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Topic: He pushes us away - how do I help?

13 posts, 0 answered
  1. Prudence A
    Prudence A avatar
    8 posts
    12 March 2015

    My partner lost his 13 year old daughter to suicide 5 months ago. This has been a heartbreaking time for our family but of course hardest for him. I have a 14 year old daughter that lives with us. A couple of months ago we moved back home to qld from Wa for him to start a great new job. We started the year in a positive frame of mind as he had a new job and we were back close to family. Since then his grief is just getting too much for him to handle. He has moved out of our house as he says he needs space to 'deal with things' and also being around my daughter (who he is very close to and loves lots) is just too hard at the moment. Although I wasn't happy for him to be living somewhere else, I was willing to give it a try because anything that helps is worth a go right? Since then he has become more distant and keeps telling me that we are better off without him. I keep assuring him that we love him so much and will always be by his side to support him.

    I believe he was suffering depression before this happened ( he has dealt with lots in his past included abuse) He is now in such a bad space that he believes its never going to get better. He has a history of depression in his family and thinks that he is always just going to feel like this. He is yet to see a doctor or counsellor but has made an appointment for next week. 

    I meant it when I told him I would never give up on him and support him through this. The hardest thing is knowing how to support him when he is pushing me away. What can I do to help him? If I bring up seeing a doctor to discuss possible treatments he gets annoyed at me and says he 'will sort it out'.

    Any advice would be great.

    thanks

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  2. Neil_1
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    Neil_1 avatar
    4232 posts
    13 March 2015

    Hi there Prudence

     

    Welcome to Beyond Blue and thank you for providing your post.

     

    Wow, a difficult situation indeed and for your partner to lose his daughter and still so recently, I couldn’t imagine the pain and torment he is going through.

     

    From all that you’ve written, you’ve been doing a wonderful job at trying to make sure he is ‘ok’ and the love you have for him shines through strongly in your post.

     

    Now as awful as this sounds, he is right.  He believes it’s never going to get better – that belief is pretty much true, IF the person will not seek out help, support.  It’s just too hard to deal with on your own.

     

    BUT and here’s a good but, I think – I read where you mentioned that he has made an appointment for next week to go see a doctor or counsellor.  I hope he stays true to his word and DOES go and then the other thing I really hope for, is that the gp that he’s seeing is a positive experience for him.   If they take on board all he has to say and treat him in a professional and serious way, then this hopefully could be the start of a healing process/journey.

     

    And another thought on this – I would imagine that he wouldn’t want you to attend this appointment with him.  Perhaps you could go to a similar appointment to that gp at a later date to ask for coping mechanisms, helping options that they may be able to advise.     Also on this site, I’m sure there’s literature that you can click on with regard to supporting options for your partner.

     

    Might close for now, but do hope you can write back again.

     

    Cheers

     

    Neil

  3. Prudence A
    Prudence A avatar
    8 posts
    16 March 2015 in reply to Neil_1

    Thanks Neil,

    He has his appointment tomorrow so I have my fingers crossed that he does feel a connection with this counsellor and opens up to her. I can't get him to see a GP as yet because he keeps telling me that he doesn't need medication. I'm trying to explain that its not just about medication but no luck yet. Perhaps the counsellor will be able to help.

    Last night he told me that he feels like he is starting his life again and needs to be by himself to find out who he is. When I asked him to explain, he says he doesn't really know. He says he loves us but feels like he needs to work on himself. I am trying to support his need for space but worry that too much time by himself is really not good for him. He has so much guilt over his daughters suicide that it just makes him question everything. He thinks he is protecting us as he says he has so much anger inside that it wouldn't be good for us to live all together. I just worry the longer he is by himself the worse its going to get. 

    I guess I'll have to just wait and pray that his appointment goes well tomorrow and it might start him on track to his recovery.

    Thanks again for your message. I'll keep you updated.

    Prudence

  4. Neil_1
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    Neil_1 avatar
    4232 posts
    18 March 2015

    Hi Prudence

    I'm hoping that the appointment went well and that he has come out of it with some kind of new angle or approach.  That is key to this I think, as if he comes out with "Nahhh, nothing good there" attitude, that's not going to be so good.

