I am married but have no support system. Any advice? - AgingCare.com

I am married but have no support system. Any advice?

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Awhile back I asked my sig other if she thought it was a good idea if my grandmother moved in and she would take care of her and i would work during the day and once i got home she was "off duty". She is monetarily comped for eveything she does. Obviously she agreed. Now everything that we argue about is directly link somehow to the situation "I" put us in. As if every choice was made alone. She blames absolutly everything on our situation. I cant come to her and say hey i need to talk bc it will always end up an argument about grandma somehow. She feels like ALL sbe has to do is take care of grandma because thats what she said she would do. From the very beginning she has been resentful and unwilling to bend and be cooperative. I have gone out of my way to have extra help come in to sit with gma so we can have time but that was a big argument because i didnt do it fast enough. Mind you this has been about a month....only a month. God willing i have a few more years to deal with this. I try and nothing is good enough. I feel alone and ready to give up on everything and everyone. I am beginning to hate her for not being strong and living with her choices. I understand where she is coming from....i understand where everyone (uncle, dad,wife,grandme) is coming from because evrything and everyones problems and concerns come to me. And all i can do is take it in and find a way to deal with it bc i have no one to talk to. I cant have a bad day and break down to my wife. I cant have a concern and talk to my wife. But i have to take in all her issues and add it to everytbing else ,add it to the fact that she blames it all on me and just deal with it. Mean while who do i talk to? Who can i blame stuff on? Who can i lean on on the days i feel weak?? Im just fed up that none of my efforts are enough for her. I AM SO TIRED!!!! One month and she is breaking down. Everything in this house is so separate. Nothing is WE. Its her and I. She washed her pillow cases but not the sheets or my pillow cases. She will wash her dishes but not our dishes. They may seem like trivial things and on a regular scale they are but when its coupled with all the other things.......it starts to paint a very deliberate and sad picture. I dont know if things can be fixed. She is so content in blaming me i feel like she would rather our marriage fail just so she can blame me and tell everyone its my fault. I dont know. Thanks for listening anyway. *sigh*

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I'd toss the wife out and keep the grandma! ;-)
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Good news :) If you are having a bad day you will always be welcome to come here and vent. Spitting everything out is excellent therapy, and people make allowances (e.g. I've never yet been told to stop whining and pull my socks up. I have been told to get a sense of proportion).

Bad news: Dur!!! What is this?: "... I asked my sig other if she thought it was a good idea if my grandmother moved in and she would take care of her and i would work during the day and once i got home she was "off duty". ...Obviously she agreed…." Obviously she agreed! I say again, DUR!!! What was she supposed to do? Say "are you out of your tiny mind?"

There you are, the two of you, dreaming up this rosy picture with cute grandma in the centre of it and you both beaming on her as she sits tucked in her rocking chair, knitting, with a contented little smile on her face and twinkling eyes… And neither one of you had the faintest idea of what you were taking on, right?

Listen.
1. Your significant other agreed to the idea to please you. That's all. She shouldn't have. But she didn't know what else to do.
2. She didn't know what she was agreeing to, and probably neither did you. In fact I'm not at all sure that you see what the problem is even now. In which case, see point 5.
3. Reality has dawned. You are holding her to her freely-given commitment. She bitterly regrets her freely-given commitment. She wants rid of it.
4. That is why nothing you can do to mitigate the problem is enough. She wants not to have the problem.
5. "She thinks ALL she has to do is look after Grandma…" "All," eh, and you think she should be getting the coal in too? There speaks the master delegator. Try it for a week. See if you have enough energy or morale left to raise the TV remote. If you have, try it for a week only this time looking after someone you don't have close emotional ties to; and while you're at it picture it carrying on indefinitely. Then see how you feel.
6. Are you looking at the situation from your grandmother's point of view? How does she feel about it? I don't mean to depress you further, but if she's comfortable in this atmosphere then either she is astonishingly obtuse or she thrives on conflict.
7. All the rest of the petty nonsense derives from above. She's pissed off, you don't get why, she gets more pissed off and flounces about trying to piss you off too so that you'll know how she feels. Yes I know it's daft. I'm just saying, that's what's happened. I hope it's reversible.

