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When the caregiver has no "care given" to them...

Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2012

I feel so selfish writing this, almost like my priorities aren't straight here, but I've been dealt another blow and I feel like I'm ready to break...
A little history, I've dealt with cancer a lot in my life. It seems like everyone has, and it's more and more frequent, as we get older, more and more people are going to have to deal with this hurdle at some point. At 15, I lost my grandmother to leukemia...I was in complete shock, almost like I fully expected a complete recovery. I didn't understand the gravity of the situation. When I was 21, I was diagnosed with cervical dysplasia, stage 3, I was beyond terrified, convinced I would die, but I had a surgery and it was removed successfully. Check ups have been fine for several years. until recently I had an abnormal pap and because I have had so much going on I haven't had it checked further. (I know, I know..bad..I will and have to go) About two years ago, my best guy friend was diagnosed with bladder cancer. We were really close, but he sort of distanced himself while going through it and about 6 months ago he moved to NYC, has a new girlfriend and barely maintains any contact with me, and it hurts so much, especially with what I'm going through now: Which is my point I'm getting to. (Sorry I'm so long and rambling) I've been dating this guy for about a year and 3 months. He has serious problems, maybe depression, though not clinically diagnosed. Things have never been great from the very beginning, as I found him very wishy washy unsure of what he wanted, closed off, sometimes even hostile but never mean. After 2 months of dating, he broke up with me, this was about a year ago. Last November, he came crawling back because his best friend was diagnosed with a very rare form of leukemia. My bf was a mess..he was very close to his friend. For months I did EVERYTHING, I took care of him, made sure he had food, did all the laundry, held him while he cried..if he wanted to talk he did, but most of the time he did not. He expressed how indispensible I was to him, how much he needed me, in life, that he would never hurt me again. For about 5 to 6 months I took care of him without getting much back, he never wanted to go out, a lot of times he was emotionally dead or it was a roller coaster. At this point we were basically living together, and he would say "I need to be alone today." Then he would go back to needing me. Then I found out that he had been addicted to painkillers and was going to get off them. Again, I was there through it all. It was a lot, he claims he hid his misery to me, but I wasn't perfect all the time, I would get frustrated from always being the support, but we got through it. Through all this, His friend, thank god, started to do better, and my bf needed me less and less. The great amount of verbally telling me how appreciative he was of me decreased and decreased, and he pretty much is an entirely different person. I guess I just needed to be needed. Anyway, here's the main point of all this. 2 days after my birthday at the end of August, my dad was diagnosed with myoblastoma, a very very deadly type of brain tumor. When I told my bf he downplayed it SO much, and it hurt. I was a wreck..it was my father and it was a horrible diagnosis! Sometimes he would be great and try to keep me thinking logically, but most times I just wanted to hold on to him and cry. Once I was laying in bed and he just sat there and I yelled "Why can't you at least hold me! Why is it so hard!" And we got in a huge screaming match (the only time he's ever raised his voice at me) Immediately afterward, he apologized I spent the night locked in his arms. He made no changes to his ways though, he continued going out getting wasted every Saturday night with his friends (which he had been doing since May, when he cut out the painkillers from his life), sometimes coming home, sometimes not but never communicating with me, which I expressed that I knew he needed a realease but I needed him too. The last two weeks he seemed very depressed and kept telling me he was sorry he wasnt better for me, that he could be better for me, that he loved me more than anything. Then, two Mondays ago, he broke up with me. He said he needed space, but I panicked and wanted black or white, it's hard enough being in this gray area everyday with my dad. He says he's never been through something like this before, being the main support system for someone with something so serious, that he loves me and I've done nothing wrong but he hasn't been happy for a while in the situation. That if it needs to be black and white, we are done, broken up. I am in shock. I've heard from him a few times in these two weeks but I'm having the hardest time processing this. All I've done for him, I've supported him with his sick friend, his pill addiction, I GAVE HIM EVERYTHING! How could he do this to me? How can someone leave someone they love when they need them most like this? I am in terrible shape and I feel guilty because I'm not my best when I get to visit my father. I feel so incredibly selfish taking emotional support away from my dad when I'm so worried about my own self and this stupid jerk who left me through this. Problem is I still love him and it's so hard. I just need advice if anyone else has been broken up with while being a caregiver, I feel like I have nothing left to give that I'm going to break. Almost like I have no one to lean on and I feel SO selfish worrying about this crappy person who broke my heart when my father is so ill. Please help. I wish you all the best and thank you for listening to such a long and rambling post.
Best Wishes.

amy_h414's picture
Posts: 98
Joined: May 2012

I don't have any personal experience with a situation like this, so take my advice for what it's worth. Have you considered counseling? I think you need some help to get over this man who has taken advantage of you for a long time. You took care of him for so long when his friend had cancer. His friend, not him!! Honestly, I think he must have some serious issues to come that unhinged from a friend's illness. Now when the tables are turned and you need support, he's gone. You don't need someone so incredibly selfish like this in your life.

