Designhair Asked October 2010

How can I deal with a spouse who resents everything I do to care for my aging parent?

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Ginny Oct 2010
My Mom is 95 and she has lived with us for *15 years* NONE of us thought it would be this long including her! She is legally blind and has had some surgeries otherwise she is fairly healthy for 95. I took care of my Dad for 6 years before he went home to be with the Lord. My husband is a very good man and he has sacrificed so much over the years to allow me to take care of my parents. And yet, he has been jealous, resentful and irritated at times at all that it takes to take care of someone else. He has said things that hurt me and I know he said it because he is hurt or mainly disappointed that our life has not been what we thought it would be. I have gotten angry with him for making it even harder when he complains. I understand what he feels because I feel the same way at times. We know that this is the right thing to do even though it feels so unfair.
It takes a lot of work to keep everything ok with every one especially when you feel you are in the middle taking care of mom and spouse. I do go to the Lord with everything especially my feelings because no one can help me with them except Him!
He hasn't taken the issues away but I know He is with us as we walk through this part of our life journey. It hasn't been easy by any means and the best way to diffuse an issue is to pour on the love and express appreciation for all that they do. Sometimes you have to look hard to find something you think they are doing that is good, but if you want peace this is what it takes.
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castoff Oct 2010
As has been said....your spouse has some issues of their own. You need to have an honest conversation about it. Why they feel the way they do.....they may not know themselves....and needs to be drawn out into the open so you can both understand. Are you 24/7 care? This can take a huge toll on a relationship. If it's all about your parent and none about your spouse they have reason to be resentful. How long is your spouse expected to wait for your affection? Are you being as considerate of your spouse as you are to your parent? None of this is fair to any of you....a middle ground needs finding in order to hold it all together. Have you put your marriage on hold? Be careful.
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toadballet1 Oct 2010
I have never understood this behavior in a spouse...is it posessiveness? do they find caregiving too "icky" to think about? do they, themselves, fear getting older and needing help? Who knows?
Unless you are spending excessive amounts of time caring for your parent(s) and ignoring your relationship, then you need to sit your spouse down and have a good long talk. Make him/her understand that this is adding to your stress and, by making it harder on you, is just going to cause resentment.
Caregiving is one of those 24/7/365 gigs. If there are weak spots in a relationship, the stress of caregiving will "out" them.
Calm conversations by using "I" messages will help (ie: when I come home and you seem resentful, it adds to my stress levels." etc.) Counseling is a good option.
Do whatever you can do to help smooth things on the homefront (heaven knows, caregiving stretches you thin as it is), but if the spouse does not respond there may be other issues to work on. (my type-A personality just wants to say, "Grow Up!" ....but that would not be "positive" would it? :O)
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MiaMadre Oct 2010
You need to explain to your wife that if you are willing to care for your mother, she has to know that SHE will always be taken care of!

I am sure others will add their 'wisdom' about how we 'leave out parents' to join with another, but in reality "WE" have to answer to our own conscience and help our parents as they have helped us.

Get into a couple's counseling group that deals with parents with 'care needs' and see how she responds/reacts. If she is unwilling to go, then there are issues in HER life that prevents her from allowing YOU to help your mother.

God bless you for helping your mother.
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