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  1. #1
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    Mother in law strange behaviour

    Since last summer my mother in law has exhibited some odd behaviour. At the time I just thought she was being deliberately nasty to me and was not very sympathetic but now think it might be signs of dementia or uti?
    She suddenly started talking at me in an aggressive manner, shoving her face into mine and glaring at me with a hateful look frequently. She also seemed paranoid and wanting somehow to provoke a row with me. Her husband seemed to join in and doesn't seem to admit any oddness going on. I suppose after 58 years of marriage he will be very loyal to her. She refers to our house as Chris's (my husband's ) house in a very pointed way and really seems to want to sideline me from them. I have been quite involved in their lives for thirty years so, as I say, have at first found it all rather hurtful.
    Now wondering though if there is underlying mental cause, and want to try to make amends. My husband is furious with them however, and does not seem to be particularly empathetic to them. I think his father was a bit of an emotional bully in his childhood.
    I just really want to know if this seems odd behaviour to you, or am I really over sensitive and over reacting which is what they say?
    One of the most strange things was when at the breakfast table she got a clean knife and put it in her mouth all the way down the blade then stuck it in the honey jar whilst looking at me defiantly. I feel rather as if I'm imagining these things but I really don't think so
    Last edited by Redheadcat; 20-04-2017 at 12:36 PM. Reason: Additional info

  2. #2
    Registered User marionq's Avatar
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    Sounds like a mental health problem to me or really, really bad behaviour! In laws can behave strangely though for agenda reasons of their own. As a young wife I showed my SIL around our newly refurbished house which I kept immaculate along with my beautiful little girls. She said not a word until we were back in the sitting room and then turned to my husband and said "Youve made a lovely home for yourself". I was ignored.

    Later my husband said she was probably jealous of his pretty young wife as she'd never been in love and married for the sake of it. Whether this was true or not it made me realise that I had to be my own judge and ignore rude people.

    After that incidentally she never did like me nor I her.

  3. #3
    Registered User cragmaid's Avatar
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    Hiya, and welcome. First question....Do your inlaws live with you? Just thinking of her action with the honey here.
    Second question.... can you speak with their GP or perhaps your OH could....I'm assuming that you/he don't have POA yet? It might help if you keep a diary of these strange actions and let their GP know how concerned you are and would he/she consider asking the in-laws in for a chat and an assessment.

    Don't stand for rudeness in your own home from them. Compassionate communication is all very well in it's place but if, as yet neither of them have been tested or diagnosed, they are "simply" being foul or agressive, and I guess you will know..... you should actually say something to them along the lines of " Why are you acting childishly?" and if you don't get an apology say " Until you can behave in my house.....and it is my house, go home and don't come back until you can say sorry". If you share a house, then send her to her room as if she was a naughty little girl.

    As long as you and Chris can present a united (but calm) front you are going to be stronger.

    There are a lot of people who will say that " She can't help it, she's ill" and she may be, but you are entitiled to try to claim some respect.
    Maureen.

    “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." said Christopher Robin to Pooh. ( AA Milne)

  4. #4
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    Thankyou for your helpful messages. I take on board that it could be in law jealousy provoking nastiness, and am relieved to hear that you think it justifiable to question bad behaviour,which is what I did but have been feeling guilty about. My in laws don't live with us but we had invited them for a little holiday in our flat in France, which is where a lot of the nasty behaviour took place. We don't have power of attorney and Chris my husband is really keeping his distanc from them although they only live round the corner. (We moved here to be near them!)He is still keeping an eye on them though, (calls in every two three weeks)but now mil is on best behaviour.
    Think we will keep an eye but bear in mind talking to their gp if further oddities arise.
    I'm under the impression that elderly do sometimes turn against in laws. It's as if they want their son back for themselves and resent me greatly. So is it mental ill health or not? It does send me round in circles thinking about it.
    I do agree on trying to keep a calm front, but I'm afraid I was unsuccessful when mil provoked me last summer!
    Now am more aware and keeping my distance and only really seeing them briefly which works much better. Mil is 77 and Fil 82. They are both quite fit for their age, but obviously not as able as when younger and they have always been very active and independent people. I wonder if this also contributes to their angry feelings seeing us ding things they did 20 years ago.

  5. #5
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    Hi Redheadcat,

    I don't think this sounds like dementia. Not being an expert, but it does not sound like dementia. It sounds like jealousy, red in tooth and claw. It also sounds petty and directed at you.

    You sound a lovely person and that you are trying to be a good DiL to these in Laws. However, trust your husband's judgement of his parents and it sounds time to draw back.

    Dementia is not a shared illness. The observation that both in-laws are behaving badly, and particularly MiL's direct intent towards you, spells jealousy.

    Sadly, in life, we can be good people but there are some who are intent on ruining the enjoyment of others.

    Go and enjoy your life and your lovely sounding and, more importantly, supportive husband.

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