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MH issues and abuse : when is enough enough ?

(34 Posts)
kitty4paws Tue 28-Jun-11 20:04:21

Quick summary:
Dh has no short term memory, forgets stuff from 5 minutes ago, even BIG stuff e.g. a death in the family.

This I can cope with but his agression and mood swings is just sooo hard to live with. I have had a good 6 months of being continutally on egg shells around him, dreading the next outburst.

But on the flip side he is otherwise a lovely man, great with the kids ( unless he's in a mood of course).

We were so happy together before all this came upon us, not sure what the casue is ( stress ?? Depression ??) how long it will last will he ever be "right" again.

I feel a total, total failure as a wife, I have let him down, I am just the WORST person he could have as a carer. But I feel like I can't take anymore, but than I think , "but its ILLNESS" and then everyone will look at me and think I am a complete b***h for treatign him like this.

Help !

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Tue 28-Jun-11 20:09:59

What caused the memory loss?

Does he have a diagnosis? Eg. for depression

If not, will he see his GP?

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Tue 28-Jun-11 20:10:56

What caused the memory loss?

Does he have a diagnosis? Eg. for depression

If not, will he see his GP?

HerHissyness Tue 28-Jun-11 20:13:05

Love, you have had a dreadful time of late, this is of course a huge strain.

You are not the worst person he could have, far, far, far from it! You have fought tirelessly for him, against all odds (and your own DSIS, if memory serves)

Could you get a bit of decent YOU time? to de-stress a bit? It might help?

kitty4paws Tue 28-Jun-11 20:13:07

yes he has been to gp , consultant etc this has been going on for a year, current diasgnosis is functional amnesia

kitty4paws Tue 28-Jun-11 20:14:07

he is taking ad but they seem to have little effect

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Tue 28-Jun-11 20:18:55

Sorry for double post.

I don't mean to dismiss your feelings OP: it must be a terrible strain for you (and the DC) to deal with erratic and aggressive behaviour. You have a right to your feelings without calling yourself a bitch, and you need support too (friends to lean on, or counselling, for example).

I think a lot will depend on what is in fact medically wrong with your DP, and how treatable it is.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Tue 28-Jun-11 20:21:22

Is there another treatment being considered, if ADs prove ineffective?

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Tue 28-Jun-11 20:24:38

Thinking about your headline question, enough is enough when your limit is reached. What do you think that limit would be for you?

timehealsall Tue 28-Jun-11 20:29:04


Hello - sorry to read your story - in many ways I was your husband once to someone else.

Mental health issues like depression can be seem like a factor in bad behaviours BUT they are NOT an excuse. They just aren't. So do not feel like a failure for not feeling you can put up with unacceptable behaviour. You are not. You are human, you've clearly already put up with a lot under the auspices of "he's ill" and I bet his problems don't cause this kind of behaviour with anyone else (maybe parents - but you know anyone else who wouldn't put up with it who I might feel equally depressed around at times).

You are not a b***h - this is very important to realise.

The truth is if he WANTS to get on top of this and be the lovely man he can be all the time he can do - but he needs to seek out help HIMSELF. No-one can "fix" anyone else - people have to want to fix themselves and sometimes to do that they need to realise the damage they're doing and just what's at stake.

If you haven't already had enough of him you can be a catalyst in making him realise this by being tough with him and telling him straight he's being abusive and you WILL NOT let mental illness be an excuse for that anymore. However many on here will warn you that can be a dangerous route to take, and they're right so if you do it please be cautious and consider whether direct confrontation may be dangerous.

Many others I expect will advise just getting out.

None of us really know you or him, and all of us have our own prejudice based on our own experiences - but whatever you do decide to do please don't do nothing and please protect yourself and your children. And stop blaming yourself for not being good enough. It's the unacceptable face of mental illness - plenty of mentally ill people manage to be depressed without taking it out on their partners in agression.

