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Topic: Help with mother-in-law

30 posts, 0 answered
  1. frieda
    frieda avatar
    12 posts
    29 May 2013

    I don't even know where to start, so I will start with what is most current. My husband has taken a job overseas and I am left behind to care for my mother in law. We will move to join him in a month or so. That might seem like a small problem, but the thing is she has been with us for last four years. After she moved in, we stopped going anywhere. I have lost all my friends because they ask me to take my mother in law with me everywhere I go. I dread meeting people. I have gone to movies about 4 times in last one year and for  that too I have heard comments from people that I should have taken her with me. I know I suffer from acute social anxiety disorder.

    About my mother in law- she loves to criticize me to others. Whenever she meets someone, she tells them everything about my daily routine. It's like living on reality television forever. I believe people also like juicy gossips. There is nobody I can trust.

    There is no hope for me. It's going to be like this forever. When I pray, I hear only one thing that the only solution to this is to die. I sometimes think ways to end my life.

  2. The Real David Charles
    The Real David Charles avatar
    1014 posts
    29 May 2013

    Dear frieda,

    I thought it was bad enough having my mother in law 2 streets away but living with one for 4 years with more to follow must be quite a strain.  Old people love to gossip and tell us young ones how to run our lives.  It's hard wired into their DNA or something.  They've got no job or family to direct on a daily basis like when we are younger parents.   I think the gossip is basically a twisted sense of mothering.  They just can't help checking everything and feeling important.   Well, until they die.

    You probably need to do an activity that only suits you - just to give you space to breath.  Exercise springs to mind - walking fast, jogging, running, swimming, soccer, even getting a dog that will not only give you an excuse to leave the house but will also listen to your every thought and vent.  Free of charge.

    Overseas work means big bucks - so maybe you're husband can give you a Granny Fund to organise social stimulation for your mother in law rather than feel the pressure of doing it all yourself.    Probably not good in the long term as,even if you do something independant, your mother in law will sellotape you to a chair on return, shine a strong light in your eyes and say "Tell me everything....".

    The one great thing about the relationship is that your mother in law is totally predictable.  She'll repeat anything you say.......I mean anything.    Goodbye Social Anxiety Disorder hello Mind Changing Games.  To her friend:  "Yes, Doris, she says she's really working for the FBI and has a piece of Monica Lewinsky's dress in a safety deposit box in Zurich".  Let the games begin.

    Adios, David.

    PS   Write down all your methods of ending your life in a journal and leave it open for your husband to read when he gets back.    Then have the nursing home number handy.   Your husband has you as the No.1, not his mother.  Sounds like you need to take back some control mentally and physically.  It could be worse - you could be living with teenagers.  Seriously.

     

  3. geoff
    Life Member
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    geoff avatar
    15584 posts
    30 May 2013 in reply to frieda

    dear Frieda, living with parents and/or in law's parents never works out, there's always hassles and the way you want to do things doesn't seem to suit them, so conflict begins, it may start on one thing which can be sorted out, but then it always leads onto other problems.

    It never seems to be an option, and hostility begins, trying to do something so that they don't find out, or they are not involved in.

    Now what I am going to say may create conflict between you and your husband, and then your mother in law may become emotional, causing a worse situation, however at the back of nursing homes there are units where the person can live by themselves, which means cooking, shopping, cleaning, etc. and their pension pays for this, not all their pension, but a large proportion.

    Now if she is unable to do these things then it may mean for her to be placed into a nursing home, ouch I can hear your mother in law and husband saying.

    But really your husband has to decide whether he wants to keep you or keep mummy, and if he's a mummy's boy you know the answer to this, and she will also pressure him into doing what she wants.

    You have your own life to live, and remember mummy's boy never seems to understand this, as all they want to do is what mummy says. L Geoff. x

  4. frieda
    frieda avatar
    12 posts
    30 May 2013 in reply to The Real David Charles

    Thanks for your reply David

    The Real David Charles said:You probably need to do an activity that only suits you - just to give you space to breath.  Exercise springs to mind - walking fast, jogging, running, swimming, soccer...

    I go for 45 mins walk everyday. I also go to gym 4 times a week and do yoga. I also meditate several times a day. None of it is helping me. I am just getting more miserable day after day.

    PS   Write down all your methods of ending your life in a journal and leave it open for your husband to read when he gets back.    Then have the nursing home number handy.   Your husband has you as the No.1, not his mother. 