    So here's hoping with crossed fingers that it was beneficial.

    Kind regards

    Neil

     

  5. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    18 March 2015 in reply to Prudence A

    Hello Prudence

    I thought I would jump in here and join the chat if that's OK with you. I am so sad that you are going through such a rough time and also your partner.

    Going off on your own when you are so unhappy is a reasonable thing to do  so I can relate to your partner in this. On the other hand, being alone for too long can be counter productive. So you are both faced with this dilemma. I have a suggestion for you. Well several actually but I was going to sneak up on them.

    Can you make a date with him once a week to come to you and have an evening meal? It will give both of you something to look forward to and he will not feel as though he is being pushed into getting together. It would be good for him and your daughter to renew their relationship a little. I do understand how seeing your daughter hurts because of the memories of his daughter, but he needs to start living again.

    Your daughter will not need to do anything special.  Call him by whatever name they are both accustomed to and talk about their usual topics. If his daughter's name comes up, let it happen. No need for a silence or embarrassment. Talking about someone who has died is good and natural and helps to relieve our sadness. He will never forget her, but that's not the intention. It's to help him remember without guilt and I'm guessing this is what he feels.

    It is important to give him space. I know there were times when all I wanted was to be on my own but if it went on too long I wanted to have company.  We are such contrary creatures.

    If you look under The Facts and Resources tabs at the top of the page you will find all sorts information about grief and loss, supporting someone with depression and after losing someone to suicide. BB will send whatever you want.  And it may give you some pointers about what to do.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Regards

    Mary


  6. Prudence A
    Prudence A avatar
    8 posts
    19 March 2015 in reply to Neil_1

    Hi Neil

    thanks for checking in. Unfortunately I don't think the appointment went overly well. When I asked him about it, he said he doesn't think it's going to work just talking to someone. He still thinks he just needs to be on his own to work through it. Frustrating and worryingly to say the least. On the positive side, he said he would try another appointment.

    still hoping it will work for him.

     talk again soon

    Prudence 

  7. Prudence A
    Prudence A avatar
    8 posts
    19 March 2015 in reply to White Rose

    Hi Rosslyn

    thanks for joining in. I really appreciate your insight and love to hear any advice. 

    I went on the resources last night and ordered some for both my partner and myself. 

    I'm finding it hard to know when and how much space to give him. At the moment because we are living separately he seems to be on his own so much. I try to text him little messages of love and support but don't know if it's too much. I don't want him to feel like I've just abandoned him. 

    Ive asked if we could go away this weekend to a little beach town that we love. He said it sounds good but I can't get a commitment of whether we are going or not. Fingers crossed!

    I love you idea of dinner every week as you're right it would be something to look forward to. I'll discusd it with him and hopefully he agrees.

    thanks again. Talk soon

    Prudence

  8. Neil_1
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    Neil_1 avatar
    4232 posts
    19 March 2015

    Hi Prudence

     

    Ok, not such a positive outcome for the first appointment, but at least he hasn’t abandoned it – and to be honest, for me, I always feel my first appointment like a real unload and nothing really positive comes out of it.   I feel this way cause you’re there and you’ve got to let the psyche know “things” and so you speak about “things” so they get informed of the different issues.  So maybe it was more like that and that “next” appointment, there will hopefully be more constructive feedback provided.

     

    Great ideas too by White Rose and your suggestion of the little beach town sounds very good also.

     

    Another thought is that Easter is happening at the beginning of April, so there’s possible options for some kind of getaway then as well – though Easter is always fraught with so many cars travelling and expense.  But just a thought.

     

    Keep posting as we would love to be kept informed for how this is going.

     

    Kind regards

     

    Neil

  9. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    19 March 2015 in reply to Prudence A

    Hello Prudence

    As Neil says, the first meeting is always a little awkward. Really it's a getting to know you meeting and not much happens. But it's a start. So long as he keeps going a few times he will, hopefully, find things change.

