Our entire family agreed it was best for my Mother-In-Law to go into a nursing home. We all knew it would take a while and it has been 2 years since then.
She lives with her daughter who doesn't work and is supposedly sick herself. Her other daughter and son in-law will help a tad when asked, but it is rare.
For 2 years, I have cooked for them every week, grocery shopped, picked up meds, taken to Dr's appts, etc. Finally, her Medicaid was approved and she said she didn't want to go. I think some of this is coming from the daughter because she has it made- doing nothing (she's mom's golden child) while having Mom's SS check pay all her bills.
The entire family shows no appreciation, mother in law does nothing but complain, and now she has started lying and manipulating the other children to get what she wants (sweets and salty foods, which she is not supposed to eat). She's obsessed with food. Mainly sweets and treats.
They feel sorry for her because "she is old" and they just "want her to be happy". So my husband and I are the bad ones because we do what the doctor says and they are just wonderful because they baby her and cater to her when she calls them. For instance, she will call her son in-law and say that she was craving an ice cream and that she begged us to give her just one bite and we were mean to her. None of this is true but, whether they believe it or not, they cave to her manipulation.
I am starting to feel that my husband puts too much pressure on me to do most of the work, like cooking, for them. He doesn't put pressure on the other siblings to do anything. After the last lie, I told him I was done because I was starting to have bad feelings for her and I really don't want that. He understood but I almost felt manipulated by him because he said he didn't blame me but he knew mom would go downhill quick and die. I feel her life should not be exclusively in my hands. Neither of the other two siblings work and I feel this manipulating has gone on for years. Should I walk away? What should I do? I'm starting to have bad feelings for them all.
Gently remove yourself from this whole scene, and take a week's vacation at the nearest beach. Alone is okay, but your husband can go too.
Never, never go over to that woman's house again.
After informing, notifying your husband that you will not hear of anything to do with his mother again, learn to stop thinking about it, learn to stop talking about it, learn to walk out if there is a phone call from her. Take a nice ride in the car, grab a few treats to bring home, and get on with your life. You can be sweet about it. Your husband can be kind about it. Maybe he is tired too.
This is doable, you can do this and survive.
Drive careful, or walk to the store.
A family member's drama became too much-this is on my husband's side, and I'd had enough. I set my boundries, which was not liked at all by either side-big red flag right there-no respect for me and no taking responsibility for the negative impact of their actions! I have stuck with it, as supported by my best friend and husband's social worker-who were fully informed of every thing that was going on.
So, talk to trusted friends or a therapist, gain perspective on the situation and decide how you want to move forward.
Take a break. Warn them they will need to make alternative arrangements for a weekend, or a week or two for starters. Then step out. Give yourself some thinking time - to assess your level of involvement.
It can be amazing what a break can do, the clarity it can bring. A physical distance eg a weekend away is even better.
You may indeed want 100% out. Or, maybe after a break decide you do wish to help, but a different amount. You get to define what or how much you do. Then what's left is done by *non-you* people & services.
Meals, meds & groceries can all be delivered fairly easily these days. Driving to medical appointments may be trickier.. maybe sister or husband can share. That & the rest of it is not actually your responsibility. It is MIL's, but if Dementia, then her POA's.
Basically many families do this. They won't look at alternative solutions while one person (YOU) is doing such a fine job - ie YOU are their solution.
I agree with CountyMouses's tone. It need not be bitter or even angry. Polite & factual will do. Eg I have helped for X years with ABCDEF but going forward, I will help by doing B, but not the rest.
That is reasonable.
Expect some 'pushback' to your "no". Maybe even agro, manipulation or guilting.. Note: we are not responsible for others' reaction to our "no".
1. Have you contributed your fair share towards MIL's support? I think that's a firm yes, don't you.
2. Is the family free to make the best decision they can about MIL's future support? Yes. Is it your problem what choice they make from the options available? No.
As to MIL's going downhill quickly in a nursing home, or needing this that or the other, or SIL's being too ill to cook everyone's dinner, or *any* of the pitfalls and stumbling blocks...
That is for them to figure out.
You have done your share. It is high time you retired from the role. Now it is for them to decide where to go next.
You see, there is *nothing* unfair or mean or unkind or selfish about it. You've given your best, and that's enough now.
If she's been approved for a NH, she must need a lot of help with things. And a supposedly sick daughter is providing all this caregiving?
