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Second guessing myself, all the time(19 Posts)
Writing this is going to be hard, but I just want to get it out there. I don't know what's going on in my head at the moment.
To avoid drip-feeding, so far: I was 19 when DH and I met, we had an instant "click" and got engaged soon after. I got pregnant after a few months, at which point DH had a minor breakdown and stopped working for a few weeks. We picked up, he went back to work, and we got a house just before DS was born. I had (with hindsight) problems with PND, and then over time it became clear that DH's mental health issues were getting worse. I had had counselling and perked up a bit by then and found a job, he gave up his, then my health deteriorated and we fell into a benefits trap. (I have regular seizures, so now not only can I not work, DH has to be home as my carer.)
Over the years we have been together, it has become increasingly clear to me that DH has a lot of MH problems centring around Depression and Anxiety. He has tried seeing doctors a few times, but it never sticks. He is convinced that counselling is just... quackery I guess, mind games that he's too clever to be convinced by. (And unfortunately he does have a high IQ, so I guess he's just convinced himself it won't work). He won't take tablets. For a while I chased appointments for him and made phone calls. I can't face it any more - he never goes, and when someone came to the house he refused to speak to them.
My health has gotten worse. DH blames the fact that I am "always" on the computer (which admittedly I am a fair amount of the time) but the doctors have said these are stress-induced seizures for the most part (I have epilepsy, but the epileptic seizures are pretty well under control). I feel like I've turned to the internet over the last couple of years as a window - I don't go out much at all, as DH worries all the time, and it just makes me feel stressful to go out; I feel like I'm always checking in, more so if I am feeling okay and safe enough to take the DC. (We have a 4yo DS and 2yo DD, DS knows what to do, and DD is on reins. I only take one if I am going alone, so I can be in control, and only take DD if I am going out for a very short while or to a place where people know about my health).
DH fluctuates between the happy, gentle man I fell in love with - the man I want to be around - and then the grumpy, snappy man he is when in a low mood. I never know which I'm going to get. He says he worries about me constantly, which means he doesn't sleep well at night, and can't switch off at all if I go out (esp. with the DC), but he also gets cross that I don't do anything except sit at the PC all day. He does all the cooking and washing up, and goes to the shops (neither of us drive), but I do everything else. I put the kids to bed, take DS to school and pick him up (unless I am having a seizure, when DH grumbles about the timing), I keep an eye on them while DH spends hours in the kitchen cooking and washing up and making bread and doing all sorts of wonderful things which give him space to himself.
He is very introverted. He sees former collagues every few weeks, and resents and (I think) is jealous of the fact I have friends I talk to on skype. I have put up with this, have tried to just accept the bad days as "not him, but the depression" and ignored when he yells at the DC or me because he is at the end of his tether. Then, just as I think this is hopeless, or have an argument and stand up for myself, we'll have a good patch, and I feel like the worst person in the world for wanting to leave him. He is so emotionally reliant on me, I feel like I'd be destroying him if I left - not to mention I can't look after the DC alone, because it isn't safe while they are this young.
It's at the point where I am starting to cling to my online friends, and then of course DH accuses me of placing them as more important than our family. I find myself thinking that DH and I have so little in common, so little to talk about, but on a good day I don't care about that. We had an argument earlier and I was all set to call people and find out what I could do, but then it's like it never happened, he's all friendly and happy, and I feel this surge of guilt about it. Part of me wants to delete this and pretend I never typed it, that everything is all hunky-dory, but I can't, I feel like I need to get this out and validate how I feel on a bad day.
This is all a not tricky isnt it.
I thought it was interesting that you said you stand up for yourself, then you will have a good patch.
Personally I wouldnt be too concerned about the not having much in common. Sometimes it can be a case of two halves make a whole ifyswim.
But I get that, ideally he would stand on his own two feet more.
I suppose I cant quite make out from your post quite how bad your marriage is.
But if you just want to vnet about it all vent, vent away.
Another alternative is to give him some ultimatums,but I am not sure you want to do that?
I don't know what I want to do. On the bad days I feel like there are too many bad days, that he is grumpy and irritable all the time, etc. etc. On the good days I feel like surely I'm imagining it, can't be that bad, he's very affectionate and tells me he loves me all the time.
