General Etiquette > Family and Children

Was I rude/unsympathetic?

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poonkuzhali:
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:
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:
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.
--- End quote ---

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:
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.

mmswm:
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.

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