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Feel like I'm drowning(2 Posts)
Regular. NCer. If you recognise me, please don't mention my usual NN on the thread as DH knows it, and though I doubt he'd search for my posts I'd rather remove the risk entirely.
We've been together 4 years, married for 2, and now have a 9mo DS.
We've been through so much shit together. Including homelessness and losing my mum to cancer. Both of us have mental health problems. I struggle with depression and self harm. He struggles with depression, an anxiety disorder and is on the autistic scale. He's been on anti depressants since he was 7, and was in a psych unit when he was 13. He also had to leave school when he was 11 after bullies hospitalised him and the LA wouldn't just let him transfer to a new school. He also has ME. About 6 months after we met I developed severe back problems which left me bed bound for the best part of a year. DH was my carer. I still struggle now.
So, as you can see, life has been hard for us.
We are both carrying a shit ton of emotional baggage.
Should also point out that when I was 18 I was in a relationship with an emotionally abusive partner. Who wore me down with his constant jealousy and emotional blackmail. He started off by stopping me seeing single men, then attached men, then single females (they might lead me astray), then tried to stop me seeing attached females (in case I fell for their partners). I couldn't go anywhere without him, and would be checked up on every 5 minutes. There was also certain rituals that I had to go through with to avoid a fight. Eg. he'd text me to say "I love you" and I had to reply within 5 minutes with "I love you too", any deviation from this and there was a blazing row. The text ritual was repeated every half an hour that I wasn't with him. I was with him a year and a half before I finally managed to free myself. So, yeah, lots of emotional baggage.
Anyway, fast forward to meeting DH.
BTW, I will say now, this is going to be long and probably boring. I'm more looking to get it off my chest than get advice. I know what the advice will be, I know what I'd say to someone who told me all this, and I'm scared shitless.
DH has a bit of a victim complex, which is not surprising given his past. He is also a dreadful pessimist, which I suspect is mostly because his mum is as well, she is the only person I know who could find the negative side in a cure for cancer. She's like a positivity vacuum. DH can sometimes manage to spot that he's slipping into negativity unneccesarily, but it's difficult to break the habit of a lifetime. On top of this his mum is also almost totally incapable of showing affection, instead she just gives presents and money. As such DH has always been spoilt rotten (financially) and he's never had to wait for anything or learn to budget. He's also never been in debt. Neither has she surprisingly. All of this adds up to him thinking that;
a) the world owes him
b) spending money makes up for lack of affection
c) everything is doomed
in my head his theme tune is "It's the End of the World as we know it
d) everyone hates him
Bizarrely MIL also likes to drone on about how irresponsible he is, and how he's selfish and lazy. Ignoring the fact that most of these things she has encouraged! Also ignoring that if you tell someone they are a certain way for long enough (say from childhood) then it is likely to become a self fulfilling prophecy. She also sees me as financially irresponsible because when I met DH I was in debt, mostly due to the fact I'd been made redundant 3x in a row (she's had the same job since she left school), and none of my redundancies included redundancy pay! I also have a student loan from when I went to Uni. So to her, I look reckless. So DH gets told how reckless I am, and while most of the time he can see I'm not, he sometimes fall victim to her logic. Which is understandable after she's been going on for an hour or so, even I start to think she has a point!
So that makes the relationship quite hard work. It doesn't excuse him, but it explains him.
Due to DH's anxiety disorder he has regular panic attacks, he is on medication, but it does very little. He is also not getting any therapy as the local CMHT have told him he is too messed up to help. Helpful. As such he hates to be on his own, it brings on the panic attacks.
Which wouldn't be a problem if it wasn't for the fact that the only person around is me. He only really has one friend, and I use the word friend loosely. Mostly because he pushes people away, part of him thinking everyone hates him. So if someone does even the slightest thing that disadvantages him/hurts him he takes it as proof they hate him. And pushes them away. Therefore he has less friends which reinforces his view that everyone hates him. Which makes him more sensitive to slights and so on and so forth.
Unfortunately the friends that he does have tend to be the kind of people that have noticed that he's learnt to show affection through financial means, and so they are sweetness and light until their freeloading is forced to stop. Usually by me. So that means he trusts people even less. Seriously vicious circle.
The only reason our relationship made it this far is because I am a stubborn person who could see what was happening and refused to be part of the cycle. So I stuck by him. Even when he was pushing me away.
Don't get me wrong, I am no saint! I come with my own baggage, part of which is that I loathe confrontation (not surprising given my history) and am more likely to just carry a burden quietly than deal with it openly. Which means I clam up and refuse to talk about what is bothering me. Which in turns drives him mad and means he doesn't trust me when I say that nothing is bothering me.
Which leads to arguments along the lines of
Him - Are you ok?
Me - I'm fine
Him - Are you sure?
Me - Yep
Him - You don't seem fine?
Me - I'm fine really
Him - You can tell me you know?
Me - (through gritted teeth) I'm fine
Him - You look tense?
Me - I'm. Fine.
Him - No need to be snappy
Me - I'm fucking fine
So we both end up annoyed.
I also need a lot of space, which obviously is the opposite of what he needs. Which means that either he is freaking out or I'm inwardly seething. And it's usually the latter.
Another problem is that he tends to signpost whenever he does something for me. Eg. if he's done the washing up it's always accompanied by "I've done the washing up". And he does do a lot around the house, it's not all me. It's just he can't see that, he can only see what he does, because I don't declare it every time. And I can't bring myself to.
His anxiety also means that he gets irritable much quicker, so tiny problems get blown out of proportion. Eg. he'll knock a glass over and spill it and that will put a big black cloud over the rest of the day. And when he's in that kind of a mood he projects his feelings onto others. Which is where the last conversation tends to happen. He'll think I'm acting out of sorts when it's him. And if I point it out to him he just can't see it and is already so wound up that he's incapable of stepping back, instead he takes it as a personal attack.
Right now DS is teething, which means he's a whingy, non-sleeping, unsettled little boy. Of course DH struggles to cope with it. So I do most of the childcare. Aside from when DS is cheerful and fun. Again, he is a good dad, and does a lot for DS, but is quick to reach the end of his tether. He's much more likely than me to have to walk away from DS when he's whinging. Which is fair enough, but hard on me.
Another problem is the money issue. Neither of us can work right now, so money is tight. But he really goes for retail therapy. Mostly the money gets spent little by little. So it'll be a £2 item here, a £5 there, and it adds up. It adds up quickly.
Crap he's home be back later
"I know what the advice will be, I know what I'd say to someone who told me all this, and I'm scared shitless"
So cut to the chase perhaps? You've realised you're with someone who uses his 'emotional baggage' as an excuse for bad behaviour, that it's bringing you low and that you'd probably be better off without him... (guessing)
The thing to address therefore is what is scaring you shitless. Independent life? His reaction? Money? Your child? Work out what it is that's principally preventing you from moving on and maybe that'll help.
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