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My mother-in-law's cancer is tearing me and my wife apart

Posted by

I don't want to appear to be selfish but I am at the end of my tether! My wife and I live a long way from her family, in another country. But since her mother deteriorated a couple of months ago to being unable to walk due to her cancer, my wife has been unable to cope. She cannot bare to be away from her mum which has temporarily seperated us geographically . My problem is that my mother-in-law refuses to allow anyone to speak to her palliative team and EXPLODES with anger at the mere suggestion of it. She is giving the impression to her team that everything is fine and that she has plenty of people around her to care. The problem is that this is untrue, my wife is at the lowest she has ever been and her mother is unkempt and refusing personal care from her 'designated carer', accepting only minimal assistance from my wife. She is also refusing to discuss her anxiety and fear of her death with her care professionals or to ask for help to deal with that; instead, she is expressing it only to my wife. I spent 20 years as a care professional, heavily involved in the nursing care of palliative patients, and I know there is help available via family liaison but what can I do when my mother-in-law is dictating to her children and they are terrified to go against her due to her explosive temper? This situation is putting a huge strain on my marriage and seeing my wife so desperately ill is making me so angry. I'm torn between feeling so sad about my mother-in-laws impending death, and so angry at her refusal to accept my wife's desperation.

Posted by

Hello , I am sorry to hear you are at the end of your tether, but welcome to the online community. I read your unanswered post from my view point of back in 2015 feeling under stress as my mother was very ill and passed away in the April, and not feeling well myself and receiving a cancer diagnosis in the July. My feeling from reading your post is that you already know what you feel you should do but you are finding it hard. I am hoping that you have a great way of putting things so that you can show exactly where your concerns and love lie, so that any advise you have to give will be well received. 

I am just a patient with cancer who wanted to direct you to a group where discussion take place, you don’t mention what type of cancer your mother in law has and haven’t completed a profile so I’m thinking the friends and family group is the best to point you in the direction of, I’ve put a link in below.

You have mentioned that you are in a different country to your wife and mother in law at the moment, so I’m assuming your either your wife and mother in law are in the U.K., or you are. 

I was wondering if the Macmillan support line would be of help to which ever of you is in the U.K., to let the professionals advise how to approach this sticky topic. The support line number is 0800 808 0000. 

Best wishes


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