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I need to talk to someone normal about my husband.

(164 Posts)
FeelingLousyAgain Fri 11-Jan-13 20:28:33

Normal people over here please! grin (tongue in cheek)

I am in a bad place with my husband. Basic story: married 15 years, 2 dc aged 10 and 9. I have been, at various times in our marriage, in full time work, part time work, voluntary unpaid work and as a SAHM (the last two overlap). We spent the last three years with me re-training for a new career, and I qualified this year. I'm now working f / t (flexible hours). New job meant a move of house, so moved to a new area in my home county and the county that DH knows best. DH has long term clinical depression, but says it's fine and under contro lwithmeds at the moment.

So far so good (except the depression). Except that, since we moved and I started my new job, dh has been mostly v. emotionally distant - he says he feels 'numb'. He had a big depressive episode in Sept-Oct, and it was absolutely horrible. He talked then about leaving me. He withdrew a lot over Christmas and I got quite worried about him from a MN POV, and started thinking about whether his meds were enough etc.

On New Year's Day I mentioned that, now that we are living in a nice big house with a big garden, we might think about getting a dog. His response was that he didn't want to complicate our lives with a dog. I asked if he felt that life was too complicated, and he responded by saying that for weeks, he'd been thinking about whether he still wanted to be with me. He said 'We'll always have a good relationship, even if the marriage fails', and 'I don't want you to think that I haven't thought of the kids in all of this.' His reason that he gave was that he didn't feel as though he has a role in our relationship any more, he's seen how capqable I am and he doesn't feel needed.

I was really shocked as I had no idea that he'd think this - I had thought that the October episode was an abberation. I was really upset and cuoldn't sleep that night. Next day, I went back to bed for a bit to catch up on sleep and he came in, and we talked - he ended up saying that he is committed to our relationship.

Then last night something sparked another conversation - I am struggling with my workload and have been ill over the last few weeks. He started off by responding positively, but then started saying that my workload is affecting our relationship and I' dbetter sort it out soon, before there's no mariage left to save. (I work about 45 hours a week). I said that sounded like a threat and he didn't really respond.

I have access to counselling through my work, and last night dh agreed to counselling, so I emailed the counsellor today but I haven't heard back yet.

The reality of dh's feelings (or lack) has hit me hard, and I've felt v. down today. Dh got home from work, tookone look at me, said 'You're not right'. Aftre a bit of chat I told him how hurt and upset I am with him. He ate his dinner in silence then went to bed at 7.30pm. We had talked about having sex tonight. sad

Sorry it's so long. I just need to talk to someone who is normal and not me, or dh. My friends are all too far away (because we moved). What do I do? Dh has said I haven't done anything wrong. I'm more or less 100% sure that there isn't anyone else involved.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 12-Jan-13 08:35:52

"he didn't for one moment anticipate my response, or even consider that I might respond"

I think you're being far too charitable at all levels. This is an intelligent man that can cope with what must be a fairly responsible job. Of course he anticipated your response.

kittybiscuits Sat 12-Jan-13 08:38:17

Hi FeelingLousyAgain, you show a lot of care and concern about this man. You make a lot if allowances for his behaviour. Your posts leave me feeling really concerned for you - what about you? He is treating you really crappily and I don't feel you can depend on him at all. It feels very one-sided. Do not give up your job under any circs. I agree -it's time to start taking him at his word and acting accordingly. Depression is not an excuse for self-indulgent or emotionally abusive behaviour.

ErikNorseman Sat 12-Jan-13 08:48:36

I think this all sounds like far too much hard work. I think you and the children are all focused around placating the man of the house and if he wasn't around I expect you would all blossom. I think you have spent 15 years being secondary to your DH's illness, or nasty personality, or both, and you deserve a go at putting yourself first.

BettySuarez Sat 12-Jan-13 08:54:35

If we were tell you that you were being emotionally abused by your husband, that you were in an abusive marriage - what would you think?

It's weird seeing it written down isn't it and I imagine it's very hard to attribute that sentence to your situation.

But from what you have said (and we are only hearing the half of it), it's true.

Some partners use money to control their partners, others use threats of or actual physical violence.

