A frustrated daughter-in-law, who is caring for her partner’s elderly mother, has sparked debate after revealing her mother-in-law is deliberately “stirring the pot”.
Taking to online forum Gransnet the woman wrote: “My partner and I are looking after his elderly mother who can do very little for herself at the moment. I wash her, dress her, cut up her food as well as everything else she ‘orders’.”
The woman added she and her partner sleep on an air bed in the lounge while her mother-in-law has their bed, adding: “I have made myself ill looking after her. I have a chronic pain condition called reflex sympathetic dystrophy which is causing me a great deal of pain.”
The woman, who was taken to hospital a few weeks ago because of it, said she received a phone call from the surgery to make an appointment.
She added: “I made the appointment and it wasn’t until later I realised that the Dr I was seeing was male (my partner is a bit weird about me seeing a male dr).”
The woman said she then confined in her mother-in-law, who told her “what he didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him”. However, when she went to her appointment she received a string of angry messages from her partner, who had been informed about the male doctor from her mother-in-law as soon as she left.
“This has caused massive arguments between my partner and I,” she wrote. “I told him she was just causing trouble and ‘stirring it’ which has understandably made him even more angry.
“I will be honest I am at the point I don’t want to look after her now. I get no thanks from her whatsoever, she just sits there expecting everything to be done for her.”
Readers were quick to reply, reassuring the woman she wasn’t being unreasonable. “I don’t think you should be making yourself ill and stressed looking after her, particularly as you have to sleep on an airbed,” one commentator wrote.
Others suggested getting outside care to help look after her mother-in-law, with one adding: “You will be no use to her if you end up in hospital.”
However, most readers were more concerned about her husband’s hangups. “I wouldn’t like anyone telling me which doctor I could or could not see about my own health,” one commentator wrote.
Of all the relationships in family life, the one between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law is often the most testing.
There have been plenty of stories in the past about mothers-in-law and their offspring’s partners fighting it out for love and attention, and the touchy subject was even immortalised on screen by Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez in their 2005 film, Monster-in-law.
More often than not though, the mother-in-law is painted as an overbearing figure who can’t help but meddle in their child’s life, even when they’re just trying help.