I am a long term carer for an elderly partner who has undergone cancer treatment. We have always had a close and loving relationship but in the past few months my partner seems to resent me increasingly. I work 24/7 to help and support him and to make things easier for him, but we seem to have reached a point where everything I do is in some way wrong. I try so hard but in recent months he criticises and finds fault with virtually everything I do. I am at my wits end with sadness and tiredness and just can't understand why he has come to treat me as nothing more than a rather irritating servant. Has anyone else experienced this? It's breaking my heart and I feel more lonely than I ever have in my life. Would really appreciate knowing if this is a situation other have experienced.

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People going through such an illness are justified in being depressed and grouchy but only to a point. He is beyond that point and you need to make this clear to him. He is very lucky to have you. If he can't be made to realise this you should begin pulling back.

It's not unreasonable to also turn his criticism against him, in a very diplomatic way. When he complains about how you've done something, let the tears come, say you're so sorry you can't please him and perhaps he should do whatever it is you were doing himself. Then leave the room and go elsewhere in the house while he digests what's just happened.

But do it only for those things which he actually can do himself.

He may be frustrated with his own situation, angry that he has cancer and directing it at you because (a) you're close to him and (b) he knows he can get away with it. I think that kind of frustration channeled toward a close friend or relative isn't unusual when people are ill and challenged.

You're not alone in this situation.

You might have a nice frank talk with him as he actually may not realize how hostile he's become. But also make it clear that his attitude has to change. You're entitled to respect.

It wouldn't hurt to start backing off in terms of what you do for him and let him begin to help himself, to the extent he's able.

And definitely cut back on the 24/7 work; you need to get away from him as well as the home environment for your own sanity.

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