I posted this elsewhere on the Internet today, but thought I’d put it here as well to get additional perspectives. Sorry for the length and depressing subject matter.
My FiL died in January of 08 after a year and a half battle with leukemia. It was horrible and awful and my MiL was understandably deeply affected by the illness and loss. DW and I did all we could to help during this time. DW had a somewhat rocky relationship with both parents and shortly before FiL was diagnosed, she was planning to start scaling back her interactions with them. Not a CO or anything like that, but just not as involved. Then she was pulled in like WHOA.
In March of 08, we decided to start trying for a baby. Our son was born in 12/09. Though of course this did not factor into our decision to have a child, we thought it might help MiL deal with her grief and give her something new and wonderful to focus on. She was thrilled about the coming grandbaby.
In the years since FiL’s death, MiL has become more and more self-involved, selfish, and demanding/needy. In my opinion, she is showing hypochondriac symptoms. She has had an ailment and surgery pretty much every few months for the last couple of years for mystery type ailments like sleep apnea, back pain. Not that these can’t be real problems, but in her case, it’s like she needs to be the center of attention and has constant health issues. She expects DW to be on-call for her during these crises despite the fact that we live 45 minutes away, DW is a stay-at-home mom, I work full-time, and we have a 22 month old. Selfishly, I am seriously annoyed that not only have we had zero support from her in the baby department, but she is super demanding. Example: DW is driving 45 minutes each way in the morning to take MiL to a doctor’s appointment that is 15 minutes from her home. She can’t drive due to her most recent surgery, but seriously, she can’t take a cab or find a friend to shuttle her to her appointment? Instead DW has to take half a day, I have to lose half a day of work, etc., etc. She gets all bent out of shape when DW resists at all.
Also, she doesn’t work, has very little money and we know when the time comes that her money runs out, it’ll be on us to support her. DW says she will not allow her to live with us and I hope she stays true to that as I’d hate it and I know it would make DW miserable, meaning our lives would be somewhat miserable. I’m so upset that there is all this crap to deal with when I just want to be focusing on my own family. I’m worried MiL is going to be a downer and drain us of money, time, etc. for the rest of her life.
DW is an only child so there is no one else to call on for help. MiL also lost her brother to a heart attack about 2 years ago. It’s been a horrible few years for her, no doubt, and I want to help out where we can. Trouble is she just needs/expects way too much – it’s more than we can give.
How would you handle this situation?