To Push or Not to Push...that's the question.

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Singer69
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 197
   Posted 6/20/2007 12:53 PM (GMT -7)   
As many of you know, I'm trying to help my wife out of a lifelong period of depression and lack of self worth. She is not manic and isn't incapable of being a responsible adult. She simply doesn't reach out and enjoy life.

Someone here asked me once if my wife did the minimum amount of care for our 2 year old or if she went beyond that and spent quality time with her. That statement really made me think hard about things. The truth is, my wife does the bare minimum in EVERY facet of her life right now. It wasn't always like that, but it has been for quite a while.

She sits around and watches TV until or unless there is something she has to do like take the kids somewhere, change a diaper, feed the baby, go to sleep, etc. Nothing more than that. The past few months, I've done all of the cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, bills, etc. AND I'm the sole income for the family while she's a stay at home mom (we have 5 kids). Now, I'm not complaining - I don't mind picking up the slack...I really don't...but I'm beginning to wonder if I'm simply enabling her to live this way and not take any responsibility as an adult. I sometimes feel as if I have 6 kids and one of them is 35!

I am self-employed and have an office just a little over a mile from our home. I've repeatedly asked for her help with OUR business because if I had the help, I could actually make more money. She says she will and shows up once and then I don't see her for months. Recently, she decided that she wasn't going to work with me ever. Now, with her not taking care of her responsibilities, I'm taking on so much that I'm actually losing business and we can't afford it anymore.

I'm at the point where I am going to tell her that if she doesn't step up and do her part by working in the office a few hours a week (that's really all I need), she's going to have to get a job and FAST. We're drowning right now and I have to somehow come up with close to $500 for her first two psychiatry appointments that start next week (where hopefully she'll get a dose of reality and the right medications).

As you can probably guess, there's a part of me that's worried that if I push her to take responsibility that it'll be bad for her. But most of me feels that enabling her IS part of the problem and that she's simply not holding herself accountable for the life we have made TOGETHER.

What's the right thing to do here??

ayjay
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 6/20/2007 2:10 PM (GMT -7)   
Maybe you can just push a little, in a very specific direction?  Perhaps you could talk to her about how, exactly, you'd like her to help out (i.e., you said you just need a few hours a week -- maybe just tell her that you're feeling overwhelmed and if she could come in X hours and do Y and Z, it would be a huge help).  I'd suggest keeping it on the positive side (i.e., stay away from the "not pulling her weight" stuff).  And maybe if you ask her for her help, she might see that asking for help isn't so bad?  And being specific about what you want from her could keep it from seeming overwhelming to her.  Hope I'm not completely babbling here...I'm just trying to think of what might work if you were coming to me with the issue. 

Haapy
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 6/20/2007 2:20 PM (GMT -7)   
I can't answer for her but I can tell you this.  I seem to take care of my depression only when I have to.  Meaning that when the car is repoed and the sherif is here to remove us from our house I than and only then get it.  I then have to get help for my depression and do so.
 
With that said,  I also see someone who is pushing me when I am in the depth of my depression as the enamy.  As I did my EX-wife.......
 
Bottum line is you are the main bread winner and leader of your family and you need to do, what you need to do to make sure the kids have a roof over their head.
 
Being that she is in a depression she may fight you at first but being a woman she will thank you later.  But then what do I know about women confused   

Singer69
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 197
   Posted 6/20/2007 2:45 PM (GMT -7)   
Ayjay and Haapy,

Thanks for the feedback. That's the burning question - if I push her (or tell her or whatever) into stepping up and taking responsibility, will it make it worse? At this point, I'm not sure it can get worse for us before I lose it. I simply can't do it all by myself and she's doing nothing to help. In fact, she's doing things that are hurting us financially at this point in time (long story).

I agree with ayjay and was planning on not pulling the "you're not holding up your end..." card. None of this is new to her. She knows that I need help and she knows that I need HER help specifically. That's part of the problem. It's a slap in the face to me when I work my butt off with six projects and come home to find her on the couch in the same place and wearing her pajamas that she was when I left for work. I then have to clean up around the house and make dinner, etc. It really annoys me.

Again, she's not sitting in the corner drooling - she IS capable of doing this. She's just not doing it and I'm feeling as if that's partially my fault for enabling her to continue not doing her part in our family and in our marriage.