SpringchickenGoldBrass Tue 28-Jun-11 20:32:59

Just because your H is ill does not mean that you no longer matter and will just have to put up with being abused by him because he 'can't help it.'
ONe thing to consider is unless he is verbally or physically aggressive to other people then MH issues aside, he is at least to some extent choosing to mistreat you.
I suggest you see the GP yourself and explain that your H's illness is making him abusive in the home and you are not sure you can continue allowing him to remain in the home much longer because he is abusive: ask what sort of respite care and help etc is available to him.

pointythings Tue 28-Jun-11 20:33:05

I agree that some form of depression is trhe most likely cause, but just out of left field...

How old is your DH, OP? Dementia can in rare cases strike early (mid-late forties). Aggression and mood swings are ringing alarm bells for me, especially if he was not always like this.

thompson369 Tue 28-Jun-11 20:51:18

I am going through something similar to you, my husband has been abusing drugs but is otherwise a lovely man. I feel so sad and frustrated that this is tearing my family apart but I got to a point where I just could not live with him anymore. Since he has gone he has sought treatment and whilst I'm not what one would term "happy" I do now feel a sense of calm and like the future has other possibilities than my and my two girls' lives revolving around his issues.
of course you may not be at the point of wanting to separate just yet, it's a very personal thing. If however it is something you are pondering then I can tell you that it hasn't been easy but it's perhaps not as bad as you would imagine.
I wish you all the best x x x

kitty4paws Tue 28-Jun-11 20:54:12

pointythings :

It as initially thought that is was dementia, but he has been scanned and tested to within a inch of his life and (as far as it is medically possible to do) dementia has been ruled out.

the thing that hurts is that he "saves" this agression for ME just for ME, no oen else so there is an element of choice , and is P***es me off that the "illness" card is played , not just by him bu tby others e.g. HCP, family etc

I woudl confront him over his behaviour ( and I have in the past) but as he forgets as soon as I have said anythign then nothing "sticks" , we are back to square one EVERY time !!

kitty4paws Tue 28-Jun-11 21:05:22

my main worry is that if he doesn't live with us ( even if just whilst he gets better) then that in itself will be detrimental to his recovery, caught between a rock and a hard place.

thompson369 Tue 28-Jun-11 21:18:14

I also worried about that - but after a year of putting up with it, him denying there was a problem, nights where he'd be up until god knows what time and me screaming at him to get help and then going to work after two hours sleep i realised that in my situation it made it no better for him to be here and far worse for me and the kids. They are only 3 and 1 so in some ways it is easier to hide things from them - to a point. addiction problems are not the same as depression though and it sounds like you dh admits he has a problem as he has been seeking medical help.
You can still support him even if you have time apart, tough love I guess it's called.

kitty4paws Tue 28-Jun-11 21:22:09

thompson :
I am getting to the point that I think being here in this family is doing him more harm than good. But how to set up time away / treatment without making him feel awful, let down etc I just don't know how to do it ?

kitty4paws Tue 28-Jun-11 21:22:57

P.S. is his accepting help ( to a certin extent) but my line in the sand is no treament = no living with the family PERIOD

cestlavielife Tue 28-Jun-11 21:33:24

it would not be a failure to seek respite from this behaviour assuming it linked to his "illness".
you have DC to think of here.

does he stay with you 24/7? do you and DC get to go away stay with family /friends without him?
does his diagnosis come with a recovery time scale? does his diagnosis coem with agressive behaviour? if so which meds would cut that out? what strategies/behavioural approaches are they working with you on?

you say he saves agression for you -then he does have some control.
my ex had depression got aggressive/violent etc, does have MH issues and yes it was hard sorting out what was MH what was abusive behaviour - but fact is if someone is agressive/angry etc towards you (for whatever reason) then it isnt right that you put up with it. you don't have to live with that.

where is the medical evidence that doing this to you and taking it out on you helps his recovery?
at what cost? your own mental health?

in sickness and in health does not require you to suffer from his ill health, not to this degree - nor your DC. how old are they?

