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My spouse is 86 and I am 66. When he has medical complications and I suggest getting medical advice, he erupts and insults me - even making hostile "growling" noises, with hateful looks and gestures. He belittles me and keeps repeating "Get off my case!"


Our marriage has fallen apart. He is narcissistic and controlling and devoid of any interest in being verbally affectionate or even grateful for my home-making and care. Plainly put, I know I am being emotionally abused.


I have no family and only one very disabled female friend. He has one son that does nothing but call/email him with superficial exchange - only because I demanded he do so. (What a fiasco that was!) The son detests me and hasn't had one conversation with me since his father married me thirty years ago. - This was a second marriage and he resented me.


Do I detach and "live like a room-mate with him" as my counselor and friend suggest?- He is impotent and sleeps in another room for almost twenty years.


Anger and rejection on his side and pity and desire to help on the other. What do I do?

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You can't just up and leave him. He is 86 years old. You are in a routine. When he has medical complications, so he yells at you about it. This is hard, but he doesn't want you to respond. You do not have to accept every invitation you get. That includes conversations with the sick one.

Do not expect compliments. Do not do anything in your home, except if you want to do this. I don't even sleep in the same room as my hubby. I CANNOT STAND HIS SNORING. And he doesn't like mine either.... SOOooooo what is someone to do? Get a goodnight sleep and take up another room.
Do not bend over backwards for him, he doesn't want it. If he complains about being sick (it's hard to sit and watch and do nothing) remind him where meds are, and go out and walk the dog. Do something, step away from the scene, make distance, and if he still yells at you, Just say, I'm sorry dear, your meds are over there, and if you need anything else, call your doctor. Take a daily trip to the library, they have great resources there, almost for everything, even some fun classes.
SMILE; SMILE AND BREATHE. My friend will not listen to me any more. I got myself into this. Just don't be the punching bag, do not react,
You Do Not Have To Accept Every Invitation You Get. Smile and take a walk.

Make time for yourself - Daily. Do you still drive? And the library usually posts or has pamphlets for volunteering opportunities.

If you have to go to grocery store, take a few minutes in each isle and contemplate which item you prefer: Vanilla, sea breeze, or lavendar? In other words, slow down, and smell the detergent.
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Lizhappens Mar 10, 2019
Awesome reply.
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I am really sorry. I can't imagine anyone having to live this way. I guess you are collecting SS? Are you able to work? At 66 you can make as much as you want and have no SS penalties. In my area, there is Senior housing where they charge 30% of your income to rent. You pay electric and TV. You could get help with food. Medicaid for ur supplimental which comes with benefits. Comcast has internet for $10 for those getting help. Maybe you could rent a room. This has to be effecting your health. Call an abuse line and see what resources they can offer. A divorce can be costly if he chooses to fight for what he has. Is the house in both names, he has to buy you out. You are entitled to half of everything if your state laws are like that.

After I posted, half of what I wrote didn't show up. Anyway....

Maybe time to get a life of your own. I reconnected with some old friends. I am a golf widow. I have breakfast with one friend and lunch with two sisters. Maybe a nice p/t job. As a hostess or receptionist. Or work in a gift shop. Then you have some mad money, as my DH calls it, to take trips or do something for yourself. I think your hubby has made himself clear. With his health problems I don't see him living to a ripe old age especially if he doesn't take care of his diabetes. If you want to do for him, do it but when he starts on you, leave. Only interact when its necessary. Your room is your sanctuary.

Good luck and please come back even if just to vent. 😊
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puffbucket Mar 12, 2019
Bless you. Thanks.
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Your living situation sounds extremely toxic. Would you consider moving out on your own and find help for him to find his own place or line up in home care for him?

My mother was like this, and was violent and dangerous as well. I was her personal servant and whipping post, nothing I did pleased her. I left home essentially exhausted and as is pretty typical wound up marrying someone very
similar. They do not change while you're there. For some unfathomable reason
it appears being abusive is a kind of drug for them. It relieves their inner tension.
And to be able to live with themselves they have to manufacture excuses why you
deserve this terrible treatment.

It is toxic and damaging even if you attempt to live as roommates. The constant stress will slowly kill you and will invigorate him (probably part of the reason why
he does this, though he is likely quite unconscious of this) . Please consider moving out and rebuilding your life. Having a father son team of unkind unloving
and abusive dynamic is too toxic to live for a moment longer than you have to.
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puffbucket Mar 12, 2019
Thank you bettina. I know how "toxic" my situation is (but there are good days - like out of nowhere today, he asked me to hug him and said he did that "Because I think you're a really neat person.")

As someone noted, I am still "young" at 66, and for me at least that is spot on. I am as alive (and sexually attracted to men, alas) as ever I was.

But please look at the comment I just wrote above. I hope you will explain my loyalty, which in itself, might by today's standards be considered "toxic". Blessings.
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You walk away. Pack up your things and leave. Give him the necessary paperwork to file for divorce and do what you can do to get out on your own. Start saving and looking for work if that is what you need. No one deserves to be abused....verbally or otherwise. Good luck and God bless you.
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Reply to mmcmahon12000
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It is hard when you care more then the person having the problem.

I, personally, would just back off and do what I need to do. Let him deal with the consequences of his stubbornness.

Has he been tested for dementia or mental decline? He could be failing and knows it but refuses to see it.

Keep your distance from his anger and take care of you.

