I am married man in his early 30s who suffers from depression, anxiety, ADHD, and social anxiety. I have been going through an excruciating time as of late. It all started when I was getting married over 2 years ago. There has been a long history of conflict between my parents and my wife. They have been pretty awful to her and it has greatly affected me. In response, she has become very angry and overly-sensitive to their actions, which is understandable. I too am to blame for not standing up for her in the beginning, but I had been swimming in dirty water for so long I did not even realize it was not clean.
My wife is the love of my life. She is my life and she means beyond the world to me. She is the most wonderful person I ever met.
The main issue of tension revolves around a pre-nuptial agreement my dad made us sign. In retrospect, I when I saw how much it hurt her, I should have never let her sign it and I did tell her I still would marry her if she did not sign it, but she did. When I first told her about
it she called my father up and he screamed at her and told her she would “…never get his money.” My father is a wealthy man who is obsessed with money and is socially retarded (for lack of a better term) and does not know how to deal with people. Keep in mind my brother and my sister did not have to sign any type of agreement. The first draft of the agreement my dad had drawn up. It read like an indentured servitude contract. I told him this is not the type of marriage I want to have with my wife and found another lawyer who basically only protected my inheritance, my stock portfolio and my condo, the latter two had been funded by my father. I did this because I believe anything that I make while we were married should be both of ours and what he want to do with his money is his decision. She also was going to keep her account that had prior to our marriage. Later, after we were married and when things calmed down a little, as a sign of good faith and at the urging of my couples therapist (who does not seem to think very much of me but she has helped so and my wife likes her so I put up with it).
There was a lot of pain back and forth and I have been in the middle of everything. My mom did not come to my engagement party because she has a pelvic issue and said she could not fly, but she was in Florida on a three week vacation the week before. Now she claims she was never even invited which we did and she debated it for at least a month. (she is a recovering uppers and downers addict). They were never very warm to my wife. TO stand up to them I told them that they could not give a speech at my wedding. This really hurt me because I would have loved to have my entire family speak, but because of my wife’s feelings, I would not allow it. They were crushed and embarrassed by this. My sister even berated me at the wedding about
it and I almost cried. After the wedding my parents continued to depress me by telling me they were losing me. The guilt they tired to inflict, sometimes successfully and sometimes unsuccessfully was unbelievable and they continuously try to make me feel guilty everytime something does not go the way they want it. My wife continued to tell me they were horrible people.
On and off, my wife has really tried to have a relationship with them. Each time, either they did something wrong or my wife was way too overly sensitive over the smallest details of the things they would do. I understand why she was hurt, but some of these complaints no one would really read into the things she did or would be concerned about
them. My dad offered to buy us a house with part of my inheritance. She was all for it and it seemed that she was getting along with them. We found out that my dad wanted to be put on the deed with the both of us in joint tenancy. This actually was a smart idea and a dumb idea. We would have avoided the gift tax and the estate tax by buying the house now. But it was inappropriate due to my wife’s concern about
him and money. I refused the gift. Since then she says I can get a house as long as I handled everything and she had final approval, because she finally understood why he did this but I refused because it just is not worth it. However, this was the last straw and she said she really did not want to have anything to do with them.
During the period before the house incident, my parent had been really nice to my wife but she would not acknowledge this and she would find the smallest most insignificant things to pick on. For instance, my mom called me at work to invite us to a holiday and she went nuts because they did not call or email her to invite her too. Her parents never personally invite me to anything and I think nothing of it (I have a great relationship with them). They even did some very nice things like pay for a semester of her law school education and gave us money to help for the rest of law school. They did this without us asking for it. I understand she is hurt. It is not the perfect situation because my dad is socially retarded, my mom does not want to be held accountable for anything, and my wife is very hurt, and rightfully so, and is a pretty angry person.
The recent developments of my life have brought me close to a nervous breakdown. From my therapist, couples counselor, and wife’s pleading, as well as my own awakening and realizations, I went to my parents house to confront them about
these issues. I did this in hope to make myself feel better, do right by my wife, make them understand what they have done and the consequences for their actions, and to try and mend the relationship so I can have some semblance of a family. On the first occasion, I was very anxious but I pushed myself to confront them. My mother had excuses or does not remember anything I said happening. She will not hold herself accountable for anything. My father did not understand why these things were so wrong. However, they assured me that they would love to have a relationship with my wife, and insisted that they would apologize to her after she was done with her law school finals. My wife said she does not buy it. I also explained to them that we were not coming to thanksgiving dinner and they could not accept that. I did this to try to make them understand there are consequences to their actions. They were so upset by this that it made me very depressed but I know I did the right thing. Instead, we went to spend thanksgiving with my Mother’s three brothers. My parents no longer talk to them because of a dispute in my grandfather’s will giving them the business that they all worked at and not giving my mother a piece of that business, probably because she was married to a very wealthy attorney. They sold the business a few years later for a ridiculous amount of money and are now retired. They have been so good to both myself and my wife after we have slowly established a relationship with them. Anyway, we went there for thanksgiving and I knew that this would really hurt my parents if they knew about
this, but they have accepted my wife unconditionally. We had a great time. However, the next few days I was so depressed I could barely get out of bed because I of how much this would hurt my parents.
