07-15-2012, 09:33 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
| | Am I selfish?
This is such a long story that I will have to summarize to get anyone to read it, but I'm sure a lot will be lost.
I will start by summarizing facts
Married 10 years, with two young kids. Overall good but we have had some issues. No affairs or anything like that, good with money but living styles are not the same and we sometimes disagree about how we deal with kids. Overall we are on the same page and I am told we get along better than most couples. Our sex life is not great, wife is low drive, has been all along.
Wife's mom died about 16 years ago before we got together. Was very close with her family, three other siblings her dad and an aunt.
2 years ago I was diagnosed with leukemia. I am doing well and as of today prognosis is that I should survive. Wife did not handle this well, basically shut down and focused on the kids. She recently told me "I'm just getting used to the fact you aren't going to die. When I found out you were sick I had to separate myself from you to figure out how I was going to get by after you were gone". Needless to say this was hard for me, I could have used my wife's support during the early days of my illness. In some ways it made me stronger and get through it because I had to suck it up and deal with it, but I really could have used her support. Not that she ignored me or anything, but there was just the feeling in the air, I knew from early on, she expected me to die and she was protecting herself.
Wife's dad was dx with terminal brain tumor about 6 mo ago. Family instantly fell apart and everyone started arguing.
About 3 months ago wife's 35 yo brother unexpectedly dies of a heart attack. Everyone is devastated.
Wife was put in charge of all father's affairs. After brother died, remaining two sisters turn on wife and torment her routinely about she is handling things, just making her life miserable. Mostly comes from the loss of everything and jealousy that wife was put in charge and not one of them.
This brings us to the present. FIL is in hospice and going into final stages. We sit kids down to have conversation with them and let them know he is dying and it is imminent. Kids are 6 and 8. Kids do not know about my illness, wife wanted to protect them from it and for the most part I agreed although I feel like we are lying to them sometimes and while I want to protect them, there is a part of me that has a problem with it.
We agreed to only use the word brain tumor and not use the word cancer. Wife is afraid they will hear cancer in relation to me at a later date and freak out.
During conversation with older son, he asks more questions about the illness and is generally interested in understanding what is happening. Seeing an opportunity to discuss what cancer is with him and explain that while some can cause people to die, others get cured, I mistakingly use the word cancer to describe the grandfather's illness.
Wife finds out a few minutes later and is furious. Completely flips out and says I had no right to explain to him what cancer was without her in the room. She starts to really go off the edge telling me how I am not careful enough when the few times I bring up my illness in the context of doctor appointments etc, that I don't take enough care to make sure they can't here me. Usually the kids are in bed and we are sitting on couch at night talking. She thinks they are awake and listening to us. She then goes on to say I did it on purpose and I don't care about her. She said I had no right because it was not my father. She calmed down for a minute and I said I was sorry that I didn't do it on purpose and the conversation just went in that direction and without really thinking I went along with it. She said I was lying. She asked if I thought this was an opportunity to lay the groundwork for a future conversation where I would explain my illness to him when he gets older. I said on some level I think it was. She looked me in the face and told me I was selfish!
Now I know I kind of messed up, but it's not like this stuff is in the parenting handbook. These are very emotional issues and I made a mistake, but I didn't do it thinking "screw her I'm going to do what I want". I was having a heart to heart with my son and that was the way it went. I know my wife is in crazy land from all the terrible things that have happened. I have tried to be there. I try to support her emotionally. I work full time to support her and the kids - she does not work. I am in constant pain all the time from my treatment and I am exhausted. I live everyday with the fear that my illness could turn on me and I could die. Despite this I push through it, I do all the things I am supposed to do from work around the house, activities with kids, I even taking on more chores to cover her lack of doing things because she is so sad. I don't say much to anyone about it, only a few people know I am sick and if I ever confide in someone I get reprimanded for it. I have taken care of everything with my BIL funeral and helping to manage my FIL affairs. I get little in return in the way of any appreciation and I get that right now she can't think of anything but her own terrible situation. Although I would argue that prior to all of this I often got little recognition for anything I do for her.
I provide a very nice life for her and the kids and I do it while dealing with a life threatening disease. I'm not always smiles, but I try my best to keep the best attitude I can. I can understand being mad at me and I get that she is not thinking clearly, but selfish? In the middle of everything, the opinion is that I am selfish? I may be a lot of things, but I am not selfish. That one really hurt.......