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  1. #21
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    Mar. 1, 2003
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    Happily in Canada
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    My grandmother was widowed around the age of 72. My grandfather used a computer, but she didn't much.

    Since then, (she is now 89) she has kept up her volunteer activities (yes, she still goes to Safeway once/week to do grocery shopping for "old people" who can't do it themselves), she kept going to her choir group, she kept up with friends. She emails. She calls. She makes plans to see things and people.

    She might be lonely but she's never let us know that. Instead, she invites herself to visit for birthdays, or meets half-way for lunch. And still does the NYT Sunday crossword.

    I am in awe, she is a real example.
    Blugal

    You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng


    7 members found this post helpful.

  2. #22
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    Mar. 4, 2010
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    Having now calmed down just a little, I can see that your husband has been kind and sensible enough to get her day to day life pretty organized. And it does sound like she is open to some change - I mean, she is doing some of the stuff she needs to do. Sometimes I think it takes a while for folks to realize that their world has been turned on its ear and everything is up for change. So, in that spirit, I wonder how she would take to having a financial planner or estate planner take a look at all her finances and obligations. Such pros can help her understand how long her money is going to hold out and what her options are (sell the farm house, get the girls on their own nickel etc).

    The consultation shouldn't be too expensive but the best part is that sometimes people take advice much better from a non family member expert third party. Plus it might be a wake up call to the rest of the family that the gravy train is over.

    There are probably a lot of hard choices in her future and she doesn't sound like she's in the best position to make them, not having cultivated an independent spirit. However, people can and do change, they need support to accomplish it plus a lot of the tough love folks have already mentioned to you. You and your husband sound mature and sensible with a good grip of boundaries and you are acting out of love for her. More gentle shoves from you plus some professional help and help for other family members will definitely help your MIL on her road to, well, growing up.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  3. #23
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    Jun. 24, 2005
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    Alabama
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    She really needs to get on schedule for car maintenace, and learn to pump her own gas. Where I live I don't of any gas station that will pump gas for you, and if someone really can't do it they have to go to the regular station, and either ask for help (and wait a while) or some nice customer does it for them. And if MIL supports her adult kids to the extent it sounds like, and doesn't want to leave them to grow up, then she's going to run out of money eventually, and be up the creek. That's when the money demands will start, or even worse the suggestions that she move in with you. It's time for mommy to grow up, and it's tough at her age, but she can do it if she wants to. Doing things for her, instead of telling her how to do it and letting her learn sounds harsh, but think of it as tough love. Be careful of who you get to advise her on finances, because many planners are on commission, and aren't looking out for the client. There are many grief support groups through churches and community centers, and they are usually free, so explore that.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  4. #24
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    Oct. 14, 2010
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    Your MIL sounds a bit like my crazy, stupid, selfish aunt so you have my sincerest sympathy. The woman was widowed in her early 60s (we swear my uncle died in self defense) and had never worked a day in her life. Heck, her mother used to scrub her floors for her! For the last 25 years we (her kids, my (dad's) family and my uncle's family) have dealt with her nonsense. We have found that being direct and blunt is the most effective way of dealing with her. If coddled, she is awful.

    Good luck, have a drink, and stand your ground. And don't ever expect any gratitude or for her to be happy with you or your husband.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  5. #25
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    Sep. 5, 2005
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    Mass.
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    The woman is FIFTY and can't pump her own gas? Has she been sequestered as a Muslim behind a hijab for thirty years? That's just ridiculous. There is no excuse for that sort of incompetency. She doesn't need help; she needs a kick in the rear end. If she were eighty, I'd have some sympathy. Two years older than me? No hand-holding here!
    I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


    4 members found this post helpful.

  6. #26
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    Oct. 20, 2006
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    866

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    She knows how to pump gas. She just refuses. She would rather give $20 to her daughters for gas and then complain that only $10 in gas gets put in and the rest spent on cigarettes.

    I appreciate everyone's insights and commentary.

    She has been given information on who to contact as far as a financial planner through the church. I was with her when she was given this info last year. Although, it might be worth seeing if it is something she will being to consider now. I just know push comes to shoves, I am not supporting her and definitely not supporting the leeches. We did offer financial support to the grandkids since it sucks that their parents are lazy people and if they end up choosing to go to college, we are willing to help support that.

