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I found this site from searching the above questions. I read a forum post that related an eerily similar story to our own.


I have mental health problems, diabetes, and high cholesterol.


I am an OIF and OEF Navy Vet.


My gf and I met 5 years ago and the first 3 years were awesome. She is 15 years older than I am. She started going through menopause 3-4 years ago and it has killed the intamcy of our relationship. 2 years ago she ended up having a medical emergency that ended up with 5 surgeries & ultimately an ileostomy bag. I had already been caretaking for her due to obesity and her being unable to do a lot of things for herself. At the time she was still able to do small chores around the house in small spurts.


Now, she is unable to do anything for herself. I get her drinks, food, help her with restroom stuff, showers, emptying and changing her ileostomy. On top of all the other responsibilities in the house.


I am unable to leave the house for more than 2 hours, due to needing to empty her bag, or forbid, a bag leak. It has happened in the past. She gets mad at me. Her mental health problems and trust issues from past relationships works her up and we end up in yelling matches just from me wanting to go to the grocery store. On top of those yelling matches, we also fight at times while changing her bag, happened today because I was at the shelf getting more cloths to catch any leakage and she leaked while I was away. She had just had a shower and felt I was away and took too long and started yelling at me that I was at fault and I should do better. I tried to keep my cool, but I lost it and she ended up crying and having end of life thoughts and statements.


Due to her ileostomy she has tried to end her life in front of me, ending up in the hospital for a little over a week. Each time we have a fight I am afraid of a repeat.


Tonight I ended up talking to a suicide hotline for over an hour because I wanted to end everything. I am safe now. I do have mental health problems and the stress is very triggering. It has always been for me, and as much as I hate it, it is ultimately my strongest weakness. I thought about going to the hospital, but who would take care of my gf?


We have no support system. I had one friend who would have helped, but my gf and her got into a fight over a month ago and stopped being friends. The friend had actually stopped helping us at all over a year ago when my gf yelled at her during a bag change.


She doesn't want to go to assisted living because she views it as a place people go to die.


When we have talked about it she also feeds me guilt trips about not seeing her dogs again, us having to end our relationship if she goes, them taking all her SSI to pay for the housing and care, and being unable to play her favorite games online.


I feel trapped. On one hand I love her and I want to care for her. However, I feel like my youth is wasting away. I love to be outdoors and going places, eating out, seeing a movie, taking long walks, the average dating profile worth of hobbies, etc. With our current situation I am unable to. I can't plan to visit family or friends.


I feel guilty for feeling this way. My grandfather took care of my grandmother till he passed away. I feel like if I can't live up to my grandfathers standards then I failed as a man and my responsibilities to our relationship.


Also, with the virus happening and all the drama happening at nursing homes I am afraid of sending her there to die of getting the virus.


How does one quit being a caretaker if the patient doesn't want to go?
How does one deal with the guilt of quitting being a caretaker?
Am I alone in this situation? (I know I read another similar story, but are there more?)
How can I take care of myself if I am barely allowed to, or unable to go to the hospital? (I need to have minor surgery, but am unable to go because the wound has a high percentage of opening if I sit.)


Thank you.

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One way to look at it is that quitting (not the word I'd use, but your own) will be better for her.

You are being destroyed by this situation And So Is She.

The sacrifices - huge, unsustainable sacrifices - that you are making are not helping her. In the years you have devoted to her, her condition and situation have become worse and not better.

Get advice from your own support services - are you in touch with some? - about how to do it in an orderly way, and then get out as soon as you can.
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Radar82 May 26, 2021
Thank you for replying. I don't know what word to use besides quiting. How or what words would you use to describe it? I'm going to get into contact with her case manager and hotlines like others and you have suggested. I feel I need to handle this delicately or face an explosive situation.
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Look, she isn't serious about her health if one of her biggest concerns is being unable to see her dogs or play video games. Going to a nursing home won't cause her death -- SHE has it in her power to cause or prevent it, and she's determined to go down and take you along. You can't fix her.

