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I need to talk to someone normal about my husband.(164 Posts)
Normal people over here please! (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.
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.
Does he feel threatened by your job/career? I mean really threatened - not just that your capable, but that you're 'better' than him? Does he work?
Does he need to go back to the doctor to get his medication adjusted?
Yes, NannyOgg, I think he does feel threatened. He earns more than I do, but I am more 'lettered' tan he is (although he is very well qualified for his job). He comes from a v. traditionalist patriarchal family, in which women's jobs are for pin money, so me doing a proper job is huge leap - and he has reacted v. badly.
I'm not sure about the neds - he says he's not depressed - but ten he says he feels numb emotionally. He said the other day that he can't predict the effect his words would have on me, becaues he doesn't feel upset himself. That can't be okay, can it? I have trodden v. softly-softly wrt his depression, not pushed him to go to the doctor or anything.
Ok. I don't know if I count as normal... Hopefully the counselling will come through shortly. This will be an excellent opportunity to unpack your feelings. Sounds a little bit to me like your dh may be thinking your relationship is the problem, when the depression is the problem. You seem to be being blamed somehow for stuff...I might have got this wrong. Other, more 'normal' people will be along shortly.
Parsley, I was kind of kidding about 'normal' people! I just meant someone who is not me, or dh. Our little world seems to be so weird and convuluted.
I know...I was going to put the grin symbol in, but did not want to be flippant! My STBXH was always very troubled that I was better qualified than him...would your dh consider counselling?
Yes, he has agreed (and I've emailed the counsellor today). On new Year's dAy he said yes to counselling, then the next day he said no, now he's said yes again. I hope he would actually come. If not, I'll go on my own.
In the absence of anything else and I'd interpret 'not feeling needed' as being the root of the problem. However, rather than it being him that wasn't needed, I think he's telling you that he feels neglected now that you're qualified, working and not there all the time. What follows is a type of attention-seeking if you like. It could be that his depression isn't as under control as you think. It could even be that he has relied upon his ill-health keeping you close in the past and is disorientated now it isn't working
Yes, dh said that the 'not feeling needed' was the root problem. Thing is, I try really hard to balance my life so that I spend good quality time with him and the dc. I'm not out socialising every night. I'm really not a workaholic (I know a few and I am definitely not one of them!)
Whenever I've seen threads like these where the husband is unhappy but blaming his partner for his unhappiness and putting the onus on her to do all the changing and fixing; 9 times out of 10 there's an OW somewhere in the background.
My guess is that he's been feeling depressed, has had his head turned by some ego-stroking distraction in the shape of OW and is now trying to make you the bad guy. Because if you're the bad guy, he can more easily give himself permission to carry on.
Just a hunch I have. But if I were you I'd do some snooping.
Speaking from experience I'm guessing his depression is in fact NOT under control, he is unwell and is projecting on to you and making you the problem.
Your new job is just a convenient excuse.
You are literally providing him with everything, a loving, stable family, a nice home and from the sounds of it, minimal money worries yet he is still unhappy?
You are relying on him to tell you whether he is ill or not but maybe he doesn't recognise all of his symptoms?
I'm wondering if he is bipolar?
Either way, I think you need to put to one side what he is saying, ask yourself a question, how much more of this can YOU cope with? The hot and cold behaviour, unfair accusations of ruining your marriage? It must be like walking on egg shells.
Either he is more ill than even he realises or he has decided he doesn't want his marriage.
The question is, what do YOU want?
Oh, bloody hell, starting to feel sniffly....
Madonna, you're right in 90% of cases. I'm not just head in sand here, I honestly don't think my dh is in that 90%. He is a very good person.
Bubblegum, I thikn you might be nearer the mark. Over Christmas I was rsearching bipolar on the internet to see if Dh matches the symptoms.
As for how much I can cope with....no idea. The dc love him (although he does blow v. hot and cold with them, tells them off v. easily, things get blown up out of all proportion nad it's usually me who restores peace by mediating between dh and the dc, comforting the dc, assuring them of daddy's love etc). So it'd devastate the dc if we split. I would fight tooth and nail to give them a secure upbringing, and, tbh, their needs trump mine as they are younger and therefore more vulnerable. I do love dh - he is just very, very diffcult to live with.
I have thought about Helena Bonham Carter and hre husband who live in adjoining houses - I've wondered if we'd get on better if we weren't living together. But DH said last night that he couldn't cope with living alone.
I'm sure you balance your life quite well. If he had zero history of depression I would say he was simply trying to pressurise you into giving up your new career & going back to looking after him. Emotional blackmail. And, even though he actually does have depression, I think that's rather what's going on...
Well I'd love to be wrong about that so I'll take you word for it. You know him best.
I do agree with bubblegum though. There's an awful lot of focusing on what he wants and what he might do. He's pretty much put his cards on the table hasn't he? So time to start focusing on what you want and what you're going to do.
Sorry but he sounds pretty self obsessed. I completely agree with Cogito. As usual.
Yes Cogito, I know that one way out of this would be for me to give up my job. We are in a relatively okay financial position, so we could afford for to go back to being a SAHM. But...I love my work, and I've just spent three years working really hard to qualify. I know that none of my male colleagues would ever find themselves in tis situation, so it feels pretty shitty from a feminist POV.
And tbh, I think that if I did give in my job, it wouldn't make everything okay as I'd have huge issues about it. Sigh....
Counselling together is always worth a go, or on your own if you have to. Just a point though, sometimes dh's go with no real intention of sorting the relationship out, just to say that they have 'tried'. I am a bit cynical, because of my own experience, but maybe worth managing your expectations. I hope it works out for you.
I think he sounds terribly, terribly insecure - for a while there he was the man with the earning power and the good job and probably the "head of the family" feeling that he saw his father have. And now it's all been turned on its head - new location, new house, wife with the earning power and the interesting, demanding job, and he may well have been left wondering whether he's still loved and valued and needed. And your DCs are the sort of age where they get that much more independant - that may have compounded it all.
I think counselling will be invaluable.
I do understand but if your DH moods are unstable then your children won't be happy anyway. Mental health problems have a profound effect on young children who often blame themselves for their parents erratic behaviour.
If you can afford it I would suggest taking him to a private physchiatrist. It's about £280 for the initial consultation, pricey but worth it, the NHS takes too long and they usually get it wrong anyway.
He will be diagnosed there and then and will offer you choices in how to manage the problem.
You will need follow ups, they are £160 for each half hour consultation which he will need fairly regularly until he is stable.
These prices are approximate, it differs from area to area, BMI are very good and your local private hospital should offer this service, you can google it.
If you can't afford those prices you can take out a health insurance policy with AVIVA, it's about £50 pm but they cover these appointments, they have a specialist phsychiactric dept.
I think you need to get to the root of your DH depression as you can't progress until it's under control.
While he is ill he won't see the wood for the trees so to speak, this needs to be dealt with if you want any chance of a happy marriage.
