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Forums / Welcome and orientation / When my words fall on deaf ears...

Topic: When my words fall on deaf ears...

15 posts, 0 answered
  1. HelplessWife
    HelplessWife avatar
    7 posts
    15 September 2018

    Hello

    I am a almost 40yr old wife, been married 15 years, and known the love of my life since we were teenagers.

    We've both had our traumas in life. Most people do...everyone has a past, a story, a tragic moment or two or a shitty hand they've been dealt, they just need to survive with...

    My husband showed me how a man should love a woman, and how to be respectful of a woman. My husband taught me to be proud of myself, and open up to being loved and admired and cherished. We supported each other to the n'th degree in all aspects of our lives. We never judged each other, never hurt each other with words and always showed each other kindness.

    ...Until a few years back... when my husband was diagnosed with depression. He is also more and more reliant on the beers of an evening, on medication, and we're seeing a marriage councilor.

    Both of us, for different traumas we've had to live with have openly sought assistance with a psychologist...Our marriage councilor says our our communication skills aren't aligning anymore, and our words are hurting one another.

    We both think differently, initially attracted to one another as we were polar opposites. Now this difference is tearing us apart...

    I guess, my beef is the lack of respect that I get shown. His would be my lack of love or support for him.

    We've both come to resent the other, my for him not seeing that his alcohol intake is affecting his depression, and our love life. Often (at least 3 times a week, bed wetting occurs). This topic hasn't been discussed with the marriage councilor on his behalf, and I get that, as it's shameful to him...but the cycle is the same for me, I see this and am living with this too, but nothing gets resolved, it's a 'pain point for him'. He cannot see that the alcohol is the cause of the further depression, and believes that my words are fueling his elusiveness.

    My attempts at showing love and affection are failing, as he continues to feel unworthy, unloved, and useless. Nothing I say makes a difference, my words fall on deaf ears...

    He doesn't feel loved. I don't feel loved. We both feel very alone right now. I am lost inside, as I feel so hurt and afraid to say, do, or be the wrong thing for him.

    He doesn't like my words, they do nothing for him but spark anger and he pulls away from me, often sleeping downstairs or retreating, saying "I don't get it" "I don't care". He wants me to show love, but I find it hard to show affection when my needs aren't being met either.

    Help!

    2 people found this helpful
  2. Croix
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    Croix avatar
    10343 posts
    15 September 2018 in reply to HelplessWife

    Dear HelplessWife~

    I felt very sad at your message, by the sound of it two lovely people who recently are hurting and cannot see a way forward. Perhaps I should say I'd imagine that the people each loved is still there, though masked.

    Depression makes a huge difference, and leaves on angry, unable to cope, resentful, out of touch with one's own feelings and feeling terribly pressured by normal events and people. I was simply unable to tell if I loved anyone, or even was capable of love. It is a great pity your husband has resorted to alcohol to help cope, it will only make matters more complicated and harder to resolve.

    When I felt that way words made no difference, so I'd imagine it is the same for your husband. For you to feel unloved, ignored, lost, hurt and afraid is very natural. Just about anyone would.

    I've no message for you except to say I got better and eventuality resumed a loving relationship with my partner. I did discuss everything with my psychiatrist, and perhaps that is something your husband may need to do.

    It was a very hard time for my partner, not least because I was not consistent from day to day in my reactions. She did have her mum present to help with practical things and lend emotional support - do you have anyone like that? In my partner's case it made a huge difference

    Croix

    2 people found this helpful
  3. geoff
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    geoff avatar
    15268 posts
    16 September 2018 in reply to HelplessWife

    Hello HelplessWife, such a lovely story to begin with but ends with sadness.

    Such a love for each other only to be destroyed by depression and now the alcohol playing a dominant factor.

    It sort of relates to my situation, my first ever love married for 25 years, sure we had our difficult times as I'm sure every relationship has, however, the last few years were difficult because I was burdened by depression, I had a breakdown that's when the alcohol played such a dominant part.

