Between a rock and a hard place with MIL

posted 3 months ago in Family
Post # 31
Member
743 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: City, State

ozbee : I get what you’re saying, I see the reasoning behind it, and I would agree in a different situation.

It’s definitely a hard situation and I don’t think there’s a right answer here.

She will trash their house or rental property, she’s an extra expense, letting her live in the rental means lost income, assisted living is expensive ($100,000 a year in the US, though I know OP is in Canada), she refuses to help herself. Truly, I don’t think OP’s Mother-In-Law *IS* a competent adult, I think she has mental issues that are preventing her from functioning. If the Mother-In-Law was working two jobs, busting her ass, and all she could afford was a rat-infested apartment, that would be one thing and I would say help; but she is refusing to do anything to improve her situation. That makes her dysfunctional and I think she needs help more than anything. I really think psychological help is the only answer here, however that comes. Everything else is a band-aid – either enabling her behavior at the detriment of OP’s family, or letting an incompetent woman suffer the consequences of her mental disorder.

There is a negative about every possible outcome because nothing will change MIL’s mental status, and that’s the biggest factor here. I think *someone* would have stepped in / discovered this situation at some point, even had OP not reported her case to the police. Eventually there would have been signs of infestation and degradation from the outside, and someone would have noticed. Had someone else figured out what was going on, Mother-In-Law would be in a shelter and this wouldn’t be a question. But I guess that’s a moot point now.

OP, I sympathize. I am not looking forward to figuring out how to handle my mother, she is within 10-15 years of not being able to work and has been a financial, emotional, and physical mess for 12 years, to a nearly debilitating degree in the last 6. evilqueenkarly :  

ETA taking out “nearly” in my last paragraph……she’s been on food stamps and/or unemployment multiple times in the last five years; she’s moved several times and has relocated states a few times as well; she carries her legal documents, a few suitcases, and her dog around in her car; she has a delusional level of confidence in her professional and intellectual abilities, despite not having a job for longer than 9 months in the last few years, and not working for 15 years before that; and she has previously only avoided sleeping/living in said car because of the generosity of longtime friends. It’s debilitating.

Post # 33
Member
4417 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

OP, honestly the only option at the moment if you don’t want her on the street I’d to take her in temporarily and then put her on the list for assisted living or subsidised housing and do everything in your power to get her into a home of her own. Speak to crisis accommodation providers and social workers in your city and put her on as many lists for crisis care. Look into the mental health act in your state and see what you can legally do to get her evaluated. 

Do you live in a house with a  large enough backyard?? Could putting in a granny flat, trailer or a demountable in your garden  for her be an option? It could be a financially cheaper option for you in the long run because it does not sound like  this will resolve itself any time soon. 

Unfortunately us bees can only give you limited suggestions. You guys need to do the leg work regarding sorting her situation out but I do think you guys have an obligation to help her seeings you are the ones who brought this all to a head with your well meaning intentions. I get what you did and why but you did not think out all the possible scenarios when placing that welfare call. A slum Lord isn’t going to have hundreds of thousands of dollars to correct all the defaults with a building so I don’t think the situation that occurred would be much of a surprise. 

 

 

Post # 35
Member
1593 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

evilqueenkarly :  I think the point people are making is that unless you were willing to take her in and permanently improve her living conditions, you shouldn’t have interfered and called the police. Especially if you think she’s a functioning adult. And if she isn’t, she should be committed. But it’s a bullshit move to make her lose her house (even if that wasn’t your intent) and then shrug and leave her alone to deal with being homeless. 

What did you think would happen… the landlord would say, “oh gosh… I’m so sorry. I never noticed the holes that you can see from the outside… of course I’ll fix it for free and not charge her anything else or sue her for damage/neglect”? Seems obvious that he’d either make the repairs but increase the rent to pay for it which she couldn’t afford, or refuse and the house would be condemned or sold and either way the mom would be out of a place she could afford.

