bring it up next morning. Next morning, we didn't say a thing so she brought it up and said we must be terrified about what happened. Should we say yes we were ferried or say no? My husband avoids and never confronts her. My husband said to her that you are feeling fine now and that is better.

Last time, the neurosurgeon gave a full check and referred her to psychiatrist who has given her some antidepressants and she is miraculously recovered now. In fact, she said all her symptoms went away within first few hours of taking new pill. I'm confused, how could something so serious gets better at the drop of a hat. Even my fever doesn't go down that quick. I'm out of depth why are others so complacent in this? They all run around like headless chickens when it happens.

I don't know if she is used to do this before our marriage. Husband doesn't think what she is doing is outside ordinary so don't know if it is all because of me. Overall I'm very upset as there is a hint that her life has gone downhill since we got married as she feels insecure. She wanted to live with us but tells my husband that I have taken a dislike to her and will force her to go into care rather than have her with us when she is tool old. The way she resents me is so obvious that sure I do not want to care for her. I'm early 30s and the burden is already bringing me down. It would have helped my sanity if someone had the guts to stand up to her and not pretend they sympathise with her medical condition. Husband doesn't have a father, MIL left him when she was heavily pregnant. He feels he owes his life to her. I wonder what family dynamics this is, I'm really struggling to feel like family and show compassion. I guess she is complaining about her health so much so we would take her in to live with us. All relatives have already hinted that it might be for the best. She feels extremely lonely and unhappy.

EasterHolidayRain Sat 26-Mar-16 18:59:00

terrified not ferried about her screaming in the middle of night.

ladylambkin Sat 26-Mar-16 19:00:35

I feel sorry for your husband stuck in the middle. It's clear from your post you dislike this woman.

EasterHolidayRain Sat 26-Mar-16 19:07:07

Yes, I feel for everyone involved, including her. Actually I can't breath when she is around. I didn't even get to know her properly and she threw me off-balance. All I have felt is contempt from her towards me.

ijustwannadance Sat 26-Mar-16 19:07:34

I would rather get a divorce than let this woman live in my home. She will destroy your marriage.

TalkingintheDark Sat 26-Mar-16 19:14:45

What an unhelpful reply Lady.

OP this manufacturing of illnesses is quite common in some toxic/dysfunctional families. Of course it's significant that she has only ever had her "seizures" when she realised she was "losing" her son to you.

But as is always said on here, you don't have a MIL problem, you have a DH problem. If your DH is completely under her spell, then you've got trouble. Is he worth it? Is this how you want your life to be? You don't mention DC - would you want to bring them into a situation where their needs would inevitably take second or third place to hers? Because I suspect they would.

Not surprised the relatives all want you to take her in - that way they know she's sorted out without them having to do anything themselves (bet none of them would want to put up with her.) Stand firm and don't allow yourself to be bullied. Have a look at the Stately Homes thread and the much talked about on here book "Toxic Inlaws".

And if you think (or know) that your DH is always going to put his mother first, do some hard thinking about your future.

Backtoblackcoffee Sat 26-Mar-16 19:15:32

I have had 2 friends with epilepsy it's a tricky one as you often have to continue with meds regardless if you have had another seizure or not. The idea is to not get another seizure. Having said that she does sound high maintenance!

Marchate Sat 26-Mar-16 19:18:07

She has invested her life in her son. Since before he was born. He found a 'replacement' (in her terms) when he married you. She has nothing to fill the space her son left

I'm sorry you are going through this. It's like DH Lawrence. Has she been reading Sons and Lovers recently?!

Chocolatteaddict1 Sat 26-Mar-16 19:24:11

Every one keeps quiet because they always have done. They will know what she is going but just brush it under the carpet because it's easier than to tackle the problem. People like this make folk feel lots of guilt so it's really hard to stick up to them or walk away.

My mil flips between being the most generous mother on earth, raging witch or a vunerable 12 year old.....

pocketsaviour Sat 26-Mar-16 19:33:37

Husband doesn't think what she is doing is outside ordinary
That would indicate she's been pulling this crap for his whole life, hence the rest of the family being used to dancing around her and making excuses for her.

