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Husband can't deal with stress

(32 Posts)
samoa Sat 01-Dec-12 09:13:38

Ok, so we have had a pretty stressful year, but now it is over. My husband though has really big problems getting over things that do not go his way. Just now, something has not gone his way and now he says that he cannot take it anymore and is depressed (I have heard this once every 2 weeks for the last 10 years). I know that he has suffered from depression in the past but this seems to me more like: things have not gone the way that I want so I am going to sulk. I cannot take this anymore, it is ruining our lives. I feel like anger is the only emotion he is familiar with and it is sucking out the happiness of our lives. He takes it out on me, he can't even talk to me properly as if he is aiming all his anger towards me. And if i say something then he says that i am against him. I am at my wits end of living with a sulky individual. Please help.

iwasyoungonce Sat 01-Dec-12 09:21:51

Could he actually have depression though? Would a visit to the GP an idea?

I completely empathise because my DH is very similar. Part of me feels sorry for him because he gets stressed so easily, and very down about things.

The other part of me wishes he would stop being such a twat, grow up and deal with stuff like an adult.

It's really hard to keep those "other" feelings to myself sometimes, and remain supportive.

iwasyoungonce Sat 01-Dec-12 09:25:33

Does he acknowledge that his behaviour is not normal/ a problem? What does HE think he should do?

KatieScarlett2833 Sat 01-Dec-12 09:26:11

I wish someone had told me the cure to anxiety/depression was "grow up and deal with stuff as an adult"

Would have saved me years of therapy and meds.

OP, if your DH had epilepsy and took fits would you blame him for that?

Because if he does have MH issues, it's exactly the same thing but with added pain, confusion, misery and self-loathing.

However, he needs to get treatment. ASAP.

EdithWeston Sat 01-Dec-12 09:28:52

I think you need to work out if you want to mend your marriage, or if this is too much and you need to separate for a while to consider your options.

Do not underestimate how much this will be taking its toll on you, for it is all too easy to lose sight of yourself when your partner withdraws. The creeping corrosive effect on a relationship can be enormous, and you don't always see how bad it has become until there is a crisis. These latest events might just serve as that crisis, and be the stimulus to either a real attempt at putting things right or to the recognition that it is beyond mending.

Do you have support in RL? Do you have friends that you feel good about yourself and life when you see them?

What about him - has he sought treatment for depression before, and is he arranging it now? is he capable of seeing the detrimental effects that have already accrued? Is he ready to work on healing himself, and in hand with that, your relationship?

Letsmakecookies Sat 01-Dec-12 09:29:39

Whatever the background or diagnosis, ultimately any adult is personally and solely responsible for their behaviour. If he is taking stress out on you, won't talk to you in an adult manner and is angry at you, this is behaviour that he needs to own and take the consequences for.

Honestly, I would sit down, clearly tell him that you will no longer accept this, that you will support him in any positive action he takes to remedy it, and if he continues that you will lay a clear consequence down (of your choosing)- be it that you will ask him to not participate in a family activity if he is mr sulkypants that day or you will confront him with his behaviour, or that you will ask him to leave full stop.

I lived in a similar relationship, and in all honesty can now say that in my case he used his 'unhappiness' as ammunition to emotionally abuse me. He is now my x. Depression is absolutely no excuse for not controlling your behaviour, or for acting like a stroppy teenager.

Firelighters Sat 01-Dec-12 09:36:36

Hi Samos, we have something similar. It may be that he does have some kind of mild depression. However there are ways to try of dealing with this, without assuming he's mentally ill, and I think they're worth trying .They're a little unfair, because the responsibility is all yours, but things can become more manageable.

First he needs to acknowledge that he does it. Behaviour like this can be quite passive aggressive and controlling so I think you need to talk when he's not sulking and stressed, and make him accept that he does it. Even use humour, whatever, but he can't pretend he doesn't do it.

Second he needs to acknowledge he directs it at you.

Both of these mean that the next time it happens you can say - "Look - You're doing it again, remember what this is, remember we talked about it, remember you can't take it out on me". He needs to be able to take himself off and be in a grump somewhere, for an hour, for example. You both need to have it out in the open so that you can say, "go away, be in a grump, deal with it, come back with a smile on your face" - like you would with a child, because it is quite childish (and not necessarily depression).

One of the worst things with this I've found is the silent presence of a sulky, brooding, snappy grown man, and unless this person is out of the way for a while, things can really escalate and get worse.

