I have taken care of my boyfriend (58) for 9 years. He had a serious TBI from a motorcycle accident at 20 resulting in short term memory issues, mobility problems, right hand paralysis, tracheostomy and a seizure disorder. Through all his problems he had a great attitude without bitterness and more determined than anyone I had ever known.
I committed to give him a full life with little anxiety and opportunities to explore and enjoy life to the fullest.
On our first anniversary he had a massive stroke. Together we struggled through the repercussions of the stroke and carried on. We lived in Philly then and received little or no help from his family (3 brothers, 2 daughters). His family was not at all accepting of me from day 1 and treated me horribly. Once he was on his road to recovery we decided to move to my hometown of Dallas to avoid constant negative intervention from his hateful family. We had a challenging but wonderful life in Texas.
About 2 1/2 years ago I noticed many changes in his attitude and behavior. I had a neuropsychological test performed and we learned he had early onset dementia. Over time he became physically, verbally and emotionally abusive to me. I was raised by two extremely abusive parents and abuse from a person I had done EVERYTHING for was very hard for me.
In May 2015, after much discussion I moved him to an independent living apartment at a retirement community with assisted living and nursing home facilities on the premises. The main reasons for this transition was that he had lost his ability to walk completely and my home was not set up for a person in a motorized wheelchair. We agreed that we thought not being together 24/7 might have a positive impact on our relationship. The facility has PT lab, brain and memory lab, a gym, a church and lots of activities. I stayed on as his caregiver 7 days a week.
I furnished his apartment beautifully and for a time all was right with the world.
A couple of months after he moved there the abuse started again and intensified. He started accusing me of things I would never do. I couldn't reason with him about anything. He lied constantly to me and manipulated me in a million different ways. At one point he told me he was very loyal to his nurse because he was having sex with her. Ouch!!!! He constantly filed false police reports against me and called Adult Protective Services saying I was abusing him.
I stopped being his full time caregiver but ran to his rescue several times a week, cooked for him, shopped for him, took him to his doctor's appointments etc. but matters just got worse and worse. I brought him home on Thanksgiving and Christmas and he physically and verbally abused me the entire time.
On the Tuesday after Christmas he called me at 6:45 am asking me to come over because he was freaked out about numerous issues. I went and took care of his concerns. During that visit he admitted he had switched POA from me to his brother who he had not even spoken to in 7 years. I asked him why and his response was he did so because he was mad at me. I asked him if he knew what his family had planned regarding his care if he move back to Philly. He said he had no idea. I told him I thought they would just stick him in a nursing home and leave him there until he died.
I called him on New Years Eve to wish him a happy New Year and his phone was disconnected. I contacted his neighbors and they reported they had not seen him in days. I went to his place 4 times and couldn't get any response. A few days later I got a change of address form from the post office and I knew he was gone. He must have known for quite sometime exactly when he was leaving Dallas. I was so hurt that after nine years he would leave without a word to me. By the time I figured it out his complex had disposed of the $10,000 worth of furnishings I had purchased for him.
I found him yesterday on a new Facebook account. I could tell from the background that indeed he was in a nursing home at 58.
I am overwhelmed with anxiety and depression. Is there more I could have done to prevent this outcome? Should I have been able to just look the other way or close my ears to his abusive ways. How could he leave after 9 years without an explanation or goodbye? Why was I his constant target of abuse? Did I waste 9 years of my life that ended up not mattering to him? Do I have reason to feel guilty and ashamed that I could not hang in there with him to the bitter end? Will I EVER get over this emotional pain? Why was I not good enough for him? What more could I have done without totally self-destructing? Please someone, help me answer these questions!!!!!

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I think when you experience abuse as a child it is not as easy as some may think it would be second time round to extricate yourself from it without huge emotional upheaval. Tex obviously thought she had found Mr Right and it must be ultra devastating to find out that a split second accident has altered that beyond belief.

