MIL being really difficult/advice on possible mental health

posted 1 year ago in Engagement
Post # 16
Member
1555 posts
Bumble bee

You can’t help her if she’s not interested in being helped. It does sound like her mental health issues are beyond what you and fi can manage.

I think your fi would benefit from seeing a professional himself to discuss the situation. My husband found it invaluable in learning how to deal with his mother and her mental health problems. We chose to ignore and disengage for many years, but ultimately it got to be too much and he no longer maintains a relationship.

Similarly when we announced our engagement and wedding plans her response was “if you do that your brother won’t be able to attend”. And then the wedding was never mentioned again. Seriously. She never even bothered to tell us she wasn’t coming and threw our STD in the bin. (Bil had no issues with attending 🙄)

Post # 18
Member
544 posts
Busy bee

Have you set up an appointment with her physician if you think she might suffer from dementia? 

Perhaos it might rap if you set up a clear contact schedule so she knew exactly when you would (and by extension would not) call etc?

Post # 20
Member
1555 posts
Bumble bee

tigercub2590 :  it’s defintely not treating the cause, but only she can do that! It helped takeaway a lot of the guilt my husband felt around that relationship. They discussed how to set healthy boundaries, but ultimately if mil was unwilling to get the help that she needed a relationship wouldn’t be possible. One or the major things was the psych assuring my husband that he was not a bad person for choosing to end the relationship. What my mil probably needs is more people standing up to her/looking out for her and demanding she get help rather than “ oh she’s family” or “that’s just how she is”.

One of the questions that really clicked for him was, “what do you want out of the relationship *and* is she capable of providing that?”. 

They also obviously can’t diagnose mil with anything, but will still have ideas and strategies. I think it’s really the next best thing if she’s refusing to get help. 

Post # 21
Member
1607 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

tigercub2590 :  honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me. The human brain is at one side an amazing and beautiful thing, and at the other side, less canvassed and known to us as our own ocean or the moon. 

My mom was a whack job on Tramadol. We dont have a hot water heater so if you’re getting hot water in the shower, we can’t do dishes or run a load of laundry because it sucks all the fire power away from the shower. 

My mom was specifically told this before I got in the shower. 2 seconds after I told her, shes downstairs washing dishes. Fiance tried to stop her but she kept on doing it completely disregarding/ignoring him. It was ILLOGICAL. 

During the same time period, she brought up some random even that NEVER happened and then got upset about it. It made NO SENSE. There were a couple of other things but all of that I brought to my Dad’s attention and was like ‘mom’s crazy, please help’ (much nicer of course). 

After being off Tramadol, she seems a lot better. 

But everoyne is different. I definitely agree its smart to just keep your distance and not get involved. It’s safer that way this way you’re not ‘the bad guy’. 

Post # 23
Member
752 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: City, State

Like PPs have said you can’t help her if she doesn’t want help. Unfortunately if she won’t go to the dr and can’t get a proper diagnosis then there’s very little you can do to understand what’s involved in the management of it. 

I definitely agree with your fiancé seeing a therapist to help him deal with the situation and understand it better. It would potentially help you also as you want to support your fiancé with his family. 

Just a side thought, now I am far from a medical professional, but to me what you describe doesn’t sound like just depression. Google borderline personality disorder. My mom has that and went undiagnosed for years, I now no longer have any contact with her and I think what you describe sounds quite similar to me. 

Post # 24
Member
10714 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

tigercub2590 :  

I am surprised that she has ‘many’ friends. Is she capable of maintaining some kind of stable relationship with anyone? Any of her friends?

You mention that her friends are visiting less.  What is that about? Has her behavior gotten worse recently?

Post # 25
Member
1555 posts
Bumble bee

michelleh0686 :  my first thought was BPD too. Probably because my Mother-In-Law has that and they sound really similar. We also don’t see her. It’s really difficult to maintain a relationship with someone with BPD, especially if they’re not willing to get help. 

Post # 26
Member
266 posts
Helper bee

Yeah I’m not a doctor but when I hear refusal for treatment, going from suicidal to much better rapidly, and loudly using “depression” as a manipulation tool, I think cluster B too.

I think the best thing you and your partner can do is to develop boundaries for yourselves. This situation has the potential to exhaust you without improving her wellbeing.

Post # 29
Member
10714 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

tigercub2590 :  

It’s certainly sounding like more than a mood disorder. Her thinking might be considered eccentric, but has she ever shown herself to actually break from external reality?

It is astounding that anyone puts up with her behavior. I would be very curious to get their perspectives.  She may present a tad more normalcy in front of outsiders.

If I were forced at gun point to come up with an opinion, it would be that on some level, Mother-In-Law has a bit of awareness about being mentally ill. And, it scares the crap out of her. That’s why she lashes out so hard when the suggestion of treatment is made.

What is the story with her husband? Is he vertebrate enough to stand up to her? He could try to two card her; either you go to the doctor, or I’m out of here.

But, he has to really mean it.

Is her condition deteriorating?  Who is providing the tramadol and Gabapentin? Both have very high abuse potential. And they do tend to react when taken together, albeit moderately.

What is her actual diagnosis to justify the tramadol and Gabapentin? Either of those meds alone could cause confusion and impairments in thinking and judgement.

Any effort to address her mental health issues has to begin with the meds she’s on. How old is your MIL? Do you know how long she’s been on those drugs?

Quite telling that she refused antidepressants, but willingly takes two high abuse risk drugs.

Unfortunately, unless she is a threat to herself or others, there is not much you can do. The onus is really on her husband to coax, cajole, or order her into treatment. Remember, even if there are really severe psychiatric symptoms, the decision whether to involuntarily admit someone to the hospital is based entirely on their dangerousness.

From what you’re describing, he probably should pull out all the stops to get her some help.

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