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Topic: Supporting Depressed, Anxious and Angry Wife

13 posts, 0 answered
  1. Feelinglowlow
    Feelinglowlow avatar
    4 posts
    5 July 2021

    HI All

    I started my journey trying to support my depressed wife 6 years ago. She was my fiance back then. I have never resorted to writing and sharing online but my level of frustration is at a point where I see no hope and hence wanted some advice and let me heart out at the same time.

    I am broken to to her verbal abuse, hearing her blame me for everything since the last 6 years. She would often loose control over herself and crack it at me for no reason at all and then blame me for all of it if i dare to get upset about it. I have never heard so much abuse cummulatively in my whole life than i have in these last few years. Hats off to everyone who has been doing this for years, it is a mighty task.

    I have tried settling boundries but without any success. If i try to explain that shes being unfair she will argue and argue for hours till im tired and wish to give in. If i do agree to her threats of divorce she would blame me again for never loving her and being so selfish. I feel like every door i walk towards is locked. She would generally blame me for not loving her, making her feel unloved, unheard, controlling her, making her feel unwrothy of anything. This normally comes out all togather with a whole load of abuse. If i try and say a word i get labelled as defensive. I understand I have to validate her but she makes it an impossible task for me to do so. Even if i am apoligizing she will continue to critisize me and in different forms till i get frustrated and respond back. She would even catastrophize small situations and start yelling. Im tired, so tired :)

    1 person found this helpful
  2. PamelaR
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    PamelaR avatar
    2740 posts
    6 July 2021 in reply to Feelinglowlow

    Hi Feelinglowlow

    Welcome to our forums. It's good you've found your way here. Not sure I can give you any advice, though I can share my experiences, and knowledge with you.

    Life sounds very difficult for you and my heart goes out to you because what you've described above is the environment I grew up in. It was horrible and I used to run down the road and sit for hours until things settled down. That was over 50 years ago. Both my parents are no longer alive, though they stayed together up until my mother passed away. My father remarried about 3 years on and was the happiest I ever saw him.

    What have I learnt - my mother quite obviously had borderline personality disorder, along with depression. There were many other horrible things she did during her life which only came to light in the past 15 years. In those days mental health conditions were never identified or diagnosed. Maybe if she received assistance back then, life could have been different for the family.

    I also now think my father had PTSD from the war which again, was never diagnosed or treated. And again I wonder if he had received assistance life might have been different.

    Supporting someone with a mental health condition is not easy and it can be extremely tiring and frustrating. There is some good advice on the Beyond Blue website for people supporting others. This information can be found by doing a search, using the search field at the top of the page. You could try the keywords - Supporting someone with depression.

    Hope some of this helps.

    1 person found this helpful
  3. 815
    815 avatar
    205 posts
    6 July 2021 in reply to Feelinglowlow

    Hi Feelinglowlow,

    Welcome. It is hard to reach out for support, and I am glad you have found the courage to do so. As PamelaR has mentioned, there is plenty of support and advice here.

    I have been supporting a husband through depression, but only for a year, so nowhere near as long as you. And I am tired. So I can't even imagine how you are feeling having done it for so long. Although I am still early in this journey, there are a few things that have helped my family along the way.

    Does your wife receive any sort of mental health support from a psychologist or counsellor? Although things didn't improve significantly quickly after my husband's diagnosis and referral to a psychologist, I know that him seeking help was the first step in accepting that there was a problem. And it was a big first step.

    And secondly, do you have any support? Personal and professional? I started seeing a psychologist myself, a few months after my husband's diagnosis. I was apprehensive, but it has certainly helped me get through some very difficult times. Without that support, and the personal support I have from a small number of family and friends, I doubt I'd have found the strength to hold on and support my family.

    Apart from that, please know that you are not alone. There are plenty of people on here who I am sure will come and provide you support, encouragement and advice. Come back and write any time.