He still needs to discuss this with his GP as he needs a referal and hopefully your GP can offer him some CBT to help develop coping startegies and to help him recognise the start of his spiral.
I would also do a self referal to MIND, there should be one in your area. He meet other people with mental health problems, they can support him and he may not feel so isolated.
Hope this is helpful. x
I understand that, Hassled, I really do.
The immediate problem is this: he went to bed at 7.30pm after eating dinne in silence. Both dc are away this weekend. How do I cope with being with him in the meantime, until we can (hopefully) get sorted? Walking on eggsheels is exactly the thing - how do I do this? I really don't know how to go on. I'd love to sod off somewhere for the weeend on my own, but I have a commitment on Sunday that I can't renege on.
From what you have said I think your h is definitely the most important person in his life and if everyone isnt dancing to his tune will throw a tantrum.
He is right about one thing - you havent done anything wrong. Why dont you try just ignoring (pandering?) to his moods and trying to please him and just get on with your day to day stuff. You need to break the pattern.
Thank you, Bubblegum. We have BUPA cover through his work - I wonder if that covers MH conditions.
I feel a bit at the treatment he's had from doctors over he years, tbh - he has always been in and out of appointments in under 5 mins with a prescription for citalopram - he's never been offered anything else (CBT etc). He's said to me that he knows the right 'buzz words' to use to get a prescription (like when we moved here). I know that the NHS is cash-strapped, but he has een reated minimally over the years. The thing is, he thinks he's okay from a MH POV. He thinks I'm the problem. Again, I don't know how to broach this without him getting very withdrawn and moody / exploding. No-one else in RL knows he's on ADs, although one of his previous bosses, and another colleague both said that he lacks self-awareness and perspective.
Im sorry you're going through this...all that hard work and personal success and all he can do is complain about his needs not being met and his needs"manhood" being threatened. The depression May well be a strong factor in this but to me it sounds just like a pike of controlling bs. My immediate reaction was that he needs to bloody well grow up and get over himself.
I hope the counselling gives you both an opportunity to work through this.
I don't think anyone is suggesting that you should give up your job. It just appears that he is trying to manipulate you into doing so...
I agree Hassled and it is terribly terribly destructive isnt it ?. A secure man would just be so proud of his wifes achievement in this situation. It is very sad that he cant feel like that instead - for both him and the OP.
weak Thank you, Trustissues!
He sounds many things. Depressed, resentful, a bit passive-aggressive. So hard to deal with all of those things.
I was married to a man who felt threatened by me (I had a "better" degree) and it was a pain to be honest.
Counselling for you will help, I'm sure. And I suppose using all those "I" phrases. I feel... I get the impression that ...when you talk to him.
Whatever you do, don't give up your job.
If he tells the doctor he's okay, the doctor will believe him.
It took me four years to realise that it's for my benefit, and I need to be honest. And to be fair, a lot of the time I need DP to come and make sure I am honest, or tell the doctor for me...
Is that an option?
No, Nfk, I know it'd be stupid to give up my job. I am pretty good at it and I really enjoy it.
My whole feeling about my life has changed over this last week or so, though. I've never felt this insecure.
Telling you that he doesn't know if he wants to be with you any more but couldn't cope by himself is pretty manipulative. It sounds like he wants to drag you down and ruin your pleasure in your exciting new job.
But it may be just the depression talking - what was he like before this? Did he treat you like a fellow human being, or were his needs always more important than yours?
You are feeling insecure because your husband is a cock. He's had you on a string for 15 years - every time you do anything that conflicts with any of his whims he'll have a lickle tantrum and trot off to the doctor, have a sulk or start hinting that he might leave - anything to get your attention back on him.
Call his bluff and the next time he says he's not happy in the relationship, tell him to pack a bag and fuck off. The DC will miss him less than you imagine, as you say he 'blows hot and cold with them' ie manipulates them and demands all their attention, as well.
I don't know, Caja. I thikn that Dh thinks he's more capable than he is, and he'd see a trip to the doctors as another task to tick off in his day. He'd be in 'capable mode' and wouldn't see the point in me tagging aolng. I think it'd take quite a bit of self-reflection to bring him to that point.
The big depressive episode in Sept / Oct happened because he came off his citalopram cold turkey, with no medical help. We'd just moved, and he thought 'new move, new start'. He became so aggressive and paranoid and scary. It took me a while to recover emotionally - maybe that's why this has knocked me so much, because I had just about recovered from that...
OP you have mentioned a couple of times in your posts that you feel as if you are 'walking on eggshells'
Could it be possible that this is exactly how he wants you to feel? He is trying to make you feel guilty about something.
It sounds very manipulative
You are definitely bring made to dance to his tune and I agree with others about the emotional blackmail problem
And bupa do cover MH although it may be restricted slightly
Mooncup - oh, blimey. When I first met him, looking back now, I'd say he was v. depressed - but back thenI thought he was cool and 'emo' (not that the word existed then!)
He had a terribly dark time when the dc were little - I had to keep my head above water, emotionally, for the dcs' sake. Then he went on to ADs, which made a huge difference. I have thought to myself many times over the year though, that if I talked to him the way he talked me to me, the narriage wuold have been over years ago. He wouoldn't put up with it. I even said this to him once, and he agreed. He has apologised various times for being a crap husband. Other times he's said 'Well I don't sleep around and I don't hit you...' i envy other people their happy marriages, and wish I had that. I know the grass is always greener etc, but you know...
I'm in the 'your husband is a cock' camp.
He's jealous of you.
Hugely passive-aggressive and attention-seeking.
I'd call his bluff and say you don't want to stay with someone who is this unsure about his feelings for you and that you need some space away from him.
A couple of things here really resonate with me.
I felt "numb" on and for some time after being on ADs too. That seems somehow to be part of what they do, at least for some people. They numb the good bits and the bad bits and leave you out of touch with your emotions. Of course, you don't realise at the time - you just think you genuinely don't care that much about anything. Having said that, I didn't start telling my partner he "wasn't right" - I think if your response to feeling numb is to push someone else's emotional buttons instead, that's a feature of character rather than illness. Just my opinion
I also felt useless and pointless when my partner was shouldering a lot of the financial and practical burden - even though I don't have a strong desire to be major breadwinner or (obviously) any of the traditional roles baggage that some men have. I just wanted to contribute, and the stronger DP was and the broader his shoulders, the more redundant I felt. Totally unreasonable, but there it was.
I became all the more focussed on myself because there wasn't much else I was required to think about, and that was the worst thing I could have done. I can see how in that scenario, if all stresses and strains are removed from your life and you STILL aren't 100% happy, you start looking around for things to change. Ie "Something has to change, splitting up is a change, therefore I should do it". If he has come off ADs suddenly then that's potentially even worse, because presumably he'll have been hoping that they'll have left him in some sense "cured" to enjoy the new start.
