Whew, it was a whirlwind week, and I’m still quite fatigued. Thanks for your prayers. There was a great response to my two day interview on Focus on the Family on Reclaiming Hope and Safety in a Destructive Marriage.
If you missed it, you can listen to a replay at bit.ly/1a4RxRx (Part 1) and at bit.ly/GWPIey (Part 2).
I’ve also added a new video on my home page entitled “5 Steps to Achieve Lasting Change”. Click title to watch.
Here is a question from someone who listened to the Focus on the Family broadcast this week. I have not addressed this question before.
Today’s Question: I was listening to your seminar on abusive marriages. It was interesting, but what if your partner has dementia and possibly developing Alzheimer’s and he's increasingly mean and violent with you and others in the community? How do you handle that.
Answer: Your question is an excellent one. We must also recognize that when abusive behaviors are not typical of someone’s patterns or have not been part of a couple’s marital history, there may be something physical going wrong which affects his (or her) thinking and behavior.
I remember working with a woman whose husband tried to kill her one night while she was sleeping. His violent behavior was totally out of character. They had no previous episodes of abuse, and they had been married a long time. After further tests and investigation, it turned out he had been given the wrong medication which greatly affected his mood and thinking. This new evidence got him out of jail; however it did not mitigate the lethality of his behavior. Had he succeeded in his attempt to kill his wife, although we understand it was not his fault, she would still have been dead.
So here is how you must handle this new development in your marriage. I’m sure you have great compassion for the man he once was. Ask God to help you be extra gracious, forbearing and tolerant when he acts mean knowing that this is not at all the man he was. However, if you feel in danger or he gets violent, you must also take measures to protect yourself and not feel guilty for doing so.
Tell your adult children what’s going on so that they can help and support you, if possible, as well as give you some much needed breaks if you are his caregiver.
Next, talk with his doctor and inform him or her of your husband’s violent behaviors both at home and in the community. Let him know what he’s done, when they’ve occurred and how frequently they happen so that your doctor can adjust his medication or, if necessary, refer you for help at https://livingwellnessmedicalcenter.com/ativan-lorazepam/ so that you will be able to find a place he can live that is more equipped to handle his violent outbursts than you are living with him alone.
Please don’t feel you need to be the martyr and sacrifice yourself to keep him home with you. Care giving takes a great toll on the caregiver even when there is no violent behavior. The best and safest way you may be able to care and love your husband in these latter years is to daily visit him at a place where he is well-cared for but where you and others are safe from his unpredictable and dangerous behaviors.
We have a large community of wonderful people, and I’m sure some of you have faced something similar. What words of wisdom would you share with this wife?
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