*sigh*
 
Reason for Edit:
 
Sorry, but I just had to take a word out that HW didnt turn into *'s. (See rule #2 --> http://www.healingwell.com/community/default.aspx?f=46&m=106997) Nothing major but sentence now reads "It really annoys me" rather than "It really __________ me off"

Post Edited By Moderator (djdaz_1985) : 6/21/2007 1:50:52 AM (GMT-6)


_Christina
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 553
   Posted 6/20/2007 10:00 PM (GMT -7)   
My husband did theh very best thing for me when he came home, found me on the couch (or bed) with 3 kids in the house and he picked me up and tossed me in the shower. Other times he opened the blinds and opened the windows. Other times he cased me onto the tredmill. I was angry and told him so- but I did it and felt better.
One time my husband went on a "housechore strike". I don't reccomend this. It was the closest thing to breaking us up in our 10 years married.
I think the meds will help. I think 1 particular task with a closed timeline will help. as she feels better, make it 2, then 3. recovery is an up and down thing and if you add too much you may find that she falls a little. Just ease back, you won't brake her. Depressives tend to be the strongest people out there, once they can handle the condition. Spouses of depression are 2nd srongest, if they stick arround. it is a hard thing to watch.
You may have her rate her day on a 1-10 scale written down. connect feelings like " I can take a walk" I can play with the kids" I can handle typing" and such to the numbers. As you chart this it will give you a window to how she feels, and it will give you both a visual to her recovery. See the book Undoing Depression for a great chart idea. That book gives great ideas on what is going on and how to handle it.

One thing to look at- always support her where she is if she is working on it. If she is wallowing in it- give her a cold shower. push her to work on it. it may be a while before she can do anything other than work on the depression before she can work on the job. Give her time. You want a healthy wife and it will come. Then you will have all the help you need.
BTW, I am still on the "workng on myself" stage. I wouk outside the home, but badly.
Christina
 
When you cannot stand, on whom do you lean?


djdaz_1985
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 2408
   Posted 6/21/2007 12:58 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi there,

There has been some great advice come through here which leaves me with not a lot to add! lol I definately like Christina's idea of building her up slowly with tasks with closed deadlines. What I do recommend though is that the deadlines not be too tight. If she feels like she is under pressure to meet a deadline, it could make things worse. Small pushes in the right direction sound like a good idea rather than one god-all-mighty- shove; last I heard (and Christina will back me on this one) is that it ends marriages/relationships or at the very least makes them very hard work. Its a fine balance and I wish you all the best

Warmest Wishes

Darren


Everyone has a guardian angel. They help pick you up when you fall, comfort you through your times of need and help you appreciate the times when things are going well.
 
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ShynSassy
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 3036
   Posted 6/21/2007 4:28 AM (GMT -7)   
Singer
I was thinking about being home with 5 kids,having depression and just not knowing what is going on with me. And I think it would be very hard to pick myself back up.

I know alot of stay at home moms that just loose themselves. All they know is their children and they feel like they have lost touch with themselves.

I am not giving your wife an excuse for not helping you by any means,I am just trying to see it from her side.

So I do have a suggestion...what if you talked to her and told her that you think that her getting out of the house for a few hours a week would do her good. And that it would benefit you too because you really need her help.
Telling her that she can get some adult time. Hire a sitter and get her out of the house.

I know the finances are hard right now..but,is there anyway that you can get someone to watch the kids for a weekend? Take your wife on a trip somewhere..it doesn't have to be a huge trip,maybe just to the next town and get a hotel room,plan on seeing a movie or a concert,take her out to dinner ect.
I guess what I am saying is,let her feel like a woman that is being courted for a whole weekend. Instead of a mom that has so many things on her plate.

Shy
Mod- Depression

Chronic Depression, Panic Attacks,Anxiety Attacks,Anorexia
Meds I have taken throughout the years:Wellbutrin,Tranxene,Paxil,Prozac,Valium,
Currently taking none.
www.healingwell.com/donate


www.myspace.com/ShynSassy315

"I am woman,hear me roar one day and cry the next!!!"


Singer69
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 197
   Posted 6/21/2007 9:09 AM (GMT -7)   
Christina,

Thank you for your insight. That's one of the things that I'm struggling with - whether or not to push her since she can't get the motivation from within. I am upset at the situation, but I'm really not mad at her, per se. I've been depressed before and I do remember just not having the motivation to do anything. I remember feeling as if there was nothing to get up for, etc. So I have tried to get her some motivation from the outside (i.e., me) to get her out of the house. The problem is that she just doesn't want to do anything at all, so her attitude when I suggest something is, "fine. tell me what you want me to do and I'll do it." This is said with a bit of an attitude and as such comes across as a cop out. It's like, "I'll do it, but I will not like it and I'm telling you right now it's not my choice and if it doesn't work out, I'll say 'I told you so'." Ugh. I wish that the shower thing worked with her. Truth is, she's someone who can't stand not having a shower every day, so she sits around until noon or so and then takes a shower, gets dressed, and then sits back on the couch. Oy.

