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MNrs with depressed partners - how do you know it's them not you

(99 Posts)
MarriedToMrGrumpy Sun 01-Sep-13 13:22:30

For a long time we have had problems. And for a long time I've thought it was my fault, because dh told me so. If only I would have more sex, if only I wouldn't do housework at the weekends, if only I didn't work so much.... lots and lots of reasons that sounded valid, and I beat myself up for it.

Recently he started on dc. If only they weren't so naughty. If only they went to bed easily. And so on and so on.

This Summer Hols we have been so happy without him. The three of us (me and the dc) get on so well. They get one well with each other, and other children. They're not perfect, and neither am I, but we are human, so that's to be expected. I've received some beautiful compliments about how lovely they are, and me being a calm and attentive mum.

Overall I'm really happy. And I've realized that dh is sucking the life out of me. He says he is happy when he is at work, it's just at home he is miserable. Those are the only two things he does - be at work, or be at home. He says he can't go out because I won't let him (not true), can't read a book, watch a film, play video games, do DIY, mow lawn, anything because dc won't let him. Besides watching sport, or going to the cinema alone, I can't think of anything he enjoys. He has no pride in himself. He got an important certificate recently, and just shoved it back in the envelope, didn't want to talk about it or mention it to anyone.

He says he's not depressed, but that he struggles to find the joy in day to day life. He constantly is negative, and if dc do misbehave, over generalizes 'well he's always doing that because he's a nasty boy' etc.

He puts me down a lot, and tbh has done for a long time. Now he's started on dc I'm at my wit's end.

So MNrs with depressed partners. How do you know that your partner has a problem they need help and treatment for vs that you just don't like each other anymore and it's time to move on.

dimsum123 Wed 04-Sep-13 09:40:00

Yes I do agree that women are more likely to be willing to admit to being depressed and seeking help. Men just will not admit they have a problem. My dad was the same. In hindsight I can see he was severely depresed for most of my childhood. His depression manifested as volcanic anger, unpredictable mood swings and general day to day grumpiness. He also always said the problem was with us ie his DC's and my mother, and not him. He could NEVER see it was he that had the problem not us. We were just normal kids, well behaved, did well at school, never got in trouble etc.

There are some very good books aimed at the partners of people with mental health issues which my DH found
very helpful.

But ultimately your DH needs to see he has an illness and seek help for it. I think getting some books that explain depression might help him see and recognise himself and his symptoms.

Good Luck. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for you.

Treen44444 Tue 03-Sep-13 23:50:08

I would like to differentiate between depression and clinical depression. From what I have read, none of the examples involve someone that has been diagnosed with clinical depression. It doesn't mean they don't have it but they are not moving forward with it.
And, we can't diagnose each other. I wish disease was as clear cut as cancer or HIV. But it's not, it engulfs your mind. Give me a terminal illness any day, over a degenerative disease.

triathlonmum Tue 03-Sep-13 22:38:18

What do you think you will do, marriedtomrgrumpy?

MarriedToMrGrumpy Tue 03-Sep-13 19:14:44

That was a lot of reading to catch up on. It does help to know I am not alone. I knew I couldn't be the only one who married a fully grown child.

triathlonmum Tue 03-Sep-13 14:02:55

Absolutely good for you dimsum, great to hear that you've turned things around. I had a conversation with a friend yesterday whose husband went through a similar path (low point where he left her for another woman). They are happy now. It can turn around but sounds like it is a rocky path.

Probably, I would also venture that women might be better at admitting vulnerability.....

probablyhadenough Tue 03-Sep-13 13:59:04

Good for you dimsum - it must have taken some courage to admit that to yourself rather than focusing on everyone else's role in your unhappiness. I live in hope I suppose that dh will reach a similar conclusion - it is clear to me that he has been depressed (appetite, sleep, moods etc all affected plus a very short fuse) so I feel I should stand by him but it is hard when everything is apparently all my fault! Maybe women are better at admitting a vulnerability or is that a massive generalisation?!

dimsum123 Tue 03-Sep-13 07:48:12

I was depressed for years without realising. I was fine outside the home with friends etc. But at home I was rude, snappy and always angry with DH and the DC's. I blamed my misery on them. Eventually I had a complete suicidal breakdown. Only then was I diagnosed with depression and got the medication and other help and support I needed.

To me your DH's behaviour sounds exactly like mine when I was depressed. I was very angry with DD in particular. I hated her at times.

I am sooo much better now. Much happier and content at home. I'm on anti d's and had 5 years of counselling.

