Hubby is driving me crazy--and he's only 64 and "healthy"!

Started by

My husband, a 10 year survivor of a liver transplant and HCV TX (thank goodness, he is now 100% cured) is starting to show possible signs of dementia. I don't really know what I am looking at. He's always been forgetful, but now it has become a real problem. He leaves in the morning and has to come back home at least once, sometimes up to three times for "basic" stuff-watch, phone, wallet. Sometimes I have to run stuff to the office that he has forgotten.

He has maybe 15% hearing in his right ear and now his left is about that bad. He doesn't listen to me, but I get that, he now also can't hear me. This drives our 5 kids just insane. They complain about this and expect ME to deal with it--this am I had told him at least 4 times that we did not have church today--he got up and went anyway--and felt a fool b/c he was there and nobody else was. I got up and saw he was dressed for church and said "I told you there wasn't church today" and just blew up at me. Said I was a nag and whiny and--well--it wasn't pretty, and tho I am standing there, barely awake, he rips into me and lists all my faults. I'm next to tears, and then he does a 180 and says, "Well let's go for a long car ride instead". Hello, he just told me I was worthless and annoying and he wants to be stuck in a car with me for 12 hours? I opted out, went back to my bedroom and just, well, I prayed.

He doesn't do this often, but when he does, he really shuts me down. I can't get him to see an ENT and be evaluated for hearing aids. He is missing all the conversations that go on and he's just really being a jerk. I put up with this behavior during the last 10 years b/c we really didn't think he was going to have much of a lifespan--TP patient with that he's fine and expected to live a normal lifespan, I find I have created a monster. I will admit I baby him a lot--he goes to work and I do everything else. Yesterday I asked if he would help me in the yard for 1/2 hour and he said he was going to sleep all day. And he did. He is either quiet and fine (what he calls "putting up with me" or he's raging and angry. He doesn't shout, but he is a large man and talks very loudly, so the effect is about the same...) I have heard that dementia often shows itself in anger at first...and I am terrified.

So depressed today--it's lovely outside, I am going to break my usual Sabbath routine and work in the yard and try to decompress. He won't apologize, he never does. I'm beginning to feel like a single woman stuck in a loveless marriage and the thought of 20+ more years of this--I can't deal with it.

I just got on an even keel with my difficult mother, and now hubby is acting up. Don't even suggest marriage counseling, he said he'd file for divorce first.

Thanks for just listening. I am feeling so blue and so hopeless. I have done everything I possibly could for this man since and before his liver cancer DX and maybe I did it all wrong. I feel more like a caregiver and housekeeper to a cranky old man than I do a wife. He hasn't touched me in years and won't discuss that problem either.

Wah, wah ma a wahmbulance. I am really bummed today.


I'm sorry Midkid. I'm going to tell you what I tell my sister, is it really worth it to put up with that out of fear of change or of being alone? I know you have a shared history and you have obviously pulled through some tough times together, but you said it yourself, the thought of the future unchanged is unbearable.
Even if he won't go to counselling maybe you should, to help you decide what you want. (hugs)
Oh Midkid, what a bummer! No good advice, just {{{{{hugs}}}}} for right now.
Oh dear, male menopause? I don't think it is dementia, sometimes people just don't like the idea that they are getting older, so they blame it on whomever is the closest to them. And as we get older, we do tend to get more forgetful.

By the way, my sig other is like your hubby whenever it comes to a "discussion" or trying to get him to do house work. It really irritate me to no end knowing there is a healthy adult parked in front of the TV while I am doing all the grunt work. I blame his mother, who spoiled him, and for me not setting boundaries when we first got together.
Midkid, I think you are right that there is a neurological problem. With all that he has been through, his brain -- including the auditory portion -- could have easily been affected. You'll have to decide what you can tolerate. Since you guys have lost that loving feeling and he is so difficult to be with, I would seriously consider separation for your own sake. I know that your husband is important, but so are you. Protect yourself and make sure that you have a life that is worth living. Maybe if you leave, he will take an honest look at himself unless the dementia is too severe. You can still care about him -- just not from the same residence. It is up to you. You've put up with a lot in your life. I think it's time you had some enjoyment.
Midkid, If he won't go to therapy with you, go without him.
It might really help you devise some new coping techniques.
Whether you decide stay with him or not, it sounds like
you need to develop your own interests and make your own life.
I don't want to condemn this guy, it could be he's a total jerk, he's developing dementia or both. But in any event he needs a strong wake up call. You've become his doormat. It sounds horrible for you. Pack a bag and go to a hotel, friends house or one of the kids. Or better yet, tell him to pack his bags.
I bet you will stay, at least for a while! We did say, for better, for worse. Let him divorce you if you want, but I have a few suggestions while you are still there.

