Reply with quote #16
I agree with you to a point - we do have to have compassion for the elderly and the sick. Some day if we live long enough we might be in their shoes. You're absolutely right about that. But at the same time, we too have lives to live. When people have to spend every day of it with someone who is never happy or satisfied, who is constantly negative and critical, who has endless demands, it eats away at their souls. And the worst part, is that in this day and age these people live like this for years - not weeks, not months - years. Sometimes decades. No one should subject themselves to this kind of abuse for what could amount to a a third of their own lives. And we ain't getting any younger either. I don't have any elderly people living with me and I never will. I admit it - I'm very selfish and I value my privacy way too much. I don't have kids for the same reason (among other reasons). The long distance caregiving is bad enough. At 53, I see the possibility of doing this until I'm into old age, and frankly that depresses me more than anything else about it. My point is this: We can have compassion without sacrificing our own lives, our own families and our own sanity.
Reply with quote #17
I have made it very clear to all of my children, I will never live with any of them. If I get to the point I am unable to live on my own, I will go into assisted living or, if necessary, a nursing home. I have lived a good life and I want my children to be able to enjoy the same. The only part of my life I would change is to say no to my FIL's moving into my home. The last 2 years have been the most stressful of my life.
I am still working to make sure my retirement will be what it needs to be in order to insure that my children do not ever have to provide a home for me.
Yes, we are getting older and will be elderly someday ourselves. In fact some already consider me, at 60, to be elderly - but I will never put a child of mine through this stress and hell.
Reply with quote #18
Concerned - I think that it might be a little bit different situation when you are the child and it is your mother who you have always had a good relationship with. I think that I could cope a lot better with MY own mother living with us. I could tell her to mind her own business, etc and she would try to do that. With a pouty MIL, it is a little bit different and she always turns into the victim and I am the ogre. It gets old real quick. I have put myself in her spot and I have felt extreme guilt for the past few years because I do resent her being here. I try to be nice. Every day I get up thinking, I will be nicer today and it usually ends up that my good intentions goes down the tubes. Maybe they should try putting themselves in our place and try to be more compassionate to us. I am now confined to 2 rooms in MY home with my previous precious surroundings given up to someone else. Yeah, she had to leave her home but by doing that, she took over MY home and MY things. I no longer have the freedom to come and go in my own home. My own situation is that I am a very kind giving person but I did not really have a relationship with my MIL at all and then all of a sudden I am supposed to give up my life, cater to her because she is this old lady who really was not that wonderful of a parent to her only child but now he (we) are taking the best care of her that we know how to do. My MIL is very healthy and could live on her own but refuses to. She has always been taken care of her whole life, spoiled child, spoiled adult or she turned nasty so she expects it now. My husband, her son, was in the hospital not too long ago. She was weeping and I said, he is ok, and know what her reply was? Not thank God he is ok but "If anything happens to him then I will have to go to a home..." No concern about him, just what would happen to her. What about me? What about him? No, it is always about her and that is hard to love and deal with. It is always expected that the adult children should happily take care of these old people. Maybe they should not be so self centered and it would be an easier job for us.
Reply with quote #19
Sue and Bren,
You said it perfectly. Good posts.
Reply with quote #20
You described my MIL perfectly. She's a true "me-machine" plus a certified psycho. I think concerned had good intentions in posting but doesn't have an understanding of what some of us have had to endure. When Sue said it "eats away at their souls" she is so right. Living with someone who treats you like servants, lies, steals, vandalizes and trashes you to everyone, after you do everything for them, is not an experience that's easy to live through. I've become a cynical angry person who hates being "home" (also confined to my bedroom) and hates what I've become. We aren't callous people, we're the ones who took them in when no one else would. We are hard enough on ourselves without having someone tell us that we need to show more compassion. This site is a safe place to vent to people who understand. Concerned isn't one of them.
