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Relationships and Care-Partnering This forum is for discussing relationships with family and friends, all of who affect those with Multiple Sclerosis. Also for carepartners to share ideas on managing the daily challenges of living with MS.

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  #1  
Old 04-20-2012, 06:44 PM
suzyguqt suzyguqt is offline
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UNSUPPORTIVE SPOUSE

SORRY, BUT THIS WILL BE A BIT LONG. HOW HAVE PEOPLE DEALT WITH AN UNSUPPORTIVE SPOUSE? MY HUSBAND MAKES GRAND SPEECHES ABOUT BEING THERE FOR ME, HELPING ME, PICKING UP SOME RESPONSIBILITY BUT THEN BECOMES ANGRY AND NITPICKY TOWARDS ME.

I HAVE COGNITIVE ISSUES AND WOULD LIKE HIM TO HELP WITH FINANCES CAUSE I'M AFRAID OF MAKING MISTAKES. I HAD ONE DAY OF POSITIVE TALK ABOUT HELPING. THEN I AM ATTACKED ABOUT SOMETHING UNRELATED AND NO OTHER HELP ON FINANCES (I DO FINANCES ONLINE USING QUICKEN).

HE HAS BELITTLED ME TO OTHERS, PAINTS ME AS A COMPLAINER (AND HERE I AM COMPLAINING) AND RESENTS ME CAUSE I HAVE SOMEONE WHO COMES IN TO WASH FLOORS AND VACUUM EVERY OTHER WEEK. HE TELLS ME I AM UNSYMPATHETIC TO HIM AND ALL HE IS GOING THROUGH BUT DOESN'T OFFER ANY SUSTAINED RECOGNITION OF THE CHALLENGES I HAVE WITH MS. I WORK 32 HOURS A WEEK AND MANAGE MOST TASKS YET, THOUGH SLOWER.

I AM AFRAID TO HAVE HIM COME TO MY NEUROLOGIST WITH ME CAUSE OF WHAT HE WILL SAY. HE TOLD THE DOC WHO DID MY NEUROPSYCH TESTS I WAS A GENIOUS (WHICH, OF COURSE, I AM NOT) AND HE DIDN'T NOTICE ANY MEMORY OR OTHER ISSUES I HAVE BUT THEN CONTINUOUSLY POINTS OUT MY POOR MEMORY.

I WAS ONLY RECENTLY DXD BUT WAS TOLD 20 YEARS AGO I HAD "PROBABLE" MS SO THIS ISN'T SOMETHING WE WERE SURPRISED BY. ANYONE WHO CAN OFFER ANY INSIGHT OR HAS A SPOUSE/SIGNIFICANT OTHER WHO IS/WAS SO CHALLENGING, I WOULD APPRECIATE HEARING YOUR THOUGHTS.

**Post broken into paragraphs by Moderator for easier reading. Many people with MS have visual difficulties that prevent them from reading large blocks of print.**
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  #2  
Old 04-20-2012, 10:53 PM
Torn Torn is offline
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I can relate so much it's not funny. I'm dying trying to deal with everything alone. I have four kids, I work, and I have to deal with all my medical procedures alone!
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  #3  
Old 04-23-2012, 07:13 PM
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LisaL77 LisaL77 is offline
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He sounds passive aggressive. He can talk all he likes, but the proof is in the behavior. I would tell him don't bother with speeches, SHOW ME you support me.

I would tell him it's not a competition on who is more stressed or burdened.

I told my husband's brother and his wife (who also has MS)about my husband not supporting or helping me ( I was still shoveling, I mowed our lawn, I packed/unpacked for our move, I cleaned the new house, etc.) and he had the audacity to accuse me of being negative when I was explaining the risks/side effects/benefits of going on Copaxone. Well, they basically shamed him into helping me more around the house.

