About a week ago, there was a nasty exchange between Ingrid and her brother Kirk at the hospital where my mother in law is currently a patient. Yesterday Kirk took me aside to give me what he termed "the truth." I wont' go into it except to say I now have a pretty good idea how it all started. I have said before that Ursula has found fault with the hospital staff. The confrontation of last weekend was because of a phone conversation between Ursula and Kirk, during which Ursula allegedly said she didn't want Ingrid to stay with her at night, and that "she doesn't do anything when she's here." She further allegedly stated that Ingrid was, using my words, rude and disrespectful. Kirk heard that and the next morning entered the room to confront Ingrid. He says she yelled at him. She says, and Kirk agrees, that he pointed his finger in her face, moving her glasses up her face in the bargain. They both believe they are right, and have not spoken to each other since.
Here's my take: Ursula is a controlling person. If things aren't the exact way she wants them, she will do whatever is necessary to get her way. Ingrid is a CNA, yes. But there is an entire hospital staff there to take care of Ursula's needs. Ursula, however, doesn't necessarily see it that way. Until I came along almost 10 years ago, Ursula was still basically controlling Ingrid's life. Ursula was sure that when any health crisis came up for her, Ingrid would drop everything and be at her side. Even after our wedding, she has been quite a bit. Ingrid believes that just because she knows how to do some of the tasks of the hospital techs and nurses, that doesn't mean it should be expected of her to do it. Ingrid has helped her mom in using the bathroom and walking the halls with her. Kirk sees any refusal to do these tasks (as expressed by Ursula) as being disrespectful. The bottom line is that Ursula will manipulate anyone or anything, family or not, to get her own way. Kirk is being manipulated, but he doesn't see that. Meanwhile the standoff continues. At this point, Ursula won't leave the hospital until she's good and ready.
I'm caught in the middle. I think both sister and brother have copped attitudes, therefore neither will be the first to apologize. Meanwhile Ursula has stirred things up yet again. I know that I am out on a limb saying these things about a woman fighting cancer and laying in a hospital bed, but in the nearly ten years I've been in this family, I have seen this over and over again. Ursula's kids were raised (by herself for the most part) with fear and intimidation. As I see it, her love has always been based on performance and results, rather than being given unconditionally. So as a result, all three have a lot of anger toward her. Except when she gets sick. All three are hard-headed, like their mother. All three believe that they are usually right, like their mother. One thing is for sure. The way to motivate Ingrid is not by yelling at her.
What do I do to help this situation?