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Almighty mess

(21 Posts)
spell Sun 19-Jun-11 06:21:09

OH and I are in trouble and it is my fault sad. I have recently found out that I have social anxiety disorder. This means that I fear/ avoid all social interactions, have no self esteem/ confidence, etc and no real friends. This explains a lot to me about why I am like I am but doesn't help me with my problems. When OH and I met he told me about how he wanted to do lots of travelling including living in different countries, have children who experienced different cultures and learned different languages, etc. It all sounded very romantic. After getting married we visited one of the possible countries but discounted it. I was also becoming concerned that, as the trailing spouse, I would become isolated in the house as I would know no one and not speak the language. So back in the UK we got pregnant and had our 2 children. OH's job included travel so he was content for the time being but kept talking about secondments. Eventually I agreed to a couple of years in an English-speaking country. We travelled a lot as a family, OH didn't travel with work much so saw the children more than he had in the UK but ultimately I felt isolated as I am rubbish at making friends (social anxiety disorder). We returned to the UK and the children started school. We had talked about buying a bigger house or extending ours but after some set-backs it seems that OH no longer wants to. In a shock conversation 18 months ago he revealed he expects to divorce me once the children have left home. I knew things weren't right but we have never communicated well so it was a bolt from the blue. I am fairly sure he feels trapped by me in a life he didn't want as he doesn't want to leave the children but also doesn't want to live with me/ in the UK. I didn't mean for this to happen. I don't want to destroy the DC's lives. I have been a SAHM for years and have no training. We live in an expensive part of the country and my family live abroad. I have no support and don't know what to do. I don't want to talk to OH for fear of him leaving now/ making things worse between us.

spell Sun 19-Jun-11 06:26:49

Oh, and when I brought up couples counselling he said he wouldn't go (which I suspect was partly to protect me from the truth of his resentment towards me).

SirSugar Sun 19-Jun-11 06:27:12

who has told you that you have this disorder?

spell Sun 19-Jun-11 06:34:44

I had 6 free counselling sessions via the GP on the NHS. It came out then and a book that the counsellor recommended me to read has confirmed it to me.

SirSugar Sun 19-Jun-11 06:37:36

how do YOU feel about your DH revelation that he wants to divorce when DCS are old enough?

spell Sun 19-Jun-11 06:44:02

At the time I felt shocked, since then I have tried not to think about it but have tried to find myself some hobbies/ activities as I've never really had any and he has said in the past that he wishes I had interests and was a happy person. I also went to counselling to try to fix myself as it seemed I was the problem in the relationship. TBH, being stuck with no family/ support, no job/ money/ house and no friends is too scary to think about.

SirSugar Sun 19-Jun-11 06:47:47

HE wishes you had interests and was a happy person?

please consider this statement because what he has said to you has made you unhappy. someone telling me i am to be disposed of after i had raised the family would make me unhappy too

SirSugar Sun 19-Jun-11 06:49:22

you actually sound ok to me as well, considerate and caring of your family, maybe you are just shy and thats nothing to be ashamed of

spell Sun 19-Jun-11 06:54:44

I wish I had interests and was a happy person too sad. I just want to be normal and for my DC to be happy and settled. One statement of his that has stuck in my head was "why would anyone else care about you if you don't care about yourself?" (I comfort eat and am overweight, don't blowdry/ straighten my hair, shave legs irregularly as well as having no self-esteem, friends, etc). It may be cruel to say it but he is right - why would they?

spell Sun 19-Jun-11 06:55:47

Thanks SirSugar - it's very kind of you to say so. I'm crying now.

spell Sun 19-Jun-11 07:02:09

I know OH is being unpleasant to me but I have ultimately screwed his life up by changing our/ his plans.

I can hear the DC are up so I'll go for now. Thanks for talking SirSugar - it's much appreciated.

shrinkingnora Sun 19-Jun-11 07:11:46

Because decent, kind people care about others regardless of what they look like and how much they eat.

My BIL has social anxiety disorder and it has been very hard on his marriage. They have had counselling and things are back on track now. He also seems to be getting better generally - he seems more confident and happier with life recently and has restarted his hobby etc

It sounds like you Dh has said some unkind and unhelpful things - I'm pretty sure that my sister has done the same to my BIL but in her case it came from sheer frustration. I think for a while she perceived it as lack of effort on his part but now is more understanding that it is not his fault and he will gradually get through it. And her being more understanding has helped him make changes as he feels more secure.

