Author Topic: Was I rude/unsympathetic?  (Read 4954 times)

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poonkuzhali

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Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« on: April 18, 2013, 12:34:13 PM »
Background: My husband is very much attached to his family. I do not discourage him or try to take away his attention away from them anytime. His family suffered the loss of his sister (before we even met) which shook them up real bad and they took a lot of time to heal. Now, my MIL is suffering from a disease that does not have cure but can be effectively managed through daily treatment. The disease causes her to have off days/weeks when she is not well enough to get out of the house. My husband gets very worried when this happens. He always thinks of the worst. I tell him to not worry and ask him to hope for the best and pray for her health. He gets really testy with me and says I donít know what I am talking about and how his mom is suffering. I keep quiet and give him the space to vent. But, I donít say anything after that. We took a long awaited vacation after 3 years to mouseland (we were there only for 2 days). He was not his happy self and kind of sulking about the long drive etc. I put up with that too. But, I got pissed when he went to call his family in the middle of a show we were watching. I did not say anything to him. But, it ruined the rest of the day for me. I think he feels guilty to be having a vacation when his Mom is ill. But, her illness is not for a short duration. She could be going on & off like this for years.


Recently his mom had a small medical problem (think cold/fever). He has been very down for the past 3-4 days worrying about his Mom. I am normally a very up-beat person. When he comes back from work, I enquire of his day, get him some coffee etc. Yesterday, I was having a bad day myself: I have been on a strict diet/exercise and have been on a weightloss path. I have recently hit a plateau and yesterday my scale showed a 3 lb increase. I was very disappointed as I had not cheated on my diet/exercise. I was in a terrible mood and when he came back home from work, I asked him if he wanted coffee, told him when dinner would be ready and went off to check on kidsí homework etc. He tried to chat with me. I gave non-committal answers, nodded etc. He suddenly started getting mad at me for being moody and having a long-face. He said I am not being supportive when his Mom is going through so much.

Is being in a bad mood when your spouse is dealing with something stressful somehow rude? Was I rude or unsympathetic? How long do you think you can deal with a constantly worried spouse?

BeagleMommy

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Re: Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2013, 12:42:15 PM »
You can't help how you're feeling.  I might suggest your husband meet with his mom's doctor to find out more details about how/when he should truly worry.  The doctor may be better able to aleviate some of his fears by explaining that good days/bad days are part of this condition.

We're all allowed to have bad moods once in a while.  The fact that yours coincided with his worry about mom can't be predicted or controlled.  It doesn't mean that you're not concerned about his mom, but he is a little too close to the situation and is only seeing things from his perspective.

dawbs

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Re: Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2013, 12:49:59 PM »
I will say, this is what stood out to me the most in your post:
Quote
He always thinks of the worst. I tell him to not worry and ask him to hope for the best and pray for her health. He gets really testy with me and says I donít know what I am talking about and how his mom is suffering. I keep quiet and give him the space to vent. But, I donít say anything after that.

You can't change how he is acting/reacting.
But you can change how you act.

Telling someone not to worry is telling them how to feel/how not to feel.  So...stop doing that.  (and telling a worried person not to worry is like the game of not thinking about polarbears.  It practically is a written guarantee that they have white bears on the brain.  Except now there's the added guilt of "crap, I shouldn't be worrying about this")
Telling him to hope for the best and pray for her health is more of the same.  You're ordering him to act/think in a certain way--this is bound to cause resentment and irritation.

And truth be told, you don't know how his mom is suffering and how his family is dealing with that--you're not in their heads.  (on the flip side, he doesn't know how you're dealing with things either.)


I'd say the fact taht you 2 aren't finding it possible to communicate basic feelings (you "think" he feels guilty about vacationing, but haven't talked to him about it?  He's projecting something about support into your bad mood, etc) means it's time to call in the professionals and seek some counseling.
(and counseling isn't a "this is a last ditch effort ot save a marriage"--you don't call the doctor once a toe is gangrenous and about to fall off...you call the doctor when you cut your toe so that it doesn't GET to the about to fall off point)

Winterlight

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Re: Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2013, 12:55:34 PM »
Yes, you should support your spouse. But he needs to return the favor.

He needs to get control of his moodiness and not spew it all over you, and to recognize that life is ongoing and you can't be his 24-7 cheerleader. You also have feelings and needs.

I think counseling sounds like a good idea.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2013, 01:04:02 PM by Winterlight »
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mmswm

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Re: Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2013, 01:01:00 PM »
I POD the suggestion for counseling.  Dealing with a long term illness isn't easy on anybody, whether you're the ill person or somebody who loves the ill person.  I understand that you're frustrated, but it looks like neither of you is dealing with his mother's illness in a productive way, and a good counselor could help you two figure out a way to support each other without stepping on each other's toes.

cicero

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Re: Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2013, 01:08:11 PM »
it sounds like the two of you are feeding off each other's moods. it's not uncommon - but it doesn't make for a fun relationship. is he *always* in a bad mood? is this an ongoing issue? if he is occassionally sad, i think you should try to be more sympathetic. I don't know if it's rude, but it's unkind to be moody in response to his moodiness. but if this is a lot of the time, then you have to deal with the core issue.