Your husband is using his depression as a weapon to control you with. Everything you are feeling (fear, confusion, guilt, sadness) is what he wants you to feel.

As others have said, your husband is a very capable, articulate and clever man. He is playing you beautifully.

tribpot Sat 12-Jan-13 08:58:36

He said yesterday that I've been too down and that I need to cheer up, and that if I were happier, he'd be happier too.

Seriously, this is taking the piss coming from someone with depression! (Well, from anyone but particularly someone with depression).

On the one hand you seem to be able to rationalise that his words are not meant in the way a 'normal' person would mean them, that there is no intention to hurt and whatever, and on the other, you are taking them seriously as if they were meant in the same way as a 'normal' person. I think this is because you've been conditioned to expect it both ways - absorb the criticism and the hurt but then to absorb the 'excuse' that the words weren't meant to criticise and hurt.

I entirely agree with the others - it does not sound like his depression is well-controlled, and I think you may need to tell him that and insist on going to his next few appointments. Beyond that, though, it really does read as if he is manipulating this situation - and you - and you still have the right to expect to live with loving kindness, even if circumstance puts some limits on that.

madonnawhore Sat 12-Jan-13 09:02:48

What Eriknorseman said.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Sat 12-Jan-13 09:06:18

I don't know what to make of this.

One the one hand my own dh has depression and until it was diagnosed and treated he would look for things to blame for his feelings. So he would blame his job or our relationship etc which it sounded at first to be what your husband is doing.

On the other hand he does sound very manipulative and have a low opinion of how you deserve to be treated (with his saying he doesn't hit you or sleep around but still talks to you like shit).

Have you thought about taking control? At the moment he is the one who threatens to leave but have you thought about saying that you agree, that he doesn't treat you well enough, talks to you like shit, is horrible for the kids to be around etc.

My guess is that he would back track but i would then use that opportunity to set some ground rules, such as you will consider continuing with your marriage only if he goes for counselling or sees a psychiatrist asap etc for his depression and that his attitude and treatment and you and the children changes.

yuleheart Sat 12-Jan-13 09:09:01

I understand how this is hard for you and you are keeping the family together while persuing your career and raising your family.

My husband suffers from chemical depression. In all the years we have been together he has had three really bad episodes.

The first time several years ago we did not realise it was depression, he did not go to the doctor but 'ran away' for days at a time to 'sort his head out'. He verbally lashed out at everybody and was not pleasant to know. He would be angry at me for being 'calm' and 'strong' and able to deal with everything.

The second time it happened I insisted he go to the doctors, his appointments were always longer than ten minutes and we were given emergency intervention numbers and a number to ring for councelling. He took the meds but didn't go for councelling as he wouldn't admit he had a genuine MH problem. As soon as he started feeling 'better' he stopped the meds.

The last episode was Sept-Nov 2012, it hit him hard. I went to the doctors with him, he was prescribed a different AD and meds to control the panic attacks. He saw the doctor every week for four weeks then started CBT. I attended his first session of CBT with him.

He says that depression makes him numb to others peoples feelings and all he can think of is how he feel and how situations affect him. He know he is not pleasant to be around when the depression hits.

He has admitted to himself that he has a MH problem and that he will be on meds for life.

What the councelling has unearthed is some issues going back to childhood and his relationship with his mother and sister.
He has been told how to think through these problems and move on from them. CBT has given him the tools to 'organise' his mind and set issues out in 'steps' to deal with them.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, maybe there is more to his depression that he isn't discussing with you, what would his reaction be if you said you wanted to attend a GP appointment with him?

I have depression and anxiety. I constantly try to make sure it doesn't affect my family and do everything I can to manage it. That includes regular trips to the GP, counselling, not drinking, getting enough sleep and reassuring and explaining my condition to my loved ones so they understand why I am low sometimes. Never ever have I threatened to leave DH, caused my DC to doubt my love for them or BLAMED them for my feelings.
Your husband is playing you like a fiddle OP, sorry hmm

fuckadoodlepoopoo Sat 12-Jan-13 09:54:14

Katie. Im not sure that's fair. As i said my dh would look for things to blame his crappy feelings on and that would often be our relationship as well as other things. He was trying to make sense of it and explain it to himself. From what I've heard thats pretty common.