    I don't need to drop hints. I have spoken to him several times about killing myself. The bitter truth is even if I act upon it, my mother in law stays. She is never going to leave.   

    It could be worse - you could be living with teenagers.  Seriously.

    I much prefer living my teenager. He was actually my only support system and helped me look after his GM. He unfortunately moved out last year to pursue his dreams.

  5. The Real David Charles
    The Real David Charles avatar
    1014 posts
    30 May 2013 in reply to frieda

    Dear Frieda,

    My psychologist told me once that when an over bearing relative - like your mother in law - eventually passes away the legacy of control continues.  So unfortunately the air of control will remain for a while.  It's like they never die.

    More than anything you need some respite.  I agree some teenagers are vibrant and healthy.  I've just had 3 move out so am enjoying the freedom.    Too bad your son can't visit a bit more and take the strain.  Is he close by ?

    Can your husband step in and put some boundary conscience to your mother in law.  You know, will she listen to him if your whole depressive/suididal stuff is explained.  More importantly, can she help you ?   Sometimes, a person in your mother in laws situation doesn't even realise the full consequences.

    The exercise is probably helping a little bit but you are stuck on the black mindset of having to deal with your mother in law.   LIke you said, if you suicide, walk or do yoga you are still left with that domestic situation.  It's like you can't win.   It's eating you away and denying your real self time to breathe and exist.

    Adios, David.

  6. frieda
    frieda avatar
    12 posts
    31 May 2013 in reply to The Real David Charles

    Thanks Geoff.

    David, I am sorry my reply looks quite weird. I don't know what has gone wrong with it and I have decided not to quote now.

    My husband has tried his best to change things for better and has succeeded in some ways. Earlier she used to have direct conflicts with me. Now she doesn't. I also don't talk to her, because she has ways of twisting words. Her conversation  only involve  two things anyway- demands and complaints. I find the whole set up weird, two people living together and not talking at all. A few days ago, she asked me to cook a specific dish. I ignored but I feel very agitated and helpless.

    Although, I stated that she has been with us for for years, the fact is that prior to that she has been with us on and off for 20 years. She is 70 now. About 15 years ago, she was diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder. She was treated for it and still takes meditation, however, she stopped doing any work after that. She hasn't cooked a single meal in 15 years nor has done any other household work. Her daughters, siblings and friends put pressure on us to not make her do any work except may be chopping vegetables. Her meal has to be put on table on time, if it is a few minutes late, she calls her daughter and complains. I know she can not do anything more nor can her daughters, but I feel extremely agitated.


  7. geoff
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    15584 posts
    1 June 2013 in reply to frieda

    dear Frieda, I would go around to all or any nursing homes, don't take any s----t from her daughter, your sister-in-law, they obviously won't have her, nor should you, it's NOW time for her to move into one.

    Just tell her that all her meals will be on time, maybe her washing done for her, or tell your sister in law to do it, and does she do anything for her at all.

    Nursing home for sure. L Geoff. x

  8. frieda
    frieda avatar
    12 posts
    1 June 2013 in reply to geoff

    Dear Geoff,

    In the cultural background that I come from, we are not supposed to send our in laws to nursing homes, also it's the son who has to have his parents with him and not the daughters. If you are lucky and your husband has a brother then you can be free, if you are not, you are stuck with them forever. There is no solution for this I guess. Thanks for your suggestion, anyway.

  9. geoff
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    15584 posts
    3 June 2013 in reply to frieda

    dear Frieda, thanks for your reply,.

    Does this also include the free standing one bedroom units that are detached from any nursing home where they can cook by themselves etc, but they do have a button to press in case of any emergency.

    There are normally a group of these units which do have a small backyard and with gas facilities, stove heater and hot water systems. L Geoff. x

  10. Vegetarian Marshmallow
    Vegetarian Marshmallow avatar
    269 posts
    3 June 2013

    I think I'm lucky in that I don't have any strange cultural rules affecting me.  Other than maybe reminders every now and then that I should find a girl, get married, and have children.