Reading what you wrote, it sounds like the crux of the matter is that your husband didn't /couldn't process his sister's death, and it is affecting how he is dealing with *any* thought of death. again, this is not uncommon - i know that for me, my mother passed away fairly young, and to this day - while I do cope well with life - my mind will sometimes jump from "cold" to "hospital" to "death". would he go to therapy for this?


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EllenS

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Re: Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2013, 01:14:32 PM »

(and counseling isn't a "this is a last ditch effort ot save a marriage"--you don't call the doctor once a toe is gangrenous and about to fall off...you call the doctor when you cut your toe so that it doesn't GET to the about to fall off point)

Yes, yes, a thousand times.  There are lots of good seminars and classes on improving communication in marriage, if you feel like one-one-one counselling is too big a step.  You mentioned praying, so probably your house of worship/clergy person can either help you with this or recommend one.

I also would point out a couple things - a new stress (like mom's illness) often brings up feelings from an old stress (his sister).  His emotions may be disproportionate to current events, because he has the baggage of losing his sister on top.  Counselling or something similar can help him work through that.

It is also really, really important that your DH find some supportive friends that he can talk to about his feelings, or spend time with "decompressing".  He is looking to you as his single source of emotional support - that is too much to ask of one person. 

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2013, 01:28:07 PM »
I don't get the impression that the OP is always moody, she just had one of those days, as we all do, was tired and unhappy and had other things to do such as help the kids with their homework. 

I do get the impression that her DH is behaving disproportionately to his mother's illness based on what happened with his sister which, while understandable, probably isn't the healthiest, especially since it seems he's unable to relax and think of much else besides her being sick.   Maybe a word to the spiritual leader of the church (priest/pastor/rabbi) expressing his concerns might help. 

It also seems that he expects her to be his cheerleader but is so focused on being one for his mom that he can't really be there for his wife.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

poonkuzhali

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Re: Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2013, 02:29:10 PM »
OP here.

Thanks for all the replies. I was feeling a little guilty about being moody for such a insignificant thing as compared to his issue. Counseling is not an option. We are from a country where suggesting is counseling is like implying that the person is a raging lunatic.
To answer some question and provide more info:

We have been married 11 years. This is not the first time he has been worried/moody due to his family.
1.   BILís failed first marriage:  1 year into our marriage, his younger brother eloped and got married to a girl without informing his family. It is considered a slap in the face in our country and gets a lot of badmouthing from the relatives. This marriage turned out pretty bad and it put his family through a lot. I was pregnant with my first kid during that time and did not have a happy pregnancy. He was constantly worried about his parents and what kind of shame they are facing among relatives. This marriage failed and that again put them through a lot of sadness. This caused him 4-5 months of sadness, guilt about not physically being there for his parents etc
2.   Complaints from In-laws: During their 4 month visit to our country and their stay with us, there were a lot of complaints from my in-laws about their perceived rudeness and slighting from me. My husband and I had a major misunderstanding due to this. We finally resolved and agreed that my in-laws are very old-fashioned and see rudeness in a lot of places when not intended. We agreed not to pay a lot of attention to their over the top complaints. We are doing fairly good in this area. The entire misunderstanding caused 4-5 months of unhappiness.
3.   My BILís arrest: My BIL was arrested for forgery. This is not his first offense. He is known for doing a lot of shady things. He has been handling a lot of our asset documentation. In our country, recently there is a lot of issues where assets are being forged to be a different ownership and sold off without the real ownerís knowledge. I told my husband, ďI understand you are in a lot of pain because of what your brother is going through a lot. But, please do not let him handle our assets. This should be our wakeup call. I am open to helping him out financially. Bailing him out and getting him settles. But, please do not let him handle our assets directly.Ē He was mad at me for not believing in his brother and maintained that his brother is innocent. I let it go. This caused 3-4 months of worrying, unhappiness etc.
4.   My BILís second marriage: BIL second marriage was an arranged marriage. A month or 2 after the wedding we came to know that his new wife was not entirely mentally stable. By the time she was already pregnant and so they couldnít dissolve the marriage.  This caused a lot of heartache for the entire family including me. She is being treated right now and is responding well to treatment. This again sent the entire family for 3-4 months of worry.