Come here to vent and share, many people will be sympathetic to your situation and the ones that aren't, put them in the same category as your husband, that is the "your opinion doesn't matter to me!" category.
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againx100 Mar 10, 2019
I was also wondering if he has some level of dementia, making him act this way. Even though the situation is not pleasant, at least that might be an explanation and could help you put things in perspective.

By all means, develop more of a life for yourself. Your relationship has changed, regardless of the reason.

Since this behavior could be beyond his control, consider getting some assistance for him of some sort. Hire them for YOU. Have them cook, clean, do laundry etc, while you get out and get yourself a break.

Good luck.
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My mother has narcissistic tendencies as well. Has always been verbally abusive of me. She’s 92, mild dementia, in assisted living. She’s accused me of everything under the sun. I told her about 18 months ago I was done( after dropping everything, taking her to her hair appointment and listening to her scream abuses for 2 hrs) . She called , gaslighting me but I ignored it. She was at the time in independent living where they fixed meals and cleaned which was all the help she needed so in a safe environment. Since then has gotten worse so we moved her to assisted living. I still limit contact, she now abuses my sister . But she is in a safe environment so that’s imo what I need to fulfill as a daughter.
Long story short you can’t change a narcissist. It’s actually coming from low self esteem and a fear of being left but they get filled with rage when they can’t control you. It’s a lose /lose situation for you. I would do what you can to get him safe ie assisted living or home health care but you can’t force him and he won’t be reasonable. There is a limit on what you can or should do , your sanity is just as important as his health.
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PuffBucket, I can only say how bad I feel for you. There is no easy solution.
Of course you can move out, get a divorce and go back to work but who wants to do that at age 66 even if you are well enough.
You have been living as room mates for many years so if it has worked for you so far is there any reason not to continue.
As far as your husband's verbal abuse is concerned. Walk away don't nag or even suggest he does things that are "good for him" He knows that as well as you do. It is his choice. Offer his medications but if he refuses don't argue put them away. Offer him food, telling him what is available but if he refuses you won't be the one who is hungry.
The man is 88 years old and on the final leg of his journey on this earth and if he has not been declared incompetent he can make his own decisions.
Do what you need to do to keep the house running smoothly and keep out of his line of fire as much as possible and as Glad suggested on the next trip to the ER decide if you want to take that option or indeed if you can afford to have him out of your life.
You two got married so I assume you loved each other then. Chances are he still loves you very much despite his bad behavior.
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I have to ask...why are you doing this? You know you are being emotionally abused. Please please look after yourself and make a plan to get out. Why would you live like a room mate? Would you choose him for a roommate?? Sounds horrid, so probably not! And a toxic step son to boot. Fun times. So why live like this for another 10-15 years, knowing it will get worse? You are a young woman... see a lawyer, and make a plan to detach from this situation. My BP goes through the roof when I read about women who feel like they’re stuck when they actually have all the power!
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puffbucket Mar 12, 2019
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If he wont accept your help..you cannot convince him. Work on yourself.
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I am also much younger than my husband, 15 years younger, and gratefully very healthy. I’m 57. He is very self-centered, mild dementia, heart disease, GERD and Stage 4 Prostate Cancer. We have been in separate bedrooms for years; I had to decide that my getting a good night’s rest is more important than his feelings. That’s evolved into my needing to go out and exercise or socialize when he cannot walk distances, or behave appropriately, is also more important than his feelings. He has a friend that picks him up and takes him to 4 AA meetings a week for years, (he is a regional treasurer for several groups and I couldn’t get him to give that up even with the dementia - one day when he screws that up, it will be inevitable) and to the grocery store several times a week, and out to eat. He eats nothing but junk food, fast food and sugar. He does nothing around the house since he retired a few years ago which has built some resentment in me. And finally, he requests me to take him out for fun on the weekend or my days off after I have cleaned house, cooked, cleaned the kitchen up and stored leftovers, done some yardwork, handled bills, taxes and finances. And frankly, I am just not in the mood! If I have to handle all responsibility, then I’m sorry but my free time, little that it is, is for me. He pitched a five day fit when he was told he could not drive anymore. I don’t look forward to the future battles as his health continues declining! So while he does not yell and carry on constantly, he makes demands in numerous ways by sitting around like the king of his castle with a servant (me.) My father is 93, lives with us, cooks, handles his own iphone, ipad and imac and is generally still intelligent and pleasant to visit with which we enjoy while my husband goes to his meetings. My only means of survival is to really study and practice DETACHMENT. No one deserves to be used and emotionally abused. My husband’s excuse for doing nothing is “you’re so much better at that” (meaning everything??) I’m sorry but that’s not a good enough excuse to sit around and watch your wife do everything. He even sat while my 93 yr old dad cooked and cleaned because my shoulder was frozen last weekend. I’m always amazed at the new levels of selfishness in this man, and no, his dementia is not so advanced that he has to be this lazy! It’s not just me that sees this; my kids, and even his kids, say I’m an angel. I’m not an angel, just a very tired human like all of us. So anyway, detachment is working for me. I get out and swim, go to eat with friends or to a concert occasionally, and read, play music and hibernate upstairs in our home. I’m grateful he is not inclined to climb stairs. I still feel some guilt from years of caretaking (took care of my mom, aunt and PDD son as well as Dad and spouse) when I do things for myself, but I’m learning. We all deserve to be cherished and appreciated. I just have to do that for myself since he will not. I don’t feel like I owe him anything; when the time comes that he is losing his ability to selfcare, I will find a place for him, because I just cannot do it anymore with no appreciation. Blessings on your journey. I hope you can detach to some degree and have the life you deserve.
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