Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Husband and I are struggling with his mom

I have posted once before … I just don’t know what to do anymore. I will try to make a long story short. My MIL has always had mental issues. We always thought it was Schizophrenia. She seemed to be doing very well with medication all these years. She was officially diagnosed a few months ago.

My inlaws moved away to “enjoy their life” and never had much to do with us. We saw them once a year. I always thought my FIL was pretty selfish. So I think they were living the life he wanted. I wonder if my mother in law is resentful and shows up in her delusions. He retired early and never thought about what would happen down the road. He never put anything in place to take care of them in their old age. There was no planning. If he “died with money, he didn’t do something right”.

So, he had a stroke. He is functional but is kind of in his own world. He tends to make impulsive poor decisions that he would never make before. My MIL started to deteriorate mentally. They moved up closer to us so we could help them. I’m trying to keep this as short as possible but basically, she had lots of episodes and has been in and out of the mental hospital. Sometimes she would be ok, but now it doesn’t look like she is getting better. She is 76.

My FIL is functional enough not to let us look at his bills or help him in any way. He refuses to accept his age and stroke. We recently found out he is thousands in debt on his cc. They have sky-high medical bills. They can’t afford much at all.

Meanwhile, my MIL’s delusions surround around my FIL. He is the cause of her mental illness. She knows she is sick and says it’s his fault. She thinks he has poisoned her, is in jail, calls the cops on her, etc. She started to leave her house and go to the neighbors to get them to call an ambulance because she thinks my FIL is poisoning her.

So this keeps happening and she is pushed through the crises center in the hospital and has had two 4 week stays in mental hospitals. The first one she granted them permission to talk to me so the psychiatrist told me he was struggling with getting rid of her delusions. He told me she was convinced her husband was in jail for pedophilia. She thinks he is watching her. She ends up not trusting Dr.'s because she thinks my FIL has gotten to them.

So come to her last hospitalization. She just got out. She is part of a program that has a support group and she sees Dr.'s there. She got out of the hospital, went to her program and then went to a neighbor’s house because she was afraid. So the neighbor called me and we went over. She proceeded to tell us she wants half. She wants to sell the house and get separation and that she has support( her group). She wants to live with us for a bit until she figures out what to do. She tells us her husband is making her mentally sick and she can’t take it anymore. At the same time, she is asking us where we are living( we have been in the same place for over 10 years_.

We explain to her that we need a plan. She cannot come live with us but we will help her figure out where to go. She has decided to she wants to live with her sister five hours away but won’t go until the house is sold. My father in law says fine, he will move 11 hours away from us. We told him he needs a plan to, but he says he will live in a motel.

We don’t think her sister is realizing she is serious. We will call her to discuss. We keep telling my mother in law that we have to look into it and that it won’t be instant . Now today she calls saying the same thing and yelling at my husband that he needs to help her.

We have no idea what to do. Is it better that maybe she isn’t living with my father in law? Possibly if that is the source of her delusions but when she is away from him, it doesn’t seem to stop. They have a tremendous amount of debt so I don’t know how much money they will each actually have to move. If my mother in law sells the house and moves away, she won’t be able to change her mind.

We can’t talk to any of her Doctors because she refuses to sign anything to let us advocate. She now wants us to come over and talk tonight about helping her. My husband and I don’t know what to do? I think her support group is influencing her a bit. She keeps saying they told her to call 911 and that she deserves half of the money since she put the time in.

It is so frustrating because we just can’t get help. I know there are support groups, but that isn’t going to help right now. We have to know what to do with this situation.

1 Like

Thank you for sharing your pain. It sounds very difficult and I’m so sorry for your family’s struggles and suffering.

It definitely sounds like she is not capable of taking care of herself, to say nothing of your father in law. What does your husband have to say about all of this? You should be ready to have a conversation with him about what you both are and are not willing or able to do in this situation. You’re not going to be able to magically fix everything, and depending on what your in-laws allow you to do advocacy-wise, you might not be able to do anything.

You have to be ready for that, and it will be easier to move forward if you & your husband provide a united front to his parents. Don’t do anything if you’re not doing it together.

You’re right that this sounds like a situation where there are untreated underlying mental health issues, but also consider other issues that creep in with advancing age, like dementia. Strokes and other health issues often uncover hidden ailments, or make it so that individuals cannot recovered the way they used to. This might be the case for either one of your in-laws.

Regardless, it might be worth looking in to speaking with a lawyer who works regularly with advocates and elder care law. If your mother in law has not been treated long-term for her SZA, it might be easier for y’all to approach the issue simply as you trying to care for your parents as they advance in age. You can be honest about your concerns regarding their debt, their living situation, and their ongoing health issues. All of these topics are things an elder care lawyer or advocate is going to be used to seeing. It’s a difficult transition even for healthy adults, and there might be more resources available for counseling, legal advice, and advocacy if you take that approach. Then, when you have some footing-- and some trust established-- you can perhaps move to address you MIL’s mental health.

You’re not alone. It’s ok to feel frustrated with support groups when what you really feel like you need are resources or a path forward. Thanks for sharing your post here, and please tell me if I’ve not been helpful. <3