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Losing a Spouse Can Cause Personality Changes

25 Comments

I love this article!! Thank you, it helped me a lot.

Yoginemermaid, the funny thing was that in her scathing email, she accused ME of being self-centered and selfish. Just the facts... only a couple of people stayed with her through the death. Most scattered like leaves in the wind for a couple of years. I was there for her every day. She was calling me 4-5 times a day right after he died for weeks on end, until I had to cut it and tell her I think she needed to see a grief counselor because I felt she was trying to use me as a therapist and I didn't feel that I qualified to help. She never forgave that one. She never connect the grief with that comment, in fact blamed me for saying that "right after John died."

I opened my home to her. She would come over nearly every week and I would feed her lunch and supper. I invited her over on every holiday. I told her if she ever had an emergency, both she and her cat were welcome here. I tried to help her with the things her husband did, like finances, getting a roof estimate (my husband is in construction and he wrote her out a complete spec), her computer. This translated as "controlling and a bully." I would email her after a working stint to ask her how her weekend went so she could unload it on me (figuring her husband had done that for her). I must admit that I was selfish at the end because I was SO SICK with a horrible IC flare, I had all I could do to take care of myself; I couldn't think about much except my own pain, which was severe enough to contemplate the hospital. Hearing about that was clearly not appreciated (although she was the one calling me).

Her husband did EVERYTHING for her. She was spoiled and a "princess" for sure. He was a wonderful man, and I was sincerely happy for her. It was a hard blow for her to realize she had to take over all those jobs (and it was a lot).

Anyway, since I first wrote this story, I haven't contacted her, nor she me. I am actually feeling a lot better and didn't realize how much she was dragging me down. I also have time and energy to reach out to other friends and make plans without feeling guilty (I was feeling guilty about enjoying my life without even realizing it!).

She is a classic narcissist, and I'm better off free from her. She was never really a friend because while she was acting loving and grateful, behind my back she was jealous and spiteful and begrudging me everything. No regrets... better off gone.

I personally never realized the depths of my moms narcissism until my dad died. My dad filled all the needs for attention she had, literally she was his whole world. Since he passed, nothing anyone does and says is EVER enough. EVER. Now that she has had a massive stroke and is severely incapacitated, this perpetual and constant need to be miserable with no sign of relief never goes away. I liked the comment above abut our personalities being truly formed early in life. I think situation brings out the depth of who people really are. Some of us are more predisposed for gratitude and being content, others are never happy.

I have a friend who I've been close with for over 25 years. We were friends, and our spouses became friends too; we did things together... movies, dinner, etc.

Since my friend's husband died, she's become someone I don't know. At first, she was lost in denial, but she was calling me 4-5 times a day. After a few weeks of this, I suggested a therapist might be helpful and I felt I was filling that role, but wasn't competent at it (I don't deal well with loss). I didn't realize at the time that she was angry about what I said, but she did back off the calls.

Flash forward two years now, and her angry has taken over. It's not just me. She has become a horrible gossip. She's jealous of others. She's always angry at somebody. She's "gone off" on me three times now. I can't call it a fight because it was just name calling on her part, pointing out all my flaws, some real, some imagined.

This last time she called angry (tone of voice) when I was deathly ill (I told her up front) and started a "fight." She told me I was exaggerating how sick I was and how much pain I was in. I did fight back on that telling her I really was as sick as I said, and it didn't make sense for her to compare her prior illness with mine since she's never had this condition.

I emailed her after that explaining that I really was as sick with this condition as I said I was. I wasn't sleeping, I couldn't eat, and I was in 24/7 agony. In response, she sent a hateful, hurtful email filled with name calling. She also mentioned that I was a bully for telling her to see a therapist and it was "right after (her husband) died." (Shouldn't a bell have gone off when she wrote that?)

I haven't heard from her since. We were supposed to go on a mini-vacation that very weekend and I was SO looking forward to that for months and was trying hard to get well enough to go, but of course, she went with her other friends and left me behind.

I couldn't allow myself to be angry when this went down because of how sick I was, so I went straight to being hurt and disappointed. It's been a couple of weeks now and I've thought a lot about it. We never had these type of interaction until after her husband died. It's like every negative dark-side thing about her has taken over. I think she's stuck in the anger part of grief. I think it's being directed at me because of our intimacy. I have been there for her through all this when other fled.

