Depressed spouse, blames me

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New Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 1/29/2009 9:55 AM (GMT -6)   
Glad I found this forum.

My wife was diagnosed with depression a month or so ago. We've been married 10 years and have 2 young children, 2yo and 11 months old. I noticed a significant mood/character shift in my wife almost 2 years ago, a few months after our first child was born. She became much more irritable, angry, and sad. I tried to be supportive, but also didn't like the way she was treating me. As time passed, it got worse, and I in-turn tried harder to be supportive, but nothing improved. It got significantly worse after our 2nd child was born. 5 months after that birth, when my wife was being very distant with me, I discovered she was having an emotional affair thru email with another man who worked in her building. It devastated me. She says it meant nothing, only happened for 2 months, but it didn't read that way at all, with lots of talk of sexual desires, fantasies, and expressions of true feelings.

She seemed to want to work things out with me, to make the marriage work, so I've been trying 100% to meet her needs, but things haven't improved much. I'm discouraged. I saw the depression diagnosis (which her doctor made a couple of months ago) as a possible reason for the difficulties, and a reason to hold hope that once/if we could address the depression, it would ease our marital problems. I ensured her I was 100% supportive and would do whatever I could to help her. I've been reading books on depression, trying to understand it better. This seems to make her mad, which I don't understand very well... but I now try to keep my efforts to understand the illness to myself, to keep peace. She blames me for the depression. She says I was/am too critical, not helpful enough around the house, etc. I'm trying to do everything I can, but it's never enough. Conversation always results in her interpreting what I say in the worst possible way, resulting in an argument. It's hard to communicate. She refuses all of the support I offer with respect to the depression (I've offered to accompany her to the doctor, talk about her feelings, get her out of the house, etc.).

We have been seeing a marriage counselor for a few months now. Not much progress so far. Lots of anger (from her) and tears (from both). She has no good memories of our marriage. She seems to see it as completely bad, now and then. It wasn't, then. I find cards/notes she wrote me just 2-3 years ago praising me as the best husband she could ever have asked for, etc. She's done a complete 180. I'm growing weary of trying to keep things together, but I know I have to be strong and try to be supportive if I want the marriage to work, because I'm the only one with the strength to do it right now. She resisted taking the medications prescribed for the depression for the first few weeks, even lying to me about it when I'd ask... but she now "appears" to be taking the meds.

I've tried being very emotionally supportive, her response was cold. I've tried giving her the space she asks for, she criticized me for being to distant. I keep trying to meet her needs, but it's a moving target. I feel unfairly treated, with the anger, cursing, hurtful remarks, and most of all the affair that I've had to suffer through... regarding which she's offered zero support to me.

How does a spouse support a depressed spouse when they don't want your support?

getting by
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 42612
   Posted 1/29/2009 11:34 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Sangean,

Welcome to HealingWell.

You can't support somebody who doesn't want it. This depression is hers and hers alone. She can't blame you. Well she can, but it isn't true.

It looks like you have taken all the right steps in trying to help. Continue the marraige counseling. That could possibly be the thing to help you. Plus if she is really taking her meds now, that could help emensly.

I am so sorry for what you are going through, like I say it sounds like you are doing all the right things and trying so very hard. You sound like a very good husband.

I am sorry that she is on the computer corresponding with another man. How can she say that it doesn't mean anything? It must mean something unless they are just joking around, but that alone would upset me. But I can't judge her, it wouldn't be fair.

I hope that things work out for you. Keep up the counseling, let them know that she wasn't taking her meds too.

Best wishes to you, keep posting, we are all here for you.

Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 1/29/2009 11:50 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello Sangean,
Welcome to HealingWell and the Depression Forum. 
I am so sorry you are going through this tough time.
First of all I would like to say you cannot meet her needs as she does not tell you what her needs are and she is the only one that can make sure her needs are met.  In order to do this she needs to talk to you not yell and fight.
I admire you  for sticking with her and going to marriage counseling.  I am wondering if you have ever thought of individual counseling for yourself?
Living in a relationship with a depressed spouse is difficult. In our family I am the one with depression but I have loved my husband always and he has issues so we take care of each other.  Yes we have disagreements but we resolve them. 

We all have big dreams when we first get married but life doesn't always deal us the cards we want so we change our goals and learn to accept our life.
That does not mean our marriage was always bad because we did not get our pipe dreams.  Your wife has depression and she needs to do the work to get through this but depression does not give anyone the right to be abusive verbally and accusatory toward another.
You are not the cause of her depression so kick that thought to the curb.
It sounds to me like you are doing all you can but perhaps you may need to let her know that you will not be drawn into any arguments, that you will just walk away until she has calmed down and will communicate with you on and adult to adult level.
Screaming and fighting won't do either of you any good.  You both end up feeling worse.
Take care and stick with  us.
Gentle Hugs to you.

