Trapped by mum-in-law

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - WEEKENDTV -

My mother-in-law was quite ill last year so my hus­band and I moved her in with us. She’s only 62 and, other than blood pres­sure prob­lems, she is now gen­er­ally quite healthy.

Since she’s moved in though, she’s changed — she’s lost her con­fi­dence, re­fuses to go out on her own and gets pan­icky and tear­ful if she’s left alone in the house.

When I agreed that she could stay I had no idea that she would be­come this de­pen­dent on me and, al­though I love her, I feel trapped and re­sent­ful. Is it wrong to feel like this? FIONA SAYS: HELP­ING HER RE­BUILD HER CON­FI­DENCE MIGHT HELP From the be­hav­iour you’re de­scrib­ing, I sus­pect your mother-in-law might be suf­fer­ing from de­pres­sion. Spend­ing too much time in bed, to­gether with tears and panic at­tacks, in­di­cate she’s very fright­ened. She’s prob­a­bly scared of be­ing on her own and hav­ing an­other at­tack.

It’s pos­si­ble that her lone­li­ness is at the root of the prob­lem. Can you talk to her? I sus­pect she’s not been able to have a con­ver­sa­tion with any­one about her emo­tional needs for a long time.

It might be worth­while en­cour­ag­ing her to think about get­ting out and about with a group of oth­ers.

Try­ing to en­cour­age her to feel good about her­self again and feel she’s achiev­ing things would be, I think, the root to build­ing her self-con­fi­dence once more.

Once she feels more pos­i­tive, I’m sure she’ll be fine about you leav­ing her on her own — she might even feel strong enough to move back to her own home even­tu­ally.

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