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I’ve been trying to help out my ex for over 5 years. I had hoped to help him get back on his feet, but that’s not what has happened. He needs more and more. I live in a rural area without “services”. Yesterday, I went to the rural health clinic and found out my BP is in stroke territory. They gave me something to bring it down right away. I’m temporarily ok but I need to figure out how to say no effectively to someone who needs more than I have to give.

WHY is he an ‘ex’? Remind yourself! One or both of you decided that it wasn’t going to work. It still isn’t working. What do you think you are achieving?

If your problem is that you are bored stiff in your isolated community, think of a different way to solve your own issues, not his.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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You need to take care of yourself. Your health is more important then caring for someone else period. You have done more than enough for your ex! My goodness, you're not even married to this man. Get on with your life. Your health comes first before him! Stop going over there. Change your phone number if needed. Find some other activities to preoccupy your time. Forget about him
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Reply to Beeshepard
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Frogster, what country do you live in?
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Your profile says a Dementia is involved. There's the answer to your question, you cannot reason with a person who has dementia. With short-term memory loss, you can't expect him to remember from day to day, minute to minute.

I hope you don't live with him because it will be easier to start stepping back. Do you hold POA? If not, does anyone? Does he have family other than children you had together. If so, maybe someone can step up and get him the care he needs.

Your profile says he suffers from a Dementia. This is only going to get worse. There must be an Office if Aging or Adult Priotection Service in your County. Call them and tell them what is going on and that you can no longer help him. Even if you have POA the State can take over his care. And that's what I would do if there is no other family. Like said, he is an ex for a reason. They will see he is placed in a NH where he can get the care he needs.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Frogster Aug 13, 2022
Thanks. No I don’t have POA. I’m just who is left that cares about him and is willing to be around him. I don’t live with him. Last week I got him set up with a home care PT. I will call that agency on Monday and ask them to help facilitate some kind of transition to more appropriate care. They come from 150 miles away in a city. I don’t think there are protective services in this country but maybe the public health department would be able to tell me where to call. I live in the largest city in the county. Pop. Under 1000. He lives out of town in a more rural setting.

addendum…no one has POA. He refuses to do the paperwork for that or to specify his wishes if someone finds him hurt or unable to communicate. The PT spent most of her time talking to him about the consequences of that decision.
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I'm in agreement with all the other comments: the person who needs to respect "no" is YOU.

You aren't responsible for his happiness. Let him have the sunset years he planned for (meaning, no chaos cuz that's what happens when you don't plan).

He's an EX for a reason, right?

"...I need to figure out how to say no effectively to someone who needs more than I have to give." - There's nothing to figure out. When he calls either let it roll into voicemail (then delete without listening), block his number, or have a "speech" ready with the names of his local area resources that HE can call himself: 911, social services, his local areas Agency on Aging, etc. Tell him you don't want to be involved -- don't say you "can't" because then he'll attempt to work how how you can enable him with solutions that will lead to a stroke. You need to stiffen your spine or you'll allow yourself to get sicker. Then who will care for YOU? Not him, right?
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Reply to Geaton777
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Well done for taking responsibility for your health. For getting that health check & planning to take action on it.

Five years is an amazing gift of care!

You had high hopes - it's a shame it didn't work just as you'd hoped.. but you can feel proud of the help you gave.

I feel if Ex was going to change he would have by now. He has shown he won't/can't paddle his own canoe on his own. (Some people just cant due to age/disability/mental illness/addictions/personality etc). So rather than keep paddling his canoe for him endlessly, steer his canoe to a shore. Tie it somewhere safe. Alert others. So he gets the help he needs. Then paddle on your way.

Let natural consequences happen eg: If ex lives in an area without all the services he needs - he need to move.
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Reply to Beatty
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Frogster Aug 13, 2022
Thanks. The image of paddling his canoe to shore and tying it up somewhere safe gives me a way forward.
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Stop showing up.

Make your "no" mean NO.

The life, health and sanity you save should be your own.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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He's your ex, so make that "ex" for everything, including any help at all.

Do you think he would help you in any way if you had a stroke from the stress of helping HIM?
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Reply to CTTN55
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Boundaries are for yourself, not to change others' opinions.

So say no for you, not him, and stop the caregiving.
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Reply to ZippyZee
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