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Edswife87, May 20,  2020  12:00pm EST

Don't know how to help

My husband has CHF and COPD , he is 53 years old and his breathing is getting worse. Last night he woke up gasping for breath. He doesn't take care of himself at all, he still smokes, drinks and eats whatever he wants. Doesn't take his meds for days at a time. I am angry and sad and frustrated I don't know how to handle this. I can't talk to him because his mood is just downright pissy to me, if I say something he doesn't like he stops talking to me but about me. I don't know how to help hime cope with his feelings when I can't even cope with mine. Thanks for reading this.

5 Replies
  • Judy83059
    Judy83059, May 20,  2020  6:04pm EST

    What a difficult situation to be in! My situation is different, but there are some things I'm learning that could be helpful. My husband is 56. He has had 4 strokes in the past 15 years, all of them mild. But they still have increasingly limited his abilities. He hasn;t been able to work during these 15 years. He now uses a wheelchair much of the time.

    My husband isn't very motivated to take care of himself. I am learning that I cannot change that. I don't like it, but I have to try to accept it.

    I'm also learning that I shouldn't put any more effort into caring for him (within reason) than he puts into caring for himself. Of course, this only applies to the things he can actually do for himself. If I work harder at helping him that he does at helping himself, I just get resentful. This also seems to build a habit in him of depending on me for things that he shouldn't, things he can do.

    My husband is an adult and has a right to make his choices, even though I don't like some of those choices. I have to stop trying to control him.

    My father-in-law died of diabetes. Over the last few years he did things that were against the doctor's orders. My mother-in-law would get so angry and yell at him about it! But she never got him to change.

    How long has your husband had COPD? It is possible that he has decided that he just doesn't want to live with this, so why bother trying to take care of himself?

    It's really good that you can identify your feelings of anger, sadness, and frustration. I often have the same kinds of feelings. I also get very resentful.

    Expressing those feelings here is a good step toward coping with them. Do you have a close friend, family member, or clergy person you can talk to about how you feel? Someone who won't judge you? If not, would talking to a counselor help?

    I hope that my experiences can be of help to you.


  • Cynthiaa
    Cynthiaa, May 20,  2020  7:21pm EST

    Hi Edswife87 

    I am sorry to hear about the difficulties and suffering that you and your husband are experiencing.   I went through similar experiences but with my mother.  She would not do anything that the doctor told AND I did learn, after quite a while, like Judy, that she has to decide to change.    

    So, I want you to know we are here to support you, and you are doing great work just being there by your husbands side.  That is what he needs.   I applaud you for your bravery and for your steadfastness to help him.   

    Let me know how else I can support you,


  • AHAASAKatie
    AHAASAKatie, May 21,  2020  9:06am EST

    I am so sorry that you are having to manage this. I can share what we have for caregivers, because honestly, now is the time to concentrate on you. Not that your husband does not need CHF care and support, but you are deserving of support, understand, and nurturing as well. Best Katie

  • Edswife87
    Edswife87, May 21,  2020  11:18am EST

    Thank you for your support. Judy everything you said I know to be true , he is an adult and will make his own choices  it is so hard watching him do things that will make it harder on him. I have yelled at him for years about changing the way he lives, he just won't do it. He was diagnosed with COPD 18 months ago and he says I'm dying anyway I might as well do what I want. Sometimes I am so resentful because I feel like he is selfish and then I feel bad for being angry at him. I don't really have anyone I am comfortable talking to, nobody else understands. 

    Cynthia, thank you for being here for me, I appreciate it very much. I sure don't feel brave, alot of the time I feel like I can barely breath.

    Katie, thank you as well for responding and reminding me that it's ok to have support for myself I feel guilty when I need a break but this is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do and I have all these feelings that I don't know how to handle.

  • Deedee46
    Deedee46, May 26,  2020  9:44am EST

    My husband had the similar attitude and it led to his having a stroke and becoming disabled. As spouses we want so bad to yell and scream at them but as adults we know it does no good. Just continue being the rock you are. Thru this network I am learning there are ears hearing our cries even if our spouses dont. 

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