Kitt, Co-Moderator: Anxiety/Panic & Depression
&  Moderator GERD  Forums

*~* *~*
Not a mental health professional of any kind
Peace does not dwell in outward things, but within the soul
Clickable Link: Anxiety-Panic Resources

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 1/31/2009 10:11 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey Brother, I'm praying for you! "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding, Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take." Proverbs 3:5-6 This verse has been getting me through this past week. My wife and I have been married for 11 years, we have no children, but about 5 months ago my wife quit a job she had been working a long time to obtain after a instructor told her that maybe this wasn't the position for her. Since then her mood has taken a 180. She says we never communicated well ( which is true, I'm not the best talker ) that we maybe got married to quickly, we live separate lives, and she is not physically attracted to me and has not been for about 2 years. Before the job loss she was a very affectionate loving wife. She says something happened to me at (her job) I think different now. She doesn't have a reason for her mood except that our relationship makes her depressed. She all of a sudden does'nt talk to me and is cold and distant. This is not the woman I knew 6 months ago! I also have cards where she has told me what a great husband I am. But like you write she does'nt remember the good times only the bad ones.
We also have been going to marriage counseling, but it seems that the relationship is getting even more distant. The counselor has told her that she thinks she is depressed but she does not agree, "I only feel bad when I go to counseling and am around my house" (with me). What really drives me crazy is when we go out she acts normal to her friends and family. But as soon as we get home, "here comes the quiet treatment" I really feel for you Sagean, I know your heart is breaking because so is mine. "I want my loving wife back!!!!!" I've been seeing the counselor myself and she tells me to be there for her, stand firm in my faith and just cross off the days. It's not easy, I can't imagine what it must be like with children also. I went to my MD and started taking an anti-depressant (Wellbutrin) It has helped take the edge off the sad crying times. My wife doesn't think she needs any medication.
Hang in there Brother!!! Remember "What is impossible with men is possible with God" Luke 18:27
and "The Lord God goes with you, He will never leave you nor forsake you" Deut. 31:6

getting by
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 42612
   Posted 1/31/2009 11:36 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Lespaul,

I am sorry for what is going on between you and your wife, or what isn't going on. I am sorry that she feels the way that she does. But I am glad that you are keeping the faith, hopefully one day she will try medication and change the way she sees things.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 2/3/2009 6:48 PM (GMT -6)   

Hearing a description of your wife sounds like me ....I had a 2 year old and a 10 month old and have been suffering from depression possibly postpartum depression. And it feels like an emotional rollacoaster within yourself .I'm also married and I take alot out on my husband I blame him for everything!!!! I think when you deal with depression you have this problem of not being able to let go of pain and the image you set in your mind when you become married is a beautiful life with a supportive spouse and that your husband can make it all better and know just what to say but when real life sets in disappointment, hurt, the past takes hold and the feelings turn into so many things.On top of that pregnancy hormones lack of rest, not eating right, feeling so needed all the time sometimes a woman just needs to have some pampering time to feel like she use to before life became hectic and demanding .When we feel not understood life can become scary and lonely and some reach out to anything that shows interest & compassion . You are doing more than my husband is doing but everyones different. Maybe the medication will change her perception of things and maybe she should seek help in a Doctor that specializes in mood disorders but bringing that up could make her more hostile, I became angry when my husband mentioned having postpartum depression but once I took time to look at myself and quit focusing on what he was doing so wrong it became more clear . I actually think postpartum depression changes you in so many ways you don't even realize it until you life just falls apart and then you wonder why and what made me think or act that way...Thanks for letting me give a wifes side suffering from depression and if you love her don't give up it can get better and you have to step back and see your wife is ill not just being a B*tch.


New Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 2/11/2011 9:12 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey Sangean
I know it's been some time so you may not get this but what you describe is exactly what I am going through now so I was wondering - have things changed for you? What has happened in your situation. I am trying to pretty much what you say you were doing and I am praying that it works out but would be really interested to see what life is like for you now.

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 2/11/2011 12:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Everyone,
Trotterlyon, I am going through the same thing as well. I hope we get an update.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 2/11/2011 12:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Good Morning Ohio-Dawn and trotterlyon,
Welcome to HealingWell and the Depression Forum.  Sangean only posted the one time and never came back to the forum. I wish him well and hope things worked out between him and his wife.
I would like to invited both of you to feel comfortable in starting a thread of your own so all the members have the chance to meet you.  Please post your problems, questions, and vent away if that is what you need to feel better.
We are all here to support you so welcome aboard.
Moderator: Anxiety/Panic, Osteoarthritis, GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.

"If you can't change the world, change your world"

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 65
   Posted 2/13/2011 1:46 AM (GMT -6)   
A spouse is the easiest and most accessible target for the other spouse to vent on. I'm no doctor, but I believe that until your Wife gets a grip on what her depression is doing to her, you will continue to endure mistreatment regardless of what you do or don't do.

I'd like to add that you seem to have far more patience than most people. My congrats.
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