    Tradition is nonsense.  It deserves no automatic respect.  In fact, it deserves the opposite - *suspicion*, for the very fact that it's old and thus out of touch with the way the present-day world actually works.  The older generation have had their day, they've lived their lives by those silly rules they chose to enforce on themselves.  That's done with.  Now it's your turn to live, by your own silly rules.  You had no say in the way they lived, so why should they have any say in the way you live?  Oh, they'll sure WANT to have a say in how you live, alright.  And they'll be convincing because for your whole life, you've been used to them telling you what to do.  That doesn't make it right.  It makes them in need of a hobby.

  11. frieda
    frieda avatar
    12 posts
    3 June 2013 in reply to geoff

    Yes, Geoff. They have to be together with the son and daughter in law under the same roof.

    Thanks Rodentron,

    I understand what you are saying and I agree with it, but I can not implement it.

    P.S.- It's only getting worse. My sister in law wants to visit from overseas. Feeling angry and helpless.

  12. The Real David Charles
    The Real David Charles avatar
    1014 posts
    3 June 2013 in reply to Vegetarian Marshmallow

    Dear Rodentdron,

    I'm married to an Indian culture and I'm English.   It's a fine balance and Frieda obviously wishes her situation was different.  But cultural identification is alive and well in the world.     For me the advantages are the beautiful slow cooked 12 hr Indian meals that seem to make an occasion or ceremony of any family occasion.   But then the disadvantage is that because I married the daughter (and not the son !) we have had had zero financial assistance and infact when we had our 3rd child no one even recognised her.  A daughter providing another daughter.  No way !

    If you were to marry outside your culture it would be the same thing.  Advantages and Disadvantages.   I know you are young and fiesty but stating "Tradition is nonsense" is interesting in that you have to be taking on the whole world with that statement.  Possibly a single, selfish outlook.   After all traditional methods of having children didn't deny you an existence.    The pressure to continue the line is always there.  I guess getting married and having children validates the family.  You mentioned elsewhere that you were a virgin (or hadn't had sex) so maybe you are subconsiously saving yourself for that special girl.   If you've never had a serious relationship I guess then that tradition would be irrelevant, not just nonsense for your personal situation.

    Also, I would have to disagree (if I may) with your idea that "the present-day world actually works".   That's quite an assumption too as even Geoff would attest.   With more divorces and family break downs that ever maybe Frieda is proving that family should stick together regardless.  Even if it's inconveniant.  But then my own family of 3 kids under 5 years was pretty inconveniant too ?  Then having 3 teenagers a bit like a rocket launcher over my daddyness.

    Where's the love ?  Or is that too traditional ?  Something about this post has touched a few raw emotions.   If having a hobby will rectifiy centuries of culture and diverse family hierarchies in one foul swoop then maybe I should get my old chess set out and use my hands in a mathematically induced thoughtful manner rather than release my wife's bra strap tonight.  In the traditional manner.

    Adios, David.


  13. geoff
    Life Member
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    geoff avatar
    15584 posts
    4 June 2013 in reply to Vegetarian Marshmallow

    dear Rodentdron, good comment.

    It's the same as when you tell your 12 year old not to smoke, because it's tradition that you can't until your 18, or is it unlawful, either way these are always broken.

    The same applies to drinking alcohol, or having a sexual relationship, by law it shouldn't be done until your 18, imagine all those hormonal kids waiting to cut the chains off the chastity belt.

    'They've lived their lives by those silly rules', the year is 2013.

    If your parents ( look away Damien )are religious and go to church every sunday, or even everyday and say to you, 'Johnnie you should go to church every sunday, because that's what our religion tells us to do, and don't forget to bring some coins for the plate', but they break tradition and don't go, because they have other things to do, 'no mum I have a date'.

    We have monogamous marriage but in other countries it's possible to have 10 wives for their leader, simply because they have broken with tradition. Geoff.

  14. Vegetarian Marshmallow
    Vegetarian Marshmallow avatar
    269 posts
    4 June 2013

    I thought it was implied, but by "tradition", I meant "tradition for the sake of tradition".  There are traditions that just happen to be good ideas.  But they're not good ideas because of the fact that they're traditions.  They're good ideas because they're good ideas.

    "Centuries of culture" doesn't deserve automatic respect.  Culture is fascinating, but it shouldn't be enacted in our own lives simply because it already existed before we were born; before we had any say in what rules got made up.  Let me show you some counter-examples of bad traditions: ritual genital mutilation, fellating tribal elders as a coming of age ritual, neck elongation, foot binding, bullfighting, human sacrifice, duelling.

