Husband not coping
Does anyone have any advice dealing with a husband who is not dealing with a diagnosis? He’s leaning on me for emotional support and has spent most of the holidays drunk (he was a heavy drinker before) but he just sees the diagnosis as using drinking as a way to cope. I’m trying to stay strong and recover from chemo while caring for our daughter. I’ve been dealing with things pretty well but his outlook is just causing tension and frustration. I understand he’s doing it tough but I need support now. I nursed him through a cancer diagnosis 5 years ago but he says he can’t handle it because it’s me. Sorry for the rant. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Hi @Brownowl, I just wanted to let you know I am thinking of you. I am always a fan of enlisting the help of a psychologist or counsellor but I also know that there are many people who would not willingly use the services. Does your husband have a close mate/relative who he would talk with? A lot of men may not be comfortable starting the conversation, but perhaps you could get that person to ‘drop over’ some time.
Everyone deals with the diagnosis so differently, but it is really important that you get the support you need. I am in no way qualified, but I can really recommend giving the Cancer Council a call as they have support services which may be able to give you some ideas about how to handle things.
You are not ranting at all and this is a great place to come to for support and understanding. You need to be supported. At the moment the priority is your health and allowing your body time to heal. In the meantime, could you try doing a couple of day activities that you all will enjoy - picnic; beach trip - things that don’t really present the opportunity to drink so that you can spend time with your daughter and kind of break the routine.
Take care and I am sending you a hug - the road we walk can be just so exhausting, but we are here for you. Mx7
Hello @Brownowl, I’m sorry to hear you’re not getting the support you need. Because as you said, you really need it right now. Your hubby does too, but you need it more. Recovering from chemo is hard enough, having a little girl to care for even harder, and then hubby on top of all that would be impossible. I think it might be time to pull in the big guns, aka the professionals. He prob needs to see someone about his drinking problem, and also about coping with your and his diagnoses. I know his is in the past, but he might be reliving some of it. I think maybe see your GP and ask for a referral for him to find someone and help him deal with all these issues. And to help you too. I’m not sure if you have reliable family and friends nearby, but if you do now is the time to ask for help. For both of you. Good luck and check in with your progress ♥️
@Brownowl I can't add anything really to what has been said. Unfortunately it's a situation that you can't sort - only he can. It does sound like he needs some counselling, and perhaps you do, too. My guess is that he won't go for it, though. Enlisting someone, friend or family, who he will listen to is a strategy, as is a GP if you share one. If there are things you want to say that you can't in a conversation, writing them down may work.
One thing that may help you is to realise that it is not up to you. Your husband is a grown man who is, no matter the reason, making choices. For many of us, we spend so much of ourselves trying to make things right for everybody that it becomes so instinctive that we don't even realise we are doing it. Only you know how you feel but it may be that another strategy is to take a step back from trying to solve things and concentrate on yourself and your child. For practical things, ask family or friends for assistance (meals, driving, etc). If you can afford it, maybe get a cleaner for the hardest stuff so that you can focus on you. I'm not telling you what I think you should do, but suggesting other ways.
This is tough stuff. Whether you take action or not, make sure that you are doing what you can handle. Sometimes we feel pressured (often by ourselves) that we should make a stand on something that we are just not ready to deal with. Take care.6
This is very hard stuff to cope with. @Sister is right, your husband is a grown up - problem is, he’s not acting as one. Dependency may have been present for a long time but becomes impossible when you can no longer carry the extra load. It may not be possible but if he has to cope on his own for a little while, it may shake him into realising that he has to take some responsibility - and resolution - about his own feelings and actions, not drop them on your shoulders. He needs some expert help, certainly, but getting him to that point of acceptance will not be easy. As suggested, a male friend or good workmate may be able to talk with him. Take care of yourself.5
Ah, @Brownowl that is no good at all. It's pretty common for those close to us to have a personal crisis related to our treatment at some stage. It is not OK to get pissed for a week and make it all about them.
If you have been dealing with his dependency issues for a while you have probably weathered similar storms, but the holiday season (curse it and the bloody reindeer it rode in on) can tip folk over the top. Like the others, I can't give you any personal advice and this is a particularly challenging time to get any professional help.
If you haven't heard of the Otis Foundation https://www.otisfoundation.org.au/ maybe try to book some time away without him. That won't help today, but it will give you something to look forward to where you can spend some quality time with your daughter and not have to clean up anyone else's mess--emotional of physical.
