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Marriage is disolving
Hi, all. I don't usually air my problems, but I'm at the end of my rope. My husband survived a large hemohraggic stroke almost 13 years ago. He's still able to get around and do most of what he could before, but he has cognative and vision problems. We are in our 60s, and I've been our sole support for 15 years now. R gets SS the last two years, but he doesn't use it for the family at all; he just saves it. We get by, but money is tight.
The real problem is our relationship. I think he might feel guilty about not working, although I never say or do anything to make him feel like that. I'm a college professor, and I love my job. Since COVID, I'm home all day doing classes in Zoom.
Recently, I just feel like the mam I married is completely gone. He steeps himself in politics all day and even wears headphones at night to listen to politics. He's decide that I'm on the "wrong" political side and accuses me of all kinds of untrue political stances.
He says horrible, hurtful things to me and refuses to even admit he's in the wrong. I'd never leave him--he needs me and has no one else--but I'm so lonely and unhappy. I go out once a week to buy groceries and pay bills, but my own health requires me to self-quarentine right now. So I don't really have any relief at all from his hatefulness.
I love my husband. I know he'll never be the same as he was before the stroke, but I want him to at least be civil to me. Advice, please?
AHAASAKatie, October 14, 2020 11:07am EST
I am so sorry that this is happening to you both and am truly glad that you are sharing your world with us. I am sure our members will have thoughts to share as well, but I can offer you the Stroke Warmline 1-888-4-STROKE or 1-888-478-7653 Monday-Friday: 8AM-5PM CST where you can talk, one-on-one with people who understand as well.
Maybe you could go for a walk and make the phone call and have some peace?
I do understand the need for quarantine, however, it's possible a therapist could help you as well. You have a right to live in a house, free from verbal attacks, and to be happy. My other thought is that your husband might need a neurological workup. Strokes are brain injuries and do impact personalities and behavior. His neurologist might be able to suggest medication to help with the self-imposed isolation and hyper-focus on politics.
Please know that we are here for you and want to help & support you through this time. Best Katie
Pete359, October 17, 2020 8:30pm EST
Similar situation ... Have to keep reminding myself that it is the stroke talking and not my wife. But it is hard to keep convincing myself that this is the same person I was in love with for 32 years and who was my vest friend, confidant and lover ... most days, Ido not know this person and I cry, missing my wife and trying to maintain a civil relationship in getting through the other non-stroke-related caregiving chores I have to get hrough everyday that have robbed us us of all our hopes and dreams for this stage of our lives. Most days, I just think about stopping my BP meds and just waiting for the Big One to to take care of everything.... But then I reach down, grab ahold of the basics that my Marine Corps training taught me to keep going and I just keep going. Just know this -- you have no help. no one is coming, there is no cavalry coming to rescue you. You have to find what is deep within you and and drag it out to keep going one more day. All the hype about caregiver support is a load of cr@p. We are on our own. The good news is that you have what it takes. You've made it this far ... KEEP GOING!! Fight the good fight!! Do not go down until you are trully out of ammo! We are in this until the end, so just knuckle down and suck it up.
Hate to be the bearer of bad news but thems the facts. You are tough! You've already proved it. You just have to be tough for a while yet. No one else really cares, so do it just to say "Up Yours!"
Optimus4, October 22, 2020 8:23am EST
Hello Silver Sonnet,
You must be an English professor with a concentration in poetry. How hard this must be for you. Those of us who love poetry know that your soul needs fed with love and compassion too. I am so sorry that you are going through this.
I have been in this world of sorrow for only 4 years. You must be amazingly strong.
My best advice to you is to start by taking care of you.
My love suffered a hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 50 and turned into a 70 year old man in the course of his recovery believing that he is unworthy and engaging in behaviors to prove that he is. Many of them have been damaging to us. So in the face of all of his sorrow what I chose to do was to reach for joy and happiness for myself. I started doing a 10-minute guided meditation everyday which helps tremendously. I exercise for 20 minutes first thing in the morning listening to positive music to set the tone for my own personal perspective on the world. He and I too disagree on politics, and I have simply made it a topic of conversation I will not engage in with him. Simply tell him that you do not see eye-to-eye on, politics and perhaps he should join some online discussion groups of others that supports his position. I cannot say for your husband, but as for my love, I've decided that I simply don't want to be involved in that level of rhetoric because it will do us no good. Try to find a good trauma therapist. I have been lucky enough to connect with a woman that is trained in dealing with post trauma recovery. I know that you have concerns about COVID, but you need to find a place and a Space daily to get away. If that means driving to a park and taking over a table to teach from then do that. If you have to get in your car and drive to a body of water to grade papers after you pick up a snazzy coffee for yourself, do that. Try to get him engaged in any other kind of activity. It took me years to get my love to pick up a new hobby that he could focus his energies into and receive validation that he is still smart and capable. It has taken me two years of fights to get him to go to couples therapy with me. Don't give up. Don't give up on Hope. Don't give up on Joy.
You must take care of you first or there will be nothing left with which to fight the datkness of sorrow. My best wishes to you as you continue your journey toward joy.
IW25425, October 25, 2020 11:20am EST
I came across your posting and it was something I could've written myself. The similarities are uncanny, right down to the politics. He has become obsessed with these elections and it's a non stop rhetoric. My husband was very active, at the gym 5-6 days a week, rode his motorcycle, ran errands and worked. Now he's paralyzed on his left side and is angry all the time, I'm the only target as he has nobody else. The irony of this is that shortly before his heart attacks and strokes he had asked me for a divorce. I'm feeling so overwhelmed. We're in our 60's and I'm not in the best shape, he's quite a bit taller than me and he's difficult to help, he fights me on everything. This morning was especially bad and his threats were a bit scary so I got online looking for answers and possibly seek some help. I'm glad I read your posting. Hope things get better, I'm praing they do.
smithchemist, October 27, 2020 4:18pm EST
Thank you for your comments. My husband had a hemorrhagic stroke 2 months ago. I have been dealing with anger outbursts and he yells at me all the time. I appreciate what you said because I can see I am not alone in this.
AHAASAKatie, October 28, 2020 9:15am EST
Good monring all, this post is so powerful because it really hits on so many of the challenges caregivers face. I wanted to share again the phone number for you to call if needed - Stroke Warmline 1-888-4-STROKE or 1-888-478-7653 Monday-Friday: 8AM-5PM CST where you can talk, one-on-one with people who understand as well.
I also have a favorite caregiving article from the Huffingtion post that migth resonate as well When Caregivers are Honest it Makes Folks Very Uncomfortable.
Caregiving is hard business and we are here to support you all.
Adogsbest, December 19, 2020 6:54pm EST
Thank you for posting this. I'd like to also thank the person who posted the link to the Huffington Post article.
I think that giving each other permission to be sad and admit we miss the person who used to be is helpful. I don't want to wallow in it, just admit it is there without guilt.
It is hard to be patient enough, forgiving enough, and positive enough. I try-- that's the best I can say.
I turned 65 last week and my husband had a bad week. Work and home stresses are hard, especially in these times.
Thank you to all of you who posted your helpful words.