Accept responsibility for what he has forgotten, and apologize to him for "forgetting" to tell him. It will put him in a better mood. It is not fair, but it will make your life a LOT easier. NEVER say I told you so.

I bet he would get angry if you put up a sign to remind him to check that he has everything. Maybe you could arrange to be at the door and give him a kiss, and say, "I know you have so much on your mind. Did you get your watch, your phone, your wallet?" Make excuses for him. As long as you are there, try to act the loving wife. It might make your life easier.

I was advised, "Never let him feel like a failure."

I enjoyed reading your post because your situation is similar to mine, and I want to be a "wahmbulance" every day. I too am afraid that there will be 15 or 20 years of this. My husband is a jerk sometimes, but not most of the time, so I plan to stick it out.

It sounds like he needs an antidepressant as well as hearing aids. If he won't go to the doctor, that's rough. Does he have male friends or relatives he might listen to? If he stays angry and gets violent, you might HAVE to get out of there. Your husband may need you, but you should preserve your life for the benefit of yourself and your children. If he won't cooperate in getting treatment, you must take care of yourself first.

Thanks to everyone who took a moment to reply to my post.

He did go yesterday to points unknown, and came home around 8 pm. I was in bed (we have separate bedrooms, obviously) and heard him rattling around for a while, but he didn't bother to come talk to me.

I think he blows up like this from time to time, thinks since he's said his "bit", I should just accept the criticism and then be 100% cool to hang out with him. He has NEVER understand that critical words, meant even to help, cut me to the bone. It takes me days to recover (yes, I am far too sensitive).

I do think long and hard about separating. He travels a LOT, so we ARE separated a lot already. I could go somewhere else when he is in town and let him figure out how to run a house. When he is home, he is in bed, sleeping. He literally will sleep for 3 days, getting up only to eat. I used to take him his meals in bed, but quit doing that when he was found to be HCV free. Man can't get up to sit at the table for 10 minutes to eat a meal I worked for 2 hours to make?

He IS on antidepressants. I have no idea if they work. He is also type 2 diabetic, which he sort of treats. A lot of the fatigue comes from not txing that properly.

This "put down" happens and I am in a funk for days. He is fine. He really thinks that by criticizing me he is "helping" me. I have told him literally 100's of times that it not only doesn't help, it makes it worse. Again, he doesn't listen. Truth be told, he doesn't care, that I know. My little "problems" are stupid and pointless to him. He deals with huge, multi-million dollar projects at work and coming home to a plugged drain or a wife who's had bad day--those two things are not equal to him. He'll go on a 2 week trip, never call home once, and entrusts me to do EVERYTHING here, yet when he's home he's doubting and questioning every decision and choice I make.

I do go to therapy--a new therapist who is still getting to know me. I had to cancel the last 2 appts for family emergencies---and I know I need to get in and see her.

I truly think he thinks that I am crazy. I'm emotional, yes, but the "emotions" that make me a "basket case" are also the emotions that make me take care of him when he's sick and he's been sick for a looooooong time.

As far as the end of the intimate part of our marriage---he refuses to talk about it. Period. He will not even touch me. IF he kisses me, it's on the forehead, like my brother would kiss me. This is a NON DISCUSSABLE issue, PERIOD.

