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To be annoyed/upset that DH hasn't messaged to see if I'm ok?

13 replies

TheDancingHorses · 10/01/2024 23:05

DM's health has been gradually declining over the last 5 years. She's 86 and was diagnosed with dementia several years ago. She moved into a care home around January 2023 but her needs have increased and she was assessed as needing specialist dementia level care about a month ago. I went to see her at the weekend to find that she has deteriorated quite significantly (I had previously seen her 3 weeks earlier but live 2 hours away and had covid over Christmas so couldn't travel to see her). She is now unable to walk and was barely aware of her surroundings. She was also unable to form sentences and was using words that didn't make sense.

I had to return home on Monday but have been in contact with the care home many times since then. Mum has now been reassessed by the nurse practitioner as needed hospital level care.

Since getting back home on Monday (it's now Thursday morning as we live in New Zealand) DH - who is fully aware of what's going on with DM - has not once asked if I'm ok. I had a call from the doctor this morning which left me in tears and DH did comfort me at that point before he left for work. it's now several hours since he left and he hasn't bothered to text to see how I am.

For context, DH's mum was diagnosed with cancer in 2018. She was successfully treated at that time, but DH took it really hard (particularly as his family are not in NZ) and I did everything I could to look after him and make his life as stress free as possible. MIL's cancer sadly returned in 2020 and again in earlier 2022 and she passed away in September 2022. DH left NZ to return to his family home for 3.5 months in early 2022 and basically left everything here in NZ to me - we have 3 children and I have a busy / stressful job. He didn't show any interest in what was going on here as he was solely focused on his birth family. I understand that it was a really hard thing for him to go through but there is lingering resentment over the way he ignored his family here. For example. he chose to fly home 9 days after our DD's 9th birthday, rather than coming home slightly earlier. It's also not helped by the fact he stayed with his sister who made my life a misery before we moved to NZ, nor by the fact that he has been irritable and withdrawn for months - so much so that DD (21) wants to move out as she's so unhappy with the way he's been with her. I have encouraged him to talk and get help with his grief but he insists he doesn't need to.

I have been struggling physically and mentally since his time away and am completely exhausted. I have very few friends in NZ as my whole time here has been spent looking after DH and our children and have done very little for myself.

Apologies for the very long post and thank you to anyone who has stuck with reading it all! Please be gentle, I'm feeling pretty hopeless about things at the moment but I wonder if my judgment is a bit out of kilter due to past events.

OP posts:
TheSlantedOwl · 10/01/2024 23:12

Tell him you’re really struggling and you need to know he cares.

Sorry OP - it sounds so so hard 💐

EmilyTjP · 10/01/2024 23:16

I feel like you’re taking your pain regarding your mother’s situation out on your husband. Tell him
in a calm way how you feel and see how he responds.

Pepperama · 10/01/2024 23:22

Can you spell out for him what would be helpful in case he just doesn’t get it? Hope he responds you tell him how you feel and what you need from him

FlamingoFloss · 10/01/2024 23:24

EmilyTjP · 10/01/2024 23:16

I feel like you’re taking your pain regarding your mother’s situation out on your husband. Tell him
in a calm way how you feel and see how he responds.

I think this. Please talk to him. Sending a hug

spookehtooth · 10/01/2024 23:35

Mon to Thu not asking anything? Did you talk him over the weekend you were away? It sounds off. I'd expect to have talked about it while away and upon return the same day or next at the latest. I can't fathom why anyone wouldn't do that :-s It's the kind of conversation I'd have with anyone I knew was going through something like that

I'd say your feelings are very reasonable, although I would still go with what others have said about talking directly with your husband and explaining what you need from him. That's not often gone well for me, but it has to be tried & hope it works out better for you

TheDancingHorses · 11/01/2024 02:13

Thanks @spookehtooth - yes, we spoke several times while I was away and since I returned but more in a factual way in terms of what was going on with DM rather than DH asking how I was. He did ask whether DD (10) was upset as she visited with me as she'd come for the weekend away with me and I wasn't away that DM had deteriorated so much.

