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Husband is a Stranger now.... with frontal lobe malacia. Ruining our lives

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Old 08-10-2015, 01:26 PM   #1
falldc
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Default Husband is a Stranger now.... with frontal lobe malacia. Ruining our lives

I'm married 36 years. My husband has frontal lobe encephalmalacia. Softening. caused by surgery trauma.

He has always been overbearing but now he is impossible. I have given up on a normal life with him.
I guess this is the new normal?

I can't bring up anything that is conflicting with what he wants. I cannot debate anything or he will yell over me, hang up if we are on the phone, or stomp out of the room.

Luckily he is still able to work, but on his off days, he does nothing but tv.
Flipping channels, tv blasting.
I have to go to another room or leave because it is so stressful to hear the loud tv with channels flipping.

He is flat. No empathy, no caring, no love. I do everything in the house.
Womans work as well as the man's.

He could care less about any of it.
He just won't do it. There are so many things that need a man, and I either do it myself or have to hire someone.
Which can get expensive.

The worst though, it is ruining our marriage and relationship. I cannot stand to be around him. I get conflicting feelings of hatred toward him, and then guilt.

Our marriage was not perfect before this. There were many times I wanted to leave because we are not compatible but kept putting it off.
Divorce was brought up many times, but we always worked through it because there was no "real reason" to end it. We just bicker a lot. We don't like the same things anymore. We went in different directions.
We married young, I grew up and there you have it!
We have nothing in common. We used to have travel in common, but not any more. Last vacation he sat in front of the tv while I rode a bike, walked, and went to the beach myself. He only got up to eat.

When we are in a car and he gets mad, he will drive erratically to scare me and to show me how mad he is.
SO I do not want to do any driving vacations with him.
The last few vacations before the brain injury were just as horrible, so this is nothing new. Just worse after the brain injury.

The brain injury has made all of the "bad" worse.
He is always blaming me for everything.
Even his lack of happiness.

I try to find my own joy. I feel happiest when I am away from him.
We work opposite hours so it is perfect. I exercise, eat right and try to keep myself healthy.
I do have the blues. Don't want to call it depression and do not believe in medicating for the blues.
I will wake up sad sometimes. Then shake it off before I walk in the door at work.

I miss the old husband that I could sit down with and debate an issue out.
Now, if I try that, he blows up.
I have just stopped doing that and avoid him.
So there is no communication. As far as I am concerned if there is no communication, there is no relationship.

So every time we disagree on something...there is no bartering, debating, and going back and forth with our reasons and points. He cannot do that.

He does not care if I don't feel well. If I am crying. If I am stressed or if I am having things to deal with at work.
I have no partner. I take care of myself.
He has never been nurturing or caring. Even when I had an operation, but he was not as bad as he is now.

We recently built a house and had to live in a hotel for 2 months while it was being finished. This all coincided with his surgery and brain injury. He was basically a mean zombie at the hotel.
I had to put two dogs to sleep in the process of moving. Both were very old. THe second one lived with us in the hotel and was my rock and the love in my life.
Putting him to sleep before we moved in the new house was devastating and broke my heart like no other dog did. I did the entire move myself. The packing, contractors, builders, unpacking, moving company, organizing for help, dealing with his work leave, his doctors, appts, medications and ER visits.

We took a vacation for three weeks after that, and it was horrible.
I was basically alone while he watched tv.

Now living in our new "dream house" for our close to retirement years and we are not enjoying it together.
I cannot even imagine him at retirement in two years. He wants to retire early.

As of today, he is shunning me with a silent treatment five days and counting.
will not talk to me because I did not agree with him on an issue.
Silent treatments are nothing new though. He has done that since we were engaged. Usually before the brain injury, he would end up being so miserable shunning me. I would just get on with my life and ignore it.

It does hurt though and when I am not busy, it does mess with your head. The silent treatment.
It's stressful to be in a house with someone that will not answer you. and just stare ahead.