  4. Feelinglowlow
    Feelinglowlow avatar
    4 posts
    8 July 2021 in reply to 815
    Thankyou Pamela and 815 for your support. Letting it all out feels amazing. We have gone to a couple of sessions with the family councellor. I feel like it won’t be much help as she keeps just blaming me for everything including not supporting her in front of my family, for her feeling unloved , lonely . I don’t think there is anything that I have not been blamed for. I have my flaws like not being sensitive enough towards her, not be as loving as she would like me to be, for being defensive most of the time. Some days I however feel not matter how much I try there is always something that I can short fall on which leads to me being criticised. I feel pathetic hearing her crack it at me for even the tiniest things but I know I have to be there for her through thick and thin which I try to do as much as possible.
    1 person found this helpful
  5. therising
    Valued Contributor
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    therising avatar
    2115 posts
    9 July 2021 in reply to Feelinglowlow

    Hi Feelinglowlow

    I feel for you and your wife so much as you try so hard to navigate the incredibly exhausting challenges that can come with depression. It can be such a cruel experience for both the sufferer and their partner.

    I hope I can offer a perspective that may make some difference to you. Having made my way out of depression, it's become easier for me to make sense of what I went through during those years with my husband. I suppose what I expected from my husband was the equivalent of a live in psychologist- someone to help me make sense of my emotions or feelings, someone to reveal to me why I felt and thought the way I did. It didn't feel enough to be basically loved. I wanted to be loved strategically, back to life. He didn't hold this ability, partly because he couldn't relate to depression.

    I suppose the question is 'What does strategically look like?' I've come to realise that the quest to better understand myself comes with many many many questions. It's the nature of a quest to hold questions. Leading your wife to ask the right questions may make some difference to her. Don't be too surprised if what you get a lot of the time, in response to your questions, is 'I don't know' as she's trying to work herself out.

    Regarding questions for her

    • Do you know why you feel the way you do (regarding a particular issue)?
    • How does that feeling feel (in your body)? Is it basically uncomfortable or is it almost intolerable?
    • What do you believe this feeling is telling you?
    • Have you ever felt it before, with people other than myself?

    It can be a long list. Just offering a handful of examples.

    Opening her mind to the fact that feelings hold meaning and relevance may lead her to some revelations. Even taking the time to explore certain feelings might help put you both on the same page to some degree. What does inspiration feel like, as a sensation? Can you recall a time where you felt inspired? What sensations come with degradation? What does being brought down feel like and what does being raised (in the way of spirits and consciousness) feel like? Can you feel when there's no raising going on? Can you or your wife feel a lack of inspiration. Feeling a lack of something can become depressing.

    Can you both feel your way through a situation, together?

    Personally, I never expected to be validated but I did long for my feelings to be validated and perhaps even questioned constructively. I needed answers but no one seemed to be asking the right questions.

    :)

  6. 815
    815 avatar
    205 posts
    28 July 2021 in reply to therising

    Hi therising,

    Thanks for your last post. I found your post very insightful and it has given me a lot of food for thought about what my husband, who is suffering from depression, might be expecting from me, without being able to articulate it to me.

    I know that you said that now that you've made your way through depression, it is easier for you to understand what happened through those years. I guess what I'm interested to know, and I know that this will not be easy to answer, but did you ask your husband for the type of support you expected? And do you think that, in the depths of your depression, had he tried to love you strategically that you would have been receptive of it at that time?

    I find that, asking those types of questions to my husband only irritates him more. He sees it as me being on a high horse, as if I know better when I shouldn't or can't, because I have never been depressed or experienced what he has experienced.

    I know there isn't one answer to all of this. And I know what might have worked for you, may not work for others. I guess my intention is to seek to understand different opinions, different expectations, different ways in which people have managed to get through depression, and different ways their carers have been able to support them.

    Sometimes I feel that the more I read, the more confusing it gets. But I do feel that the more perspective I gain from the experience of others, that there is hope and that we may eventually find a way to manage this together.

  7. therising
    Valued Contributor
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    therising avatar
    2115 posts
    29 July 2021 in reply to 815

    Hi 815

    Your husband's so lucky to have you questioning and wondering so much, in order to make a difference. Coming here is in search of direction is incredibly thoughtful.