If you feel unsafe please make sure someone close to you knows that and keeps an eye on your home situation. If you fell threatened go and stay with someone, pretty much anyone, and tell him you will discuss things when he is sober. Mxx7
Hi,ditto to all the above advice. Chemo knocks the stuffing out of you and you are probably in survival mode with little in reserve to care for others as well. Could you go and stay with your mum or a relative/friend for a break and some TLC?5
Thanks everyone for responding.Today was a better day for our family.I agree with the comments above. I need to put myself first and preserve my energy. I guess we do what we think is the right thing to keep all the plates spinning.The words I spoke to him last night and some family support have helped today.While I’m not making excuses I guess no one knows how they are going to deal with things and it’s a process.Please know that my daughter and I are safe and supported. I truly appreciate your thoughts and the time you’ve taken to reach out and provide some really solid suggestions. This group has been so much help so far. ❤️9
Pleased that you have been able to move in a way that you can manage. It's difficult when you have a small person who needs security but it's important now for you to concentrate on yourself and that is going to be different things for different people and times.4
@Brownowl Just sending a massive hug your way. I agree with what was said above. Look after yourself lovely.3
If it gets too hard (emotionally) my husband retreats and I feel as though I don't exist. Any emotion or change in the slightest routine means he's not available to help me with my needs. Its tough! VERY. I have a couple of friends whose husbands have similar traits and I can phone them for a good scream or sob. Over the years I've found talking with a Cancer Council nurse or counselor has helped me stay sane. I realised a long time ago that its up to me to figure out how to negotiate my way through often barren and sometimes hostile territory - I have learned through experience to be very clear about my needs, eg, help with a shower or preparing a meal, I find I have to be very precise about my needs and his role, eg,' I am very tired today and need help with ......................, can you help me with this? Tell him your needs and his role. Again, this is tough and I need to remind myself that strong emotions must feel like facing Tyrannosaurus Rex. Stay in touch.
I agree. Today was another better day all round. Things are looking up. 😊4
So sorry to hear about everything. I have a husband who relies on alcohol waaayyy too much. It is incredibly stressful having to deal with his drunk behaviour then have him deny it all when he’s sober.In the past 2 years things have improved somewhat, after it coming to a horrible almost divorce head after over 12 years of putting up with it.He still drinks, though not as frequently, and not to the point of revolting behaviour. I still find it hard to relax when he’s drinking. I still feel like I’m on guard.I know this doesn’t help. 🙁
Take care of you and your girl. If you feel safe and can talk to him about the effect it is having on you, try.
I would wait until he was sober. Some days his reactions were better than others.Once we had the blow up he actually went to the doctor with me and admitted to not coping. Which was a huge step. He hasn’t spoken to any professionals since but has been open with a few of his close friends.
When you are feeling stronger it might be the time for you to think about really facing the issue but right now just do what you can to feel safe.Even now I have another room I can sleep in so I don’t have to sleep with him drunk (more now for snoring/run fumes than behaviour) and he accepts it when I say I’m sleeping in the other room tonight.I had friends I knew I could ring at any time and stay overnight when things were really bad.Alcohol is f***ing horrible stuff.Lots of love to you. Please msg me if you want (absolutely no pressure)
I understand what a stress this is on top of everything else.Xx7
Hopefully in a sober light the message gets through.
Best wishes as you navigate treatment1
@Brownowl Hoping you are going OK & that family life is improving. You have been given some wonderful advice above so hope this has all helped.
Not sure if you have enlisted the aid of a McGrath Breast Care nurse to help you through your treatment/recovery. I did & found her help,advice & support invaluable & all for free! We would email or ring each other when I had a silly question to ask or she would contact me to see how i was going. She also visited me personally when she was in my area.
When i first started seeing her, she said that her service was not only for me but for ANY family member/relative/friend who had questions, concerns & wasnt coping with my diagnosis. She was wonderful & these nurses offer free counselling for any relative. i wondered if this may be of help to you as it wouldn't be as confronting as going to see a GP/counselor/psychologist at their rooms when she could possibly come to your home. If it was included in a support visit for you, then your husband could speak to her during the visit & maybe your daughter too.
I hope you stay strong & positive for you as you need to look after number one & care for your daughter. I know it is hard for family looking on as they often feel helpless in this situation & your husband maybe reliving his own cancer journey but that is no excuse for not supporting you through yours. If anything, he should know how you feel & he may not mean it, but his actions are a little selfish when you need his support. Sending love, strength & prayers to you & be kind to yourself xxxx4
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