    I did have a good thought tonight though that she always enjoyed scrapbooking and there are several local groups, so I might be able to bring that up. I think she might enjoy doing something locally and creative outside the home.

    I still invite her in my activities too (even though I have been the major scapegoat for a while. I am OK with that. I don't really care if she hates me. ). She is coming to my grad school graduation this December and she has come to a couple of the local horse shows when my husband has been showing the filly, in addition to him going there to go out to lunch/do whatever a couple times a month.

    I did find some local grief/support groups which I am passing along to my husband (a little easier to have him bring things up). There is also a therapist locally that does things on a sliding scale/ability to pay so I think that will be well worth looking into to. In addition to the obvious incredible grief she must be suffering, she has suffered from major depression and other issues over the years, so I'd imagine she'd benefit from some professional help as well.

    Thanks COTH for being a sounding board. Sounds cheesy, but it's made me feel much better about the situation and I have a reference to go back and think about from those that have been there or in similar circumstances.

    Very much appreciated.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  7. #27
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    Jul. 11, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guin View Post
    The woman is FIFTY and can't pump her own gas? Has she been sequestered as a Muslim behind a hijab for thirty years? That's just ridiculous. There is no excuse for that sort of incompetency. She doesn't need help; she needs a kick in the rear end. If she were eighty, I'd have some sympathy. Two years older than me? No hand-holding here!
    Exactly...sorry, but she's a spoiled brat who wants to remain a child. I also thought she was OLD...she isn't, she's a...hmmm, better not say what she is, but the OP's husband needs send her a letter or call her once a week. As soon as she starts to whine about what he should be doing and there are some things she just won't do...say, "bye mom, sorry, gotta' go" and don't call her back for 2 weeks. If she whines on the next call, don't call the silly brat back for 3 weeks.

    His father sure did nobody a favor letting her remain a child. I don't think she's so much in grief as pissed off she's having to be an adult for the first time in her life. She's mad and wants any male to be her adult and "daddy".
    "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


    3 members found this post helpful.

  8. #28
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    Jul. 13, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by starrunner View Post
    She knows how to pump gas. She just refuses.
    She needs to come live in New Jersey. We respect that here.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  9. #29
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    Jun. 25, 2004
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    Carolinas
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    It is hard when the center of your life is suddenly gone. That said, she has to decide whether she plans to live or die. We had a similar conversation, somewhat indirectly, with my Mom earlier this year.
    Buy her a box of plastic gloves and put them on the car for use when pumping gas. Then take her to the gas station and go through the steps. Show her how to check her oil and find a reputable oil change site. Since her late husband did everything for her, the kids will have to teach her it is proper and ok to care for herself.
    Great ideas from BuddyRoo and others. Give your DH a big hug and loads of support. His Dad left him with the care of the women in the family. So DH should teach them to care for themselves and grow up.
    "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
    Courtesy my cousin Tim



  10. #30
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    Mar. 9, 2006
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    Sounds like the family would benefit from co-dependency counseling.

    Ya know, this woman's lib thing we have nowadays is a package deal, not an a la carte menu. Women can't just choose the stuff they like and reject the rest. A few hundred years ago your husband would have inherited the farm and would have had complete financial control over mom and the siblings. If they want him to act as family patriarch, it seems to me they should sign over the property and live off whatever allowance he deems appropriate for them. If they don't like that idea, they should pull up their big girl panties and join the modern era.


    13 members found this post helpful.

  11. #31
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    Jun. 24, 2005
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    Alabama
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    A long time ago I worked with a woman who worked part-time at the department store for the discount, and just to get out of the house. Her husband was an interstate bus driver, and when he retired she quit. He died of a massive heart attack soon after retiring. She didn't know where the checkbook was, how much the rent was, or anything about pensions, savings, or anything else. They had a very old-fashioned relationship, and she took care of the house, and he did everything financial. It was very hard for her to find out the information she needed, and friends had to help her find out the financial details, and tell her who to consult about finances. It was very difficult, but she did just fine after a couple of years of effort find out how to operate and what needed to be done. She did just fine, but it was very ugly there for a while, and she had a lot of years of practical issues to catch up on. Her husband did her no favors by controlling everything. If that lady could learn how to live on her own, then the MIL can too. If you let her stay childish and dependent, then she will. It's awful to have to grow up at her age, but she needs to do that.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  12. #32
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    Jul. 11, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanM View Post
    Her husband did her no favors by controlling everything. If that lady could learn how to live on her own, then the MIL can too. If you let her stay childish and dependent, then she will. It's awful to have to grow up at her age, but she needs to do that.
    Actually, I'd guess that both women preferred to have someone else take care of being an adult while they got to coast along like a child.
    "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


    2 members found this post helpful.

