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Is being an avoider a marriage deal breaker?

(178 Posts)
mulranno Tue 30-Oct-12 08:53:43

Been with my dh for 26 years have 4 kids. He is very mild mannered, intelligent and a devoted (but ineffectual) father. We get on fine when life is rosy but when life is tough his modus operandi (?) is head in the sand, avoider.

I get left to research and make all of the hard complex decisions which leaves me feeing both over loaded and soley responsible which is very pressurizing -- he is still like a teenager when it comes to money, finacial decisions, emotional/educational decisions around the family. He chooses not to get informed so I am unable to sense check anything with him or get any support or direction or feel that anything is a joint decision. He shows no interest in what I am trying to achieve.

On the emotional/health side when I had severe pnd after my 3rd child in 3 years he just chose to spend all of his time out of the home -- he was out 4 nights a week at either football, tennis, committee meetings etc. When he was home (Fri and Sat nights) he drank very heavily, fell asleep and was "not available" as he was just so distant and introverted with major hangovers.

I was left to manage all 3 babies alone night after night which caused me to be really angry. We went to relate as I resented this behaviour but they "framed" it as his way of coping so I forgave him. However we have since had 3 further major crises - another pnd, devastating sudden death of my mother and a most recently a major financial crisis which has endured for 18 months and requires house and schools move to resolve. The last two have tipped me back into depression. Again on all of these crisises he has not "been there" in any capacity. I have had to grieve alone (he was quite flippant about my grief) and have spent the last 18 months sorting overdrafts, loans, remortgages, school appeals, bailing out his company etc with zero interest or support from him. Additionally 2 of our 4 children are very challenging. My teenage son is aggressive and hits me whilst my husband stands by and watches, my daughter is sen also with severe bahavioral issues and her school and emotional health are another demand of my time. I am going thru a major depressive episode at the moment and exhausted. I just feel what is the point. Time and time again he doesnt step up. I feel disrespected and neglected

DIYapprentice Tue 30-Oct-12 08:59:40

Oh you poor thing. How awful for you. I just couldn't be with someone who wasn't there for the difficult times. It's easy to be there for good things, it is a sign of someone's worth how they deal with the difficult times. I think the Relate counsellor was a bit crap, TBH. So what if that was his way of coping - his way of coping was NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!! His way of coping was ALL ABOUT HIMSELF. Dealbreaker for me I'm afraid.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Tue 30-Oct-12 09:01:34

You are being disrespected and neglected. You are carrying him, as well as all of your own burdens and those of your children. The way he treats you is appalling, and your son has learned from him that you have no value and are there to be the family beast of burden. Your son's treatment of you is appalling too.

You ARE a person of value, mulranno, and you deserve better.

What are you getting out of this relationship?

CogitoEerilySpooky Tue 30-Oct-12 09:28:22

I would say 'yes' in answer to your question. Refusal to accept normal adult responsibilities means you effectively have an extra child to care for, not an equal partner. Of course not everyone can cope with difficulties and I'm sure all of us would like someone else to deal with it when life gets tough.... but that's an immature reaction that means others end up suffering, not the response of a mature man. How can he run a company on the one hand but refuse to get informed about family finances on the other?.... doesn't make sense.

You're being used and, from what you describe, it sounds as though he's almost enjoying your discomfort. Does he even like you?

CogitoEerilySpooky Tue 30-Oct-12 09:30:10

BTW.... is it actual depression (clinical illness) you're suffering from or just the natural emotional result of living in such a hostile environment with no help? Do you think you'd still suffer if you didn't have him in the picture?

mulranno Tue 30-Oct-12 10:00:56

Yes I have depression - which is so bad currently that I am on the maximum dose of anti -depressants and a tranquilliser and I still have extreme symptoms so my GP has just referred me to a psychiatrist. I am aware that I have behaved badly through my depression - my worst sympton is real range and anger and a short fuse. Most of the time I am in a very bad mood with no defined target for my anger and I have a very short fuse and flip at anything screaming in frustration at him. He is very mild mannered and has never raised his voice at me in his life.

CogitoEerilySpooky Tue 30-Oct-12 10:45:49

He can afford to be mild-mannered if he side-steps any kind of responsibility. It's a very relaxing way to live, letting someone else take all the punishment. Having said that, it's not easy living with someone with depression. What would happen if you simply took to your metaphorical bed, looked after yourself, and left him to get on with everything?

dequoisagitil Tue 30-Oct-12 10:53:23

But it's no wonder you have a lot of anger - you're basically handling everything with no emotional or practical support from the person who is supposed to be in it with you.

