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Forums / Multicultural experiences / 32 years of an arranged marriage - I need help

Topic: 32 years of an arranged marriage - I need help

19 posts, 0 answered
  1. calm mind
    calm mind avatar
    7 posts
    3 February 2018

    Hi,

    This is my first post; I am not sure where to start. I need help.

    I am 55 years old, 32 years of (arranged) married life; he is 9 years older than me. Struggled all my life with depression, consulted many therapists in over 17 years; Unable to cope with my husband's manipulations, tantrums and much more. There is absolutely no connection (emotional, intellectual, physical what so ever)between us. In the 7 years of therapy, I have learnt to put some labels for his behaviour/ attitude such as (i) lack of empathy (ii) very very shallow emotions (iii) parasitical attitude (iv) emotional blackmail, irresponsible etc.

    I lost trust in God but I meditate, my mind is very quiet. I have learnt to manage many things in these years. But his fault finding/cynical / irresponsible talk triggers violent anger in me.

    I need help to get rid of anger from my being.

    I am not sure, what more to write.

    Thank you very much

    1 person found this helpful
  2. Croix
    Community Champion
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    Croix avatar
    10938 posts
    3 February 2018 in reply to calm mind

    Dear Calm Mind~

    Thank you for coming here and setting out how things are. Let me say first that if I have been made to marry someone who fits the description of your husband I would have great anger inside me too. Living with someone who finds fault, practices emotional blackmail and is irresponsible would be very hard indeed and it is not surprising if you had depression as a result. 32 years of such a life sounds terrible.

    If therapy has not been effective, and it sounds as if you have tried this a lot, then you really only have two options I can see, neither of which would be easy.

    Obviously the first is to finish the relationship. I do mention this as an alternative, however it may not be practical for many reasons. Children, family and social expectations and finances being examples. Many people simply are not in a position to do anything other than stay. If you were to go down this path however then I'd suggest calling our 24/7 Help Line (1300 22 4636) and see what organizations, help and resources would be there for you. Help from family or friends would make a great deal of difference.

    The other alternative is to try to set up boundaries so that his behavior does not affect you so deeply. After such a long time this too is very hard. You already see him as he is, which is a help. Regarding him as an authority figure, which may have been the case when you first married, would simply make it harder to accurately judge his shortcomings.

    Boundaries can be such things as walking away from abuse, calmly saying it is not acceptable and going elsewhere until it stops.

    Do you have anyone on your side to encourage and support you? Trying to deal with all this by yourself is a last resort. You mentioned religion, do you have a religious leader who understands and will offer support. Again I'd suggest talking on our help line to gain perspective and a list of organizations with experience.

    I doubt very much that your problems can be fixed quickly, so please feel you can talk here whenever you need understanding, care and perspective

    Croix

    3 people found this helpful
  3. blondguy
    Life Member
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    blondguy avatar
    11367 posts
    3 February 2018 in reply to calm mind

    Hello Calm Mind

    If I may embrace and welcome you as a part of the Beyond Blue forum family. You are strong and courageous by posting and thankyou

    I am 58 and its very sad to read about the pain you are going through in your life. I have been involved with counselors since 1996 after my depression started. My environment was the cause of my my depression.

    Your environment doesnt appear to be conducive to you having a reasonable quality of life. This is very sad from where I stand. I understand you are proactive with your health and have seen many counselors too. That is a huge indicator of strength. Therapists and counselors aside for a moment...can I ask you if you have a general practitioner that you trust and can confide in?

