Not sure if my wife has PND or just hates me

(35 Posts)
dad123456 Sat 24-May-14 05:47:03

Hi, I'm a dad and our DD is a year old now (first child). For the last 10 years with my wife, we've been best friends, had a great time together, supported and loved each other.

About 4 or 5 months after the birth we had our first row, and it was pretty major. This was about something I thought was quite insignificant, however my wife just exploded, asked me to leave the house, called the police when I refused (I was reading quietly at the time when she found my presence objectionable). I turned out the she didn't think I was providing enough support for her, though she hadn't said anything about this to me prior to the explosion. I should be "just known"...

A year on, with many other episodes and ups and downs, I've done everything I can to help since she explained the issue. On top of a full on job that means I leave the house at 6.00am, and return at 7.00pm, I get home, and clean the kitchen after her and DD every evening. Mostly I've been making my own dinners. I don't normally get to see DD in the week unless she's awake early enough.

My wife has done other things to me, such as deliberately waking me up at night, hiding my phone, locking me out, hiding car keys, throwing my things about. I can't go into specifics in case she reads this...

The issues she has with me are: I don't do enough for her or DD, I don't contribute enough financially, I don't do enough around the house, I'm lazy, selfish and so on.

The situation now is that she tells me she hates me and my family (they've only ever shown her love), and wants us to separate. She cancelled our holiday recently and took DD away for a week to her parents without telling me she was doing so, and left me at home with a week off with no contact with DD other than a handful of texts, mainly from her mum. I'm really upset that she did this to me and don't really know if or how I can stop her doing it again. I feel she's got control, and there's nothing I can do. It feels like she's claimed ownership of DD for herself and her family to the exclusion of me and mine.

I've told her that I'm sticking by her and DD, whatever she throws at me, and that she can separate if she wants to but it's not coming from me. I've told her I'm there for her when she "snaps out of her madness" (probably not the best choice of words resulting in more abuse), but I'm at my wits end with her.

So I just don't know if her hate is justified (and I'm sure she would have a different, other side of the story), or if she might be suffering from PND. She won't acknowledge this, and accuses me of trying to make her think she's mad, and tells me she' lucky she has a supportive family who assure he she's not and she's doing a great job raising DD (and she is a great mum to DD!!).

We've had such an amazing 10 years prior to this, I really had found the love of my life, my soulmate, best friend, everything, and it's just unravelled since having DD. With a couple of bereavements in my close family already this year, I'm just struggling to cope with this situation (I need to stop wallowing in self pity I'm told), I just don't know what to do. Not even sure if she'll let me spend today with my daughter.

headlesslambrini Sat 24-May-14 06:13:26

Read your post again but from your DW perspective. Being a SAHM with a 1 yr old is hard, really hard. You have basically said she does it all herself during the week. Do you do any of the night time stuff? I know you are in work but if your DD is a poor sleeper then your DW has possibly not had a good nights sleep in a year!!

Does she go out much and interact with other adults during the day? You mentioned about not providing for them so it maybe that she feels that she cant afford to go out.

Sounds like you have no communication at the moment - try counselling. Also get a babysitter on a regular basis and spend some time with her so you can talk things through. This will take time and perseverence as she has lost some trust in you.

Last thing would be to cut down your hours if possible. I would consider this one really hard, what is your priority because it sounds to me that you are on the brink of losing your family one way or the other. Believe me, being at work can be the easy option than dealing with a cranky, teething baby and you wouldnt be the first to use work or money as an excuse. Your DW might like to get a part time job as well.

I hope things get better for you as you sound as if you really do love her alot. Good luck.

youbethemummylion Sat 24-May-14 06:24:05

I second counselling. If you can both go either together or seperate then great if she refuses then you can still go. I was having trouble in my relationship I went to counselling alone and it really helped me appreciate my other halfs point of view and she gave me ideas of how to initiate proper meaningful communication in the relationship and that really helped. I went to the charity Mind and it was free at first then only a nominal fee (i think �20 for 6 sessions)

AndIFeedEmGunpowder Sat 24-May-14 06:29:32

I'm so sorry. It sounds like a very difficult situation. sad

I'm not an expert so can't say if it's PND or your DW is just at the end of her tether with exhaustion and frustration.
Having a baby is such a paradigm shift for everyone, and do not underestimate the impact of lack of sleep, I think it can affect the strongest relationships.