I really hope that things get better for you. Keep talking to people, proffessional and on here! There is light at the end of the tunnel. Your situation can change but you need to take tiny steps to build your confidence. Can you speak to other people with SAD? BIL found this extremely helpful.

shrinkingnora Sun 19-Jun-11 07:14:00

I have PMed you a link.

WibblyBibble Sun 19-Jun-11 07:23:41

"why would anyone else care about you if you don't care about yourself?"

Because some people are decent human beings who have compassion for others during times when they are suffering (as you clearly are). Tell him that. He's being a total dick. Things do change over the course of a relationship. It's fair enough if he really can't deal with that and wants to either work on it with you or break up, but holding threats of divorce in the future over your head, and criticising you when he knows you're vulnerable, are really not fair ways to react to changed expectations.

Having said that, I do think you might feel better about yourself if you manage to make some friends outside your relationship (whether online or whatever), because you'll feel less isolated and have more perspective than just your partner's.

Longtalljosie Sun 19-Jun-11 07:25:05

spell - I don't blowdry my hair either and don't shave my legs every day either. You seem to be holding yourself up to an unattainable idea.

I think the comment about divorcing you once the children are old enough is contemptible. You deserve to be loved and have companionship in your later years. If he's not up to this tell him you'd rather be rid of him now. If he just pisses off, he's not worth it, seriously. You don't need someone in your life grinding you down like this.

What does he actually do for you?

spell Sun 19-Jun-11 08:13:13

Thanks everyone. shrinkingnora, I will look at your link later when the DC aren't around. That is great news about your BIL. Do you know what kind of counselling he had? I have been wondering about having CBT. I would love to meet/ talk to others with SAD but have the problem of OH working long hours/ away and no one to babysit (as the support groups seem to be in the evenings) - I will look into it though.

What does he do for me? Well, he earns the money, arranges all of our family outings/ visits/ visitors and adores the children.

spell Sun 19-Jun-11 08:55:39

He also arranges all insurances, child trust funds, bank accounts, pays bills, credit cards, mortgage, etc.

I am sure OH has said things in frustration too, shrinkingnora sad.

PaigeTurner Sun 19-Jun-11 09:39:15

spell - I don't feel qualified to offer advice on your relationship, but you might consider getting Paul McKenna's Instant Confidence CD/book for your SAD. I was suffering from panic attacks in social situations a few years back and listening to the CD really helped. It's quite motivational.

So sorry that you find yourself in this situation.

I don't know anything about SAD but have had anxiety issues in the past. I found counseling an enormous help. I think that the counselor did use some CBT techniques. Through counseling I learned lots of actions that I could take to make my world a better place and also found this a great place to talk about problems in my life and how to address them. I would recommend that you keep in touch with your GP regularly and also have more counseling

What did your OH say about the diagnosis? Apart from the leaving you comment can you tel us more about what he says to you and how he behaves towards you?

spell Sun 19-Jun-11 18:01:06

Thanks PT and IYHAYKI.

PT, I will look into that book. I bought myself the Thin one but then realised that I need to work on the cause of the eating (social anxiety) first.

OH works long hours/ away a lot and also goes out with work people or plays tennis some evenings so we hardly see each other. When we do he tells me about work or sports results he is interested in and I tell him about the DC, or we discuss dates for the diary - often his work travel dates.

Lizzabadger Sun 19-Jun-11 19:31:53

Hi Spell,
Social Anxiety Disorder is really very common - it's just that people don't talk about it. It sounds like, like most people with SAD, you have low self-esteem and it also sounds as though you might be a bit depressed. Can you go back to you GP and ask for anti-depressants (I think paroxetine is recommended for SAD) and to get on the waiting list for CBT? This should be available through your local "Improving Access to Psychological Therapies" service.

In the meantime, try not to drink too much alcohol (not saying you do - just that often people with SAD do use alcohol to cope with social situations). Can you schedule a little exercise into your week? Even a short brisk walk everyday will help. Acting "as if" you value yourself (e.g. making an effort with your appearance) may help you start to work on you self-esteem.

Two good books, based on CBT principles, are "Overcoming Social Anxiety Disorder" and "Overcoming Low Self-Esteem". Amazon should have both.

Your husband's comment was appalling. Does him make other comments that affect your self-esteem and confidence?

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