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  1. #11

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    Well, I can add some pretty up-close and personal experience about INTPs and suffering in the marriage due to an ill spouse, and what it's like to be a child of that.

    My father is an INTP and last year my (SJ) step-mother was finally diagnosed with multiple sclerosis after years of strange bouts of illness. The toll on her health has taken a rapid downturn in the past few months. When I visited my father last fall I knew he was anxious by his incessant, factual rambling. He kept telling me "I've thought things through a lot, we're gonna be fine, she's just gonna work less, we're gonna save more, we're gonna opt for cheaper cars, we're gonna find a cheaper house, we're gonna sell the extra property, we're gonna make sure you kids are set up for whatever you need, I've read about some alternative treatments that we're going to contact the insurance about" etc. I know my Dad. I know he's good at thinking about the future and trying to cover all the angles. I know he's given the probable outcome of all of this a LOT of thought. It is touching to see how he has gone through great pains to fully educate himself on all of the implications of her illness in an effort to be helpful and informed, which is how he shows his strength and support. He has spent hours poring over their financial investments and savings etc. to see what their resources are and the best way to use them.

    But I also know that my Dad feels it is his job to be the tough, responsible one at all times... an oldest child like me with lots of responsibility thrust onto him at an early age. He bottles up his feelings not just as a behavioral preference, but because he does not have any close friendships where he can vent his feelings of sadness, frustration, and anxiety that I know he is experiencing. I think with his wife and kids especially, he has avoided appearing frightened or sad because he wants to be a stable, hopeful, and positive presence for us and I appreciate what that stoicism says about his love and care for us even if we don't require it (but it's obvious that he requires it more for himself). I'm a good reader of my Dad, and I too have worried that he is bottling up more than he can handle on his own. It would not be the first time he has done this. I know it is in his nature to analyze the freak out of situations so that he can be mentally prepared for all of the variables, but I have taken the time to stop him on two occasions and said "I know you've thought this all through Dad and I know you're taking good care of her, but what about you? Are you okay Dad?" And this is where I see the hesitation, and the facial muscles at work, and he says matter of factly, "I am scared." ... *silence* And this is where lots of hugs and reassurances came in, both verbal (but often) silent: a squeeze of the hand, a surprise coffee from Starbucks (his favorite), or an offer to help him and my stepmom out in a tangible way (want me to make dinner? walk the dogs? help research alternative treatments etc.?). Just talking about his feelings is not something he is often interested in I have learned. My Dad doesn't have to elaborate on his feelings though if he doesn't want to, I get it. But it is still important to me that he knows I care, I am here, and he can lean on me and my adult brothers if he needs to because that is what family is for: he doesn't have to be SuperDad all the time. I know it's just his role in my life that prevents him from having that much-needed ventilation, so I was relieved when we visited my grandmother (his Mom) and she asked if he was okay after he got done telling her all of the factual details and plans etc. that he had just told me, but then he just broke down sobbing, and we group-hugged for a long time and didn't say anything except that we loved each other. My father is not a cryer, and seeing him cry like that felt like having my heart ripped out of my chest. I know he is in pain and I think his venting made us all feel relieved (my grandmother and I because he's shown he can be vulnerable with us and my Dad because he got to see that we can handle it).

    I guess my final thought is that if your father says he is fine, you will have to give him the benefit of the doubt. I'm sure the rapid change of lifestyle and partner must be having a tumultuous emotional impact on you (it would on me). All you can really do is let him know that you care, that you are concerned, that he is not alone, and that you support his choices if it means he will be happy even if you don't understand them or wouldn't choose them for yourself. Maybe saying that will allow you both to reassure each other in a meaningful way. IME, just proving yourself as a reliable source of support, a patient listener, and reaching out across the aisle at those moments that you sense they want to but are hesitant to, is usually enough for INTPs and most other people.

    Saturned, I am so sorry for your loss and I dread the day that I may have to make a post similar to yours.

    Last edited by iwakar; 03-29-2011 at 07:44 PM. Reason: hug
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    my post
    Quote Originally Posted by slowriot View Post
    Saturned have you considered that during the last time your mother lived your dad was trying to come to terms with life after her? As emotionally draining as a terminal illness can be on friends and family, we react very differently. And maybe the five months were your dads mourning period. Coming to terms with his own situation after your mother had died. It doesnt mean he stopped caring for her but that he also tried to work through the emotions, maybe even with your mother. So he was better prepared the day she died.
    Quote Originally Posted by Saturned View Post
    That is an interesting point. Looking back on those 5 months, I think you have hit the nail on the head. My mom was worried for me and didn't want me to know how bad it was, and kept telling me how the doctors said she had 2 years. My dad was actually in those meetings with her.... and knew much better how little time she had. So, I had this vision of my mom getting some kind of miracle and beign cured, etc. It wasn't until about 2 weeks before she died that I finally faced up to the truth as to how sick she was.