Anger seems a logical response. Depression seems a logical response.

mulranno Thu 01-Nov-12 18:39:45

Cogito -- the bed might not be metaphorical - I am so unwell that I moved out to a hotel for 2 nights this week as I am so stressed. Saw psychiatrist yesterday and have to come off my current ADs+tranq and go on new ones. This will make me a lot worse before I get better and will take 2 weeks. Back home now and just texted him to say can he take tomorrow off as I am not coping with 4 kids + their mates holed up indoors in the half term rain, whilst I withdraw from the ADs - answer a clear not possible. I just need to get myself better before I tackle anything else.

CogitoErgoSparklers Thu 01-Nov-12 18:57:05

Tell him to take a couple of weeks off rather than just a day. Set the stall out realistically.

LemonDrizzled Thu 01-Nov-12 19:53:58

mulranno I lived with a very intelligent man child who "never got angry" and was a king of Passive aggressive avoidance. He gradually turned me into an angry resentful harpie and I behaved horribly until I eventually walked out.
Two year on I am a calm relaxed and happy person while he still looks for someone to blame for all his woes and needs rescuing.

It's not you it is him! He needs to take responsibility for himself and feel some consequences. I second time out for your sanity. The teenagers will be fine. Mine learned to cook and operate a washing machine almost instantly I left!

Come over on the EA Support thread and read some links as it will help you understand why you feel you are going crazy!

FiveFlowers Thu 01-Nov-12 20:11:36

Definitely a deal breaker, no doubt about it.

I am so angry on your behalf that he stands by and watches your son abuse you.

Do you feel strong enough to leave him?

AlexanderS Thu 01-Nov-12 20:18:03

"My teenage son is aggressive and hits me whilst my husband stands by and watches" - all of your post was worrying but this bothered me most of all. If he can't even look out for you when you're being physically attacked it's no good, no good at all. Tell him to take a couple of weeks off work whilst you change your meds as Cognito suggested, and then I think you should insist on a trial separation (but don't tell him this is what you're planning, otherwise he might leave straight away!). I don't think you can make a decision about whether or not to leave him (though I think that's got to be a real possibility) when you are so ill. You need to get to a better place first, which I don't see how you can do with him in the house. Once you've changed your meds you also need prioritise finding a way to cope with your son. Nobody has the right to be physically aggressive towards you, don't put up with it for a second longer.

A book I thoroughly recommend for anybody suffering from depression is The Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon. He talks about how depression can manifest as rage, as it has in your case.

I wish you all the best OP. You've done really well to manage on your own all this time - I think I'd have gone stark raving crazy a long time ago if I was you.

comethasmybrokentelly Thu 01-Nov-12 20:26:50

watching while your teenage son hits you is a deal breaker

Baskets45 Fri 02-Nov-12 00:58:57

To answer your OP, mulrano, yes it can be. If he can't/won't change then it's going to remain hard for you, but I can see that separating might be far too daunting just now for you. You really need to get well again, and from what you've said you are a long way off total mental wellbeing. But to get well you need support as well as medication and medical care.

Briefly, a lot of what you have described has happened here too. I have had depressive episodes full of rage, mostly directed at him, and he is a very unaggressive person. He is also an 'avoider' I think, and lazy and disorganised. BUT he has improved in last few years. I had a major breakdown a couple of years ago, and realised I needed him on side (by this time I'd stopped being angry, no energy, and the anger was all turned in by then), and spoke to him about how we needed him to look after us. I'm still not well though much better, but ongoing mental and physical problems, and he IS trying now. I wish he could have done so 20 plus years ago. Sometimes it feels like it's too late and too little, but he is making an effort. I also had to explain that the anger was part of my illness, not a character flaw, and not his fault (well, not all the time anyway grin). I've noticed my DH spends much less time these days blaming other people for events that I, the observer, think is his responsibility. Things are far from ideal here, I'm still unsure we'll go the distance, but it is better. He reckons he has grown up at last (he is 65 ffs!). Also had the lack of support around major bereavements, and we have 4 DCs, 2 with SNs.

Re-needing more support over midterm, have you spelt out to him what you need? Have any of your drs or CPNs spoken to him? I know years ago when I had PND (baby is now 22, so a long time ago) it was my CPN that told him he needed to come straight home frm work and not stop in the pub on way home. Getting it from a 3rd party seemed to help comprehension! Also can you 'farm' your DCs and friends out to other households? Do other families know how unwell you are? Are getting enough outside help with your disabled DCs? I hope you can get some support because these circumstances cannot be helping you.

mulranno Fri 02-Nov-12 09:55:49

Basket45 you could be me - but you are still there. Are you waiting to get better and the 4dc to grow up?

