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Not a willing caregiver...

I read a lot of profiles of people who are very heroic and deserving of praise in their caregiving efforts. I am not one of those folks.

I am a caregiver who hates the situation that our family is in. I've got to figure out a way to get rid of my resentment because it's eating me up inside.

I am guilty of feeling very judgmental towards MIL. She has made a lot of bad choices in her life that I don't respect. A lot has to do with her being an uninvolved grandparent in my kids lives -- she went almost 5 years at one time without seeing them... she wasn't a birthday card or present sender, didn't call very often and always wanted us to call her, us to come see her, which was hard to drag 4 kids cross country from Calif. to FL... (we're now in the midwest) now we are down to 2 teenagers living at home, 3.5 years ago we moved her to an assisted living situation for 3 years (the length of LTC insurance) that was 2 miles from our home. She has Parkinson's. We found a beautiful northwoodsy-lodge, brand new place for her, she hated it the whole time. She was miserable. She pestered my husband the whole time, "please let me live with you." So her LTC insurance runs out and now we have to decide where she's going... she's not sick enough or poor enough to qualify for state funded anything, she's so depressed and needy that I feel like it was 2 against 1 between my DH, her and me. I lost.

So this May, DH and I moved out of the master bedroom (first floor, 1920's house) and moved upstairs next to our teenagers with whom we are now sharing a bath. I spend a lot of time in my basement craft room because thankfully she can't go up or down stairs.

MIL is whiny, needy, manipulative, depressed, plays the invalid card constantly when it suits her, and I can't stand being around her. She also has horrible hygiene, and I've finally stopped inviting friends over because my house smells like a nursing home. She refused to bathe the first month she was here because our master bath was unsuitable and she wanted us to remodel!!!! She piled cardboard boxes in the shower. I finally put my foot down and she now has a caregiver who comes twice a week to give her a bath and keep her company. She complains about that because she really doesn't like taking baths. I work part time so this is while I'm at work. DH has a home office and works upstairs when home, but travels a lot.

DH is the youngest of 4 kids; 2 of her kids haven't spoken to her in years, they're completely estranged. 1 lives in CA, there is lots of friction between her and MIL and she hasn't seen her mom in over 3 years... there's talk of coming to see her, or us sending MIL for a visit, but my biggest fear is that it's just talk.

I feel like in the 5 months that she's been in our home, my marriage is suffering greatly. My husband's personality has changed very much. I feel like I'm #2 in his life. More often than not I feel like he sides with his mom and gets mad about my criticism of her. I feel like I've changed too... I feel so angry inside. I've been to some Christian counseling which helped for awhile... I think I need to go back.

I have not blown up or lost it with MIL -- the way I cope is to interact with her as little as possible. I am pleasant, I bring her her meals because 90% of the time she won't eat at the dinnertable with the rest of us, and wants to sit in front of her blaring tv. And the smell of her room almost nauseates me. When she first got here, she wasn't wearing depends and I'm sure there is urine in her bedroom carpet now. We've steam cleaned it, but the smell remains and since she has no sense of smell, she doesn't realize it stinks -- her answer to any smells is "Oh, let's turn on the candle warmer." As it is, she's not changing her depends regularly because in between bath days she smells like dirty diaper.

She has a grandiose sense of entitlement, has no problems asking for things, thinks of herself first, always. She treats my DH like a henpecked husband, makes me crazy and I want my old life back. My youngest will be 18 in 3 years and I've seriously thought about walking away from all this when he goes off to college. I've never been so unhappy in all my life. I've begged my husband to let us look into something else for her and he is too busy to pin down and we end up fighting about it.

I know she has progressive dementia but she still knows how to be manipulative. But she does and says some weird stuff.

DH is a good man and is trying to honor his mom. But his coping style is to close himself off in his office and not deal with his unhappy wife and harpy mother. Or maybe I'm the harpy -- it's very possible.

I am trying to be Christlike and that's what keeps me from telling her how I really feel about her being with us... like I said, I just want to let go of the resentment and I struggle with it every single day. I pray every day -- I know God is walking me through this and I've always believed He has a plan but this is the toughest thing I've ever had to face.

I know there's a part of me that says "stop complaining so much. Let it be." Then I have this fear that if I stop complaining, DH will think I'm ok with this. I am not ok with this. I never wanted it.

Sorry this turned into a novel. It felt better to write it out. Thanks.
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