The others might be right and he might just be being a self-absorbed manipulative knobber who's jealous of your success. But if his depression is like mine, maybe not. It is very silly to come off Citalopram suddenly and unsupervised.
Either way, if you can sod off, even for the day tomorrow, I think I would if I were you. It takes a lot of strength to deal with someone in this state and you sound so down.
if I talked to him the way he talked me to me, the narriage wuold have been over years ago.
Hmm, your last post has moved me slightly closer to the "your husband is a cock" camp...
Thanks, MadBusLady. No, sorry, I wasn't clear. What happened was this: in Oct, something v. minor happened (someone bashed into him with their trolle in the supermarket) and he exploded. He was off ADs at the time. I suggested gently that maybe he wasn't okay MH-wise.
He took to his bed and talked about leaving me. By the end of that afternoon, I'd got him to agree to go back to the doctor and go back on ADs. He did the next day (in and out in 5 mins), and he's been on Citalopram since then. He coped badly with the cold turkey - he had the brain zaps and shakes. Not good. But he's been on citalopram since mid-Oct.
"Other times he's said 'Well I don't sleep around and I don't hit you.'"
He sets himself quite low standards as a husband, doesn't he... while setting quite high standards for you as a wife.
Oh, I see. In that case I think everything I said about numbness applies even more.
It does sound like this is a pretty fixed facet of him though. I do think chronic depression of this sort where the person is basically still functioning, working, parenting etc is manageable. But you've really got to want to manage it (and be willing to work to get to a stage where you're capable of "wanting" anything).
Yes, MadBusLady, dh does well in his job, has been promoted several times, and says that he has a good reputation in his workplace. I think, tbh, tat he feels in control at work and therefore it's good for his self-esteem. He doesn't feel as much in control at home, so he feels down at home / finds it stressful at home / dreams about leaving.
It is quite possible to be deeply depressed without realising it, and you OH needs start believing that he is currently depressed. It sounds as if his AD had stopped working (this sometimes happens longterm) or his own physiology has changed, perhaps with anno domini! He needs to work with his GP (or psych if he has one) to find the AD that works for him.
If after trying 2 more differnt ones with no improvemnt, then trying looking elsewhere for the problem.
Bear in mind that depression and being an arsehole can be two separate things. He sounds remarkably selfish and entitled - depressed or not, he considers himself The Man and therefore the only person in the family who actually matters.
I am very normal and I don't like the sound of your husband
He sounds completely self centred and not a particularly good father
My eldest child is 17 and not once have I ever had to reassure her of her father's love for her
Actions are all in my world
Look at your husband's actions
He isn't sure he wants you...why stay with him
Take him at his word....I would never hang around someone who isn't sure he wants me
Get counselling for you.
Tell him that he should go back to gp and psych and talk to someone. He needs to manage his depression he needs to own it and take your word for it when it affecting you negatively. But if he doesn't have or refuses to have insight then you need to be very clear what your boundaries are.
Get some time out away from him.
Review your options.
Incidentally ,y exp with depression etc etc used to say things like f I didn't change my attitude to him he would leave... Funnily enough when I said please leave he refused t do so.
Next time he wants out pack his bags and send him somewhere else . Then view it all from a distance .
No one copes well with cold turkey from ADs. It is my huge bugbear that GPs don't make it VERY VERY CLEAR not to go cold turkey. ADs are powerful meds that fiddle around with brain chemistry: stop them suddenly and the fallout can be absolutely horrific. I know of too many people who have killed themselves entirely because they stopped AD meds suddenly.
Got that out of the way! I'm not liking the sound of your husband, I'm afraid. Depressed or not, comments like 'Well I don't sleep around and I don't hit you...' were the type of thing my terrifyingly controlling XH said to me. I also have a friend whose husband has/had severe OCD and the entire family suffered terribly because of it. My friend has decided (after 10 horrible years of unbelievable abuse) that she's had enough and she's turfed him out. Guess what, his symptoms have vanished and have stayed vanished for 2 years. I have no doubt at all that he is bona fide OCD on some level but something else is going on...
Same with your husband imo. You sound like you may be an enabler and, if his problem were drugs or drink, your enabling behaviour may be more clear to you. YOu're tip-toeing around and shielding the children because of the big depression bogey yet counselling is a foreign concept to him - I am amazed at this.
this isn't hanging together imo.
I think you need to ask him again what is wrong and listen. That sounds harsh but isn't meant too. What I mean is if he is saying the relationship is the problem and he feels numb or may not want to continue then listen to that and believe him. It sounds like every reason for his behaviour has been listed ie depression, insecure, your hours but not what he has actually said. Maybe he REALLY does want to end the relationship, but doesn't want to hurt you or the Dcs in any way. Telling someone it's over is never going to be easy and it sounds as though heviscgivibg you prior warning but is scared himself of the outcome. While the children are away I would check out again how he feels and if he says numb, doesn't know then you need to start accepting it as the truth. Nothing's to say the counselling won't work and you'll come through it together but maybe if he moved out the space would let him think clearly of this is really what he wants. Good luck.
Thank you, everyone. I realise that I'm feeling very, very hurt, and I'm angry at dh for hurting me. I'm angry at him not stepping up to the mark and supporting me through these first months of a new career.
One thing: I don't think that dh had any idea that his words would affect me. When he was saying 'I'm not sure if I still want to be with you', he was just talking about how he feels - he didn't for one moment anticipate my response, or even consider that I might respond. I think he feels cross at me for being hurt. 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. But how can I be happy when he's just told me that he doesn't want to be with me? What do you make of this? I am genuinely
Springy, I know that going cold turkey off ADs is a dangerous thing to do. I tried to talk him out of it. I read up on all the effects. I was the one who explained brain zaps to him.
Damash - maybe you're right, maybe he does just want out, regardless of depression etc. Sigh.
I'm getting some work done htis morning - work is a good distraction! Maybe I will become a workaholic after all! (tongue in cheek!)
"We'd just moved, and he thought 'new move, new start'"
As a 'normal' person, that looks to me more like he deliberately made his health deteriorate so that you had no choice but to take notice of him. I'm making a harsh accusation.... someone who is manipulating their illness for their own benefit...... but that's how it looks.
I don't think he wants out at all. I think he's trying to make you feel so guilty and responsible for him that you stay out of obligation and fear. You, therefore, have to agree with his idea to end the marriage.... go along with it and take it seriously. Take him on face value
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
@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?
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
In the meantime, dh seems, weirdly, much happier. How does that work? 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.
You are doing joint counselling ?
You said it yourself in your last post
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.
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 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?
No you aren't. Having MH problems does not mean that someone isn't a manipulative prick.
His behaviour is very controlling- you have to dance to his tune, modify your behaviour, shoulder the responsibility he can't be bothered with. Living with depression isn't about hiding away from the world and expecting someone else to do the grunt work for you.
He sounds as if he is jealous and insecure. Both of which are issues that HE will have to address. Your post about him telling you that you have to be more cheerful because it's affecting his mood, is very telling. You are not responsible for his mood, he is.
