• June 26, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    It’s been almost two months i think, that my husband’s mother came to live with us but it feels like forever. It’s a nightmare- she takes important things of mine- like my purse (with so much i need in it), my car and house keys, the mouse (on computer), even my socks- sometimes just one of pairs so i don’t have a pair to wear. She takes and wears my underwear and clothes also. It’s a daily occurance. Then- if i ask her – she will say she doesn’t have my stuff. So i have to look through her things- and find my purse, etc, right next to her feet. She will then get so angry because she says i’m calling her a thief. I say over and over again that i’m NOT calling her a thief but i just need my purse , keys, and the item she took. She continues for HOURS tto be upset with me – saying over and over the whole story of how bad i am to accuse her of stealing, and how she doesn’t need my things, why do i accuse her, and makes up negative stories- keeping a negative attitude against me. It hurts so much because i do the shopping, make dinners when i can, clean up and do a lot – much more than i would normally have to do. she is mostly always constantly negative, not thankful, saying mean things even saying her son’s marriage to me was a mistake, etc, complains about house- dishes, anything to say bad things about me- ALL DAY. It’s exactly like a nightmare to live at my house now. Still i hear her now- saying mean things about me- it’s so horrible having things taken and not being accepted in my own home. Also marriage is shaky too, as husband is not supportive and always says “She doesn’t know what she’s doing/ saying.” Then why does she take such important personal items, that mess my life up so much, making me late for work? Why does she say kind things to him and about others but is mean to me? She has a constant monolog going on about all my character flaws. i’m devastated.
    Anyone have any ideas?

  • June 27, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Hi sophora…awfully sorry about your predicament but Welcome to the constant “nightmare.” I might know where your MIL is coming from. I have a similar situation with my wife. She used to take most of her anger out on me (“you took my money…give me my money back…you’re so mean…you’re a monster etc.). Now I guess I’ve lucked out. She has found new objects for her anger. The ex-wife and the current girlfriend of two of her sons. (The bitch is after his money”…and…”sits right on his legs”). Just perhaps your MIL is feeling some motherly jealousy about you and your husband.

    Maybe see if there is a way to redirect her angst towards another person…perhaps a neighbor lady or someone else that you both know. In my case occasionally she will even make up “imaginary people” from some delusion she’s having. You might also try going overboard to express your “love” and concern for your MIL. Don’t forget fear and insecurity are more likely two of her strongest emotions right now. So anything you can do to alleviate those may help. Good luck.

  • June 27, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Yesterday i was talking to closest family members about what is going on- stating the facts without judging M-in-law at all- i don’t care about judging or blaming- i just feel so hurt by her hatred of me and her monolog of criticism that goes on and on mostly all of the time at home attacking me and her taking and using, sometimes ruining my things and never acknowledging it, never saying she’s sorry. It’s sso bizarre- she takes my things and i’m the culprit if i need them back.
    My daughter and husband were angry that i even mentioned what’s going on. So i can’t even talk about it with family. No understanding there at all- no one in my family cares how i’m affected at all.

    It’s so horrible to be in this situation that no one wants to care to understand or help.

    Has anyone ever been in a situation like me before? If i were helping my M-in-law at another house, it would be so much easier. It’s so hard to manage when it’s right at our own home, with all my own things, the place where we need to feel safe. It doesn’t matter what i do- nothing helps the situation at all.
    It’s really hard to not have anyone identify with me.

  • June 27, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    Sophora –
    Thinking more closely about your MIL situation I think that I do in fact have a close parallel in MY life. Only thing is I haven’t found a solution to it either. How’s this?

    I have a step-son (similar relationship as MIL). His mother will defend him to the death (similar to your husband and daughter). No one can say a bad thing about him. He has been a lazy, drunken, drug abusing thief and liar all his life. In effect he has stolen ten-thousand dollars from his Mom and more than five-thousand from me. He jumps from one two or three day menial job to another with long periods of unemployment in between. He has lived on the street for some periods living on $30 a week that he gets from selling plasma. As an alcoholic all it takes is one drink to get him off on a binge. If I openly express my distaste for him my wife will defend him. Nothing bad that he’s done has EVER been his fault. He is the personification of irresponsibility.

    His mother (in latter stages of Alz) and I have been married for over thirty years. He continues to take advantage of my relationship with his mother by getting me to bail him out of one bad situation after another. He’s 44 years old now with two ex-wives and a grown pregnant daughter (which he has never supported) and I have never met a more stupid individual. If I try to show him better ways to behave and conduct his affairs (get and KEEP a damn job) I am chided as a grumpy old nag and “I‘m trying“.

    What can I do about it? Other than leave my wife and “run for the hills” I don’t know…I’m sorry. I too will keep an eye on this thread to see if anyone else has pointers or a solution. Thanks for posting it.

  • August 17, 2008 at 5:51 am

    I have my MIL living with us, after her husband died 6months ago. She moved from another state to our state. In addition to all this we have sold our house, living in a smaller house and in an area I don’t want to live. We were living in paradise, BUT we are making the most of it.

    I have no problem with my MIL as she is the sweetest person you can meet. She does not complain, eats whatever is put in front of her, will do what we are doing at the time. She is just marvelous.

    The only complaint I have, and I do feel out of it sometimes, is that she sees her son (my partner) as her husband. That’s not a problem when we are at home as we can just dismiss it or go around it somehow. But when we go out, she is constantly searching for him, worried he would leave her where she is, will generally act as a partner to him. I HATE IT.

