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Feel Guilty for Having Enough!

Feel Guilty for Having Enough!

Posted by 34enough on Nov 15, 2019 3:02 pm

I’m new to this site, or to any site where I share openly to strangers, but I’m so discouraged and desperate with my situation that I’m willing to reach out and get some advice.  So please respond truthfully.    My husband has stage 3 lung cancer.  He’s gone through treatment and did great.  They cannot remove the tumor, but our first 3-month scan shows no activity.  He is fortunate in that he is highly positive for immunotherapy, and has treatments every 2 weeks.  He has had a wealth of community support and everyone admires him for his fight and drive in battling this disease.  What they don’t see is the “battles” at home.   I’m a victim of emotional and physical abuse by him.  I lived with it for over 20 years until my children grew up and left the house.  Once they were gone, I decided to leave.   He was devastated at the thought of me leaving, went to rehab, and came home a better man.  Now fast forward 13 years to today.  His anger toward cancer is often directed at me.   There isn’t physical abuse, but the emotional abuse is at its beginning stages.   I’m constantly walking on eggshells.   The only difference in the woman from the past and the one today is MY choice not to be an enabler .  I will “call him out” when he cusses at me or tells me that he could care less how I feel.  Once he’s “started” a fight, he says “Forget it”.   Now comes the worse part, the sighing, slamming of objects, and silent treatment.  Eventually, The episode ends with me being ignored and just shutting up .  He’s gotten his “anger” out, now Im suppose to take it and shut up.    I cry inside because I want to scream, “I can’t live like this again.  I’m not going back to when.....”.  I want to leave him, but I love him AND HE’s ON MY HEALTH INSURANCE.   I do everything for him.  I’ve stuck by him through gambling, drinking, drugs, and cancer.  Why doesn’t he appreciate that and want to spend our last few years in peace?  Does he not understand that should he die now, my current memories will be NOT as a loving husband, but of an as_h_le?   I even asked him this.  His answer ,”I don’t give a f__k.  I’ll be dead .” 

I know he needs counseling.  He went for 5 sessions, and quit.  The hardest part is being alone in this.  Everyone in our community thinks he’s great and loves him.  In public, he acts like he loves me dearly.   No one but my family really knows him.   If I leave him, I’ll look like an unsympathetic jerk who left her husband while he had cancer.   I believe he knows this and is counting on this to keep me home.  I don’t need him financially and people tell me that I’m quite attractive.  I would be fine without him.  It’s my guilt and commitment that keep me here, but my self esteem and self value is being destroyed along with his cancer.  Help.  Why is he being like this?

Re: Feel Guilty for Having Enough!

Posted by Brighty on Nov 15, 2019 3:11 pm

34enough‍  gosh... I'm so sorry for what you are dealing with ....  you are an amazingly  devoted  wife to stick around through the abonimal treatment.     Having cancer does NOT under any circumstances  give anyone the right to treat you like that.   Especially  a person who has stuck by him through everything! ! Where would he be without you????  Has he ever asked himself that? He obviously  needs a lot of therpy  and has an additive  personality.    If he won't go for therapy, you go, for your own sake.   You can't have your own life and self esteem  destroyed in the process.    To heck what others think.   They have no right to judge.   They have no idea what you are living with on a daily basis.     I hope you will talk with someone  about your situation  so the best solution  can be  made for both of you... and that you find some peace in your life.   You deserve  it after all you have put up with.     
Help is out there. All you have to do is reach out.

Re: Feel Guilty for Having Enough!

Posted by Runner Girl on Nov 15, 2019 3:31 pm

Hi 34enough‍ ,

I also have had the misfortune of being in an abusive marriage.  The words, the silent treatment, the times he'd remove his ring to "show me", all hurt much worse than the bruises he inflicted on me.  Like your situation, he only showed this side to me.  His family, friends, etc. all thought he was a "pillar".  Only I knew better.  I was able to escape in 2009, it took a further 9 years for me to finally win my complete freedom.  Fortunately all that happened before my cancer diagnosis.  But all was not good for me then either, I had a fiance when I was diagnosed.  He couldn't deal with my breast cancer and so the relationship ended.  

Why is he behaving in this manner.  Because he can.  Because he can get away with it and he knows you will not leave.  You need to go seek counselling.  Go for yourself.  Build up your self esteem and inner strength so that you can make good decisions for your future.  

If you'd like to talk further please let me know.

Runner Girl - Gayle
Never stop believing in HOPE because MIRACLES happen every day!

Re: Feel Guilty for Having Enough!

Posted by Wendy Tea on Nov 15, 2019 5:09 pm

34enough‍ I think you will find that your post has touched a nerve with many of your new friends on this site. We stand with you. It is extremely difficult in a community where everyone knows everyone else. Since you have health insurance, please see your doctor for a referral to a counselor just for yourself. Your doctor and counselor have taken an oath to keep your confidences. Even if your husband is trapped in his own anger and grief, you can learn how to save yourself and your sanity.
I too am here for you.
Wendy Tea 
Healing takes time and opportunity. Wendy Tea

Re: Feel Guilty for Having Enough!

