I'm lost and don't know who to turn to. Does anyone have advice for a stressed spouse?

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My husband is 83 years old and I am 70. My husband is severely Bi-Polar, severely Paranoid, and a Narcissus. (No, I'm not calling him names. I've been getting counseling because of all this).

I planned to leave him in 2014 but he had a heart attack so I stayed. In 2015 he was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer Stage IV M1a and so I stayed. In 2016 he had an Aortic Aneurysm and so I stayed. This year his PSA has gone up and hormone treatment for his cancer is not working. He has an Ejection Fraction of between 30 to 35%. He can't walk very well but refuses to use a walker or wheel chair, but I've stayed.

When I go out anywhere without him he thinks I'm going to be kidnapped. He also believes doctors are trying to kill him and believes they killed his deceased wife.

He still is an intelligent man when he can be, it's just his paranoia that gets in the way.

He has had every test run on him known to man. No Dementia, but has had several strokes, bleeding of the brain but he's okay that way of the brain.

His test show his heart is doing okay. Stable. Nobody knows yet why his PSA levels are still rising, test results in December will entail what to do next if they continue to rise.

In the mean time, my husbands Paranoia, Bi-Polar and Narcissistic behviors on top of all that I'm dealing with in regards to his other health issues is taking it's toll on me.

His condition monopolizes my life. On top of me not really wanting to be here, I stayed because I feel it is the right thing to do.

Now I find he is getting very aggressive when I tell him no we can't do this or that. The other day when we were at a restaurant and I told him no regarding a matter, I thought he was going to come across the table and beat me to a pulp. The first time I've seen such aggression from him. He's pretty mean spirited but has never been that physical with me. Has grabbed my arms in the past, but never that aggressive.

I'm thinking about putting him into a Nursing Home, but as I've said. He still is an intelligent man. He just can't walk well. (He does have some loss of memory, but all test results show he's doing fine.)

What is my options of putting him in a Nursing Home? What is my options in leaving a man 83 years old with all these illnesses? Would I be abandoning him? He has 3 boys in the late 50's and 60's who he has nothing to do with, but they try to still have some relationship with their dad, but he just doesn't want any part of that. He just wants ME. I never get a break! He takes away my joy, my independence and life.

So, I've spilled my guts out on here about the bad and the ugly. But I don't know what to do or who to go to from here. My Counselor tells me to get out of the house and get a job. Well for one thing, I'm 70 years old and am almost deaf. I have a good education and went on interviews, but whose going to hire a 70 year old woman?

Any suggestions?

Answers 1 to 10 of 10
Top Answer
I agree with you about the job. Maybe the counselor was just grasping at ideas on how to motivate you to get out of the house. A job would be motivating but I understand about your age. Volunteer work could be an option at some point.

As far as getting your husband placed in a nursing home I too believe it's time. Do some research on your own. No need to discuss this with your husband right now. Find a few places you like and arrange for a tour. They'll go over all the financials with you. Pick a place and make the arrangements. Many facilities will help in moving the person in. Inquire about these services. At some point the nursing home will send someone out to your house to do an assessment on your husband and you will need to gather documents from his Dr. (although the nursing home may do this as well). Put off telling your husband as long as you can so you don't have to live with his anger and resentment, his sorrow and his fears. Have all of your "I" 's dotted and your "T" 's crossed.

Based on what you wrote this is the right thing to do. There's still a lot of life out there for you. Good luck and come back and tell us how things are going.

Forgive me, but I'm a bit confused. You say your husband is bi-polar, paranoid and narcissistic and that he's had a brain bleed, but you say his brain is ok. You also said he's hasn't been abusive, but you say he's grabbed your arms. Any time a man puts his hands on a woman in anger, that's abuse in my opinion. As his mental issues worsen he could ramp it up and lose control. You say he almost came across the table at you in a restaurant. Also, the way he treats you is verbal abuse.