  13. #33
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    Nov. 2, 2001
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    Packing my bags
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trakehner View Post
    Actually, I'd guess that both women preferred to have someone else take care of being an adult while they got to coast along like a child.
    No need to be so harsh.
    It's how the duties of the household were divided many times in the past.
    Naturally, it does not help when the check writer kicks the bucket ahead of time.

    On the other hand, the king of the castle has found himself in dire need when the keeper of the laundry passed away without recording the secret stash of socks in the top dresser drawer....
    Quote Originally Posted by Mozart View Post
    Personally, I think the moderate use of shock collars in training humans should be allowed.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Dec. 7, 2006
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    Spruce Grove AB
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    Ugh starrunner, many hugs to you, because I have been there, and am still doing it. MIL had been taken care of by her husband and son, (my SO) since she was married. The pumping gas thing, check. Windshield fluid top up, check. Demands the credit card on a regular basis. Double check. Thank your stars your hubby knows how to say no, and has a limit. But I sympathize with your plight. It is not easy when it comes to in-laws esp the mother and son relationship.

    Great suggestions on the widow support group, as well as getting a binder together for all the go to problems. Plumber, electrician etc...
    I used to do all those mindless errand and tasks all the time thinking it would end, but it did not. It was just expected and kept being asked to do more and more.
    I had to learn how to say no politely, and instead of shutting her out completely or not do it, I would give her a number to call, or tell her how to do it.
    It was met by a lot of resistance at first, but if no one is able to boost your car, pump your gas or water that plant on the top shelf, you learn to listen to instruction on how to do it. And it really blew my mind at some of the things I and my SO was told to do because I was raised to do it yourself or learn how to. Just because I am a woman does not mean I can't drive a tractor to cut the grass or sweep the garage out because that was a 'mans' job. If you are able bodied then it is game on.

    The sisters sound like real bums and need a reality check by an outside professional. Maybe a type of councilor that deals with family dynamics when the lead hand in the family passes.

    Not much else to say OP other than you have my support and understanding of your families plight. Cyber hugs from Alberta!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  15. #35
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    Jun. 24, 2005
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    Alabama
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    The woman I talked about was totally fine with very traditional roles, but it certainly was hard when the husband died and she knew nothing about living day-to-day. It does seem weird that a relationship would be so role oriented, especially with the fact that the husband in my posting was gone so much, but that's just how it went for a lot of years. The one complicating factor is the only daughter, for unknown but guessable reasons, made her life very far away, and successfully, but had virtually no relationship with her parents. I suspect the daughter knew what would happen with the mother eventually, and wanted no part of it. But the widow learned to get by, and did fine for a lot of years all on her own.

    The other thing people have to watch for is the widow or widower with money, and people will certainly focus on them, and try to take the money by a romantic relationship or other means. I know of quite a few older widows, and widowers that were almost immediately romanced by people who just wanted their money, and the second they had it they dumped the spouse. It's sad people will do that, but people who have been in relationships for many years, especially the helpless partner with a controlling partner go off the rails when the controlling person dies or leaves. Some people prefer virtually any relationship to having to become independent.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White


    1 members found this post helpful.

  16. #36
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    Dec. 29, 1999
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    Harrisburg, PA USA
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    Sounds like things are coming along and she's making progress. Your husband (and you) are doing a good job & she seems to be coming around. Go visit her for a weekend and go with her to the gas station in your car, in her car, etc. and have her practice putting in the gas with son there to help & teach.

    Yeah, only being in her 50s, that's weird. This was certainly the case when *I* (in my 50s now) was a small child and saw this happen often when husbands died. But now? No. But the marriage was theirs, plus doing this stuff on her own is really leaving him behind, isn't it? The final acceptance that he's GONE. Have mercy on her, maybe inside she's really struggling.

    However, yes, teaching her to do stuff and being so proud of her & letting her know how proud her son is - with time she'll come to love the sense of achievement.

    Remember that for her Achievement = Loneliness. Every task she accomplishes is another proof that her husband is gone, so it's not easy. But it still has to be done.

