I get no emotional support from my husband while I'm caregiver for HIS Step-Father.

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I was telling "G-Pa" it would be nice if he offered some money for gas to my husband since we had taken him to a party for his Aunt almost 2 hours away. We had used up 2 of our 4 day weekend to do something pleasant for him. Then I told him I would take him volunteer to take him more places if he would give me some gas money too now and then (he has given me none for almost 3 months) Well he turned around in the car and reemed me big time. Tellimg me well I will NEVER ask you to take me anywhere from now on, that's for sure. Then he proceeded to yell because I won't let him drive his car. I have NEVER even so much as insinuated that he couldn't drive. In fact I would be glad if he did drive. Then I told him well remember you told me after you got your car inspected you were very disoriented and didn't think it was a good idea for you to drive anymore? He FREAKED OUT and said "I NEVER said anything like thatQ" If I was not sure where I was, how did I get home then? My husband just kept driving the car like he hadn't heard a word of all this? Meanwhile I was so angry because he was lying like that about what I did or did not say. I just started crying, if we weren't on the Innerstate I would have gotten out of the car. I'm so tired of my husband not backing me up after all I've done (unpaid mind you) for HIS step-father. We even moved in 2 1/2 yrs ago so he could live in his own home. I'm about to permanently walk out, I cannot emotionally handle this any longer. I have a life too. I want to live in My own home. This is so wrong, on so many levels. My husband still refuses to talk about it. Any ideas?

22 Comments

This is so wrong, on so many levels.

The biggest wrong, in my mind, is that your husband won't talk about it. Your marriage is at stake here, and he won't talk about it? Whoa ... Big Problem.

Have you considered counselling? Couple counselling is the obvious choice, but if necessary, go on your own. This is a huge problem to cope with, and you deserve some support and some insight.

Is it possible that G-Pa is developing dementia? Maybe he is just an old liar, but the car conversation you report sounds like someone who doesn't have a firm grip on reality or on memories of what happened in the recent past. Caregiving takes on a whole new demension when the loved one has cognitive impairment.

I don't blame you for feeling like walking out. Before you do something so drastic, though, I suggest involving an objective professional.

I also wonder if things would go more smoothly if you and your husband discussed ideas before either of you present them to G-Pa. Together you could decide whether it is reasonable to expect G-Pa to contribute to transportation costs, and then present him with the plan.
jeannegibbs;
Thank you for your kind comments and suggestions.
Yes I am now in counseling and have been since June otherwise I would have lost it completely more than once. My Psychologist tells me it's up to me what I want to do but she agrees given the circumstances that my husband really has no right to ask me to be G-Pa;s caregiver. (my husband is an alcoholic who stopped drinking cold turkey 2 months ago now) My husband has so many unresolved problems he will not talk about. I also asked him today just to back me up with his step-father and he freaked out saying "yesterday already went to S%#^* and today you are talking about the same thing? I just want to have a few peaceful days". Then walked out of the room and went up to the attic which is his hiding place. This man is 62 years old, this kind of behavior is not ok anymore. He never emotionally grew up.
I told him I'm leaving the house we are living in with the step-father and living in my own home and hour away. He is HIS responsibility, not mine. I cannot do this anymore. I don't think my husband believes me despite the fact that I brought a packed suitcase and shoes with me for our "mini-vacation" at the house we own.
Yes it is possible that G-Pa has dementia, I already am having the VA send out a LPN, OT, PT, and Doctor's assistant along with a Psychologist to assess his mental capacity etc. This medical team is not coming all at one time though just one at a time. I can't wait to see what they have to say about him. He can be a charmer, and act like a really sweet old man (which is what most people think he is)
I am a bit upset with myself for losing control and I had actually yelled at G-Pa in the car yesterday and I got pretty sarcastic but I only do that when I am EXTREMELY frustrated at the situation and am getting no support from my husband.
Another thing, my husband and I have been married 43 years and I have no idea why I never left. I guess I just felt stuck. But I have been going to Al-Anon meetings as well as the Psychologist. So, I will survive it's just a matter of how long if at all I will tolerate any more emotional abuse and lack of support.
Thanks so much for letting me vent. ((HUGS))
You must put yourself and your needs first at this point. If you to contribute to the care of G-pa then that is one thing but being expected to do everything with no support is unfair and unreasonable on your husband's part. I think you are right to move back to your home but don't fall into going back and forth. Maybe you can have set days that you go, or maybe you should find something that is fulfilling and rewarding to do with your time. No matter what you decide remember that you do not owe any one your life or happiness and you are no blessing to anyone if you are not first a blessing to yourself. Find a caregiver support group to attend to help you deal with your feelings towards both of these ungrateful men in your life-your husband learned to be the man he is from someone..........
It sounds to me like you are care giving two people. Side note(Your husband probably is not grown up as emotional growth stops at the point of addiction. I think your councilor will agree. Your husband probably isn't capable of supporting you.)
the most important thing for you is to take care of yourself. This environment cant lead to many medical problems for you. DO what is best for you and your life.
Oh gosh, please don't get me started! Oops. too late! As it will be very obvious soon, my MIL passed away about a year ago. She was ninety-three and had put all her six children and spouses through a lot. Now, my husband is the youngest (the children have huge differences in their ages, his eldest sister is over twenty years older) and we were the only children in her area for a long long time. My husband was a full-time graduate student, worked full-time and we had two babies plus I ran a in-home child care service for about seven years. We were at his "Mum's" beck and call, although we lived way out in the country from the city she lived in. I wish I had a penny for every mile I drove back and forth to her house for years. As young and trusting as I was then, I figured her bad moods and savage attacks upon me and my husband were due to the nature of her widow-hood and money problems. My husband, a very kind and patient man, handled her with never ending kindness, no matter what she did or said. He worked a lot and so, saw her much less than I did. The years went on, she began to attack our children and I put my foot down. I began serious therapy with a therapist that dealt with the spouses of problem drinkers, Mum's husband, (I never knew him) didn't drink until he retired and then he drank all the time, so I thought here was a clue.

So, it's like this honey, after such a long time, people rarely change. You have to change, either how you deal or how you react and with so many years, you have lots of bad feelings stuffed inside. Dealing with care-giving and a passive husband (whom may have learned to be this way in his own family and it works for him, not taking sides, not saying anything) is stressful and you deserve more. We had very little money during all this and my MIL had literally hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars (which I knew nothing about until after she died.) and we paid for everything. It's not wrong to ask for a bit of gas money, you are doing you step-father-in-law a huge favour! Money is tight everywhere these days and really, it's okay to chip and look out for each other but it must be fair and with strict rules about how we all treat each other.

Hugs to you!
Jenn
If your husband does not support you mentally, then you have to tell him that you cannot do it alone, and then follow through only to your comfort level. Believe me, there is NO justice or benefit from being a martyr. I was caregiver for my mother, my father-in-law, and finally my father. My husband did not help me emotionally. Nor did my brother help with my parents. After it's all over, they still will not get it!! In fact, you'll be amazed at how much they will credit themselves!! I often wondered what would happen if I really COULDN'T do the things I did. The answer is, somebody else would have had to take some responsibility. Do yourself a favor and step back a little.
tigger2 and frawgsis:

Thank you for your input.
I know my husband's emotional growth seems to have stopped maybe at the end of high school. He lived with the man "G-Pa" and his natural mother. His mother worked all the time. His step-father when he would find hidden beer in the back yard would bring it in and put in in the refrigerator, not say anything about it at the time till he saw my husband that night and then said oh by the way, thanks for the beer. I said well did you punish him for drinking beer? He was only 15 at the time. He said sure we did we wouldn't let him out of the house and put him in his room. Then when we all went to bed he'd climb out the bedroom window! (oh really, he would climb out his second story window?) That is a 40ft high house!! So, I doubt that happened.
10 yrs ago I decided I'd try to get some attention since my husband was all about himself and what he did and what he wanted. So, me and a guy at work started calling each other on our cells, he'd send me cards now and then and even sent me flowers on my anniversary all in an attempt to get some reaction from my husband (this I realized later, and after counseling found out that was like having an emotional affair) Well, my husband finally caught on after 18 months of this! So you can see how self absorbed he can be. He was furious, hurt and started drinking even more, so now that was my fault. He had counseling with me but only for the first 8 sessions because after that he'd have to pay to go. I paid to keep going, (he was a really bad counselor by the way) and my husband kept drinking. He said he forgave me but swore I was seeing this guy behind his back. He lived about 1,000 miles away had no money for an airline ticket and I have NEVER seen him in person, I had one picture only.
So you can see he is STILL punishing me for being and adultress. I guess that's why he wants me to take care of G-Pa maybe it's his way of punishing me still. And, he never learned anything from the whole mess, he is still self absorbed, does whatever he wants. Had told me living with G-Pa was a temporary thing till he retired at 62. Well, he lied, he never retired, and when work told him about the project where traveling would be involved my opinion was not asked for. Then he bought the property in FL he keeps flying off to whenever he pleases. Unless he gets help for his lack of concern for me, I don't see this ending well.
I left yesterday and am now living in my own home. I'm sick to my stomach from the drastic change and not knowing what to do next. But it's peaceful here and maybe that will subside.
Cara
Sorry. I misread the post and I didn't read that your husband is also an alcoholic. My husband was a drug addict/alcoholic. It might be a common thread that so many caregivers feel that we have to make things nice, and that's why we gravitate towards people who use us. The problem is, when we get older (I'm 62) things don't change and we're still in damage control mode! Alanon/Narconon didn't work for me, for several reasons. But, it does work for some people. It is good to vent! Just remember, you're not getting any younger and you are not taking advantage of the years YOU have left! Good luck and just know that you are not alone.
Sweety, it sounds to me like you have been alone in your marriage for many, many years. There reason you had the emotional affair was because your husband chose to be an abusive, neglectful roommate. Sometimes people step outside their marriage just because they can but alot of times it is because they have a valid need that their spouse is ignoring. Your husband has and is ignoring you. I am not saying that you should have a boyfriend while you are married but I do think you should start working on remembering the wonderful, caring, loving, giving, VALUABLE person you are and once you are healthy again emotionally then look for someone who just wants to love you. It is so hard to let go of a dream of happily ever after but I don't think that happily ever after is in the cards for you and your husband :( Also, he chose to take you back after your alleged emotional affair-he doesn't get to punish you for it for the rest of your life. Several years ago my husband was meeting a female co-worker for breakfasts, lunches, dinners and I found out about it by looking at his myspace page. Boy was I hurt & mad, I made him move out and he didn't live at our home for over 3 months. During that time I had to HONESTLY look and see if I was neglecting him in some way and yes, I was. I was soley focused on our son and while yes, our son did need me to be focused on him, my husband also needed me. We worked through that and my husband moved him but ever since I make it a point to take time to let my husband know how important he is to me. He had an emotional affair just like you did but unlike your husband I honestly looked to see if I needed to do something differently your husband doesn't want to do that he just wants to feel sorry for himself. You can only fix you and in doing that you may find out that you have outgrown his childish ways. It can be scary being on your own after being married for so many years but you deserve love and respect-go get it. I will be thinking of you and praying for you while you face these difficulties.
I lived with my alcoholic/addict husband for way too many years. My sister is still married to her alcoholic husband. Mom now has Alzheimer's. I am telling you just what I told my sister on the phone last night. She said she is so tired of walking on eggshells, and the stress of her husband and Mom is literally killing her. I said you have no idea how happy and peaceful your life will be when you leave him. I keep saying it. Your husband's stepfather is not your responsibility. You only get one life. Go back to your own home, relax, and enjoy the peace. You will miss your husband, I am sure. That is because the insanity feels normal to you now. It isn't. Do what makes you happy. If your mother or father (if they are still living) ever develop Alzheimer's or dementia, with the peace you'll find alone to your life won't feel so overwhelming should you become a caretaker. You know the way you are living is wrong. Living someone elses life while putting yours on the shelf is something you will regret forever. You're already lonely, emotionally. Alone is a good thing. Please stop punishing yourself. Leave.

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