Granted, he is probably in pain with his various physical issues. I'm sure that affects his mind-set as well. He can't take it out on anyone but you, mostly because you tolerate it. It's easy for us to say "get out" and I've been given that advice too, as well as putting my bedridden husband in a nursing home. But for a lot of reasons, neither one of those options would work for me. Would they work for you? Before you crash and lose your own health, maybe you should visit a lawyer and ask what legal options you have regarding your husband and his sons. More than likely, they don't step up because they know you will. If they're forced to, I'll bet they will. You can also call adult protective services for help. Basically, your future depends on you. What you are doing is noble, but martyrdom has no rewards. It doesn't seem anyone appreciates what you're doing. I'm in the same situation caring for my husband. He's pretty easy going, but if he became verbally or physically abusive, I'd find a way to institutionalize him.
I think you have the wrong idea about both dementia and nursing homes, people can be still highly intelligent and have dementia and need skilled care, although his other mental health problems make getting a diagnosis much more complicated. At your age caring for someone with his complex needs would be difficult even if you had once had the best of relationships, continuing to care for someone you had planned to leave years ago must be doubly hard. Find him a nursing home and place him, it's time.
Nancy, no one can predict when your husband will pass away. For you to get up every morning and hope he doesn't make it to nightfall is no way to live. It's not fair to you, and it's not fair to him either. And, because you told a counselor that you wished your husband were dead doesn't mean you're planning to put aresenic in his Cheerios. There is an oath of confidentiality psychologists must adhere to. Just because you made a comment to him doesn't get you life without parole. And, actually, he was leading you by what he asked you. Frankly, that's not very professional. We all have thoughts of which we aren't very proud. But, we can't be incarcerated for those thoughts unless it can be proved that we acted on them to the detriment of the subject of those thoughts. In my humble opinion, you need to do more than begin your preparation to remove yourself from this unhealthy situation. That sounds like you're getting ready to get ready. Devote an entire day to getting your own affairs in order. See a lawyer. Do what the lawyer says and do it right away. Then after the wheels are firmly in motion, the RIGHT way--forward--have the lawyer contact your stepsons and inform them of your plans. If divorce is going to be a part of your recovery, have the lawyer explain that to your stepsons. Don't apologize and don't offer solutions for them with their dad. You should not have contact with his sons. They will blame and intimidate you. Pick a time frame for you to get your things together and move out and let his sons know.

Nancy, only you can decide what you want to do. No one can decide for you. We are all apprehensive when it comes to big life changes and it's tempting just to go on like we are, even if it will eventually destroy our lives. But when we put on our big girl pants and deal with things, it doesn't take long to realize we did the right thing...and the healing begins for us. Good luck. I wish you peace.
Stage IV prostate cancer with now rising PSA readings.
Heart function at roughly half of normal.
Strokes, aneurysms.

This may not be a problem for very much longer.

However, it would be immoral to hope for that anyway, and besides Nancy clearly is a loyal and staunch woman who wishes her husband well. All she wants is not necessarily to be stuck in the same house as he is, at the very least not all the dam' time.

Nancy, reading through I have the impression that you have just one bad habit. You agree with your husband too much. He says he needs you - on a whole series of occasions - and you agree, and stay. He says friends are for wimps, so you stop seeing your friends. He says he's not abusive, so you ignore verbal and physical behaviours which are borderline *at best*.

It is hard to leave a dying man, you're right. And after all the care and love you've invested in this (I won't add an adjective) man, there is something to be said for seeing the journey through.

So what to do?

Stop agreeing with him. Make your decisions based on *your* judgement, not his.

For example. You stay because he needs you. But he doesn't, objectively speaking, need you. All of his needs are quite capable of being supplied by other people, at home or in another setting. No harm would come to him purely by reason of your not being there. No one is indispensable. So if you choose to stay, stay because you choose to support him. He doesn't "need" you.