    I still see my GP every 4 weeks after having depression for so many years

    My mother is Scandinavian and has always been a godsend in our family to keep the peace with my dad's way of bringing us up. They were married for 49 years until my mum had enough. (Just to let you know out of respect)

    The anger can be treated but I hope your environment will improve as its often a catalyst for our quality of life. (Its only my humble opinion as a person recovering from anxiety/depression calm mind)

    There are many gentle people on the forums that can be here for you calm mind. The forums are also a judgement free place for you to post too :-)

    I hope you can continue to post as you are more than welcome to do so

    my kind thoughts for you in this difficult time

    Paul

    3 people found this helpful
  4. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
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    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    4 February 2018 in reply to blondguy

    What a lovely response Paul, (ad hi Calm Mind), and encouraging words of support. No one should endure abuse. Calm Mind, I hope you can get some support to assist you in making all the difficult choices. It is easy to lose who we are in a relationship. Take courage! Keep chatting and access as many supports as you can. :)

    2 people found this helpful
  5. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
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    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    4 February 2018 in reply to calm mind

    Hello Calm Mind,

    What a terrible thing to be enduring. Thank you for sharing your experience in this forum. How can you not be angry at the gross injustice that they have imposed on you? Arranged marriage and a life that hardly even addresses your needs, desires and human rights. What are the therapists are saying all these years if you don't mind me asking? And more importantly, why do you continue staying in this relationship? If it is as you describe it I would assume that you'd like to get all help available to get out and free yourself. It may be others who 'made' you take this path but now you can alter it. Change it. Sounds like you deserve better. In order to get rid of anger, one needs to remove the causes of anger from their lives. Hope you can seek appropriate help to support you in whatever decision you make. X

  6. calm mind
    calm mind avatar
    7 posts
    4 February 2018

    Hello, thank you everyone. All your thoughts are valuable to me. thank you again.

    Shall i choose to respond in one reply to all of your kind words and suggestions?

    Do I have any support from family / friends?

    Yes and no. there are a couple of friends to whom I can talk without any filters. They understand me and sympathise my situation. People usually don't understand so i don't make any effort to talk to anyone.

    I felt very lonely, i badly want to be understood, that is why I wrote to this forum.

    It is cultural thing - in the culture where I am from, men are never wrong; men are allowed and accepted for any of their behaviour; it is the woman who has to adjust, compromise, grin and bear.

    It is again the cultural thing not to talk bad about your own family; one is disrespected or looked down if she complains of her husband.

    Also, he is charming to the outside world so people (family and close friends) don't believe me. I am wrong from his view, I am wrong from the community's view. Now, I am sick of opening up to anyone only to be labelled that I am short tempered, I am arrogant, I am incapable of managing my show etc.

    I badly wanted to talk to someone who understands. That is why I wrote to this forum.

    I know I live in Australia but the local community controlled me in many ways. I tried on two occasions to run away from home. But he tortured our only daughter the same way he controlled me. In order to protect her i returned. Also, finance is the main reason for me.

    Why am I still in this relationship?

    I don't know where to go, how to start a new life. As i said earlier, i tried on two occasions and failed. At this stage, i have no energy to do anything.

    What did my therapists say?

    They said that i have to save myself. All they could do was to give coping strategies. I am not sure if any of the therapists understood me completely. I went to all therapists supported by medicare. So I got 8 sessions, each 20 - 30 minutes. Other psychologist charged $180 per hour. I could not afford many sittings with her. In addition, I undertook 4 sessions of hypnotherapy, past life regression therapy, some sort of energy thing. Nothing was greatly helpful.

    Do I have a GP?

    Yes and no. In the past 17 years I changed 4 GPs for various reasons. It is very hard to open myself to each GP, make me understood and then seek help. I am very tired of this process.

    1 person found this helpful
  7. White Rose
    Champion Alumni
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    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    4 February 2018 in reply to calm mind

    Dear Calm Mind

    Thank you for trusting us with your story. I am pleased you have found BB and feel confident enough to write here. I can understand how you are reluctant to tell your story many times and have no practical means of managing afterwards. I have written some suggestions below which I think will help you. I am sorry I cannot relate these to your culture and I may be suggesting actions which you feel are wrong. If so please accept my apologies, I have no intention of upsetting you.

    I would like to suggest you make one more attempt to see a MH specialist. This time ask to see a psychiatrist. Their fees are higher than a consultation with your GP but the Medicare rebate is also larger. Have a chat with someone at Medicare to explain the provisions of the safety net. Once you reach a certain level of out of pocket expenses your Medicare rebate increases significantly. For example my psychiatrist charges $250 per session. I receive $156 rebate. Once I reach the safety net I will receive a rebate of all the fee except about $18. It makes these consultations easier to access and to manage financially.

