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Partner has issues - I don't know what to do

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Woomera
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Partner has issues - I don't know what to do

Unread postby Woomera » 26 Feb 2014

I am a 56 year old male , and my 67 year old partner of 33 years is having issues I can't deal with. Of course , it's extremely complicated , but I'm at the end of my rope.
He has always been ' aloof ' and self-centred, except where his passion , gardening , is concerned. I sincerely believe he is autistic and in the early stages of Alzehimer's. His anger and rage are triggered by the smallest comment.

He has no interest in people or social activities , he only wants to work in his garden. It's all consuming and takes precedence over everything. A couple of years ago , in desperation , I made an appointment to see his Dr and expressed by concerns. The Dr ( who I didn't have confidence in ) explained there was nothing he could do unless my partner asked for help. I went to see him again about a year later , following an incident where my partner was reprimanded ( in writing ) for his behavior towards another member of the garden club ( there had been a disagreement ). The letter addressed my partner's attitude ( and rage ) and I felt that having 'something in writing' would perhaps convince the Dr to intervene. He chose not to , and soon after , retired. I have not been to see the new Dr as I feel it would be a waste of time , and difficult for me to organize.

To give you an idea of the type of behaviour , I'll describe an incident that occurred not too long ago. My partner had made lunch ( he is obsessed with cleanliness regarding food ) . It was a salad. He got upset because I asked something ( can't remember what it was now ) and started packing it away ( meaning that I wasn't getting any ). This is very common. Rather than escalate , I started getting something else for lunch and was told to STOP ! I didn't , so he picked up the plate and threw it at me. I was enraged ( I admit it ) so I picked up the other and threw it back. I went out , and when I got home nothing had been touched...the broken plate and food were still on the floor. I called a neighbor to take a look and went out again. When I returned , he'd cleaned it up. A few days later , when I was vacuuming in my study , I found what I THOUGHT was pieces of a broken plastic CD case near my shelves. As i was vacuuming , in another area of the room , I heard ' pieces' going up the tube. I stopped , and when I looked closely , I saw it was pieces of the broken plate. It was obvious he'd scattered them under my desk in the study where I usually put my feet. This was EXTREMELY disturbing as our little dog could have got them. I cleaned them up , saving a few pieces , which I still have.

There are many MORE incidents I can describe ( including turning the engine of the car off because I missed an exit when I was driving and he was navigating ). It's unbearable. We work from home , so there is no 'escape'. We have no friends, except for 1 couple who haven't visited in about 12 months ( because it's too stressful to be around him ). My issue is that I don't know what to do ? I can't get his 'attention'.... When things are OK , he won't discuss anything ( as he doesn't see that there's anything wrong ). I have nowhere to go. Do I seek help from a Dr or a lawyer ? He's not well , but if I DO act , there will be no turning back...no forgiveness or compassion. Personally , I'm exhausted and spend my days TRYING to escape his wrath. I feel like I'm sitting on a time-bomb. ANY help would be greatly appreciated.
Thankyou

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Re: Partner has issues - I don't know what to do

Unread postby AndrewBCSS » 26 Feb 2014

Hi Woomera,
I'm so sorry that this is happening to you and your spouse. This is not your fault. I suggest contacting the Alzheimer society to see if they have any ideas about how to get some assessed. I imagine most people with early Alzheimer are not willing to see a doctor about it, so I'll bet they have some ideas for you. Here is the web page for the branch in Sidney. http://www.alzheimerbc.org/In-My-Commun ... sland.aspx

You're right that increased irritability and personality changes are a big concern for your partner's brain health. I suggest keeping a log of what happens to help with diagnosis, but that alone is enough to warrant a doctor visit. You might also be able to get your local mental health team to come and do an assessment. Since he has good days and bad days, if you can find a pattern in when he is likely to be not having a good day (Alzheimer is sometimes worse later in the day for example) it might be good to let the team know that. Here is the intake number for the mental health team in Sidney: (250) 519-3485 (and more info here: http://find.healthlinkbc.ca/search.aspx?d=SL076587 ) You can call them, explain that your spouse has had severe personality changes, increased irritability and rage, has assaulted you and you are afraid for his health and your safety, and ask that they come and do an assessment. Be sure to tell them that he has good days and bad days, in case they come on a day he is well.

