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DP has depression but is holding the past over me...(21 Posts)
Sorry if this is long in advance. I'm just looking for some advice as my head is all over the place at the moment.
DP and I were together 5 years when out of the blue he left. After several months of trying to get over him and dealing with DD (4) subsequently diagnosed anxiety and all the shit his family through at me(accused me of cheating because I dared to have my friends to stay over as I didn't feel safe in the house on my own) , it transpired he had been very ill. Had panicked and left to save us emotional damage in the long run.
When he left however he through a lot of things in my face. My weight, my depression from when my friend died and most hurtfully my PND. I'm not making excuses for what I did but I had very severe PND and was very highly medicated but I lost control one day and reverted back to my teenage ways and self harmed. He found me bandaged me up, by which time I was completely fine and had realised how stupid I was. However, I had done it and it seemed everyone held a lot of resentment and anger towards me for doing it (Him and his family. My family had dealt with depression as a teenager and knew this would only make me worse).
After many discussions about how absurd this was and that I would have stood by him even if it meant following him around with a mop and bucket cleaning up poo for the rest of my life (although I hoped it wouldn't). We agreed to try again but sort some of the underlying issues we had in the first place (eg. not making time for eachother, not sharing housework equally and most importantly learning to communicate with eachother.)
DP still lives apart from us currently, we have talked about him moving into the spare room to start with and taking it very slowly to help DD adjust as she struggled so much with him leaving. Things had been going very well although we hadn't really done any of the things we'd said we'd do.
3 weeks ago a girl committed suicide at his workplace, he tried everything he could to save her but she died in hospital. He didn't know her she was a stranger but it was still very traumatising for him, understandably. He didn't want to talk to me about it, so I didn't push just said if he needed to i would listen and do whatever I could to help. I thought it was best, if he didn't want to talk to me, he should talk to his counsellor as they could offer some professional advice.
Over the days since he has drifted further and further away. Stopped coming over after work to help with DD, won't speak to me other than to ask about DD. I asked him several times if he wants to talk, said not keeping occupied is only going to make his depression worse. It has come out that he doesn't want to see me as the girl reminded him of me and he feels sick every time he sees me. I'm upset and if I could take back what I did all those years ago I would but I can't.
I want to be supportive but at the same time I can't help feeling resentful that I have this big black cloud being held over me and that because of that he feels he can just stop most of his parental duties.
I'm just not sure what to do.
I find it so interesting that someone who has had depression and understands how it causes such trauma in a person's life would feel resentful about their spouses depression and the effect it has on them. I often feel guilty as I had debilitating depression about 15 years ago but having been really well for so long now I find it hard to understand the disease like I used to.
It's a testament to how unique and invisible the disease really is for each individual. How is it possible for you to truly know what it is like for him. Just as he could never really understand how it was for you. This is not an attack on your character but rather telling you that this is too big for you. You cannot fix him and can only help him a little. Place your life in this order: your child, your mental health, using recourses to help you help him, helping him. What that means is that you are not strong enough to help him on your own you need outside help to help him.
Thanks <b>mommy</b>. It's not feeling resentful about his depression, it's being persecuted for something I did so long ago and have openly regretted almost immediately. I can understand him being depressed, I understand the not wanting to do anything or seeing the person who brings back awful memories. I know everyone handles it differently, but it honestly hurts that he cant look at me without seeing the depressed me and that's effecting our DD from seeing him. For perspective, DD has seen him once in 9 days for 6 hours as she has preschool.
He's been to the doctors and has been put on AD's to help, quite strong ones as he also has bi-polar and when he has a down it can become quite uncontrollable if not medicated. I don't hold grudges and have always felt that there's no point in holding a grudge (it's done, it's over kind of attitude). I don't know if this is what's making me resentful? I'm pulling at strings here.
I have never once thrown him leaving in his face, no matter how down or depressed I was (and I was). He throws one (albeit very serious) thing in my face.
Now, I feel like I'm being selfish doing a poor old me dance.
it never seems to end for him. He has to go and view CCTV footage of the girl to make sure it was her for the police.
He couldn't save a stranger and he's struggling to come to terms with it.
You've had issues in the past and have self harmed. He must be petrified at how bad things could be if it were you given how hard it is dealing with being a part of the suicide of a total stranger.
I can't imagine what he's going through atm but I can't blame him for going into self preservation mode so soon after this has happened to him.
As his previous behaviour means that your reaction to this is to primarily be resentful and about you that you can't be compassionate then he's right to be concerned.
It's only natural he feels as he does and something like this will haunt him for the rest of his life. It's no wonder he feels vulnerable right now. If you can't allow him his natural feels without being resentful then I'm concerned he'll pick up on that and it'll further damage him.
"Persecuted" and "thrown in his face"
It's not about you, his feelings are perfectly understandable, even if you weren't being so self centered in your subsiquent evaluation of his trauma.
So he expects you to understand all about his depression and take up the parenting reins because he can't deal with it, yet he throws your depression in your face all the time? And you're looking after yourself, dd, the house, etc.