Now then. Want to save your marriage? Ask your Grandmother nicely to take a two week stay in a good respite care home (when you're looking for one, think decent hotel with nursing care thrown in). Take your wife away somewhere and spoil her. Apologise for leading her to (note, I didn't say INto) a situation you're both finding impossible. Explain that you hadn't understood what the repercussions were for her. Express your regret that your best intentions for your grandmother aren't doing your grandmother any good either. Accept the need for a radical rethink. Request time to make orderly, humane, alternative arrangements, put a realistic deadline on it, and stick to it. Then you both use the rest of the two-week respite to do some intensive, collaborative research on your grandmother's options, putting grandma's welfare (and known wishes, as far as possible) top of the list of priorities.

In exchange you will be entitled to expect an honest effort on your wife's part to return to married teamwork. You are on the same side and should be pulling together. It won't happen overnight. Keep up a steady tension on the rope and eventually you'll feel your wife taking her fair share of the strain alongside you.

What's your alternative? You jack the whole thing in - and then what? What happens to poor old Grandma? Elderly dependants are much like children (if they're not monstrous tyrants instead) - if you get divorced, Grandma will blame your wife, probably, but more likely herself. I doubt if she'd blame you (my grandson the hero) - but I would. Never take on a project with human factors to it without exhaustive research and back-up from people who've done it before: "…and fools rush in where Angels fear to tread."

I'm sorry you haven't had anyone to rub your back and say poor you - we all need someone to take pity on us after a hard day. Be very wary of ladies who offer to do this, by the way. Their motives may not be pure; and at this difficult time you are a sitting duck to the "understanding" type. I really hope you all come through ok, you've had a poor return on your good intentions. Best of luck.
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goddessrp, I'm sorry for your situation. I'm sorry that Gma is in this tense atmosphere, too. I'll tell you right up front that I have no patience with selfish people and your SI is a selfish person. Counseling has been suggested by others and that is a good idea. I don't think counseling can fix 'selfish' but it's worth a shot. The problem is not Gma in my view. Your relationship was in trouble before Gma and the change just made everything more clear. You and your SI are not a team, and my guess is that you never were. The two of you have probably never had your relationship stressed like it is right now but this is emphasizing an issue that was always present. You sound like a mature, generous, kind person. You are willing to compromise, communicate and grow with someone who is also capable of those things. I can't tell you what to do, but I think some fundamental changes are required. I'm sorry.
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goddessrp, it would be helpful to us if you would fill out your profile a little, so we could easily look up background information. For example, how old is Gramma and what are her impairments? Dementia is somewhat different to deal with than hearing loss, for example.

You did not make this decision alone. You asked your significant other whether she would like to/be willing to take care of Gramma for pay while you worked. But many, MANY people make caregiving decisions without really understanding what they are getting into, and are heartily sorry for the decision once they experience the reality.

Would SI prefer going to work outside the home, and hiring a caregiver for Gramma and also housekeeping and laundry, etc. done? Is that a viable option?

Or is it the lack of privacy and/or Gramma's personality that is most disturbing to SI?

Without knowing what the real sources of dissatisfaction are, it is hard to know what to suggest to help remedy them.

I do have this suggestion, though: Seek relationship counseling together. Have an objective third party help you identify and explore the real issues here.

Come here and talk to us. Our situations are not exactly like yours, but as caregivers we "get it."
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wife sounds like a passive aggressive rag to me. my ex usedta think she was making some kind of statement by slamming the toilet seat down or slam banging a few dinner dishes. i was trying to teach two boys about couth and manners and finesse and she carried on like a hateful brat. i have no patience for it. shes making someone elses life miserable now and i have the opportunity to find someone with with some sense.
i hope she dies, and it dont take long.
i hope she dies, ' fore i end my so - oong..
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I'm sure your experience is slightly different from my perception, but what I noted about your further explanation is that the help you bring in is during "your" time at home after work in the evening and on weekends. That never gives your wife a break during her accountable time of day. It gives you a break from the commitment you made to her.

In my life, most of the time, not always... I've found that people are unhappy for legitimate reasons from their perspective. It must be overwhelming for you to listen to your wife, but she is trying to tell you something and you don't seem to hear her, so she is repeating herself and making bigger gestures to get your attention.