I also take my wedding vows seriously, but bear in mind that he also made vows to you. Is he respecting and cherishing you? Telling your partner in a speculative fashion that you might not want to stay with them anymore, then being pissy when they respond by being upset is hardly the stuff marriage vows are made of.
What about the effect of his MH issues on the family? By refusing to speak any further to the GP and refusing to acknowledge that there is a MH issue, he is being exceptionally selfish. All the while dangling you on a string and making you feel as if you are responsible- if only you were more understanding/supportive/cheerful.
I have had problems with severe depression in the past so I am not trash talking MH issues. But being mentally ill doesn't mean that someone isn't a wanker...
Hello again, thank you everyone who posted earlier this month. I truly appreciate your taking the time to post!
So, DH and I have more or less decided to split. Now that we are here, DH is being lovely and sensitive and saying (I'm sure he really means it) that he wants to split in as amicable way as possible. I think now that the depression wasn't / isn't the root issue, but probably made / makes things worse - the root issue is that we have both changed so much since we got married, and have grown into people who really aren't compatible in some major areas of our lives. This has been / is very hard to face up to, but we both think it's true, and we've had some very honest, long conversations about what's gone wrong etc. We both feel that if we split now, we can stay on good terms, but if we stay together, we'll end up hating each other.
I had a week of absolute hell when I just cried so much and mourned. I'm feeling a bit stronger now, but still very vulnerable and slightly caved-in inside. I also think that in a practical sense, the reality of it has yet to hit, I think - he's not moved out yet, and in the meantime we are being very gentle with each other. I'm taking each day at a time, but the support of MN is very helpful. So thank you!
FeelingBetterNow (you see what I did there - you've got to change your name!) - good to hear things are being resolved. It's still going to hurt, and even though you're parting, he'll still have plenty of opportunity to continue the manipulation. I've been reading a lot lately about the emotional abuse both present and EX-husbands put their wives through, and I guess all I'm saying is combination of keep treating yourself well and staying alert.
I will read your thread in more depth later. I wanted to pile in before doing so. I have severe clinical depression and am far from unsympathetic to sufferers, or to people close to them. But I am very cross with your husband - he's giving the rest of us a bad name!
He says he couldn't cope with living alone. And he can't cope with living with you. So what's he telling you, he wants to live with someone else or he wants you (and the kids) to radically change to suit him?
Fuck him. Either way.
I do agree that counselling on you own may be very helpful. I'm sorry you feel so isolated with this confusing problem; fortunately, we can hire counsellors to be very wise company.
Oh, gawd, things moved on while I wasn't looking I am sorry!
The bottom line is, that if the boot were on the other foot and he was the one with the huge workload - would he expect you to be 100% supportive? I expect he would.
I assume he has an inner model where he sees women as inferior and defines himself as "not a woman" therefore you being more qualified and earning more has completely thrown his view of himself. He has no way of defining his role in life now he has become the secondary breadwinner - I assume this would be the root of his depression?
He will need to completely revise his world view, including how he values himself. If he sticks to his mental model of men being defined as "not a woman" then he can't ever get over this issue. He will need to rethink his own inner values.
The problem isn't what you are or do, it is how he views it in relation to himself.
He is basically wanting a woman who is lower than him in status and earning potential, this is why he thinks he can't remain married to you - I suppose he thinks it will be easier to put you back down below him than for him to acknowledge that the male/female gender construct he holds in his head is damaging your relationship. the next option for him is to ditch you and get a lower status spouse.
Both these options mean he doesn't have to challenge or deal with his inner mental model of the world.
I earn far more than DH - he is quite happy with that, I am also better qualified, he is happy with that, we take the view that if someone is best at something they should do it, regardless of whether it is supposedly "male" or "female" to do so.
DH cooks and irons and does woodwork.
I do household wiring, and anything technical - but I also sew.
We both get the benefits of this and we both benefit from our shared, earned income.
Logically it is totally unimportant who earns what if you are truly a partnership, it looks like your DH wants to stick to safe, defined roles, and he can't cope once the partnership has gone outside that territory. If he can't get over that then your marriage can't function. The issues, however, are his.
Whoops - just saw your last post - looks like he does not want to change or grow, so it is over then, no question.
He will like you as a high status friend - just not as a partner - how sad.
Well I am coming from completely the not normal perspective as I have a diagnosed MH issue, anxiety and depression. I am currently in a serious episode of unwellness as I call It. In all of this I will do anything to not affect my family.
You say he refuses to believe he has a MH issue that is a major problem. You also have to remember a person has their own personality and then they have their illness.
Sorry I also missed your last post, wishing you well op.
I started a trend
Sorry you're on a down, Unfortunatly. Wishing you nice thoughts and gentleness.
Hello all . How weird that you both posted today, Garlic and Marina - I have just logged on to say 'Help!!!!' again. Tbh, I made it sound a bit too nice and sorted in my last post - it isn't, and I am still feeling terrible. I could really do with some advice. Warning: long!!!!
Here's what's happened: I went to see a counsellor in my own, and it was like the grand ripping off of a huge sticking plaster. After the session, loads of stuff came to mind that I'd stuffed down - his previous threats to leave (which started a month after our wedding), the three or four times he's said he never wants us to have sex again (over the years), all the rejection and moods and so on. I have never felt so low, or so vulnerable.
Then last week I could feel the emotional pressure building up inside me. H and I were having long, in-depth conversations every evening. Some really painful stuff came out. I said that I felt like he only sees me sexually in terms of what I can do for him; he agreed. He said that he feels that we are basically completely incompatible sexually, and that although he appreciates the effort I've made over the years to put his sexuality before mine, it's never really going to work. He said that if we'd slept / lived together before we got married (I came from a very strict religious background), he'd never have married me. I said that I think that even if we can get through this 'episode', we'll be facing the same issues three years down the line; he agreed. I said that he's always seen himself as the 'head of the house' and me as his subordinate; he agreed. I said that this scuppers any chance of being able to really communicate, as the default position that's hard-wired into him is that he's right and I'm wrong.
I'm reading a book at the moment - it's E. M. Forster's 'Howard's End', a beautiful novel, and there's one line in there about a character who has a short-lived fling which 'killed a nerve inside her', and tbh, that's how I feel about my marriage - as though the nerve that has kept me accommodating myself to h has been killed.
So, last weekend, I asked him to move in with a relative for a while. He did, and I've spoken to him on the phone a few times. He had a last-minute about-face, and having said that he couldn't give me any assurance of his commitment to me, he then said that he didn't want to go. But it felt too late - the ship in me has already sailed, it feels.
To complicate things, we had a marriage counselling session last week (different counsellor), that focused mainly on him, his depression, and his inability to deal with change. The counsellor said that she could really help him with all of this. He was obviously vulnerable; this is the first time ever he's seen a counsellor or talked properly about his depression. I spoke to her in the phone, and told her that he has temporarily moved out, and asked if we should still come - she said yes, and said she feels there's still hope yet. I felt annoyed, as she didn't even ask me how I was feeling - even then it was all about him. Our marriage counselling session is tonight, and I feel sick at the thought.