Reply with quote #21
Jeanne, I really always enjoy your posts. I have been on the sight for a long time, just reading and taking things in. I seldom post because usually my "sisters in hell" have already posted my very thoughts!!!! I have noticed a lot of similiar things with our MIL's. Mine doesn't break things but she manages to be the meek, gentle little being when others are around, especially my kids!!! Makes me sick because I see right through her. She will do things that she knows will irritate me to no end and then in a baby voice, oh I am sorry but she's not, she will do it again to suit her agenda and believe me, she has an agenda and that is to make sure that she is taken care of no matter what harm or hurt it brings to my husband or myself. She wouldn't keep doing the things that she does is she was really sorry, she would change her ways but she never does. Then she pulls the "memory" thing. I like you have chosen to mostly ignore her except when it is necessary to address her. I don't need or want this woman in my life. I would never want her to be harmed or hurt in any way or to be in pain, I just want her to go away to her own place. She is capable and I think that is where she will end up sooner than she thinks. Right now we have a large home for all of us but Hubby is wanting to retire in the next few years but he can't as long as we have this house because we could not afford it. We could go to a smaller home, just the 2 of us and send her to her own apartment and live happy ever after. I refuse to go to a smaller house while we still have her here. I would go mad.....So, it is his mom, I guess he will have to keep working until he wants to do something different with her. Right now we are supposed to have our own floors of living but I stay in my closed door bedroom;/sitting room most of the time, but she is free to roam the upstairs and downstairs. I never go down there unless I have to. I consider that her "area" now and I respect the boundaries, she doesn't. She comes up here anytime that she feels like it, just to see what is going on, boredom whatever. She has her own kitchen which she seldom uses. She comes upstairs to put the dishes away from the dishwasher and if she can't find a spot for something, she will carry it down to her kitchen or rearrange stuff in my kitchen. It makes me crazy. Then I am looking all over for my stuff and here it is downstairs or in the oven or whatever. Don't even get me started about the laundry....I have so many"barbie doll" clothes now that used to fit me. I have left notes on the dryer, do not dry my clothes, but it somehow gets ignored. So, I told my husband one day that I was going to his garage and rearrange where his hammers and screwdrivers were just so he would know what I was talking about. Leave my stuff alone!!!!! He gets it though. He is really very good. He feels trapped too. We had good intentions when she moved in, oh, this is such a big house, 5400 sq ft. we will all live here very well together. Wrong!!! There is no house big enough in my opinion. I will never do this to my kids. My mom also would not do this to me. She totally gets it. "CONCERNED" does not get it.
Reply with quote #22
Jeanne, I also hate being home and feel like my home is my car since I am always in it. I just try to find things to do during the day that will keep me from going home, even roaming the malls or sitting in a parking lot reading a book. At least I feel like I have more privacy there than at home. I try to sneak in my house so that she won't know that I am home.
Isn't that pathetic???? I used to enjoy my home, just lighting the fire, having a good book and a movie, drinking some hot chocolate cuddled up in a blanket and maybe God forbid, getting a cat nap in....Those days are gone. I can never fully relax because I never know when she will be popping up to see what is going on or calling for me or whatever. So the car is more inviting to me.
Reply with quote #23
I really don't know how you people do it. My hat goes off to those of you who have survived living like this for years. But in another way - I think some of you need to be pushed into making a change. I feel - and I don't mean this to sound mean or critical - but I feel like some of you are letting somebody control and abuse you! Figure something else out - there has to be a way. I am so grateful to these boards for getting out the message of Never letting your Mother or MIL live with you, never! Even if they are the nicest people in the world. It doesn't work even before they are seniors - I can vouch for that. When my husband and I got married, I owned a tiny house. We had a hard time selling it, and we really needed more room. We decided we'd try renting it out for awhile, and moving in with my mom to save money and wait for the house to sell, thinking that if it was empty and all cleaned up, it would have a better chance of selling. (which it did, after we got rid of the renters who didn't work out, and we left it sit empty!) We stayed with my mother a little over 6 months, and it was pretty bad. It just doesn't work with three adults - it just doesn't. I felt like I was always in the middle. I was able to 'blow off' my mother's constant comments, constant criticisms - she is alwyas right because she's older, etc --- but my husband had a hard time with her. Plus - it wasn't MY house, that was hard. So we started looking for another house after about 4 months - and my mother was very offended! She wanted us to stay longer! Of course she did - she was getting paid rent, and everything was HER way. Why would she think a married couple would want to live that way? We had thoughts - even after that - of getting a house with a MIL apt, or a side-by-side duplex - but thankfully, enough time has gone by where we have figured out what he## it would be, to live even on the same Block as she does, let alone the same structure. It aint going to happen - ever. She still doesn't seem to understand how a normal married couple wants to live - always thinking of stuff the three of us can do together, etc. A couple weeks ago she made the comment that we go out to eat all the time, and we never take her anywhere! Well - the kid is old enough not to want to go with us all the time - we can finally have couple time - and I would WANT to have my mother come along when we do get a night out? She is perfectly able to drive herself and go anywhere, invite a friend, etc. -- but she wants to go wherever we go. Just imagine how it would be if she lived with us! We'd have to sneak and lie, just to have a life. No thanks.