The next thing is, finding a way between you for him to make things up to you so that it's a bit less unfair. Once he's acknowledged what he does it shouldn't be too difficult. So if he has a harrumph on a Sunday and buggers off to the shed for two hours (with your grateful blessing - I was ALWAYS pleased to get rid!) then he should acknowledge that you then need two hours of, a soak in the bath, or dinner made, or something like that.

But TALK about it, use humour, do whatever you need to do to make him acknowledge what he's doing.

Firelighters Sat 01-Dec-12 09:38:37

I don't know the ins and outs of what your relationship is like but I can say, it's not necessarily going to be cured by tablets or splitting up.

merlottits Sat 01-Dec-12 09:43:06

He sounds depressed. Depressed people don't often sit weeping, rocking in a chair they can be angry, confrontational and just plain nasty to be around.
I say that as the depressed person in my marriage. I don't cope well with stress.

You sound very unsympathetic and cold about it. Maybe if you rephrase in your head sulking=depression. Anger is often misplaced sadness and fear.

Your DH needs to accept he has a problem, in the same way an addict does. It is NOT acceptable to say "this is the way I am, live with it".

It is hard living with a person with depression. They do suck the joy out of family life when things are bad, this is why it's such a horrible disease sad

iwasyoungonce Sat 01-Dec-12 09:45:18

KatieScarlett - of course I am aware that the cure to anxiety/depression is not to just "grow up etc."

But you are making the leap that the root of the problem IS anxiety/depression.

Sometimes I think my DH DOES need to just grow up. Some men are just moody and sulky. This is why I asked the OP if her husband realises his behaviour isn't normal.

samoa Sat 01-Dec-12 09:45:57

I have supported him the last 10 years, but now I am just starting to see that he can't deal with much. And to me it no longer seems like depression but actually sulking because he cannot get his way with something. He has gotten help in the past, until 2 years ago he was seeing a psychologist for more than 10 years.

One of you said that if he had epilepsy would i blame him? I know what you mean, but when someone keeps on saying that he is depressed for everything that is not going his way and that he has reached his tipping point, nearly every 2 weeks, one has to ask, well have you really tipping point yet? His friends that he has always been like that, that he always says that he is in crisis.

I am getting tired and drained, of being with somebody who spends most of his time miserable and sulky. I am too embarassed of talking to anybody about it. Last night we went out with friend and my dh spent most of the time saying how rubbish everything is, sat there sulking most of the time and when he did talk to me would do as if i am the source of all his troubles.

I was supposed to go an spend a few days with my grandmother is unwell, but now i don't think i can go because apparently dh deprressed and has reached tipping point again. How can i leave our dd with somebody who feels like that, but can't take my dd with me because my grandmother is too unwell and i would be going there to look after her.

samoa Sat 01-Dec-12 09:48:48

I wish he would just go away for a few hours, but he doesn't he just hangs around and shouts. If i go out, then he says that i am abandoning him

KatieScarlett2833 Sat 01-Dec-12 09:50:45


OP said that she knows he has suffered from depression in the past.

Not such a leap, really, if you think about it.

OP, I'm not saying you need to suck it up, only that if he is ill he's not doing this on purpose and needs more help than you can give him. If he refuses to seek help and act on it, no-one in the world would blame you for saying enough is enough.

Hope that clarifies.

samoa Sat 01-Dec-12 10:04:45

He has suffered from depression because when he was a child his parents had a really bad divorce and then when he was in his early 20s his father died. I realise this and i am there to help. But it is just turning into me being a verbal punching bag and living in misery. He also has really big issues with control.

I don't want to leave him. I just need new solutions

KatieScarlett2833 Sat 01-Dec-12 10:08:34

You may need to pull out the big guns if he refuses to get help.

If he is ill, he needs help you can't and shouldn't be expected to provide.

I feel for you. It's a nightmare.

samoa Sat 01-Dec-12 10:28:38

What are the big guns?

Letsmakecookies Sat 01-Dec-12 10:29:33

As a HV pointed out to me recently regarding my x's behaviour, other people have had far far worse childhoods than your DH and don't behave like that, they are actually quite normal, lovely people. That is really not an excuse. Whatever the causes of his behaviour, you have choices. You don't have to just accept it. And there are plenty of mothers on here with depression, who still care for their children and get on with life.