    My wife moved into another room, she couldn't sleep next to me because I went to bed early, very early and couldn't stand the smell of booze.

    I was having counselling who I saw for 20 odd years, had my good times and then those bad periods, abstained several times, but then went back to drinking, so she left me and then divorced me, the love of my life, that's when I began to feel better.

    That sounds as if it was her fault, but I would never blame her.

    Perhaps a separation between the two of you might be best because sometimes this makes the person wake up.

    If you show him, love, while he's drinking, that only reinforces why he feels he can drink, but it's catch-22, if you don't give him love, then he's just going to drink more, that's why you need a counsellor/psychologist to show you what to do.

    If you do leave him or vice-versa this doesn't mean you can't talk to him and if he wants help then you can go with him to a session or suggest appropriate ways to help him through this depression.

    It is difficult for you to show love to him when he's not abiding by any suggestions or advice from you or his counsellor.

    I definitely feel so sorry for you.

    Geoff.

    2 people found this helpful
  4. therising
    Valued Contributor
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    therising avatar
    2172 posts
    16 September 2018 in reply to HelplessWife

    Hi HW

    I truly feel for you both as you both sound so frustrated. With the marriage councilor saying your communication skills aren't aligning anymore, I'm wondering whether they have given you some new skills to work with. The communication skills needed in speaking with someone experiencing depression are definitely different. For example:

    • 'I feel frustrated that this depression is leading you to drink' instead of 'I'm fed up with you drinking'
    • 'I feel resentful of this depression and how it leads you to show me disrespect' instead of 'I hate the lack of respect you show me'

    It's a bit strange but if you can see the depression as a 3rd member of the marriage, it might give you a different view as to how it is getting in between the 2 of you, when your marriage was once so healthy. If you address it as being separate from your husband (like with those examples), he may not take things as personally.

    During my own years in depression some time ago, my depression was definitely a most unwelcome 'house guest' that refused to leave for 15 years. Drinking sent it away for a while each day but then it would come back in the sober moments, with a vengeance. Being free for brief periods was the motivation to keep drinking. As I say to people, when you're trying to be the chemist in your own lab (brain), altering the chemistry present in depression is the goal. Some will achieve chemical changes through booze, some with drugs, some with medication (anti-depressants). Wondering whether your husband is drinking so much because he's not on the most effective anti-depressant yet. Worth thinking about.

    I can tell you HW, the chemistry in depression is definitely a life-changer. It was actually group therapy that got me out. When starting therapy everyone in the group expressed the same damaging impact - anger, lethargy, inability to connect to people, states of despair and sadness, loneliness, resentment towards 'happy' people, resentment towards self, social inadequacy and the list goes on and on. For me, coming out of it was like going from night to day. I was a different person. It is a cruel form of dis-ease.

    It might help to do some research, to better understand that unwelcome house guest. Understanding is key for the both of you. With you both researching it, you are doing something together, something that unites you in the battle your husband faces. You may both come to agree that alcohol is well documented fuel for depression.

    Take care of yourself HW

    2 people found this helpful
  5. HelplessWife
    HelplessWife avatar
    7 posts
    17 September 2018 in reply to Croix

    Thanks Croix,

    Yes, I've got some emotional support in my mother too, however, she's never been uniquely in this situation either, and I sometimes find her support counter intuitive as she's bias towards me.

    Thanks for your kinds , it helps to know others have experienced such things, and I am not actually alone here...

    Appreciated

    HelplessWife

  6. HelplessWife
    HelplessWife avatar
    7 posts
    17 September 2018 in reply to geoff

    Thanks Geoff,

    I don't want a divorce. I don't want to separate, I want to work this out, but my words mean nothing to my hubby, as he cannot comprehend them. He doesn't believe his depression is the cause of things, he just see's me as the issue...Still lost! Heartbroken and upset, but will battle through, am hollow but have hope!