Your grandfather cared for your grandmother not because he was a "man," but because he was married to your grandmother and no doubt she'd cared for him over the years, too. My dad devotedly cared for my mother until he died because, as he put it, she had a lot of credit built up.

Your girlfriend has used up her credit, as she's abusive and doesn't care enough about her own health to be the best partner for you. You are not required to be her rescuer, nor can you fix someone who won't fix themselves.

The two of you are a matched set of enablers, and only you can break the destructive cycle. You care enough about yourself to make changes for the better -- she doesn't -- so be strong and do it. A real man doesn't perpetuate a destructive situation.
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Radar82 May 26, 2021
Thank you for replying. I ran out of room to type more in my question. I have definitly enabled her. A lot of the time it's easier to give in rather then be in a shouting match all day, where eventually cave in because I'm defeated. There is so much more to this situation that stems from her past and when with my past becomes volitial. I see your point about the "man" subject and hadn't thought about it from your and your grandfather's view. Maybe a better way to relate it is the stubborn attitude the military beat into my brain to see every mission through to the end. I'm going to seek out her case manager and get some info before I confront her. I'm afraid I might need to have emergency services nearby when I do.
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SAVE YOURSELF.

She is a YOUNG OBESE TOTALLY DYSFUNCTIONAL HUMAN BEING who cannot and WILL NOT save herself until (slim chance) SHE DECIDES that she will stop consuming foods that PERPETUATE HER ILLNESS.

Is it a fair assumption that she REQUIRES YOU to purchase and prepare and serve her what she eats that keeps her totally dependent on you? Can you see that it is SHE that should be “guilty” enough to make small changes to help YOU?

Entrapping another human being to become your personal servant USED TO BE ILLEGAL in the country I live in, and hopefully, it still is. Morbid and super-morbid obesity are old acquaintances of mine, and I do know something about the psychological mechanics of obesity management.

If you want to assess the pathological nature of her dependence on you, tell her calmly that you are going to start taking good care of yourself, and that you will (temporarily?) be taking good care of her as well, SO you will be purchasing and serving ONLY the foods on her MEDICALLY PRESCRIBED EATING PLAN (she has one, right?) and NOTHING ELSE.

Then put on your noise canceling ear protection AND DO IT. .

KNOW THIS- she is willing to use her accumulated mass to control you. No human being is somehow entitled to do this. You have sacrificed for her, but if she is not willing to HELP HERSELF by doing something that would potentially HELP YOU, (sacrificing foods that are making herself) your guilt is meaningless as well as misplaced.

You are worth the care you need to GIVE YOURSELF. TODAY, do what is best for yourself, to make your life healthier and happier. If you can’t save both of you, SAVE YOURSELF. You deserve doing so.
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Radar82 May 26, 2021
Thank you for replying. We now eat for the majority healthy foods. I'm a great cook and use my skills well. Also being that I'm diabetic I've been indoctrinated with a lot of healthy and awrsome food tips from my doctors. It gets tricky when someone has an ileostomy bag because fiber causes blockages, on top of other diet restrictions due to other health problems stemming from her obesity copd borderline diabetes a skin problem that salt effects and makes worse and having to watch potassium intake. I'm going to seek out her case manager and a hotline and get more info.
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So your girlfriend demands and you give in.
Your girlfriend takes, so you continue to give.
Your girlfriend has attempted suicide - in front of you - and now you're suicidal yourself.

Surely, you must see that this relationship is poisoning both of you.

Everyone is entitled to the occasional pity party. Everyone is entitled to a day of thinking "I just can't do this anymore". But when those days become more often than others, when you begin to rely on anyone and everyone else for the things you should and could be doing for yourself, it's time for an intervention.

