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to avoid my difficult sister-in-law even though we're putting her mum into care?

(66 Posts)
valdali Thu 06-Aug-20 17:06:03

I've been looking after my M-i-L for 4 years now, through losing my F-i-L, and helping when carers can't come, staying overnight etc. Now my M-i-L is going into care & we have to decide what to do with the house etc. My DH is a workaholic & its quicker to do what I can myself. My S-i-L is a loving daughter but v moody and she can upset both her mum & me. She hasnt been able to help for genuine family reasons. I am a cheerful person but got badly bullied at work a couple of years back (mobbing) When I finally saw the light & got out, it had had such a negative impact that I still get depressed periodically though low mood had never previously been a problem.My S-i-L has a bad effect on me if she happens to be in a nasty mood, should I avoid her? I feel she's entitled to know whats going on & it is her mum, but how much should I put my health on the line? I'm fairly sure I'm never snappy or curt with her, I treat her with kid gloves but she can still be pretty unpleasant on a bad day,

crazyH Thu 06-Aug-20 17:21:38

You really can't avoid her. This is her mum and she has a right to know what's going on. You are a good d.i.l. and I applaud you for that. I can foresee the same happening with my family. I have one daughter and 2 daughters-in-law. Heaven help them when my time comes for whatever?all three have strong personalities. I hope you are able to sort things out without too much upset. Good luck !!

sodapop Thu 06-Aug-20 17:22:53

Perhaps you need to say it how it is valdali and leave off the kid gloves. You have helped her mother enormously when she was unable to do so for whatever reason. Don't let yourself be bullied by this woman.

welbeck Thu 06-Aug-20 17:29:41

if this is your husband's sister, he should be dealing with her.
he seems to have left it all to you, looking after his mother, now dealing with his sister.
time for him to step up.
if you make yourself a doormat, people will walk all over you.
as they say on MN, you've got a husband problem, not a SIL one.
why are you doing all the running around. put your foot down. and make him pull his weight with his own family.

Hithere Thu 06-Aug-20 17:30:28

Dh can take care of this himself, he is choosing to be a workaholic and pass you the hot potato. His mother and sister - his responsibility

You should put 0.00000000000000% of your health on the line.

valdali Thu 06-Aug-20 18:34:39

I totally agree but that's my DH, I've been with him for 32 yrs now & he's not going to change. I do delegate some of the texts & updates to him - but then with reminding him & nagging him - it is easier to do it myself. Plus he has his own business & is trapped in a vicious circle where he's too busy to think about getting extra help to make him less busy - but I'm not sure at bottom that he wants to be less busy.Its not my MiL fault how he is.

Hithere Thu 06-Aug-20 18:42:03

No, it is his own fault to neglect his mother and sister

If he is a le to handle a successful business, he is able to deal with this. He doesnt want to and you are making excuses for him

It also doesnt make it your problem or person to step in to cover the gap

At this point, you elect to participate in this situation and are looking for the magic words to make it easier.

No words can change your SIL, dh or mil.
Only you can change your own behaviour

You have two options- participate without venting or complaining ("this is how he is" is not a reason to justify this) or make changes to avoid impacting your health.

You cannot have both. Your call.

Septimia Thu 06-Aug-20 18:56:43

I was in a similar situation. FiL needed care and his daughter lived too far away to help regularly. DH and I had to do most of the care, hospital visits, arranging carers etc. I was very conscious that it wasn't my place to make decisions about him. Fortunately DH was willing to discuss things with his sister when necessary and she wasn't difficult.

I agree that, if at all possible, your DH should 'discuss' necessary actions with his sister and you just help and support him - as you would hope he would do if it was your mother. If he really can't/won't, then perhaps you could indicate that you are communicating on his behalf rather than taking charge.

Grandmabatty Thu 06-Aug-20 19:07:20

I can foresee problems arising when you are trying to make financial decisions and sil could easily say that it isn't your mother so why are you making decisions? Like some of the others, I think your husband has to step up here. Mil is his and his sister's mum, not yours, therefore I think you need to be careful of your own well being. Sil shouldn't be left out of the decision making loop, no matter how challenging she is.

Callistemon Thu 06-Aug-20 19:08:25

I treat her with kid gloves
I would stop doing that. You can be firm and pleasant without letting her walk all over you.

It really is up to your DH and his sister to organise their mother's care, you have done more than enough over the years for your DMIL.
There are always reasons why some family members are "unable to help".

he's not going to change
He needs to be told!

