Trapped by mum-in-law
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.