You can't say Well it doesn't affect me like that so it shouldn't anyone else!

(wonders how many hundreds of times I've said that or similar on mn, and also wonders why no one can seem to see beyond their own experiences! Open your minds!)

I'm 10 years in. He needs to take responsibility for himself, after all he is a rational, productive, intelligent person. Why is it beyond his ability?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 12-Jan-13 10:00:46

@fuckadoodlepoopoo... Other people are entitled to judge a situation by their own experience the same way you're doing. If your DH is blaming his crappy feelings on your relationship it could very well be that you are being exploited and manipulated in the same way as the OP seems to be. Open your mind, perhaps?

fuckadoodlepoopoo Sat 12-Jan-13 10:13:31

Katie. Because everyone is different and he's not you.

Cog. My dh is better now. He got treatment once he was persuaded that the problem wasn't his job, his hobby, me or xyz which he completely believed at the time, and to go to the doctor. That's the nature of mental illness, you don't always know what the truth is. He is fine now that he's on medication and realised very soon after that it was his mood (and the imbalance in his brain) causing the feelings nothing else.

The attitude on mn so much of Well i didn't get xyz whilst suffering from abc so that means no one else should and if they do then they are lying, abusive a twat etc is ridiculous, ignorant and shortsighted.

I don't know what's going on with the bloke in the op. I half think its his illness and i half think he's being manipulative but i keep an open mind and don't dismiss one completely or declare it must be the other because of my own narrow experiences. That's not helpful to anyone and just serves to spread stereotypes and bull.

Spero Sat 12-Jan-13 10:23:55

i shuddered when I read that he told you he doesn't sleep around and he doesn't hit you. that is exactly what I was told. Therefore, what these men mean is they can be as nasty as they like as long as they don't physically attack us or put their penis in another woman.

and we are supposed to be grateful for this?

He needs to get some proper help for whatever condition he has, otherwise it is going to be hard to unpick why he is so unpleasant.

trustissues75 Sat 12-Jan-13 10:36:46

There are a lot if different opinions on here about depression and how it affects people...perhaps because there are as many variations to depression'effects as there are sufferers?

I think the suggestions of examining how this man is when not depressed May help to give you answers. Additionally calling his bluff and then using his backtracking as an opportunity to set some firm boundaries and conditions is a good suggestion. What's making you stay right now? Uncertainty over whether this is his illness or his general character or a mixture of both? My guess is at least partly yes which is understandable. Its quite an unpleasant no-man's-land to be in isn't it? Its not healthy for you or your family and as others have suggested you need to take control because he either can't or won't....you'll soon find out which it is when he's faced with an ultimatum and then you can all move forward one way or another.

Look after yourself very, very well.

FeelingLousyAgain Sat 12-Jan-13 14:06:28

Thanks, everyone. I know that depression is a horrible thing, and I honestly have been, and am being, as supportive and allowance-making as I can (although in Oct DH said that I wasn't making any allowances at all for his depression).

I've put his behaviour down to three poss causes; it may be a mixture of the three, there may be more:

1. Depression.
2. He doesn't see me as a real person.
3. He wants out.

At the moment he's barely speaking to me, so we gave some way to go before we can start to address this together. As for what's keeping me here....lots of things. Love, wedding vows, the dc... I am going out on my own this afternoon for a bit of thinking time. Thank you everyone for your perspectives smile

badinage Sat 12-Jan-13 14:12:26

The thing about any health issue, whether it's depression, bi-polar disorder or a broken leg is that it's never a stand-alone thing. Personality counts too. So if someone's a manipulative, entitled tosser then chances are what ever ails that person is likely to make them worse or to use it as a get-out-of-jail free card for atrocious fucknuggetry. Whereas someone who's a good sort who doesn't think the world revolves around them is more likely to manage their own health and minimise the effect on others where possible.

People who have a personality disorder or are just chronically selfish sometimes get depression, just as much as 'nice' folks. How the illness manifests itself in terms of its impact on others is often more down to existing personality traits than the severity of the depressive illness itself.

