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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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Hi, midwesternmom.

Welcome. You've found a safe place to vent. I have no advice to offer except to continue doing what you think is right for YOU.

I'm lucky that when my mother lived with us, we rotated with two of my sibs so that we only had to deal with her 3 months at a time. This was for my DH's sanity. She really got on his nerves.

I hope things get better for you soon. Check in when you can and let us know how you are coping.

Hugs,
Barb
Dear Midwesternmom:

Welcome to the boards. It is okay to express yourself... We understand how hard it is. There is nothing really glamorous about care giving and it can be pretty rough some days.

I can understand how you feel being thrown into this. I think it would be good for you to get some more Christian counseling because it has helped you. I would venture to say that perhaps DH should go along with you... He does need to know that you are not okay with this and it's probably best to tell him in a neutral environment. Then, hopefully, you can work together for a solution and try to reserve any complaints for the counseling sessions.

There is some help available such as the Faith in Action Organization which might be an option for you. They may be of some help to get some of the responsibility off your shoulders. There website is: http://www.fianationalnetwork.org/. It is good to get the resentment out. We have all been there and it is a hard place to be. Meanwhile, just know we are here for you...

Hugs, Glenda
Dear midwesternmom

Welcome to a safe place in the world! I understand your feelings of resentment with total sympathy. When you didn't choose to do something and you're saddled with it and it makes your life harder in ways you never imagined, resentment is sure to follow.

I just recently put my mother into a nursing facility after taking care of her for over 8 years. I put my life on hold literally since I was 19yrs old for her -and I thought that she would surely see that I couldn't do this for all of my life. Unfortunately that is what she wanted, her needs and wants put ahead of everyone else, and kept in her comfort zone regardless of the time frame. She told me how many times that as her daughter that's what I'm there for. As if I had no choice of what happens to my own life. I had to display tough love and demand that she go. It's not like I suddenly stop doing anything at all for her. I have to visit, and take her necessary monthly things. Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is your life is important, your needs are important and lo and behold your hubby's FIRST priority is to YOU his wife, the one he vowed to love and cherish.

I would think that a serious family meeting must be held. Sometimes you have to be assertive and be your own lawyer. Don't be emotional and vent and carry on, just speak your mind, lay your problems on the table in a way that perhaps a man can tackle in his task orientated way. Your family life and marriage falling apart is not acceptable. Show him that its for both of you and the family that you need changes, real changes. No-one can always get their own way, (unless you're Paris Hilton or something) and that applies to MIL as well. A more amicable agreement needs to be worked out, one that you can work with, not just survive.

Apologies if any of this was a bit much, when I start talking I sometimes get carried away!

Stay strong, and look after yourself
Asiza
Midwesternmom,
I am so sorry that you have to go through this. But I agree that you have to get hold of the situation. This is YOUR life we are talking about here. I know this may offend some but, SHE IS NOT YOUR MOTHER, and there is a big difference between having your Mom live with you and taking care of her versus living with your MIL.

My MIL is 85 she lives in a senior apartment. very nice, but she is not content. she is always so negative and she can be mean sometimes. my hubby is always saying that the time will come that she cannot be alone and she will come to live with us. I say "over my dead body!!" It just won't happen!!! we have been married for 36 years and I will leave him before I put myself in that position.

He says that we had my Mom live with us and how is that fair that we put his mom in a nursing home? Then I just say to him that he will need to quit his job and stay home and take care of her.

You have every right to be resentful. you need to find a way to get your life back.
and the sooner you take hold of the situation the better for all of you. something like this will just eat you up inside and no one will be happy.

Keep us posted.
God Bless, Patty
Welcome midwesternwoman...

I am sorry to learn of your situation...unfortunately there are thousands of others in similar ones.

I would encourage you to continue with the counseling.. perhaps even bring your husband once you have your own emotions a bit more under control... communicating with anger, resentment etc.. makes people withdraw more especially when it is their normal mo.

As you learn more tools through the counseling, I am hoping that your communications with your husband will improve and perhaps he will be able to talk about it.. and even make wiser decisions.. I am sure there are other options.. guilt.. keeping her at his home is only one way..

please keep us posted.. we're behind you 100%

gail
I am a willing caregiver but overwhelmed with the responsibility. I want to do the right thing for my sister but I am so inexperienced. I have a wonderful husband who is willing for her to live with us during this time of recouperation from the stroke.
I pray that God will give Midwestern Mom what she needs emotionally to take care of her mother in law.
I can see from the situation why it is hard on her. I think it is probably hard on all of us who are caregivers but I'm sure it's worse when you have a selfish demanding mother in law like hers.
Thank you so much for all your wonderful words. I appreciate them so much. Nothing has changed much since I posted last week, I haven't made that appointment yet, but it's on my to do list. I'm grateful for this board and the kind people on it. I like the comment about being "task oriented"... I am a very emotional person and DH is a very methodical-analytical type. I need to control my blow-ups and try to work harder at making "honey-do" lists and hopefully eventually honey-do MIL into another living situation.

Thank you again -- i'll be back and will be surfing other posts and hopefully learn from all of you!

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