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Very helpful member
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May 7, 2017
Lost a loved one

I would like to get some feedback on an issues that my poor husband has faced with his parents.

In short, his parents took off and moved 4 hours away when my husband was in a bad way from a clinical trial he was on. They didn't tell him they were moving, and after 8 days of them being gone, they finally phoned him and said they were already living in another town.

They did this all behind his back essentially and did it while we were on vacation. I believe that it is his dad driving this, as ever since my husband was diagnosed, his dad throws a fit when the attention is on my husband. His dad has always been sulky, prone to temper tantrums if he does not get his way, and very self centred.

His dad flat out said when my husband was doing quite badly, "since you cannot get out as much now, we may as well move away". They just didn't say when or in what way. We never thought it would be in this way, that's for sure.

Anyway, needless to say, my husband is extremely hurt and very embarrassed that his parents just took off on him and does not know how to broach the subject when friends ask how his parents are. Long story short, I am so mad at what they've done and so disgusted, I never want to see them again. As well, my anger caused me to lash out at my husband for a better part of yesterday. I am so hurt for him that I am not handling myself well at all.

Does anyone have any advice on how to handle the situation? Has anyone encountered this before? Any advice on how to better deal with this would be much appreciated.

Thank you all.
I would ignore them. People that insensitive doesn’t deserve recognition.
Unless there were other reasons they may have moved, it sounds like your FIL is running away. In any case, it was mean on his part to move without any significant prior discussion. It sounds like he’s a control freak and has his wife under his thumb as well. It also sounds like they are in denial about their son’s health and trying to escape any future caregiving duty. It’s too bad your MIL is now so far away.

I would take a timeout/ cool down period from dealing with them. You’re angry and any interactions at this point are not likely to be civil. As far as future interactions, could you reach out to your MIL or let your husband do the reaching out? Email might be easier than phoning. At the very least, you don’t owe them any future caregiving when their health declines.

I’m sorry you find yourself in this uncomfortable situation. Best of luck.
Maybe there were other reasons for their move, in which case just the method and timing is crappy. Regardless, I would just try to focus on other things and people for the time being. Try to surround you and your husband with friends willing to spend time with you and maybe willing to provide assistance. It can be hard maintaining relationships thru this disease, focus on the strong ones. I'm not sure what or how to tell them about what his parents have done. And I would let the parents make the next move, since they have made big moves already. The holidays are coming and that will be a difficult time. I wouldn't try to do anything or have any expectations til next year.

Hugs to you both.
Karen-You hit the nail on the head. FIL is very controlling and controls MIL. She cannot speak on the phone without him there and does not have her own email. Contacting her in private is not possible, unfortunately.
Larry-The move, sadly, was based on the future inability of my husband to pay attention to my in-laws. FIL did say that a few months ago, I just did not take him seriously. As my husband progresses, entertaining and babysitting his parents will not be possible. As such, I feel that this doesn't sit well with the almighty FIL. They would like us to go up for our birthdays (we are one day apart) at the end of this month, but the feelings will still be quite raw for me. I guess I'll have to suck it up for my husband. He really does not needed added stress.

Thanks, guys.
Wait... They moved away and now want YOU to travel to them? Excuse my language, but "Oh, Hell NO!" How horribly inconsiderate.

I learned early on in my marriage that I had to draw some pretty hard lines with my MIL. She always wanted things her way. But nothing like this. I am so sorry for both you and DH.

What does your husband think of all this? I'd try to respect his wishes over your in-laws.

Good luck with this no-win situation. Hugs!
Jerzygrl has a point there. If they really want to see you for your birthdays they are the ones who should come if your husband feels ok with that. Yet considering the situation some distance may not be such a bad thing after all in the long run. Yes this is hard on the two of you. Concentrate on people you love and love you.
I agree that your husband's wishes, though they may well evolve, take precedence. If he wants to go see them, go. If/when he decides not to, don't. In either case, don't be shy about attributing what happens or doesn't to your husband. He may be ill but he still owns his relationships.

