My Dad lives with us and my husband is jealous and depressed. Any advice?


My dad is demanding & scared, & I am the "filling" in this negative sandwich. Help! Dad is 97, has wet macular degeneration in one eye, is deaf in one ear and is negative most of the time because he is no longer independent. My husband is a negative person basically, and while we thought we could provide a home for my parents (mom died once they were settled here), he has grown very tired of trying with my dad. Also, I think my husband is jealous of the time I spend "catering" to dad, as he calls it, and he is now uncomfortable with anyone living in the house with us. My husband has depression and has been showing symptoms of paranoia for 5 years. He is also 67. His mom died of complications of Alzheimer's and his dad had prostate cancer for 17 years until it finally spread to his brain an he died as well. They lived across the country, however, and we seldom saw them. My husband's lack of compassion and selfishness, which he admits to, is a great sadness to me. I lose my temper and then feel like I'm not a good wife. The house is small and it bothers my dad to hear us argue and I'm sure he feels my husband's dislike and coldness. Dad is scared that he will have to go to a nursing home and I think he feels it will completely rob him of any dignity and independence. We don't live in the same state where my parents did and where their few remaining friends and acquaintances are. Dad has his own room and sitting room combination but prefers to spend his time with us. He is a great talker and pays no attention to what we might be doing, just interjecting and interrupting whenever. My husband has decided that dad is annoying on purpose, but dad has memory loss and can't remember so much - and knows it, which is scary for him, I'm sure. I feel like I could deal with my father if my husband could show just a little more understanding and compassion and overlook his annoying personality. Dad constantly drums his fingernails, or rubs his shoes together so they squeak, or turns his rotating chair so it squeaks. He says he just a nervous type, but it drives you crazy. He is also not a person who has every said please or thank you, just points at what he wants and expects to be waited on. I grew up with this and have learned over 67 years to just let it go, but my husband just can't. He has some physical issues of his own, but they both do not like doctors and all suggestions fall on "deaf ears". The only one I want "fix" here is me. How do I survive the atmosphere and provide a home for my father and not lose my husband? It's too late to tell me I shouldn't have taken my parents in and now I see no way out that won't break my father's heart and take away his final bit of independence and dignity. He and my mom were married for 71 years and never was there such a lonely soul as he is since she died. My husband didn't like visiting his parents at the end of their illnesses, and while my dad doesn't have that kind of illness, my husband doesn't like, and won't, spend any time alone with him. Dad doesn't need to be watched every minute, and I take long walks, go to the health center, visit neighbors, work in the garden and yard, sew and read. My husband and I do many projects together around the house and have a normal sex life for folks our age. Both my dad and my husband need special diets - and they don't eat the same things usually. Dad eats everything and he really expects to eat and 8 am, 12 noon and 5 pm. I spend a lot of time grocery shopping, meal planning, cooking, washing dishes. My husband is a picky eater, and skips meals sometimes and dad is constantly commenting on how that isn't good, asking him why don't you eat this or that, or offering him food that he can't remember? my husband doesn't eat. I remind my dad constantly not to do the things that drive my husband crazy. I am looking for a way to make this work, not a way out of it. And that is my main problem - I think I should be able to fix this. Harder and harder now that my husband is blaming his recent diabetes diagnosis on the stress caused by our living situation rather than his life long diet of carbs and sugar. I do have a good sense of humor and we used to laugh a lot. Now I have a harder and harder time dealing with the stress. Is there any hope for us??

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If you are determined to make this work, then you'll have to step back and see how they do when you have taken some time for yourself.

I'd like to mention that your husband may feel some anger or jealousy because his parents were across the country and he saw very little of them throughout their last years yet you parents have lived with you. Right or wrong, this needs to be considered. It's not as if he didn't give anything at all. He now has health issues, including depression and paranoia. He could even be having early signs of dementia and he may be aware of that and frightened.

You can only handle so much. As was mentioned by others, there are some excellent assisted living facilities where your dad would have company and may actually feel less dependent than he does under this current situation.

You can only handle so much. Your husband has illnesses he can't help and you may collapse yourself, mentally and/or physically if you don't make changes. To me it's either accept how things are and step back to see what happens when you decide to take some time off or make changes that will enable you all to have a less stressful life.

None of this is easy and no one but you can make these decisions for you. We're here to listen, however. Please keep us posted on how you are doing,
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You're not going to change your father and you're not going to change your husband. All you can do at this point is change how their behavior affects you. They both sound like overgrown babies and they don't need to be fighting over "mommy" (you, in this situation).

If your husband gets miserable enough will he leave? If it gets to that point then you'll have to choose: husband or father. Until then let them be miserable while you continue with your hobbies and interests. Don't try to make things easier for either of them, that keeps you square in the middle. Your husband is a grown up. If your dad is bugging him then your husband can get up and walk away or go on an errand.

But when your dad points at something he wants, as in "get that for me", I'd draw a big old line right there and refuse until he can speak like a civilized person. This is may be something you can try to change.
Helpful Answer (11)

You said, "I am looking for a way to make this work, not a way out of it."

Ain't gonna are seeking the impossible....Why impossible?
Because the operative word you use is "I" am seeking.....Your husband is not seeking the same thing....Result...Stalemate. Permanently.

Key is to cope with, not to make the problem go away...You CAN improve on the situation......Idea: Hubby goes out to the car and gets it warmed up....You get ready to go out to eat with hubby....Stop at front door and tell dad that his dinner is on the table and you will be back by about 8 or whatever....Close door and leave even if he is asking or saying something in return. Heartless?
Hardly....When you get back and he rants about it, just smile and say that you had plans with friends (each other) and say no more...if he persists just say you are not willing to discuss it.....