What bad said

FeelingLousyAgain Fri 18-Jan-13 09:21:11

Hello all, I thought I'd update. I went to see a good friend at the weekend and talked it all out, which really helped. I've also seen the counsellor, who sad I'm in a 'very complex situation' and, tbh, seemed quite concerned about me. She has referred me and dh to another counsellor, but she said that if the counselilng doesn't work out for any reason, I should get straight back to her, and if I wanted or needed to, I could ring her any time and come and see her as well. Talking to the counsellor was a bit lke ripping the scab off a sore. sad

In the meantime, dh seems, weirdly, much happier. How does that work? confused He said he feels that 'we are on the same page now.' I didn't know wt to say when he said that, it just seemed so bizarrely misunderstanding me. My fear is that he thinks everything's sorted now, and that he'll convince the counsellor that he's fine, and that any problems are mine. I keep remembering moments of our marriage when he has hurt me, and it's horrible. So I understand why you're thinking 'why are you still together?', but I am committed to this relationship - I am the type to take wedding vows very seriously and keep them in so far as it's within my power to do so- so I'm going to go into the counselling in the hope that things will genuinely change. But I'm prepared that they might not. Thank you all for posting last week. smile

AnyFucker Germany Fri 18-Jan-13 12:54:35

You are doing joint counselling ?

Big mistake

FeelingLousyAgain Fri 18-Jan-13 14:14:20

Why, AF?

AnyFucker Germany Fri 18-Jan-13 15:36:33

You said it yourself in your last post

arequipa Fri 18-Jan-13 18:01:43

I feel sad for him. His withdrawal seems to be because he thinks he isn't important to you and DCs any more. If you withdraw too it will exacerbate the problem. Depression makes people lose faith in themselves and their relationships. I think its the depression talking when he is cold to you, try to see beyond it. If he will let you in, underneath he is blaming himself. When he blames you he is just hitting out in pain and confusion. Saying he wants out is just because he feels so low he cant think of anywhere to go with. It can be turned around. Medication's a temporary fix but L/T solutions require changing the habit of negative thinkingvand behaviour. Would he read a CBT book? The Mindful Way through Depression by Mark Williams is v useful. You can afford therapy so will he look at MBCB therapy options with your support? Keep reassuring him that you dont want to lose him, dont give up.

FeelingLousyAgain Fri 18-Jan-13 18:49:26

See what you mean, AF.

Arequipa, someone recommended that 'Mindul Way' book a few years ago, but dh didn't read it. He desn't think of himself as having MH problems; he knows he has to take his ADs, and he knows that he gets anxious, withdrawn etc if he doesn't, but so far he hasn't seen the need for any serious work on his MH.

I am starting to think that I need to have counselling on my own. The thing is, I think I've just hit the point where I've been hurt so much by him and for so long, on and off, and I don't know if I have just reached my limit. I am a strong person, have a strong sense of commitment etc, but I'm a human being too.

Something happened today that shhok me again - basically there was a fine that he didn't pay- it was silly of him to get it in the first place but that's another story - and just before Christmas he got a letter threatening him with court actoin if he didn't pay. I was a bit shock and deliberately kept it on an otherwise clear kitchen work surface so that every time he came into the kitchen he'd see it, but he kept ignoring it, and I tried so hard not to say anyhting but eventually I said 'you must pay this, you know', and he snatched the letter out of my hand and said 'I'm sorting it' and stormed off (I'm not exaggerating / reading into this more than was said / done.) Anyway I was a bit worried that he wouldn't sort it, and true enough, today, another letter came, thankfully not with a court date but 'pay up within 72 hours.' Things like this don't happen all the time, but often enough to make me feel very insecure. I phoned and paid the fine for him this afternoon. It's not that we couldn't afford it - the money was in hte accout all the time - he just didn't do it. Is this a depression symptom, to ignore things like this, even after a court threat? It makes me wonder what else I don't know about, or what's comng next. Am I OTT to be upset by it?

gettingagrip Fri 18-Jan-13 19:15:41

Why did you pay the fine?

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