So I feel terrible - I feel like I'm being the baddie, chucking h out when he's saying he wants to try and save the marriage, and when he is genuinely within grasp of starting to address his depression. I feel cynical hearing the counsellor say there's hope, and thinking 'oh yeah?' . I wish I had it in me to save him - to get him out of his depression and to re-programme his brain from all the patriarchal nonsense he grew up with and turn him into a nice guy to grow old with. But I'm not sure I have, or that I can. If it were only the depression, I could cope with that, I'm sure. But there is so much else going on in him.
The only person in RL who has heard quite a lot of the story is my sister (who is incredibly religious and conservative) and she understands why I've had enough. My parents keep trying to persuade me to have him back. They are lovely, but they aren't helping right now. My friends and colleagues are being lovely and sweet. The kids are happy as normal, and haven't really noticed. I'm quite enjoying being the sole adult of the house, tbh .
I don;t know where to go from here, tbh. WWYD? (Thanks for reading all this! )
I think if your response to feeling numb is to push someone else's emotional buttons instead, that's a feature of character rather than illness
I agree wholeheartedly.
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
Fuck me! That's just proved the SGB 'cock' hypothesis for me.
You are responsible for his wellbeing, the children's wellbeing, the household, and none of your needs are being met. I expect he is depressed, but he is very probably a total cock as well.
I wouldn't actually ask him what he thinks/feels/wants, so much as explain to him what YOU think/feel/want, because it doesn't sound as though he is going to take your feelings and your interests into account unless you plonk them in front of him.
I'm so sorry, I hadn't read all the thread when I posted so my post is inappropriate. I do apologise.
No need to apologise, eldritch! FWIW, it didn't even cross my mind that your post was inappropriate! (Maybe I'm thick-skinned?)
I feel like it needs to be pointed out that not all counsellors are good counsellors, and neither will all of them be the right fit. You don't have to keep going to see this person if you don't want to: you are under no obligation to see them. If you come away from this next session feeling like this person isn't right for you then you don't have to go again, your husband can see them on a one-to-one basis for his issues. I would be wary of going to joint counselling if the person leading it focused disproportionately on one of us and after one session felt free to tell me there was "still hope".
If your dh is genuinely interested in dealing with his mental health, there's no reason why he can't do that while he is living elsewhere. Why on earth should you and your children have to put your happier new lives on hold while he gets his act together?
This man has told you he can't promise to make any commitment to you, that you are not compatible, and that he shouldn't have married you. He drags you down at every opportunity, and still manages to make it all about him.
Tbh, if the thought of the joint counselling makes you feel ill, cancel it. I would guess that it's a reminder of the bad old days where everything is about dancing to your dh's tune.
Let him play at being lord and master elsewhere.
Thanks, Coppertop. One thing he said that made me a bit was that he'd only address his MH issues if it meant that we might be able to stay together - he said there was no point in him getting help if the marriage is over.
I felt instinctively a bit cross at this, as it puts all the responsibility for his wellbeing on my shoulders (it makes it my fault if he stays unwell) and it seems a bit weird to me, for him not to want to be better for his own sake. I have a long term health condition and there's no way I'd think or say that it's only worth taking my medication if h stays with me.
Am I over-reacting, or was that a weird thing for him to say? It felt coercive in an underhand, almost subconscious way.
I am going to go tonight, if only to clarify where he's at now, and what my next steps should be. CartedOff, you're right - this might not be the right counsellor for me, so maybe tonight might clarify that too.
Don't go to the marriage counselling session. He sound manipulative, and joint counselling is a good way for someone to control their partner if they can get the counsellor on their side.
He probably targeted (maybe subconciously) you because you came from a religious background, as therefore he had you "trapped" in marriage before he revieled the real him.
" he'd only address his MH issues if it meant that we might be able to stay together"
Manipulative as hell. If you stayed with him I'm sure there'd be a fair few "Look at all I've done for you" and "I've put so much work in, why are you still complaining?" style comments thrown in your direction as he uses it against you. If he truly acknowledged that he had issues he'd want to deal with them for his own sake, not as a way of guaranteeing that you remained a couple.
It is coercive.
Nooo, FLA, you're under-reacting if anything! He absolutely was attempting to put all the responsibility for HIS wellness on YOUR shoulders. How absurd. I'm afraid he really is the selfish, self-serving, condescending user you acknowledged in your counselling session. Without for one second underestimating how difficult this is for you - to finally cast a clear light on the power imbalance in your marriage - I'm pleased for you, that you now recognise his blame game for what it is. Truth is strengthening, as you have found while running your household by yourself
Your relationship counsellor's rubbish. She should never have assumed she knew what you wanted from the process. I'm rather shocked that she hadn't asked. Offering you "hope" is unprofessional, even if you'd been looking for it.
It must be reassuring to have the support of your sister and friends. Have they said anything specific yet? (They will!)
The thing is, I really don't think he realises he is being coercive. His parents stayed together 'for the children' and his mother was eaten up with resentment for his father. She was the main influence on him. He grew up in such toxic environment, and I think these things are hard- wired into him, and when he's stressed or depressed, it's the way he responds. I think he thinks it is normal to be like this.
Thanks for your support, everyone. You are really helping me!
My sister was very understanding and didn't lambast him but didn't excuse him either. Friends are all much the same; although I haven't gone into as much detail with them as I have on here.
I really don't think he realises he is being coercive ... He grew up in such toxic environment ... these things are hard-wired into him
Yes. That's how it works He wouldn't be able to 'just' change, even if he wanted to. It takes years of pretty unpleasant therapy. It's possible his emotional numbness came from tensions between his desired self and the one he grew up to be. Any such thoughts, however, are for him alone should he choose to think them. You simply can't do this stuff for somebody else and it's damaging to try.
Because that is how it works, it's better for your children to see that relationships based on power games don't work, and to learn that one doesn't put up with it.
It's great to hear about your sister. Support like that must be helpful
You are certainly not 'the baddie'! After all he has said, how can there be hope for the marriage? You need to tell the counsellor what you want. They can help towards an amicable split.
Only going to seek help if you stay together- very controlling, very unfair.
Good luck xx
I am so disturbed by your situation FLA. Before Mumsnet I endured a relationship that was "all about him" In retrospect depression or even NPD was involved, who knows, and it's only 20 yrs later that I am just about ceasing to try and analyse what the hell (and it was) went on there. I wasn't beaten (may well have been cheated on but I was a naive youngster then, and anyway, it was all fault ... whatever IT was) but I was totally abused and terrorised. Plus I believed it was all my fault and in my power to change/heal Everything. Ha!
