DEAR ABBY: I have been married to "Mel" for 15 years. When Mel's mother became ill with tongue cancer and could no longer speak, we moved her in with us so I could care for her. (I am physically disabled from a job injury and no longer work outside the home.) Mel's mother survived only one more year, but Mel says I did a great job while she was here.
I am now caring for my own mother, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. The problem is, Mel constantly makes snide, hateful, sarcastic remarks about her condition. Then he laughs like it's funny.
I have tried to explain that these statements are destroying my love for him. When I tell him, he stops for a day or two and then starts in again. I don't know how much more I can take. I feel like walking out and never looking back. I want a divorce so bad I could scream.
Why is he doing this? It's not a laughing matter. Please help. -- READY TO LEAVE IN FORT WORTH
DEAR READY TO LEAVE: Why is he doing it? It could be ignorance about mental illness. It could also be selfishness, anger, frustration at having to share your attention -- or maybe he's just childish and mean. Whatever the reason, before you give up the ghost, please consider a caregiver support group and marriage counseling. If he refuses to go with you, you will still gain insight if you go without him.
I consider you to be an unsung hero for what you are doing. You can locate a caregiver support group by contacting the National Family Caregivers Association at (800) 896-3650 or www.nfcacares.org. Do it today.