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Sensitive to other people's moods

4 replies

Icecocoa · 08/06/2022 11:25

Just at my wits end really. I have ADHD (and suspected Autism) and have always been very sensitive to other people and their moods etc. Have been with DH for 19 years, married and living together for 16 of them. When I first met him he was very depressed, almost suicidal. Over the years he has been depressed many times and is often very stressed with work. He finds his work very stressful, he works part time in a professional, high paid job. He is a good guy at heart and dedicated to our children and family.

He has had lots of counselling, hypnotherapy, anti depressants, over the years. He is now on antidepressants and meditates daily.

We have had marriage counselling in the past and I have also had individual counselling and I am also on anti depressants. My issue is that I was never depressed before I met him. I feel that there is a depressive, negative energy around him - he spends a lot of time lying down and dwelling on things. I actually feel quite anxious when he's in the house. Many other people have also remarked that he seems very stressed and moody.

We are currently going through marriage counselling (again!) and in our last session, when he started saying some things about me that he didn't like, and talking over me, I got really upset. Then he got frustrated and says he can't talk to me.

I just feel that after years of listening, supporting, counselling, I can't do it any more. I know what I need to be happy - a reasonably calm, positive environment. That's when I thrive. I sometimes dream of being in an environment where people are just light hearted and positive. I feel I am a bit of a chameleon and take on the mood of people around me.

His stress and negativity make me feel so drained, joyless and anxious. But he thinks that he should be able to express himself. I don't think he realises that I feel totally burned out from the years of stress and just can't do it any more. He wants to dig up endless things from the past and analyse everything. I used to want to do that too, but I did it for years and now I don't want to do it any more.

We have three children, one with SN, and splitting up is not an option for now.

I don't know what responses I am looking for really - maybe how to be less sensitive to him? To be fair, I am very sensitive to everyone's moods, not just him, which is why I often find it easier to be on my own.

OP posts:

catpoppet · 08/06/2022 11:36

sounds tough OP. you say that splitting up isn't an option, but could you do something more like co-parenting? whereby you don't live together but nearby and share care of the kids on equal, supportive terms?

Also I would recommend getting some therapy for yourself (outside of the couples counselling). It sounds as though you need to sort out your feelings, and couples counselling might be good for you as a couple, but is it good for you as an individual?


BarrowInFurnessRailwayStation · 08/06/2022 23:30

I think perhaps you need some space on your own to ensure you maintain your own mental health and wellbeing. Do you have any friends or activities you could immerse yourself in? How about space in the house? Could you fix up your own room to relax in?

Are you able to compartmentalise the situation by telling yourself that your husband's frame of mind is not your responsibility and try to detach from it somewhat?


Icecocoa · 09/06/2022 10:08

Thank you both for your replies.

@catpoppet Individual counselling is probably a good idea, I think I still have issues especially around boundaries that I need to look at! However, another part of me feels that I have done so much counselling in the past, researched so much about self development, read so many books etc that I'm not sure quite what another counsellor could do. I also don't feel like I want to rehash everything over and over again. Maybe I need something more like coaching with strategies on how to move forward.

@BarrowInFurnessRailwayStation That's actually something I have been thinking recently, that I feel desperate for my own space in the house. I would love to have my own room where I could relax (I would paint a wall with gold paint, and have bean bags and lots of lava lamps - probably not most people's tastes, but I would find it relaxing!)

I think part of the problem is that DH and I both only work part time, so we're around each other a lot. We both like being at home and are not particularly sociable. I do need to work on detaching myself from his emotions and mindset - I don't know if it is a part of ADHD, or just me, that I feel I absorb everyone's emotions, and feel very anxious if they are negative.

OP posts:

BarrowInFurnessRailwayStation · 09/06/2022 11:10

It is a part of ND to absorb others emotions. Also look at Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria. This occurs when ND people feel they've done something wrong or being rejected or criticised by others. This results in us being on red alert to others demeanour and behaviour towards us. This is very draining for ND people. We're hardwired for it and it's very difficult to switch off.

Your lava lamp room idea sounds lovely 😍

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