    My dad made frequent comments that upset me at the time because I was focused on some miracle/2 years... but looking back, with this idea in mind, I can see much clearer that he was doing his mourning then.

    Hmm, thanks for the new food for thought on this topic...

    (also, I just watched the episode where Data dates the blond chick and your signature made me smile. )


    ADDED NOTE: Just saw your re: to the previous post and thought I should mention that I, also have noticed both my father and I are such future-oriented people that we often plan and grieve far in advance of major events as a way of coping, so it can come as a surprise to others that once the moment arrives, we are surprisingly stoic, and prepared to move on. It is usually unforeseen tragedy that unhinges us.
    Last edited by iwakar; 03-29-2011 at 07:49 PM. Reason: added relevant quotes
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  3. #13
    Senior Member ceecee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    ADDED NOTE: Just saw your re: to the previous post and thought I should mention that I, also have noticed both my father and I are such future-oriented people that we often plan and grieve far in advance of major events as a way of coping, so it can come as a surprise to others that once the moment arrives, we are surprisingly stoic, and prepared to move on. It is usually unforeseen tragedy that unhinges us.
    I think this is very true. It certainly is for myself and I know if my husband was dying, I would have done all the dealing I could while he was still with me. I've always been told by others that I handle crisis better than anyone they know. I don't. I simply prepare for it better than anyone they know. That is how I cope. Unexpected things I handle well then collapse when it's over and I think this is true of a lot of people. I am sorry for your loss.
    I like to rock n' roll all night and *part* of every day. I usually have errands... I can only rock from like 1-3.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saturned View Post
    That is an interesting point. Looking back on those 5 months, I think you have hit the nail on the head. My mom was worried for me and didn't want me to know how bad it was, and kept telling me how the doctors said she had 2 years. My dad was actually in those meetings with her.... and knew much better how little time she had. So, I had this vision of my mom getting some kind of miracle and beign cured, etc. It wasn't until about 2 weeks before she died that I finally faced up to the truth as to how sick she was.

    My dad made frequent comments that upset me at the time because I was focused on some miracle/2 years... but looking back, with this idea in mind, I can see much clearer that he was doing his mourning then.

    Hmm, thanks for the new food for thought on this topic...

    (also, I just watched the episode where Data dates the blond chick and your signature made me smile. )
    I think you should try and talk to him about it. If this is important to you, he would be willing to do so, Im quite sure. In personal experience if people I care for, dont understand my grounds of reasoning I do go out of my way to explain it to them. I do not want to be misinterpreted and causing concerns on their part, but Im not a mindreader.

    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    ADDED NOTE: Just saw your re: to the previous post and thought I should mention that I, also have noticed both my father and I are such future-oriented people that we often plan and grieve far in advance of major events as a way of coping, so it can come as a surprise to others that once the moment arrives, we are surprisingly stoic, and prepared to move on. It is usually unforeseen tragedy that unhinges us.
    Yes, very true.

    Quote Originally Posted by ceecee View Post
    I think this is very true. It certainly is for myself and I know if my husband was dying, I would have done all the dealing I could while he was still with me. I've always been told by others that I handle crisis better than anyone they know. I don't. I simply prepare for it better than anyone they know. That is how I cope. Unexpected things I handle well then collapse when it's over and I think this is true of a lot of people. I am sorry for your loss.
    Yes to this aswell.

  5. #15
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    Very interesting posts everyone.

    Iwakar: This sounded a lot like my dad too. He was very focused on the reality of the situation and preparation for the future. He got very frustrated with the hospital because they kept brushing us off on details. He really wanted to know all the stages of how she was going to get worse and what was recommended to do at each step. I think (all of this so much in retrospect) that that kind of kept him together for the most part.

    ceecee: That makes a lot of sense. And the little bit I got from my dad in regards to their last conversations seems to be along these lines. I think he had my mom's help in grieving beforehand a little bit.

    slowriot: I had a pretty long chat with my dad the other night about some of my concerns. He listened and I think we understand each other better now.

    It has been very helpful reading this thread. Last year is basically one very, very, very long day for me. It all runs together and blurs. My birthday came around a few weeks ago and it felt very surreal to be a year older, when for me mentally, a year hadn't really passed by.

    I also appreciate the warm sentiments expressed by everyone as well.

  6. #16
    ThatGirl
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    I usually cannot process grief until the situation is completely passed, resolved, everyone has moved on, and forgotten about it. For some reason it hurts less to do it that way, and also feels safer.

    Idk if your dad is anything like me, but if he is, he will move on, and when he is a new and safe place, he will handle the old feelings on his own, behind the scenes, and by himself.

    He probably wont regret any of the decisions he is making now.

  7. #17
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    I think he is dealing with it the only way he knows how. I say as long as he isn't killing himself (and even then) just let him do what he thinks is best.

    From my experience he will crash hard. The more you fight stuff like that the harder you crash. But he will be better person for it...so just let him do what he thinks he needs to do.

    again..imo.

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