Page 1 of 1

Grieving and pushing boyf away

PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2016 10:42 pm
by Nomad
Yesterday my dad passed away. It is a confusing time. He had been unwell for many years with dementia and it's been a horrible time. Last week he took a turn (had happened many times), but this time we had to move him onto end of life care and stayed with him as much as possible. He passed away after 8 days. I hope for everyone's sake they don't experienced the same.
For anyone who has experience of dementia it is a cruel disease. You loose someone many times over the years. My dad is finally peaceful, but I don't think I have really processed it all yet. To make things more complicated I have a difficult relationship with my NPD mother. I have been maintaining minimal contact to help deal with this, plus I've been seeing a relational therapist for a couple of years.

So this time with mum, being around some complicated family dynamics involving sisters also, had no doubt done all sorts of triggery damage. I'm totally aware that I've got a lot to deal with.

What has confused me a lot is how I've been feeling towards my boyfriend. We've been together for 6 months, been good friends 2 years longer than that. When dads final days began I rushed down there. I felt very inward about it all, it immediately was just about family. That first eve I spoke to my boyf but just felt irritated and wasn't interested in chatting, I didn't really want to talk about it and didn't really want to idle chat either. He texted his support but I just wanted space.. a few day's later I travelled home to get a few things. I met up with him (really because I felt I should) but it was disasterous. I felt really sensitive and upset about it all and he couldn't say anything right. It felt like he was more worried about our connection than me (I could be wrong about that, not sure), but his own insecurities came out (when I said I didn't want to talk about it he took this as 'I don't want to talk to you') in his behaviour and that really angered me - I couldn't work it out at the time. Later I tried to say to him 'this isn't about us, I just need quiet time to manage it'. But have felt shut off since. Overall he has been sweet and kept in touch with thoughts and xxx texts. I've felt bothered by it as I feel guilty when I don't have anything to reply.

I've not seen or chatted to anyone except my best friend a little. I think my boyfriend feels like I should naturally be leaning on him, I'm sure he feels that he wants to help as he cares about me - I would feel the same, it must be hard on him. But how I feel is how i feel, so I'm trying to stay true to that.

It REALLY worries me that I am feeling distant from him. Is this going to break us? I tried chatting to him today but it didn't feel good. I felt obliged. I don't want to talk about it, and I definitely don't want to add to my load by worrying about relationship dynamics. I expect exposure to my family has heightened the problems I have with relating, the fears of being close, trust etc.

On top of that he has a lot of troubles. He is depressed, is having other health probs and family trouble. So because I'm feeling extra on edge I selfishly don't want to take on his stuff too. I've got no space for it. We are both sensitive people and I wouldn't describe myself as an empath, so being around someone struggling when I'm dealing with this is too much. I've tried telling him this but I don't think he gets it.
Are we doomed? I just want to feel close to him again, or to press pause until I get back on track. Is that unfair?
Thanks everyone

Re: Grieving and pushing boyf away

PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2016 11:57 pm
by johnay
I don't think this is a good time to be assessing your relationship with your partner. It's a time when you need to deal with your bereavement and its always a very hard time whatever your relationship with your parent was. Try to get through that as well as you can and then return to the reality that is your life. Most folks don't know what to say or how to deal with someone who has lost a parent and I'm guessing your bf is probably trying to understand where you are so he can support you in the correct way that you want. You are having lots of mixed emotions so it's not surprising he's confused and not getting it right. Hes suffering from depression too so its probably a huge problem for him to sort out in his head as well.
He and you would likely feel a lot closer and better if you have just close physical contact like a good cuddle rather than speaking.. Loss like that makes folks feel very empty and welcome arms are often the way forward..of course you can get back on track but you need some time to get your head around your loss. You need to feel that loss, anger, confusion, emptiness and deep sadness and its horribly emotional and muddling. Let him be there to just be there in the way he can manage and cope with. He will if he's a good man eventually get you to let it all out and to be a sound bag. Parental bereavement takes a long while to get over. It takes at least a good year to get some peace and having someone there will help you a lot. You will need to vent so do it with him. Let him know how you feel as he won't always get it and understand your changing emotions.. So sorry to hear your news though and hope you can come through it okay.Its a hard time...