Tex the guilt is easy to acquire and not so easy to remove but you are where you are and it isn't going to change. The best you can do right now is to amputate the man from your life and think about the future and what you want. Don't let the past define your future for that my love is in your hands. So scream a little be angry a lot and take pride in the care you did give. xxx not an easy road but one you have no choice but to go down
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mica, it is true, when we are raised in bad environments, we learn to tolerate more frustration and mistreatment than normal people. In fact, we tend to seek it out very often. We can be more comfortable with someone who treats us bad than someone who treats us well. I know that my own life has shown that over and over again. I would like to break the pattern, but here I am back in the environment that caused the pattern to start with. Some of us never learn!
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Why is it you have apparently never sought out, are currently getting, or are contemplating getting SERIOUS THERAPY for YOURSELF? Nine years, and the inevitable happened - he is in a nursing home, and all your labor was never going to prevent that. What did you think, if you worked and slaved, propped him up, radiated love and carried on what is basically a puppet show with another human - that everything would be fine? He was horribly abusive and doomed to go downhill eventually. Forgive me if I sound harsh, but you ate up all that abuse because of your past. I think now that it's over, in some sick way you miss it. You should seek therapy and try to find some healthy happiness in your life.
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((((tight hug))))
Having abusive parents myself, if you are like me, I find myself staying in relationships too long because I am used to pouring myself out for them. Sacrificing myself for "love" and accepting pain in return, why, because thats what I got from my parents.
Take the time, and seek help to grow from this, because it probably will happen to you again...
I am 55 and thought I would Never sacrifice myself again (dammit)
One day you will see what a real blessing this was that his family stepped in- Anita has it right.
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Please seek a therapist. Find one that you trust - you may have to go through several to find one that "fits". (My experience is that 1 out of 2 are OK, one of 3 are pretty good.)

You need some significant guidance and support to learn to set healthy boundaries, and to be able to achieve a healthy loving relationship - which you deserve. By ebtering into and continuing an adult abusive relationship - and one that mirrors your experience in your family of origin - you are attempting (unconsciously) to "FIX" the original abuse yu acquired at the hands of those who were supposed to love and care for you.

You CAN move beyond this! But you'll need help to do so. Another option - and one that worked better for me than therapy (although therapy gave me a lot of understanding) to move on - was Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as EFT and/or the Tapping Method. You can check this out on youtube. I found it worked very fast.

Best wishes as you rebuild your life. I hope that yuo've learned some valuable lessons from this experience. Please don't try to remain in contact with your former "boyfriend" who is clearly not well in so many ways.
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I'm sorry for what happened, but it does sound like you were fortunate that he let you out of a bad situation in an easy way. Your boyfriend had tbi and dementia, so the things he did would not be normal. Sometimes we wait and hope they will be normal, but they won't be. Personally, I would feel great relief that his family had taken over the responsibility and would work to start rebuilding my life without him in it.
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Honestly, I couldn't read your post after reading just the title, so I have only one question to ask of you:

WHY would you feel guilty for not being able to cope with something that no one should have to tolerate?

I think the answers to your question first begin with asking yourself that question. Abuse is not something anyone should even consider tolerating.
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Woo, that WAS harsh, Lassie. This thread must have tripped some switch in you.
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Oh, I did admit my answer was harsh, but I'm not mad at LW so much as the horrible, unstopping, dedicated abuse she suffered. That is what I am so mad at, that this poor woman suffered all these years to this point....I can't even.

LW, I am sorry for piling onto your problems, and I didn't mean to be harsh, I did apologize for that. I will reiterate your thinking is very very wrong. You have lost years of your life. I wish you well in the time you have left. But you can't really do this alone, you desperately need psychiatric help. Please, for your own sake - let it go, you have spent enough time, effort, and emotion. It's over, as far as your bf goes. I know it's hard, I understand how you feel, but anyone can see you must get help. So please do that. Because this board has many people who care, and they all try to be polite and tiptoe around and be nice, but hon: you need help desperately, you DESERVE it.
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You are possibly going to hate me for saying this, but here goes. The "abuse" was a signal that something was wrong. You wanted badly to fix it, you wanted to "give" him a "full life," with less anxiety and stress; you took over from his family and fixed his apartment up for him, you told him rightly or wrongly that his family did not care about him as much as you did. I don't think you are stupid or that you should have done "more; " I actually think you did too much and I think when things seemed like they were all right and all good, they were conforming to YOUR vision and not necessarily his. He rejected you. Of course that hurts!! But TBI is not dementia - at least until he actually did develop the dementia, he needed more support for his own autonomy. And it took him a long time, but he had enough capacity to decide to switch back to his family and break off your relationship. The nursing home, assisted living, or wherever he is now may suit him better than living the life you envisioned for him. He chose it and he chose it freely. You don't have to stop caring. You do have to let go and let him have his life. If he were to private message you and beg to be rescued that would change things, but even then you would need to be careful to give him all the choices he can realistically make for himself. I think what you did "wrong," though totally out of good intentions, was to make your relationship a one-way street - you taking care of him and meeting his needs as you perceived them. Suggesting you get counseling or therapy is not an implication that you are not smart and accomplished. You need someone you can share more details and emotions with and hopefully learn anything you can learn from this as well as heal from the hurt of the breakup and build a stronger foundation for another relationship in the future, one based on an equal footing with a partner, both give and take. You can probably point to ways in which this 9 year relationship was more positive and mutual; you had admiration for him at least; and yes, it is a shame that the good things did not predominate enough to make it last.
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