A few weeks later I went up a second time to confront my parents on more issues, mainly involving how making my wife miserable has pushed my depression towards the point of unbearable. They asked what we did for thanksgiving and I told them the truth because I wanted to do the right thing. They were very hurt. I continued to talk to them about
the issues and thanks giving. We eventually had a more pleasant conversation about
random things. Anyway, I went home and my asked me what happened. Of course, as usual, she found a reason to be angry at me because I agreed with my mother that things at one time were getting better between my wife and my parents and I agree with that statement, even though I did not let them know that.
The next day my wife to study and I went about
my day. I go home from the gym that night and my brother-in-law had left several messages on my machine that my dad was in the hospital. I called them back and they told me that my dad had a mini-stroke. They blamed it on the conversation I had with them the day before, hell, I blamed myself the second I heard about
the incident. Needless to say I felt beyond terrible. I thought I killed my father. I finally got hold of my mother, who did not call me, and she told me that they all thought they he just had a panic attack but I should not tell them so much and I must take it easy on him. I called my brother, who is a doctor and went to see him, and he told me it was not a stroke and I should not blame myself because I have to be able to have hard discussions with my father but that I should take it easy on him. When I finally talked to my father that night he told me he thought he was going to be fine his mind just went blank and started stuttering uncontrobaly for about
a minute or two. He said that he would like to go to family therapy with my wife and try to mend things, but I do not think she would be
open to this concept.
My sister called me the next day to tell me that I have to take it easy on my father. She was very condescending and passive-aggressive and was telling me information like her kids, who I was cvery close to, are very scared that their poppy was going to die. I got into a fight with her and she just told me how I have turned into another human being with no passion for life whatsoever. She is right.
Two days later, my sister called me to tell me that my dad was coming back to work, which I already knew because I had talked to him several times that week. She told me again to take it easy on him and I agreed to because I had to desire to upset him anymore. She then went into the fact that she is sorry for the “injustices and the struggles” that her and parents have put us through since we got married. I called her out on this and told her I felt that I was completely insincere and she instead she was serious. I do not believe her but what is the point with fight with an insane person. I really have enough problems in my life I do not need to fixate on anger. I then got off the phone with her. My wife heard the conversation and was irate with me because I did not stand up for myself. I thought I did to an extent and on another point it was really not worth another hour conversation with her that goes nowhere. My wife has a conspiracy theory that my mother was making my sister call me to make me feel bad. She then insisted that when she was done with finals, she wanted to sit down with my parents and have it out with them. She believed that they are blaming for this health problem and this was the most despicable thing that they have ever done. She also did not believe that I stood up for myself, which I did at the very least, with my two last meeting with my parents. Most importantly, and a point I do not think I go across to well, she wanted to explained to them how they have been torturing me and how I am an absolute shell of who I once was. My heart sunk and I thought I was going to swallow my tongue. I would have loved for her to do this at anytime throughout this whole conflict, but since my father had such a hard time with this, by the way he is on kumondine (sp) for his heart and his levels were extremely low and they did not confirm that he did not suffer a mini-stroke at the hospital because of the low levels are indicative of a stroke and he is almost 79 years old, also my li. I told her, and I believed that I could not let her meet with them in fear of something happening to my father. I would never be able to live with myself if something happened. She then said “do you want to get a divorce?” then she agreed she would write them a letter, but I do not know if this is such a good idea either.
I am so depressed and so scared that my marriage is going to be destroyed by this. I love my wife so much and we have a great relationship except when it comes to the issue of my parents and sister. And some of her bad traits is she does get angry and does hold grudges. I also do not want disown or cease to talk to my parents. They love me very much and I love them, even though I think they have done more damage than my wife has in this relationship. I also do not want to have to move away from our friends and my job and this is my home. She is from a different state (she moved here right before we met), because the market is so bad. I had aspirations of a relationship where the two sides could at least coexist but I think that is a pipe dream. At this point I just want to have a separate relationship with both sides with my wife being by far my highest priority.
Because of recent events, and talking to a friend whose father recently passed away, I really do want to spend some time with my parents. They are older and I do not know how much longer they will live. I am afraid if I cut them off or something along those lines I will have resentment towards my wife for the rest of my life. However, I love my wife and I want to protect her. What happens though when we have kids?
I also do not want to hurt my wife anymore and want to stand by her and up for her. I also must get out of the terrible depression that this has a hold on me. It is pretty bad when activity is normal but now it is really to the point where I do not have any joy or optimism about
What should I do? How should I deal with my parents, my wife and my depression? PLEASE HELP