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Do we stay together or finally call it quits?(10 Posts)
DP and I have been together for 15 years.
5 years ago I experienced a breakdown due to various traumatic issues in my childhood. I won't detail them, but basically my chickens came home to roost, so to speak, and I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress. I started counselling and also attempted to prosecute the perpetrator, ultimately unsuccessfully.
During this time my DP supported me. He had to listen to a lot of quite horrible stuff. He proposed that I go NC with my parents, which had a massively beneficial impact on my life. I had been silent about what happened for so long (I'm late thirties now) that it was an incredible feeling to finally be able to talk about what I'd been through. I'm sure anyone who's experienced similar stuff knows how this feels. At last I felt vindicated and listened to.
My DP didn't discuss this with anyone else. We never chose to do this but he felt it would be disloyal to me if he spoke to friends or family; also, he was worried in case people started seeing me differently. So basically, while I had him, my close friends and my counsellor, plus the police, he had nobody to talk to about how this was affecting him. (My 2 closest friends knew, but none of his did.)
After a year I was made redundant and things took a massive downturn. I became hideously depressed. I was unemployed for about a year and our relationship completely changed. I couldn't make any decisions, it was as though I had become a child. I was completely dependent upon my DP. I literally gave up. It was, if I may, fucking horrific. And again, my DP was on his own. He didn't have anyone he felt he could talk to. He was shouldering the entire burden for us both.
I eventually got myself out of this. To cut an already long story short I found a new job and my depression, although still there, is very much under control. The problem is that my DP, finally, is expressing all the anger and hurt he felt at what happened. And I don't know if we can survive.
We do love each other. We have fun together. But in his mind, I am still the person I was a couple of years ago. I am still incapable of doing anything. I am still dependent. This manifests itself in him blowing up at me whenever I ask him for help with something, or for advice, or for his opinion. Then I end up angry and frustrated because I try so hard to show him that I am not that person any more, I have "come back" and I want us to move forward.
I've suggested counselling but he flatly refuses to even entertain the idea. He says I'm making it all about me, and it's been all about me for years. Which I agree with.
What do I do?
This is very sad. He preferred you dependent and reliant on him. He's not liking your recovery process as much as you would have hoped
He was not shouldering the entire burden for you both. Your burden was major; his was a fraction of that. Okay, I know the stresses on a carer are unseen and difficult but it's not in the same league as the sufferer's
If he wants to end it and won't do counselling then you probably don't have any option but to call it quits?
I typed a reply, earlier but my phone froze and ate it.
I think that, if ever there was a good reason for couples counselling, this is it. You have been through an immense amount of pressure and it has changed you both as people, but your relationship has not adjusted to take into account those changes.
Does he listen if you explain to him that you want it to be all about you both, again, or is he dismissive about that? Does he have any better ideas?
Thanks for the responses.
He doesn't want to end it-he's said repeatedly that he wants our relationship to work out. The refusal to go to counselling is really, really frustrating me though. I appreciate it's not for everyone, but he's seen with his own eyes how much it's helped me.
He comes from a family where nobody ever talks about their feelings. Things, yes, but never feelings, emotions or, heaven forbid, anything taboo or controversial. His family are nice people but he was brought up in a pretty emotionally sterile environment.
Ouryve, I have told him that I want it to be about us again. I've acknowledged how hard it was for him for all that time. He listens, but he just seems to have so much anger and sadness about it all.
He does understand that what I went through was horrendous and that he isn't trying to minimise that.
I think that you have changed so much that the relationship cannot survive, I am sorry.
I have a very similar story to you - got with my H when I was in a very vulnerable state, historic sexual abuse within family, I was in a nutshell "damaged". H very much saw himself as a rescuer and he was incredibly patient, loving and caring with me and helped me find healing and recovery.
Unfortunately that resulted in the balance of our relationship shifting from rescued and rescuer to two equals - and he couldn't handle it. He felt like he had to be "needed" - being loved wasn't enough for him.
When we were splitting up he even threw at me "This always happens to me - I look after someone when they need me and then when they get strong they don't want me anymore."
It wasn't a case of me not wanting him, it was a case of him becoming horrible to live with because he felt insecure and unbalanced.
We tried counselling but it didn't work for us. I called a halt after 2 sessions as it became obvious there was no saving things.
I'm sorry I don't have anything positive to add.
pocketsaviour that's such a sad story. I'm sorry you went through that.
What's interesting is that my DP has repeatedly said that he doesn't want to he my carer, doesn't want there to he that imbalance, doesn't want me dependent on him. It's at moments when he feels I'm reverting to "dependent" behaviour that we have these problems. He always says he wants us to have an equal partnership. But I'm starting to wonder if he actually does miss that dependence.
Have you considered that him not talking about what happened, was less out of respect for you but more to do with him being raised in an environment where talking about emotions was not done.
What your saw as his great sacrifice, might actually be a dynamic that he was more comfortable with and now that dynamic is changing, he feels less comfortable and blames you for the change.
Unless you are willing to sacrifice your mental health, your marriage won't survive unless your H is willing to embrace a dynamic where he isn't as dependant on you're dependance on him.
Don't sacrifice your mental health for a dynamic that doesn't work for you.
I think there's a lot of truth in this. He sort of prides himself on being the one member of his family who DOES talk about the deeper stuff when everyone's together. He's the youngest of three and years ago, when I first knew him, his parents sort of treated him as the maverick youngest child. And now, he does try to engage his parents in deeper, more emotional conversations. His sister was going through problems with her DH and his parents were ignoring it. My DP did get them to acknowledge what was happening and to be more supportive to his sister.
However...he is inherently uncomfortable with exploring his own emotions. He would actually tell me that he doesn't get affected by things; when there's a problem he will simply go and find a solution. Which is nonsense and I finally got him to admit that this wasn't the case a few weeks ago.
Not exploring his emotions is his prerogative and as great full as you are for his earlier support, taking his crap out on you now, isn't and never will be, an acceptable price to pay for that support.
Start as you mean to go on OP and stand up for yourself.
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