Posted by SLM on Nov 16, 2019 7:54 am

Hello 34enough

My heart goes out to you in this situation.  
However, with or without cancer, no one has the right to abuse another person. 
When you are ready, I would suggest that you get in touch with organizations for abused women so that you are able to get sound advice and information on your options and discuss your cycle of violence.  You have made the first step in reaching out to this community.  This took an amazing amount of courage and you should be so proud of yourself for this.  However, your husband's cancer will not make his abusive behaviors go away.  What you are taught in every emergency situation is to help yourself first, because this ensures that you are able to focus on others.  I would focus on your first.  Your husband will have a medical team to help him through his cancer.  You need a team to help you through your abusive situation.  
Please take care of you.


Re: Feel Guilty for Having Enough!

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Nov 16, 2019 9:08 am

34enough‍ , I stand with you and I stand with all the other people who have responded to you, too.

Your husband is not thinking beyond “I don’t give...I’ll be dead.” He hasn’t thought about how his last weeks or months will look if you’re not there, because he can’t wrap his brain around that thought. Why’s that? Is it that he just isn’t thinking that far out, or that he figures you came back once, you won’t leave again? Does he really care that little about your relationship that he’s alright leaving you with crap memories of your last time together, or is this misdirected anger speaking? One is understandable (but only to a point), and one is unforgivable behaviour.

I’m  so glad that you have been able to reach a point of not enabling him. That takes a lot of strength and growth. He has slipped back into the old pattern, and if it is starting to put you into a backward slide and/or damaging your self esteem, I really encourage you to get counselling of your own.

You asked “Why is he being like this?” Why doesn’t matter so much as how you manage it. As someone who has lived through much of the emotional treatment you’ve described, I very much feel for you and your situation.

As Brighty‍ noted, no one else knows what happens in the private life of a couple. My marriage ended on a Tuesday night, and on the night before I had dinner with 3 girlfriends. *I* knew the end was near, but the conversation around that table that night had someone comment, “You two have a fairy tale relationship - you’re always holding hands.” 25 years later, that conversation sticks in my mind.

SLM‍ Is ABSOLUTELY right: your husband will still have a medical team to help him through, and if you need a team to help you through they way he’s managing his emotions, you deserve to have that.

Welcome to Cancer Connection. You’ve found a safe place to “talk,” and a place of support. Please keep us updated or vent here whenever you need.
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: Feel Guilty for Having Enough!

Posted by Kims1961 on Nov 16, 2019 10:39 am

34enough‍  Thank you for posting this very important question.  You are not alone but so many women in your similar situation can feel very alone - you have helped others with this question.

Great advice from the others who have posted.  Most communities have excellent resources for women in abusive situations.  They are good listeners and aren't going to "force" you to do anything you aren't ready for.  They will understand confidentiality and for many - the public persona and the private one can be very different.  

Do you have a good relationship with your family doctor?  They can sometimes be helpful as well or refer you to a social worker?  For some couple counselling can help but sometimes in violent situations it can make things worse.  Just want to be sure you have a safety plan and are looking after yourself too.

Sometimes we think others will have a negative perception of us - or - they may understand as they are also in a relationship like this or know of someone who is.  How many times do we hear" But he was such a great neighbour? I had no idea?".   Domestic violence hurts us all - having cancer doesn't give anyone a "free pass". 

Please let us know how you're doing.  Kim
Her2+, ER+ Bilateral mastectomy in 2017, followed by chemo and radiation. Mack and Hannah's mom

Re: Feel Guilty for Having Enough!

Posted by SpeedyStill on Nov 17, 2019 4:16 am

You have found yourself in a very difficult situation. Emotional abuse and physical abuse is more common than it should be in our society today.
The feeling of no good solution unfortuneatly is part of the problem. 
The thing that I can relate to is the fact that the spouse does not know they have a problem or don't care. You husband most definitely has a problem that he is not willing to accept.
One thing that helped me was getting help fo myself. Physcologists, Marriage Counselors and even a Psychiatrist.
Like with this community you are able to vent your frustrations and get some mental stability for yourself.
My spouse refused to go to one of the sessions with me.The biggest thing is taking care of yourself first, so that you will be able to make the best choices for you and your spouse.
You cannot change your spouse, change always comes from within the person. Your husbands problems probably come from something that he experienced in his past.
This was my problem with my spouse and if your spouse gets support from his side of the family then it makes it all but impossible for a change to take place.
Emotionally sick people will use abusive talk like a child to get attention. If we reward this treatment we have lost. One of my defense tactics was to not react to abusive talk. Once you get caught up trying to defend yourself then you become open to additional abusive attacks.
Now I am not perfect and I may have said some things to my wife over 46 years that she would of considered abusive. It however is not in my character to ack this way. I will admit that when I was going through my Chemotherapy Treatments I said things to my spouse that I would not normally say. This however to a degree come with the emotional roller coaster and Cancer.
I did experience verbal abuse however I am not a professional but this is a topic very dear to my heart and hope that this discussion brings a hightened awareness.
Technical progress is taking off to new heights but personal relationships seem to be stagnant or dropping.
All the Best,

Re: Feel Guilty for Having Enough!

