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My point of view on relationships

If you have been caring for a loved one, a husband or wife perhaps, it’s obviously going to have an impact on your relationship.

In mine and Pete’s case, the situation has changed from husband and wife to patient and nurse. Pete is very demanding now. He gets frustrated because he can’t do anything for himself, and the only one he can vent his frustration out on is me. So, not only do I care physically for him, I also have to deal with the mental side of things.

I understand him becoming frustrated. Lord knows, so would I be if I were in his position but it puts a strain on our relationship, so I, too, become frustrated with the demands put upon me.

My point of view on relationships

His attitude used to upset me to the point of breaking down in tears but, like it or not, I had to become stronger for both our sakes. So now I have hardened myself to Pete’s nastiness and ignore it most of the time. If he treats me with respect then he will get the same back. I used to retaliate to his argumentative side but it used to really upset me so it is much easier to ignore it and stay assertive. I must say, I am happier for it.

I have spoken to a few carers who care for their spouse and have discovered that a lot of them don’t feel appreciated. This includes me. Maybe this is because we’ve been there a long time and have become “part of the furniture”. I think it’s this attitude that causes a lot of partners to abandon their other halves and find new pastures, and not because of their disability.

Pete is always comparing his life to mine. What I’ve tried explaining to him is the fact I am with him 24/7 and I am able bodied (aches and pains here and there but still able bodied). Pete has never put my well being before his. Ever. After all, he is the one with the illness. Pete’s attitude is I should think myself lucky that I haven’t got it.

A good example of this is when I had bouts of depression, realizing this caring thing wasn’t going to go away. When you suffer with depression, you can have up days and down days, and really down days. I would try to talk to Pete about how I felt with my life and how, even though I was fit and healthy, I was living the same life as him without the disability. Instead of being compassionate, all he would say was “What about me?” With that, he would pour his heart out to me about the life he’s had with his disability.

When there is no compassion from the person who’s supposed to love you regardless of the circumstances, the relationship is doomed for disaster. Don’t get me wrong. Pete’s life has been traumatic to say the least but sometimes I needed a little reassurance to keep going. But I never got it.

I tried on several occasions to speak with him about my feelings coping with his disability but just got the same answer. So I don’t bother anymore.

My sister was the only one left that I was really close to. Because, as the disability progresses, you slowly get abandoned by family and long time friends. I don’t think they mean to abandon you. It just happens because you no longer have anything in common with them.

She was the only one that really understood how I felt. She was like a rock. I could talk to her about anything. She was always compassionate and was always there for me even though she had lots of problems of her own. She was also the only person that saw through Pete’s disability. She felt sorry for him because of his illness, but also saw and experienced an attitude from Pete that only I saw and nobody else did. If life wasn’t revolving around him, he would throw tantrums. I saw it. She saw it. Nobody else did.

I could abandon him. But I haven’t and I wouldn’t. I care too much with what might happen to him if I did. It’s obvious he would need to go into a nursing home but I hate the idea of that. You hear so many stories about neglect in these places.

Pete has primary progressive MS. We were never told this. It’s because of the research I have done, I realized the type of MS he has after reading about it. It is characterized by a steady deterioration in the condition, with no periods of recovery. He has never had an MRI scan like most nowadays. We were told by the neurologist that Pete suffers with demyelination and that is that. No need for an MRI scan.

My point of view on relationships