Marianne313 Member Posts: 124

 My aunt, stage 4 colon cancer, diagnosed in 2011 (February), her son diagnosed with Esophageal cancer in Jan 2011, her husband passed suddenly in May of 2011, her son passed away April 2013. She's so angry at everyone. For the most part my brother and I take care of her (she is still struggling to do her daily things for herself) we try to be there for support and to do household/outside things that she can no longer do. But, she acts like she hates us. Whatever we do is wrong--even if we do it exactly as she says. Everything (and I do mean everything) makes her mad and hateful towards us. She's not happy we are there but if we aren't around she's not happy. If we are sitting she's mad but if we're standing she's mad (that type of angry). NOTHING makes her calm. Sometimes I wonder how she cannot realize that we are giving up our own lives to help her--not that we mind, what I mean by that is: my house stands empty for weeks, my mail is gotten by my daughter, I miss time from work, I've hired a person to do my lawn, and I'm thinking of hiring someone to clean my house too since I'm not there enough to do any of those things anymore. I know she has plenty to be angry about and I understand that, I can even understand taking that anger out on us now and then---but it's all the time. Someone here mentioned that it's like walking on eggshells---THAT is how it is with my aunt. We can't even tie a bag of trash the right way to suit her or sit in a chair the way she thinks we should! Should we just give up and leave her alone? She threw a temper last Sunday saying that she's NEVER alone--in two years she's never been alone (that's what she said) but I left from her home and went to work 10 hour days two of 9 days last week. I've left her home in tears and drove home crying (I live 90 minutes away). I guess I just never expected the verbal abuse I'm getting.


  • JennySC
    JennySC Member Posts: 29

    Hi, Marianne,

    Sorry to know that you are having such a hard time with your aunt!

    I can feel your pains but I may not be able to help. I was wondering how your aunt was before the tragedies in her life.

    Many people get changed because of the cancers. Your aunt might just have become heartbroken after losing her son and husband. From the cancer sites, there are a few people who wanted to be let alone after they lost loved ones. Unfortunately, your aunt has her anger towards you when you have been trying to help her. Is your aunt in lots of pains because of her treatments?It seems that your aunt needs help. If you still try to help her, you may want to check if your aunt can take some medicines to calm her. If things do not improve, you may try to stay away for a few days to see if your aunt changes her attitude or not.

    Please keep posting if there's any change. Pray for you and your aunt!


  • Noellesmom
    Noellesmom Member Posts: 1,859 Member
    a lot going on here

    First of all, I must say your aunt has had a lot of life in a short period of time.  Losing your spouse is bad: losing a child is a thought I don't even want to contemplate. 

    If we only deal with the present circumstance, your aunt's colon cancer, there's plenty to make her life miserable and for that misery to be reflected as anger.  Inserting here, also, that your aunt may benefit from medication for depression and/or anti-anxiety.

    It's important, too, to recognize that anger is a stage of grieving - Elizabeth Kubler Ross "Stages of Grief" is found both on this site and in numerous places on the internet as well as being a published work available in bookstores.  Each stage of grief is undeniable, is almost universal, is experienced differently by each individual and lasts for different periods of time.  With all the loss that has gone on in your aunt's life, including the loss of her peace of mind regarding her own health, perhaps she will need help getting past the anger phase and moving on to finish the grieving process.

    You could make a copy of Ms. Ross' work available to your aunt but you can't make her read it and the real value may come from you reading it.

    Marianne brings up an interesting point: I wonder, too,  what your aunt was like before cancer.  Having cancer may be an humbling experience but it doesn't change personalities - medication used to treat cancer, however, can.  If someone isn't gonig with her to her doctor's appointments, perhaps they should.  It may be that she needs medication from anxiety.  If you can't go with her (as in, she won't let you) a call to the nurse to tell her what you are seeing is okay.  She may not be able to discuss it with you but you can' tell her.  They want to help their patients that way.

    Sometimes anger is the only way we get from day to day.  It sustains us, albeit temporarily.

    Lastly, this post is, of course, about how hurt you are by your aunt's attitude and reactions to your help.  You are doing wonderful things for your aunt and I know she appreciates them.  Being dependent upon other people is difficult for some of us.  Allow for that but don't tolerate abuse.  By all means, take a break from your duties to your aunt, insert another person whom she does not stand a chance of intimidating into the picture - a sturdy niece or nephew or cousin.  instead of hiring someone to clean your house, hire someone to run errands for your aunt one afternoon a week.  Establish one day a week that you do not have any responsibilities for your aunt and stay away. 

    TAKE A BREAK - you are more than allowed, you are encouraged to do so.  At the end of all of this, you have a life, too, and it needs caregiving now, also.  It is okay.

    I have been where you are, Marianne. You will survive but what condition you are in is completely up to you.  Take charge of that righ nowt.