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A severely depressed SAHD husband who is at loggerheads with my parents. I need advice - please?(39 Posts)
I posted a couple of days ago about problems arising over where my parents were going to spend Christmas. Well this has snowballed (pardon the pun) into a much much worse situation. DH has never really got on with my parents. Rightly or wrongly he believes they look down on him for not "providing" for me the way they think a husband should. They deny it of course, but I think he has a point.
Gradually over the years DH has come to accept the way my parents are - and I don't think they are deliberately being horrible at all. I think that, well, they don't think and don't realise how things come across. They have helped us out financially a fair bit because I don't earn very much in my own job and DH, as I said, is a SAHD most of the time. But things they say make both of us feel pretty obligated to them for this, although they will deny it obviously.
So there was a bit of a flare up over this Christmas thing the other day. DH got a bit heated and stormed out - my parents were "shocked". Things calmed down and DH thought that today he would phone to apologise. Part of putting some ghosts to rest as a result of therapy he's receiving for stress and depression (of which my parents are a tiny tiny part). It turned out to be a huge mistake.
My mum decided to accept his apology and then say how upset they were, how uncomfortable he made them feel and how "after all they've done for us" they don't understand why he was being like that. As you might imagine, that was like a red rag to a bull. DH had summoned up so much courage to make that phone call and he pretty much blew his top. So now we're back to square one - my parents refusing to acknowledge they've ever done anything wrong, and DH refusing to see them ever again.
DH has tonight admitted to me that when he isn't with DS he sometimes thinks he wants to end it all. I am desperately worried that this latest episode, when he was trying to move forward, will tip him over the edge.
If anyone's still with me - what can I do? Has anyone gone through anything similar, either with parents, or a depressed DH, or both? Thanks for listening.
Hi anothermum. Yes my parents do know. DH is seeing his doctor about it and is on antidepressants, as well as seeing a CPN for stress counselling. He also suffers with high blood pressure so altogether it's not a great combination.
That's the thing, knowing that DH is walking a knife edge at the moment, why oh why did my mum not accept the apology and let it rest? She hasn't even told me the whole truth about what was said - as ever things are being twisted to make DH look like the only guilty party. I'd like to think this isn't intentional, but just because they're slightly stupid, but I'm not so sure any more.
I think there is only one thing for you to do.
Distance yourself from your parents abit. Your DH is your number one priority (along with your dcs), and it is of prime importance that he gets well. It doesn seem that your parents have much care and consideration for him, so maybe it is not so healthy for him to be around unsupportive people at this point in time. Show him YOUR support.
Some people are terrible at recieving apologies graciously and moving on.
Do you think it would be helpful if you were more candid with your parents, and less "accepting of the way they are"?
It's an unfortunate fact that most people feel that helping you out financially means they have a say in your lives.
If you accept financial help from your parents because there is not enough money coming in, it is hardly surprising that they look down on yuor dh a bit.
Good advice, thanks. I have tried being more candid with them, but they just will not accept that they cause any hurt or offence at all. They can't or won't see it, yet I really don't want to fall out with them.
I know you're right BroccoliSpears and I so wish I was in a position to refuse to accept their money. But on the one hand they are asserting that they give equal amounts to my DB, and that we're only getting early what we will get in the end anyway. But then that quickly turns into "oh haven't you had that window replaced yet", or "you've just got to get that heating fixed before winter - that's what we're helping you out with" (despite the fact that we can't afford the rest of the cost). Etc.
And they expect DH to be around every time they come to see us. They live a long way away, granted, but they come up here very frequently and it is mostly to see DS, as one would expect. They apparently feel "snubbed" when DH chooses not to come to where they're staying every single time - but he has a life to lead too, and he needs time to himself, especially at the moment.
Oh god, I could vent forever about this so I won't. It's just nice to have people listen for a change.
Moondog - we don't "accept" financial help from them. They give us, and my brother, a sum of money each year as part of that legitimate inheritance tax dodge thing. I put that in a savings account and that is how we have managed to do things like get replacement windows or a new bathroom over the years. They aren't propping up our day to day income one bit.
Moondog has a point, tbh.
Though of course your parents are handling things far from ideally.
The alternative to what DH is doing, of course, is for my 2 year old to be in full time nursery and for us to have a little more, but not much more, money. I do sometimes think my parents would prefer it that way, although I find it hard to believe that anyone would think it was better for DS. Anyhow, as I said, they do not prop up our income. But I can't in all honesty refuse their money when the alternative is for DS to live in derelict and freezing cold house. DH is a SAHD because he sacrificed his own career for mine. Nobody should be looking down on him - he does the hardest job in the world and he's bloody good at it.
But they ARE propping up your income - if you need money to do up your house and you don't earn enough to do it yourselves.