you would not treat a cancer yourself or a broken leg - you dont have to become his "treatment" day in day out. seek help/respite care.

if you can get regular respite from him (you have become his carer after alll) eg he goes away to stay with friends/family or hospital - or you get to go away from him - then fine chose to stick with him....but if you cant build in respite from this awful behaviour then you becoming a martyr.

if you take it he is ill - well fine but no one should have to live with that kind of behaviour day in day out. you will suffer so will your DC. ask for meds to control this behaviour calm him down. espec if there is no time scale for recovery...

my exP's GP has written letters saying being with his DC etc could "help his recovery" - well cr&p to that - the DC are not there to treat him, when he has treated them badly (long story) .

you have to put you and DC first in this - if it really is part of his illness you must consider seeking respite away from him and real help with caring for him...if he can actually function on his own get dressed make his dinner etc - then leave him alone for a weekend and see how you feel.

you've given six months to being with him - no recovery.
what realistic prospects another six months will make much difference?

what if you live apart and only see him on good days?
what incentive might that be to his recovery? what meds could calm him?
maybe he will never get better - what about a few years down the line? how will you look back?

start getting breaks from him away from these moods for your own sake. every carer needs respite ...

maybe try using written instructions/visual reminders as to how to behave ?

thompson369 Tue 28-Jun-11 21:36:33

I was just honest, crunch point came when I found White powder on the sideboard when i got in from work. He'd been at home with the kids taking stuff. I simply said I can't live like this any longer, you've had so many chances, this isn't what I want but your behaviour has simply left me with no choice.
Do you have a good support network nearby? my family have been great and am enormous help.
I got to a point where i felt that separating was the only option to get some stability back.
He probably will feel awful, but then so do you now so what can you do. I realised that mine and the kids happiness and security took priority over him. He had loads of chances before it got to this point.

thompson369 Tue 28-Jun-11 21:38:55

Totally agree with cestlavielife by the way

kitty4paws Tue 28-Jun-11 21:45:18

_where is the medical evidence that doing this to you and taking it out on you helps his recovery?
at what cost? your own mental health?_

Good point , I do feel that the MH services think of me as part of his therapy,

And to be honest I think I am NOT helping him, I am making things worse.

He can't really be left on his own but that's not to say it is unforseeable that he might not live with us.

I couldn't see a way past all this but all of your replies have given me a differnt perspective.

He could move out, get to a level of "illness" that I / DCs can cope with and then move back in. If his behaviour deterioriates then rinse and repeat.

I think I had the idea that once he had "gone" that was it ,no return EVER, but there is allways the option of things getting back to normal when HE is more back to normal IYSWIM.

_you've given six months to being with him - no recovery.
what realistic prospects another six months will make much difference?_

Another very good point smile

cestlavielife Tue 28-Jun-11 21:50:22

read the reviews of the book out - ruth morley -
But What Comes After…
by Ruth Leon

yes she sticks by him - but

what is key here is no small children.

if no young DC in the mix - it is fine to dedicate yourself to your H undergoing such issue...with DC - well either you ship them out to relatives/friends or you decide not to live full time with H. for DC's sake.

as thompson 369 said " I realised that mine and the kids happiness and security took priority over him"

my and the Dc well being come above my exP - fact is he got depressed with us, he is depressed without us. we cannot cure him. but we have a far happier life without the moods etc. (and his beahaviour was abusive) making a decision to put DC first is hard but you do have that choice to make. they can still visit with him. but not live on edge, in fear of next outburst. they only get one childhood

kitty4paws Tue 28-Jun-11 21:50:38

cestlavielife : I think I shall print out your reply, laminate it, possibly highlight with decrative flowers the "best " bits and give to my HCP ,, oh and FRAMED !

cestlavielife Tue 28-Jun-11 21:54:08

anne sheffield in her v good book makes point that children living with depressive parent (and is imilar casee) can go on to have MH problems - but this can be mitigated if they spend plenty of time around ahppy, well relatives/friends. chapter 12

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