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To be losing patience with OH's phobia?

(17 Posts)
Bean89 Tue 25-Nov-14 16:46:42

Looking for advice really...

My OH has a terrible phobia of vomiting. I'm always sympathetic and I do everything I can to relax him and calm him down, but it's starting to take over our lives. We can't travel any sort of distance, special events are a big trigger so they're becoming a nightmare, we can't go to new restaurants, he's obsessive about what we cook etc.

We have a 4 month old and I'm dreading her picking anything up because I know my OH won't be able to deal with it. If I'm ever feeling poorly I feel like I have to lie to him and tell him I'm fine because otherwise he'll get scared of picking something up himself. What are we going to do when she goes to school and gets bugs left, right and centre? What if me and DD are sick at the same time?

This morning he told me he got no sleep last night (sleeping in separate rooms for now because of LO), because his friend who he hasn't seen for THREE weeks told him he'd been sick and OH was convinced he'd pick something up.

I'm doing my absolute best to be supportive and I know it's not his fault, but he won't go to counselling because he's scared they'll do exposure therapy with him. Does anyone have any idea how to deal with this?

(Sorry for the essay!)

NewEraNewMindset Tue 25-Nov-14 16:48:12

I know this is a common phobia but OMG just reading that sounds totally exhausting for you. Has he tried hypnotherapy?

Blankiefan Tue 25-Nov-14 16:50:10

He's going to have to get some help for this. Your dd is highly likely to get ill at some point - probably on many occassions.

Can he arrange some counselling?

InfinitySeven Tue 25-Nov-14 16:50:17

It's a phobia. He can't help it.

I mean, sure, he could go to counselling. He could get medication, if the GP feels it is appropriate. I've tried both of these, exposure therapy and CBT, but nothing has worked, or lessened it at all. Essentially, they were all a waste of time. Even hypnotherapy didn't work.

So realistically, you need a plan to deal with this that includes the fact that he's phobic, because he might always be. There is a high chance that he will always be.

For example, can he clean up or get your DD changed if he's wearing disposable gloves and an apron? Because then your compromise can be having those in the house, so they are there if he needs them.

I can totally understand it being frustrating for you, but I think you have to tell yourself that it's just something you can't change, rather than something that he's doing to annoy you. Otherwise, resentment will build.

eyebags63 Tue 25-Nov-14 16:51:50

This sounds more like a significant mental health problem rather than just a simple phobia. He really needs to get counselling or speak to his doctor about medication because of the impact this is having on everyone.

I think you may have to issue an ultimatum - restricting your diet and travel plans is just not acceptable unless he is willing to seek help.


Blankiefan Tue 25-Nov-14 16:56:04

Sorry - just read to the end. He's worried about exposure therapy.

I have a phobia (bees and wasps) and did do some exposure therapy. First of all, it was a choice from various options. Second of all, they didn't just chuck me in a room of wasps! It started very very softly. So in my case

- here's a black and white cartoon of a comedy wasp. How did I feel? What did I see? What was good/ bad /etc.
- here's a coloured cartoon of a comedy wasp. How did I feel? What did I see? What was good/ bad /etc.
- here's a less comedy cartoon - etc
- here's a black and white photo - etc

Essentially worked up to video in b&w / colour / with / without sound / different scenarios until I held a dead wasp.

At each stage, I was probed on how I felt and because the exposure was so gentle / gradual I was able to safely explore what scared me and find solutions to manage this. It didn't "cure" me but it gave me some very helpful coping strategies - which is really what your DH needs.

BrucieTheShark Tue 25-Nov-14 16:56:19

Refusal to go and initiate some sort of treatment is a problem. Surely your baby has done lots of possets and little bits of sick? You're right, your DC will get sick.

Obviously we support our loved ones who have illnesses, mental or otherwise provided they are willing to do all they can by way of treatment or therapy (imo at least).

I think you need to draw a line in the sand and say that if he doesn't go to a GP and talk about counselling or treatment of some kind, then he is endangering your relationship and the family unit.

