HOW TO DEAL WITH A LOVE ONE'S ANGER?

Occasional Contributor

HOW TO DEAL WITH A LOVE ONE'S ANGER?

Today was not a good day for me and to be quite truthful, I feel emotionally beat up. My husband who has been diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer has become angry and bitter to the point that he seems to be taking it out on me. This is why I sought out a support group for families and friends of loved ones. It seems that nothing I do is good enough right now in his eyes. Today which happens to be my birthday ended on such a sour note, that all I want to do right now is cry. The day started off with me trying to be upbeat and trying to keep his spirits up. I cooked a special dinner for us and he complained about the food. Everything I cook lately is not good enough. Everything I do isn’t good enough. I try to talk about faith and God, he says, THE IS NO CURE FOR CANCER! He seems to have lost his desire to live and doesn’t want me to express any type of hope or joy. I feel emotionally abused and I don’t know how to help him. He was getting hormonal treatment then started radiation, but said that was making him sick. He stopped the treatment midway because he said the hospital was just trying make money off of him and he cursed out the doctors. Another hospital wants him to start chemotherapy, but he doesn’t like them because he says they are young and don’t know what they are talking about. He doesn’t like me to tell him that he should stop smoking and he doesn’t want me to give him advice on eating healthy. I feel like he just wants to push me away. I feel like he is angry and mad at life or God perhaps and is taking it out on me because I am the closest person to him. So my question is how do you deal with the love one’s anger and is this typical of a cancer patient become bitter and angry to the point that they starting hurting the people who care and love them?
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Super Contributor

Re: HOW TO DEAL WITH A LOVE ONE'S ANGER?

Some people do become angry about having cancer.I only know this from other posts here. I think that anger can sometimes come from fear. It is like a reaction to fear . It is as if to show fear is to show weakness but to let it out as anger appears strong . It's a bit like the idea of being offensive instead of defensive. He may be pushing you away because he is worried that he won't be there for you if he doesn't get better . I don't know,of course, just a thought to consider. I'm not a psychologist . This is just from my own observation and experience. I know this doesn't help you deal with the situation but it may possibly explain it a bit more. I think men are more likely to react this way than women .Women are more likely to cry . Women are more likely to reach out to others for comfort. Your husband needs someone to talk to but it looks like he isn't ready. It's a pity his doctors haven't helped. Maybe his gp would be able to help ,but perhaps you're not able to make any suggestions at this time. I hope someone can offer more help. I can imagine how hurt you must feel even though you understand the reason.
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Contributor

Re: HOW TO DEAL WITH A LOVE ONE'S ANGER?

Hi. I am sorry you are having such a tough time. I know exactly what you are going through having gone through it myself two years ago. My husband was diagnosed with GBM in Feb 2009 and we lost him to GBM in Dec 09. Yes we too got to the point where nothing I did was good enough. What I did when I was close to losing it was to sit him down and point out to him that he had been using me as his verbal punching bag. I told him that I was not on the opposing team, I was on his team. I also pointed out that whether he realised it or not I was his main supporter. He had siblings but noone volunteered to go to appointments. I told him how I thought he must be feeling and then I asked him to put himself in my shoes. I realised that because of his illness we had stopped communicating because everything had become about his next scan and his next chemo treatment. Until I had my talk with my husband he did not even realise what he was doing. He was reacting by shutting himself in his little bubble. Things improved after that. I am not saying one fix fits all. I am just telling you my story and hoping it helps a little.
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Re: HOW TO DEAL WITH A LOVE ONE'S ANGER?

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Re: HOW TO DEAL WITH A LOVE ONE'S ANGER?