Re: Grieving and pushing boyf away

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2016 2:09 pm
by Nomad
Thank you Johnay. I really appreciate your words. After being raised by a mum who invaded my boundaries completely and took what she needed from me to serve herself, it is in my nature to worry about how I am affecting him, but also to feel fearful and confused by connecting with others.

Your advice is to lean on him and use him as a sounding board. But that is exactly what I am struggling to do. I feel like i SHOULD, but that is half the problem - the guilt and pain of not feeling like I want to reach out to him just makes me feel worse. I dont really want to be with anyone though. You are right, it's not a time to be thinking about our relationship, but I don't know how to exist with him and not be tortured by it, i'd rather not think about us at all. That feels selfish. And now I am back in our home town every day I feel bad that I haven't seen him yet. Cuddles is good advice, though he is ill again (low immune system) so i'd rather not get that! There is so much negativity always; how bad his back is, how he doesnt have the energy to do anything about it until he has 'got through' Christmas (he has tricky family), how hes got the latest cold, how hes got to spend 2 weekends shopping for 2 presents due to the pressure put on him from family. I just feel annoyed and can't understand why he wont help himself.

He's not that social either so I feel the pressure that I am the main thing in his life and hes almost waiting for me to be around again. Yesterday he said he had cancelled brunch with a friend for today as he wanted to be there if I needed him. I should be grateful for this and see it as a lovely thing, but instead I just feel pressured and annoyed and a bit resentful then that his presence is making me feel like that on top of managing other things. I dont want to feel like that, but i do.

He is a very good man though, and I know he is doing all this because he cares. I've never lost someone so close before and didn't know what effect it would have on me. Even though I've been loosing dad for many years and it is many since he 'knew' me, him leaving this world is very different and perhaps it's all the last years squashed together now. Coupled with the moral nightmare of moving a sick person onto end of life care. Even though you know it is the right thing, it is very confusing and terrible making that decision for someone.

Re: Grieving and pushing boyf away

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 8:14 am
by David020549
My sympathy at your loss and hope your life returns to normality soon. My wife lost her mum a couple of years ago after about 5 years of progressive dementure, in addition dad in his late 80s was the main carer and social services were nowhere near as helpful as needed.
The end came with an unexpected stroke and my wife's view was that it was a merciful release from dementure, right from the start she told me give her lots of space and not pressure her. In the event she spent a lot of time with dad and and the family, sometimes at home she was quiet, others she wanted lots of cuddles, apart from that my routine carried on pretty much as normal. After the funeral, she visited dad most days to make sure he was OK but had done her grieving.

You really should lean on your boyfriend, he will understand, cuddles will reassure him as well as you, make sure he is at your side at the funeral, all that will bring you closer together.

Re: Grieving and pushing boyf away

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 9:21 am
by johnay
Great advice David. As men who've both seen their wives lose a parent to dementia we speak from experience. My wife seemed numb for ages but it was the same time of the year she lost her Mum and my wife just wanted a quiet family Christmas with our sons all there. She wanted some normality even if she didn't feel up for any type of celebration. Yes it's often a merciful release after a long illness and I know that as my Dad lingered a long time too but don't expect it to be easier because everyone was expecting it anyway. It's doubly hard somehow with dementia because you seem to have lost them twice... As I said in my previous post to give yourself a year and do expect to feel lots of conflicting emotions too. That even your closest may anger or annoy you is probably normal as you yourself will feel anger at times because your parent has left you. And it doesn't matter how well you got on or not those feelings rise to the surface. It's weird but many of us feel orphaned at our loss even though we are older but our lives are left a lot emptier.
As David and I said try to fill your life now with those you have. Having someone's arms around you helps enormously especially when the tears come and they will come in fits and starts. You're probably too sitting there in a horrible limbo land as well waiting for the funeral and everything seems very unreal and surreal.. Believe me it will get better and time is a great healer. Yes try and lean on your boyfriend and let him know that you just want him there when things get tough...and tell him he'll need to be a good listener for the times when you need to reminisce, need to rant and when you just need some sensible practical advice....
We're thinking about you and hoping you're okay at this most difficult time

Re: Grieving and pushing boyf away

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 10:44 pm
by Nomad
Thank you both so much David and Johnay. It means a lot that you have taken the time to give me your thoughts.

