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Topic: Overwhelmed wife seeking advice

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. Jskigdj
    Jskigdj avatar
    2 posts
    23 September 2020
    My husband has suffered with pretty intense depression, ptsd & anxiety for 15 years. We have been together 2 years and he has always been open & honest about his depression, and me with my mental health. At the beginning of our relationship I had some anxiety issues that therapy has sorted. It was worse early on that this would have been difficult for him and he was always supportive.
    For the past 9 months his depression has been bad. It manifests in nitpicking- on me, my body, what I wear, behaviours or mannerisms, & anger. To be clear, he has never been violent. Couples therapy helped open space to talk about it. The nitpicking has persisted, it's better but it still happens. My husband maintains that this is from when I was suffering more from anxiety, and that those feelings about the way I presented myself, for him, are a direct result. This makes me feel like he is keeping me in that space, and that he isn't taking responsibility for the affects of his own mental health by blaming me. I don't want to deny that it was difficult for him or gaslight him by avoiding responsibility. But it is difficult for me to accept. I don't know if this is fair. He sees a therapist & is very self-reflective and we can openly discuss our feelings. I have set clear boundaries that I will not put up with negative comments about my body or clothes, but it's still obvious in his gestures.pretty much all of our conversations revolve around his depression. I am always available to listen and support but it can be really exhausting and I am finding myself with little capacity to carry it. Even if I talk about something that I have done, it quickly turns around to how it affects him or how it relates to his depression. Whenever I bring up boundaries or express that I am unable to process anymore at that particular time, he gets really down on himself. I need some advice on how to lay out boundaries gently and whether or not it is ok for me to express that I reach a limit. I'm really not sure what to do, because I don't want to be cold or unsupportive but it gets to a point that I am almost in tears from overwhelm. I know that it must be so so difficult for him. But I have no mental space. There are good days and they are wonderful. but most of the time it's like being on eggshells. Of course, lockdown has intensified this.
    Seeking some advice on how to navigate. I love him so much, but I feel that if I don't take care of myself then it won't be good for either of us
  2. smallwolf
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here 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
    smallwolf avatar
    5765 posts
    23 September 2020 in reply to Jskigdj
    Not sure how this suggestion will go ...

    1. Be objective.

    2. Identify the issue

    3. Use lots of empathy

    4. What is your goal

    5. Work out way to goal.

    Do it all from the perspective of "I". For example...

    At the end of the day when you get home , I see you go to your phone. One thing I will then do is go to my laptop and work and may become a downward spiral. I am told you are tired and can imagine your day has been stressful and difficult. I have those days also. One thing we could do is open up to each other. What do you think?

    That is an abridged version of one of my conversations and I hope you get the idea. Trying to lower the defences of my partner so they can be more accepting of what I might be saying.

  3. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    9215 posts
    24 September 2020 in reply to smallwolf
    Hi, welcome

    It's great you are both getting help.

    I do have one thread for you to Google that can help you work through conflict. If you both commit to the process then you'll neutralize upset

    Beyondblue topic relationship strife-the peace pipe

    Good luck
    TonyWK
  4. MissBenthos
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    MissBenthos avatar
    163 posts
    24 September 2020

    Hi Jskigdj,

    Wow, the support you have been giving your partner is amazing! What a beautiful person you are. And yes, it's completely understandable that it has worn you down. Your feelings matter and you deserve support as well.

    Have you been to a therapist for you? One separate to your couples therapy and your husband's professionals. I see a lot of emphasis being put on his needs and drowning out yours.

    It is fair for you to expect him to take responsibility for his actions. He doesn't have intentions of being manipulative (it is, unfortunately, a symptom of the depression - that expression of being really down on himself) but it's hurting you. Growth in relationships is important, respecting each other's boundaries is important. If he continues letting you down and feeling awful about it is the relationship even good for either of you? Is there something to remind him that hey, we've talked about this and it's not ok? It could be corny but something like making a point to sit with each other for 5 minutes each day and taking turns to compliment each other - could be uplifting for both of you and a change of pace to slowly remove some negativity?

    All the best xo here to continue the conversation if you want.

  5. Jskigdj
    Jskigdj avatar
    2 posts
    24 September 2020 in reply to MissBenthos
    Thank you so much for your support everyone. I didn't realise just how much it helps even on a forum.
    I am seeing a therapist myself, and that is helpful.
    I know that it's his illness talking, but it's always helpful to be reminded because it's difficult to keep that in mind sometimes. I like the suggestion and I think I will bring it up. There is lots of love there but it gets drowned out sometimes. I think that I am feeling particularly overwhelmed at the moment as I feel like we are living in a black hole, it can be quite claustrophobic, which is not good for my patience. I'm trying to be mindful of this and to regulate my responses. Even expressing it for the first time is a relief. Thanks for listening and your support.
    I will Google those links, thanks everyone
    2 people found this helpful

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