So, what can I do other than remove myself from the situation? I don't know if she'll every try to contact me again. I don't want her in my life the way she is now, but I do feel badly for her when I realize she's not okay. With me gone, she'll have to find other targets for her anger, and will likely get herself in trouble at work or with family.

I'm interested in hearing what other think. BTW, she can't hear anything helpful coming from me. And I am afraid of letting all that negativity back in my life because it WILL have an effect on my health.

Don't know about that, but I thank you. I will note with this forum if and when there is a positive change. I am not willing myself to die and I would never take my own life, I just find no joy in life like I did before losing my husband. He was my happiness and to see him smile, laugh and to see him happy was my joy in life.

Welcome to the new normal. As you get your strength and health back, you will shape this normal to be satisfying. You will be happy again.

First, take care of your health.

jeannegibbs, I also get very little sleep. Reason being that every time I wake up I know he is sleeping right beside me or if not that he is in the bathroom or in the kitchen making us food, and that this has all been just a dream.. Every time I have to realize it isn't a dream and the reality hits, I can't even breathe. I have lost three babies, my sister and my dad, but never have I felt so lost, Everything is so unreal and it seems I can't do anything like I used to. All I do is clean house, do laundry and take baths. I have gotten better at grocery shopping, but only because my mom needs food for herself or her cats and she is not able to go herself. Still, I put it off as long as possible. I talk to our son every other day or so, sometimes for hours. Normal, I guess, is never coming back. I appreciate your comments, though, I really do.

IhearU, of course you want him back! I still want my Dad back, after 18 years. Heck my Gram died 40 years ago and I want her back! Acceptance that this isn't going to happen comes gradually, but it does come.

You are correct that your guilt does not help the situation. I think we'd all like to believe that we are in control. If things don't turn out the way we want, then it must be our fault. Alas, this is a fantasy. We were never in charge.

I would think if he died of internal bleeding you would have noticed a problem in his stools.

Doctors make mistakes. Even doctors who have never driven while drunk. This is not your fault. And we don't even know if the death was related to the procedure. I wish you had had an autopsy, but whatever the results would have shown the death was not your fault.

Please see a doctor to get started on regaining your health. And if you see your husband's doctor, talk about your guilt feelings regarding the procedure you arranged. The doctor can give you some insight into what may have happened and what couldn't have happened.

Best regards for your recovery.

I know this. But it doesn't help. My guilt does not help the situation either. I took him to have a procedure done on the 23rd, 2 days before he died. I always checked his doctors and this one especially because he actually tracked us down to tell us about what he wanted to do. I looked online to find some reviews of this doctor and the first thing that came up was "bad doc website". Come to find out he was arrested twice for car wrecks he had while drunk. He has to go to rehab meetings 3 times a week until 2017. I think he may have punctured an artery during the 'in his office' surgery. I believe he bled to death internally because there were no signs of anything else. The doctor at the hospital even told me they really didn't know exactly what killed him. I didn't insist on an autopsy because he was already gone and I really didn't want to believe taking him for that procedure killed him. Except for making him something to eat, I stayed in our bed with him from midnight on the 23rd until 3:30 PM on the 25th then I found him dead at 10 till 4 PM. He didn't want to die, wasn't sick enough to die and I don't have any answers. I just want him back. Maybe it sounds selfish, like my mother said, but that is just the way I feel.

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IhearU, what would your dear husband want for you? I'm sure that he wouldn't be surprised to see that his death is impacting you -- he would understand that. But if he can somehow see you now, or sense you, would it make him happy to see you not eating? Would he be pleased that you turn down chances to interact with friends? What would he want for you?

If the situation were reversed, if you had died, would you want him to give up caring about anything?

I had a wonderful marriage. I am so grateful that I did. I focus on that. The first time I went to his favorite restaurant without him I was a little sad. But I also was pleased to think of his pleasure here, the items he especially liked, how full of life he was. We belonged to a potluck group of four couples. The first time I went with only seven of us was bitter-sweet. I don't make my activities all about things we used to do together, but I don't avoid them, either.

I think it would be good for you to see a doctor. Getting run down physically doesn't help you cope with your new widowhood. I'll bet your husband would want you to take care of yourself!