Alexa Thu 06-Aug-20 19:42:44

Valdali, Some people are more scratchy than others. I'd avoid her whenever possible. It may be a help not to get into discussions with her but simply quietly repeat what you would like her to do without explaining or apologising.

I applaud your hard work and care for the old lady. Have you yourself the legal power to sell the house for her? If not I can't see what you can do about the house except remind whoever has the power to get on with selling it, and that it is their responsibility.

Urmstongran Thu 06-Aug-20 19:58:03

Totally agree with you Hithere. Wise words.

Luckygirl Thu 06-Aug-20 20:21:08

Tell OH to deal with her.

Honestly we cannot spoon feed the men and let them off every hook. For years when we first married I used to remind OH that he had not spoken to his family in months - after a while I stopped bothering - his family, his decision.

I am not sure why the liaison with SIL about all this falls to you - your OH should be doing this. If she rings or contacts you and gives you grief, then tell her you will get OH to ring and say your goodbyes.

It is hard to break the habit of being the communicator and peace maker, but I think maybe you should!

MollyG Fri 07-Aug-20 10:00:53

Nothing and I mean nothing is worth putting your health on the line.

Once your MiL is safely ensconced in a care home leave the rest of it to your DH and SiL to deal with then you can’t be accused of interfering and you’ll get some time back to properly care for and nourish your own mental health x

donna1964 Fri 07-Aug-20 10:08:28

Someone needs to be made Power of Attorney for health and maybe wealth of your mother in law if she is still of sound mind. That person can then work with the mother in law as to what is best for her instead of asking what's best for her from other people.

stella1949 Fri 07-Aug-20 10:08:50

So your husband AND his sister are unable to do anything - pretty convenient for them !

Surely in their busy lives they can spare a few minutes each week to speak to each other and share what is happening with their own mother.

I think you've been the "glue " which holds your family together for many years , and they are used to you doing everything. Take a step back and let them do something.

donna1964 Fri 07-Aug-20 10:11:49

Just to also say you can then seek help and advice from the Public Guardian where the lasting power of attorney is registered.

jaylucy Fri 07-Aug-20 10:14:46

It's not your fault that your SiL is like she is and hardly your fault that your husband puts his business before everything else and ducking out of his family responsibilities.
I too have been bullied in my workplace - both times by someone that was my manager. First one was a sociopath and the second one just didn't want me there! Until you have experienced it, you really can't understand just how it can affect you long term.
For your sake, I think you need to take a step back and leave the rest to your DH and SiL. If SiL complains, just tell her to take it to her brother - only help if she asks and I mean asks, not commands you to help.
By all means. when possible, still visit MiL and let the rest wash over you.
You can do this, look after yourself . You come first.

Worthingpatchworker Fri 07-Aug-20 10:16:19

I greatly sympathise. The illness, Alzheimer’s, caused great difficulties within the family. Her passing hasn’t resolved matters.
Who has her power of eternity? That person should be making the decisions.......
Good luck.

Callistemon Fri 07-Aug-20 10:18:51


So your husband AND his sister are unable to do anything - pretty convenient for them !

Surely in their busy lives they can spare a few minutes each week to speak to each other and share what is happening with their own mother.

I think you've been the "glue " which holds your family together for many years , and they are used to you doing everything. Take a step back and let them do something.

It's a very good ploy, isn't it, stella1949!

As long as there's a willing horse. Perhaps it's time the willing horse decided to have a break from shouldering all the family responsibility for their mother.

annehinckley Fri 07-Aug-20 10:22:35

I think you have to step back, as others have said. If anything goes wrong (financially or with the care home, whatever) it will be very easy for you to become the scapegoat. Much as you may care for her she's not your mother and you shouldn't have to make these decisions.

mbody Fri 07-Aug-20 10:24:15

Let your husband sort out his sister. Do what you feel happy with doing and don’t over worry the situation.

Chewbacca Fri 07-Aug-20 10:25:01

Who has her power of eternity?

Off topic but that made me smile!

Jillybird Fri 07-Aug-20 10:28:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JdotJ Fri 07-Aug-20 10:30:36

When I married 32 yes ago it was just assumed I would buy all the cards/presents for my DH family for xmas birthdays but I refused as he had dealt with everything before I met/married him and to this day my DH buys for his family and I buy for mine.
It's not the 1950/60/70/80s
If you dont like doing it.