He is not as bad with his friends or coworkers but they all notice a change. SOme do not really talk to him as much. They don't have to, they are not married to him!
He is worse to me.

I never shared our arguments in the past with people. Our marriage was between us. I cannot believe that I am opening up and telling people that things are bad. I almost feel like I am not being loyal to him or our marriage when I do this. But before his injury, when we had arguments, I had someone to talk to about it. HIM. Not any more.

We had a party several weeks ago. A BBQ. Mostly my family and my elderly aunt and uncle, some of my cousins, kids, etc.
I was walking a cousin through the house to show her around. She asked me "now that you are in the house and settled, is there anything you would have done different? tile, floor plans etc?"
I could not come up with anything and said to my husband "DH, is there anything you would have done different, Jill wants to know" and he said very loudly and very nasty "YEAH, I WOULD HAVE A DIFFERENT WIFE!!"
Everyone's mouth dropped. Some people tried to lighten it up by making it a joke.
My stomach fell to the floor. I felt sick. I laughed it off and said something glib and light, but my sad and shocked face betrayed me.

This is my life now.

Not sure what I am going to do or how to handle it. Need to consider my age 56. and what I really want in my life now. How much more change can I take?
I have a new house, new dog and now a new husband. He acts like he hates me. He hates all women it seems and will criticize every woman announcer on tv. Saying she is fat, stupid or ugly!
He is a stranger.
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Old 08-10-2015, 03:09 PM   #2
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Welcome to NeuroTalk, falldc.

It sounds like you're in a hard situation. Have you contacted his doctor to see if his behavior is normal for post-op? There might be a medication he could be on that would make both of your lives better.

Nobody should have to live with being berated and disrespected. Especially in front of your family members.

Just a suggestion.....you might want to also post in the New Members forum as this particular forum (Caregivers) doesn't get a whole lot of traffic.

I hope things get better for you.
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Last edited by Kitty; 08-10-2015 at 03:15 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 08-10-2015, 03:17 PM   #3
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thanks I will cut and paste it in there
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Old 08-10-2015, 07:47 PM   #4
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Welcome to NeuroTalk falldc.
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Old 08-10-2015, 08:20 PM   #5
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Hi falldc,

Welcome to NeuroTalk.

I can feel your sadness, grief, shock, disappointment, sense of betrayal, anger, frustration, discontentment and more. Lots of painful emotions.

I am sorry you are in the midst of what seems like an endless storm.

I think you have posted in a forum. I will look you up there.

I am glad you are reaching out, expressing your feelings, thinking about your future.

Please keep taking excellent care of you!

DejaVu

**********************************

Hi falldc,

I am chasing you around a bit. I see where you were re-directed.

I am very sorry for all you are going through.

If interested in doing so, you could talk with your husband's doctor, as Kitty has suggested.

If your husband can change his behavior, depending upon witnesses, he has some control over his behaviors which he is not using within his interactions with you.

Your descriptions sound like the relationship was quite deteriorated prior to his brain trauma, yes? You are reporting its worse now.

I do not know his pre-existing personality style; yet, it sounds like you feel his personality traits have been amplified.

Sometimes, with TBI, people become more irritable, impulsive, etc.
I have had those issues with a head injury. In my own case, I have been very careful of my husband, my family, my friends. I could see that I needed help and asked for more help. I have to take an anti-epileptic med, named Depakote, in order to even out my mood, not be so easily irritated, etc.
This has helped me a great deal. I have always been concerned about my spouse, my family members, my friends. Luckily for me, I am still concerned about them and their welfare, and concerned about having healthy relationships.

I certainly don't mean to imply all brain injuries are the same. I am addressing pre-existing personality, prior to the trauma/injury. You have shared a lot of information about how you perceive his personality traits, both before and after surgery/injury.

Sometimes, people with TBI, and with no TBI and certain mental health issues, have no insight into their own behaviors and how their behaviors affect others. Sounds like your husband does not know and/or does not care.

