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feeling as if I have lost the man I married

(76 Posts)
Canarygirl1 Mon 01-Jul-19 22:32:21

this feels very selfish but wondered if anyone else had felt the same. DH had stroke last year,it has not left him physically disabled but he is completely different now,, with almost complete indifference to me and most other things around him. His temper is frightening at times and there seems to be no reason for it. Just wondering how to come to terms with the situation and turn round the feelings of loss and sadness after nearly 50 years of what as a very happy and loving marriage

MawBroonsback Mon 01-Jul-19 22:55:44

Sadly one of the effects of a stroke can be a change in personality.
I wonder if the Stroke Association have any helpful advice?
I know that strokes can also cause depression, insecurity and incredible fatigue so these have to be factored in too.
Really sorry to hear this, flowers to you.
PS you are NOT being at all selfish x

Doodle Mon 01-Jul-19 23:12:57

canarygil this must be so sad and fright for you. I think maw has given good advice re the Stroke Association. Does your GP know what has happened?

cornergran Mon 01-Jul-19 23:15:45

No, not selfish simply honest and exhausted. mawb’s advice to contact the Stroke Association seems eminently sensible. I’m sorry you’re in this heartbreaking situation, Please look after yourself

BradfordLass72 Tue 02-Jul-19 02:53:06

No it's not selfish at all.

I "lost" my kind, cheerful husband not to a stroke but schizophrenia, diagnosed 7 years into our marriage.

It had been clear for some time that something was wrong but in those days I knew nothing about it.

I watched the man I loved slowly slip away to be replaced by a volatile stranger who, because he had amassed an impressive array of firearms, I sometimes feared.

absent Tue 02-Jul-19 03:30:03

Mr absent had a very mild stroke a few years ago and it changed his personality although it had no lasting obvious physical effect. I have got used to his short temper, his indifference towards me, his intolerance of other people's views and opinions and even the fact that he started dropping his aitches. He has always had a slight tendency towards mansplaining but kept it under control before the stroke; not so now. I don't think there is anything you can do about it.

BlueBelle Tue 02-Jul-19 04:54:58

Talking to the Stoke Association is the best advice you could be given They will give you lots of information and ideas of how to cope with these differences
It is horrible for you both but worse for you because he may be unaware of the changes
You are not being selfish or unfeelingly you just need some help support and understanding I hope you find it and get your lovely husband back

Hetty58 Tue 02-Jul-19 05:51:40

Over 30 years ago I (somehow) coped with a very ill husband and four children. I felt that awful sense of loss and loneliness as he too became angry and unpredictable. There was an overriding feeling of guilt as well. How could I feel so sorry for myself when I was fit and healthy? I did understand my concern for my own safety, though, as he was still a lot stronger than me and he blamed me for his illness.

On reflection, I was grieving at the time. I'd permanently lost the kind, considerate and gentle person I'd loved and married. I was worried, too, about facing the future without him.

I suddenly hated the world and felt let down. People didn't understand. I deeply resented the assumption that I'd look after him (including sleepless nights) while studying and raising four children. On his medical notes it said 'Wife not working' (is it ever 'Husband not working', I wonder?) and my tutor suggested that I take a year off (when study was my only 'normal' and vital refuge at the time).

After one particularly terrifying violent episode, my doctor suggested that I just take the children and leave. How could I possibly abandon the man I still loved when he was terminally ill? I decided that (as the kids were safe) I'd stay and (luckily for me) he soon lost strength so I wasn't so scared all the time. His temper tantrums were really just his way of expressing extreme fear. His upbringing/conditioning (the tough guy never cried) only allowed for rage and the rage was directed at me. I didn't realise that at the time and it's so difficult to comfort an angry person.

When we lost him I struggled with guilt at feeling relieved that I'd survived. Now I wonder why. I remember and miss the 'real' kind, funny chap I married. The other, angry man was just a fake, cardboard cut-out replacement for the dear husband that the illness stole from me.

Anja Tue 02-Jul-19 06:43:55


M0nica Tue 02-Jul-19 08:18:54

Hetty58, what a wonderful, balanced and honest survey of all you went through. I think many of us could do with keeping your post in a safe place and looking back at it when we read of the experience others (like the OP) or possibly, some time in the future, ourselves, when we too may face a similar situation. flowers

vena11 Tue 02-Jul-19 08:38:45

So sorry it must be so hard xx

annsixty Tue 02-Jul-19 08:48:41

I also felt relief when my husband died and the awful guilt that went with that feeling, so thank you hetty for your post.
It is all new to me but a couple of weeks ago I was in a dress shop with a friend and sitting while she tried something on.
Suddenly a tune came over the speaker, It was, I love you just the way you are, Billy Joel, I think.
The tears started and wouldn't stop, I had to get up and go to look at some racks of clothes so no one saw me.
I cried all weekend.
I too was remembering my H before his illness and how very happy we were.
This of course is no help to the OP but perhaps she will take comfort knowing some of us totally understand.
Sending her very best wishes,

KatyK Tue 02-Jul-19 09:59:04

It's difficult. My brother in law had a stroke last year. He has not been left with physical problems and is not violent but my sister says he has changed so much they now have no life. They are only 60.

midgey Tue 02-Jul-19 10:05:15

There is nothing to add to the very wise words already said. flowers take care of yourself.