A little circulation of propaganda helped me, it might help you. He badmouthed you to others, you should tell others the truth in a matter-of-fact way, and see what they think.
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Dx: 2/3/12. 6-8 lesions medulla/cervical spine. Tecfidera 8/13. Trileptal 100 mg 4x/day Baclofen 1 pill 3x/day.
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  #4  
Old 04-23-2012, 09:54 PM
Redwings Redwings is offline
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Hi susan:
I agree that your husband sounds passive aggressive, but there's a bit more to it than that. It takes two people to make a relationship. If he tells you you're unsupportive, that's something you'll have to look at.

And even though your diagnosis shouldn't have come as a surprise after20 years, a definite diagnosis is a reality that gives some people something "concrete" to finally rebel against. So they lash out as a way of trying to deny the change.

It might be that your husband isn't being consciously unsupportive. It's possible that he has only one way of showing that he's unhappy about his life changing, and he doesn't want it to change, and he's resentful that you're making it change.

But that's as far as my empathy goes. Being unsupportive is one thing. Attacking you and belittling you to others crosses the line into being just plain mean. And people who are immature and mean don't grow up and stop being mean just because someone asks them to. And haven't you already asked him to, directly or indirectly?

It takes a significant, sometimes traumatic, event to make a person change. Otherwise the person can view changing as "losing," even if the change would actually be beneficial. Your husband appears to be an immature man who values "winning" more than he values you or your marriage.

It might take a neutral third party to convince him (and you) to compromise. That means couples counseling. If your husband refuses to go, that tells you how interested he is in your marriage. Ultimately, you can't change another person. You can only change yourself. And toward that end, it could be beneficial for you to go to counseling/therapy by yourself. What you find out about yourself could be priceless.
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  #5  
Old 04-23-2012, 09:57 PM
suzyguqt suzyguqt is offline
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Thanks for replying

Thanks Lisa. I looked up PA and Narcissistic personality disorders which he meets the criteria very well. He has never been supportive and has torpedoed me so many times I can't count them all.

When I was in college, I put my funds in an account he had no access to. He kept coming to me trying to get access with some creative reasons why. His final one was what if I should die and he couldn't get that money. I knew if he had access, he would nickel and dime it until it was gone and I had to drop out of school.

When I asked for more help with our son (who he generally ignored), he took on 3 jobs - 2 full time and one part time weekends so he was never home. My son was extremely hurt by his dad's lack of attention and support.

He's alienated pretty much all of our families so there is no one to shame him to.

That's too bad about your husband. I wonder how long he will help you. From what I've read PA's don't hang in there for any real change, just do what is necessary to get someone off their back (and then there's the payback). Good luck to you. I think we could probably write the same book.
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  #6  
Old 04-24-2012, 12:24 AM
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Camsue Camsue is offline
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Hi Susan

sorry you're having a 'double whammy'... When I first got my dx there were no medications or treatment..it was virtually a 'wisn I would die' diagnosis.

My husband of 16 years and 3 children thought I was having an affair when I reacted by pulling away from the family. We divorced and he married 'our friend' the same year. That was 22 years ago.

in retrospect it would be nice to have a 'helper'. You can assist someone in changing their behavior by 'ignoring' the bad stuff and reinforcing the right things. It really works and I wish I had been mature enough to do that 23 years ago but I was too immature and stubborn.

Try it for a week..ignore his nasty stuff and reinforce (that's great, you're wonderful..it's ok to lie) ..you'll both feel better, and he can have the credit and maybe he'll change!.....
good luck

ps..my ex, his wife and I are all friends
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  #7  
Old 04-26-2012, 06:55 PM
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LisaL77 LisaL77 is offline
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Incidentally, regarding the housecleaner

Do you know what our CPA told my husband?

If I get a note from my doctor stating that due to my disability (MS), I can no longer perform the household duties I used to (**most of them!!!**) then the expense of hiring out is a tax write off. I was shocked.

Heck, I'm willing to get someone to do house/lawn care anyhow, because frankly I cannot do it.

The idea of couple's counseling is a good one, if your husband would agree to it. Going to counseling alone might be insightful. You might learn coping mechanisms to deal with him.