    ...HelplessWife

  7. HelplessWife
    HelplessWife avatar
    7 posts
    17 September 2018 in reply to therising

    Thanks therising,

    I found you're post super helpful.

    I never thought of my husbands' depression as another person in the room, but you're right, it's very much like that.

    Yes, I've been given a script very similar to yours', but not sure how effective it will be as hubby doesn't comprehend my words at present...difficult right?

    When he is opposed to any words I say, and takes and twists my words into meanings that are not true I find I retreat and simply don't speak..which then makes him feel unloved and unworthy. But, when I speak and express myself like you mentioned, he still finds a way of twisting it to make it like I'm attacking him or hurting him in some way... I cannot seem to break through to the true man I am in love with...am consistently talking to the brick wall of depressive hubby.

    Lost and alone...

  8. 815
    815 avatar
    207 posts
    19 October 2020 in reply to HelplessWife

    Hi HelplessWife,

    I know it's been more than two years since this thread. I'm not even sure that you'd come back here after so long, but I stumbled upon your posts and felt so much like I had written your words. I just came on to see how things were going...I do hope that your situation has improved and that the hope you held in your heart was able to carry you through. Would love to hear from you.

  9. 815
    815 avatar
    207 posts
    19 October 2020 in reply to Croix

    Hi Croix,

    I know your post was a long time ago as well, but I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge these words you wrote to HelplessWife some time ago:

    I've no message for you except to say I got better and eventuality resumed a loving relationship with my partner. I did discuss everything with my psychiatrist, and perhaps that is something your husband may need to do.

    This has given me hope. At least enough, to believe that there can be brighter days ahead after the storm. Thank you.

  10. Croix
    Community Champion
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    Croix avatar
    10343 posts
    19 October 2020 in reply to 815

    Dear 815~

    When things were bad there were two me's, which might sound silly but one part of me was consumed by depression and reacted accordingly, the other was outside me wondering at it all

    In time I came to see how hurtful I was being (not that that always stopped me) but I did try a little, a cuppa offered being a starting point.

    I had the right psychiatrist and eventually the right meds, it made a world of difference. Now I support as well as be supported, can realise I have and give love, rather than just absorbing or ignoring it, and can take satisfaction in the work I do.

    Yes, there can indeed be light at the end.

    Support for the supporter is vital, family, even medical, to help get though a devastating time when the one person they look to for love is giving greif instead.

    Croix

  11. 815
    815 avatar
    207 posts
    21 October 2020 in reply to Croix

    Hi Croix,

    Thanks again for your reply.

    I think this is quite relevant:

    Support for the supporter is vital, family, even medical, to help get though a devastating time when the one person they look to for love is giving greif instead.

    In my own pain and sadness through this all, I would want nothing else than comfort from my husband, however he is the one causing the pain and sadness. I understand that it may not be intentional. So as you said, support for the supporter is also vital.

    I was wondering, did you and your partner ever seek relationship counselling to get through the tough times? And if so, did you find that it helped?

    Thanks again.

  12. Croix
    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.
    Croix avatar
    10343 posts
    21 October 2020 in reply to 815

    Dear 815~

    No, no councilor.

    As things got worse I had been under the care of a psychiatrist, which was good, even though I did not open up completely for a long time, I was aware I has behaving badly even though I did not want to.

    There were a couple of things that got us thought, firstly my wife, once she understood my symptoms were just that -symptoms, stopped blaming herself and tried to be supportive, which was pretty difficult as I was not consistent, one day just indifferent, another angry, very occasionally trying to make up with the offer of a hot drink.

    Although she needed and did not get support from me she somehow kept on going -if it had been me I'd have given up.

    The other thing was my wife's mum, who was there for her with both practical help and emotional support. Marvelous!

    I've mentioned these before. There are only two things I can see that are different, that fact your husband has not really realized how bad his condition is, and the alcohol. Both need to be addressed.

