Friday, August 17, 2012

Some things can't be fixed

At 90th birthday family reunion

Some things can't be fixed. Families can be complicated at the least but when mental illness enters the picture, it becomes a nightmare.

My mother in law and her oldest daughter have a very unnatural relationship in which the daughter controls the mother. In psycho babble it would be called "co-dependency". But that hardly explains the reality of this situation. This is the stuff of a Betty Davis movie.

I will here refer to the oldest daughter as OD. OD began her path of destruction early on when she was in high school. According to all family members, she would keep her mother captive not physically but spiritually, in the car for hours in the driveway, while the father and other children fended for themselves. No one knew what transpired exactly as nothing was said by either of them.

In her strange control, she turned her mother against the father. "He's no damn good" MIL would say about him. When going to pick him up at the hospital after recovering from a  heart ailment, they were told that he died. Would he maybe have died of a broken heart?

OD has retained control of everything that MIL does and says, which now explains why when we call, all she will talk about is the weather. MIL is not allowed to use a computer or a cell phone. She has related to other family members  that she is abused verbally if she does anything that OD doesn't approve of. 

Don't think that the family has not tried intervention. MIL refuses to be taken out of her nightmarish lifestyle. There are some secrets about this strange relationship that we will never know.

This all came clear to my husband as he traveled 14 hours to see his mother after being alerted that she is in failing health. When he talked to her alone and asked her how she was doing, she said that she "just didn't want to talk about upsets me too much."

I don't know if this is mental illness or is just pure evil possession. But it is out of our control. And so MIL is living a life of quiet desperation. Only God can help.


From the Kitchen said...

So sorry to hear the anguish your MIL and the family are going through. I wish I had great words of wisdom to offer but, alas, I have none. How very unfortunate for all of you and I hope some resolution will be forthcoming.


Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

Oh, Charlotte. This is heartbreaking. Although a pretty lady, she even looks sad in her 90th birthday portrait. Her eyes seem to be pleading. Has anyone tried to talk to OD? Oh, I'm sure y'all have. Sounds like a very strange relationship. Hope it doesn't end badly.

hootnonny said...

What a sad existence. Maybe OD should be reported for elder abuse.

Tammy@Simple Southern Happiness said...

I am so very sorry to read this, we too had one in the family like this. We had to get a lawyer. I pray GOD will give you all strength to do what has to be done. your MIL should not have to live out the rest of her days living like that.

Prayers to you and your family.

Chatty Crone said...

I do feel sad for people with mental illness because I don't think it can be helped - unless there is medication for it. OD - odd daughter or OD- oppositional defiance disorder? It is a real illness.

Sorry it is in your family.

How is your husband?

Love, sandie

Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

Ohh Charlotte- So difficult for your husband and other family members. Your husband is blessed to have you to support him. Thoughts and prayers for your mother-in-law and family.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Charlotte, this seems a very sad situation for everyone, hootenanny and Tammy had some good points. Can her son take any legal measures?

Tricia said...

Oh my goodness, this sounds like such a sad situation. I wonder why your MIL refuses to let anyone help her?

romance-of-roses said...

Oh Dear Charlotte,
This is such a sad story, it just broke my heart and I will pray for your MIL. I think she didn't want to talk to her son because she is afraid of OD and thought that somehow she would find out, poor lady, this is no life for her. Prayer is all that is left. Blessings, Lu

Donna said...

I think you're right...there be Secrets there...
Bless your hearts!!!