    Talking helps to clarify thoughts and feelings and see what effect they have. The biggest hurdle is to get someone to stay talking and not give up after a couple of sessions, but I am sure you know this.

    How is your daughter coping with all this. I presume she was close to her step sister? Has she talked to your partner since the death of his daughter? If she is feeling down it may help her to talk to him. When you invite him to dinner tell him your daughter needs him too. I'm not trying to be sneaky but if they were close she will be grieving also. Perhaps your partner needs to know this.

    Unfortunately suicide affects so many people and it is often by talking together that healing starts. I know you are trying to help him but he may find it easier to talk to your daughter because of her loss also. Oh dear, I am very good at putting my foot in it, so I hope you understand what I mean. Your daughter needs help and comfort so perhaps he can feel wanted and useful by helping her despite his grief.

    Mary

  10. Prudence A
    Prudence A avatar
    8 posts
    21 March 2015 in reply to White Rose

    Thanks White Rose. My daughter is doing ok at the moment. Unfortunately she didn't get to spend a great deal of time with her step-sister because of how far away we live. Saying that she was and still is very upset about losing her but also about Mark. She worries about him all the time and hates him not living with us. She has trouble expressing her feelings to him. I wish I could get him to sit down and talk to her but he is just getting worse. He just keeps saying he wants to be on him own and to leave him alone.

    I was hoping to go away this weekend but he shut that idea down and then got angry at me for suggesting even having dinner.  I wish I knew how much space to give him. I worry that I'm going to push him away more if I keep trying to call and text but then I also worry that if I stop trying he will see it as me giving up on him.

    I'm really struggling at the moment to keep it together.

     

  11. White Rose
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    22 March 2015 in reply to Prudence A

    Hello Prudence

    So sorry the weekend jaunt has not happened. I can see why you are running out of options.

    I wonder if it would help if your daughter texted Mark and asked him to talk to her. Or possibly phoned him.

    Having said that I am not sure if it is a good idea or not. Another option is to give him space for a little while. I know that sounds and looks like you are abandoning him, but what if he needs that space for a while. Let him know you are going to do this and that you will contact him in a couple of weeks or whenever you decide would be good. Tell him he can contact you whenever he wishes.

    Maybe he does need a little space and time to think. I am going into hospital tomorrow for a couple of days. I have told very few people and have asked that they do not swamp me with their well meant offers of assistance, chats and general enquiries. I too need space to manage myself.

    I feel I need to carry on my life as usual which does not happen when the phone rings frequently. I appreciate their care and love and I will ask if and when I need assistance and/or company. At the moment I just want some peace and quiet.

    So maybe this is how Mark is feeling. Tell him you are not giving up on him but that you have decided to honour his wishes for space for the time being. I know this will be hard for you. It may help Mark

    Best wishes

    Mary

  12. Prudence A
    Prudence A avatar
    8 posts
    31 May 2015

    Hello

    It's been a while since I have posted. Things with my partner got worse for about a month. He wouldn't talk to me and told me it was too hard loving me because he believed everything would end. I stayed in contact via text message to let him know how much love both my daughter and I have for him. Things have been getting better. We are still living separately but see him most days. He is dealing with his grief by spending time in the garden. He has ripped apart the yard and is building new vege gardens. He finds that this helps clear his mind. He seems to be doing well.

    I have just found out that I'm pregnant. This is not something we have planned. We always talked about it but as it hasn't happened over the last few years, we didn't think it could happen.

    I'm excited but scared. What if he isn't happy about it? What if I have a miscarriage and we have to cope with another loss?

    I haven't told him yet. We are going away next week for my sisters wedding and then having a few days away just the 2 of us. I plan on telling him then. I just hope that he sees this as not a chance to replace Paris but a new wonderful life.

     

  13. justme*
    justme* avatar
    10 posts
    2 June 2015 in reply to Prudence A
    I wouldn't be so bold to offer any advice, instead I would like to say a BIG congratulations on your pregnancy.  What a wonderful blessing.  I hope the right opportunity comes soon to share the news with dad.  all the best.
    1 person found this helpful

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