Posted by Wendy Tea on Nov 17, 2019 11:52 am

SpeedyStill‍ a simple check mark showing I liked your post was not enough. Speedy, I loved your post. Your words count, and we hear you. Great advice. Keep supporting this group please.

Big thanks,
Wendy Tea
Healing takes time and opportunity. Wendy Tea

Re: Feel Guilty for Having Enough!

Posted by Essjay on Nov 17, 2019 12:31 pm

34enough‍ you have lots of great advice and support here.

I totally agree with SpeedyStill‍ that counselling for you is a good idea at this time. The services at your cancer centre are a good start. I would be feel guilty about leaving now - he's doing well and will continue to be well looked after with or without you.

Could you talk to your children? From what you said they left when they could so they know she he's like. Could they help you to leave? 

Please look after yourself first - you can't care for anyone when you are broken xx
Triple Negative Breast Cancer survivor since July 2018

Re: Feel Guilty for Having Enough!

Posted by SpeedyStill on Nov 17, 2019 4:51 pm

I once worked for a manager who was an Alcoholic. Unfortunately and fortunately he had to hit the bottom before he could climb back to the top.
He lost his job and almost lost his family.
He went to get dried out and joined Alcoholics Anonymous. It took him time but he did get to the top again and saved his relationship with his family.
He did not admit too his problem until he faced losing everything.
Friends, family and employer thinking they were helping him did not confront  him directly about his drinking problem soon enough. "Oh that's just how he is"
He was protected by a shield of people.
Drinkers can do enough work to get by until they cannot.
This story is also true about abusive people. The shield protects them but does not help them.
Take away the shield and then a person will be helped because now they are exposed.
Know yourself celebrate your strenghts  but recognize your weaknesses and try to improve them so that you and the people around you can live in a happy environment.
You are in a very difficult situation to do this, however for you to move forward you have to take control of your life. I would not suggest how you do this but you deserve a better life.
If I had all the answers I would have lived a better life myself.
I however have the luxury of looking back over my 72 years of existence  and hopefully ended up a little wiser.
Take it slow and make sure that you are making the best decisions for you.

Re: Feel Guilty for Having Enough!

Posted by 34enough on Nov 19, 2019 7:36 pm

Thank you for all of your responses.  Your sincerity is evident and touching.  You are sooooooo right about me needing counseling.  I’ve come a long way, but I’m still broken.   People wonder why someone stays with a spouse that is emotionally abusive when they don’t “have to” .  The answer is simple, the unknown is scarier than the known.   Also, a true manipulator works in cycles .  When he knows he has pushed the limit , he can be “good”....”good” enough and long enough to make one think “He’s not really abusive; he was just going through a tough time.”   And just when you think things are really better, BAM! It starts again.   It’s classic.  I know all of this because I went to counseling years ago when he was in rehab, and I’ve read A LOT on this type of abuser.  (I’m an educator; we research everything! ).  Just as his  life experiences have molded him, mine have too.  So I agree that I need to go back to counseling and begin working on me.  Again, this is hard.  It’s time-consuming and somewhat invasive .  Sometimes it’s easier to just hide and live with it.   That’s shameful, but honest.   However, I always say “There’s no growth in a comfort zone, and no comfort in a growth zone”.  So it’s time I put my big girl panties on and start growing!  I’m going to check with my insurance company to see if my counselor from the past is still practicing.  I need to find self-value again.  
Thank you for your concern and encouragement.  I’ll keep you all updated. 😄

Re: Feel Guilty for Having Enough!

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Nov 20, 2019 9:05 am

34enough‍ Today’s adjective for you is “wise.” You really do see what is going on.

Like you, I stayed in my marriage. About 8 years longer than what I probably should have. When I went into another relationship where a pattern of a different kind of emotional abuse started, I got out after only a year from when the kind of abuse you have described began.

IMO, you are not “still broken” - you did the work and, to put it in car terms, “your gears are starting to slip.” So, you’re going to go back into the “transmission shop” and set them all back into place again. Not broken, just a little out of alignment, eh.
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: Feel Guilty for Having Enough!

Posted by Rayline on Nov 20, 2019 11:29 pm

Right on Cynthia Mac just need a realignment. I totally agree!

Re: Feel Guilty for Having Enough!

Posted by 34enough on Nov 20, 2019 11:47 pm

To Cynthia:
I love your analogy!  I might steal that term for future use.  Thanks for sharing .

Re: Feel Guilty for Having Enough!

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Nov 21, 2019 10:19 am

34enough‍ , you’re welcome. As you can probably guess, I come from a “car family.” Since we all need a chuckle once in a while, I’m going to share this “memory” from my caregiving duties:

Last week, I took Dad for his eye checkup before taking him for his bloodwork. We have a 2-hour wait between that and his oncologist’s appointment, so we went for lunch. When we got out of the car, Dad pointed to the white sports car parked beside us, and asked, “What’s it say on the side of that Mustang?” I looked at him with much disbelief and responded, “Ca-ma-ro. Boy, you really DID need to have your eyes checked!” (Sure glad I was driving!)
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying