My husband of 25 years just informed me that we can "keep up appearances" until my 100-year-old mother dies. Then we should separate, sell the house, and go our own ways.
I've been my mother’s caregiver since she came to live with us 10 years ago. Our son, who's in his 20’s, lives here too. I don't see the point in living once Mom passes away. It doesn't seem like much of what I say or do is right.
It’s understandable that your husband’s sudden suggestion distressed you.
However, you still have several very meaningful purposes in your own life - for yourself, your son, and your mother’s well-being from your care for as long as possible.
A son in his 20s is also at a crossroads and needs you for different support... a mother’s love, interest, guidance when sought. Giving up on yourself would be the worst example for him at this stage of his decisions for his future.
Most important, you have value in yourself, in who you are, not only from what you’ve given through years of caregiving.
It proves you have strength of purpose along with unflinching compassion - a mix of qualities that’ll serve you well in the future, even on your own.
If your husband’s not loving, kind, nor a partner to you, an eventual separation may free you to a better appreciation of healthy personal choices.
Do an online search for counselling regarding your current low feelings about yourself. Some free mental-health services may be available through your locale.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the man who kept talking without ever listening to anyone’s responses (February 18):
“As a speech-language pathologist, I appreciated your advice regarding changes in communication behaviour. Hearing loss often leads to changes in conversation skills, e.g., not listening, interrupting, and lack of interaction. The family doctor would be the first choice to assess all relevant health issues.
“But the next referral would be to an audiologist for a hearing assessment.
“If there’s a hearing loss, once it’s corrected, a referral to a speech-language pathologist who specializes in types of communication disorders would be helpful. Hearing aids alone are often not sufficient.
“Communication therapy can often uncover other cognitive issues such as early dementia, to be explored through medical referrals, then included in communication-partner training.
“A psychologist may also be helpful, if there are issues such as adjustment to disability, depression, anxiety, etc. Individual and relationship counselling may be indicated.”
Reader #2 – “My sisters and I had the same problem with our dad. Turns out it was early dementia. The doctor said Dad was so fixed on what he wanted to say that he couldn't concentrate on what other people replying to him were saying, he was too busy figuring out his next words. The letter-writer didn't give the man’s age, but it's a possibility.”
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the man who loves his second wife (12-plus years together, now both late-50s), but can’t understand why she won’t regularly fulfill his desire that she wear stockings and high heels to bed to arouse him (February 13):
“This man is both wrong and a fool. I’m a man whose wife doesn’t enjoy sex, and over the years I’ve adapted.
“The letter-writer must learn to do the same or he might find himself out the door. But it’s clear that he really only cares for himself. If he loved his wife, he would’ve never needed to write the letter.”
In my Psychotherapy practice I’m finding that my clients are suffering due to the pandemic and the boredom that’s a result of the lack of business, causing them to feel "stuck" in their own heads.
Do you find that people achieving small wins in their life (i.e., a baby’s birth, new job, etc.) are having a harder time celebrating/enjoying the positive happenings due to the current despondent state of our society?
I hate to think that a newborn baby isn’t as thrilling to parents during this pandemic as in the past. There’ve always been uncertain times re: the economy, job availabilities, harsh winters, steaming summers, etc.
No one’s written me about the pandemic obscuring the joy of their new child. We’ve lost too many people. Every birth represents hope for the future.
Job loss, however, causes fear of losing a home and being unable to feed one’s family. It’s a valid response.
Tip of the day:
Don’t give up on yourself. Counselling can help you recognize your own value and re-build self-esteem.