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  • Partner is taking his grief out on me - what to do?

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    Old 03-03-2015, 07:07 PM   #1
    Amariel13's Avatar
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    Partner is taking his grief out on me - what to do?

    A bit of background - my partner and I are not engaged/married but we have been together for 8 years (and living together for 1.5 years).

    Early last week, my partner's father suffered a major cardiac arrest. We were awoken at 3:30am and told we needed to get to the hospital immediately. He spent a week in ICU, but we were told he had unsurvivable brain damage. His ventilator was turned off late Monday afternoon and he passed a few hours later.

    The family had been expecting this outcome from day 1, but it didn't stop us from being devastated. He was only 55 and was set to become a grandfather for the second time in about 2 weeks. The funeral has been planned for Friday and I have been doing everything I can to help out my partner and his family (particularly his mother).

    I have noticed that my partner seems to be taking his grief out on me - he gets quite angry, aggressive and defensive in his reactions towards me. Yesterday, I had my head bitten off because I tried to take over notifying his father's work associates - my partner was clearly very upset and distressed, and I made it clear that if he would rather make the calls himself he should at least take a break to calm down, but he took it as me being a control freak. Today, I returned to work after taking 6 (working) days off to be with the family. My partner called to ask something, and I enquired about how the funeral plans were going. He angrily replied that if I wanted to know or wanted any input, I should have taken today off work and gone to his mum's. I told him that what he was saying was incredibly hurtful - of course I would rather be with the family, but I also have responsibilities at work that had been neglected for over a week - and he kept going until I started crying. Somehow, it was still my fault that I was upset. These are just some of the nasty, hurtful things he has been saying to me for the past few days.

    I understand he is grieving and that this is such a hard time for him at the moment, but I have never stood for people taking their problems out on me in the past so I don't think I should start now. I don't want to upset him anymore than he already is, but I also think that he needs to appreciate how much he is hurting me when I have done nothing wrong. Does anyone have any advice on how I can deal with this situation?

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    Old 03-04-2015, 03:49 AM   #2
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    Re: Partner is taking his grief out on me - what to do?

    Hi. Im sorry for your loss. I think you already know the answer to this because you are smart enough to mention that your partner is taking his grief out on you.
    He is grieving. And, different people grieve differently. This may be the first loss he has had to go through, or he may have been especially close to his father. He may not realize he is biting your head off, or even if he does- at this exact moment, he may feel "justified" in doing so. Hes upset. He may even be angry. All of this is normal.
    What it isnt, is nice.
    Can you live with that for a few weeks? You have to if you love him....right now, you arent going to reason with him. He doesnt see what he is doing to you and when you point it out, you arent dealing with a reasonable side of him. You are dealing with a person who is in pain and isnt thinking clearly.
    Try to cut him a break for the next few weeks. Go to work and get away from it. DO what you need to do by being there and supporting them through the funeral- and give it some time. He will come around and start being nice again once the shock of this wears off....
    Love comes with a price many times- if this isnt the normal person you know, its safe to say things will go back to normal once "life" goes back to normal. But, dont put a time limit on that. Losing a parent is very traumatic for people and you cant expect him to act normally just because you feel hurt.
    This is love. ITs a huge give and take and right now, you are being asked to give..
    I feel for you, but this isnt about you. Just go to work, let the family get through this crisis and be there and support your partner. Things will eventually get better.
    Its very raw right now....
    Hope this helps.
    RRMS- dx 05

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    Old 03-04-2015, 12:35 PM   #3
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    Re: Partner is taking his grief out on me - what to do?

    Thank you, MSNik.

    Of course I understand that he is grieving and that it's going to take some time for him to come to terms with what is happening. And of course I understand that it's not about me. I think I chose poor wording and just didn't verbalise what I was actually looking for in my original question - basically, how can I deal with his negative, aggressive and defensive behaviour/comments towards me - as I said, yesterday he said something that made me so upset I started crying in the middle of the office. I know that he's just saying whatever comes to mind and that he (probably) doesn't mean it, but I don't feel as if I can help him if I am continuously upset by things he is saying. I have managed to have no reaction to most of his comments, but some really get to me (like his ones about me going back to work - I know he would rather me be at home with him, but I need him to understand that that's just not possible if I want to keep my job).

    If anyone has any advice on how to keep his negative comments from getting to me (or at least allowing me to react later on, when I'm alone) it would be much appreciated.

    Last edited by Amariel13; 03-04-2015 at 12:38 PM. Reason: spelling mistake

    Old 06-14-2015, 05:44 PM   #4
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    Re: Partner is taking his grief out on me - what to do?

    I meant to just post my new thread and wait for advice, but I have to reply to this.
    1) He needs to seek help. Not everybody handles grief very well or "normally" if that even exists. He either needs to see a therapist or go to a support / grief recovery group.
    He needs to try something. He's probably pushing himself too hard to take care of every thing, even stuff that is ultimately not essential for him specifically to handle personally.
    2)He wants to handle everything himself and then dump on you for daring to help. It's not cool and he needs to snap out of it or he can expect you to take a big time out, seeing as he needs so much space.

    While going through my own grief and dealing with the immediate aftermath, I became testy once in a while, but when I felt I was not coping very well, I went out and found a group—and boy was that helpful. Some of us were scared and uncertain, but we all made progress and really appreciated and respected each other.

    I wish you both all the best in this difficult time. Anger is one stage of grief, but it's not healthy or helpful for someone to stay stuck on that stage. He needs some help in chilling himself out. If he'd rather depend upon clergy, that would be a good place to start, otherwise he needs a group or a therapist.

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