    Yes, if someone is trying to control someone else's life, they need to get their own life (get a hobby).

  15. The Real David Charles
    The Real David Charles avatar
    1014 posts
    4 June 2013 in reply to geoff

    Dear Geoff & Rodentdron,

    Maybe it's traditional to disrespect tradition and some people just follow any trend because it is different and possibly not valid ?   Good debate though.

    There's an Old Testament passage that you two would love where the roaming Israelites (the Jews) stop in a city for food,etc, and also to make some conversions.   By the end of lengthy reasoning the whole home team goes for the circumcision bit (sorry, but ouch !) and the Jewish group (playing away) take the opportunity to smite all before them and be victorious while the home team hobble.

    So the moral is "Don't get taken in by opposing ideas, new ideas or let a blade near your manhood" or "Wearing a little firemans' helmut does not protect you from new ideas".    There must be more takes on this.   Any suggestions ?

    Adios, David.

    PS  10 wives means 10 mother in laws. That's a lot of pressure.    Geoff, you know Damien will be looking harder after you've joked (look away Damien).   Bordering on a bit of religious discrimination in a playful way.  Bit close to the bone - like the circumcision.

  16. frieda
    frieda avatar
    12 posts
    4 June 2013 in reply to The Real David Charles

    Hello David,

    I am with Rodentdron on this because what can be more important in life than life itself? What good are traditions to me if I have to end my life because I can not break the rules. What good are traditions if a woman can only wish her situation was different but could do nothing more than that?



  17. frieda
    frieda avatar
    12 posts
    4 June 2013 in reply to geoff

    Hi Geoff,

    My son is 19. He doesn't drink alcohol and he doesn't smoke not because it's against tradition, it's because he is clever enough to know that drinking or smoking are not going to do him any good.

    Traditions are not always right. What good is a tradition that puts the right of one person over the other"s?

  18. The Real David Charles
    The Real David Charles avatar
    1014 posts
    5 June 2013 in reply to frieda

    Dear Frieda,

    Maybe you should start a new tradition.  But most changes in culture only happen because we don't value something.   And even not valueing something is actually still giving it a value - a negative value.   That's why changes work as they resonate with the past and point to the future.   Hope you work out a balance.

    Adios, David.

  19. Vegetarian Marshmallow
    Vegetarian Marshmallow avatar
    269 posts
    5 June 2013
    Is the mother-in-law going with you to stay with your husband?  I know you said "we are going to join him", but I supposed this "we" could refer some heretofore unmentioned children.

    Does your MIL herself demand that you take her with you to social events, or is it just other people telling you to do this?  Does she enjoy it?  Apart from that, does she hang out with her own friends?  I really think she needs to have her own life, separate from yours.  That'll surely improve things.
  20. frieda
    frieda avatar
    12 posts
    6 June 2013 in reply to The Real David Charles

    Start a new tradition? no. I am not interested. 20 years is a long time and I am just too tired. I am on the verge of giving up, calling it quits. Every breath, every moment of my life seems a burden to me. I am sick and tired of people telling me how great traditions are and then in the same breath telling me how they are enjoying their freedom after their kids moved out. I want my freedom too, for heavens' sake.

    Why does mentioning that I was born into a different culture change everything. Why do I deserve any less if I wasn't born in a western country?

    I can't win I guess, like you said in your earlier post.

  21. frieda
    frieda avatar
    12 posts
    6 June 2013 in reply to Vegetarian Marshmallow

    Yes, the mother in law is going with us. It's going to be me, my husband and her. And yes, she wants to go with us everywhere. It's not too hard to deal with that. We can tell her that we can not take her or make an excuse. But what to do with people? They just can not stop asking why the mother in law is not with us. All they can see is a poor old woman being alone at home.

    She doesn't have any friends because there's no one her age in the community. In any case, whenever she meets someone, she immediately starts complaining about us, how we are neglecting her. People are full of sympathies for the old woman. I just don't matter to any one.

  22. Vegetarian Marshmallow
    Vegetarian Marshmallow avatar
    269 posts
    6 June 2013 in reply to frieda

    Where are you moving to?  Hopefully there is a larger aged community there, so she can make some friends?  Then when people ask where she is, you can say "She's at bingo with her friends, having the time of her life".  Having some more positives in her life should make her act less abrasively towards you.  Since she doesn't have any friends, and even doesn't get along with the people she's living with, it seems the only hobby she has left is complaining.