But some of me feels that that is a problem. Emotionally, he relies on me completely. He won't confide problems to anyone else. He has problems with alcohol, but refuses to tell his parents to stop buying beers for when we go round there. He tells me he feels depressed, but won't talk to a doctor.
I feel like I'm a crutch he's leaning on, and sometimes I don't mind, but other times it's too much. It doesn't help that I really don't like confrontation, so I tend to let things slide.
What do you think would happen if you set him some goals or ultimatums?
Realistically? We'd probably have a big argument where he accused me of spending all my time on the computer, he'd maybe storm out of the house in a huff or strategically "go for a walk", and then a few hours later he would be all hugs and apologies and wouldn't bring it up.
It's not looking good, I know. I just...certainly at the moment I have Christmas in mind and not doing anything before then, I just feel so dishonest feeling like this and not saying anything.
I think he is bringing up anything about you, so that he doesnt have you look at him.
It sounds like he is deflecting things awa y from himself.
He knows that if he has a row with you when you bring up things you dont like, that you are discouraged from bringing up the issues again.
So he is getting away with it all.
I dont think he is doing it to be mean to you, but so that he doesnt have to deal with his own issues.
I'm starting to think that more and more myself. I think part of the problem is that I don't want to face our problems either. I've just let things slide and slide, and it's only now that I'm starting to realise that I read old venting diary entries from a few years ago and I could have written them today. I don't want to find more of them and feel like that in another five years.
Equally, I don't want to throw my marriage away if there was something I could have done. I just don't know what that thing is. I turn to online friends because it is my window out, and even though he suggests I get out more, I can't help but notice that a lot of that is "take DD to a playgroup, get out and meet people"
And meanwhile he stays in and doesn't face up to his own problems.
I am finding this difficult to advise as well, because I sort of sense that if he sorted himself out, such as getting proper medical care, you want to stay with him.
There is a book that may or may not help called "Why women talk and Mem Walk. I am not sure all of it is relevant in your case but it may help, or at least give you some more insights.
tbh, what he is doing is not fair on you.
A further down the line option you may have to consider is giving him ultimatums such as you get proper medical care and stick to it or we have to consider separating.
And now I feel like an utter grub, so guilty. I feel like the worst person in the world because it has been a good day; he's affectionate and warm and here I am behind his back, and a few hours ago I was seriously considering leaving, heck, more than that. After an argument yesterday I wanted out.
And now I see his nice side again and I feel awful, because this is the man I love, making pancakes for breakfast, reading to the kids, sitting next to me and giving me a cuddle.
I feel like a complete traitor, as though I'm stabbing him in the back. I hate this feeling. It's like I married two men, and I never know which one I'm going to get, minute to minute.
Thats the trouble for you isnt it.
The niceness is in there.
tbh, I am surprised no other posters have commented. I think you may need more than just my perspective.
What do others say about him in rl,or do they just see the nicer side of him.
He presents his nicer self to everyone else, except perhaps his parents, but then he's only grumpy with them.
He doesn't go on outings with my family - he and my mum don't get along due to an old feud, and although my dad thinks he's lovely, DH says he gets exhausted keeping up the image that he's all fine when he actually feels crap when we go out. He also accuses me of dumping the kids on him when I am with my family, and then of retreating into myself when we are with his.
Other than that, we don't really see people. He goes out to the pub with friends once every blue moon, and occasionally someone will pop round to our house for a few hours, but other than that, there's nothing. It's the main reason I spend my time on the computer - to have someone else to talk to.
I wonder if this is what is meant by co-dependency? It might be worth having a read on google about that.
You don't have to be with this person. You are a person by yourself, and so is he. Perhaos it would be better to try and manage apart for some time - maybe just a month - or try going to Relate or something together, to try and fathom what is going on.
Eds, I don't know how we could spend time apart though. He's my carer as well as my husband, and it's not safe for me to be alone with the kids - and when he is down I worry that he shouts at them too much, so I don't want to leave them with him either.
Yes, sorry, that could be a problem. Maybe the counselling thing then?