You deserve to live in a home free from violence, no matter what is causing it or whether he can help it, and shouldn't have to be walking on eggshells. You still have that right whether your partner agrees or not. You also have the right to call the police if you are feeling a threat of violence. Throwing a plate at you counts legally as assault. If your relationship is harmful to your health now, you have a right to put yourself first and protect yourself. You are not the first person on this list with an ill loved one who has had to make a choice when faced with an ill relative and violence. It's a hard thing to have to do, but if your partner was well I am guessing he'd want you to be safe too.

I know it's hard to make big changes without support. I will do whatever I can to hook you up with services that can help you. I'm including in this post what I can think of right now, and please feel free to ask any questions. I'm good at finding services for people, and if you get any attitude about being in a same-sex relationship, or being a man experiencing violence at home from any of the services, let me know and I'll find someone to go to bat for you.

Just in case you're not aware, the laws around same-sex couples have modernized, so if you two are not married, you are definitely common law spouses, and if you decide it is necessary to separate your legal status is almost identical to that of a married couple. This means if you split up, you have a right to half of your joint assets and all the things straight people get. I'm not a lawyer of course, but that's what I've been told and I believe it to be accurate.

If you feel like you are sitting on a time bomb, you need to trust that feeling. I suggest making a safety plan for yourself, making sure you are aware of your joint finances, have some separate money put aside, and have what you need to can leave quickly if things in your home feel unsafe. You might also contact a friend and arrange for a place to stay with them if you need to leave late at night in an emergency.

I'm not sure if your finances are separate enough that you can get legal advice easily without consequences. If that's the case you might find this program for seniors (yes 56 counts for this program) which is intended to help in situations where an older person is experiencing violence in their home might be able to help you and give you some legal advice: http://bcceas.ca/

Sincerely,
Sophia
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Andrew Stewart
Operations Manager
British Columbia Schizophrenia Society
A reason to hope. The means to cope.
www.bcss.org

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Woomera
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gender: male
Region: Vancouver Island, BC
City or Region: Sidney

Re: Partner has issues - I don't know what to do

Unread postby Woomera » 26 Feb 2014

Thankyou very much Sophia , your quick response is appreciated. Sadly , we had another incident today ( it's almost a daily even now ) and when I checked my mail , there was a reminder email from you , so I acted on it. I'm terribly confused , somewhat embarrassed and frustrated. As I said, there is no ' going back ' as far as my partner is concerned , he will NOT appreciate any action on my part...he'll see it as an attack , so I have to tread carefully. I will investigate the links you've posted and seek some advice. I'm devastated to think that a 33 year relationship might end because I can't get help for someone who is ill ? As we have no friends ( to speak of ) I have no support. Most people have someone in their life who the respect , and will listen to , but sadly , my partner doesn't....and dealing with him is beyond the scope of the average person anyway. Your attention is greatly appreciated. Thankyou

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Re: Partner has issues - I don't know what to do

Unread postby AndrewBCSS » 26 Feb 2014

I'm glad to help. If you make some calls and get stuck, please feel free to come here and I will do what I can to help. If you feel comfortable keeping me posted on how it is going, I would like that too.

I wish you the best of luck in finding what you and your partner need.
Sophia
___________________
Andrew Stewart
Operations Manager
British Columbia Schizophrenia Society
A reason to hope. The means to cope.
www.bcss.org

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Woomera
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Relationship: Spouse (wife, husband, common-law, partner)
gender: male
Region: Vancouver Island, BC
City or Region: Sidney

Re: Partner has issues - I don't know what to do

Unread postby Woomera » 26 Feb 2014

Thankyou , Sophia. I have to 'tread lightly' but I'll make some inquiries and see what I can organize. I'll let you know

Regards

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Woomera
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City or Region: Sidney

Re: Partner has issues - I don't know what to do

Unread postby Woomera » 04 Apr 2014

Hello Sophie

It's very difficult to secure enough private time to be able to call the service you referred to above . Is it possible to contact someone by email ?