I needed DH to do the dishes when he got back from work for the first 18 months. There is so little time in the day if you have a 'spirited' baby. Our relationship got much easier when he stopped asking to be thanked for this. Have you asked your DW what you can do to help? Have you told her you think she is a brilliant mum?

Could you ask your MIL for advice? There is a brilliant book called What Mothers Do which you could read and might articulate some of what your DW is feeling.

I hope you guys can resolve this. Things do get a bit easier after the first year.

AndIFeedEmGunpowder Sat 24-May-14 06:30:29

And YY to counselling. Even if you just went by yourself.

Littleplasticpeople Sat 24-May-14 06:48:32

Sounds to me like you haven't made any changes to your lifestyle since the arrival of your dd. Perhaps your dw thinks you should be home a bit more given that you now have a baby. You are now parents as well as friends yet you have expected things to remain as they were before you had a baby.

What would you do if your dw worked out of the house the same hours as you? Would you stay at home with your dd? Or would you pay someone a lot of money to do what your wife is currently doing without much appreciation from you?

To me you sound totally self absorbed. If I was your dw I would have left too, after all what are you actually bringing to the household? Cleaning the kitchen each evening?!

My suggestion is start seeing your family a bit more, get up in the night with the baby an equal amount to your dw, sit down together for breakfast or dinner more times than you don't, take spontaneous days off work just to be home on normal boring days, be home for bath time every now and again, take some lead in parenting on work days (you are still a dad on those days too you know), and generally start seeing the wider picture.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Sat 24-May-14 06:53:04

What happens in your household on a weekend? Do you both get a lie in? Do you pick up some more childcare or handle a few night wakings? Do you both get a bit of downtime?

NaturalBaby Sat 24-May-14 07:06:27

What a nightmare. I've been tough on my dh when really, really struggling as a sahm but not as tough as your wife. The love is still there for us. I did look into depression but I was just struggling and ended up having counselling for a year which helped a lot. Me and my dh have also done a lot of reading and talking when we can.

It's hard to work out what she really wants - does she really want to separate or stay together.
Does she say she hates you all the time or just when she's particularly stressed and worked up?
When do you ever talk or spend time together without your DD?
Does she get any/enough time to herself on her own or with friends/family to get away from the situation and think about things?

MrsShortfuse2 Sat 24-May-14 07:25:38

That's very harsh Littleplasticpeople re 'Self-absorbed and what does he bring to the household?' Presumably what he brings to the household is the income from a job that means he is out 13 hours a day - which funds the whole family. And to his great credit he is committed to his family and wants to sort this out.

However I do agree with your general advice to see the wider picture. I found this period with my dc utterly soul-destroying. She needs to feel loved, cherished and valued and have some of the toil taken off her. And she needs decent sleep if she isn't getting it.

Also I agree that whereas OP your life has probably stayed pretty similar, hers has been turned upside down. I suspect that understandably, you feel aggrieved at your treatment currently and feel sorry for yourself, but if you can put her first for a bit, this will pay dividends for you too.

Get a babysitter and take her out for the day, perhaps a session at a posh hairdresser or beauty salon, some shopping, lovely meal - whatever she likes doing. (call me shallow but that's what I like doing!) Tell her you love her, tell her she's a great mum and describe the ways in which she is great, 'I love the way you do blah blah blah' rather than just saying she's a great mum. Reminisce about the amazing times you had. Talk about what you'll do as a family and how you can't wait to take the family to [insert somewhere lovely you've been, for me it would be Disney Florida, shallow again!]

Be patient, and good luck.

Superworm Sat 24-May-14 07:30:31

Whether it's PND, your relationship or both, it's irrelevant really. Your wife sounds deeply unhappy.

What comes across from your post is a lack of acknowledgement. You say you have a full on job but so does she.

She wakes you up deliberately at night, are you doing your fair share of night wakings?

Cooking for yourself and cleaning the kitchen are things that should just happen without prompting. Do you cook extra for her and DD? Do you do the food shopping?

I had PND and hated DH but at the heart of our issues was his behaviour. Becoming parents is a big adjustment.