Friends are for wimps, are they? On the contrary: friends are for well-adjusted adults who recognise the value of human interaction. If you feel you can't invite friends to your house because they would be made unwelcome, then go out and see them. You don't need your husband's permission. You could even get yourself a badge reading "Wimp In Chief" if you like - his opinion on this is ridiculous, so laugh at it.

And plan an exit route. If you begin to feel really threatened or if God forbid your husband does physically assault you, you need to be able to leave the house at once. So have in mind somewhere to go and a way of getting there. There is nothing in the world that justifies a spouse staying with a violent partner, not even his mental or physical illness. You do not stay in range of something that will hurt you, it's that simple.

Most of all, be in charge of what you do. You know your husband is wrong, sometimes. Don't comply with points of view you know are wrong. Trust yourself to make good decisions based on valid reasoning.
I think it's my guilt and shame for feeling the way that I do that keeps me from actually doing anything about it. It's hard to leave a dying man, so I wait to see what the next test results will say. If he survives the next operation, the next stroke, the next heart attack.

Plus the only money I would have to live on is the proceeds from the sale of our house as the waiting list for Senior Apartments has a 2 year waiting list. Most of the money we had in savings has been spent on our out-of-pocket expenses for all his tests, and hospital stays, and medicine that Medicare doesn't cover.

Plus I've been with him for 20 years now and there are moments when he is the man I thought he was, once. There are moments when I think, well maybe I'm just blowing things out of proportion. But in seconds his actions brings me back to reality. It is truly an emotional roller coaster. A typical co-dependency.

But this is a site for being a caregiver and not for mental and physical abuse.

My counselor worries about me too. She thinks I should stay until we get the test results back. I should know more about his health by the end of December. If his cancer is spreading, and if his heart is getting weaker. If I can just hang on a little longer. And here we go again, my waiting for someone to die.

One thing you should know and it does make a difference, is that my husband and I are married in name only and always have. We live in separate parts of the house. It's the way he wants things. So there has never been any closeness between us. If I tried to get close to him, his dog would bite me and he would laugh and say, "Aw she loves her daddy. She's trying to protect her daddy". Yes, I know it's sick. And that is why I am in counseling.

But enough of this. I need to stop. I think the reason why I've said all this is because you don't know who I am, and somehow as I kept typing I just felt like I wanted to tell you everything. Get it all out in the open. And as I write all this and see the words, I think to myself, Oh my gosh, this is awful. How sick I really am for staying this long. I kept making up excuses why I should stay, and I really see now that I truly do need to get out because my story is really bad and you don't even know all of it. As I read what I wrote, I can't believe it. I can't believe this is my story. I can't believe I allowed it to happen. Wow, such dysfunction.

When it is all over with, I will come back and share with you the ending. After writing all this, I most definitely will leave. Once I get all my "ducks in a row", I will leave.
Sick, dying or not.

Thank you for listening and all your input.
Nancy, I hope writing it all out was therapeutic for you. No one here can judge you as we are not in your shoes, and the posters on this site are very caring.
I would think about what Hugemom wrote above. You have a therapist to talk with and were able to make that decision on your own - too bad the first one had the empathy of a stone asking the sort of question that he did and the awful assumption he recited back to you.
I would next see a lawyer and discuss your options.
Hang in there. The emotions you are having are yours & you have a right to feel that way, but my real concern is that you may be at great risk of physical harm right now - with your husband and his dog now that I read that.
Keep a personal journal of these episodes of abuse - verbal, emotional & physical. When any man touches a woman in anger, as Hugemom said, that is physical abuse.
He can live for a long time, or not. He even guilts you in the doctor’s office (emotional abuse).
If you find yourself in immediate harm again, get out. Go to a homeless shelter if you must, but leave.
You have a lot of living to do. He has many complex issues.
Please consider seeing an attorney next.
Good luck and don’t feel bad coming here to vent.
Nancy, it appears you have looked into your legal options. You have saved up enough money to get a new place. You no longer love your husband and have been threatened by his behaviour.

