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Living with an abusive cancer patient/survivor

Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2014

My boyfriend has had cancer (skull-base chondrosarcoma) since he was 13 years old (he is turning 40 this year). Because of cancer he has had more than 18 surgeries and radiations. He has lost one eye, forehead bone, eye socket, lost the ability to blink, lost ability to produce tears, lived with severe pain, has to take some hormones for life and now left with a severely disfigured face. We are living together for almost 4 years. I knew him for years and before was everything fine. The decision to move in came to be a bitter journey for me. Since his cancer came back 3 years ago he has been abusive towards me. It is everyday the same. It is hard to write down and describe the manner of abuse. I feel so exhausted by the negative energy he gives. I don't hear anything positive from him. Everything is not good enough and everybody is not good enough too. Most of his friends have stopped communicating with him. He would make humiliating comments towards me in front of people.


I feel that my man has died a long time ago and this person I am living with is a monster. I feel that he wants everybody to go down with him. Lately, I have been reacting sarcasticly towards him.

grandmafay's picture
Posts: 1639
Joined: Aug 2009

Surviving cancer and living with the baggage from that may help explain your boyfriend's anger. However, it does not excuse abuse. It sounds like he is mad at the world and taking it out on you. You need to decide if you can live with this. no one can make that decision for you. the question is whether you are better off without him or not. I would probably explain to him that you can't deal with the negative behavior any longer. I'd let him know that you understand his anger, but that you need for him to get counseling and not take the anger out on you. You may also need to get counseling to learn what it is that you want to do. Both of you may be grieving the life you had hoped to have. In the end, you can't change his behavior. Only he can do that. You can change how you deal with those behaviors. The ball is in your court. You need to decide what is right for you. Best of luck. Fay

Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2014

I'm so sorry that this is happening. He has been fighting for this disease for so long obviously. The medicine he takes and all the sufferings have probably influenced him a lot. If you still love him, try to communicate with him or go to counseling together. Otherwise, you should make a decision that would benefit you the most. A relationship is not about being abused or depressed, it's about accompanianship, love and happiness (ideally.)

Posts: 1846
Joined: Aug 2010

Molen, it's enough.

If he is feeling so bad about things that he is taking it out on you and everyone else, get out now.

I am sympathetic with his situation and am sorry for all he has been through AND I recognize that maybe, just maybe, the cancer has gotten to his brain and turned him to an abusive person but there is absolutely no reason for you to stay in this situation.

If you can't bring yourself to tell him it is over, tell him you have to leave for awhile to clear your head and get a handle on the best way for the two of your to go forward.

And nothing says you have to go forward together.

Regardless, I want you to remember the oxygen mask rule: when an airplane is in trouble, you put your oxygen mask on first so you will be able to help others with theirs.


Same applies here.  You have to save yourself before you can help others.


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