Getting older and scared

Getting older and scared

Posted by River on Oct 8, 2017 10:47 am

I'm a 56 year old woman with t-4 SCI and Rheumatoid Arthritis.  As I get older I'm confronting my inability to do the things I used to do. I'm in a 15 year relationship that has had some very rough spots, there are times I've wanted to break up but I just don't know if I can live alone and do the things I used to do for myself, my Rheumatoid has affected my hands and arm strength, it's painful to dress and shower myself. I've lived alone before and I was fine, in fact I loved it.  I have no famly to depend on and my friends are few, I don't have the money to hire a lawn service or a care giver to help me shower and dress.  I have Medicare and understand that it does not pay for a care giver, only a skilled nurse who does medical related tasks which I don't need.  So I'm in a relationship because of the physical support she gives me which is a VERY uncomfortable situation to be in.  Are there resources out there that I'm unaware of?  I live in Ohio.  

Best,
River

Re: Getting older and scared

Posted by Dan Gottlieb on Oct 8, 2017 12:18 pm

Hi River,
I'm so sorry to hear what you are going through, it sounds awful. Sadly, you are not alone. I'm currently training a couple where one person is disabled from a stroke and his wife only stays because she feels obligated to.

I would love to see you and your partner have an honest conversation about what is working and what is not in this relationship. Is there a chance things could be worked out and you could be friends, if not lovers?

If so, I highly recommend the two of you going for some couples therapy. Not necessarily to change everything for the better, but to help understand your common goals and how you can achieve them.

I would highly recommend you go on the webpage of the American Association for Marital and Family therapy (AAMFT). You might also want to contact the peer mentor program that this organization offers free of charge.

Please write back if there is anything else I can do for you

Daniel Gottlieb PhD
WWW.DrDanGottlieb.com
DrDanGottlieb1946@Gmail.com
 
 
 
www.DrDanGottlieb.com

Re: Getting older and scared

Posted by River on Oct 8, 2017 1:12 pm

Hi Dan,
Unfortunately my partner is not open to couples counseling, nor is she open to anti-depressants which I believe would help her.  I’m a former counselor, in counseling terms she has a wall of defense thicker than the wall Trump wants to build.  We have our good moments. We came together and bonded over our art work, for 10 years we worked as bead and jewelry artists together, we had a great business and relationship and lots of fun.  Two years ago our “work van” died so she began using my minivan for shows.  She was gone 4 days a week from May through December, it was very difficult for me not having transportation, I worked making beads and jewelry non-stop but had no means of transportation in her absence.  At the end of last years season I told her that I was no longer able to physically make the beads (my work demands hand strength) for the business, I no longer wanted to do art shows and I needed my van back.  She was very angry with me.  Certainly not the response I expected, maybe initially, but her anger is palpable, she’s on the edge much of the time.  We are in different places, she continues to push my boundaries around around doing art shows, which I will not do and will not let her use my van to do.  I believe she feels I’ve betrayed her.  I honestly want her to pursue her own art work, but it seems my physical needs get in the way (I recently fell and broke my tibia and fibula full leg brace 12 wks) this life is so damn hard.
Thank you for your response, it means a lot to me that someone out there understands.
 
Best,
River

Re: Getting older and scared

Posted by TJ14 on Oct 24, 2017 5:17 pm

River,  my name is TJ Griffin I’m with the Christopher Reeve peer mentor program. I would like a chance to speak with you to see if you would like to speak with a one on one peer mentor.  It might help speaking with someone that’s been in a similar situation. If you are interested you can email me directly at tjgriffin@christopherreeve.org 

Re: Getting older and scared

Posted by Dan Gottlieb on Nov 9, 2017 4:40 pm

Hi River,
 
You might hate to hear this, but consider this.

Consider the fact that your partner is correct and that you have betrayed her. I know it's your body, but that doesn't change the fact that she has been betrayed. When I first got married, it was in the old days and the old family structure. So my wife and I expected me to be the breadwinner and care for the family. This was when two working parents was unusual so she stayed home with our little girls.
She felt betrayed and she was betrayed. We had our roles in the family and I went out role and put our family in financial jeopardy.

So if you feel safe enough, tell her that you understand her sense of betrayal and you are deeply sorry this had to happen. Be open to hearing what she has to say about her experience living with you. It might be painful for you, but it would be a gift for her.

Best way to have a real dialogue is to make it safe for the other person and you may very well have the power to help her feel safe.

It means you take the first "step" towards compassion and safety. For both of you.
And don't forget compassion for yourself.

 
www.DrDanGottlieb.com

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