    Have you consulted anyone from the domestic violence services? Please google the DV organisation in your state. They will be able to help you leave if this is what you still want. Take your daughter with you as she is in as much danger as you. They can provide a safe home where no one can reach you.

    I also suggest talking to your state Women's Advisory Service. Please look them up and have a chat with them. They have access to legal services and other services to help you.

    These are organisations which have been set up to help women in your situation. Domestic violence is never acceptable. It includes all forms of violence, physical, verbal, sexual, emotional. In the end, after 30 years, I left my spouse. I have now lived on my own for 18 years and feel it was the best thing I did. My children had all grown up and left home so it was easier to have only myself to care for.

    CM please consider carefully your options after you have consulted the organisations I have suggested. I hope you can find help and support from these places. Would love you to continue writing in here.

    Mary

    2 people found this helpful
  8. calm mind
    calm mind avatar
    7 posts
    4 February 2018 in reply to White Rose

    Dear White Rose,

    Thank you very much. I appreciate your help. It feels good when people speak with understanding. Haven't had that experience much.

    I shall aim to see a psychiatrist next. I did see one before with my GP's reference. I had sexual abuse history as well. I revealed that to the psychiatrist. He also would give 25-30 minutes per session and once a fortnight. after 3-4 months, I said that the sessions are very slow and I need help badly. He said, "What do you want me to do? Do you want me to hug you and comfort you?". I felt very angry and walked out. Did not tell anyone about this. Told my GP that i felt better and did not want any help. That is the end of that

    I just hope BB can help me to find the right help.

    I am in the process of selling my house and moving interstate. Once i settle in the new place, i shall follow up with what you said.

    By the by, my daughter is now married and settled well. Moving closer to her.

    1 person found this helpful
  9. calm mind
    calm mind avatar
    7 posts
    4 February 2018 in reply to calm mind

    Dear Croix,

    thanks very much.

    I need lots and lots of help to separate. I feel very weak and confused and vulnerable. Sometimes I feel that I need someone to hold my hand and walk with me. My mind is soo blank and confused It takes a lot of effort to do simple jobs.

    Setting boundaries is what I am trying for a long time. It is hard to be stiff and rigid all the time. I need love, support, comfort, some one to talk to even simple / silly matter etc at least once in a while. I become vulnerable and go near him only to be hurt and pushed back. However, slowly learning to find balance to set boundaries. But still a long way to go to have a clear working, comfortable and safe boundaries.

    Thanks again for the opportunity to share.

    1 person found this helpful
  10. calm mind
    calm mind avatar
    7 posts
    4 February 2018 in reply to Donte'

    Dear Donte,

    Thanks. You rightly said it - It is easy to lose who we are in a relationship.

    I have become so numb, so weak, so blank that I don't know many things now.

    I truly wish to meet someone who truly understands me and supports me to discover me again.

    I need help.

    1 person found this helpful
  11. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
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    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    4 February 2018 in reply to calm mind

    Hi Calm mind,

    I know it's not easy. Change takes time and there are many stages we have to go through before a visible outcome is reached.

    Usually individuals move through six stages of change: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and termination. From what I hear you may be already in the contemplation or preparation stage and ready to take action! Writing on this forum indicates that! Don't give up! We are here for you. This is a safe and caring environment where people who share are all affected by mental anguish at some point in their lives and have been supported in the same way you are now seeking support. X

  12. Ellie05
    Ellie05 avatar
    178 posts
    4 February 2018 in reply to calm mind

    Hello calm mind,

    I am sorry to read to hear of what you are going through. It sounds like you are in a terribly difficult situation. We rely on our families and our community to provide us with support and a sense belonging, so to break away is incredibly difficult, even if we find ourselves in a situation where our family or community does not have our best interests at heart.

    Can I ask how old your daughter is and what type of relationship she has with her father? If she is an adult she could be a good person to turn to when you need emotional support. Do you work or volunteer at all? This can also be a good way to connect with other people in a friendly and supportive way.