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Re: Partner has issues - I don't know what to do

Unread postby AndrewBCSS » 04 Apr 2014

Hi Woomera,
I suggest going for a walk to the nearest 711 and purchase a prepaid cell phone. Here's some info on how that works: http://www.speakout7eleven.ca/ or you can just walk into a store and ask them. Prepaid cell phones are relatively inexpensive and you don't need a credit card for them, and once you have a cel phone you have some privacy and some place for people to reach you. This will allow you to make phone calls when you are outside of the house, and you can use the excuse that you are going for a walk to 'get some exercise' and go make calls. If you are not allowed to leave the house, please private message me on this board or email me at onlinesupport@bcss.org and I will help. The seniors abuse and information line does seem to be only on the phone.

This is one of those 'airplane situations', like they tell you about when you are waiting to take off in an airplane. They give you the lecture about if you are traveling with someone who needs your help you need to put your own oxygen mask on in an emergency before helping them with theirs. You need to get yourself safe and get help first before worrying about how it will affect him. Your partner may not have the capacity right now to understand that you are doing what is best for both of you, but that doesn't mean its still not the right thing to do. I think it's good idea to not worry about things you can't control and don't know the answer to (such as whether you taking action to help you both will end your relationship) and focus on what you can control, which is reaching out for help.

If he is being violent with you because his brain isn't working right, a doctor needs to look at him. The law in BC allows for him to be taken to a hospital by the police and kept there for assessment and treatment even if he doesn't believe he is ill, in conditions just like this. You can explain the situation to a police officer, that he seems to be suffering from a mental condition, that he is being violent toward you as a result, and you believe he needs to go to a hospital, and they will take him in. I know this is drastic, and you may be able to find a less confrontational solution with the help of the seniors abuse line or the alzheimers society. I find it helpful to think about what the person would want if they were well. If your partner was well and loves you, he would want you to be safe and happy and he would want his own health looked after. Just because he doesn't get it when he is ill, doesn't mean he won't appreciate that you took action after his health improves. I know I would want my partner to take action to protect herself and get me help if I was unwell, even if I was too ill to know I needed help.

Sincerely,
Sophia
___________________
Andrew Stewart
Operations Manager
British Columbia Schizophrenia Society
A reason to hope. The means to cope.
www.bcss.org

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Woomera
Regular Poster
Posts: 21
Joined: 04 Sep 2013
Relationship: Spouse (wife, husband, common-law, partner)
gender: male
Region: Vancouver Island, BC
City or Region: Sidney

Re: Partner has issues - I don't know what to do

Unread postby Woomera » 04 Apr 2014

Thankyou Sophie... It's funny you should mention the cell phone. I have one , and the other day after returning to the house , I put it down in it's usual place , then later that evening , I realised I couldn't find it. I was SURE I hadn't lost it , but it was nowhere to be found. I rang the number and could hear it ringing in the house. I walked to the kitchen , where my partner was sitting at the table , and he had a surprised expression on his face. He lifted the seat cushion on the chair next to him , handed me the phone and said something like ' You must have dropped it..? " Firstly , I'm not in the habit of putting the phone on the table and secondly , I certainly didn't put it UNDER the seat cushion. This type of behaviour is par for the course lately. I'm accused of taking every item he misplaces , and I'm the cause of all problems...

Quite often , I just find myself standing like a deer in the headlights. My mind is racing , trying to interpret and decipher everything...but choosing a course of action is difficult. I made 2 attempts to speak with is Dr ( now retired ). The first was some time ago and I was more or less dismissed , ( my opinion ). The second visit was prompted by a situation that occurred at the association he belongs to.
There was a situation that developed between him and a board member , and in all fairness , this was NOT his fault. The board member acted out of place , but his reaction to her resulted in a letter of reprimand from the association ( which I have as it was emailed ). It specifically mentions his anger and tone. Armed with his , and the email I sent to another board member trying to smooth the waters , I went to see the Dr again....hoping that this would convince him to act in some way. It did not. His reply was that unless my partner asks for help , his hands are tied. As I said , the Dr has now retired and I have not tried with the new Dr. It's not that I'm 'prevented' from leaving the house , but he's been known to 'check up ' if I've said I'm going to X. He'll also check the call history on the house phone.