I can see now that I had the problem. Not DH or the DC's. I simply could not see that before. Like someone upthread said depression warps one's reality and you think your reality is the true reality. You simply cannot see the truth that others keep trying to tell you.

Treen44444 Tue 03-Sep-13 02:36:55

Good for you. From that link, I was aware of the serious ones, but that list pretty much sums up any aspect of all interaction.
Stuff like (off memory) 'does your partner give you the silent treatment or avoid telling you how they feel'
'Do you avoid telling your partner how you feel to avoid confrontation'.
These could describe two people in the same relationship. Sometimes both could be done as a way to defuse an argument. So that it can be worked out later.
I saw a post saying that EA was equal to DV. I agree that EA is bad. But for me DV is a onetime thing and I'm off. Looking at the some of the definitions of EA it would have to be sustained. I just think that to be labelled an abuser for one of those examples would be harsh. Maybe I associate abuser with instant end of relationship.

TheSilverySoothsayer Mon 02-Sep-13 23:59:44

Early on, yes, I think I was. I was depressed and taking it out on my DP, ironically, given this thread. We met very early, then had an on-off relationship before finally settling down, marrying and having the DC.

It is a long and complicated story, but for the last 18 years of our marriage, he was happy to work very little, live off our capital (which came from my DF) and do v little housework. The little work he did was all at weekends or during school hols, leaving me to look after the kids while he was away. He spent years playing a computer game for hours each day. During the last 3 years he mostly refused to answer me or acknowledge things I'd said, refused to talk about money, met every request for help with a simple refusal. We never went out unless I arranged it, although I did go and see friends on my own. I was v v depressed much of the time, and thought that was the problem - but it was a reaction to my situation. Occasionally I'd go off on a miserable mad rant, of course that meant everything I said was dismissed. The kids followed his lead, at one point I was living with 3 other adults, who barely lifted a finger. I kept thinking things would improve when I got a job, which I did do twice, but apart from him taking over the cooking, nothing much changed. (And he often cooked stir-fries, which I hate!)

Many on the EA thread wonder if they too are abusive - but they are usually upset at the way they have behaved, and it is usually in reaction to abuse. I worked v hard at improving myself, and think I succeeded to some extent - Ex saw no reason to change.

Treen44444 Mon 02-Sep-13 22:17:16

Thesilverysoothsayer - I read your link for 'emotional abuse support'. It is a big eye opener and needs more awareness. However, did find it very broad. I think that under those definitions of abuse I have been abused in every relationship at some point and been an abuser. Also, it goes the same for all my friends relationships.
I'm glad you are out of your abusive relationship. I was wondering how frequently it had to happen? And whether under the definitions given in your link, whether you were abusive in your last relationship?

TheSilverySoothsayer Mon 02-Sep-13 21:45:50

If a partner is abusive, then couples counselling is not usually recommended. Individual counselling can help.

He does sound rather entitled triathlon sad

triathlonmum Mon 02-Sep-13 21:30:37

Hi all. Some more interesting views.

I've been living with sulky/grumpy atmosphere since the blow up this afternoon. Absolutely rubbish. As usual I've tried to make the peace by changing my arrangements and organising more help. But surely we should be able to parent our children between us. He goes out often in the week, usually with colleagues. At the weekend he spends 6-7 hrs on the golf course on Saturdays. I don't ever ask him not to, what causes issues is me trying to juggle family life around this (eg needing car to take one of DC to a party). This causes him to explode and rant about how he always comes last.

It's all making me very tired. I ventured this afternoon he had a very negative outlook and perhaps he was depressed to which he replied 'its not surprising if I am!' (Add in some expletives....). Not sure that conversation was going to end with him making an appt with GP.

We also had counselling 3 yrs ago. He felt the counsellor was on my side (!) perhaps because his unreasonable behaviour was under the spotlight. So that didn't help a great deal and he never acted on any of the things we agreed.

I do wonder if counselling might be worth one last shot or maybe I should just LTB........