You can't fix him. He may be affected by his colleague committing suicide, or he could be using that as an excuse not to step up and be a parent. Who knows. But it sounds as if your relationship is one-sided. I'd step away from him. Totally disengage. Focus on yourself and your dd.
(Why does he have to help the police identify her? Does she have no family?)
I'm not resentful about his depression or how he chooses to deal with it. I however like most people am hurt when I hear my DD asking why her dad has suddenly decided not to come and see her. I'm hurt when I try to help and be understanding towards the situation only to have "I can't talk to you. When i saw her, it reminded me of you, and now I feel sick when I look at you".
He has been to the doctor's, he's spoken to his counsellor. He has to go to the police as the girl committed suicide in a very public place after an argument with her boyfriend. It's being treated as suspicious as the argument was caught on CCTV, it's unclear whether the boyfriend had some kind of involvement with the weapon.
I am aware of the effects of watching someone die in front of you all to well. It's traumatising. I don't even begin to understand the torment going on in his mind at the moment. Sometimes, we say things to hurt others just to feel something instead of numbness.
Let's not get into a heated mumsnet argument anyway. What I actually came here for was some advice on what I can do, or what I can suggest to help him through it? Help him to help himself for himself, our DD and our relationship.
He needs to seek outside, professional help. Atm although it's hurtful he does not want and cannot accept your help. If you really can't detach you could send him a regular text - just simply saying something like hope you are well, we send our love. Nothing more - you have told him you are there for him simply and clearly.
Then - I know how hard this is- you need to put your energy and focus onto yourself and DD. You cannot fix him and worrying all the time about him achieves nothing. Be kind to yourself, spend quality time with your DD. He will come back if and when he is ready.
Do not blame your depression and self harm for any of this. Your DP is thinking along illogical pathways. Often this means the depressed person hurts the one closest to them. You have become a really strong woman - carrying everything on your own.
Personally, I think he's done the right thing by leaving and I don't think he was throwing your depression and self harm in your face. The way you describe your self harm leads me to think you have no idea how shocking and traumatising it must have been for him to find you in that state and this shocking incident has triggered the memory of what happened.
I can understand your hurt but this isn't about you. It doesn't mean he gets a free pass to be abusive but he obviously needs time and space to work through his issues and you are not qualified and are far to close to him, to help. I don't know if there is a relationship that can be salvaged from all this and if, given your relationship history, you should even try.
Focus your energies on supporting your daughter, talk to her (in age appropriate language) about daddy's absence. Does her pre-school know about her father's absence? I told DD's pre-school about her witnessing her father attacking me because If she did need support during the 2.5 hours she was there they would be the people who would deliver it. In the end they didn't need to support her directly but they were very supportive to me.
He is talking to his counsellor and has been put on AD's for a trial to see if they help.
mistymeanour thankyou for your advice, I've taken this on board. I guess I was just so desperate to help him through I hadn't thought that perhaps he doesn't want my help.
Isetan I understand it's traumatising, if i could go back and not do such a stupid thing I would. DD preschool know about him leaving and her anxiety, however they don't know about the recent events or his email. The preschool is run by DP's family members and he does not want them to know and therefore it is not my place to tell them.
I've explained to DD that daddy isn't very well at the moment, gave her the example of how when she's not very well sometimes she doesn't want to play or talk to anyone and daddy's feeling the same way at the moment.
I sent DP a text this evening just saying "hope everything goes as well as it can do with the police. DD and I will be thinking of you."
I understand I have not handled this in the best way, I was very clouded by the hurt of re living the shame of what I did all those years ago.
So your self harming was fairly recent then?
Reading this what comes across is that you are both struggling with depression but you are the one holding everything together and you are the only one going out of your way to try and understand how he feels.
I think you should stop allowing him to feed into your guilt about the self harm tbh. If he really can't be supportive to you and all he is doing is turning your pain and your support into a stick to beat you with I think you need some distance from him and it is good that he hasn't moved back in.
Your self harming (one time FFS) is not his pain to own and it is not something he can throw at you when he feels sorry for himself. It's just a way of blaming you for his issues IMO and it will do neither of you any good to allow it to continue.
I would like to prefix my post with the fact that I know nothing about medical depression.
OP, you seem to assign all blame for your problems to yourself, but none to him. You both have depression. His treatment of you is cruel. Your treatment of him is kind and forgiving. Why is his nasty behaviour excused by his depression?
If I were you I would leave him to sort himself out and concentrate on you and your daughter.
I can't actually see what you have done wrong here to be honest. He sounds like a pretty nasty character. I'm not sure you can blame that on depression.
I think some posters are missing the importance of the timeline here: when he first left, ie before the suicide at work op says he: "through a lot of things in my face. My weight, my depression from when my friend died and most hurtfully my PND...self-harmed"
And now because of witnessing the suicide of someone else he can't look at you without feeling bad, so has also stepped away from DD. is it really that impossible for him to pick her up from nursery to spend some time with her? Or from your ILs or someone else? It does feel rather that you're being punished for having been depressed, whilst being expected to allow him to act as he pleases because he's depressed.