This all is not new. The lack of hearing and the rages are new(ish). I am not the least afraid he'd hit me, but words are as bad as punches. He doesn't realize that his towering over me (he's 15" taller than I am) and speaking to me in a loud voice, not letting me get a word in, is scary and so hurtful.

Jinx--you are right, I am not going anywhere right now. Oddly enough, in our religion, we DON'T say "for better or worse" in our vows. It's more of a covenant with God than with each other--the better or worse is certainly implied, but not spoken as such. I am going to get my thoughts together, perhaps write him a letter to read while he's on this next long trip and if he just continues to be the way he's being, I will leave. I am happy, for the most part--it's just when he gets so critical and mean. And this is happening more and more. That's why I am thinking of dementia or some kind of brain issue. He also makes a ton of mistakes at work and when doing small chores (if he does them)....the forgetfulness has always been there, it's just probably twice as bad as it's ever been.

Sorry for this incredibly long post.

Midkid58, I'm so sorry you are going through all of this at a time when you are also dealing with your Mom's care, and the past 10+ grueling years of getting him better, you should definitely be being treated like a Godess, not a doormat! Could your husband be Bipolar, with his forgetfulness and out of character rages, then expecting you to be all normal after his words have cut you to the quick? My husband is very forgetful tooand becoming more so every day, and I tend to believe it is caused by the stress of having his Dad living in our home, and the tension and anxiety that goes along with it. I know he often feels pulled in two directions, and also does take things out on me, the old, "you always hurt the one you love" syndrome! I get fed up too, ya know! I too, am in a pretty long marriage, 31 years, 4 kids between us, and he can really pull it together when he wants to, but afterwards, the ole frustration is back, and grumpy returns, what's that all about? I do know, but I'm right there with you, I sometimes feel that He feels, that being Forced (PROMISE HE MADE, TO HIS MOTHER AND FATHER) to care for his Dad, without any help from his no good siblings, completely altered his and my life plans, and he just gets so angry and frustrated by it all, that he is all jumbled up inside, and his mind goes 100 miles an hour, and that I'm his closest target. We both know that someday this endenturement with his Dad will end, but what will be left of him and I, will be hanging in the balance, and how we put it all back together is still the unknown. I don't want you to have a bad picture of him, I definitely still Love him, and I know that I'm the Only one who understands him and the turmoil he is going through, but I'm going through changes and health issues myself, and I wish he would slow down, think things through and be mor emotionally supportive than he is sometimes. It's like dealing with Jekyll and Hyde sometimes, you don't know who you will wake up with today! Lol! Its phases of life, and being in the supportive wife role really sucks sometimes, doesn't it? I once read this book, where the family went away on vacation, and she too, was at a crossroads in her marriage, and after hearing him do nothing but complain complain complain, she just walked away from her life, and let him pick up the pieces, as she had been doing for so many years, and she became a missing person, but in reality, she had just decided to start6her own life anew. We all feel like that sometimes, well at least, I do! 12 years of his Dad in my home? Ya, I want to RUN AWAY SOMETIMES! But I don't, I Love him, and I know that eventually things will get back on course and things will be better again, but Man, life can be a Bumpy Ride! Hugs to you my friend, and I hope today is a better day! Love, Stacey B
Thanks, Stacey--
I don't think hubby is bi-polar, I think he is clueless. He has no idea what the past 10 years (actually, more like 11) have done to me. He also doesn't care, which is the hardest thing to take.

In fairness to him , his parents had probably one of the worst marriages on record, they did divorce after 42 years, but all he ever saw and heard was bickering, hatred and fighting. Can't bear his mother and sees her as little as possible.

Wish he'd agree to counseling. Said he'd divorce me rather than tell a stranger about his "feelings". At least he's leaving town on Wed. I have a ton of stuff I have to do for him while he's gone, but at least I can sleep in my own bed and maybe get in to my therapist while he's away. I can call screen and not talk to him if I don't want to. This will not be "settled" by the time he leaves. As far as he is concerned, yesterday's blowup didn't happen, I overreacted and it's all my fault.

(BTW, I read that same book. Wish I had that kind of nerve. But I cannot leave my grandkids for anything.)

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support