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Can you recommend any good books to help DH get to the root of his worries?

(15 Posts)
StepInTheRightDirection Thu 21-Jul-11 22:47:58

I have namechanged because I promised DH I wouldn't post stuff about him here which would make me identifiable, but he's happy for me to post under a new name. Please don't out me if you recognise me. <ha ha, as if...>

Anyway, we have known each other 12yrs, been married for 8 and have 2 dcs under 5.

We seem to go round and round in circles in our relationship. Things are fine for a while, then something stresses DH and he gets very withdrawn (ok, sulky), things deteriorate between him and the kids, nothing awful, just moodiness and lack of patience etc. We "talk" about it which involves me telling him how his behaviour affects the whole family. He broods for a while but never really talks about it. Then a few days pass and things pick up again.

It drives me nuts and a while ago, I realised that DH's lack of self esteem is probably the main reason for this behaviour. (I absolutely hold my hands up to not being perfect either btw) He is very negative about many things and gets stressed a lot. Well, no wonder he's stressed when everything is so rubbish (in his eyes anyway).

Anyway, we were talking the other night when he finally admitted for himself that his self esteem wasn't great and that he realised that he needs to do something about it.

But what? How does he go about it? He is aware that it's something he has to do for himself and has said that he isn't ready to have any type of counselling, but would be willing to do some reading on it. Trust me, this is a big step forward!!

Any recommendations?

Eurostar Thu 21-Jul-11 23:56:11

NHS is big into self-help at the moment. Depending on your area there are probably some things he could do that look different to traditional counselling.

See this page:

StepInTheRightDirection Fri 22-Jul-11 09:05:43

Thank you Eurostar. I haven't heard of Books on Prescription. I know for sure that dh would rather buy it off Amazon than go to the doc and ask for it!

Any other recommendations?

cestlavielife Fri 22-Jul-11 15:23:29

go to library or bookshop self help section and browse some - each person likes different approaches

notevenamousie Fri 22-Jul-11 16:00:57

Mind over Mood is a CBT type book that has theory as well as practice, recommended by a lot of psychologists. You have to be really willing to engage with it but I've used it on and off in the 10 years since my first episode of depression and it has always helped me when I've not just read it but done what it says. It helps change how you think.

BestNameEver Sat 23-Jul-11 15:39:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StepInTheRightDirection Sun 24-Jul-11 20:27:41

I agree with you BestName. There's more to it than low self esteem, but low self esteem is a good starting point. Anything else is being built on wobbly ground if his self esteem isn't where it should be.

BestNameEver Sun 24-Jul-11 21:38:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StepInTheRightDirection Sun 24-Jul-11 23:03:00

i have googled sociopathic traits because I am not exactly sure what they are.

I think I can pretty much say that he is not a sociopath!

wicketkeeper Mon 25-Jul-11 09:51:24

Could be good old fashioned depression - ups and downs, withdrawal, low self-esteem, feeling stressed. It all adds up. My DH suffers from depression, and this all sounds familiar. Btw, stress and depression are different - but stress can lead to depression, and if you are depressed it is harder to cope with stress. His episodes used to last for months and involve prolonged absences from work. We've now worked out a form of words that he's able to use to say he's feeling bad, and we now know what works best, so we've reduced the really bad times down to days rather than weeks/months. I would suggest his low self-esteem is a symptom, not the problem per se. But building his self-esteem won't do him any harm. Be nice to him, he's realised he has a problem and he realises he need to do something about it, and that's a brilliant start.

Books I've found helpful, when I was just beginning to realise the impact DH's illness could have on us -
'Staying Sane' Dr Raj Persaud
'Overcoming Depression' Paul Gilbert
'Malignant Sadness' Lewis Wolpert.

They're all fairly hefty reads, but this is a serious subject and needs serious handling. I suggest you read them too, he needs you to understand, but as he hardly understands it himself he won't be able to explain it to you. These books may give you the language you need to talk about it together.

PS my DH is the kindest most considerate, most intelligent and amusing person I have ever known, he's not in any way defined by his depression, it's just something we have to live with.

niceguy2 Mon 25-Jul-11 09:51:56


I recognise some of the traits you put about your OH in myself a few years ago. Well to be fair I still do sometimes.

When I am upset about something I usually withdraw and to others it will seem a sulk. Hell it probably is a sulk! Not sure if your OH is like me but when I'm like that, the best thing to do is just leave me alone to wallow for a bit. Sooner or later I'll snap out of it and sort myself out. The worst thing you can do is to follow me around asking "Whats wrong?? Why are you like this...etc etc" I think it's a classic case of sometimes men retreat to their caves. Just let us have it for a bit!

This is a major difference in how my ex was with me and my current partner. My ex used to just make things worse by harping on and on. It just ended up going on for days! My OH now, she just walks off, leaves me sulking and after an hour or so when I've no-one to shout at, I'll realise my folly, come out and apologise.

As for self esteem issues. What do you think is causing it? What i mean is, are you sure it's self esteem and not just the way he is and this is just how he react to problems?

StepInTheRightDirection Thu 28-Jul-11 12:19:30

wicketkeeper - yes, I think he could well be a bit depressed too. He says himself that he probably is , but doesn't want to go to the doctor. I think going to the doctor would involve him facing up to it and dealing with it and he would rather just ignore it all and hope it goes away.

niceguy2 - if his "sulks" just lasted a couple of hours, I would be happier just to let him get on with it, but they don't. They can last for days.

I left home after a not-very-good childhood with very low self esteem. I have managed to really improve it over the years and I can see that life is a whole different place and I would love it if he could see it too.

His childhood was difficult too. Without going into too much detail which could out us, his parents moved around a lot and he was dropped into school at crucial times in a country where he couldn't really speak the language. He has a feeling of not belonging in one place or the other. He was especially affected by not doing as well as he could have in the equivalent of the 11+, because of the language thing and not having the education suited to his abilities He now has a degree in engineering. They don't hand out degrees in engineering to just anybody, but he is still convinced that he is not very bright. sad

garlicbutter Thu 28-Jul-11 13:31:49

This is a good, easy, online CBT course - free smile

"Self-Esteem For Dummies" isn't too bad, and is easy to read.

There's also "Overcoming Depression for Dummies" and "Stress Management for Dummies".

Richard Carlson's classic, "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" should be required reading for everyone, imo.

As it happens, I share BestName's scepticism. But hope I'm wrong - good luck!

garlicbutter Thu 28-Jul-11 13:40:56

Oh, and get him running or cycling if he's not disabled and doesn't already. AFAICS it will be a sticking plaster rather than a 'cure' but, for someone as goal-directed as he seems to be, it will give him incremental objectives, a sense of achievement and the endorphin rush he seems to be craving.

StepInTheRightDirection Thu 28-Jul-11 14:44:06

Thanks garlicbutter. I've actually got that Don't Sweat the Small Stuff book so I will pass it in his direction.

He does commute on his bike and I notice a difference if he doesn't do it for a few days in a row, so it definitely helps his mood, but it's not a cure.

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