    Does she like gardening??  Music?  Tai chi?  Anything like that?  Maybe just a newspaper subscription, so her rage can go where it belongs - in letters to the editor.

  23. geoff
    Life Member
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    geoff avatar
    15584 posts
    7 June 2013 in reply to frieda

    dear Frieda, it's no wonder you feel the way you do, and really it's pretty well disrespectful for her to do this.

    I hope that something better comes along for you, you deserve to be better accepted by her. L Geoff. x

  24. frieda
    frieda avatar
    12 posts
    7 June 2013 in reply to Vegetarian Marshmallow

    No Rodentdron. Having more positives in her life never worked for me. It was actually much worse when we were living where she knew a lot of people. She always forced me to accompany her wherever she went. She, her friends and relatives practice their religion and customs diligently, I don't. She always tried to shame me for my preferences  in front of others. It was a much harder battle then. It's at least easier to avoid people here, but I have been trying avoiding people so much that I have completely isolated myself and I can not find any solution.

  25. Vegetarian Marshmallow
    Vegetarian Marshmallow avatar
    269 posts
    9 June 2013 in reply to frieda

    Why do you have to go everywhere she goes??  Why does she want you to go with her if she doesn't like you?  I don't get it.  Just say you don't want to.  Since she apparently doesn't like you, I don't know how it can be a secret to her that you don't like her either.  Just say "No, I don't think I'll enjoy myself.  I don't like hanging out with you because you always belittle me".

    Why are you isolating yourself?  That seems like shooting yourself in the foot.

  26. The Real David Charles
    The Real David Charles avatar
    1014 posts
    10 June 2013 in reply to Vegetarian Marshmallow

    Dear Rodentdron,

    Mother in laws seem to assume power by way of association.   If they are unhappy with the daughter in law they can simply complain to their son, the husband.  It's probably easier to not rock the boat (although frieda might benefit if she did) as otherwise hubby will have to "sort it all out" which is gonna end badly for frieda if he's so galvanised by his own mum.

    I'm not sure how else frieda can cope other than by not coping.  You'd think her husband would sense the dislike between frieda and his mum.    Isn't there a post where frieda identifies their trips out as hubby, her and the mother in law ? LIke they say, two's company, three's a crowd.

    Adios, David.

    PS   Family honour in cultural madness ?

     

  27. frieda
    frieda avatar
    12 posts
    11 June 2013 in reply to Vegetarian Marshmallow

    Power of persuasion-my mother in law is an expert at this. Doesn't mean I have to go with her everywhere. I do say no. She keeps insisting and I keep saying no. Even if I eventually don't go with her, I end up very tired mentally and irritated to the core.

    As I said earlier I don't fit in with the community, I don't practice the religion and the cultural discipline much and because of that I am made to feel like an outcast. So, I find it easier to isolate myself.

  28. frieda
    frieda avatar
    12 posts
    11 June 2013 in reply to The Real David Charles

    Dear David,

    She complains a lot to her son and I also tell him everything. After 20 years of marriage, he understands my temperament very well and he also understands the problems very well. He has tried to make his mother understand. But, the problem remains that we still can not live a normal life, and like you said earlier it's eating me away.

    Thanks for your reply.

  29. Vegetarian Marshmallow
    Vegetarian Marshmallow avatar
    269 posts
    15 June 2013 in reply to frieda

    Being worn-out sounds like a perfect excuse to have a bubble-bath to the sounds of Chopin and Satie :D .  What's the difference between being worn out and being pleasantly, relaxedly tired?  I find they're rather conveniently interchangeable.  The removal of an antagonist can be as good as the presence of a positively pleasurable thing!  "Ahhhhhh, that's nice.  Feel that sweet, sweet motherinlawlessness."

    I don't know how long you've been isolating yourself for, so this may not be applicable, but continued isolation doesn't tend to have great effects on us humans, so maybe try to find some other people to associate with, who don't care about those cultural norms.  You don't have to commit to replacing your old circle with new people, but just being around people every now and then - any kind of people, so long as it's a social setting - is probably better for your wellbeing.

  30. Marie_7242
    Marie_7242 avatar
    1 posts
    15 April 2018 in reply to frieda
    Really feel for you, so many people don't understand how controlled you can be by cultural expectations.

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