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susan_on

Problem with MIL-very long

15 years ago

I don't know if I can explain this properly. I've mentioned it before...in fact, a couple of people weren't very happy with me. But it's an ongoing problem in our family.

My MIL is a hypochondriac. She is consumed with her "illnesses" and "injuries". A couple of years ago, she had to have surgery, and the surgeon told us that she caused the problem herself with her obsession over her perceived health problems by seeking conflicting ER treatments several days in a row, which directly led to a bowel obstruction. It's gotten so it's impossible to interact with her in a normal fashion, as she only wants to talk about symptoms, pills, etc. It is very extreme.

She would never consider behavior modification or anything like that, and she would be BEYOND angry if anyone suggested it. Her GP is patient with her, and will try to correct her (respectfully-my SIL goes with her to her appts), but she just tunes out completely when she does not hear what she wants to hear. On her last bout of being convinced she has a heart condition, she went to ER incessantly, and badgered them to admit her. They finally did, she was admitted and monitored, and after a couple of days the GP told her that everything was fine. She refused to leave the hospital, and they didn't get her out until the next day. She insisted on seeing a cardiologist, and went for an appt with him. He was very sharp with her, and told her she was fine, and had the heart of a 30 year old. She left without saying anything, and a couple of weeks later starting talking about her "heart problems". I told her that I knew everything was fine, and she said "well, something could have developed since then". It seems hopeless. She never stops complaining about her "health problems" and makes a big performance out of taking her pills (Ibuprofen). Sh was infuriated with her doctor because he didn't give her blood pressure or cholesterol lowering drugs, as he said she didn't need them.

I miss the way things used to be before she got this bad. We used to do a lot together. But now, she manipulates. If I ignore her complaining, she gets angry. One time I tried to gently address the issue, and she screamed with anger like I have never seen ( and I have seen a LOT of anger in my life). The only approach that she is accepting of is for me, or us, to coddle her and give her sympathy. I just don't think that is good for her, and it's not in my nature to be an enabler either. So now I want to avoid her, but I feel guilty about it, because she is a lonely lady. However, she does refuse my offer to introduce her to the local seniors programs.

I just want to find a solution to dealing with her that will be kind and fair to her, comfortable for my DH, and that won't drive me crazy. She has been coming to our house for dinner weekly, but I don't know if I can put up with her this week. Last Sunday was really bad.

Has anyone else dealt with something like this? Any suggestions?

Susan

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