Here is a link to Toxic In-Laws book.

Do you have DC yet? If not, and your H is in denial about how dysfunctional she is, I'd seriously consider leaving.

EasterHolidayRain Sat 26-Mar-16 19:48:02

I don't think DH likes her either. He avoids her phone calls at most times. MIL was living with her parents and had relied on them heavily. Her plan was then to rely on her son later on. I'm a complete disappointment to her. I have never feel so inadequate about myself. We have to be prepared for her to have another episode if you try to tell her where she goes wrong. She first denies everything, then says she is so depressed that she doesn't realise what she is doing, then she will blame someone else for getting these ideas about me. But then eventually says she is not well and is very vague. Then he drops it eventually. Raising concerns only brings more criticism for MIL's family who have raised him together with a view that she has had a tough life and he was to take care of her later in life.

I had empathy in the beginning but started to feel different when there is no follow up on these unexplained medical crisis. They all react as if she is going to die every time, the reaction is too dramatic for me. Their diagnosis starts from being hospitalised and medication later. I have seen that in sudden heart attacks and cases like that. I have been seriously ill too, but we went to doctors, had tests done, found out what it was and was treated for it. They seem to go the other way round, she drops dead first and is hospitalised, then months long investigations take place with no real proof. Then she goes, oh it is all under control now, don't worry. End of discussion. How is it end of discussion when you made us feel guilty over it every time? Did it just disappear and should we move onto next illness now?

How is it possible her MRIs come back clean every time. Surely, epilepsy or something would come in reports? I can't even say much or ask for reports. But it does affect our lives.

Anyways, the problem is Dh has no emotional response. If my mum was so ill, I would have felt so bad all the time. Not just when she is admitted to the hospital and go as an obligation. So I feel he knows the truth but he gets frustrated with me very quickly if I bring it up.

No children yet. I have felt so bad in the relationship. Both times I prepared myself to TTC, she has had some sort of health problems and lived with us for a few months, completely knocking me out. I don't want him to choose between her and me. She says stuff about me to my husband. She hasn't said anything to me directly. I feel worse that he tells me what she thinks of me, when I push him to confront her why she made me feel so awful. She comes up with other shit and I end up feeling worse than I did before. He says he feels he is being honest with me. And somewhere he wants to know what the one and only important alive person from his family feels. He wants us to get along. How could it work when she feels there is a competition and I don't even want to have a competition. This is madness. I'm baffled about illness though, how are they accepting it without ever asking for proof over the years?

EasterHolidayRain Sat 26-Mar-16 19:53:00

I read Toxic In laws, she fits into every single category. I'm not sure if it is because I hate her so much that I see only bad.

Chocolatteaddict1 Sat 26-Mar-16 20:17:11

What you have to do is either - get out now while you can as this lady will not change.

OR totally disengage. Keep your distance, when she comes over - be out, stay with a friend. Don't tell her too much information ect..

EasterHolidayRain Sat 26-Mar-16 20:41:19

Every one on the outside thinks she is a lonely lady and dh isn't supporting her completely because of his evil wife. If I was a nice person, I would welcome her and play happy families. Which sounds so ideal and I feel bad that I don't feel the same way. My husband feels unsupported too. I don't know why I couldn't pretend like every one else. I fear that I will be expected to pretend forever and husband feels I'm reasonable and trying to be Sherlock to find the truth about her illness. But if she was really ill, surely she would over show her reports on every opportunity to get more support. Why keep it so vague discussing about recovery and diagnoses? And I fear what will happen to us when she really is ill and too old. I need to know that I'm not being unreasonable towards her going through so much pain, loneliness and illness before making any decision.