    3 people found this helpful
  13. calm mind
    calm mind avatar
    7 posts
    5 February 2018 in reply to Ellie05

    Dear Ellie05,

    Ellie05 said:

    We rely on our families and our community to provide us with support and a sense belonging, so to break away is incredibly difficult, even if we find ourselves in a situation where our family or community does not have our best interests at heart.

    Thanks very much. What you said is absolutely true in my case. Many times, I struggle to articulate my feelings. Your words resonate with my feelings 100%. When I read your post it seemed that I found the right words for my mixed feelings.

    My daughter is is now 31 years old, married for 5 years now, well settled. When she was young, I heavily relied on her for my emotional support (unknowingly of course). She herself became depressed in her high school years and consulted her school counsellor. When I came to know about that I decided not to push my suffering on her. I felt, as a mother i should protect and support her rather than drag her with me in my confusion and suffering. So I don't talk about my problems to her. But she knows. She takes care of me in every way possible.

    She is the one who has taken full control of our lives now. We are in the process of selling our house and move interstate to live closer to her. She takes care of me at every level. At the same time, I am very careful not to talk about my emotional pain often.

    She has not been talking to him for over 10 -12 years. It is Hi, Bye conversation with him.

    The questions that you asked about me are the hardest to answer. I feel very ashamed of myself when I look at myself from that point.

    1 person found this helpful
  14. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
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    845 posts
    5 February 2018 in reply to calm mind

    Dearest Calm Mind,

    I am so happy that you can share in this forum of people who struggle in many similar ways and share their experiences so we can all hold hands in this journey of life and recovery from trauma and pain.

    Sometimes we seek help externally. We may desperately want someone to come and grab us and shake us up and change things for us. And yet, even though every conversation and interaction with another helps, we, and only we, can help our own selves. It comes from inside not from outside. This is what I’ve learnt after years of waiting for a savior to come and rescue me.

    Please don’t take me wrong. I’m not saying that there is no merit talking to others, seeking support, empathy and understanding. I’m not saying that getting information and educating ourselves is not beneficial. It is. Very much so.

    What I’m saying is that ultimately we are the only ones who can decide when enough is enough. For us! We are the only ones who can say ‘no more’! And it takes time to get to that decision. And it’s very different for everyone. And until we reach that point, it’s beneficial to keep talking, asking, seeking. But I’d like you to consider the possibility that maybe it’s only you who can make this happen. Not me. Not the others in here. Not the psychiatrist or the doctor. Just you. I understand that this may be a very challenging concept but I’d like you to consider the possibility. X

    1 person found this helpful
  15. blondguy
    Life Member
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    blondguy avatar
    11367 posts
    5 February 2018 in reply to calm mind

    Hello Calm Mind

    Thankyou for your kindness and posting back :-)

    This is your thread and there is no expectations for you to respond to anyone including me too!

    Donte has made a great point that its up to ourselves to make a decision which is spot on

    I learned to accept support from others to help me heal from my old toxic relationship....I had my support network (just a couple of friends) my psychiatrist...psychologist...social worker and all their life experiences/training.

    Other peoples life experiences are a gift when rebuilding our own well being

    Wonderful to have you as part of the Beyond Blue forum family Calm Mind

    My kindest thoughts for you

    Paul

    2 people found this helpful
  16. calm mind
    calm mind avatar
    7 posts
    6 February 2018 in reply to Donte'

    Dear Donte,

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    In the past, many people had said what you said in your post. But I distanced myself from them thinking that they did not want to help, they are reluctant, unwilling etc.

    But when i read your post, it struck a chord in me. I have been listening to people who had near death experience on youtube for the past two/three months. After reading your post, I went to bed and listened to one NDE. Something seems to make sense in me.

    The lady who was talking about her experience said that love and forgive are the two important lessons we need to learn in this life. We forgive, not because we accept life but because nothing ever happens from the bigger perspective.

    This has made me think.

    I also keep hearing this message of Jesus"Forgive them because they know not what they do". I am trying to understand what He meant.