Reply with quote #24
In theory it sounds easy but how do you tell an elderly parent who has been living with you that they must move out without feeling like a smook? It think that if it was her home, we could just say, oh, by the way, we are moving out and you need to find someone else to move in and care for you. I haven't the heart to tell her to leave, in spite of everything. I just keep telling myself and so does hubby that this can't last forever.
I don't think that I know your story but if you are not dealing with a MIL or mom living with you, it is easier said than done to tell them that they must leave. I realize that there are places that she could go. believe me, I have thought of every plan that I could but when it comes down to it, I guess that I am not at the breaking point yet or I would do something about it. And yes, now that I have lived it and see the problems with 3 adults living together I would never do it again. Live and learn I guess.
Reply with quote #25
I just read one of your other posts, your mom is still independant and only in her 60's????? I think that in 20-25 years you may be more of a judge to caring for an "elderly" parent. Your mother is not elderly. Some of the people on this board are older than your mom and they are caring for elder adults themselves not because they want to but because no one else will help take care of them, now what?
Let us know in 20 years if you still think that it would be easy to just say this or say that. Our elders will not be troubling us by then but yours might be. Then we could say to you, just move out of town, don't do this and don't do that. Until you can walk the walk, don't talk the talk to us that are doing what we need to do. Not trying to sound rude, it just gets tiring defending ourselves to others who really do not have a clue.
Reply with quote #26
Hello Sisters in Hell....
NoName, you hit it right on the head with sneaking in and out so she doesn't know if you are coming or going. I do that ALL the time with my MIL. If she hears me and calls for me, I tell her that I have to run to the bathroom, but then just don't go back downstairs. It has even gotten to the point that she asks my husband where I am, if I have gone out to take my daughter to school and come back, if I am not going to work at my usual time etc. It drives me crazy.. I want to say something to her, but don't know how to do it. She already thinks I am a b"#ch so I don't care about that, but just having one person try to keep track of me drives me insane. I don't want to know, nor ask her what she is doing every day, or where she is going. Maybe I should so she would get the hint.
Also, some of us live with our MIL's - actually moved into their home (being the idiot that I am ) and now have no way of moving out!!! Well, I guess I could move out, but hubby wouldn't go with me etc.. So, I am stuck here. I thought maybe about buying a home in another state so that when the time comes (when hell freezes over) and we tell mom that she is on her own, and she has to pay someone to live with her, DH would have someplace to go. I am 39 and have never owned a house, and don't think I will until this lady dies. I have this fear that it will come back to haunt me in some way, even though I can say NO!!..
My husband helps by telling me to get out of the house, but I don't think he gets it. I want to go away and do things with HIM. Not by myself. And we can't do that because we have to be home to feed her lunch. UGH>>>
I just wish that this was a nightmare. Life is too short to have to experience elderly selfish people. My mother wouldn't do this to me, and she doesn't want me living with her. She would rather go to AL or a nursing home, and my husband thinks that is awful that I don't want to take care of her. HIS mother made me see the light of day, that I never want to take care of my parents. That is what AL is for. Sorry if that seems harsh, but I have learned alot from this board.
Reply with quote #27
You and I have so much in common. We never know when N-MIL is going to sneak up on us either and I do mean sneak. I have never known anyone who could walk so quietly, open and close outside doors without making a sound, and once she's there she doesn't say anything so you don't know she's there. So many times she'll be standing right behind us, like six inches behind us, we don't know it, then she says something and we jump out of our skin. My younger son says we need to put a bell on her.
It's not easy getting out of this once you're in it. There are lots of complications from relationship, money, timing, care and logistic issues. We're working on it but in the meantime, still dealing with everything. The best thing is not to ever do it in the first place.
Reply with quote #28
We must have been posting at the same time.
Every time I think I have it bad, I read your posts and feel like a jerk. My MIL is a PITA, but she at least is in one place - her wheelchair. She can't get up and move around (well, she could, but she uses the wheelchair as a crutch - that is another long post in and of itself).