My point being that your situation's sounding more and more like emotional blackmail. He'll address his issues if you .. do what? Believe me, you can give your soul up and it's never "right" enough.
My leaving of exP was a nightmare of wrong-steps every which way. It would never have happened like it did if Mumsnet had been around. The hours and hours of "conversation" with him that all but broke my spirit, left me reeling so I didn't know who I was any more, only "him" ... terrifying.
So please listen to the advice you get here - which is more than I know how to offer. But my alarm bells are ringing very loud. For YOU.
What your H is doing/saying can be called emotional blackmail. It's abusive. How far will you go? Self-destruction's often the starting point. Think slowly, clearly and almost ruthlessly about what can, could, should or NEEDS to be achieved. For you.
Yes, Flipping, it is unfair - but tbh I think it's also sadly true - if I say that it really is over, he could well spiral downwards and end up in a very bad way. I do worry about that.
Garlic, meant to add, sorry that you suffer from depression I wish you better health soon.
I also meant to say I hope that the thread title doesn't offend anyone - the last thing I want to do is imply that people who suffer from depression are abnormal, heaven forbid. But as I said, there's a whole lot else going in as well as the depression here.
FFS at him not being willing to work on himself re MH issues if you aren't staying. So he doesn't believe he has MH issues but is happy to trot them out if they can be used to manipulate you
There are many many more red flags here but they have been covered by other posters. Glad you are seeing the light now OP.
Tipsy, sorry to hear about your experience You're right, MN is a lifeline - I think the anonymity really helps me. I am very 'naice' in RL, and 'naice' people would never talk about the really dark stuff that's gone on in my marriage.
So thank you all for being here.
Having read through all this, there is really only one thing that strikes me:
Your husband is extremely manipulative.
It is like you have had to focus on him, and beg for a relationship your entire marriage. His mental health is the be all and end all. And now he is using it in a new way. For counselling, to manipulate you further with the counselors blessing. "no point in adressing his mh problems if you are not married. " That is not just emotional blackmail, that is coercion!
Bullocks to that!
It could be true Feeling, but even if he does fall deeper into depression it is NOT YOUR FAULT. You are obviously a lovely person and are worried about his welfare, but it is most definitely up to him to manage, you certainly do not have to stay just in case he gets really unwell.
And another thing (while I'm on a roll....) I've had so much of the 'well, marriage is hard...' type 'advice' this last month. So much 'well, you need to nurture your relationship' etc. I'm not knocking it as general advice, but most people who have taken it upon themselves to advise me have said this, more or less, without even really hearing what I have to say about the marriage first. (Sister, and a few colleagues being the exceptions). One, extremely clever, ridiculously highly educated woman told me that the man always has to be cleverer than the woman or the relationship doesn't work as if it were a universal given. (Her husband is even more lettered than she is). So it's my fault for being too clever.
Spleen-vent over! (for now, anyway...)
I'm with katiescarlet. I suffer long term chronic anxiety and depression. I am eternally grateful to dh for his support, and make every endeavour to protect my family and him from my illness. It does not make me treat anyone badly or say I want to leave them.
I think his behaviour and depression are two entirely separate things, and he is using one as the excuse for the other.
its the 'educating rita syndrome'. and look what happened there.
FLA - your spleen-vent was a DELIGHT!
Seriously, I think you might need a few more of those to blast away the fog!
Oooh, Educating Rita! Haven't read / seen that in a long time. 'It's getting the rhyme wrong.' Classic. (Might have to watch the movie one evening soon!)
OP, I had a fairly bad depression for a few years and was taking AD's for a while. If I had treated my husband the way yours treats you, he would have ended it. I never blamed him for the depression, it was more about blaming myself if anything. Your H sounds very manipulative which suggests that his depression is just a front for him, which he turns on at will, to excuse being a horrid jerk. You might not, and don't want, to see this ow but honestly it sounds like you are well rid. My husband would love it if I were better qualified and employed than him, he'd positively crow about it.
OP, have you seen the "relationships are hard work" thread ?
most of the people on there who are in functional partnerships are saying "no" they are not "draining" and shouldn't be constantly "hard work"
a relationship should make you feel better about yourself, not be hard labour
if you'd killed someone you would have been let out for good behaviour by now...
Relationships with a partner should be no more difficult than they are with a good friend. IE,not at all difficult.
OP,are you dealing with cultural differences,that you've not mentioned?
Bleeeugh. Well, I've done the marriage counselling. H was pretty quiet and neutral - unlike the counsellor who told me that we can't 'work on things' until I let h come home. Are counsellors allowed to say things like that? She told me I'd need h's 'help' with the dc during half term, so I'd have to have him back by then. Oh, and to get a cleaner.
Then she said 'Don't let anyone tell you that the kids will be all right [if you split]. They won't. Kids would rather their parents were together even if they're screaming and shouting at each other. It terrifies children when their parents split.'
I mean....really? This is a trained counsellor, who trains other counsellors, and she's pretty much putting pressure on me to have h back and to stay together for the children. As if I weren't feeling bad enough already! H and I drove home together and we both felt a bit at what she'd said, and h said that he'd rather we parted amicably than stayed together in a bad marriage.
I'm feeling in need of some quite considerable spleen-venting...
Sack the counsellor
Is she on your husband's payroll ?
Maybe, re. cultural differences - kind of. We come from very different styles of family, both brought up in the UK, in different areas (although I'm only half British).
at what your 'counsellor' said. That's terrible!
AF. I feel quite shaken by this evening, not by h, but by the counsellor. I think h found it hard too.
Sack her then make a formal complaint about her. She is emphatically NOT there to tell you what to do. She should be there to provide you both with a neutral space to explore your feelings. It's ok to ask you both probing questions to help you articulate your fears and worries - for eg 'how do you think a split would effect the children' - but to say stuff like that. Words fail me.
Completely dangerous and irresponsible.
Some counsellors are dangerous. Really.
Please complain about her. It could be some one getting battered that she orders home.
Your 'counsellor' is to be got rid of. I only mentioned the cultural differences as they caused huge divisions with my parents. We were so relieved when they separated,and a cloud lifted.
I feel very slightly more positive about your H if he baulked at what that counsellor said, tbh
Sorry, I know you have got enough on your plate. But that stuff she said about children wanting their parents together even if they are screaming and shouting?? Ask her when she last read the Sturge/Glaser research. Ask her what view the family court would take on issue on significant harm.
She is mad.
To whom would I complain? Relate? She has lots of certificates up on her walls from various bodies / universities.
If you don't feel you can face complaining about her...at least switch to another counsellor. And when she asks why...tell her.
She ought to be a member of some kind of organisation if she is practising. She should have some kind of supervisor. I am a member of the ADR group, there are a number of others who cover family mediation/counselling. She should make it clear in any literature she produces/website.
This kind of thing just reinforces my view that the State has to regulate this profession.
AF, he didn't baulk exactly but he did and we both said on the way home that we think she's wrong wrt the impact of divorce on children.