    Thanking you all a million times,

    1 person found this helpful
  17. White Rose
    Champion Alumni
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    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    6 February 2018 in reply to calm mind

    Hello Calm Mind

    How lovely that your daughter is settled and out of danger from her father. Sad but the best outcome. I take it you will still be with your husband when you move nearer to your daughter.

    Just read your post to Donte and his post above. These resonated with me so much. It is so hard to make these decisions for ourselves. I agree with Donte.

    We may desperately want someone to come and grab us and shake us up and change things for us. And yet, even though every conversation and interaction with another helps, we, and only we, can help our own selves. It comes from inside not from outside. This is what I’ve learnt after years of waiting for a saviour to come and rescue me.

    This is why we teach our children to be independent and the devastation of living with someone who controls our every move. When we want to decide for ourselves it is often when we find we have lost that ability and it takes time to restore it. You are getting there very well.

    May I ask, do you think you will continue your efforts to leave your husband? I hope you find those references useful. It's a good step forward to ask for help.

    Mary

    1 person found this helpful
  18. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
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    845 posts
    6 February 2018 in reply to calm mind

    That’s beautiful CalmMind,

    I’m glad that all this discussion is helping you and making an impact. It takes time for things to change. It takes time for us to think about stuff, contemplate, work out in our minds what the next steps would be. One baby step at a time! Sometimes it can be overwhelming to think of the whole journey. We may feel it’s too much. Or that we are far from reaching our goal. Each step is important!

    My mum always used to say ‘Unless you have nails to scratch your self don’t expect others to do it for you!’. It may sound harsh but there is truth in this. We must do what we can. We must use whatever we have in our capacity without expecting that someone else will come and do it for us. And we must use what we have (our own nails) to get the desired outcome!

    Love and forgiveness as you’ve mentioned, are our great allies as unless we love ourselves and forgive ourselves, we do not give permission to ourselves to move on. Loving ourselves will allow us to desire the best for us. Forgiving ourselves for not treating us with the respect and dignity we deserve but allowing others to abuse us, opens us up and prepare us for the possibility of change.

    Follow your heart, (feelings), your mind, (logic and knowledge), and your gut, (intuition), and you’ll be in the right direction - aligned with your truth. X

  19. Ellie05
    Ellie05 avatar
    178 posts
    7 February 2018 in reply to calm mind

    I'm so glad my words resonated with you. I think about the concept of community a lot as I think it's something we're really missing in the modern Western world. I recently tried moving to London but I just couldn't do it as I couldn't stand being away from my 'people' (family and friends). I often wonder what it would be like to grow up in a community where everyone knows one another and looks out for each other. It seems so wonderful but I also know that being part of a tight knit community can also have very negative consequences. No one wants to upset the status quo and become alienated from the rest of the group, which isn't always a good thing. It can lead to bullying as well as people putting up with or turning a blind eye to abuse.

    With that in mind how about you feeling about the upcoming move? It's wonderful that you will be closer to your daughter but moving away from everything that is familiar can be incredibly stressful so it's important to be kind to yourself and give yourself some time to adjust.

    I was happy to hear that you have a close relationship with your daughter and that she is doing well. I rely on my family and friends a lot for support when I am not well mentally and am always apologising to them about it. They tell me not to feel guilty and that they are glad I can come to them rather than suffer in silence. In a way I think it brings us closer together as it leads me to see what amazing, supportive people they are and means I'm very grateful to have them in my life. Every situation is different though, not everyone is cut out to support someone through mental health issues as they either don't understand or are the type to take on the suffering of their loved one. This might be the case with your daughter but do remember that depression is very common for teenagers, especially if they have a troubled relationship with a parent or see a parent mistreat the other. Don't be too quick to blame yourself for what your daughter went through. It sounds like she loves you very much and now that she is grown and living outside the family home she might be in a better position to offer you some support. Another option would be to look into support groups in the area that you are moving to. There is a website called meetup.com which is a good place to start. Of course, you can also come here and chat with us whenever you need. I find this community to be extremely helpful myself.

    2 people found this helpful

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