Darren,

I'm certainly not interested in shoving her too hard. In fact, as I said before, I believe that I've been enabling her by NOT pushing her and taking things off of her plate. She's now used to NOT having to do anything because she KNOWS that I'll do it if she doesn't. So I have to take some responsibility for this situation to a point.

Shy,

I know that five kids sounds like a lot - and it is - but our kids are pretty self-sufficient. The one that's a handful is the 2 1/2 year old. The other kids (ages 9 to 15) know the deal and just keep themselves busy. They are very used to the way my wife is during the day. It's almost as if they know that they should just stay out of her way until she approaches them for something. It's a bad thing and I'd love for it to change in the future. I absolutely have tried to set up her life so that she has time for herself. I've tried to tow that line of doing it for her and setting up an environment where she can take advantage of the time and/or resources (i.e., babysitter, my working from home w/ the kids, days off, etc.) at her disposal. The problem is that she doesn't take advantage of them. She comes up with some sort of excuse every single time. That's why I'm at the point of simply setting stuff up for her (play date anyone?) and dragging her to the door (kidding, of course).

Believe me, the making her feel like a woman thing is ALWAYS present from me. That's part of her problem with me during this time. She doesn't understand why I am in love with her and so she doesn't believe it (I think). Through therapy, we've discovered that she has thought that she has to match my energy. She has told me before that I am "too romantic, too loving, too affectionate, and too thoughtful". Oy. My response to that was, "Good luck finding a support group for that one!" What she was saying was that she felt as if she had to match me step for step when she truly doesn't and I truly don't expect it from her. Seriously. The unfortunate thing is that she has disconnected from me in the process that she's going through, so she has stopped telling me that she loves me, she has stopped being affectionate (I have to reach for her hand, give her a hug or kiss, etc.). It's tough, but I'm just trying to set aside my needs and focus on what she needs (that's a freakin' pattern, for sure).

I did let her know last night that she needs to help out in the office and she agreed...but with attitude. She refuses to discuss WITH me what her schedule will be and how many hours she will come into the office. What she said was, "you just tell me what to do and I'll do it". It's a cop out in my mind. It's her saying, "fine, I'll do it, but I won't like it, I won't be passionate about it, and when it fails, I'll say I told you so." Does that make sense? She told me that she didn't understand why she had to be involved in setting her work schedule. I said, "Honey, I respect you and love you and want you to be involved in the way you spend your day." Her response was, "I don't have anything going on, so it doesn't matter." I told her that I wanted her to at least be involved or it's going to seem like a horrible chore that she hasn't agreed to. That didn't work. She refuses to take any responsibility. Ugh.

Rick...

_Christina
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 553
   Posted 6/21/2007 12:24 PM (GMT -7)   
i had an attitude too. What she needs and what she wants are two diffrent things. the shower thing- it's cold with clothes on. i was mad for days. as the meds started to work, i forgave him.

what about having a "family mother's day" for a week? shower her with REAL praise before asking her for anything. have the kids get into it. she will see right through it, and you can't hook it onto a request, but if it is real, it should sink in after a while. you have already made the request, now praise her for doing it, for having kids, for staying married, for getting up in the morning with cards and such. picked flowers work, notes on the fridge.

good luck
Christina
 
When you cannot stand, on whom do you lean?


Singer69
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 197
   Posted 6/21/2007 12:37 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey Christina,

Yeah, I'm pretty sure she'd murder me in my sleep if I ever put her into a cold shower with her clothes on. On second thought, she probably wouldn't wait until I was asleep. tongue

She had a WONDERFUL mother's day this year (just a few weeks ago). I let her sleep in (something she loves), made her favorite breakfast and delivered it with flowers and a balloon and the kids saying Happy Mother's Day! The kids and I gave her a bunch of gifts and then we went to a nice park to feed the ducks and geese. I then gave her a sizeable gift card to use at the mall and she just beamed and wanted to take off right away for the mall, so we did.

She shopped and found a place that was going out of business and had everything 70% off (she LOVES finding bargains). She ended up with something like 20 different items of clothing. Then I took her and the kids to lunch. We went home and she laid all of her new clothes out and was just loving all of the different options she had for the summer.

I made her a nice dinner and then made one of her favorite desserts. She turned to me at the end of the day and said, "This was a good day." That was HUGE considering how things had been going with her and us.

So, I do things for her and show her how much I love her ALL the time. She's actually asked me on many occasions NOT to be so romantic and thoughtful because she feels as if she has to match me. We've gone over that many times and she just has to realize that she doesn't have to match me. But that's another story and it's going to take a while.

