Ok I'm not a relationship expert but I have been in your bfs position before and as I see it you have two options the first is keep trying to cheer him up but know when that wont help and when being happy wont help let him rage and vent sometimes that's all people need. The second option is a bit harsh but snapped me out of my self pity in the hospital stage. When he starts to go off over something keeping calm you ask what freaking out is gonna help and say making everyone else sad and afraid for you doesn't help anything. Depression happens but when it's redirected as anger bad stuff goes down. This is just what people did to help me when I hit the anger phase while in the hospital. But you probably know him best so trust yourself. Oh and if he says you can't understand have him hop his happy little Hodgkins but over here and talk to me. Good luck to both of you and remover sometimes when words make things worse just being there can help good luck to your bf and I wish you happyness in your relationship
Hodgkin Disease Questions
Help with supporting depressed boyfriend
Asked by acire78 on Sunday, November 11, 2012
Help with supporting depressed boyfriend
My live-in boyfriend is currently in the hospital for a stem cell transplant and is very stressed out and depressed. He has become very mean and hurtful and it is affecting our relationship. I am trying my best to be optimistic and supportive but it seems like he just wants to be mad. Whenever I try and offer any words of encouragment, he tells me that I cant possibly understand what he is going through. I want to be there for him but his cruelty is pushing me away. It's getting very difficult to remain positive, any advice on how to help him get through this?
9 Answers from the Community
Well, generally speaking, if what you are doing isn't working, then stop doing it. Having cancer really isn't anything like having the flu or having a broken leg. First understand that this is not about you, it is about him. Of course he is mad and stressed. If you see that as being mean and hurtful to you, then you don't understand. Ask him what he needs from you and then you decide if you can be what he needs or not.
Thanks Nancyjac, I understand that he is stressed and depressed and I can deal with that part but he is hurtful and violent. Other other day, he punched a hole in the hospital room wall and yesterday he told me that he wanted a make a voodoo doll of me and he was going to XXX on it every day until i get cancer so i will know what its like. Its not like i am not showing compassion. I know that he is feeling scared and alone but his actions are hard to deal with. We have children together and I am trying to protect them from his anger. Am i supposed to allow him to be hurtful and violent?
No, you shouldn't have to accept violence and anger from him. But, it probably is the cancer speaking. He is hurt and afraid--very afraid--and a stem cell transplant is not easy to face.
If he gets violent or hurtful again, your best course of action might be to get up and leave. Go down to the cafeteria and have a cup of coffee. When you are calm and no longer angry at his anger (because, of course, you can't help that response when he is angry at you), go back and tell him that you don't deserve his anger. Yes, you don't "understand" what he is going through, but does he understand what you are going through?
Finally, a bit of advice from the Bard:
"Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds."
I always hate it when I think of something after I post.
What is it that sets him off? Is it simply because he's stuck in the hospital? Or is it because you have tried to express sympathy for him? If the former, then you should know that a lot of men make bad patients. It's one of those things that make us endearing (or maybe you prefer a different word :-) ). Being cooped up in a hospital brings out the worst in us. There isn't a lot you can do to stop it. If the latter, then you might try to stop those expressions of sympathy. It is probably hard because you really do want to help, but you probably can't understand what he is going through any more than he could "understand" what it was like to be pregnant.
I kind of like Modern's idea of having him hop on over. And, hey, if Modern can't properly "sympathize with him, I'll explain the facts of life. :-) Hodgkin's can be cured.
Well Henry, I think it's probably a little bit of both but he is definitely having a hard time being in the hospital for so long and when I try and encourage him to try and be positive, that's when he gets angry. I can understand how frustrated he must be and how annoying I must sound when I am feeling just fine and get to go home and sleep in my own bed every night. I think your advice of just walking away and letting things cool down when he is angry, is probably the best advice. I know that he wants me there and if I can take a break to calm myself down, I will be better able to support him in the long run. I am definitely going to encourage him to join this site. I think it would be really good for him! Thank you!
FIRST - if he is violent towards you or your children, LEAVE. cancer does not justify that kind of behavior. violence towards one's partner and/or children is simply never okay. he needs to get his head out of where the sun don't shine and grow the bleep up. yes - cancer sucks. but that behavior is absolutely dreadful.
SECOND - consider getting some help. you clearly love him... so maybe the pair of you just need a bit of help in order to figure out how to be there for each other. cancer is bigger than just the person with the diagnosis when there are children involved, in my humble opinion... so, maybe there's a social worker or therapist you can speak with?
THIRD - URGH - sometimes, people telling me to stay positive makes me feel like i cannot express how i'm feeling.... i wonder if he feels that way? we cannot be positive all the time. sometimes, we are just scared as bleep. sometimes, we need someone safe with whom we can talk about our fears. that person may or may not be you... but he needs someone like that...
LASTLY - he might need to discuss this with his health care providers... if he is feeling extreme anxiety / depression... these things affect behavior and so on. my docs always told me, if there's ever a time to use meds to help deal with things... it's with a cancer diagnosis. i used xanax during treatment... i really struggled with anxiety...
i don't know if any of that helps. i know so little about your situation outside of what you've posted... but, those are the things that jumped to mind....
i hope you and he can simply find some peace and calm...
i'm so sorry your family has to deal with this....
As a person that was diagnosed for the 3rd time 4 years ago, I can appreciate the "getting mad at the world" syndrome. I went through that, and it was tough. It was right at Christmas time and everyone was all happy and enjoying life, and here I was about to go down for the third time. I had to work through it, took be a couple months to come around.
Hope you both do better.
Thank you so much everyone for taking the time to respond. He is beginning to feel better and that is definitely affecting his spirits. I have taken everyone's advice to heart and am trying my best not to take all of his reactions at face value. This is a very emotional time for him and your responses have helped me accept that.