There is an element of codependency in what you say, similar to someone living with an addict or alcoholic. "I realise that and am here to help" next sentence "me being a verbal lunching bag". Do you realise how passive and martyrish it sounds? Just what I would have said in the past, but essentially it is enabling your DHs behaviour and not making him aware of the consequences of it. You need to redress the balance of the relationship and be more aware of your own needs, wants and feelings.

Is there no one else that can look after you child while you see your grandmother, or really no way you can both go? When my grandmother was still alive, I sacrificed seeing her because I didn't want to leave my x looking after my children, and she passed away shortly after I finally snapped and asked him to leave. It is a hard one to forgive either him or myself for, and not a mistake I would make again.

KatieScarlett2833 Sat 01-Dec-12 10:32:30

"Get help today and stick to it or I'm off"

the general gist, that is, you could probably phrase it better wink

samoa Sat 01-Dec-12 10:42:33

I know letsmakecookies. My mother had terrible things happen to her when when she was a teenager but she chooses not to dwell on it because she wants to get on with her life. and she does. But my dh just wants to dwell on everything and is intent on bringing us down as well.

I have told him to get help but his response is 'you get help'. And i am wondering how much help has help him. He went to see a psychologist for 10 years and to be quite frank i don't see how that has helped him. He just dwells on what he should have done etc.

I mean at the moment the problem is that he has signed some paper that he did not read properly and now he can't go back on it. We have to find another solution, it is clear. No he wants to dwell on it and now says that he is depressed and at tipping point again because of it. And he shouts at me and now we will have to live for a month with him sulking about it. But the thing is is that he signed this paper without reading properly so now he has to deal with. Shit happens, he should have read it properly. No, he thinks that this is unfair and that I am against him. I am not against him, i just want to help find another solution because he signed a legal document that he can go back on! Does this sound normal?!

KatieScarlett2833 Sat 01-Dec-12 10:45:11

No, OP, that is totally unacceptable. sad

Letsmakecookies Sat 01-Dec-12 10:56:17

The thing you have to remember is that you have the choice not to be brought down by him. I am not saying ltb, but you can set down boundaries (essentially 'the big guns'), you can ignore his behaviour and let him strop quietly in a corner like a petulant toddler, you can ask him to leave. His behaviour is not adult and it is not acceptable. If you need help to do this, there are plenty of books out there, or a sensible friend/therapist can help you decide what you can and can't put up with and what to do about it.

Therapy might not be the way he fixes himself, some people are immune to therapy (my x certainly was, he heard what he wanted to and it was hilarious if it hadn't been so tragic). But it is not your job to fix him. That is his responsibility.

My x told me to 'get help' and actually it was the best thing I did, because I had a lovely therapist who spent a year teaching me that basically there was nothing wrong with me and I had a choice not to accept his treatment of me. I am eternally grateful to his arrogance that I must be mentally ill, as I was deeply unhappy.

Your husband is choosing not to find a solution, he is choosing to dwell on it, he is choosing to be depressed (in this scenario) because of his mistake, he is choosing to sulk/shout. Do not help him fix his problem, treat him like a child (as that is the way he is behaving) and give him the responsibility of sorting out his own mess. He is just transferring this responsibility away from himself and wanting an adult to make his boo boo better. You need to decide if you want a child-parent relationship with him, or a relationship of two adults.

Letsmakecookies Sat 01-Dec-12 10:58:09

re reading the last paragraph, probably should say " don't treat him like a child" even though that is the way he is behaving, don't give him the option of being the baby in the relationship.

KatieScarlett2833 Sat 01-Dec-12 10:58:24

should have said letsmakecookies can phrase it much better grin

Excellent post above

Letsmakecookies Sat 01-Dec-12 11:08:28


Lueji Sat 01-Dec-12 12:23:31

re reading the last paragraph, probably should say " don't treat him like a child" even though that is the way he is behaving, don't give him the option of being the baby in the relationship.


Call him up on it. So you signed the paper. Deal with it. What are you going to do about it or next.
Or: If you want to dwell on it, do it away from me and don't make my life miserable too.

My ex MIL is very much like that and it's so tiring!

My ex was diagnosed with social anxiety, but to be honest I think it's mostly him being selfish and only thinking about himself and how others think of him, having no empathy.
Because he was abusive but always thinking about appearances and at the same time not minding enough about how he appeared to others, if that makes sense.

But even if it's mental illness you have to see if it's damaging you and your family.
Would you pick up yourself a bed ridden H if you had a bad back, or would you ask for help?
Would you let a H with epilepsy drive the children to school?

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