I need to tell you much of what you are describing sounds like "emotional abuse."

Signs of emotional abuse in a relationship:
http://liveboldandbloom.com/11/relat...motional-abuse

Please also see the Domestic Abuse Power and Control Wheel:
http://www.ncdsv.org/images/powercon...lnoshading.pdf

The second part of the article outlines the many steps that need to be taken to stop the abuse and to start healing. Do you feel he is capable of these steps?

Nobody deserves abuse. There is no good reason, no acceptable reason, for abusive behaviors.

Make sure you are okay. Keep yourself safe and away from the abuse as much as possible.

I am not a trained domestic abuse counselor.

I am giving you a site link to the National Domestic Abuse Hotline, open 24/7.

www.thehotline.org

It's up to you if you as to whether or not you want to be in touch with this, or any other, organization.
I want to suggest this option, however.

Any chance of you seeing your own therapist for sorting out your needs/desires and your own plans/goals in life?

I am very concerned about you.

Warmly,
DejaVu

Last edited by DejaVu; 08-11-2015 at 09:07 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 08-10-2015, 09:13 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone.
Deja Vu,
I will think about the suggestions you offered.
I would definitely say that our marriage has been strained and we have been distant prior to the surgery. THe one thing we liked doing together...travel...is now stressful.
On our last trip, he berated me several times in front of people. Something he only did in private. He is more of a loose cannon now. He did this throughout the trip, in different situations and different people. There were times I was crying behind sunglasses, him totally unaware. If he was aware, he would not care.
It was so embarrassing and humiliating when the people witnessed this. I did not want to address it with him because I knew he would get loud and people would hear. But there is no use discussing it or arguing it later because he is always right and I am always wrong. In his mind, I am the one at fault always.
I am not saying I am perfect. My daughter says that both my husband and I have always had strong personalities, but she agreed that things are awful for me. I am burying a lot of emotions and resentment.
Having a strong personality with my own opinions makes it even double hard to swallow it down and not speak my mind to him for fear of a huge argument or blow up.
There have been several times I totally lost it and screamed like a lunatic to him. He just sat there uncaring and nonresponsive. He usually will just walk away.
Sometimes I think he "pretends" to be compassionate when he see's something sad on tv.

I had "saved" him twice when he could have died when he got a hematoma on the brain because he was on blood thinner. Fighting with him to go to ER. I was on my way out to work and noticed he was not talking right. I had to argue for more than 30 min to get him to go. He was NASTY and mean to me. But finally agreed after I spewed all kinds of terrible scenarios that could happen if he ignored the symptoms.

I feel bad for him. When I get mad, I will look at his MRI and then realize this is not his fault. Then feel guilty for how I feel toward him.
But as I said before, he has been pretty much like this prior to surgery. Only much worse now.

Just writing about it in here is exhausting. I don't know if I can rehash it all to a therapist from start to finish.
Sometimes, I just want to put it on a shelf and do something else and think something else. Be happy and forget this is going on.
I don't want to waste any more time obsessing about it.
But the second he comes home, I dread it. and back to reality.

He says he is not happy and has not been happy for a long time in our last argument over something very silly and petty.
I sometimes think we would be better off separated.
I just do not want to uproot myself at this stage in my life. I don't think he does either.
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Old 08-10-2015, 09:45 PM   #7
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Hi falldc,

I am glad you are reaching out and sharing, even if it feels exhausting.
The energy drain speaks for itself.

Do you feel couples counseling might be an option, in order to communicate about what each of you wants?

Many therapists can help with either restoring the relationship or helping couples to separate sanely. The therapy goals really depend upon what the couple wants to work on with a therapist.

You have options.
Sometimes just knowing we have viable options helps.
Sometimes we just need to express ourselves and be heard.

We are here and listening.

Warmly,
DejaVu
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Old 08-11-2015, 07:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DejaVu View Post
Sometimes just knowing we have viable options helps.
Sometimes we just need to express ourselves and be heard.

We are here and listening.