Post # 36
Member
1015 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 1995

evilqueenkarly :  It may have been in a nicer area of town, but this right here is the definition of a slum area:

Her house is literally falling apart.  There is no working heat.  There are holes in the floor, ceiling, and walls that go all the way to the outside.  She can’t use her kitchen because it is infested with RATS. 

Post # 38
Member
612 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

evilqueenkarly :  yeah…but what DID you expect to happen? I just can’t understand the reasoning on this.  Also, just to clarify…is this the same in laws from your 4 weeks ago post,  whom you have never met? Who you said wanted nothing to do with you/refused to meet you? This makes it all the more baffling to me. Was it some kind of vindictive motivation?

Post # 40
Member
612 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

evilqueenkarly :  no, but I was genuinely asking what you thought would happen. 

Post # 42
Member
845 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 1983

What has happened has happened. Absolutely no use arguing about what should have happened. 

Also no use continuing to suggest assisted living at staggering cost or her moving in “temporarily” which would be forever and destroy your family.

Get in touch with every social service there is–adult protective services, etc.–and see what they have to say and offer.

Please keep in mind that she will probably be evicted from any shelter, board-and-care, or other supportive living place because she’s crazy, impossible, and refuses treatment.

You cannot save someone without their cooperation, which is a very hard lesson to learn. You can, however, set yourself on fire to try to keep someone else warm. The outlook is grim, but you’re better off facing it realistically than thinking you can keep her clean and safe and warm and unobtrusive in a little in-law cottage you build in the backyard.

Consult the pros. Don’t listen to people who think you can pay the better part of 100K a year for assisted living or who think that assisted living wouldn’t evict her, probably in a month. Do not let her take you all down with her.

You. Cannot. Save. Someone. Without. Their. Cooperation. Ask me how I know. 

Post # 44
Member
845 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 1983

You are going to get a lot of guilt-inspiring “Do something!” “Fix it!” from people who’ve never been in your position and who don’t want to believe that the facts can be as brutal as they sometimes are. If you can’t tune them out, you’ll have to shut them down (with facts, maybe)–or just leave. They want the truth to be something other than what it is, and so they make you A Bad Person Who Didn’t Fix It. As if you didn’t have enough to deal with. Don’t buy into their fantasies of fixing the unfixable. You will know the facts; they will have their fingers firmly in their ears.

So. Find out what is available, how long the wait, how much the cost, the terms of behavior. Do the research, and present her with the facts. It sounds like she’ll reject every opportunity, but you will have done what there is to do. 

Do not let her crash at your house, use your laundry facilities, or treat you like an atm. She made her (rotten) choices; she can’t now tap into your retirement fund/college fund/lifestyle because you were ants and she was a grasshopper. She is not your minor child, to be supported and bailed out.

A true story: My mean, wicked, scary grandmother showed up in my life after a 30-year absence because she couldn’t sign herself out of the hospital (age 91) without a relative to vouch for her care. My father hired someone to take care of her, since she could hardly move with arthritis. My grandmother was awful to the caretaker, who quit (and rightly so). My father hired another caretaker; my grandmother purposely drove her off, too. This happened again. I think my father was negotiating for the fourth caretaker when my grandmother–totally unattended out of her own choice, unable to care for herself, and apparently unwilling to dial 911–caught pneumonia and died. A great relief to everyone.

Note: My father was providing phone calls and money (he had a lot of it). He was not depriving himself or anyone close to him; he was not living with his horrible mother or even talking to her; he was not doing the caretaking work or taking the shit she dished out all day long. The story is about a person who refused to be helped, not about my father dashing to the rescue and saving the day.

Post # 45
Member
1392 posts
Bumble bee

You mentioned having her involuntarily committed–this sounds like a necessary step, frankly, if she’s unwilling to cooperate and help herself. (Unless you just want to Tough-Love her right out into the street, which IS an option no matter what anyone says.) There has to be some legal way for your husband to become the person in charge of her health and welfare, so I think you need to contact a lawyer and figure that out. If she’s really that stubborn, she may not even be willing to live with YOU. Who knows! If she is willing, though, you’ll likely have to take her in temporarily. 

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