I agree, you don't sound self-absorbed! Just sad and in need of a good talk with your DW. How horribly tough for you both, and to not talk to one another makes it harder. Having a baby is overwhelming, and can make you feel powerless, put of control and frustrated faster than anything else on earth IME.
I second the treat day, and could you surprise her with coming home early with takeaway (no cooking, no washing up)?
I do have PND, and my DH helps by:
Taking the pressure off me when I'm having a bad day (cooking and washing up, for example)
Taking the baby to let me have 5/10/15 min breaks (during the day, as he works from home) despite that interrupting his work
Being on my 'side' when I get frustrated/angry witn DD, and sympathising rather than judging me for losing my temper
Taking DD for a morning so I can really lie in

Maybe you could adapt one of those ideas to suit?
Good luck, you sound as if you love your family dearly.

dad123456 Sat 24-May-14 07:49:16

Thanks for all your kind posts. I'll try to answer as best and honestly as I can,. Yes, I do love her, and want nothing more than to be a happy family.

I accept my wife and I have a communication problem. I think in the early days I didn't grasp how hard things were on her, and could have done a lot more to help her. Unfortunately, I didn't know how she felt until the first "eruption" 6 months ago (the waking me up, calling police incident). I didn't feel able at first to try to help (after the way she'd been to me), but eventually "got the message", hence the dishes, cleaning up etc I do when I get back from work (it doesn't stop there but I won't bore you with our household chores).

The trouble is, when we try to talk, it's just a one way conversation. I can't say anything without being shouted down, unless she's in the sort of mood where she says she's not talking to me. I've spent several nights over the last few months in hotels when she's asked me to leave the house and give her some space. She hates me when we're not getting on, which is getting more and more frequent. And she hates my family (as I said before, they've only shown her love).

I've all but given up on my friends and hobbies in order to keep her happy (my wife doesn't want to spend time as a family sharing my interests). I'm not prepared to give up my job, as the way things are going, I'm going to have nothing left in my life.

Last weekend, I looked after DH on Saturday while my wife spent the day with a friend. On Sunday I did my own thing (the first time in a couple of months) because I just couldn't bear to be in the atmosphere. And Monday, I just carried on making my daughter's Birthday present in the garden, and spending what time I could with DH. Where I can I do the feeds/nappies/entertaining DH/give DW a lie in.

The separation thing I think is real. I can't help thinking a mixture of tiredness in the early days, my lack of support, hormones and now continuing arguments have just set a scene and mood that we will find hard to come back from. She literally despises everything I am and do. I would describe her as a control freak right now. That probably sounds terrible coming from someone who says he loves his wife.

Financial support is not a problem, though she does complain about that too. She's been getting a very generous maternity leave (about 2/3 of my earnings), and now that's coming to an end, I'm putting my income into a joint account from which we both draw a "salary". There's cash then left over for household stuff. And I've already explained to her that no matter what happens, DH will always be provided for by me, as long as I'm able, and if DH is with DW (and I'm not there), and DH depends on DW, I will be supporting both of them.

She does have a good network of friends, and is meeting one today, and meets up with various friends through the week.

To littleplasticpeople: may I am. When I try to do stuff in the night, I'm told I'm messing up the routine. If I do nothing, then I'm not doing anything to help.

She's awake now, going to get her breakfast

Superworm Sat 24-May-14 08:22:00

There is still the lack of acknowledgement of her feelings. Not realising she was unhappy for six months and her calling the police speaks volumes.

Do you ask what she would like to do as a family rather than suggesting sharing your hobbies?

Treating her sounds like a nice idea, in theory. DH would get me a spa day or whatever. What I really wanted was to be listened to. Having money thrown at the problem and then having to show gratitude when nothing had changed made me feel more misunderstood and the divide much bigger between us.

How was communication before DD?

NaturalBaby Sat 24-May-14 09:25:36

So the wife didn't feel supported enough and the husband stepped up. So now what? If it's not enough for her then what more does she need?

What is she bringing to the relationship now apart from abuse and hatred? She has love, support, money, opportunities to do what she wants/needs - what more does she want/need?

The only other perspective that could help is that when someone is feeling a lot of negative emotions, it's very hard to be kind and loving or behave positively. When that behaviour has been going on for a long time it's bit of a cycle that's hard to get out of. Guilt and anger go together and are very destructive. It's hard to break out of.

Is she not prepared to do anything for your relationship anymore? A night out, a few hours together just the 2 of you, a conversation about where your relationship is at and where it's going?

Littleplasticpeople Sat 24-May-14 12:03:34

I still stand by what I said, your posts are all a bit 'me me me' and my gut instinct is to really feel for your wife . But, I do agree with others who have said at least now you are trying to sort things out so there is hope. You need to show appreciation to your wife and have lots of talking time where you listen rather than rabbit on about how you don't understand her.
It sounds to me that she's realised she doesn't need You either financially, practically or emotionally. Therefore perhaps you should make her want you again. Be an understanding, encouraging, helpful, thoughtful person to be around.

dad123456 Sat 24-May-14 12:08:11

I guess there are wrongs on both sides, mine for not realising she was struggling and hers for not letting me know.

