my father in law has cancer, need advice on how to support my husband

Friends and family

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, it affects all the people around them. You can talk openly here, and share your questions, concerns and stories.

my father in law has cancer, need advice on how to support my husband

No. of entries: 11 | No.of favourites: 0 | Posted on 04 Jun 2009 12:35
  • Hi
    i am just looking for some advice, my father in law has metastatic bowel cancel ( hope i have that right) and my husband isnt coping very well. He is just shutting down shutting me out. In all other things i am the one who gets him to talk but he is pushing me away. He is aggressive and nasty which is entirely the opposite of who he is and i dont know what to do. Has anyone else been through this - from either side - and do they have any advice on how i can support him
  • Hi Laurielee, sorry to hear your circumstances. I don't really know what to say except I suppose all you can do is be there for your husband. He is obviously very angry at the moment which is understandable and is pushing you away because he doesn't know how to deal with this himself.

    When I was diagnosed with cancer my partner wouldn't open up to me about his feelings. All he would say was that I was the one with the illness and had enough to deal with without him adding the burden of his feelings on me and he never did talk to me about how he felt. I suppose I just had to accept this.

    You can always come on this site any time you feel things are getting too much and talk to someone. You can send me a private message if you like. I would love to hear from you.

    Best wishes, Christine x
  • Hi Laurielee,

    I'm really sorry to hear about your father in law. I understand this must be very hard for you. I think we all want to help in some way to make things better and if someone is shutting you out this makes you feel very helpless.

    I have recently found myself in a similar situation, my boyfriend's father has been diagnosed with cancer and it is hard to tell how he is coping. My boyfriend doesn't open up to anyone but myself, same as your husband, so I know how important it is we are there for them. I have done this in the only way I know, by letting him know I am there and that I love him.

    He has become quite insular and I often find he is just stares into space. At times like this I gave him a hug, hand squeeze or simply catch his eye to let him know I am aware of what he is going through and there if he needs me. I ask him how he is feeling often and gauge his response to see if he wants any more questions. If he does talk, I try to simply listen and not to give any advice. If he doesnt talk which can make me feel he is shutting me out, I just let him do so. His way of surviving this is alien to mine but it is his way.

    I am sure you are doing a fantastic job of supporting your husband and I hope at least you have comfort knowing that others are going through a similar situation.

    All my best wishes, Sian
  • Hiya,

    I know how you feel. It's my MIL who has cancer (angiosarcoma) and to be honest i feel like i'm the only one coping! Hubby is not aggressive, but you can see he always has something on his mind. FIL is even worse..... totally in denial.
    MIL is coping well, and talks to me whch in turn means i talk to hubby and FIL...... not an easy scenario.
    I think that you have to sit him down and tell him that you are there for him when he needs to talk etc, but try not to keep on about it....... he will come to you when he is ready. I think that it's like a bereavement when you first find out about cancer, but there can be hope!
    Chin up laurilee, and if you need to talk i am always milling around.

    Love Jules x
  • This is very familiar. My partner's father has just been diagnosed with skin cancer which has now affected his liver and lungs and he doesn't have more than a few months to live.

    He has been disabled for many years and his wife is his carer. they are a lovely couple but they are starting to struggle - he's a big guy - but she's not accepting any help even when it's clear it's painful for him to move. They have one carer in the mornign which isn't enough.

    My partner is also struggling - he wants to help, but his parents are so used to coping. His dad accepts he needs more help, but she's having none of it. She thinks life should carry on as normal.

    This is making my partner angry and he is blaming his mum (they have an uneasy relationship at the best of times) and wants to force her to take help by stepping in and organising it or simply working from their house. I've tried to advise him that he has to take his lead from them as I don't think she'll appreciate him taking over, but also agree that they can't go on as they are.

    He just wants to be practical, but runs the risk of bulldozing them and causing more stress. He doesnt' accept this, he reckons his mother will never accept help even if they're both collapsed on the floor. I can believe this.

