AIBU to talk about being stressed while my partner is recovering from cancer?(18 Posts)
Sorry this is long. We have two toddlers. I've always done the vast majority of the work, and this caused us problems in the beginning, but i suppose the arguments never changed anything and I just got used to the situation. Then, a few months ago my partner was diagnosed with cancer and began chemo. It's worked and he's nearly finished the full course of chemo, and the effects of chemo have been relatively light (but still horrible for him, don't get me wrong). During this, I obviously took on all the tasks. I did everything for the children while he felt Ill or tired, I made all the food, tried to listen and help with his fears and sadness. I don't resent him this, of course, but it's been tough.
I took the children to the doctors the other day because I thought they had chest infections, and I told her that I was especially concerned because of my partner being susceptible to infection at the moment. Turns out the kids are fine, but she said she was more concerned at how i was coping with everything going on. I told her i was fine, but it was hard not to break down. I realised that maybe it was ok for me to feel upset at how hard things were for me, too.
Anyway, this morning I got quite stressed and upset. I started talking to him about how my life has become constant work, in caring for the children and single-handedly trying to keep the house together, and i did ask whether when he's recovered he would be able to do things around the house so I can get a job (he doesn't want to work) and he said that he would just get his mum to do the laundry but he would do some washing up and stuff. That was ok by me, but i was a bit off about the fact that he was going to get his mum to do laundry. I said that laundry was one of the easier tasks, and why wouldn't he do that one, and he said he wasn't even aware we had a laundry basket. At this point I was amazed at how oblivious he seemed to how much I actually do around the house, so I said 'I don't think you even know how much I do, to which he replied 'I don't think you have any idea what chemo is like'. Now, I got upset, because I was never asking him to do more while he was ill, but he wouldn't stop twisting it to seem like I was saying he should be doing more now. He started saying 'fine, i'm going to make all my own food, you won't have to do any of it. That's what you want isn't it?' (in a very hostile tone). He wouldn't accept that I didn't want that, and he just kept on being really facetious about everything, keeping on saying that he'll do it all himself. I tried to say that it's reasonable for me to express that i'm stressed, and that it didn't mean I was unwilling to help him, but he just kept saying the same thing. Then he said that my problems were stupid and little compared to his, which I accept but it doesn't magically stop me from feeling stressed. I started getting ready to go out to get some space to think, and he started smashing things up in the kitchen.
I went out to cool off a bit, and he seemed better when I got back, i apologised for bringing him stress at this time, told him it wasn't my intention and that things got out of hand, but he still wouldn't accept that I wasn't suggesting he had to do more now, and that it would be good for us to both be able to talk about our feelings. Right now he's refused to talk any more and I have no-one else to talk to about it. So. There. Am I being unreasonable?
You're not unreasonable, you're worn out with anxiety, stress and any other rotten thing you might mention. Of course it has been ghastly for him too and he's going to take time to process all this horribleness. I totally get why you'd be pissed off at MIL doing laundry (and yes, it is the easy bit).
A bunch of flowers emoji doesn't really cover it but here is one .
You sound pretty strong but that doesn't mean shouldering this is easy. I hope things settle down and maybe a chat with the GP would be an idea.
So he was lazy before the cancer and he still is?
And won't talk about it?
Not sure where you go from here but don't be emotionally blackmailed.
Having cancer doesn't make you a nice person or a good partner if you weren't that before.
Did he ever work outside the home?
Yanbu, you've been lovely but you're clearly knackered now.
Why doesn't he want to work? I currently have two tumours, am undergoing treatment and work as a teacher. I am not trying to play illness top trumps but why is not pulling his weight.... You have a family it can't all be on you.
No of course YANBU,what your feeling is sadly normal in these kinds of circumstances that's why there's support groups and charitys that are trying to help as many partners and families of those that are affected by cancer because now they realize just how awful it can be for the one's that are trying to support they're love one's through cancer treatment.
You need some time for you and you need someone you can talk to and ofload to,your partner needs to realize that you won't be able to look after yourself properly let alone help look after him and the children if you don't have the breaks and support that you need.
Were you and your DC okay when he was breaking stuff in the kitchen?There's never an excuse for doing things that could frighten your family,if he's struggling(which would be normal with what's going on)then he really needs to speak to someone outside of the home.
You said about working,did he not work before he became ill?You weren't working and doing everything around the home were you?