Yes dementia is a terrible disease. I lost my grandmother to alzheimer's (I was very close to her), and my dad has been suffering from Lewi Bodies for at least 8 years (he was a wonderful man). He has been in a home for 2 and has not 'known' me for a long time. There is certainly a sense of relief that he isn't suffering any more. You mentioned the '2 deaths' as dementia is often described. Personally it is many more than that, but nothing prepares you from actual loss. It is wonderful on one hand becasue at last we can think of him as he was before he was ill, but there is a lot to accept.

On top of that it was a harrowing final few weeks, literally watching him go and that started with suffering. Something I hope no one else has to do. Of course I chose to be there a lot, but it felt right.

I'm no stranger to mental health as I have had problems with depression for over 20 years. This arms me quite well in a way, I know what to spot in myself and how to manage it. But it isn't just about grieving the loss of dad, it is also to do with a very toxic mum. These few weeks have done some damage and I am aware of that. I've got some serious issues with relating as mentioned. That is why it makes things more complicated with regard to the trouble I am having with my boyfriend now.

I saw him yesterday for the first time and hung out. I stayed at his too, having been not sure if I would want to (not because of him, but because i am feeling like being alone). So that was positive. And it was good to communicate though being cuddly. But in general I am feeling very negative. I'm extra narky and critical and being with him just reminds me that I'm not feeling myself - this is not the first time I've felt like that having had bouts of depression. He's not great at remembering to give me space. I can see i'm going to have to repeat that a fair bit and I'm going to have to try not to feel guilty about it. I just wish he was more busy and didn't put all his focus on us. The only other things that are happening in his life are his troubles (his health problems or his family) so that is not easy to be around.

He wont be coming to the funeral. We are having a tiny service in a week, with just family. He has barely met my family so despite knowing each other a while and being together 6 months, we've started pretty slowly. I've not met his family at all. To be honest I'm not sure it would feel right with him there anyway. Its that comment that is making me post here and worry. Perhaps loosing dad has made me shift how I am thinking of things? But something that is happening is making me feel less close to my bf. Having said that, it is my instant response to most things. I struggle to relate and be close to people, my tendency is to seperate. For now i need to not panic and be as authentic as possible. Both me and my therapist have a lot of work to do!

Thanks again

Re: Grieving and pushing boyf away

PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 10:03 am
by Celebritydiscodave
I`ve read a bit of it. It`s good at least that now his love for you has been tested. It`s immature love/self love, love which is ultimately most concerned for the support of ones own ego. Unfortunately it is not untypical of regular romantic love. Personally, and I`m of 61 yrs now, and have never met with anybody with the facet for it in all of this time, I would only settle for genuine love, love which passes all of these tests, and then springs back for more of the same, true love. I require this for equilibrium. Everybody thinks that their love is true, everybody has access to the same word combinations, but it is only through real life exposure to ultimate testing that anything at all of a partners character can actually be known. I too lost somebody, my mother, it taught me love.

Re: Grieving and pushing boyf away

PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 2:18 pm
by Nomad
Thanks Dave, it's good to get all sorts of input. I think we all find it difficult to leave our egos behind, and I think in particular while suffering from depression it is very hard not to react sensitively to sensitive times. I do not see this as a test of his love at all. He needs me to tell him what i need, he can't guess that which he has had to do a lot of (into silent in my 'protection' of his feelings) & i need to be brave enough to accept that right now i need space even if that might affect him.
Love is different things to different people at different moments. Let's hope we are all brace enough and lucky enough to see it sometimes.