Having had cancer myself I feel it's important that carers and loved ones get support as it's just as hard on them. They can't do anything to make it better and feel helpless. And if they are at work they often can't be attending the hospital with the person to find out what's going on, ask questions or be kept in the loop as easilly. Also unsupported carers can make it harder for the patient themselves. It's even more difficult when the person isn't willing to seek support and counselling themselves. I'm not sure of your whole situation, that is, are there others helping out and giving you both support, are you supporting him with him not working (or is he working still) which can add to the strain. And of course the fact that his cancer is advanced makes it hard. It's hard for me to advise as even though I had stage III breast cancer it is still treatable (40% relapse rate so 60% plus cure rate) so can't see it from the point of view of an advanced cancer patient. However my situation also was we didn't have much of a local community to help out and I worked through treatment for the money. My anger is not only about the cancer but about the fact my partner didn't want to build our own community a few years before to have those local friendships as well as the lack of financial support. Thus I'm not in a position to advise how I would have been if I'd simply just been diagnosed with the cancer and my partner was there supporting me with a supportive community and I hadn't had to have worked during tratment. But I feel I would have been highly appreciative and still attended a support group to make it easier for him and me and encourage him to do so too. I also would have accepted services and sought out advice to make it easier on him. You've done the right thing joining this group and building up your friendships and support people. I also advise that you join a face to face carers support group in your local area as you will meet other carers, share situations and get further suggestions. Also you'll hear of the situations of others which you can tell your partner about. I agree with Thaker, it's about sitting down and talking with him. Say you are on his side and can't even begin to image what it must be like for him but want to be there for him in all ways including emotionally but you need him to be supportive of you as well. Tell him you want to create the best life possible for the both of you so he can do the things he'd like to do. Also stop talking about God and healthy eating and lifestyle and so forth and talk to him about what interests him and listen to his fear. Point out that inspite of treatment you'd like the 2 of you to do things that he enjoys and is able to do together and that it's a time for him to do some nice things for himself including the 2 of you. Encourage him to do the activities he used to be able to do that he still can do, maybe even offer to go with him or take him. Naturally with the fact that he's stopped treatment I can well understand your concern. Is it worth chatting to his oncologist about what difference treatment vs no treatment would mean. It's about directly expressing your concern about the implications of this and treatment increasing his chances. Also explain that you may have seemed to have nagged him about his lifestyle but you did so out of concern for increasing his chances of survival and well being.
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Not applicable

Re: HOW TO DEAL WITH A LOVE ONE'S ANGER?

Hi I have Stage 4 breast cancer and have become aware of the support offered by other women who have "walked the walk." It is only fellow sufferers who can understand the emotional upheaval of having to face a finite time span as well as side effects from treatment. It is obvious to me that your husband requires the support of other men to help him get through this part of his journey. Have you tried the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia? http://www.prostate.org.au Click on the Support Groups at the top for groups in your state. There are lots, and they often provide phone numbers so even if your husband is not up to doing it, you can make the initial contact. Talking with a group of fellow sufferers (not a professional as he is obviously rejecting this type of contact) over a beer may help him realise that there are treatments that can significantly extend his life and improve his quality of life.
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Occasional Contributor

Re: HOW TO DEAL WITH A LOVE ONE'S ANGER?

Thank you all for your advice. I really appreciate it. Today I feel somewhat better I guess after a good night’s sleep. Although the communication with my husband in my home all day has been nonexistent. I have basically been walking around on eggshells and just trying to stay out of his way. Just giving him some space and letting him do things for himself. I think part of his anger is he doesn’t want to feel helpless. He has always been a take charge kind of fella. I heard him moving about in the kitchen. He was cooking and preparing his own food and even watching a little TV in between napping. I don’t want to cause him any stress or anxiety so I’ve just retreated to my little space in the house. At this point anything and everything I say or do will result in him either being sarcastic or insulting. I have tried to sit down and talk with him in the past, but it doesn’t work. He needs someone to make the scapegoat and I guess I’m it. Although I’m only human and my feeling are often hurt to the point that I feel kind of traumatized by the whole ordeal. I don’t want to become angry or resentful at his behavior. It’s hard not to though. The last thing I want is for us to start victimizing each other and forget about the love we share. We live in a rural area in a small town and there really isn’t any support group or network here. Even if there was, my husband probably wouldn’t go. I would be more than happy to attend. I don’t really have anyone to talk to about this and I dare not bring up the subject with his family. Even though I’m the wife, I’m kind of like an outsider to them because he’s their brother, their son, their father, their uncle, if you know what I mean. In their eyes, I’m just the woman he married. They don’t want to hear anything negative about their blood relative. Besides, they live in other states and I think they look for me to be the primary caregiver which is understandable since I am the wife. My husband’s on disability and I work from home. I used to work outside the home, but I felt guilty because I wasn’t there for him all the time. So now I have a home base business. Next week he is scheduled to go to the other hospital and discuss chemotherapy treatment, but I’m not sure if he’s going to go or not. He keeps changing his mind about which type of treatment he wants and who he wants to treat him. Our options are slim as far as health care goes. Heck, we have no insurance, but he is a military veteran so he is covered by the VA hospital. The only problem is the VA hospital is about 250 miles away from us and they don’t accommodate lodging for me when he needs to do a overnight. The VA did pay for him to have his radiation treatment at our town’s local hospital, but then my husband cursed out the doctors and now he doesn’t want go back there so he might go back to the VA. He was initially going to the VA for all his treatments, and then he cursed out the VA doctors and asked for a transfer of his case to our local hospital which they did. If I say anything about this flip flopping between these two hospitals, then I get yelled at and cursed out so I have learned to keep my mouth shut and let him call the shots. Deep down I know he’s scared. Hell, I’m scared. I am so afraid of the radiation and the chemotherapy and I think my husband is too. That’s why he keeps cursing out the doctors and finding a reason not the even have the treatment. The only problem is if not treated at all his pain seems to get worse. After ten treatments of the radiation, his back pain eased up, but lately it has returned. Anyway, that’s my story and every day I pray for strength to get me through these tough times and more importantly I pray for my husband and all cancer patients.
Not applicable