Why do you feel you must stay? If he was in good health would it be easier to leave? Why does his poor health make it harder? I think you know it is not going to get any easier.

Your health, safety and peace of mind should be your first concern. Let his sons step up to the plate.
My husband told the doctor that he had a heart attack because I told him I was leaving him, but that is only partly true. It was a coincidence. His blockage was 99% in his main artery and he had what is called a "Widow" maker heart attack. But the doctor whistled as in "Oh Oh", when my husband told him that, and when the doctor looked at me to see if it were true, I nodded my head. Quite a delimma, but I stayed.

Yes, it is very tough to take care of a spouse, who is mean and has these mental issues to boot. It took me a long time to save up enough money to make the move, and when I finally had enough money saved to escape, he has a heart attack.

Some times ya just got to wonder where is the justice. But there is a reason for everything. Must be a reason for me staying with him this long, as he still continues his abuse towards me.

Perhaps we go through these tough times in order to appreciate the peace that will come afterwards, when it is all over with. The Freedom.

I don't know how to go about putting him in a nursing home. Who do I call? Do I just talk to our primary doctor? He's still capable of fixing things around the house. I don't know. I'm so confused.

Thanks for you answer cwillie. My family lives far away from me, so I don't have anyone personally or physically to be with me as I go through this stuff. And as far as my friends. it's hard to keep friends when you have a husband who believes people who need friends are wimps.
Hugemom what you say is true. I have taken some steps these last two weeks to begin my preparation for "getting out" of this situation. But I want it to be legal and I want it to be the right thing to do. If he only has a year or two to live, I might be able to cope with it. But I'm so burned out. Way past my limit of tolerance and patience, that even my counselor is afraid that I won't last that long to wait it out.

So, I've got to make some decisions. Today I have started thinking now about a Nursing Home, so that in itself is a big step.

Thank you all for your advice. I mean that. Because I'm so mentally exhausted that I am not able to make clear decisions any more. I used to be good at this stuff. But now my brain is just burned out. It's tough to put someone in a Nursing Home when they have a strong Character and mindset.

My husband is a recovering Alcoholic. A strong bullyish man. Hasn't had a drink in 40 years but was a real drunk, I'm told, because I didn't meet him until later in life so I've never known him as a drunk. But all he talks about is his "Bar Days"... And his friends were all like him. Viking type men. Always getting in fights. But since he quit drinking he became quite successful and doesn't act that way anymore. But he still has that personality. I worked in Substance Abuse for many years so I know that when an Alcoholic recovers, they still have the same personalty of an Alcoholic.

So, I've dealt with a lot over these 20 years and I'm ready to face the last part of my life with some peace. But I need it soon. I can't explain the depth of how emotional and physically drained I am. I cry all the time. I pray for my freedom. I feel like I'm in prison and each time the doctor says he is now okay, I feel like my pardon was taken away from me. I mean this with my entire soul. And I feel guilty about it.

You know what. The first counselor I saw I told him that I felt guilty because I wished my husband would pass away so I could be free. That was why I first starting going in 2016. I felt so much guilt.

He said to me, "So in other words you want your husband dead". That shocked me. I didn't know if he was asking me if I wanted my husband killed. But if I wanted my husband to pass away so I would be free, then I guess in reality I wanted my husband dead and so I said yes. But I didn't mean I want someone to murder him. Or dead. I wanted him to just pass away from natural causes. But now I have it on my record as wanting my husband dead, and I am so worried about that. If anything happened to husband, they would think I murdered him. So I went to see another counselor and she is fine. But on everything else I've suffered with this man and now his illness, I now have it on record that I want him dead. Wow, what a thing to live with. Because in everything I write, here and now, could be construed as me wanting my husband dead. It's hard to live with that idea.

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