He was actually v. reasonable - said that he fully understands why I've asked him to go, and won't push me to have him back. He said it hurt him to hear me talking so honestly about how hurt I am by him, and he doesn't want to hurt me any more. He shares my worry that we'll be back in this place in six months / three years / how long is a piece of string, and he'd rather we split now than go through this again. I agreed.
Spero, I'll check out the Sturge/Glaser research. Where can I read about it? I have online access to specialist journals, so if you could recommend any articles, I'll read up.
Can't argue with that
Is it not mediation, rather than counselling you need ?
It's splitting,hard as it may be,that Feeling needs to do. DH keeps bringing it up.
This case is a good starting point
I appreciate that a lot of the discussion is about impact of really serious physical violence, but it seems clear from the research that even hearing violent incidents, including screaming and shouting can have a very bad impact on children.
it has certainly been used as an indicator of significant harm in care proceedings.
I have just logged in to say that is simply the worst couples counsellor I have ever heard of! How on earth does she know what has gone on in your marriage. Her advice is dangerous, and luckily you and your husband both know it's wrong for you. Not impartial or supportive.
I think everything you have written makes me think this is the right decision for you, I think you have lived on eggshells your entire marriage, either through emotional threats, fear of depression which is not properly treated and an underlying lack of support and belief in you as a person. You will blossom after all this (I bet your kids do too).
I think the court starts looking in detail at the Sturge/Glaser work at about page 8, sorry there is quite a lot to wade thru.
But this case is from 2000! understanding the implication of domestic violence has thus been pretty mainstream for 13 years now. She really ought to have known better.
Wow - she's one for the bin that's for sure! She should not be practising and when you have the energy please make a formal complaint before too many other women are subjected to her - women who can't see her advice is shit and women who don't have MN to tell them her advice is shit.
She is so wrong it's not even funny. She shouldn't be in her job.
What are you going to do?
If it were me, I'd be making the split formal & permanent. Depression or not he's a manipulative bastard and he's not good for you or the kids. What he does about his mental health is his problem - don't let him lay that at your feet!!
Your story has so many similarities with mine that I don't know where to begin!
I feel very, very sorry for you, but feel that this is really just the beginning. When I first started reading your thread I was thinking 'Don't leave him, find a way,' etc (because of the kids), but very soon it became clear just how horrible your life with him has been.
Now I am sure you should not let him come back, and you should concentrate your efforts on making the separation as painless as possible for everyone, especially the children.
I would say that children almost always suffer, ime, when parents break up, but their suffering can be greatly lessened by the way you go about it. Not saying nasty things about each other in front of them, assuring them they are loved by both of you, showing that you respect your husband, that you don't hate him, he's not a nasty person, etc. Because after all, they have half his genes, and they might identify with him.
Eventually, when they are older, you can tell them that he was ill, and judging by one or two things you have said, they might have felt they were walking on eggshells too. In fact maybe the whole mood is lightened when he's not there?
Also, this can be quite a dangerous stage in separations. In my case, after his efforts at 'persuasion' failed, he started having violent temper tantrums, which were dangerous (for me). So protect yourself.
My son doesn't blame me at all, now, for leaving his dad - but he was very angry with me when he was little. The sad thing in my case is that my son seems to have similar MH problems, but at least we can talk about them and try to find a way to deal with them.
And something to look forward to: If you can negotiate this extremely difficult time with intelligence and compassion, one day you will feel as if a huge burden has been lifted from your shoulders, and you will be able to live and breathe and enjoy life again! Promise.
I feel a little worried about what I have just written. My experience probably is nothing like yours, so it's probably irrelevant.
Your post did touch something in me, though. So even if my 'advice' isn't helpful, please accept my very best wishes, and hopes that you and your family will come out of all this stronger, but happier, too.
solo, your post will resonate with OP, I am sure
Wow, thank you, Solo. What a really, really positive and lovely post. Thank you.
I need to go and sleep. I hate feeling that I'm the one in the driving seat, but, tbh, I am. It's up to me whether h comes home or not. I told h tonight that I feel guilty about asking him to leave. He said 'Well, you didn't do it to be nasty, did you?' and said that IHO I shouldn't feel guilty, that he doesn't blame me. He's not all bad, really. Maybe we're just rubbish at being married to each other.
to everyone for being here. Don't underestimate how validating and empowering these threads are.
Go to mediation. I think you two (if H doesn't start playing silly buggers) could negotiate a respectful co-parenting set up.
This could all just be down to the depression? It may not be anything to do with your relationship really?
Sorry just ignore my comment. Just read through properly. I hope things work out for the best for you - what ever that is.
... he's not a nasty person, etc. Because after all, they have half his genes, and they might identify with him.
I know this is popular wisdom, Solo, and I understand why, but it is sometimes NOT the best approach with children. When you tell a child their angry / controlling / withholding parent is a good person who loves them, you're telling them it's good to be abusive and that love feels like abuse. There are plenty of age-appropriate ways to tell children the truth. It's not necessary to set them up for a life of painful confusion.
All children identify with their parents. I identify with my psychopathic father. This doesn't mean we have to feel bound to them or be deluded about their true nature.
I did tell him what I thought was the 'truth'. But ime (and I'm still only talking about my experience, so have no idea if this is true for anyone else) my son needed to know that his father's behaviour was unacceptable, but that it was what he did not what he was that wasn't OK. And there were reasons (not excuses) for what happened.
And things aren't often one good person and one bad. I contributed to our situation, and his father wasn't a nasty person.
Another reason I was a little worried about what I wrote was that I didn't want to give the impression that I thought having MH issues (in my ex's case OCD and depression) was an excuse for this sort of bullying and manipulation. As others have said before, people with these MH problems have to take responsibility for managing them (with the loving help of those around them) and most people do that, without ever hurting or bullying others.
I suffer from depression and I'm currently doing very well, however I did have a long stint on medication, it made me feel very distant from my partner in fact I felt so distant that not only did I stop feeling that other people even existed but I was no longer sure I did. I know that sounds unusual. Not to sound horrible but if your partner isn't even in touch with reality any more that from his perspective is going to seem like a bigger problem than your feelings about things. That's why he's being so insensitive he literally doesn't have the capacity right now to think about your feelings. He most likely realises that he effects you negatively and feels a burden as all he's capable of right now is taking.
He's jealous of your ability to be competent, it's really hard not to get bitter when you're depressed I had days where I could barely feed myself and then I'd see other people running around being successful, it feels like a kick in the _ it makes you feel more of a failure than you already feel. 'If she can do all these things why can't I?' except you're stuck in this 'broken' mind and body.
Personally I think he needs to switch meds or come off them all together there are over 50 types of depression meds for a reason so there's plenty of chance for him to feel less numb. He needs a counsellor but he needs one that he can talk to properly, he might have a to try a few. You might have to help him sometimes, maybe make his breakfast occasionally to start him off in a productive mood, it's baby steps initially he'll need you to lean on then he'll watch him do stuff for himself again. It's also confidence he needs to recognise his own achievements in his own right and not compare them to yours.