And when people ask about your in-laws, nothing wrong with saying simply, "They have moved to Littletown so we are less in touch." The real people will get it, the others will figure it out. And your in-laws own that part.

So, from what you describe, it may be better that this has happened sooner than later. I mean regardless, at some point your husband will no longer be able to 'serve' his dad as expected. Maybe everyone can find ways to resolve this or to chart new courses before your husband's health gets worse. If the opportunity occurs, you or your husband may carefully poise a question like "who abandons a wounded buddy on the battle field?". Still, please put most of your effort into other relationships that can support both you and your husband.
I'm so sorry but I can relate. My family that I spent tons of money on and gave lots of time and energy to jumped ship shortly after my diagnosis. One of my nieces has millions. She happened to be at my condo when I was debating whether to take my retirement in a lump sum. She said she would take the lump sum, spend it on caregivers, then go on Medicaid in a nursing home "like everyone else does." No offers from either niece to help in any way or even visit. Prior to that they had been coming down several times a year. Cousins who I had bought computers and iPads stopped writing. Even some close friends who I gave thousands to help them move or get out of debt didn't return calls, etc. I'm not a hard person to be around and am a big giver but I was really shocked and hurt by these people.

I agree 100% with what Laurie suggested.

The other thing that crossed my mind is your MIL might just be living in hell with that husband. He exhibits abusive traits.
Whatever you do or say, keep this in mind.

Some day sooner or later, your husband might need something his parents can provide.

So don't burn that bridge.
Your FIL really sounds toxic. Just let your husband decide when and if he wants to see them, but I wouldn’t travel to wherever they are. Make them come to you. I’m sorry you’re in this situation!
Kim, like you, my husband bent over backwards for his parents. Took them on social outings, dinner, constant sleepovers at our place (tedious, but I put up with it), presents galore and always there for them for their many doctors appointments.

I'm sorry you were dropped like that by people who should be there for you in your time of need. I guess there are people who are only there during good times. Yes, I believe the MIL lives every second according to the husband. It's his way or no way and she be damned if she thinks she'll have her thoughts or feelings on anything. Sad way to live, isn't it? She's always sided with the husband over her son, hence the move.

Oh well. One day at a time.
Dear 'Bestfriend',

*To feel rejected by those supposed to love us, is indeed, extremely painful. It's even more so when one is ill.

*Dealing with the hurt is initially, most important. You and your husband: empathizing with each other; hugging each other; discussing the hurt you both feel, and other personal ways, can help discharge negative feelings. Then the healing can begin.

*It's sad, but true - People cannot love us as WE want them to. They can only love us to the extent THEY are capable.

*Once, when deeply hurt, my husband said to me, "Consider the source". That statement put everything into perspective.
*Considering the "source' your in laws", I surmise his actions are part of a lifetime of himself before others. A lack of empathy and consideration of what may be meaningful to others, except when convenient or puts him in a good light.
*For instance, he criticizes what your husband cannot help, and blames him for their moving away.
*He then appears magnanimous by inviting you all to come visit, making him a generous host.
*You are in a no-win, no-win situation.

*If you visit, he could say that coming to see them indicates he can easily get around. Had you all done so, they wouldn't have had to move.
*Or: if you don't visit, he could imply your husband is not a dutiful son, or thinks more highly of his personal life than that of aging parents. Your husband is not the 'little boy' they used to control. He is fully himself, a man and a husband. What you two want and need, by rights, comes first.

*What's to be done? "Consider the source". Reconcile the hurt; put it into perspective. Live your lives together doing what makes your life fulfilled, happy, and what is best for you. The time you two have together is now. Each day is all you have. You and your husband need not feel guilty about his parents choices - they are adults living THEIR life the way THEY choose. It's their choice -their consequences. It does not have to be yours.
*May blessings abound. B.
I am so very sorry this has happened to you. I will agree with others and let your husband be the guide. However, I hope he is truly out from under his Father’s thumb when making such a decision.

My thoughts and prayers are with you for a peaceful resolution.

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