I really just want to know if this could be PND, or if our relationship is irretrievably damaged. I've just spoken to her, and she point blank now wants to separate. She says she wants the best for DD, and wants me to be part of DD's life, but I feel terribly sad if this is the way we end up.

Thanks for all the replies. This is just the way some lives go :-(

dad123456 Sat 24-May-14 12:11:55

Littleplasticpeople: I may well have been a bit me me me. I didn't adjust to fatherhood as fast as I should have done. So a lot of it is my own fault. You're bang on about her not needing me in those ways. I have tried to be supportive and so on, but then she snaps, for no apparent reason, and the cycle starts again. Feeling like this is the the last of the cycles, and it makes me sad that this is how it's going to end up.

TheSarcasticFringehead Sat 24-May-14 12:18:46

I think you have adjusted a fair bit- a 13hr job means there won't be the same adjustments necessarily, but you have. I think you should go to counselling together for sure, there are bad feelings on both sides and you obviously can't continue as you are.

Superworm Sat 24-May-14 12:52:46

I'm sorry this seems to be the end of your marriage. It must be very stressful.

If you get this thread moved to relationships or repost it, you will get good advice from lots of insightful posters.

NaturalBaby Sat 24-May-14 16:56:28

What a shame. She may or may not have pnd but she would be the only one to do something about it. A label may help you understand what is going on but it doesn't sound like it would change anything.

I'm an old fashioned romantic and can't see how 10yrs of a great relationship can be thrown away within a few months of starting a family together. Would she be wanting to separate if you didn't have a child together?

Goldenbear Sat 24-May-14 21:34:35

Does your wife think she has PND or are you coming to that conclusion because of the change in your relationship? In all honesty having your first child is a huge upheaval to some and what seems like a sudden personality change in your partner is really due to how that same personality has adapted to motherhood. You say she is very controlling for example but maybe this personality trait is exaggerated on becoming a parent. It doesn't necessarily equate to PND. I was very controlling when my children were babies, in all honesty my DP tried but I felt they needed this protection that only I could provide. My youngest is 3 now and it is totally different.

If you are being honest with your descriptions you sound like you are supporting her well practically but my measure of this is that my DP didn't even want to be at home full time with Dc- I was very, very happy with that and wanted to be a SAHP but I wasn't happy being a domestic goddess and we had a number of disagreements about the nature of my role. Maybe you're not providing emotional support. Do you listen without interrupting with practical advice for instance as it can be very lonely on maternity leave- sometimes I just found I wanted to talk to DP about my emotions but he didn't really hear me out which was incredibly frustrating and made us seem disconnected as opposed to pre-chikdten.

I think it's admirable that you're willing to find out more and step up. I think it's sad that she doesn't want to meet you partway.
One thing, and it's very general, and may not help, but have you tried asking 'why' and waiting for her to answer? I find men sometimes take what appears to be a statement of fact (e.g. 'I want to separate') as that, when women sometimes mean it as the opening gambit in a conversation. This is just IME, so it's just a thought.
Good luck. I hope you get somewhere, you do sound so sad and you clearly do love your family.

I think it's admirable that you're willing to find out more and step up. I think it's sad that she doesn't want to meet you partway.
One thing, and it's very general, and may not help, but have you tried asking 'why' and waiting for her to answer? I find men sometimes take what appears to be a statement of fact (e.g. 'I want to separate') as that, when women sometimes mean it as the opening gambit in a conversation. This is just IME, so it's just a thought.
Good luck. I hope you get somewhere, you do sound so sad and you clearly do love your family.

Clargo55 Sat 24-May-14 22:10:28

You sound resentful of the extra chores and cleaning the dishes.

I really think you need to be seen as equals here.

How do you think she would like the financial situation to be? In our family all money is 'family' money, it is all put into one account and we both do as we wish.

Has your DW ever mentioned anything about a problem with your parents?

Clargo55 Sat 24-May-14 22:15:16

I also think it takes two and some of the words you have used in regards to your wife seem very demeaning.

'Madness, eruption, exploded' like you feel she is behaving madly in her feelings and they were completely unjust?

Also what made you begin to think your wife has PND? Was this mentioned to you by somebody else?

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