Doing it alone doesnt intimadate me - my mother was widowed at 27 with 6 under 6 - and as the oldest I was involved in all of it (inappropriate I know, sorting mortgages and over drafts and attending parents evenings from the age of 8)

We have done Relate in the past and he has been very flippant here to, although I am always surprised when they challenge him - as he hasnt done anything wrong (because he hasnt done anything *at all*) - whereas I am the one who flies into mad frustrated angry rages with him.

The next time my son punches me I will call the police. Although I am aware that my current raging screaming depression (all directed at my husband - NOT my children) is seen and heard by them and has made our family dysfunctional which is why my son feels fit to punch me.

My h excuse for not intervening when my son punches me is that he is "weak" - I asked him last night how he had handled the most recent punching incident ie what were the consequences for my son what was the punishment. He said I spoke to him and got across what I needed to. ie there was no punishment or consequences. I heard this interaction. It consisted of him going into my sons room mumbling a sentance and then my son instantly shouting at him to go away which of course he duly did.

I have just seen a psychiatrist and changed all my meds as I have been in a bad state for over 4 years now. I think I will ultimately be diagnosed as bi-polar 2 - which is the hypomania - so "highs" are all around irritability and crazy productive work rate. So I think that he just cant keep up with me. As I will have sorted all of the decisions by staying up all night researching a problem and looking to put in place solutions etc.

mulranno Fri 02-Nov-12 10:50:38

Lemondrizzled - Come over on the EA Support thread and read some links as it will help you understand why you feel you are going crazy!
can you send me a link please.

mulranno Tue 19-Nov-13 17:54:32

Here I am again a year later....this time my oldest son now 15 punched me to the floor in my utility room - my husband came in dragged him off me and put him in the car to take him to football. I assumed that he would drop him off and come back to me. He stayed and cheered him on at football and didn't even call me. I was very distressed and upset and went to my sisters. He has not disciplined our son since (it has been two weeks). I feel this is the last straw. Is it my job to discipline our son? I want a divorce.

IamGluezilla Tue 19-Nov-13 18:15:34

I think the police should be waiting when he gets home. You've been assaulted in your own home.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Tue 19-Nov-13 18:33:11

Phone the police now. For your son's sake as well as yours. The more you allow your DH to normalize this behaviour the more likely your son is to end up in serious trouble with both the Police and other people. Your DH is empowering him and virtually saying it is OK. Get the Police to speak to your son and make it clear that next time the Police will be called and he will be arrested. If you cannot do it for yourself do it for your other DC. I wonder how he treats them in private? You have to protect them.

tribpot Tue 19-Nov-13 18:50:58

Your son's behaviour is only going to escalate whilst he has no-one at home setting boundaries for him. Report him to the police and give him a bloody great shock, he needs it.

Your depression is not what has made your family dysfunctional. That has been the complete failure of the person without mental health problems to step up and get a fucking grip.

You have to change this current situation. Is there anyone who could help take care of your children? How is your depression now?

cjel Tue 19-Nov-13 18:56:56

I haven't read all this thread but wanted to say that I had 30yrs if depression and then had counselling, stuck with marriage for another few years, started college and was starting to enjoy my life and he got a girlfriend. I left and haven't had panic attack or depression in the two years since I left. Have had house moves, divorce, deaths etc etc in that time and nothing sent me into depression, I'd advise counselling and planning a life without him in itx

mulranno Tue 19-Nov-13 19:11:03

He has assaulted one of my younger daughters in the past. I was on the way to the police two weeks ago after the most recent attack on me happened when I called a friend who is a GP - she suggested that I risked my son having a criminal record which would impact his future....so I did not report him then. I have pleaded with my husband to step up and discipline my son for this incident - he has still not done it. I am angry with my husband, I want him to leave - he refuses. I know that I now need to also do something about my son. I have thought about going to his school? or would they just report it anyway?

mulranno Tue 19-Nov-13 19:13:53

My depression is fine now...off all my meds since May.

cjel Tue 19-Nov-13 19:14:34

I would strongly suggest that you are doing your family a huge disservice by not reporting him, I can't believe that the'friend' recommended this, you should have been encouraged to report it. It is still not too late to report it now , I can't think what you expect your dh to do?

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