Re: HOW TO DEAL WITH A LOVE ONE'S ANGER?

hey! Sorry you5r having a hard time, yep its easier when your dealing with the same kind of affliction, your hubby would probably benefit from either jumping on here or finding another support group who know exactly what hes going through. Anger comes easy I reckon, I get angry when I think about what the cancer has done to me, I get angry with the treatment and how its making me suffer that way. When you are constantly bombarded with discomfort, pain, the unknown, fear or not, its the lack of peace of mind that can drive you to insanity. My Uncle came out and visited me back in 2003, he knew he was dying, yet the person I had in my house was a stranger to me, he was totally unpredictable, angry, bitter, and then sometimes his old self. I couldnt understand it until I suffered cancer myself. Its hard on the carer/family to deal with, Im not a counsellor but I know damn well where his feelings are coming from. I just want to go back to being like the majority of the world.....normal.
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Super Contributor

Re: HOW TO DEAL WITH A LOVE ONE'S ANGER?

I suspect that your husband has always kept some of his worries and little fears to hImself ,just the way he is. Maybe he nearly always sorted any problems out on his own,especially if you are fairly isolated where you live. Now that he needs help it's not his way to ask. Stay here and keep talking to others so you can cope better. Does he know that you are here? If so ,what does he say about it ? I hope things improve for you. You can probably talk to a counsellor by phone to talk about your needs ,not his .
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Roz
Occasional Contributor

Re: HOW TO DEAL WITH A LOVE ONE'S ANGER?

Hi first of all hugs and more hugs to you. I am a carer of my husband who has stage 4 prostate cancer and we are heading to the oncologist today . My story is a little different but similar. My hubby doesnt get angry but doesnt communicate sometimes he lives with his head in the sand , Decides that its ok to forget it meds. He drinks to much. Very frustrating . What I did was chat to his oncologist about his relunctance to take control of his treatment. I also decided that as a carer I was going to still be his wife not his nurse and that he was an adult and his choices are his choices , I also decided that I had to take care of me, selfish as it might seem but for me to deal with this desease and we to as carers are affected we might not have cancer but my gosdit affects us, I had to be fine mentally and physically. I continue to do things for myself by doing this it gives my hubby time to himself, I think as wives we want to be there all the time to make it right ,we hover we nag we want them to fight, May be he wants space time out .]to not think about cancer ,  I have told my hubby about support groups but didnt tell him to join, his choice right , I also joined the telephone suppot group through the cancer council its for carers and have group councilly every fortnight ,I go to the bedroom shut the door and its my turn to talk about how I feel about stratgergies listen to other ppl in the same situation and how they deal with it, and sometimes just knowing that you are not alone and its alright and that yes it normal for all these feelings and sometimes there is no answer it sort of makes it easier. I also just go up to my hubby and say I need a hug and I am scared .Just had a thought I think the the Vet affairs have support groups as well you could google it . Men arrrrg Cancer arrrg stubbornest arggggggg anger arggggg .PS thats me screaming . Hugs again look after you .Keep up withthe support groups writing everything down is also a release. 

Cheers Roz

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