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TheDancingHorses · 11/01/2024 02:17

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to comment, it really helps to get support and ideas from others. DH has since called during his lunch break and, thanks to your guidance, I spoke calmly to him about how much I am struggling and that I need him to take some of the load. He's hopefully going to step up and do more around the house and with DCs which, in turn, should lessen the resentment that I'm currently holding onto.

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Summerhillsquare · 11/01/2024 06:53

EmilyTjP · 10/01/2024 23:16

I feel like you’re taking your pain regarding your mother’s situation out on your husband. Tell him
in a calm way how you feel and see how he responds.

Hardly. Its classic double standards.

MaisyAndTallulah · 11/01/2024 08:46

@TheDancingHorses how long have you lived in New Zealand?

I know now is not the time but I think your long goal needs to be building your own life with supports outside the family.

Yes, work and children need us but we need our own lives, too. I do understand the challenge of having an unwell parent and I sympathise, it's mentally and physically exhausting. However, it is still vitally important that you prioritise your own wellbeing. Your mum isnt going to recover; her needs will increase and you will be dealing with grief as she ebbs away and all that is entailed with the passing of a precious family member.

I do think your husband has been thoughtless and self-centered, but I'm not sure that he will change. I think you are going to have to take control. Seek out some grief counselling, make time for exercise, do something special with your daughter.

Where are you? I may be able to make some recommendations.

TheDancingHorses · 11/01/2024 21:31

@MaisyAndTallulah thank you for your comments. I've been here since late 2016 and am gutted that I haven't yet made any strong connections. DH struggled a lot with leaving his family behind so I think I've prioritised his wellbeing (possibly out of guilt too as it was me who wanted to move!).

We live in the Waikato, about 30 mins south of Hamilton. I've tried various things to meet people but nothing has clicked so far, partly because I'm feeling so rubbish that I'm not the best company, as well as not being able to find time to commit properly to anything.

Exercise sounds good - there are a number of local clubs that I've thought of joining and will definitely do this once I'm a bit less exhausted! We also have a great local Parkrun that I used to go to so I'll try and get myself back there.

I hadn't thought of getting grief counselling for myself but that sounds like something that could be helpful. I'll look into it further.

OP posts:
spookehtooth · 11/01/2024 21:31

Focusing on the person directly affected common thing @TheDancingHorses when people are in both your position and your DH. In the case of yours, what I'm used to is people feeling guilty about talking how they feel, because the person who's directly affected (your mum) is deemed to be "more important" or some other reason. I just don't like talking about feelings. People in your DH position tend to default to assuming your okay.

For a bunch of reasons, I'm well aware of that dynamic, so I frequently take time to ask people how they're handling difficult things and remind them its okay to find it hard, and bang on about it being important to take care of yourself in that situation. Because we can't support anyone else, if we're not okay and that will impact the people we try to support or help.

Its really good to hear you managed to speak to your DH, speaking up to ask for what we need when we need it rather than getting upset when its too late for anyone to help is a good skill! Hopefully he comes through to help you :)

MaisyAndTallulah · 11/01/2024 21:43

@TheDancingHorses you are very hard on yourself. Try to drop the guilt, it's pointless and stressful.

If you struggle to prioritise your own needs, tell yourself you're doing it to be better for your family. In time you'll be able to do it automatically.

Here is a link to Hospice Waikato which offers free support services to whānau of clients. While they may not be able to take you on as a client, it's likely they'll be able to make recommendations. And they may just take you; my local hospice gave me fres grief counselling for a family member out of the city.

TheDancingHorses · 28/01/2024 20:56

@MaisyAndTallulah so sorry for not coming back to thank you for your advice and the link to Hospice Waikato - mum took a turn for the worse just after your message and sadly passed away last Monday (22nd). The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of organising end of life care and then mum's funeral and looking after 3 very upset DCs so I'm only just starting to try and process things. I also had a call from my DSis last night to let me know that the cancer that was successfully treated last year has returned and she is starting chemo on Friday. We are very close so I am sat here in total shock today. I definitely need some support IRL so the link that you posted will be my starting point tomorrow. Thanks again for taking the time to post.

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