General Etiquette > Family and Children

maintaining physical boundaries without sounding cruel

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SPuck:
I agree it is his job to say something to your husband and have him talk to his father. New routines have to be made, and major discussions are in order. I am not sure what to say, but I am sure other posters can come up with suggestions.

Zizi-K:
It sounds like there's two related issues going on. First, your MIL has had a change in personality due to her disease and is touching you (and others) more than is normal or wanted. Second, it sounds like when you and DH visit your ILs, your husband and FIL "disappear," leaving you to deal with MIL.

Other people have given great advice for dealing directly with MIL. It's not as if your DH can have a talk with MIL and tell her to stop doing it - that obviously wouldn't work. But it sounds like what you really want is for DH to engage more with MIL so that she's not alone and free to follow you around and into the bathroom. It's not OK for DH and FIL to dump her on you and retreat to the den (or garage or wherever). That would be the starting point of a conversation with your DH. If he refuses to cooperate or is still pulling a disappearing act, then you might physically lead MIL to wherever DH and FIL are camping out, saying "I have to use the bathroom" or "I have to run some errands, so you're going to spend some time with DH now!"

crella:

--- Quote from: Zizi-K on June 20, 2013, 09:06:50 AM --- Second, it sounds like when you and DH visit your ILs, your husband and FIL "disappear," leaving you to deal with MIL.

--- End quote ---

The family-family (as I jokingly call it), ie, sons, husbands, etc often don't want to face it. FIL probably needs a break, because he's there all the time dealing with it and your DH can't quite face it yet, so they take off.  It took 3 years for DH to admit we had a problem,although I think that may be longer than usual  :D DH avoided his mother pre-AD as she was a bit toxic. I had to dive in and get her help and aides etc while he continued to mumble 'She's always been difficult, this is the way she's always been' while inside my head I'm screaming "Not!".

Give him a bit more time, and then have a heart-to-heart? 

TootsNYC:
There are support groups and counselors/coaches available for families of Alzheimer's patients.

Perhaps seeking that out might give you and your DH a helpful and construcive context in which to have that conversation.

Then any critical tone, any complaints, any emotions might be buffered by being framed in the "this is difficult, to cope w/ MIL's Alzheimer's" instead of coming across as a free-floating "you need to fix this, there's something wrong with you for not controlling your mother/for abandoning me to interact with her."

Zizi-K:

--- Quote from: crella on June 20, 2013, 09:21:32 AM ---
--- Quote from: Zizi-K on June 20, 2013, 09:06:50 AM --- Second, it sounds like when you and DH visit your ILs, your husband and FIL "disappear," leaving you to deal with MIL.

--- End quote ---

The family-family (as I jokingly call it), ie, sons, husbands, etc often don't want to face it. FIL probably needs a break, because he's there all the time dealing with it and your DH can't quite face it yet, so they take off.  It took 3 years for DH to admit we had a problem,although I think that may be longer than usual  :D DH avoided his mother pre-AD as she was a bit toxic. I had to dive in and get her help and aides etc while he continued to mumble 'She's always been difficult, this is the way she's always been' while inside my head I'm screaming "Not!".

Give him a bit more time, and then have a heart-to-heart?

--- End quote ---


Elder care often falls to women because we give men the "luxury" of looking the other way. Can you imagine a daughter treating her own parents the same way? (you can, but it's a lot harder, right?) I don't have the kind of relationship with my MIL in which I would feel comfortable jumping in the way you did, nor would I feel particularly obliged to do so. (There are a variety of factors, distance being one.) If it were my situation, I would advocate hard to my DH and his siblings to do X, Y, and Z. But I don't think that coddling DH is the right answer. He's a big boy and can handle facing his mother's decline. There are lots of mental health options (individual therapy, support groups, etc) if he is having difficulty with it. But I don't agree that the wife's job is to quietly clean up the mess and do the heavy lifting so the husband can maintain the fiction that nothing's wrong. At least, that's not the kind of relationship or role that I would ever want to have, personally.

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