I started reading this thinking maybe he feels sensitive about not being able to do anything while ill. But it sounds like he has no desire to do anything at all.
You're doing an amazing job, OP. Toddlers are hard enough on their own without looking after a sick partner.
Thankyou so much, my heart is racing reading these replies. I plan on going to the gp tomorrow, hope I don't chicken out though!
I'm trying to reply to people, but not sure if it's just posting as General replies rather than to a specific person. In case that's what happening, to answer a few questions people have asked, the children were busy watching tv when he was smashing things in the kitchen, and i knew he wouldn't hurt me. He has never worked since i've known him. When our first child was a baby, I got a job because he couldn't deal with the stress of the job centre, but then I had to quit after a week because he couldn't deal with the stress of looking after the baby. Despite all appearances, he is generally very gentle and consider are, and he does sit with the older child while he's watching paw patrol a lot, and helps put them to bed, so it's not like he's not involved
When I had cancer my husband did everything. He was most definitely allowed to say that he was stressed. YANBU
However, cancer is crap and no matter how supportive everyone is you can still feel like you are in your own bubble fighting it alone. He may have been having a really bad day.
I think that you may both need to be a little kinder to each other to get through this because cancer is bloody hard for everyone inthe family: those with it and those watching loved ones with it.
Yadnbu to need to talk about the stress involved. Macmillan run courses for people who are in similar circumstances because it's recognised that the strain of a treatment or diagnosis reaches beyond that of just the person diagnosed. Dealing with all that you do is hard work and stressful without taking into account the fear and uncertainty that cancer brings. You need to look after yourself too. With regards to your partner, if he couldn't gather himself to get involved before he is unlikely to be motivated now without active encouragement.
As some one who has been through cancer 3 times, I can say that as strange as it seems that it hit me psychologically more after the treatment than during.
for you OP.
I had cancer many, many years ago now - when I was with my DH, but we weren't yet married. Looking back, I can appreciate that during the time I was going through treatment (major surgery, chemo and radiotherapy) I was totally selfish and self absorbed. Probably has justification, but I'm still mortified by how badly I treated my DP at the time. He did everything and all I did was complain and feel sorry for myself and what I'd lost.
I was like your husband and I am damn lucky he didn't leave me. However, it took a long time for me to realise that.
However, it sounds like your problems are deeper than the trauma of cancer - and it is so, so difficult to live with someone going through a cancer pathway. As a patient you are powerless, but as a relative you are even more so - except you are told by society, by friends and family that you have to be brave and support the ill person and not show weakness or terror yourself.
It sounds like your problems started before, however, and he is now using this as an excuse.
He couldn't deal with stress of job centre or baby? How does he cope with stress of having no money?
He's never worked since you've been together,I have to be honest OP I'm shocked.Did he work before you met?
I'm glad your DC didn't see what was going on and that he didn't frighten you.
I Think like some other posters have said it seems like there's alot more than the cancer (which I know is huge)going on.
If he won't work OP for whatever reason then he'll have to learn how to cope with the DC and running the house once he's well again otherwise how will you be able to work?
I'm not trying to down play the fact that your DH has cancer(incase it comes across that way)I'm seriously ill and disabled now myself and I have to take over 13,000 meds a year(one of those can cause a type of cancer)and we have 5DC and 2 of our DC are disabled,there are days when I can barely move or talk but the rest of the time no matter how I feel I always do all that I can to help my DH and our 5DC.
It is really hard when you don't know how much longer you have especially when you have children and when your seriously ill and constantly in pain it can be hard to find the motivation to do anything but it is possible.
Sorry this makes me really annoyed.... What do you live on? No wonder your stressed. He needs a massive kick up the arse. He has a family. You just don't get to give up.
My mum had cancer when I was 16/17 ..For lots of reasons when it reoccurred I ended up on tranquillisers. ( sure it would be anti depressants these days)
You are entitled to feel stressed ...You may not of gone through the physical symptoms but it is emotionally exhausting.
I have recently been in hospital with my DS . I was exhausted when we came out.
I do ask what you are getting from this relationship. I was also in a similar relationship ( not the cancer) I can tell you when I left life was much easier I had one less person to look after.
I think you need to look at it as a whole how has he supported you and that does mean emotionally too when you have needed it, when you was pregnant.
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