    As for the sisters. Users & enablers. Concentrate on Mom first and face the fact that any money & property of mom's is going to go to them because they're on site & they're taking it. But Mom can & will make progress - your posts show it.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  17. #37
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    Dec. 21, 2005
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    North Carolina
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanM View Post
    The other thing people have to watch for is the widow or widower with money, and people will certainly focus on them, and try to take the money by a romantic relationship or other means. I know of quite a few older widows, and widowers that were almost immediately romanced by people who just wanted their money, and the second they had it they dumped the spouse. It's sad people will do that, but people who have been in relationships for many years, especially the helpless partner with a controlling partner go off the rails when the controlling person dies or leaves. Some people prefer virtually any relationship to having to become independent.
    My SO/DH's dad died 2 years ago. The first year his mom couldn't do anything for herself. Since DH travels and her daughter lives several hours away, she'd call DH, he'd tell her we could do it, and I'd end up doing whatever she wanted.

    But, at the same time there were tasks I wasn't allowed to do - like run the riding mower (really?!?), take the car for maintenance, etc... because those were men's jobs and not something I should ever do.

    We did finally get her more self sufficient with some liberal use of the word 'No'. She and I have a great relationship and I'm comfortable telling her no on my own without DH backing me. We taught her to run the riding mower when we, too, moved 3 hours from her house.

    Now, I'm afraid we're dealing with the above scenario, she's started dating and I'm not too sure about the guy.



  18. #38
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    Oct. 20, 2006
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    Just an update. Actually not too long after I posted this thread, my husband called his mother like normal. He has been telling her since last year that he has to work Christmas. His schedule is assigned and that's that (he works in a jail. Not really an optional job).

    Well during the course of their conversation, Christmas came up and he told her he was working (again).

    His sister called shortly after and verbally berated him for abandoning their family on Christmas, blah, blah dad's dead, etc. His response is that he is working on another time to come and thinks we can come celebrate Christmas eve instead.

    Mother calls back, over the top freaking out.

    Pretty much spewed evil nasty things about myself. Pretty much that my husband is afraid of me since he only calls his mother on the way to work (tends to be a boring, easy commute, so a lot of catchup is done then), that I am nasty and won't talk to her (my husband asked, how can she be nasty? Name a time and isn't possible to refuse to talk to you and then talk mean to you at the same time).

    Pretty much the gist is that she accused my husband of betraying their family because of me, that he doesn't want to be a part of their family, etc and that I'm terrible and mean, etc. She wants the family heirlooms that was his dad's back (watch & an antique sidearm).

    WTF??

    What do I even do to face this craziness? Does she not realize that my husband talks to me so I know when she spews this vitrol? I answer my phone every time she calls and talk nice. I never voice my concern when she tells me about her dogs being hit in the road (again) or their health concerns (she had an elderly dog that pretty much died a horrible death a few weeks ago). I just talk about whatever warm and fluffy that's easy to talk about.

    All this over a holiday? Aren't holidays when you make them?

    Good grief. Why even bother trying to help someone that is so incredibly mean spirited?

    My first instinct was to pick up the phone and confront her, but she is the type of person that talks crap to everyone else and won't discuss issues like an adult (obviously), so I don't think that will work.

    Just don't know what to do with the crazy now.

    My husband hung up during this conversation and didn't call her back. She did eventually call back a week or so later to ask about some other benign subject. The Christmas/evil wife subject hasn't been broached again. I'm waiting for the next blowout again...



  19. #39
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    Nov. 2, 2001
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    In the face of this kind of crazy, I suggest a large size adult beverage and a bubble bath.
    you can't compete with that.
    Give DH a big hug!
    Quote Originally Posted by Mozart View Post
    Personally, I think the moderate use of shock collars in training humans should be allowed.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  20. #40
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    Feb. 28, 2006
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    I totally cannot believe that a woman younger than I am would live like that and be such an ingrate to her DIL, and her son. Won't pump her own gas?
    She really does need bereavement counseling because for her to try to lever her son into the position occupied by his dad (who was a fool) is shockingly wrong. Self absorbed and self centered are the words that come to mind. And the sisters need a serious talking to as well!

    I have a single MIL and she handles things by herself, sometimes over our objection when she finds the most expensive, poorest quality workman in town, but at least she gets it done.

    There are community counseling services that charge on a sliding scale, might be an idea to look into them.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



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