Thanks all

probablyhadenough Mon 02-Sep-13 21:07:17

Yes, that does sound a bit sex centred Unlucky! I can't imagine wanting to give/receive a sensual massage when we still haven't started to address the long list of resentments that are preventing me from even liking him at the moment. Maybe have one more go at counselling - the guy we are seeing is a supervising counsellor and he is loads more effective than the woman we saw for a couple of sessions a few years ago. He seems really to have 'got' our particular set of issues.

unlucky83 Mon 02-Sep-13 20:59:17

Probably I agree and that's an interest point of view re the female counsellor...and the not expecting you to have sex with your dH.
Ours did say that he was also a sex therapist...maybe that was the problem ... tbh with that side of things actually did more harm than good...
DP then 'expected' we should be intimate on a certain day of the week...then he would then do something to piss me off and the last thing on earth I felt like was giving him (or getting) a sensual massage! (unless I could inflict great pain on him at the same time wink )
Then I had broken my side of the deal etc etc etc ....a mini tantrum which is the exact opposite of a turn on ...sad
If I tried to explain it was an excuse or I was lying hmm What?

probablyhadenough Mon 02-Sep-13 19:40:29

Unlucky - it probably was just the wrong counsellor for you. Ours in male and in a way I think it works better for us - otherwise dh would see it as another bloody woman telling him what to do. Our counsellor won't let him get away with the blame game and picks him up on the utter negativity. Plus he has never once suggested that I should be having sex with dh at the moment - it is clear why I am not and he (the counsellor) seems to take that as a given.

It does sound as if yours was stupidly blinkered about the physical side.

I know what you mean JaceyBee but I also have some professional experience of depression and the blame can also turn on others - doesn't mean they aren't depressed. Impossible to live with yes, self indulgent and entitled possibly, depressed maybe.

JaceyBee Mon 02-Sep-13 19:30:35

I know a lot about depression because of my profession and I don't think these guys sound particularly depressed. They may well be low, fed up, bitter, entitled and bored but not depressed.

Although there are no hard and fast rules, it's very common for depressed people to have a tendency to interpret anything negative as permanent, internal and general and anything positive as specific, external and temporary. This means basically, that anything bad is likely to be seen as because of them, all their fault, will always be bad etc and anything good is down to other people, just 'lucky', a fluke etc. Its connected to locus of control theory.

So, blaming others for your uninspiring, flat life is not conducive with depression but with being a miserable, self indulgent tool.

But all that is by the by really. You're right, this is no way for you and your dcs to live. Set yourselves free.

TheSilverySoothsayer Mon 02-Sep-13 18:22:07

Here's link to the Emotional Abuse support thread There are links on the top post which may help some of you work out if your P is abusive or not.

Mine was. I divorced him.

Treen44444 Mon 02-Sep-13 18:12:08

If its clinical depression. You need a gp, testing, diagnosis and specialists. You can't treat what is not diagnosed. If there is an illness you are currently not seeing a healthy DP or the 'normal' DP. If there is no illness then it gives you a stronger position to analyse your relationship and future.

unlucky83 Mon 02-Sep-13 18:02:36

Roller - I said I've done Relate and it helped a little - it did sort out money issues (ie as a SAHM -with pre school DC I shouldn't be paying half the bills with my savings! and definitely should not have to repeatedly ask for his half!)
Sometimes think that we just didn't have the right counsellor...
Ours was much more interested in the physical side of things ...didn't listen to me saying us spending more 'couple time' wouldn't help because of the level of resentment I felt...he did seem to think regular sex would solve everything ...(maybe I'm wrong and he was right - I should have gone along with it and my resentment would magically have disappeared - and I would have enjoyed being an unappreciated drudge more???)
I do half think maybe we should try Relate again (for some reason I think a female counsellor would understand better????)
Maybe you could try again too...

probablyhadenough Mon 02-Sep-13 17:46:40

Fair enough Roller - you probably have then. I often wonder when it is time to give up sad.

Treen44444 Mon 02-Sep-13 17:32:07

It may not be that conclusive. It maybe more stable. With treatment you learn to manage it and read signals that can be acted on to avoid deep depression and suicidal thoughts. It can be managed but takes time, starting from diagnosis.

RollerCola Mon 02-Sep-13 17:31:38

Well we did go to Relate about 4 years ago, but tbh they didn't help much. I just feel like I've tried & done everything I could possibly do now.

probablyhadenough Mon 02-Sep-13 17:29:41

Roller even.....

probablyhadenough Mon 02-Sep-13 17:29:13

I know what you mean Rolla - I felt exactly the same. But you might be able to get him to go to joint relationship counselling (to sort out all the issues that you are to blame for hmm). And then if you get a good counsellor they will be able to shed some light on his behaviour - he might start to see that he needs to find better ways of dealing with his stress and his moods. That's what is happening here at least.

It is a very slow process but maybe worth it if you don't want to split. I thought I ought to try it at least - and I'm not saying that we will stay together and I am agree that this is self indulgent behaviour on his part (and the OP's h too) but.....

Dackyduddles Mon 02-Sep-13 17:22:19

I think sadly its very much a vote for


Deeply sorry. But this isn't living. Don't do this to the kids.

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