OP please don't be ashamed that you self-harmed. You were acting out of deep emotional pain, you weren't trying to upset anyone. I'm surprised that anyone would think that it's appropriate to blame you or heap more bad feeling onto that.
I'm curious about your resolve to share housework more equally, which didn't come to anything - what was that about?
it doesnt sound like either of you are in a good place or able to support each other right now so as others have said, prioritise
him via ways that do not drag you down too (if you have the emotional energy left after prioritising your child and you)
texts are good - thinking of him. can be re read. not intrusive. not emotionally hard.
My self harm wasn't recent it was over 4 years ago when DD was just a few weeks old. I'm not making excuses, I had an awful pregnancy and it was pretty much expected that I would suffer from PND. I cannot fault DP in this time, he spotted the signs got me the help I needed, got me into a routine very gradually and other than my moment of weakness I gradually pulled myself out of it with his help and became the
hopefully good mum I am today.
I have always spoken very openly about my depression as a teenager and as an adult, as my psychologist from my teens had always told my not to be ashamed and that you'd be surprised who you can help by being open.
My understanding of depression is that you feel numb, almost like there is a barrier between you and the rest of the world. It makes you very self centered. I know that in my past i would say things no matter how hurtful just to get a reaction or feel something. I'm not excusing this behaviour in DP, but I also get it, it's just very hard to see past when it's aimed at yourself.
goldfish The sharing housework more equally was something we had discussed as when he left I went into full time work to cover the rent and bills. Previously I had been a SAHM so picked up the majority of the housework as I was at home anyway. Sometimes, like most, I felt DP took advantage of this and so we agreed that he needed to show me that he would help out more often with the house as I wasn't going to look after DD, work full time and do all the housework and neither should I. We agreed that it didn't have to be anything big (grand sort outs and the like would be done together) just little things like loading the dishwasher, taking 5 minutes to run the hoover round that kind of thing, that if shared can make the house more manageable.
Your psychologist was absolutely right and it pains me to see the shame about the self harm radiating off this page. You have no reason to be ashamed. Especially not 4 years later and I can't help feeling his blaming is responsible for that.
You can't love someone out of depression. You can support them but not at the expense of yourself. It's lovely that he was there for you during that period but you don't owe him endless time spent as how whipping boy in return.
You've done nothing wrong.
I don't know what your dp is like when not suffering from depression, but he is behaving very unkindly to you and your dd.
Your self harming will not have caused him to be unwell and you do not deserve to have it thrown in your face.
Sounds a bit as though his family see his depression as something not really acceptable so rather than just supporting him they are finding someone to blame for his illness. And that is you as it couldn't possibly be anything to do with their family/ his upbringing/ his mental health.
His family have always swept his bi-polar under the carpet. I remember the first and only time they spoke to me about it was when we were discussing his childhood. I mentioned him having done martial arts, his mum point blank said he's never done any martial arts saying "he lies alot its part of his condition". DP was at work so I told him what she'd said when he got home, he was really upset, showing me his old certificates and badges. He told me that his mum didn't know much about his teens as he moved in with his dad when they divorced, in some misplaced anger his mum refused to talk to him as he had "chosen" his dad.
It seemed to me his depression and illness are just swept under the carpet, my parents have always welcomed him into our family have been very supportive, talked openly about depression. I think it really shocked him when he realised the stark difference. That's not to say his family are horrible and my family are great, they each have their good and bad points, no family is perfect.
Anyway, I had a conversation with DP last night. started off with just asking if he was ok and I hoped everything had gone ok at the police. Asked him how work was going. The normal stuff. He asked me what was wrong and why I sounded so distant. I spoke about the fact I felt very disheartened that it felt he was constantly throwing a very rare moment of weakness in my face and although I know it was hard top see and I can completely understand how the girl would remind him of that. It was unreasonable and unfair to take that out on me and make me feel ashamed. I used the example of how he's done many silly and stupid things in our relationship, I didn't mention anything specific as this would just be tit for tat, but I didn't hold it over him or make him feel ashamed of having done them. We discussed how I wanted to help and support him in anyway I could even if that meant me stepping back, but advised, in a non professional capacity, that keeping busy, keeping his mind busy would help. Much like when he gave me tasks and objectives to achieve everyday when I had PND. I spoke very proudly of what a rock he was for me back then and how I would like to be the rock for him now, if he lets me.
By the end, he had said staying apart hadn't helped how he thought it would, it just made it worse. I agreed that i would take a step back from trying to help so much as he said this made him feel useless, that he didn't want to be helped all the time.
I think his problems might stem from his childhood and family life as he grew up. It is acknowledged that we can unknowingly reenact experiences from childhood in adulthood. Sorry not a psychologist but have read that in books.
His DM is possibly v hurt that he moved in with his DF, hence her defensive stance re marial arts. There is usually a reason that DPs are harsh or unsupportive maybe due to their own upbringing. Knowing that and what happened in THEIR childhood can make it less hurtful.
Anyway, he should try examining his past with his counselor, not just his present with you im unexpert opinion..
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