My husband has a myriad of health issue, the most serious being an autoimmune that is attacking the protective sheath around his nerves. His feet are a mess; he has pain in his hands. He has times where he pities himself. Times when the fear of the future and what it holds for both of us sneaks up on him and causes him distress. BUT - he doesn't give into it. He makes himself get up every morning to swim. Makes himself do the work around the house that he can do - mow the grass, help in the garden, help with the housework, etc. - because he is of the mindset "use it or lose it". In many instances, it would be easier for both of us if I just did the stuff, or if we hired it out. But, as hard as it is for me to watch him struggle, I will give him his independence, fully understanding that while it might be physically easier, it will be mentally crippling for him to not do things on his own.

My friend, your girlfriend needs far and away more help than you can give her, starting with some serious mental health counseling. Yes, her circumstances suck. She's still a relatively young woman who is now facing these issues for the remaining portion of her life. However, it is HER choice whether or not to spend that remaining time in misery or not. She has the right to make that choice for herself, but she DOES NOT have the right to make that choice for you. Don't allow her to do that. Either she seeks help for her issues, and starts to do the things that you know she can do, or you leave her to her own devices. Because, clearly the situation as it exists at this very moment is destructive to you both.

Good luck.
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Radar82 May 26, 2021
Thank you for replying. Logically I know I'm not alone, but it's hard to see that I am not when I have embedded myself in this situation. I feel guilty because I have enabled her, but looking back, I realize she was on the start of her spiral before we met and I had blinders on. I'm going to seek out her case manager and get more info. I also feel I am wading into uncharted territory and the lack of knowledge I have os extremely intimidating.
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Radar, if your GF becomes violent, threatening or suicidal, you call 911 and have her transported to the ER for a psychiatric evaluation.

You work with the Social Worker in the discharge planning department to get her a placement. You tell them "I can no longer care for her in MY home".
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Radar82 May 26, 2021
Thank you for replying. I definitly intend to take your advice. I dont believe I could live through the guilt if the worst happened.
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You've long since stopped being a BF and slid right into being a FT CG--who is being abused in the process.

You can slowly do your research about moving her to a place where she can get care and moving yourself to place where YOU can care for YOURSELF.

Being a vet should be a great hekp if you go through the VA.

She's really bringing you down--and you've done nothing to deserve this kind of treatment.

Stand up for yourself, OK? And no guilt, you've done more than you could ever be required to do.

ANd be prepared for the anger that she will throw your way. Cause she will.

Good Luck!
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Radar82 May 27, 2021
Thank you for replying. I know this is an issue, but I am almost paralyzed by fear of getting her angry because I am afraid of her ending her life. I am going to take baby steps and research help and have a plan before I confront her.
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You are certainly not alone. I read on the forum, hear in my workplace & from friends & my own experience - stories of when a person takes on a caregiving role. They may take it on for their own reasons: due to a caring nature, love, loyalty, obligation, duty, whatever drives them.

But sometimes the care needs just simply outweigh what one person can do.

Not just physically DO but to allow them to also live a fullfilling life, with friends, fun, outdoor activities, sport, hobbies, holidays even. This leads to burnout, & worse.

There hopefully is an Area of Aging or Disability Support Service to assist finding what services are available to your GF. I would even start with a Lifeline or Crises Line for contacts. Some sort of Case Manager may be useful to help co-ordinate more care. To lighten your load. This could be in home or AL.

Some people with disabilities spend regular time (maybe 2 weeks, 4x year) in respite to allow family/partner a real break. This allows the care recipient to build trust in staff & other carers & may allow the family/partner to continue. Or it can be used as a transition into care.

Things to mention/think about;
* Is it reasonable that all tasks are done you & only you?
* Is it reasonable that you do not have a needed operation because your GF is fearful of change?

Your needs matter too.
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Radar82 May 26, 2021
Thank you for replying. I'm definitly going to look into this. This feels childish but I feel I have to sneak around to get this info because im afraid if I fill her in it will trigger her and send us both through an other fight or worse type of episode.
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Hi everyone thank you for responding. I attempted to respond to each of you individually but my phone had different ideas and I don't see my replies.