After all this, things were looking a little stable in his family and I was looking forward to some relaxing/fun time and focusing on my family. That is when MIL fell sick. I feel like my life is being constantly clouded with all the issues in his family. I have been very patient. I have also agreed to move back to our home country next year to be next to his family and support them as much as we can. But, I donít want to put our life on hold for all his family issues to be resolved. And, getting jumped at for one off-day was too much for me.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2013, 02:42:13 PM »
It's too bad that the attitude about counseling exists in your country, as it sounds like there would be some good benefit for you all, and maybe someone could suggest it's time to cut the strings.  Your DH sounds like he's constantly putting his family ahead of you, which of course isn't fair.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

It's good to be Queen

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Re: Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2013, 02:58:51 PM »
I have a chronic illness that can't be cured but can be managed medically until, well, it can't be anymore.  In other words, I take the treatments and live with the knowledge that someday they will no longer work.  I need my family to be strong for me, but not to be always hovering and worrying.  I want normality.  It would be great if your husband would realize that this is probably long-term and he needs to learn to live with it.  Arm yourselves with lots of knowledge about the illness so you can tell what is serious and what is just a bump in the road.  Your husband needs to save himself for the big issues and lean to live with the small one or he will burn-out and won't be all that helpful to his mother.

From an etiquette POV, it would help if you would NOT tell him to pray and hope for the best.  Be sympathetic, but firm and stand your ground that you each get to have moods, good or bad, and he shouldn't criticize you for your bad days.

EllenS

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Re: Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2013, 03:08:40 PM »
OP, I get what you are saying about counselling.  I still wonder if there is a way for you to encourage your husband to connect with friends to "relax and blow off steam".  Also, sometimes through an employer or a health program, you might find classes, lectures or handouts on "stress management", or "putting the spark back in your marriage."

Sometimes these contain many helpful ideas that a counsellor would also offer about communication, self care, and dealing with emotional overload, but they are in a much more acceptable package. 

johelenc1

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Re: Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2013, 03:21:10 PM »
My first thought was that your husband and his family are entirely too immeshed in each other.  The extent to which your husband takes offense at any perceived criticism of his family is ridiculous.  As is calling his parents in the middle of a show at Disney World.

I find it interesting that counseling is so forbidden but that it seems the family is accepting of your SIL getting the help she needs.  Frankly, I don't think it should matter if everyone else thinks getting counseling means you are a raving lunatic.  You and your husband need it.

If he won't go, then you go.  You feel guilty for being moody for a little thing compared to him.  That's just a minor version of what you say he is doing - feeling guilty for having fun when poor mom is suffering. 

You need to see someone who can help you set some boundaries and have a voice in the relationship (like your indicted BIL handling your financial affairs.  Holy Moly!!!)  His moods shouldn't dictate your whole family's lives.  When he decides to pout for months and months, then you need to be able to say, "ok.  But the kids and I are going to live our lives and do X, Y, and Z and enjoy doing it."  THen do it.  Live your life.  Stop asking if he's ok, if you can fix it or do anything for him.  Tell him you are there for him if he needs to talk but let him take responsibility for his own behavior.  You can't follow him around trying to make him be happy.

Also, not that it matters, but I think moving to be near his family is a terrible, horrible, very bad idea.  If you think it's bad now...just wait.  I would bet your husband will practically live at his mother's house.  Besides that...is this a permanent move?  Since her illness is chronic but not soon to be fatal...you are going to be there forever.  She will never be "well enough" for you to move back.   I think you need to be prepared to accept that you are moving there for the rest of your life (because after mom dies you will have to stay because his father/brother/etc. need him).  And, you will need to accept that you will never be as important as they are. 

One last thing...I get that his "old fashioned" parents would find counseling objectionable, but who has to tell them.  Will your husband refuse it as well because of the same reason?

StuffedGrapeLeaves

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Re: Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2013, 03:22:12 PM »
I also wonder if it would help if you go to counseling yourself.  If your husband won't go, counseling can still help you a lot.  You are taking on a lot of burden, especially if you move closer to his family, so you're going to need more tools to help you.  Perhaps if you can also find a counselor with the same cultural background, it will help as well. 

For now, what about sitting down with your husband when both of you are not as stressed or in a bad mood, and try to talk to him about it.  I would approach it as what the two of you can do together instead of making it him versus you.  Perhaps he would be more amenable to discussions then.

If it's possible, I would also postpone that move near his family unless you have improvements in this area.  Otherwise I foresee a lot of misery for you in the future. 

WillyNilly

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Re: Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2013, 03:50:44 PM »
Obviously we are only getting one side of the story here, but your husband comes across as very selfish, mean and immature here. I would not put up with it personally. I'd take the time to once pretty much tell him off and tell him to man up and act like a grown up and realize his moods are the end all be all, there are other people around that matter too and he needs to find a way to deal with life without everything becoming some big personal tragedy that drags on for months. And if there was no effort to improve after that i would just not deal wit it, at all. I'd just tune out the mood and go on with life and expect nothing less from him.

The reality is people get sick, and people die. His mother is going to die. that a fact. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next year, but then again maybe that soon. But regardless its going to happen, absolutely, unconditionally. Dead. And that's just that. So he can waste his whole life being miserable that she's ill or he can be happy she's not dead yet. But either way life will go on for everyone else, until they die too.