There are some things in your post which look worrying:
1) you feel responsible for your DH's emotional well-being
2) you are physically dependent on him
3) his moods fluctuate
4) he yells at you, and is ill-tempered, which you've learned to blame on depression and thus put up with
5) he doesn't like you having friends or chatting to people online
6) he checks up on you when you leave the house, such that you dread going out
7) sometimes he is lovely and you feel terribly guilty for your own anger ( he's so lovely, how can I have been so awful? ..... a very familiar thought pattern)
8) after an argument he feels fine, even happy, and acts as if nothing has happened
9) he sounds overly proud of his IQ and thinks it excuses him from seeking treatment (depressed people usually suffer from low self worth)
10) he attacks you for not doing what he thinks you should be doing
11) you want to get back the nice man you married
12) in between rowing he is excessively affectionate, telling you he loves you all the time
13) he presents a pleasant face to the public
14) your health is deteriorating
15) you are isolated and don't see people
Given what you've said, your experiences have a lot in common with those of people in an emotionally abusive relationship. Right down to the big rush to get engaged at the start of the relationship. And your title, second-guessing myself, which you didn't elaborate on.
That may come as a shock, I don't know.
In the short term, perhaps try keeping a diary of your experiences, somewhere very private that he can't access? This will give you a clearer idea of what is going on.
Also maybe look into independent support for your health problems.... You need to be able to get out for short trips, for example, without having to keep reporting in. Apart from the fact that an anxious depressive is not an ideal carer, there is the practical point of 'what if he was incapacitated...or worse?' It can happen.
I'm so sorry you're going through this OP. If you can find any sort of counselling, do try it. It may be the step forward you need.
Well, I would have to agree with a fair portion of that list, I guess, though I'm not 100% sure about all.
He has recently started encouraging me to go out, with a view to making other friends, albeit other mums who I have said before I don't have a huge amount in common with. I think his main issue is with the friends I have online.
The checking up on me tends to be if I am longer than I say I will be, or don't call at a pre-arranged time. A couple of times I have had seizures while out, so I guess I do understand his concern there, though to my mind it's not like anything bad will happen if I have a seizure. It's an inconvenience, but I've never been hurt.
As far as getting back the nice man I married, this is where it get silly on my part. We got married last year and in the months leading up to it the current major downward swing started, I think from the stress of planning things and wanting it to go his way (and then getting cross when it didn't - he's still cross that one of my second cousins turned up at the reception for 10 minutes or so to say hi, because he wanted it to be "small" and a lot more people than he expected ended up being invited). In hindsight, this is where I am starting to wonder why on earth I didn't back out at the time - I had concerns, but the date was approaching fast and I felt... I don't know, I hate confrontation, and I was convincing myself it would all be fine I guess. And then on the day it was okay, and he was the DH I loved that day, and afterwards I settled back into another rut of ticking along.
As for his sense of self-worth, he does have lower self esteem than almost anyone I have met in most areas, but knows he is clever thanks to having been told it many times. It's this weird contradiction, he claims he's worthless a lot of the time, but can act so arrogantly at others.
Just realised I never explained the second guessing part.
I suppose I mean by that, over the last few weeks I had all but worked myself up about this to the point I was ready to say "that's it, this just isn't working", but every time I get to that point in my head (and I've reached it a few times now, not just in this "bout" but going back a couple of years) I suddenly find myself thinking "no, it's not that bad at all, he's being really nice" and then tear myself up with guilt thinking surely I must be a bad person for thinking of leaving him.
Also, after stewing on this for a little longer (it's messing with my head so much at the moment) I find myself thinking, no, surely, he's not abusive, he's just ill. And I do genuinely feel that he's not doing this deliberately, but it doesn't make it any less damaging.
He's not well at the moment (seems to catch every passing bug there is) and I made a bit of a weak joke about manflu which he snapped about, saying he really is ill and doesn't need me mocking him, and if it was a joke well it wasn't funny. I bit back a reply that the jokes where he pokes fun at things I'm interested in aren't funny either. (It's actually the one thing; I write fantasy and he doesn't like it, so makes "jokes" about everything being elves when I talk about books or films or games that I like. It was funny the first time, sure, but he's kept it going for months, despite me telling him it really isn't funny.)
Perhaps it is time to write things down about things that are bugging you,and give it to him.
And make sure that if he then turns around and complains about you , that you say "we are talking about you".
Ans if he tries to deflect again , say again "we are tlaking about you". Etc, you get the idea.
And keep a copy for yourself of the note,to see if he ends up changing anything on there.
Do you think he is stressed and that ends up causing him more illnesses?
Do you think he is happy about how he is. I am guessing not, but he is too frightened to try and change things.
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