For example, having your relative in her home 24/7 may be overwhelming to her. While your home is large, she may feel uncomfortable with your family member in her home. She may be on alert all the time.

I hope you can find it in your heart to listen carefully to your wife and find out what is really bothering her. Yes, this is an overwhelming situation for you both and yes you did a very kind thing and probably the right thing. I would have wanted to do the same for my grandmother. My blessings to you both.

In my recent experience caring for my dear mother, although I didn't recognize it at first, it was completely overwhelming to me. She didn't even live with me, was completely independent and drove her own car until she passed away. However, I never knew when she would be feeling unwell and would call on me. I was on edge always. I stopped the entire rest of my life waiting for her phone calls early in the morning. I cancelled every appointment I had and every interest and all my work... stopped, just waiting and being there for her when she needed me. In the long run, my weight went up, my blood pressure when up, my cholesterol went up, my vitamin levels went down... I had almost no Vit D and B12 to speak of in my blood... things that cause depression and anxiety. It happened slowly, no one was nasty or demanding, it just happened while I was constantly on alert.

I am glad I did it and so happy that I could be there for her and on the surface, to my relatives, it looked like I didn't have to do much, but my whole life crumbled while I was her "person". It is a slow and quiet thing that happens when we care for the elderly. Ultimately I realized, they don't grow up and become more capable, they grow older and less capable. It is NOTHING like being a parent and the miracles of raising children.

I hope my perspective helps you and your wife. You have taken on a major challenge, that in the long run, hopefully will enrich your lives. Hopefully your wife and grandmother will become good friends, but very likely it will also become even more challenging in time.

In the short run, just from my perspective, you owe your wife a HUGE thank you and some special acknowledgement just for HER day time hours.

As others have suggested here, try to get as much help as you can for both of you, together and for each of you.
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Here's a different way to look at this: even though your wife agreed to this and she is an adult and you didn't force her, do you think she was hoping you'd change your mind or didn't want to be the "bad guy" and say "no" but now resents it now that you've done it?

I have family members like that, so that's why I ask. I think I'm discussing what I'm doing with Mom with them, and then get nothing but grief after I do what I said I was going to do, even though they knew about it. Some enjoy waiting until after I do it so they can blame me, as some people are just like that.

Sometimes, I say to them things like: "You agreed to this so I don't want to hear your complaints. Tell me what you want me to do, now, and I'll have a discussion with you, but I'm not interested in complaints. Change the future, don't hang onto what I did or didn't do." I don't know if you think that would work with your wife or make things worse. With my own family members, it hasn't changed their views, but it does get me a little peace and quiet, which is all I really want. And, in my case, it's with people I don't have to live with, so I know that makes a difference, too. Anyway, just giving you some views, not that it's necessarily helpful, just sympathizing more than anything else.
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Godessrp, what it boils down to is your significant other/partner/wife no longer wants the responsibility of caring your grandmother. What other issues you may have with her is making it worse with the care of your grandmother. It is up to you to decide what is best for you and your grandmother's care without expecting your partner to be invovled, she doesn't want to anymore.
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Again i just want to thank everyone. I will concider everything everyone said and i know we will be ok. It just feels good to speak candidly sometimes...its my idea of screaming....lol. thanks everyone!!
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Goddessrp (yes, I see now, there was a clue) I do beg your pardon. I should have said "my granddaughter the heroine." Hope I didn't drop any other gender clangers (probably did, oh woe).

Well, after all this, it does sound as if you've tried everything and your wife doesn't know what she wants. Very difficult.

I suppose, the next time she's doing the "I'm only washing my towels" thing you could look her in the eye and say "shall we stop this, please." Anything that will get her to pull up, sit down and THINK where she'd like you all to be heading, instead of reacting to a situation she's perhaps panicking about? Do you think?

The only other thing that rings a bell is: there you are all nicely set up, you're rushing off to work and back, rushing around at home, trying to take on everything; meanwhile your wife's world has shrunk down to the home + grandma. I thought the depression query was worth a good look, by the way. But the lovely couple two doors down from us have recently separated (after fifteen years, I think) not because they didn't love one another but because one couldn't cope with the pace the other set - she was constantly exhausted. She works from home, too; and from what she said she began to feel as if her partner was a whirlwind who blew in and scattered all before her. Do you think the two of you might need to realign?
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