Warmly,
DejaVu
Hi DejaVu,
Right now he is not talking to me still. I have some plans for this upcoming weekend in the air. Might need to cancel with some old friends and will cancel if he is not talking to me by Friday. I certainly cannot have people over with him acting this way.

I did go to the two websites you posted and ticked off quite a few of the "emotional abuse" signs.
In all honesty, I think all of us have been victim to some and even perpetrator. But he is for sure abusing me emotionally. I knew that years ago.

He would probably stomp out of a couples counseling if it did not go his way. Or after we leave he will deny the therapist said something or pointed out any problems he might have.
When he was at a neurology appt that my daughter took him to, he denied that the doctor said he had depression. My daughter taped the entire visit for me to listen to later. I told him that I was listening to the tape and the doctor did say he was depressed!
Now he agrees months later that he might be depressed.

I would feel like I am abandoning him if I left him. I wish I had left sooner. Before the trauma.
Even though he is never there for me when I am not feeling well, I cant do the same to him. I don't want any regrets later.

I am aware that the stress from him can take a toll on me physically. I notice signs of that already.
I guess what I need to do is take the suggestions on that site you recommended. On what to do if you are remaining in an emotionally abusive relationship. They do recommend to make it temporary though.

Thanks for listening!
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Old 08-11-2015, 09:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by falldc View Post
Hi DejaVu,
Right now he is not talking to me still. I have some plans for this upcoming weekend in the air. Might need to cancel with some old friends and will cancel if he is not talking to me by Friday. I certainly cannot have people over with him acting this way.

I did go to the two websites you posted and ticked off quite a few of the "emotional abuse" signs.
In all honesty, I think all of us have been victim to some and even perpetrator. But he is for sure abusing me emotionally. I knew that years ago.
Hi falldc,

I hope looking at the sites was helpful in some way.

I totally agree with you, many of us unknowingly do or say things which are considered "emotional abuse." We have grown up in environments where some form of emotional abuse was the "norm" and have no idea some of our behaviors, or behaviors of our loved ones, may be emotional abusive.

The key is in raising awareness. Not pointing fingers and blaming someone else. Taking responsibility for our own behaviors. Sometimes, when partners are made aware emotional abuse has been occurring, both take actions to ensure healthier interactions.

It's a joy to see your written response.
Your response shows a lot of insight. Gaining insight and perspective is critically important in eliciting the most favorable outcome, whether you both stay together or eventually part ways.

As for your plans this weekend: Is there any option of seeing your old friends at another location? If so, your husband may join if his behavior has shifted. If his stance remains the same, you won't miss out on seeing your friends. Just a thought.

You are in a very tough situation. Any compassionate person would feel very guilty for leaving.

Some of these emotional abuse services/sites/hotlines can be very helpful in helping us to better understand the situation, better understand our feelings, better understand our options. They often provide validation and support.
Most understand if someone feels s/he must remain in the relationship for various reasons. They don't require someone to leave the situation in order to lend support.

There may also be local services for you, a local support group or counseling, etc.

I do hope you will consider getting some additional support, whether you stay or leave.

My heart goes out to you. You are currently in a truly difficult position.


DejaVu

P.S. Have FUN as often as possible!

Last edited by DejaVu; 08-11-2015 at 10:02 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 08-11-2015, 05:19 PM   #10
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Well the idea for the visit was for them to see the new house. I will wait until date gets closer to decide....

I don't know how healthy it is to do so...but I try to practice compartmentalizing. I wish I could do that better. Setting this aside and thinking of other things. And getting on with other things.

Had a great day today being good to "me" with the day off from work.

All through our marriage when he pulled the silent treatment, I would spend the time obsessing about it, and thinking about it. Pretty much letting the days get away and nothing productive done until we were on speaking terms again.
I'm making an effort to do what needs to be done in the house and garden. And living in general. It is such a waste of precious time to make it all consuming.

I don't want to reward his "shunning" by giving in. Hard to do though.
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