I am no expert, but the first thing I would advise is to find someone to talk to for YOU. The way you describe your wife's behavior, it seems to me that you have lost some of yourself in trying to accomodate her. You shouldn't have to give up your friends and interests. It sounds like your wife is very insecure and that she has some deep seated pain - and the depression is just a symptom of that - and she really needs help. But you cannot save her and it's not your job to. You are there to love her, but you also need to take care of yourself so that you don't sink with her in the waters of her depression.
Your wife sounds unreasonably controling and no one should have to live like that. You might want to read a book by Townsend and McCloud on Boundaries. I don't remember the exact title, but it's a pretty well known book. Probably would come up if you google it. You say she insists you spend every moment with her so you have to. But Dr. Phil says we treat people how to treat us. Why do you feel she is able to control you like that? If you said "no" and walked away - would she get angry and follow you? Well, you have a choice: shut the door. Or go out with the kids. Or tell her "You need to respect my personal space. I need some time alone." If she doesn't agree, just keep repeating that to her. NOw that's just what I would do. However, I don't know your wife personally. But I do believe that you have a choice. YOu don't have to let her anger and negativity manipulate you anymore into doing whatever she wants. IF SHE IS UNHAPPY IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. IF SHE IS UNHAPPY IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. IF SHE IS UNHAPPY IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. I've had depression too in various degrees, and my husband always felt responsible. And he would bend over backwards trying to make me happy. He just coudln't understand that it wasn't about
him. But it really wasn't. I had to find my own way out of the personal pain I felt inside. Now he has learned to just love me but to take space when my issues are too much for him, and I have learned that it is not his responsibility to make me happy. I know he loves me and that is what counts.
Obviously, you love your wife very much, and I'm sure she doesn't want to behave the way she is, and yeah, some things maybe she can't help. So she does need help. But first I think you need to take care of you. Because if you allow her issues to drain you, then you've got nothing left to help her with, or yourself. Like your name, you'll just remain emotionally exhausted if you dont' take care of you.
I hope for you that you can get some things going on in your life that will make you happy again. If you have hobbies, picking them up again. |Calling some of your old friends. And if your wife doesn't like it, you can just reassure her it doesn't mean you love her less, but that these thigns were a part of the man she loved and married, and they still are, and they do not mean you love her any less. You need to build yourself up.
As for getting your wife help, there are resources out there that don't cost money. Sometimes I think I have used money as an excuse not to get help because I was just too scared to. Maybe your wife is scared. But what if you can find yourself some help - therapy can also be covered or maybe a local mental health worker to meet with would be covered? I don't know. ONe of the mods. may know where to locate resources. But I really think you need support, and then from there you, and whomever you are working with could likewise help you locate some help for your wife, but of course, she needs to be willing to admit she needs help. Her behavior towards you isn't right and she needs to stop controling you like that. And you need to also stop enabling her by doing what she wants you to do. You deserve better than that.
From experience, she won't like it if you start setting boundaries for yourself, and she will probably make a huge fuss, load on the guilt, get angry etc., but I have found over time, people come to accept and respect those boundaries/choices if truly they want to make the relationship work.
Hope you can find someone good to talk to soon. Having said all that, I think it's great that you have come to see your wife does need help. Just bucking up doesn't work - you're right. The compassion and understanding you have gained for her is wonderful, and if you can respond to her pain with empathy, and compassion, looking past her anger and hurt , she may also start to trust you more, feel safer and like she can be softer with you. So you can start working on keeping cool, and just telling her you love her and are so sorry she is hurting and other times when it's about
you needing space, you can do that also, but at the same time, learn to be firm and stand up for yourself in a respectful way.
Eventually you may want to both get in counseling together to try to change your dynamics in relating. I'm sure she must be craving your understanding, and I encourage you to offer that, but not to the point that you allow her to control your choices.
Anyone's patience would be wearing thin by now. It doesn't mean you don't love her. It doesn't mean you have failed as a husband. It means you're human, and actually, I think it's a good sign that you have come to this point, because now you are truly ready to get help for yourself and your family.
You obviously love and care for your wife and children very much which is why you posted here. Reaching out is a huge step towards getting help and seeing positive change come.
all the best, mb
Post Edited (manyembers) : 1/14/2008 1:40:42 PM (GMT-7)