    From the perspective of depression, it can feel like a whole other reality. It's like you can have certain people, a certain environment, a certain routine and it all relates to sufferance in some way. Outside of depression, those very same factors may all relate to love. 'I love the people in my life, I love the house I live in and I love how my routine grounds me'. The second a trigger or set of triggers come into play, reality shifts. Either way, it feels so real, whatever state you're in. If you're in depression, it feels like no one can convince you that life is any different from how you perceive it, unless there's some mind altering trigger to change that. Either way, it's the right trigger or set of triggers that creates the shift. I'd class the right medication as a trigger also, triggering a positive shift in chemistry.

    While I was in depression, I didn't know what I needed to create a significant shift, in all honesty. I suppose what I needed the most was to make sense of it all. It was actually my mum who loved me so strategically on one occasion that it led to me coming out of depression. I experienced post natal depression with both my kids whilst already within depression. When I told her I'd been advised to attend PND group therapy, my mum harassed me to go (her strategy), to the point where I couldn't tolerate it any longer. I went, to shut her up :) What I found there was mind altering. Being there was the 1st time I'd felt 'normal', with people of a similar mindset. It was so liberating to feel 'normal'. Second, it was where I began to understand myself better.

    Would I have been receptive of strategic love from my husband? I suppose it would have depended on the strategies. Maybe if he'd led me to wonder more, this could have made a difference: Not 'Do you wonder what would make you happy', more so 'Do you wonder about what led you to this point?' or 'Do you wonder about all the people who led you to see life the way you do?'

    You're right, what may work for some may not work for others. Everyone relates differently to certain triggers. Coming to realise that all the traits I held were actually the traits of depression, not mine, this is what triggered the thought 'Who am I without depression?' I was shocked, waking up to the fact...I had no idea who I was.

    :)

  8. 815
    815 avatar
    205 posts
    27 August 2021 in reply to therising

    Thank you so much, therising, for providing such an insight into what depression is like, for those of us who are fortunate not to have experienced it ourselves, but unfortunate enough to watch a loved one go through it. It certainly provides me with a different perspective, and a lot of things for me to think about in how I can help my husband make his way through this.

    I must admit I have already tried some of the things you suggested, and those same strategies, while rejected in the really bad moments of his depression, are welcomed when he is in a better state. And I realise that it is exactly you as you say, your perception of reality is so different when in that depressed state.

    On another note I am so glad that you have been able to work through your depression and and now seem in a much happier place. It gives all of us here, whether suffering from depression, or supporting a loved one with depression, a great sense of hope :)

  9. therising
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    2115 posts
    27 August 2021 in reply to 815

    HI 815

    I'm glad to hear there are moments where you have some breakthroughs, when you're husband is a little more receptive. This must give the both of you some hope.

    The deepest of depressing feelings is truly horrible. It's the kind of feeling and reality that's almost impossible to shift. From my experience, the deeper a challenge, the deeper the potential for remaining in a depressed state. On the odd occasion, I'll face some potentially depressing challenges. On these occasions, sometimes they can last for a day, sometimes for a week but I regard myself as fortunate that they typically don't last any longer than that. The down shift is completely mind altering at times, until I work out what my challenge is really all about. You wouldn't think a single day with depressing thoughts could have much of an impact but they can be the kind of days where I ask myself what is the point in being here. The mind is a cruel thing until it's mastered. I'm only part of the way through my life course in self mastery. Life is definitely a mind altering education.

    Some of the triggers for depression can be interesting and can actually help us, in a way, work out who we naturally are. Sounds a bit weird, I know, so I'll give you an example. Being a Melbourne girl, each of the 6 lock downs has triggered me more and more. There have been some obvious triggers but I couldn't quite put my finger on the underlying reason as to why it was all becoming so intense and so depressing. It took some time until it clicked. I'm naturally emapthetic. I feel deeply for people; I feel their sadness, their anger, their desperation, their hopelessness and more. I feel so deeply for people that it can become overwhelming if I don't give myself some time out from feeling for others. You could say this depressing challenge was about fully recognising how deeply I actually feel for people. This is what I learned. Given that challenges typically also lead us to have to let go of something, I've gradually learned to let go of feeling 24/7, a hard habit to get out of.