From what you say, I gather that such treatment will not change his endless may now include a measure (likely a large measure) of him railing and ranting....Repeat this going out routine at least every other day.

We can't change others......We can, with difficulty, change ourselves..

Your husband, yourself and your marriage come first as I see it. You ARE honoring dad already.

Your call....Tough words I know, but what price sanity?


Helpful Answer (11)

Is a nursing home the only other option for dad? What about assisted living? He'd be around others his own age and there would be things for him to do, instead of constantly being underfoot as you and your husband try to live your life.

I know you're not asking for this kind of feedback, but in my opinion, your desire to help your dad is admirable, but not at the expense of your marriage. Your husband is your first priority, not your dad. I think there are other options that would possibly be even better (and more empowering) for your dad - where he can live a fuller life that's not so dependent on you for everything. He can't feel good, knowing he's the source of much unhappiness in your household. Good luck whatever you choose. It sounds like you've got your hands full with both of the men in your life.
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Do you have other family members who could take Dad for a week or so every now and again? I do agree they both need to be seen by a doctor for evaluation; medication may help one or both. It would certainly lessen your stress.

Would it be possible to contact social services for whatever assistance your Dad might qualify for in home or for respite care so you and hubby can get away for a few days or at the least a few hours a day during the week?

The situation just sounds emotionally unhealthy for all of you. My first responsibility is to my husband and always will be.
Helpful Answer (7)

You have a high tolerance for men who behave badly. That said, there is a tone of desperation in your story. At a minimum, Please talk to some nursing homes with "day-stay programs" for your Dad. one or two days a week he will hate, hate, hate it, for about the first 10 or so visits. You already put up with complaining and more so get something out of it that does you some good. You will love your days off duty and Dad will eventually develop some new friends and settle into the routine. He may never tell you that but if he is unhappy whats the difference for you except you have one or two days to do other things important to you. Your husband is another issue and please be sure he is getting all the therapeutic mental help you can find for him. God bless you with your difficult decisions but stand firm because neither of these men are capable of giving you any help.
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I think as must also remember that it's not incumbent upon any of us to continually be concerned about keeping an elder, happy, nor be their main company either. This really is not normal. The more we succumb to guilt, or say a narcissistic parent, we unfortunately set ourselves up for more unreasonable demands. Yes, and this can apply to just about anyone of our personal relationships. Let's try to keep that in mind also, so we can hopefully maintain some kind of a balance in all of this.

Much Love & Light! Margeaux
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Good grief, two little boys! Seriously I feel sorry for you. You husband sounds selfish and your dad is old. You are catching all the stress from both. If your husband doesn't want his father in law living with him then you probably need to find other arrangements for your father. I think your husband comes first even if he is a bit selfish. And I agree with who ever said don't expect a lot of compassion from your husband if you should get sick. My mother is like your husband and she turned her back on her parents and my dad when things got tough.

Take care of yourself.
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I'm truly sorry that you have such a situation going on with your father and husband.

First of've stated that your living quarters are small. Now even if you feel that your husband isn't being as welcoming of your father and all of that.......this is after all your husband's space too. If he never experienced this w/his own parents, you cannot realistically expect him to be o.k. w/much of the attention going towards the care of your father. Often times well meaning children take their parents into their own homes to later discover that the day to day committment and tolerance by all concerned, hardly matches, "good intentions."

I'm beginning to wonder about this view at times by caregivers, who cling to the belief that by keeping a parent in their home, or living with them.......maintains their independence. Think about it, usually these elders still need people coming in to do many things for them. It appears that this is where you find yourself at the is time.
Maybe caregivers need to give this more thought. Ask yourself, is dad REALLY being independent, or am I (his daughter & CG) unwilling to see that my father requires way more attention than I am able to give to him.
Your husband is having his own health issues. When anyone is not feeling their best, it's understandable, that he would end up feeling some competition towards the attentions you need to spend on your father. I'm married. Hence,
I strongly feel that your first responsibilities should go towards your husband.

Is there any way you could find some kind of assisted living arrangement for your father? I recently visited a home........and I was impressed by the social interaction between seniors. This could be a healthier choice for your father, and definitely for your marriage.

I do hope that you find some solutions to this, because it really sounds as if it is causing too much stress on you and your husband.

Much Love & Light! Margeaux

Much Love & Light! Margeaux
Helpful Answer (6)

I went through issues with my husband being jealous while we took care of my mother. The dementia makes the patient act like little children who are selfish and do not understand that they need to have common social etiquette. If you want your marriage to be there when Dad is gone, you are going to have to make an effort to spend time with your husband just by yourselves.

Everyone in the house is effected by the stress of care giving. I hired help so that I could have a regular date night with my husband. My Mom would pout, not eat her dinner and sometimes give the caregiver problems. You wouldn't stay home to cater to a child that acted that way so why do so with a dementia patient.

My husband had a right to feel jealous when my mother took the best part of my energy all day long and there was nothing left for him. She would constantly interrupt any opportunity we took just to talk together. She would stand in front of the TV during the sports games and try to talk. We both loved her and each other but it was a very stressful time. I went to counseling to deal with the overwhelming feelings of everyone wanting a piece of me. I had to learn to set boundaries for my own survival.

Communication is very important.during these times. A support group or counseling for yourself could give you more ideas on handling your situation.

It isn't fair that your Dad gets everything he wants and is allowed to get by with that behavior. He needs some boundaries even in his condition. This may be at the crux of your husband's complaint. You may find him more helpful and understanding if he didn't feel that he had to give up everything in his life for your Dad. This is his home too. Try to imagine how you would feel if the situation was reversed.
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