Agree that your parents are not handling things well, but could your dp not get a part time job which would not mean your dc to be in full time nursery?
My parents are always 'oh is mrflibberty not here' if dp is out when they come, but thats cos they love him so much that I think sometimes they prefer him to me!!
I'm slightly resenting the judgements being made here. Accepting a gift that is willingly offered does not constitute being "propped up" IMO. We could go and splurge the money instead on nights out - would that still be "propping us up"?
My DH has a part time job, which just about covers the cost of the childcare for the time he is doing it. I have already compressed my hours to minimise the amount of childcare we pay for. I don't really see what else we can do.
To be quite frank that is beside the point anyhow. I am posting for advice about my poor DH, not to be hounded about what I do and don't accept from my parents. I hope nobody is suggesting that my DH deserves to be treated like this because I happen to accept a gift that is also given to my brother!
GIfts should come without strings, and without resentment. They should come without telling her what to do with it.
Giving a gift does not mean that you have the right to dictate neither how somebody lives their life, nor how they spend the money.
god families are so difficult aren't they. Parents should be completely unconditional, detached, with their support, financial or otherwise. It amazes me all the time reading on here about other people's parents, i have my own gripes about mine of course, but they have NEVER used guilt trips or issued ultimatums when they've supported me. And I can't imagine ever being that way with my own dd! Gratitude is all well & good, but if the giver demands gratitude it is difficult to genuinely feel it, ime, i just wind up feeling resentful instead which is quite strange i know!
My only advice is to do your best, both you & DH, to detach yourselves from the emotional issues and think of yourselves as entirely independent. Your parents are supporting you financially through their own choice, not because you've demanded it, and the money is yours to spend how you would like. And the help they give you certainly should not be used against you every time they are in disagreement with you - and if they do react that way, take a deep breath and let it go in one ear and out the other, don't take it on yourselves, and just continue doing what you want to do. If that makes sense.
Out of interest, does your DH actually want to continue being a SAHD? Or is it a sacrifice that has actually made him quite miserable?
And it's not about "needing" money to do up our house. It is about taking the opportunity to make improvements to the house to make our lives here better (ie not freezing to death) and thereby making good use of the money given and not wasting it. My preferred option would be to put it in a savings account and leave it there, but investing in our house would seem to be the next best thing. I'm actually not going to explain myself any more though. I don't doubt that people mean well, but it's not actually helping me find a way to help DH.
His depression might at least in part to do with being at home all day with a small child. It depressed me enough when I did it.
it makes no odds which parent is out earning imo... one sahp is the same as another, no?
It doesnt make a difference no, but if one of the people involved is not happy with the situation, then it does.
Does he want to be a sahd?
I think you need to distance yourselves from them. You need to leave them and cleave to your dh. You need to tell them that they are very insensitive to your dh and they have hurt him deeply many times and they need to change their attitude to him. You also need to tell them that if they wish to give you a gift of money then that is fine but it is a gift and they are not welcome to comment on the state of your finances, how you choose to spend the money nor the state of your house.
They sound very passive aggressive and they are having a devasting affect on your family. Support your dh by telling them to back off and get their mouth in order.
You should point out to your parents that you have chosen to have a SAHP because you do not wish your ds to be in full time childcare so butt out.
Sorry I'm trying to be helpful but I'm not in the mood for being tactful about it.
CapricaSix - about the SAHD thing, I don't actually know. I know that DS is just about the only thing keeping him sane at the moment. He has problems from his past (namely his ex) coming back to haunt him very badly at the moment, and all sorts of other baggage he just can't let go of.
The career sacrifice kind of happened a while back, before DS came along. We reached a point where we had to decided where to live. To stay down south, and him try to find another job doing what he did (after being made redundant). Or to move north where I had been offered a job and for him to cut his losses. We chose the latter, but his sector didn't really exist up there so he knew he was effectively ending his career. He ended up working away from home a lot because other work wasn't forthcoming.
Finally we cut our losses completely and moved up here (north Scotland) for a completely new life. No money (I'm in the public sector and have just had a big pay cut) but great quality of life in a fantastic place. Money isn't what motivates us, but I don't think my parents see things from our point of view at all.
'But I can't in all honesty refuse their money when the alternative is for DS to live in derelict and freezing cold house'
You are being propped up though aren't you as otherwise you would be living in a derelict house
You didn't mention that dp has a part time job, you said he was sahd.
We were recently in a very very skint position when I bfirst became self employed. At the time the ils sold their buy to let property and offered loans to bil and dp. Bil took it and we will just never hear the end of the fact that he pranged the car that he spent 'their' money on - even though he is paying it back! I refused it as I would rather manage than have to be accountable to them for our spending habits.
No I don't think for one minute that giving you money gives them any right to behave this way. Unfortunately the givers of money often think that their gifts do give them some rights to interfere/comment etc.
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