She and I spoke this morning about her working in the office and she basically said that she feels like she's been a disappointment to me and doesn't feel that she deserves the respect that I'm trying to give her by having her be involved in this process. I explained that while I'm not happy how things have gone, I'm more than willing to look past the past and move forward with no resentment, etc. She wants me to treat her like an employee and maybe it will change after that. Oooooookay. I don't think that I have any choice at this time based on the way she feels, etc.

Rick...

ShynSassy
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 3036
   Posted 6/22/2007 5:25 AM (GMT -7)   
Rick
I am sorry I did not mean to imply that you were not already doing those things.
I just meant that maybe you two could get away and be alone.

I am sorry!

Shy
Mod- Depression

Chronic Depression, Panic Attacks,Anxiety Attacks,Anorexia
Meds I have taken throughout the years:Wellbutrin,Tranxene,Paxil,Prozac,Valium,
Currently taking none.
www.healingwell.com/donate


www.myspace.com/ShynSassy315

"I am woman,hear me roar one day and cry the next!!!"


goddess0728
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 81
   Posted 6/22/2007 6:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Shy I can't speak for Singer69(Rick) but I'm sure he understands that you meant no blame.

Rick:

this struck me
>>>The problem is that she just doesn't want to do anything at all, so her attitude when I suggest something is, "fine. tell me what you want me to do and I'll do it."<<<

I just wanted to say that I recently had a breakthrough in therapy ( I don't know if this happens to other people but sometimes during therapy I have a HEY I GET IT moment and it opens my eyes to what I am doing) .....but I realized that I do (well used to do, getting better at not doing it!) the same thing with my husband. Because it is easier to just have someone else tell me what to eat, where to go, etc. That way I wouldn't have to try to figure out what I really wanted/needed. Which is work, when you are co-dependent/depressed. "I have to be my own person figure out my own wants/needs/feelings/what I want for breakfast?"

I totally agree with the suggestions her as far trying to give a little goal, a little push..maybe you could say 'I need your help with the business, could you do an hour today/this week?" I wish I had some magic words for you.

I am very close to my brother in law and he has this unique ability to pat me on the back and kick me in the butt at the same time. I wish I could offer you something like that for your wife. I think you again are an amazing person for sticking by your wife. And I know you are worried about your kids and effect this may have on them, but I think the fact the you didn't run away from this shows them that it truly is "for better or worse, in sickness and in health". You are committed to your marriage and that alone can be a rare thing in this day and age.

Take care

Singer69
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 197
   Posted 6/22/2007 9:33 AM (GMT -7)   
Shy -

No offense taken AT ALL, trust me. I'm in a strange position when it comes to my wife and I. Our therapist mentioned to her (about six months ago) that she thinks that our relationship has turned into a father/daughter scenario. My wife has grabbed onto that and is using it as an excuse for why we have intimacy problems. Now, I'm not saying that a scenario like that wouldn't cause problems, but I am upset that she doesn't think it can be changed. First, I NEVER wanted that role. I had to step up in our relationship and take on everything that she wouldn't/couldn't. She basically forced me to grab the reigns by her not handling her responsibilities. This happened over years and has gotten worse. I've explained to her that I don't want this and that I have always wanted her to be my partner in our marriage, not someone I tell what to do. Oy.

Goddess -

That's great that you had that breakthrough. I am really hoping that my wife has some similar epiphanies once she starts seeing the new psychiatrist next week. I am making sure that I don't push her too hard. It's tough because I get frustrated sometimes when it feels like the world is on my shoulders and I can't take it anymore. But I'm persevering.

I appreciate your comments on my commitment to my wife. Of course I'm not going anywhere and you are right that it seems as if it's rare these days. I have had acquaintances actually suggest that I take this as an opportunity to get out and leave her to deal with her problems. WHAT? I can't fathom leaving her at a time like this. That is exactly how she got to this point in the first place. No one (including her own parents) has ever stood by her. I can see why they didn't (she's a HARD HEAD), but I'm not going anywhere. We have five kids and they deserve to see their mom feel better about herself (what better example?). Not to mention that my wife deserves to have a better life and feel good about who she is. Of course, she's never felt good about herself and life in general, so she doesn't see that in her future. I'm the only one (her friends and family just go along with what she says to them) standing up for her AGAINST her because I know that she has the potential to get through this. If I have to be the bad guy for a while in her eyes so that we can reach that goal, then so be it. I can handle it.

As I've said before, I just keep thinking about that day that we both look back at this as a turning point in our lives (individually and together). It's all that is keeping me going right now. All I picture is the future when we have grandchildren (with five kids, there's a lot of potential for offspring!) and the whole family is together around a giant Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner table with my wife and I proudly beaming looking around at all of them. That's the image I have in my head and it gets me through the rough days.

Rick...
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