My husband recently suffered a stress-induced stroke that resulted in a traumatic brain injury. He is currently in a rehabilitation hospital for several months of recovery. One of the issues that he says triggered the situation was a visit from his family a few weeks earlier. My husband has always had a rather unhealthy relationship with his parents. His mother is incredibly needy and demanding. Several times he’s had to cut off communication with her. During my husband’s recovery, I have asked his mother to not contact him directly. I set up a website where I update on his condition and she (and others) can comment and post sympathy or well wishes. But yesterday she violated the agreement and called my husband on his hospital room phone. During this conversation, my husband told her that he did want to see/hear from her and it was absolutely untrue he had said otherwise. I understand his brain is not working properly right now and he likely said what she wanted to hear, but I feel incredibly betrayed.
Now I question whether or not I’m doing the right thing by requesting she give him space while he heals. I feel disrespected by her disregard for the boundaries I have set, and I am concerned about the negative impact she will have on his recovery. Every day matters in his rehabilitation, and he tends to lose focus and be difficult with his therapists after he speaks to her or she visits. Is it appropriate for me to have his room phone cut off so she cannot call? Am I supposed to go along with what my husband says to her in the moment or stick with the original plan? And if she doesn’t respect the boundaries I have put in place, do I have a right to cut her off from his recovery entirely and stop engaging with the website where I post updates? Am I making this decision out of spite? Because I’ll be honest, I’m pissed. Her behavior has a serious negative impact on my mental health as well. I just can’t figure out which way is up anymore.
—Pushy Mother After Stroke