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DH has MH condition and it's driving us apart

(56 Posts)
Cryingandmorecrying Mon 19-Dec-16 00:43:56

After several horribly traumatic years including a suicide in the family and his own near death experience my DH has been diagnosed with PTSD. He is currently awaiting treatment but sadly I'm not sure we'll get to that stage together. I'm heartbroken, after years of battling through so much together I feel this is so unfair. His behavior is out of control ATM and he can't even make me assurances about being together for the children over Christmas. My youngest will be beside herself if this is the case. He hates me tonight, feels that I push him and that maybe I'm causing all his problems. But nine months ago we were ok. He has threatened to leave me four times this year and I've managed to talk him round each time. 'Normally' he is lovely and kind and horrified he's putting me through this. Please don't tell me to LTB I really just want a hand hold as I feel I'm exhausting my RL options right now.

lottieandmia Mon 19-Dec-16 00:48:20

I'm so sorry to hear this. I actually would never tell someone to leave their partner with a mental illness. I don't think it's the right thing to do.

Mental health services are rubbish at the moment. If your DH is really out of control then could you push for some urgent help in the way of a hospital admission or from the home treatment team? It sounds like he needs medication. As you have a child then it is so important that they treat him urgently.

Cryingandmorecrying Mon 19-Dec-16 00:55:49

Unfortunately he's not serious enough for any kind of admission, he still works full time. But at times that makes it worse as I'm the only one that sees his worst moments. It feels like all his anger about the last 10 years is aimed directly at me and I'm exhausted.

Cryingandmorecrying Mon 19-Dec-16 00:56:38

I don't know whether to just let him go sad

Cryingandmorecrying Mon 19-Dec-16 01:25:55

Anyone up? I'm so tired and I feel so sick, but I can sleep sad

Cryingandmorecrying Mon 19-Dec-16 01:29:41


RiverTamFan Mon 19-Dec-16 01:33:20

This isn't your fault. Your DH is angry because anger is easy. Being angry at yourself isn't very satisfying so he gets angry at you.

RiverTamFan Mon 19-Dec-16 01:34:52

Breathe. Be kind to yourself. Get a cup of tea (or possibly stronger!) just breathe for a minute.

RiverTamFan Mon 19-Dec-16 01:36:02

Flipping autocorrect!

MagicChanges Mon 19-Dec-16 01:50:57

Crying - it doesn't sound like you are in any way responsible for DH's PTSD so it isn't fair that he is being angry with you. What do you mean that his anger is out of control just now - what's happening. Are you assertive enough to stand up to him - I somehow think you're not able to do that, but you do need to be assertive enough to ensure he puts the brakes on whatever behaviour he is exhibiting. I have the utmost sympathy with anyone suffering MH issues (I have them myself so know the torment) but it isn't acceptable to be angry with someone else because of the way you are feeling.

You say he hates you tonight but you were ok for 9 months, so has something happened very recently - sorry I don't quite understand the timeline.
There is a good therapy for PTSD - called EMDR or re-wind therapy - you might already know about them but if not, google them. I've heard people on here speak very highly of them, so he really does need to push for this help.

You say he threatens to leave you - where would he go? Does he have somewhere he could go - friends or relations maybe? If no, then it's just an idle threat isn't it and he knows you will probably persuade him to stay. Sorry I'm guessing at a likely scenario - sometimes r/ships are like a play and each party has their role - this is especially true in arguments though we don't always realise this. IF you plead with him to stay when he threatens to go you could change the script of the play and say that if he thinks that's best then maybe he should go.................would be very interesting to see his reaction.
And don't stress about christmas - it's just a day and it's all done.

Ohdearducks Mon 19-Dec-16 01:59:52

This sounds awful I'm sorry he's unwell but it's not your responsibility to take the brunt of his anger when you've done nothing but support him. Hopefully someone can correct me but I don't see how he can behave well enough to keep it together at work but can't control himself at home? It sounds to me that he's choosing this behaviour and choosing to take his anger out on you. If it was truly his mental illness it would affect him all the time wouldn't it? Again apologies if that's wrong but I've always thought mental illness wasn't something you can control.
I agree with the PP who suggested agreeing he should go, see if he changes tactics from that response.

uhoh2016 Mon 19-Dec-16 02:18:34

If he is showing anger towards you then maybe it is a good idea to separate even temporary until he's manged to get some help.
I'm not sure seeing Mum crying and Dad angry all the time is the best situation for your kids regardless if it's xmas or not.
Sorry to say this but maybe he does genuinely want to end your relationship regardless of the PTSD if he's wanted to leave numerous times and you have had to persuade him to stay. He could feel trapped making the anger even worse.
I think you need to let him go if that's what he wants.

Cryingandmorecrying Mon 19-Dec-16 07:11:46

It's so complicated, because I think that possibly one of the traumatic events contributing to his diagnosis was when I suffered with PND several years ago and that any kind of conflict takes him right back to that which he can't cope with. I feel really guilty about making him feel so bad, but I feel like I'm treading on eggshells all the time at the moment.
He became unwell 9 months ago and prior to that we had been ok for a couple of years. Over the last 9 months I have found it more and more difficult to deal with and I acknowledge that I'm not struggling to cope. I think the condition makes every episode every dramatic as it triggers flight or fight responses. I'm now feeling so anxious that I want some reassurances and he can't give me those at all.