I'm sorry to sound like I'm making it all about what you could do and not him, of course you don't have to help, but I just don't think he'll be able to properly participate in this relationship until it's under control, it might never go but it can definitely be more manageable.
Thanks for your perspective, Roxy. My head is spinning...
I think in some ways, the fact that for the last 10-15 years, this person has had depression is a bit of a red herring, in that I don't think it matters why someone keeps you in a state of emotional turmoil and distress and on the edge, I just know you don't have to live like that.
My husband had a bout of depression a while back, and whilst initially I felt bad for him, I also didn't like living with (and this is how it manifested in him) an angry, hurtful, critical, negative person lashing out at me because he didn't like his world. I put up with it for over a year before I realised that I didn't want to live like this, even if it did have a medical cause. Being depressed brought out the worst sides of his personality and they had to be reined in, not indulged or feared.
I would not live life like that whatever the reason, plus there are plenty of people living with long term depression (his is clearly long-term) who don't take it out on their partners or make their partners life a misery. I don't believe in sacrificing your own happiness on the altar of someone else's problems, because in the main it doens't solve their problems (he is still angry,depressed, blaming you, threatening to leave) and it makes everyone else miserable too such as the children.
No, you don't have to tell children their parent is 'good' but you shouldn't go the other way and point out what a nasty piece of work he or she is. The genetics point is important, children know they come from their parents.
What I think is clearly demonstrated by research is that children do best when told the truth in an age appropriate way. For eg 'daddy isn't feeling very well right now so he may act in ways that you find upsetting. But we hope he is going to get better. He is doing X and Y to make him feel better. Nothing that he does is your fault, he is your dad and he loves you'.
I had a period of being so unwell I was almost admitted as an in patient, I was hard to live with I am sure. I still knew it was me being ill and that my DH was not making me ill, your DH trying to make you responsible is just plain nasty.
Change counsellor as well, she actually sounds dangerous.
OP: Focus on this: The kids are happy as normal, and haven't really noticed. I'm quite enjoying being the sole adult of the house, tbh .
Before I read your updates I was going to post that you (and we) have put all this effort and angst into trying to work out what's going on for him and how to help him - but can you imagine him doing the same? Imagine him posting on Dadsnet 20 posts all trying to analyse and explain your behaviour because he wants your relationship to work? No? Thought not. He has been manipulating you and being extremely cruel. He never would have married you if he'd slept with your first?! You're well out of there. Enjoy your freedom.
Hello all. I've just been sent home from work because I couldn't stop crying. I had a longish phone conversation with h this morning, who actually used the same word as AF; he said he 'baulked' at what the counsellor said last night, he felt that she was putting me under emotional pressure to have him come home, and he felt that she was very unfair and inappropriate. So he's in favour of ditching her too.
He also said that if it weren't for the dc, we'd have parted by now. He didn't say in in a nasty way, just in a factual way. He said that we're still a team, and we'll do everything to make things easier and better for the dc. He says he's in no hurry to come home, and will take time off during half term to look after them while still giving me space. So, he's saying all the right things and being very reasonable about it. He said on the phone that IHO the counsellor had played the 'you're being a bad mum if you split up' card on me, and he can see how that's going to hurt me more than just about anything you could say.
So I'm going to spend today drinking tea and listening to loud music and doing a few bits of work from home. Maybe I'll do dome serious housework and take put my frustration by scrubbing the house to within an inch of its life!
Thank you all. Spero, your advice has been so valuable; thank you!
Take care and go easy on yourself today x
Thank you! Tea helps.
Following on from what Roxy said, there is quite a bit of evidence that SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) seem to induce emotional blunting in patients who take them.
You can google SSRI and 'emotional blunting' for more information.
As Rosy said, it might be worth liaising with your GP to check whether alternative meds might suit your DH better.
Can you see whats happening - its like someone has called your DH's bluff!
So he acts like an arse for many many years, often being outright cruel.
He tells you repeatedly that he wants to split.
He manipulated you innto a position where you actually feel like you have a choice in this - he in fact has you thinking that it is up to you.
Then useless counseller tells you to think again.
DH suddenly gets a fright - Oh fuck if she starts feeling guilty about splitting and asks me to move back, I'll look like the bad guy here.
So hes all loving and supportive and on your side -
SO YOU WILL CONTINUE TO THINK THAT IT HAS BEEN YOUR CHOISE TO END THE RELATIONSHIP
But it wasn't - he gave himself permission to emotionally leave you years ago.
I know if I knew you in real life, you are going to BLOSSOM in the coming years, everyone who knows you will look back in wonder at how you put up with so much crap for so long.
You are sprouting wings!!
HeyHo I completely agree with you, I think the OP (and you sound lovely) is being played here, I'm afraid. All the threats, emotional bluster, fear of him leaving, fear of him being depressed and walking on eggshells, and the comments about sex incompatibility- I think he's really hoping you leave him, but that it looks like your decision!
Op I understand why you very sad, you are grieving for what is, and what might have been. That's very hard to accept. I think cups of tea and chocolate biscuits all round are required- have you also got some RL support? (and not of the 'why don't you give it a go, marriages are hard work' variety)
I agree with HeyHo. He's making you feel it is your choice because he doesn't want to live with the idea of himself as a Dad who has left his family.
Sounds like he is up for being a supportive co-parent. It's great that you can still talk about parenting together. It doesn't matter whether parents stay together or not, what matters is whether the children are loved and well looked after and that they are not brought up in a negative environment. The children will be fine, in fact they ARE fine! As a kid I used to wish and pray my dad would leave. Staying together can be a very destructive thing to do.
It must hurt so much for you at the moment. It's going to get better. You will feel better xx
Another one agreeing with Heyho.
Also just wanted to say I was seriously, life-threateningly ill with depression for a long time, and not only have I not been offended by anything you've written, I also think you are being too trusting and accepting of your husband, who sounds as though he's been unkind to you and your children for rather a long time.
It is a horrible illness, but depression is emphatically NOT a licence to give up responsibility for yourself and your health or to oppress others. In fact, you can't really ever get well if you do. Without you, your husband will have a stark choice: to wallow and get worse, or shape up and try to get better. It isn't (or shouldn't) be for you to shield him from that choice. He really needs to make it.
So consider this: while your husband lacks the courage/maturity to end this marriage, he does seem to want it to end and it is probably therefore in his interests as well as yours that it does. Which is what you can say if he or anyone else is ever crass enough to criticise you for any decision you make to leave him (not telling you to, btw. Only you can decide that).
Thank you. I'm feelng much better tonight! I'm kind of becoming okay within myself. Which is good. Yes, he is absolutely up for being a supportive co-parent. Which is also good!
Anyone else fancy a ?
Glad you're feeling better. One day at a time.
<trots off to make the tea>
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