My mother-in-law and I have always had a strained relationship because I 'stole' her only son 37 years ago. She is a very selfish woman and never really bothered with us or our children except for a couple of short visits a year to give her unwanted advice about how to manage our child rearing/finances/marriage, but ten years ago she decided to move nearer to us as she was unwell.

What has followed is her constant dissatisfaction with anything anyone does for her, and always complaining about people not going to see her even though she has driven her grandchildren away by complaining about their father, who works very hard and tries his best, but never good enough.

She has had a lot of illness the past few years and we have tried to give her as much support as possible. My own parents are in their eighties and my father is disabled. My mother even though she is unwell looks after him with our support. I have never minded doing anything for them as they have both been very supportive parents and grandparents and have always been there for us without criticizing.

We have brought up four children and have struggled. I am trying to help my mother-in-law but all I feel is resentment and anger at how she has treated me over the years and she now expects me to be at her beck and call.Just because she is old doesn't mean she is any nicer. At the moment I look after my granddaughter during the day while my daughter works, I also have a part time evening job, as well as run a home, take my mother shopping and have to constantly answer the phone to the mother in law telling me I have to take her here or there.

In a sentence, I am almost at the end of my tether and something is going to give. I know I should be more compassionate towards her but I cannot help but feel anger and resentment towards her at the fact that she is taking over my life when my husband and I should now be starting to enjoy our freedom and our grandchildren.

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I Feel Your Pain
by: Anonymous

Dear Daughter-in-Law,

I feel your pain. I, too, have a mother-in-law who is not very pleasant nor grateful. Your story mirrors mine in many ways and I'm going to give you advise I hope you will take.

First, it sounds like your Mother in Law is jealous of the time you spend taking care of your mom. She feels it should be equal. Why? because she's selfish and whether you admit this or not, YOUR husband is perfectly okay with letting you do all of this for her because he doesn't want to.

So, my advice is this because it worked for me:

I would limit my time with her to doing only one thing a week for her. If she has a doctor's appointment, take her, but that's all you do for the week. If she calls, ignore it because trust me, if it's that important HER child (your husband) can handle it.

If she gets angry let her. If you aren't getting paid to be her slave then definitely don't do it. Yes, it's time to back away or else you will really start feeling like your life if being taken away from you.

If your husband has siblings it's past time for them to step up to the plate, too. Don't listen to any of their "I'm too busy" excuses either. You are are busy, too. And she is, after all, THEIR mother - not yours! Hope this helps.

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