Sometimes the direct approach works, too. You could confront him when he does these things to you. Sometimes people are evil because they believe they can get away with it and won't be called to the carpet about it.
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Dx: 2/3/12. 6-8 lesions medulla/cervical spine. Tecfidera 8/13. Trileptal 100 mg 4x/day Baclofen 1 pill 3x/day.
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  #8  
Old 04-28-2012, 12:54 AM
jennlara jennlara is offline
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new here but 'i am struggling with a spouse ( or is it Me???)
This is the best way I think
i can put it. as long as i don't need him to be caretaking or maybe it is better to say understanding about my everyday needs. When I have had major relapses and needed to be in a wheelchair and couldn't do any caretaking of our children he did step up
but now I
am just deaking with everyday fatigue and cognitive issues and he tends to be sensitive thinking that i am just being lazy not understanding that I have linited communication when i am tired out.
WE ended up in the grocery strore tonight past my my good hours and when i was wanting to leave quickly he seemed to prolong the timr i had to stand and waiT.
I wish he would have understood and we could have made up tonight so we could have been #together# tonight but he doesn't get what I am trying to say and gave up and says he wants tom goto sleep.
well i forget what i am trying to point out.
its tough and you are great and focus on the good
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  #9  
Old 04-28-2012, 01:26 AM
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poohb3ar poohb3ar is offline
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jennlara, welcome to MSWorld. sorry it has to be under these conditions. but as you can see, many are struggling with lots of similiar problems.

it's great that your spouse is supportive at times.
but i know that must make it harder when he doesn't help out or feel your sxs are worthy of 'needing' help.

we've struggled with the same thing. being MS fatiqued is so different from being tired. it's mind and body, but my DH has a hard time w/ that. like why can't i work on finances, etc. while i'm resting or lying around.
he's a great hubby and supporter, but i guess they've all got their limits.
being stuck in a wc is very visible and valid (been there, done that lots) being fatiqued to the point you don't talk or use the right words, or can't speak straight.
it does break down communication and is frustrating for everyone. i know that's a hard place to be and it does seem that the more you try to explain, the worse you make.

just remember you're not alone. i admire that you can work outside the home, take care of children and everything else.
hang in there! there's always hope.
when you're feeling good and fog is less try to explain it to him. maybe he'll better understand.

hve you taken him to neuro.? exams. maybe he needs to hear from neuro the sxs of ms. perhaps that will help him understand.

hang in there, we're all here for ya! as you can see from the many responses on this thread, you're not alone in this.

may all who've posted and are hurting, may God bless ya and help you through it!
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  #10  
Old 04-28-2012, 10:30 PM
suzyguqt suzyguqt is offline
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Thanks to all for feedback

Thanks for the feedback and suggestions. I appreciate everyone who took the time to respond and it has helped me make at least one decision. A friend of mine's husband is a forensic clinical psychologist so I decided to call and talk to him. He has known my hub and myself for many, many years. His insight was both shocking and helpful when he said he sees my husband as highly narcissistic with passive-aggressive components (or something like that - he spoke psychologese) which supports what I have seen.

However, he pointed out a specific dx takes much testing and that the likelihood of a person with this type of personality changing is minimal at best. They don't seek or accept help as they see the other person/people as the problem. They lack empathy so cannot relate to other's feelings or situation.

They also feel highly entitled so his rxn to my dx is not unusual. I've long been aware of his sense of entitlement and just accepted it. He expects constant praise for anything he does to an extreme degree. For example, if he does the dishes once in 6 months, he expects to be commended for being a husband who helps with the housework even if he doesn't do anything else in that 6 months. But if I miss doing the same thing just once, it means I only do the dishes sometimes.

My friend said a narcissist will expect his significant other to adhere to his every wish without question, but in their mind they can treat you how ever they want, and no matter how abusive they are (apparently others have noticed his verbal abuse). But at the same time, they are hypersensitive to any "criticism" (so when I say I don't like being belittled, I am criticizing him which makes him angry). My MS dx puts him in the position of not getting everything he wants.

So the conclusion is I need to do as someone suggested and get counseling for myself. I've lived with this a long time and become numb to it until my MS dx. I am definitely going to need someone whom I can trust to help me through this.

Thanks again for the help and feedback. Susan
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