She has lost weight since her surgery. I am a great cook and having my own health issues, we generally eat healthy foods.

I feel this situation is volitial. I do feel trapped. I own this home and my name is the only one on the mortgage. With the moratorium on evictions by the US govt till the end of June with the possibility of it being extended I am unsure of my legal rights. Or I would get up and walk out the door.

On top of the eviction problem I don't understand my rights as a care giver on top of my rights and what i see as a maze of legal issues when it comes to care giver and patient rights and (elder abuse ? I cant think of the proper words to use)

I am paid through SSI to care take for her. I have thought about seeking of they can send someone over to take my place. However it would only be for 3 and a half hours each day. A break is a break though.

I do agree were pretty toxic. We're both bipolar and it feeds against each other. Often if one of us is depressed or manic it feeds into the other becoming depressed or manic.

Im going to seek out help from the hotlinas and her case manager.

Its good to hear im not alone and I'm also sad this seems to be a slightly common problem.

I do take responsibility in my culpability in these issues. I am going to start working at changing.

Thank you. I will keep an eye on this question and hopefully post more here as events update.
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BurntCaregiver May 26, 2021
You can do it, Radar82.

No one can live in good health if they're living in a dysfunctional, co-dependent relationship.
This doesn't mean that the relationship cannot become a healthy one if both people are willing to be accountable for their actions and behaviors and willing to work hard to change themselves.
People also have to be honest with each other, even if it's painful to be. It's not fair to either person if one is staying in the relationship out of guilt, or the other because they need a caregiver. No one benefits from this.
If both of you want to stay together, then you should. There has to be a lot of accountability and hard changes though.
If one of you doesn't want to stay in it, the kindest thing to do is to leave before anger, resentment and hate show up.
And they will show up. These three take away all the good memories and the love the two people had for each other.
They leave only bitter disappointment and despair in their place.
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Helping others can bring people meaning and purpose, but at the extreme it can fuel someone’s self worth by being a rescuer. Find a social worker with a knowledge of services as well as the ability to really listen to you. Before you go, write down everything about the circumstances—Social Security, Medicare, illnesses, so that you’re prepared and can explain the situation. Ask for ways that you can help her get assistance. When you leave, knowing you’ve attempted to help her will help decrease your guilt. If she chooses not to do anything that is on her; maybe she needs some serious case management. You are not her social worker and you are enabling her. But work on yourself to figure out how you ended up in this position so it doesn’t happen again. Your depression and suicidal thinking is a sign you’re in deep trouble and things have to change.
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MargaretMcKen May 27, 2021
Right on about 'helping others can bring people meaning and purpose, but at the extreme it can fuel someone’s self worth by being a rescuer'. I'll repeat from a back reply+reply: 'We all assess relationships by various criteria, including 'what's in it for me'.' Unfortunately, the 'what's in it for me' can be the buzz of being the helper, the savior, the rescuer, etc. Even the missionary!

In Oz, there is a thing about dealing with disfunctional Aboriginal desert people - you're either a mercenary, a missionary, or a misfit. Being a latter-day missionary (aka rescuer) isn't likely to be much more successful than the originals.
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Thank you all for the great replies, support, and information. I contacted her Case Manager today and am awaiting a phone call back. I have talked to a few friends that I had not talked to in a while due to all my stress and feeling like a burden to them. They welcomed me back with open arms and listened to what has been going on. Them knowing the situation from before and hearing the updates agree she has been abusive and encouraged me to seek out more care for her. They encouraged me that if I want to continue her and my relationship that I need to set boundaries and offered to help me confront her when the time is right, and I have all my information. I will keep this updated.
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MargaretMcKen May 28, 2021
Great news! Widening out your life is a very good thing, and a tribute to you that old friends want to support you. Overwhelming situations can lead to tunnel vision.
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