So I would suggest finding a counselor to talk to so you can be strong for your dad and for yourself. Perhaps a social worker at the hospital where your dad receives care? Be gentle with yourself, you're going through a difficult time with your dad's cancer.

Posts: 1154
Joined: Jun 2010

I only wanted to say that I am praying for you. Hopefully the resident grandma will answer your post. She has all the wisdom.

Posts: 306
Joined: Jan 2010

You've been through a lot, and the heart loves whom it loves even when logic says otherwise. The curse of being human.
There is a saying, "I can do bad all by myself". I always take the opposite view, I can do GOOD all by myself. There is no need to link up with someone who is not supportive. Take some time for yourself, get a support system for you, and if you have to, leave so-called toxic friends in the rearview mirror. You were not placed on this earth to be the martyr for others.


grandmafay's picture
Posts: 1639
Joined: Aug 2009

I just wanted to let you know I am here. I don't have any experience that compares to this, but I would echo what others have said. Right now you need to concentrate on you and your dad. I know that isn't easy. I also know that your bf has not treated you fairly. Sadly, life is not fair. Look for support in other ways and other people.You don't need negative people in your life right now. Your now ex bf sounds like a taker, not a giver. Some people are like that. They aren't good when they aren't the center of attention. Only you can decide if you are better off with or without him. He has shown you that you can't depend on him. Even knowing that doesn't stop the hurt. Hang in there. You will find a way to move forward. You can do this alone, but I hope you have others in your life to share the burden. Come here whenever you need support or even to vent. We are here. Take care, Fay

Posts: 683
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Sweetheart: I have never experienced this, but I have had difficulties in my marriage which broke my heart many times, (I am talking about stuff like drinking) even though my husband is a really good guy. My point is that I really know how you are feeling. Right now do not punish yourself for feeling this way, you love him and it is normal to feel the hurt, but you know what? You have to start loving yourself and putting yourself first so you can get pass this. Now is the time to focus on your dad and be there for him. It's amazing how time will heal you, especially if you get some counselling. But please know that you will get pass this. Wish him and his friend the best and move forward, you are better than him........And I know it's not easy, but you can do it. I send you and your dad much comfort and I give you a big hug and squeeze.

Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2012

Thanks so much to all of you who answered my post. There was some wonderful advice and all of it rang so true that it literally brought tears to my eyes. It's been a few days and I feel a little better, I guess. I'm still mad at myself for allowing my thoughts to be more consumed by my breakup than for my father. Right now I just think I'm so mad, so incredulous that someone I LOVED who LOVED me, who made it appear he appreciated me, could leave so easily. I'm just beyond hurt. Also, I'm 29, and I'm very much in that stage that I don't feel my life is where it should be. I see my friends, and I am by NO means the only one going through struggles in their life, it seems everyone is dealing with something. It's just I am the only one who isn't married, or has a truly reliable partner to lean on. I am lucky I have my family, my mother, stepdad, and brothers. Because of you my online friends, I recently reached out to some of my friends who I had sort of lost during the time I was with my ex. He consumed so much of my energy and time while he was depressed/and then sick, I pushed many of my friends away because I wasn't available. They have been so understanding and caring and helpful, I expressed to them how sorry I was to have put so much energy into someone clearly not worth that effort. But I'm nourishing those friendships back to health now, trying to do the "cliche" and learn something from the relationship, and most importantly concentrating on myself and on my dad. I appreciate what I have, I'm just going to have to take this day by day.
I will probably be posting on here again with questions or guidance and I travel along this path with my dad. Thank you so much again for all the guidance and support:) *HUGS*

Posts: 683
Joined: Apr 2010

From your writing skills you sound like a very smart person. Already you have started to move in the right direction. I am so proud of you. Love can be treacherous. Dust your feet off and continue moving along. Yay, good for you. How is Dad?

Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 2012

I know what you're going through. The day my mom was diagnosed, I told my boyfriend on our way home from work. I was crying and he said nothing. I had to go to a second job after dropping him off and when we got home, he just got out. No hug, no comfort, nothing!! I was so mad! Needless to say, after my mom decided to stop treatment and go on hospice, he realized it meant even less time for him and he decided he couldn't deal with it. So we broke up. His reasoning was that he had so many positives in his life and I was holding him back. Needless to say, it also made me realize that he's not worth it. If someone can't stand by you and support you through a time of need for someone else, you know they won't stand by you if you ever need them for yourself.

With that being said, you are a very strong person for doing all you did for him. Never let anyone tell you differently. Caregivers have a much different heart than many. It's one that beats for others more than yourself! Many hugs and positive thoughts for you!

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