It is not for you to reassure him that they will not immediately try a desensitising programme. I would imagine he could discuss it with his GP himself and/or do some research via the internet, perhaps investigating and speaking to some local private practitioners. Surely he can see that this is unlikely in the first instance - they would be looking to help him, not make it a million times worse.

At present it sound like he is making excuses, probably because it is very scary for him. But scary or not, he must take responsibility at some point.

Bean89 Tue 25-Nov-14 16:57:13

Thanks everyone, it is exhausting for me but it must be even more exhausting for him! I feel like all of our lives would be better if we could do something, anything about it.

Ifyourawizardwhydouwearglasses Tue 25-Nov-14 16:58:07

Emetophobia is a HORRID phobia to have. I speak from experience.

He needs HELP - not chastising. smile

Hypnotherapy can help, and counselling, especially cbt.

I feel for you though.

CrohnicallyAnxious Tue 25-Nov-14 16:58:17

I am emetophobic too- though more affected by others vomiting. Coincidentally, I am currently taking an antidepressant (for depression and generalised anxiety)- and found that the phobia has dramatically decreased to the point that my 2 year old daughter vomited on me and I barely even flinched! Would your DH be willing to talk to a GP to see if something like an antidepressant could be tried?

Ifyourawizardwhydouwearglasses Tue 25-Nov-14 16:59:57

Sorry that reads back awful. I'll post more when I have time, just cooking now!

I used to be really bad, hardly ate anything, wouldn't go anywhere, eat out etc. but I'm almost normal now. It can be done smile

Bean89 Tue 25-Nov-14 17:00:10

Blankiefan- that's good to know. I'll have a word with him about your experience and see if he's more willing!

marne2 Tue 25-Nov-14 17:02:48

Speaking as someone who also has this phobia ( probably as bad as your dh ), please get him to ask his gp for help, there are different therapies that can help, I have had various therapies and although I'm not cured I am not as anxious as I used to be. I tend to stay in this time of year and I dread people inviting me to social events, I dread hearing people talking about being sick or posting on fb about their children being sick. My dh isn't very understanding, if my dd's are sick he isn't much help and if I'm anxious he tells me to pull myself together ( if only it was that easy ).

tak1ngchances Tue 25-Nov-14 17:04:44

I had CBT and antidepressants for a similar phobia. It is extremely treatable but requires professional support. It's not something he can just sort on his own.

Bean89 Tue 25-Nov-14 17:08:02

Ifyoureawizard- any advice would be amazing! I really feel for him and I would never let him know that I'm getting frustrated, because I know it would only make him worry more. It's a vicious circle. He worries about being sick, which makes him feel sick, which makes him worry more. My job is to keep him calm, which I'm doing well with at the moment, but I'm not sure how well I'll be doing with a poorly baby to deal with!

AdamLambsbreath Tue 25-Nov-14 17:10:14

It is possible to treat phobias, so I think there's hope. I don't agree that this is just something you can't change.

I have had a phobia of needles and injections since I was very young (to the point where I once set off the alarm on a heart rate monitor because my pulse went so high just before I had to have a blood sample taken).

I've had to go in for a fair amount of bloods and injections over the last few years for one reason or another, and the exposure means that every time I go it's been better. I've even forced myself to give blood. It was fucking horrendous but it was useful.

Of course, I've been forced to undergo exposure therapy because you can't live your whole life without having a needle stuck in you (and certainly not when you're having a baby!) There'll need to be more of a structured programme to help your OH reduce his fear and anxiety over vomiting.

It may help to point out to him just how much all your lives are being affected by his fears. They're really limiting what you do, and he's living in constant fear of illness. If you can get him to the GP initially, perhaps by reminding him that he can choose what kind of treatment he wants and won't be forced into a treatment programme he doesn't want, then that will be a huge step.

AddToBasket Tue 25-Nov-14 17:10:36

I am related to someone its this and it is very tiring for everyone, including her. It causes all sorts of problems.

You should not just accept that this is how it has to be. You and he will get a vomiting bug soon! Sorry, but thems the breaks with little DC. So, he needs to start with the GP.

However, I agree with the pp who said it isn't your issue to deal with - he needs to address it.

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