    My son is going to be married in 4 weeks and we have to travel to another part of Australia for this. Now my partner says that if MIL doesn’t come he won’t. I have booked our flights (3 of us) and the accommodation, but I have decided that she is not going to the wedding as this is an important day for me & my son and i want to be there for him. I know sometime during the night i would have to be the ‘carer” and I want to have a day off!! I already have booked a sitter but I haven’t told my partner as yet.

    Does anyone think me as selfish if I wanted to have my partner to myself for the day and be there for my son on his special day?. I haven’t found the right time to tell him.


  • January 20, 2009 at 4:38 am

    It’s probably too late to reply to this post, and I’m only addressing a small part of the problem, but it could be your mother-in-law is just confused about which clothes are hers. My mother and I solved this problem by putting a small safety pin in the label of all her shirts. We didn’t have any problem with the pants, because I’m a lot taller than her and she knew instantly if she put the wrong pants on.

    How tall is your mother-in-law? If she’s shorter than you, you could put a hook-and-eye lock on your closet door, just high enough to be out of her reach. You can get one for $1 or so at the hardware store. You can also put a decorative sign on each of your closet doors with your name and her name on your respective closets so she won’t get confused about which one she’s standing in front of.

  • February 25, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    This is a month after you posted,but I just joined up here. How are things going with your MIL? Is she still angry with you? Still taking things?
    I was caregiver for my mil, my father, and my friends wife over the past ten years. Geez time flies!
    You ask what can you do, why is she doing this? I’m hoping you know that it is not “her” doing this, but the disease. While that is a difficult thing to grasp, it really will help you come to terms with her actions and behaviour. Not saying that it will stop her behaviour but will help you understand she cant help it.
    A few suggestions if I may, as far as your belongings go.
    During the course of my caregiving, I have found that I had to babyproof the home. (daddy, mil, friends wife) They no longer knew what was theirs, no longer could even understand that concept. When they did get a hold of something that belonged to me, or was needed elsewhere, I would tell them thank you for finding the item. I would gently tell them I had been looking for it, remove from their possesion and replace with something else. Letting them think they helped me find it seems to give them a sense of being helpful, and they dont get as angry. As far as important things, you really have to keep those out of reach, or locked up.
    Dealing with a person with dementia is quite an experience to say the least, and inventive, creative thinking and childproofing your home will make things a bit easier. We had gates up near the stairways, all important papers were put in a room with a lock, toilet paper was taken off the holder, electric appliances were removed from counter tops, stove knobs removed, cupboards tied shut, If you look at this from caring for a child and go with that thought it will help. On our fridge I put up signs I made, COMPASSION, HUMOR, DIGNITY. There was one more, lol but Janet, the wife of my friend took that off and hid it! lol
    I hope you are able to learn to let things roll off your shoulders a bit, and hope your family is able to give you support.
    All my best,

  • April 1, 2009 at 2:29 am

    Hello to all of my brothers and sisters that are in the same boat. I never thought that I would be in this position but here I am. My mother has alzheimers and she lives with us (me and my wife) I don’t have anyone to help me with her like a brother or sister I am alove on that part. My wife on the other hand has brothers and sisters (4) here that if anything were to happen to her father would be able to look after him there are others that live in Houston (2), and in California (4). I have a sister-in-law (my late brothers’ wife) that will help if asked. Then there is a family friend that will call and see if there are things that I need to take care of and she will come by and get my mother, giving me time to have some time for me and take care of some bills. I am retired and on disability and the money that comes in it is like my wife thinks it is a free bank. She and her sisters were talking about going to California and she asked if i wanted to go, what was I going to do with my mother? I am the primary caregiver for my mother. I mentioned to my wife after coming back that I would be asking my sister-in-law if she would look after my mother for 2 days so that I could have some time just for me and BOOM she went off about not going to California with her. She has now concept of what I am going through, she says she does to defend herself but she doesn’t. My mother-in-law is dead and my father-in-law is doing great by himself, so how can she understand. It is sad when the one you would think you could depend on for support are the ones that will not even attempt to understand what the Primary Care Giver (PCG) is going through. I have made up in my mind that I will hire someone to look after her in her own home next door to me while I am gone. I have been called every name in the book by my mother, and I stand my ground because I love her, she moves things and I do tell her to put them back and I see to it that she does, she gets mad but that is okay too. I would rather pay someone to watch her than to ask family because everyone has something to do and I am the one that supplies the money for them to go and do their thing. Well “THIS TOO HAS PASSED.” I pay the bills for the house but my wife doesn’t turn out lights, turn off the water compleatly, drives my car and gets angry when I say don’t forget to put gas back in it and hers is used only to go to and from work, knowing that I do not drive her car and have not driven it since I brought mine (2007).
    Mother and wife both feel that I should be paying them for something what it is I have no idea. I have no one to talk to about how I am feeling and what I am going through that truly understands. My brothers and sister that are PCG God bless you all and those who you look after.

  • April 1, 2009 at 4:04 am

    I think the best thing is to get her enrolled in an adult day care center. There are two kinds, she fits into one or other others. There is the medical model “adult day health care” or social model “adult day care”. It will get her out of your hair several times a week. They even pick her up and feed her lunch.
    Even if she says no. Sign her up, and don’t say a word. When they come to pick her up, just act like it was her idea…or use any other white lie you have to. And let the driver handle the kicking and screaming, trust me, they do it all the time.
    Do this and you will have hours of peace and quiet, and its GOOD FOR HER! Its stimulating and she socializes.