Need opinions about guilt feelings

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 285
   Posted 7/1/2008 9:45 PM (GMT -6)   
I am having a lot of anxiety and guilt about a situation and could use some opinions and advice.
I am 49 and suffer from long term bipolar 2 illness. Currently I am well controlled on meds, but I had a very severe episode a year ago. Since then I am back to work (am off for the summer) and am hoping to go back full time in the fall. I have 3 teens and a nice husband. I feel a little fragile but am making steady progress.
My 82 year old mother-in-law fell and broke her hip two weeks ago. She lives in the same town as us. Her daughter and husband also live here. Prior to this fall, my MIL had been living on her own and driving just fine...very healthy. She's been in the hospital and a rehab center.
Now they want to kick her out of the rehab center. They say she doesn't need nursing care but does need round the clock care. She cannot toilet herself or do any bathing , etc. She needs assisted daily living. However, she cannot go to one of those supervised apartments where they let her live alone but feed her meals, etc. as she needs lifting around, etc.
My sister-in-law has implied that she should come stay with us as I am not currently working. If we have to put her in a care facility it will be about $3000 a month. My MIL does have some money of her own. I don't believe I can care for her properly at my home. I cannot lift her and emotionally I cannot be available 24/7 to care for her. She cannot yet get up on a walker or into her wheelchair without being lifted. It's just too much for me. I worry about my mental health also. Although I get along with and like my MIL she is very demanding and self centered. Honestly, I know she would never do this for me if the tables were turned.
My sister-in-law is not willing to take her as she "works". I am feeling guilty about this...however, I am worried about her falling again if I am responsible for her.
Do you think I am being too selfish? (My mother called me that a lot and I may be hearing her voice here.) Any advice is appreciated.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 2721
   Posted 7/1/2008 10:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Marthamae,
This doesn't sound like selfish at all. You need to take care of yourself first, mental health comes before everything else. Don't beat yourself up on this one. Maybe you could offer to visit your MIL at assisted care, take her on trips and be a friend to her?
I agree that it is TOO much work for you and just beacuse you don't work, it doesn't mean you don't have things to do in your own life. Don't let yourself be pressured into doing something that may not work out for anyone. And that voice of your mother....grrrrr! We internalise what our families asy way too much (I'm guilty) what is best for you, and let us know how it goes.
You are not selfish!!!
Co-moderator Anxiety/Panic
Panic Attack Survivor
Weekend Warrior Princess

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Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 2446
   Posted 7/2/2008 7:37 AM (GMT -6)   
nope, not selfish at all.
Why should you take care of someone when you yourself are not well?! This is not just some babysitting job. This is a full time nursing job and I am SURE your MIL would want an experienced person to care for her.

Tell your family you're flattered they thought of you, but you need to decline due to lack of experience and that you all need to pitch in to help find a certified (capable) nurse to take care of her.
The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong in the broken places

Georgie Girl
Regular Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 319
   Posted 7/2/2008 4:04 PM (GMT -6)   


No, I don't think you are selfish.  Caring for even a reasonable person by a healthy individual is a physically and mentally challenging thing.  If your mother in law has the money to go to a care home, that's where she should be.  You can visit her there often and your relationship will not suffer as it would if she were to come and live with you.   Even if she didn't have the money to afford it, Medicare would pay for the home if it's necessary. 

You know your limits.  Don't feel bad about saying "no" to this.



Georgie Girl

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 7/2/2008 5:29 PM (GMT -6)   

Marthamae- please don't feel guilty about this.  Your SIL obviously does not unterstand that you have your own health issues to deal with.  You have a nice husband and he will support you in this.  My mother has anxiety and other health issues and tried to care for my grandmother when she was ill.  It set my mother back quite a bit, even though she loved and wanted to care for Grandma.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 2721
   Posted 7/3/2008 1:06 AM (GMT -6)   


Don't put yourself at risk physically or emotionally. The best carers are the ones who care for themselves, then they can help others. Take the time to think how much your family must think of you...


Co-moderator Anxiety/Panic
Panic Attack Survivor
Weekend Warrior Princess

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 7/3/2008 9:13 AM (GMT -6)   


Hi this is Kitt and you are not selfish.  You should not even be caught in the center of this issue as you have your own health problems so throw the guilt out the window.

Assisted Living or Assisted Living Facilities (ALF) usually refers to a non-institutionalized facility that is used by people who are not able to live on their own, but do not yet need the level of continuous nursing care that a nursing home offers. I have seen some very nice ALFs and your MIL would be in a safe place where she would be with other seniors and have the opportunity to participate in all the activities.  Her meals and her needs would be met well and your SIL should be able to look around and find one that fits the needs of your MIL.

Remember we must take care of ourselves first.  Your health is your priority.

Bless you


Kitt, Moderator: Anxiety, Panic & Depression 
*~* *~*
Not a mental health professional of any kind
It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.~Mahatma Gandhi~

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 167
   Posted 7/3/2008 7:24 PM (GMT -6)   
What a tough situation!! I can imagine that you would feel a tremendous amount of pressure to "care" for your MIL in order to "please" everyone.  But the truth is, although it may rock the boat for a while, it would be better for everyone involved if you choose not to accept responsibility that you are not equipped to handle.  Money can be a huge problem and I know that assisted living facilities and round the clock nursing care is very expensive, however you really need to remember that this is your "Mother in Law" and it should therefore be the responsibility of your husband and his siblings to make these decisions.  It is NOT your burden to bear (I know that may sound harsh, but it's real).  Whether you are completely healthy or not is irrelevant, the reality is that what might appear to others as the "easiest" solution is certainly not always the best solution.  God Bless you and please let go of the guilty feelings... there is really no reason for them.
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