    As I say, your husband is so blessed to have you, wondering with him as to how to move forward through various challenges, even the most depressing ones. You are truly beautiful :)

  10. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    2115 posts
    27 August 2021 in reply to Feelinglowlow

    Hi Feelinglowlow

    I can't help but wonder whether the counsellor is simply facilitating venting sessions for your wife. Could be completely wrong but given what you say, definitely sounds like there's some serious venting going on there and you can feel it big time.

    If your wife's a major 'feeler' (she's highly sensitive to feeling just about everything) and you're not, I also can't help but wonder whether the counselor's addressed this. Living with a feeler can be like walking on eggshells but I'm sure I don't have to tell you that. Would you say she feels when you challenge her, she feels certain words you say to her, she feels upsetting situations, she feels for other people, she feels when something brings her down, she feels a lack of happiness etc etc? Would you say she holds you responsible for her feeling so much? Do you think she resents you for not being able to feel as much as she does? Pairing a feeler with a non feeler (to some degree) can definitely create some major challenges. By the way, I'm not saying you don't have feelings, you obviously do, they're just not as super intense as hers.

    Perhaps you're in her life for good reason. Being a super sensitive sort of woman, I'm married to a guy who's not all that sensitive at times. Sounds a little strange but I've developed some skills in emotional detachment I actually learned from my husband. In some ways these skills have come to serve me well. I've gradually learned to emotionally detach from certain situations which call more for objective analysis.To be honest, I'm still trying to master this.

    Would you say your wife's challenge is to feel less intensely and be more objective and your challenge is the opposite? Is it possible to reach middle ground? Do you feel this counselor has the ability to lead you both there or do you get a sense that they're fairly useless? Perhaps hard to say so early in the piece.

    1 person found this helpful
  11. 815
    815 avatar
    205 posts
    10 September 2021 in reply to therising

    Hi therising,

    Thank you again for your post. It has been very insightful once again.

    I am not sure right now whether my husband is lucky to have me. I do hope though that, as he works through things, as we work through things, that he will come to realise that I have been here with him all along. Maybe my actions/words haven't always been right, but they have always come from a place of genuine love and care for him, and that he actually deserves that.

    I am a Melbourne girl too, and although I generally am very positive, this latest lockdown has really taken its toll and I am not feeling great about things right now. But I do have to hold onto hope that things will get better. I hope you're coping OK through all of this.

    Take care.

  12. 815
    815 avatar
    205 posts
    10 September 2021 in reply to Feelinglowlow

    Hi feelinglowlow,

    Just the other day, I was told that I was pathetic, dumb and stupid. Which leads my husband to believe that I don't care about him because I sometimes don't know what to say or do. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think that not necessarily knowing what to do for someone, especially when you feel pressure to 'fix' things, doesn't mean that you don't care about someone. I think you can make mistakes, unintentionally, and still genuinely care about someone...

    But a friend of mine reminded me that, none of this is my fault. I haven't done anything wrong. Nor has my husband, of course. But the way he perceives my actions through the filter of depression is so negative, that no matter what it is, when in this state, it will just be wrong. So I just want to remind you that, this is not your fault, and that you are not pathetic even if that is what your wife wants you to believe. You are doing the best you can and I think that's amazing.

    It makes me really sad to see my husband this way, to hear him say these terrible things. But imagine what it must be like for them, to feel so bad that this is what they actually think and believe. So I think we just have to be patient and understanding and support them in whatever way they will let us.

    My friend told me that it was important that, when the depression lifts, that I was still here.

    I know it's been some time since you posted so I do hope that you and your wife are doing OK.

  13. quirkywords
    Community Champion
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    quirkywords avatar
    11981 posts
    10 September 2021 in reply to Feelinglowlow

    Feelinglolow

    You have many insightful comments from experienced posters with a variety of lived experiences.
    I have been on both sides, someone with depression who is critical and annoyed and someone who was criticised for not being helpful when supporting a loved one.

    I know I said terrible things to my partner because I was self loathing andthought if someone wanted to be with me they must be insincere or why would they bother.

    Talk vent be kind to yourself you are not alone and we are listening.

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