"For 2 years, I have cooked for them every week, grocery shopped, picked up meds, taken to Dr's appts, etc. Finally, her Medicaid was approved and she said she didn't want to go. "
"...my husband puts too much pressure on me to do most of the work like cooking for them. He doesn't put pressure on the other siblings to do anything."
You have done a lot. And now because Mama doesn't want to go to a NH, the status quo is supposed to continue. Mama will decline quickly and die in a NH.
The status quo suits everyone but you. So they want it to continue.
Are you strong enough to stand up for yourself and make this weak family take care of their own mother?
Tell us your plan, and we will encourage you every step of the way. (Unfortunately, too often posters in this forum have no intention of ever changing their situations. Are you one of those?)
It is obvious that another situation is needed for mom!
She is their family's problem not yours, since one of the kids are living with mama that is probably why MIL has not been placed in a home.
It always bugs me when the husband doesn't have the "bells" to stand up for his wife or himself when it comes to his family. They are big guns to their wives but a mound of slush when it comes to their own family, especially mommy.
Keep your boundaries in place, good luck.
You also get to decide on what you want to do.
Perhaps your decision is to stop your volunteering.
“I have decided to stop volunteering my time. It will be more helpful for the family to understand MILs situation if they are more intimately involved.”
It is not your actions that will land MIL in a NH.
It is the inaction of her children, her declining health and lack of finances to hire needed help.
The only thing you have done wrong is to fill the void so long that everyone has grown accustomed to you doing so.
Not to “blame the victim” but you have made your being the go to person very easy for this family.
Your MIL perhaps has a bit of cognitive decline. People don’t usually start “lying” out of the blue as much as they lose the ability to reason properly. Look up the word “confabulation”.
It is a tricky condition and can wreck havoc on a family. Some have written here about their loved ones telling very harmful and hurtful stories.
You don’t need a reason to stop. Your wanting to is reason enough.
Start filling your calendar with your own life. it is easier to start a new activity or habit that edges out an old one, rather than just trying to stop cold Turkey.
Practice a few phrases. “I couldn’t possibly do that” is one often suggested.
It will take awhile for the awkwardness to dissipate but it will. You have been conditioned to respond as they wish. Try meditation, deep breathing, long walks, nice bath, anything you enjoy to decompress. Don’t dwell on it. Don’t overly discuss it with anyone but a therapist or here on this site.
When you get a phone call asking for your help, you can hand the phone to husband or simply not answer. Let them leave a message and then forward it if necessary.
As your confidence builds, you will be better able to visit and not feel so compelled to step in.
Tell DH that YOU need HIS support in establishing your boundaries and to not ask for your help when there are others available whose responsibility it is.
Let us know how it goes. Your story will help others dealing with a similar issue.
You seem to be a good person with a good heart but you’re being used and manipulated. Glad you were able to rise above.
I would stop doing everything immediately.
I saw him for who he really was….a greedy, controlling, spiteful narcissist!
Whoever has POA is the one that should be handling everything. I no longer have a relationship with my brother but I don’t care……..I no longer want him in my life!
That said, my parents lived in Assisted Living and then mom in Memory Care for 7 years total and neither one of them 'went downhill quickly & died.' I think your DH is indeed playing the emotional blackmail card on you by saying such a thing! It's not unheard of at all for elders to go into managed care and LIKE it! They get a social life they never had before, no 'rules' about what desserts & junk foods they can or can't eat, and all sorts of other autonomy that does not go along with living with their children. Everyone can stand on their heads on the roof to make the woman 'happy' but truth is, happiness comes from within, not from what they do or don't do FOR her. #Truth
Tell DH to do all the work for his mother HIMSELF, that you're pretty much done now being the chief cook & bottle washer for the woman all this time.
I don't think I'd 'walk away' per se, but lay down the NEW rules about what you're willing to do and not do for MIL now. Cut way back on the cooking, grocery shopping, driving her to appointments, and just do a few things once in a while. If you keep doing all the hard work for this family, they may not feel the need to place MIL in the nursing home. Step back, stop doing so much, and voila: the others will either have to do it THEMSELVES (including DH) or see how much work it really IS to keep her at home and then make the decision to place her, once and for all. The 'poor little dear' suddenly won't be so poor or dear anymore, watch & see!
Wishing you the best of luck putting your foot down & setting boundaries with all of them and with all of this! You deserve to; you've done enough!