DontMindMe1 Sat 26-Mar-16 20:42:53

stop playing her game then!

you don't HAVE to take her seriously every time or act all concerned and feed her attention seeking.

next time she comes up with something, just calmly say 'oh ok' and disengage. Let her get upset that you're not fawning over her. or just tell her straight that you're not putting up with her histrionics and antics.

your dh knows full well his mother is a fruit loop and full of crap - he just doesn't want to have to deal with it openly....it's much easier to get angry at you for daring to bring something dysfunctional out into the open. wanker!

ijustwannadance Sat 26-Mar-16 20:46:14

And anti depressants don't work after one pill. It can take weeks to kick in.

springydaffs Sat 26-Mar-16 21:00:38

Yes, she's giving you the runaround. My dad is like this - not for any particular reason, just to get attention when he feels like it <toxic family t-shirt>

My concern is you. Hating someone that much is not good for you or your marriage. You can't change her, you can't change them, but you can change you. So what they groan and turn away? It's better than supporting her to the hilt. As for they think you're the evil wife blah blah - I doubt it. They know what she's like.

You have your husband's support - tacit support, anyway. She is a royal pain in the arse (to put it mildly) but is she actually causing any harm? Some toxic people cause unbelievable damage - 'all' she does is scream in the night and foam at the mouth at your wedding. You have to laugh.. it's so pathetic.

Has your husband read Toxic Parents or Toxic Inlaws?

She's living with you? Hmmm that's not good.

Wolpertinger Sat 26-Mar-16 21:03:14

I think your DH knows full well these aren't real illnesses which is why is isn't that excited about them.

The best thing you could possibly do is the same. Next time she has a life-threatening illness let her get on with it. Go and see her in hospital and much as is convenient to you. If it really is life-threatening the doctors will tell you. Otherwise nod and smile will get you a long way. Anything that doesn't come from an actual health professional you will have to take with a pinch of salt.

And no way does she live in your house again. Take you cue from your DH - he doesn't really like her either!

Sadly there are lots of people like this in the world. I've met elderly ladies with lots of friends flying monkeys who come running all the time as they have so many illnesses whose actual families will have nothing to do with them. How awful you think - until you dig a bit deeper and realise the family are really fed up to the back teeth with being manipulated and have got out for their own sanity.

You and your DH need to support each other. That is the first step and everything else is secondary.

Mishaps Sat 26-Mar-16 21:05:31

Blimey - sounds like MIL from hell. Not a happy lady; but that is not your responsibility. Avoid like the plague whenever possible!

springydaffs Sat 26-Mar-16 21:07:59

I couldn't live with my dad - with all the histrionics he puts on and all his manipulating and dominating and controlling - bleurgh. I'd be ready to murder him.

Can you live separately?

Hissy Sat 26-Mar-16 21:08:52

She needs to live somewhere that can cater to her needs, not in your home.

Or get a divorce.

Wolpertinger Sat 26-Mar-16 21:18:59

What will happen when she gets old and is really ill? She will get admitted to hospital, assessed by a discharge planning team and have a care package or ultimately go to a nursing home. No-one in the hospital will bat an eyelid at the fact that you are unable to have her move in with you.

EasterHolidayRain Sat 26-Mar-16 21:39:58

She asks to visit us for when she is not feeling well. It could be a few weeks to few months. He wants her to live with us on and off if she needs support. When she is here, she doesn't miss a chance to tell us how miserable she is and it gets depressing after a few days. She feels left out if we do things as a couple. He takes her out first to avoid her sulking if we want to go out without her. She wants to be in our lives like there is no tomorrow. I can't take so much love, she was willing to go out clubbing with us shock

She needs to live somewhere that can cater to her needs, not in your home.

She has no needs to be sent anywhere. She wants our company. Doctors say she will feel better if love ones are around. Who won't?

EasterHolidayRain Sat 26-Mar-16 21:57:22

I hate her so much because on the first day of us being married, my husband was with her in a hospital instead. I had some ideas in my mind things what it would be like and all I got was sitting alone. She could have given us at least some time to enjoy. But no, she couldn't wait or deal with her insecure feelings for more than a few hours. The relatives called us at 3am on our first night apologising and we had to go and see her. She took all the limelight for the rest of the week, I felt awful and none of my fantasies came to be true and she later said she didn't have epilepsy after all and the doctor made it up(??). I'm still furious and it has affected our relationship badly.

Hissy Sat 26-Mar-16 21:59:39

She can move in with the doctor then.

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