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Am I too needy, or self-centered

My husband’s 50 years old, he was a very bright man with many degrees who seemed like he could do anything. He taught 3 years in Middle School, and13 years High School. He was born blind in 1 eye, with 2 crossed eyes. From 2 to 18 he had 4 surgeries to straighten his turned eye. His father walked out when he was and his parents divorced, his father completely disappeared, and started another family. His father showed up again when he was 17, and they sent him to live with his father because they didn’t know what to do with him. He had a bad relationship with his stepfather who was very strict, overkill with punishments, and hit him and his brother with a strap. My husband said he was getting punished and hit for fighting in school with kids who made fun of his eyes. His stepfather was a braggart who poisoned everyone around him with a negative attitude. His stepfather and his older brother about belittled him about his eyes to “toughen him up.” His stepfather probably thought he had the right because he sent my husband to all the best Opthalmologists, who all said the same thing- his blind eye could not be “fixed,” and to just take good care of and protect his good eye. At home, his brother was more than making him tough- he even practiced sexual activities with my husband against his will.
At 40 he had laser treatment for Glaucoma in both eyes- he had bad reactions to all the eye drops. He now has normal tension Glaucoma in both eyes, and has lost peripheral vision in what was his one good eye.
Five years ago he chose to see a psychiatrist for depression- he tried to commit suicide 2 times in his 20’s. He’s been on countless prescriptions since then- many at the same time, He has good and bad days- and he can be really moody. He has Asthma and Hypotension, and can forget medication, and then the whole family worries about Dad. Our 3 young children know he has severe major depression, and Anxiety disorders. I’m afraid of the negative effect on our children. When we go out the first thing the kids ask is if Dad is coming. He sits in his chair watching TV, reading magazines and surfing the Internet. August we went to see my friend in NC and take the kids to see Colonial Williamsburg. He followed us on his Harley Davidson and the kids commented that when they were riding with my husband he was smiling talking to them, and said “Dad is having fun.” 5 minutes after we returned he had a minor stroke. His speech is slower, he has a minor slur sometimes, his short-term memory suffers and he has problems finding the right words, so he is even more withdrawn. He says he gets headaches and pains, but his brain is normal.
I feel so alone, and I’m worried about the effects on the kids. I feel like I have to carry a lot of the weight and can’t understand why this has to continue. Am I being too needy? I saw a psychologist to get an idea of what he is going through, but maybe only learned a little. Can’t he handle more? I see him stumble because of his medications and vision, and when I tell him to see anther doctor he says I’ve been to so many doctors, they all tell me the same thing- I know what I need to do. He sees his psychiatrist at least every other week, but he’s not making it easier on me. Am I being an insensitive self-centered person? He says I don’t try anymore so how can he be closer to me? Intimacy doesn’t exist, and he says it’s because I choose to sit in my chair on the other side of the room.
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replied February 21st, 2012
Experienced User
You say you can't understand why this has to continue.

He cannot suddenly get well so his ailments will continue and likely deteriorate. Telling him to see more doctors is pointless as he has done that most of his life hasn't he? And he knows, like I do, that doctors cannot fix everything and often make you feel worse by saying so.

If you think the load is too heavy, then leave. There is no command that says you must carry the weight of his illness. It is guilt stopping you though isn't it? You don't feel you can just leave him by himself.

Think of your children and yourself. It's an impossible situation to deal with and many partners do just run. Because it's too hard. What will you gain and what will you lose if you do leave? Think it through and think about wehat he may have done for you over the years too.
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replied February 21st, 2012
He is still a good gentle father whom the kids love and trust, but his medical problems are depressing to me- and I never was depressed. You probably are right that I am feeling guilty, but it all makes me cry. What will he do if he loses his sight soon?I'm afraid he won't be able to cope, I won't be able to cope, the kids will dee a broken man who can be there for them and teach them how to be men. Everyone as baggage and he has had more than his share.If I can't take it I may have to leave him, and then what will be left of me if I stay too long. It is so very hard for me to watch him crumbling. I just earlier had a conversation with him he can't remember just a day ago. He tells his doctor about all the times he gets moody, and he encourages me to give him a list of complaints to discuss with his psychiatrist, and I know the makes them thee priority when he sees the doctor, but how many more times can I write those lists? Ne doesn't want me to go with him because I might get upset listening to his conversation, so he tells me to make my own appointment, and he has signed off on sharing every word of every session with me, but why must it go that far? I must sound horrible, but I am frustrated.
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replied February 21st, 2012
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It's usually best that one sees their shrink alone, that way they can say exactly what they need to. Sometimes it is good to have the partner there so the shrink sees both sides but his priority is your husband, not you.

Don't write the lists, that way the shrink will see him as he is.

From what you say there is little doubt he will keep deteriorating so it is a matter of how you manage that.

Is it time he was put into care, where nurses look after him? The kids can still go visit etc if it's nearby.

WHat I'm thinking is the kids would be better off with one healthy parent than two very depression parents.

Whatever you do, it will be sad and hard for you both. But you must focus on your own future and particularly the children's futures. It will not benefit them to have a parent who is deteriorating and starting to forget things as well.

Very hard situation but once you make a decision it will become easier.
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replied February 23rd, 2012
Okay I'll see the psychiatrist or get myself some therapy myself instead of making lists. Yesterday I told him to talk nicer one of our sons. My husband asked him if he thought he was being mean or unfair and our son said, very simply, no.
Maybe I'm just looking for trouble because he is not the man I began a relationship with 20 years ago. Maybe this is all about how this is not the life I planned or envisioned for us.
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replied March 6th, 2012
We went to look at a chair in a furniture store. He didn't see some things grouped together and carelessly left on the floor, He couldn't see the items, tripped over them, and knocked himself and another customer (a woman) down to the floor. He was even more depressed than usual for a couple of days after that which I can understand given his issues. He only cut his leg from banging it, and other than that he and the woman were fine.
Seeing it happen scared the heck of me, and made me feel sympathy for him for a few days.
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