    I just want to help him, and probably keeping my gob shut and letting them work it out is best. I'm from a family of women and he has only brothers, so their way of dealing with things (ie not talking about it) is alien to me.

    he won't take my advice anyway and just gets angry at me and says I'm not helping and that he will do things his way (he's not normally like that) - runs in the family!
  • I ALSO AM FINDING THINGS VERY HARD IN JANUARY MY BOYFRIENDS BROTHER WAS GIVEN 6 MONTHS TO LIVE MY BOYFRIEND HAS TAKEN IT VERY HARD AND I DONT KNOW WOT TO DO TO HELP SEEMS LIKE EVERYTHING I SAY IS WRONG HE IS DRINKING A LOT AND PUSHING ME AWAY ALL I WANNA DO IS BE THERE FOR HIM BUT AT TIMES I FEEL LIKE WALKING AWAY . HE HAS OPENED UP ON A FEW OCCASIONS BUT ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS HE IS BECOMING INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT TO BE AROUND AND IM TRYING TO BE STRONG FOR BOTH OF US I DONT KNOW WOT TO SAY OR DO FOR THE BEST I AND MY FAMILY HAVE EXPERIENCED A LOT OF DEATH RECENTLY AND I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANYONE REACT THIS WAY AT TIMES I WANNA SAY TO HIM HIS BROTHER IS DYING AND DOESNT HAVE A CHOICE AND THAT ITS WRONG THAT HE IS BEIN SO SELF PITYING AND THROWING HIS LIFE AWAY WHEN HIS BROTHER DOESNT HAVE THAT LUXURY I JUST DONT KNOW WOT TO DO I LOVE HIM DEARLY AND AM WORRIED SICK ABOUT HIM AND HIS HEALTH AS WELL AS HIS BROTHER
  • I know it is really hard for you as I have also been in this position, my father in law died 7 years ago. My husband is not very open and often keeps things locked in - I still spoke of what was happening and how sad it was but he never opened up and I felt useless. But I did talk about it and tried to let my husband know how much I cared and how it also upset me, but unfortunately these things happen and yes they can happen to use too, I just tried to keep things normal as possible and gave him space.

    My husband lost weight and a few months after his father died had shingles - it has taken him until this year to get over the death of his dad, and he still doesn't talk about that time. So the only advice I can say is you talk to him about it, don't force him to say anything your talks are getting through - don't let anger creep in, walk away give him time, he is grieving before he's lost his father, it is common.

    One thing that did help a little is I flicked a channel with John Edwards the medium, never saw the programme before the last few weeks of my fil's life. I noted hubby watching too - and it did calm him down thinking that it is not the absolute end - but different things help different people.

    His mum has now been diagnosed - he is not shutting down this time and is talking more, but his mum different as she talks about it and doesn't try to pretend its not happening - and I think a lot of men do try to shut it out, and women want to talk.

    No answers but hope you don't feel so alone.

  • I know it is really hard for you as I have also been in this position, my father in law died 7 years ago. My husband is not very open and often keeps things locked in - I still spoke of what was happening and how sad it was but he never opened up and I felt useless. But I did talk about it and tried to let my husband know how much I cared and how it also upset me, but unfortunately these things happen and yes they can happen to use too, I just tried to keep things normal as possible and gave him space.

    My husband lost weight and a few months after his father died had shingles - it has taken him until this year to get over the death of his dad, and he still doesn't talk about that time. So the only advice I can say is you talk to him about it, don't force him to say anything your talks are getting through - don't let anger creep in, walk away give him time, he is grieving before he's lost his father, it is common.

    One thing that did help a little is I flicked a channel with John Edwards the medium, never saw the programme before the last few weeks of my fil's life. I noted hubby watching too - and it did calm him down thinking that it is not the absolute end - but different things help different people.

    His mum has now been diagnosed - he is not shutting down this time and is talking more, but his mum different as she talks about it and doesn't try to pretend its not happening - and I think a lot of men do try to shut it out, and women want to talk.

    No answers but hope you don't feel so alone.

Page 1 of 2 12Next 5 >