Joysmum Mon 19-Dec-16 08:11:47

I really feel for you. I was diagnosed as having anxiety and PTSD.

I've had some therapy to help me recognise what my triggers are, spot the signs and break the cycle, and find a way to cope if I am triggered. It took 9 months for me to get the help I needed and things got worse before they got better as I needed to be unpicked and relive to understand the issues and then be given meaning strategies tailored to me in addition to the usual generic aids such as breathing exercises and mindfulness.

I can only guess a little at how traumatic this was for me DH and DD at the time and I'm forever grateful they had the strength to stick by me, looking back I wouldn't have blamed them if they hadn't but then I turned inwards, not outwards as you DH is doing.

I obviously can't speak for anyone else but Ohdearducks wasn't right when asserting reactions to PTSD must be a chosen behaviour if they don't occur with anyone else. It really does depend on the event that caused the PTSD and therefore produced the triggers, it could be that nobody else or no other situation can trigger it. This is not to say that anyone who triggers is responsible though!

Cryingandmorecrying Mon 19-Dec-16 08:32:19

Thats really helpful thank you Joysmum I think I must be (or my emotional response etc) must be one of his triggers. If that's the case I'm not sure how I can help as I'm obviously retraumatising him every time. I feel really helpless right now. I so want him to get better, but I might have to accept that isn't going to happen whilst in a relationship with me sad

Cryingandmorecrying Mon 19-Dec-16 08:33:54

It doesn't help that family members don't get it, that's a huge sense of stress for me. How supportive were people other than your DH Joysmum?

PigletWasPoohsFriend Mon 19-Dec-16 08:38:09

I don't see how he can behave well enough to keep it together at work but can't control himself at home? It sounds to me that he's choosing this behaviour and choosing to take his anger out on you. If it was truly his mental illness it would affect him all the time wouldn't it?

No sorry you aren't correct. That's not how it works. PTSD can be very complex

Joysmum Mon 19-Dec-16 08:44:09

Many didn't realise the full extent, just my mum and dad.

To get support would have meant sharing why I had the PTSD and mine was something I'd kept from myself for so many years that it was all I could do to admit it to myself, let alone others.

I think that was the hardest bit, reconciling with myself I was a victim. I'd denied for so long in what I thought was self preservation, so it festered and grew.

I wish I had some easy answers but I don't. What improved me was keeping track of the circumstances and things leading to a trigger. It made me realise there was actually a logical predictable pattern to it and this could be challenged.

It helped my DH so much to see this too. It was unbelievably awful for him to feel so powerless to help and to see he was often the trigger by James st being him, nothing that in the normal scheme of things should result in the pain I was in and causing him sad

Joysmum Mon 19-Dec-16 08:45:12

*just by

Sorry for the typo blush

Naicehamshop Mon 19-Dec-16 08:48:27

I don't have any knowledge of mental health issues but I just wanted to say how much sympathy I have for you after reading your post.

It seems that you are taking the full brunt of this which must be horrible for you. I wonder if the best thing might be to go for a trial separation to give both of you a bit of breathing space...?

Sorry if this is not what you want to hear. flowers

Stuffofawesome Mon 19-Dec-16 09:12:40

there is some evidence that things like emotional freedom technique (EFT) or Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) could help. ADvantage of EFT is that he can do it himself once he knows how, whenever he needs to. Might sound woo but worth a shot if reaching crisis point for you

Hermonie2016 Mon 19-Dec-16 09:39:36

I think you need to find ways to get strength to deal with this.You cannot control his actions and trying to so will make it incredibly stressful for you.

You need to give yourself serious self care.Eat well, sleep as you will be drained and try yoga or mindfulness.Get out for a walk even if you desperately don't feel like it.Avoid alcohol.

I feel I have been in a similar situation as stbxh was angry for periods of time relating to his childhood abuse.Validating his upset, rather than reacting to it helped to lower the intensity but it felt like a plaster rather than resolution.I also tried to see the situation from an external perspective, rather than reacting to his anger.For example, if he threatens to leave and this triggers you to respond the cycle continues.Try not to react, validate this feelings 'I understand you are feeling xyz'.

Ohdearducks Mon 19-Dec-16 10:25:27

Thank you for the correction JoysMum

Cryingandmorecrying Mon 19-Dec-16 10:29:31

That's true Hermoine I feel like my resilience is really low at the moment. I work in quite an emotionally stressful job and feel like there is no respite.

I am trying to book a session with a counselor today to try and talk about the cycle you discussed above as I can see that is happening but I feel completely helpless to stop it. If I could help with that then we might be on a more stable footing..

Cryingandmorecrying Mon 19-Dec-16 10:30:55

Have to say your replies have all been extremely helpful and comforting. At times I just feel so lonely

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