I really don't know what I would do if she was walking around - hell yeah - I wouldn't be living with her. That is the main reason we are here, because she can do everything else, except cook and hook her bra, and put the toilet paper on the roll, and drive. We told her that she needs to practice walking - she told us "we don't know the situation".. WE HAVE LIVED THE 'SITUATION' FOR THE THE LAST 3.6 YEARS.... UGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH...
Anyway, how has this illness affected your MIL? Is she still driving etc?
Reply with quote #29
Jeanne and Laura,
Yep, it is creepy never knowing when they will show up behind you. The other morning I got up and went to MY kitchen to get coffee. I did not turn the light on and it is still dark outside, I turn around and there is MIL standing right in my space, she of course did not see me since it was dark and I said
######## what the hell are you doing, you scared the sh@t out of me!!! She says, I came up for coffee. I say, why when you have your own coffee pot and coffee down there? Oh, when you make it up here I get it from here then I don't have to make any she says, always about her comfort and ease. She knew that I was pissed. It is just not easy. Wouldn't you just make your own coffee instead of climbing stairs to get some one elses? Too much work for me first thing in the morning and she for sure is not the first person that I want to see in the mornings. And she can hear a mouse fart across the room if she thinks that myself or my husband is walking around upstairs!!! It is almost like she has a 6th sense into what we are doing up here. She sneaks around and I hate that. I have caught her listening outside my bedroom door to see if I am home. Also if I am gone longer than she thinks that I should be gone in a day, she will call my husband at work and ask him if I have a job now. Like it is any of her business if I do....
She has nothing else to worry about but what we are doing. If we sleep too long, she is fretting and wringing her hands that we are dead or that Hubby is not well. I just want to tell her sometime when she gets so "concerned" that we are sleeping in (7 AM on weekends is sleeping in) that we had wild uncontrolled sex all night and that we were just tired. Think that would shut her up? I told my husband that I am going to tell her that the next time that she has her "nervous concern" about us. He laughed and told me to go ahead and tell her that. My own mother was never the over the top nurturer and we were all raised to be independant. I think the topic of smother mother was perfect description of my MIL. Don't try to be my mom and tell me what to do, check on me or be concerned about my welfare. It is not because she is so worried about how we are, it is about what will happen to her if we are dead in our beds one morning. Hopefully if she does find us dead in our beds it will be for the reason that I spoke of above. Tee Hee. I am so evil.
Reply with quote #30
NoName - I think you misunderstand me. I know it isn't easy - once you have them there with you. I realize you can't just push them out the door. (as much as you would like to) I did say that my hat goes off to you people who have done it - and survived for so many years. I'm not talking about making a change today or tomorrow - but maybe sitting down with your husband, putting a time limit on it -- and maybe getting social services involved, etc? Even for a two week vacation - and more time off throughout the year. You don't know my story - and my story is l-o-n-g, believe me! My mother isn't "elderly" yet, you're right - although she's not far from 70 now, and slowing down. However - I had a handicapped father from the age of 5, until he died when I was 21. I lived with him for the most part, during my high school years. I did a lot for my dad - but, he did a LOT for himself. He was paralyzed, but he had handcontrols and could drive. He could load up his wheelchair all by himself. This is neither here nor there, I realize -- he was young. But I guess my point is, that from a very young age - I had people around me who "needed" me. My brother was born handicapped. His was a gradual condition that got worse. Now he is in a group home. My mother isn't handicapped, but has just been dependent and needy for most of her life. For awhile, she was an alcoholic - tell I told her she was completely cut off. Then she did make that change - but I had to go with her to her first AA meeting. I've pretty much held her hand, ever since. One day, I realized - hey, this behavior started with her when she was in her 50's. She thinks my husband and I should be at her beck and call, she should always know where we are, we should always jump to take care of my brother if she's "not feeling well" and needs us to drop off his groceries, etc. (which the group home is happy to do WITH my brother, giving him something to do - but they don't shop the sales, so my control freak mother has to do it herself, to save a dollar) It occurred to me - if she's this way now, WHAT will she be like when she is 75-80 or better. Then I found these boards - and that helped me with my boundaries, too. I realize, I am learning early - and its too late for a lot of you to start over, at the place where it started going wrong. But I think there has to be some other way for all of you. It might be a fairly long road -- (but not as long as their or your death!) and you will feel all the things I felt when making MY changes with MY only slightly elderly mother -- the guilt, and the feeling of being a bad child, and the worry about them when you're not checking in, as much. But day by day - those feelings start getting less, while your joy for life gets more and more.