Our social isolation makes it very difficult....the only friends we have visited for the first time in about 12 months a couple of weeks ago...and I could see the stress on their faces. I WILL make an effort to get in touch somehow , but I fear my actions will not be welcomed , they'll be seen as the ultimate betrayal from which we might never recover...however , the status quo is taking a heavy toll so something has to be done. I'll do my best to keep in touch.

Kind regards

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Re: Partner has issues - I don't know what to do

Unread postby AndrewBCSS » 05 Apr 2014

Hi Woomera,
Going and talking to a family doctor isn't going to get you anywhere. If that's the type of route you want to go through, you need to go through the mental health centre system and ask for them to send someone out to assess your partner. Be sure to tell them about the violence and the change in his mental state. They actually have people they can send out, but your family doctor does not, and I don't think they ever do house calls any more. You need to contact the mental health team that serves the area of town where you live. Here's the contact info for the intake in Sidney:

Program: Mental Health and Addictions - Intake (Capital Region)
Agency: Island Health

Description
Provides screening, assessment, treatment recommendations, and referrals to both VIHA Mental Health and Addiction Services, and external programs in the Capital Region. The intake team includes professionals with backgrounds in social work and psychology.

Program Phones:
250-519-3485 Business Line
250-381-3222 Fax
Website: www.viha.ca/mhas/locations/victoria_gulf/intake.htm

I would feel very uncomfortable with my partner having me under surveillance like you're describing. This situation seems serious to me. I really hope you make that call. It does sound like he might react negatively, since he is already reacting negatively, but you need to keep in mind that he's not well, and may get well with help. Mental illness is progressive, and the earlier a person gets effective medical treatment the faster and more completely they will recover, so it's better for him to get help asap. I know it must feel very hard to feel like you are risking a very important relationship, and that you've become isolated. I can't promise it will all work out, but I do know that the longer you leave it, the worse it is likely to get and the harder it will be. Your safety is very important, and you deserve to be and feel safe. I recommend making sure you get or have access to money to stay somewhere else if you need to. If it were me, I would be thinking very seriously about finding another place to stay until his health can be sorted out.
___________________
Andrew Stewart
Operations Manager
British Columbia Schizophrenia Society
A reason to hope. The means to cope.
www.bcss.org

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Woomera
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Re: Partner has issues - I don't know what to do

Unread postby Woomera » 05 Apr 2014

Thankyou Sophia..... I started with the Doctor as I didn't know what else to do ? He COULD have referred me to the resources that you mentioned , but he didn't ? I feel 'better ' with the information you've provided and I will certainly follow through. Agreed , it's not a good situation , I know that , but I'll be ' OK "...it just gets a bit much some time..

Thanks again for the support , it's greatly appreciated

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Re: Partner has issues - I don't know what to do

Unread postby AndrewBCSS » 07 Apr 2014

You're very welcome. :-)
___________________
Andrew Stewart
Operations Manager
British Columbia Schizophrenia Society
A reason to hope. The means to cope.
www.bcss.org

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Woomera
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gender: male
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City or Region: Sidney

Re: Partner has issues - I don't know what to do

Unread postby Woomera » 07 Apr 2014

HI Sophia
I was able to speak with a member of the Mental Health team today , who basically confirmed what I've known for some time... It will take some time for me to process everything , but thankyou for pointing me in their direction.

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Re: Partner has issues - I don't know what to do

Unread postby AndrewBCSS » 08 Apr 2014

I am so glad. I hope you will keep me posted, and let me know if I can help.
Sincerely,
Sophia
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Andrew Stewart
Operations Manager
British Columbia Schizophrenia Society
A reason to hope. The means to cope.
www.bcss.org

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Woomera
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Relationship: Spouse (wife, husband, common-law, partner)
gender: male
Region: Vancouver Island, BC
City or Region: Sidney

Re: Partner has issues - I don't know what to do

Unread postby Woomera » 08 Apr 2014

Many thanks again... :)

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Re: Partner has issues - I don't know what to do

Unread postby AndrewBCSS » 05 Jun 2014

How are things going?
___________________
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British Columbia Schizophrenia Society
A reason to hope. The means to cope.
www.bcss.org


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