Sprout Tue 02-Jul-19 10:42:27

Morning I felt the need to add my story today. My marriage over 53yrs was happy loving with everything you need 2 fab children
However he was diagnosed with cancer of the brain which over the years spread. I nursed him for 9yrs of which I don't regret one moment. But in the last 2yrs he changed dramatically. He tried to strangle me but I was stronger of course. He was really horrible he had a few bouts of thats my husband but got less and less. It is not them it's the illness that has taken over. I accepted that and continued to love him care for him until he passed away in 2017 and I try hard to blank out the bad times and remember the many good ones. I feel for you but our love for our man will always win.

ReadyMeals Tue 02-Jul-19 10:47:27

If the stroke damaged a particular part of the brain that dealt with impulse control, something that might have slightly irritated him before but he decided not to make a fuss about so as not to upset anyone, if he has lost the bit that decides not to make a fuss will now result in a bad temper

ReadyMeals Tue 02-Jul-19 10:48:42

Oh I hope that didn't look like I was saying you should be more understanding, of course it's upsetting for you. Just thought it might be of comfort to know it's not due to him liking you less

bingo12 Tue 02-Jul-19 10:56:08

I don't understand - if strokes and other serious health problems affect peoples' mental state - why don't they have phycological therapy etc for that - as well as physical therapy - to recover? Reading here, damage done to personality and character presumably by stroke affecting the brain - needs as much medical attention unless nothing can be done about it.

jura2 Tue 02-Jul-19 10:59:46

perhaps that is the answer bingo12 - very little can be done about it.

Canarygirl, I truly feel for you- must be so hard to experience this.

Anneeba Tue 02-Jul-19 11:02:43

What very lovely empathetic replies on this thread. Big bunches of flowers to you all. flowers So sorry that there is so much suffering. I'm sure the National Stroke Association is the best place to start, for yourself OP plus, if he is willing to accept that things have changed since his stroke, your OH. He may know he doesn't feel 'right' even if he cannot appreciate how things have changed; peer support can be such a big boost for everyone in this situation. I hope you find the help you deserve.

ReadyMeals Tue 02-Jul-19 11:03:15

Bingo, some of the effect could be psychological, due to the frustration of having been ill or the fear of what might have happened. But some of the effect can also be neurological - actually permanent brain damage caused by the stroke. This can affect the parts that control movement (hence the weak arm or face) or the parts that control emotion and social conscience.

NotSpaghetti Tue 02-Jul-19 11:06:51

I have no experience of this, except the loss of my mother to cancer which took away all her joy - but my heart goes out to those of you living with a husband (or wife) who has changed through illness into someone you don't know.
flowers to you all.
So, so awful.
And flowers too to those of you who have survived it. X

NemosMum Tue 02-Jul-19 11:17:27

Every sympathy Canarygirl1. Sounds like a stroke affecting the frontal lobe & hence the effects you note. You have taken the biggest step in being honest - you have lost the man you knew, and you are quite understandably grieving. Apart from the Stroke Association, you can contact your local branch of the Carers' Association. They will run, and know of, sources of local help for you, both in NHS and voluntary sector. You must be safe too! If he is violent, then he needs a specialist setting. Although he cannot help it, that does not mean that you have to put up with it. He could be referred to a specialist psychiatrist who deals with the psychiatric problems of older people (sometimes called the Older Persons' Service). You can also contact Social Services and ask for a Carer's Assessment. Your husband's needs are important, but so are yours, and his needs do not trump your own! Do not despair - you will get through this flowers

Saggi Tue 02-Jul-19 11:17:51

Oh dear Canarygirl..... you’ve just described my husband , the only difference is that my husband had his stroke at the age of 50 and I have been putting up with his extreme bad tempers... his bullying.... his total disinterest in me or our kids and worse our two grandkids, for 23 long years. I consider he really ‘died ‘ that day , and I’ve just been treading water waiting to bury him.I don’t know your husbands previous personality, and you might find that once he’s over the initial shock of his illness he might rally, and see you again. My husband never rallied, just indulged his misery and tries to offload it on those around him till all his friends couldn’t stand it any longer. I don’t have the luxury of walking away. But I never blamed them for doing so. I really do hope your ongoing scenario is better than mine , which is just more of the same until one of us shuffles of this mortal coil. Sorry I can’t be upbeat.... until you’ve been there they say... you have no idea how excruciating an existence it is.I wish you every bit of luck I never had.

Saggi Tue 02-Jul-19 11:21:53

Just reading some of the other posts regarding help..... 23 years ago when my husband had his.... no help was offered or spoken about, either psychological and or physical. But I’m pretty certain he would not have accepted either.