    I'm not sure a councilor is the best person, as I said I has a psychiatrist and that made it very obvious it was an illness, not just a failing marriage full of misunderstandings and unmet needs, perhaps that made it easier in some ways.

    With the alcohol that needs its own treatment to, it is no long-term coping mechanism.

    The rising is correct in the way things can be said, introducing a 3rd party, the depression, may well help, after all your real goal needs to be to get your husband to acknowledge he is ill and get appropriate treatment.

    I doubt a councilor will be enough for you either, at least a few chats with a GP cannot hurt.

    Croix

  13. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    2172 posts
    22 October 2020 in reply to 815

    Hi 815

    It's heartbreaking to hear you're still facing this overwhelming challenge. I feel for you so much.

    Wondering if it would make a difference to your own well being in separating the alcohol issue, constructively. Hard to do, I know. What I mean my 'separating' involves making things clear to him: 'While I would do just about anything to raise you out of your depression, I will not tolerate, in any way, the effects of alcohol'. I mention this because I've learned to do this in my own marriage and it has made a difference to how I see myself.

    While my husband doesn't live with depression, he does live with a dependency on alcohol. He depends on it to relax him, to ease stress or tension, to alter his mind (when he wants to feel different) and so on. There are certain aspects that trigger me, some I imagine you can relate to. Once he's up to his 3rd or so beer (after work or on a day off), I have to manage not saying something to him that I need him to remember. Have to save that for when he's sober. Because his mind is more relaxed and therefor he's more easily triggered, I used to be so careful not to agitate him too much (can't believe I used to do this). By the way, he's not a physically aggressive person. We rarely ever adventure (add ventures to life) because he's more comfortable venturing to the bungalow in our back yard where his comfort zone is, close to the bar fridge. My intention is not to bag him out, it's simply to relate to how alcohol can dictate the lifestyle of a partner.

    I've come to separate his nature from the booze when I speak to him at times:

    • I will not speak to you about this, based on the fact I'm wasting my breath over something you won't remember because of the beer
    • I cannot tolerate your lack of adventuring based on the fact you choose your comfort zone (drinking included) over the health and evolution of our relationship. As long as you rely on alcohol, I believe nothing will change. You are not this person, you are an adventurer who chooses to drink instead of being your natural self
    • I refuse to tolerate your verbal abuse, your immaturity and your lack of respect when you are like this (drunk). You take little responsibility/ownership in the way alcohol impacts you and this relationship. Instead, you accuse me of 'being difficult'

    I've found consciously deciding to be intolerant is empowering. While we can feel deeply for our partner, announcing what we won't tolerate from them defines how we relate to our self.

    :)

  14. 815
    815 avatar
    207 posts
    22 October 2020 in reply to Croix

    Hi Croix,

    Thanks again for your reply.

    My story is a little different from that of HelplessWife whose thread this is originally. I just came on here to see how things were for her. My story is in the thread - Supporting a depressed husband - seeking hope.

    My husband is on anti depressants and speaking to a psychologist. So he has accepted help. I guess from my point of view, he has verbally attacked me a number of times over the past couple of weeks where he has clearly blamed me for his depression and has outright stated that he is angry at me. But he doesn't want to talk about and has completely shut me out.

    This has taken a toll on my own mental health so I have since sought support from my mum and my sister in law, as well as my GP who recommended I speak to a psychologist. I had my first appointment earlier this week and she suggested couples counselling.

    I will go back and provide more updates in my own thread. But I just wanted to take the time to say thank you for words. They really have given me so much hope that things can get better.

    And your wife, she sounds amazing :)

  15. 815
    815 avatar
    207 posts
    22 October 2020 in reply to therising

    Hi therising,

    I also want to thank you so much for taking the time to reply and I am sure your words will be helpful to others as well.

    As I mentioned to Croix, my story is on another thread and although my husband does drink, that is not so much the issue for us right now.

    I came on here originally looking for hope that there are brighter times ahead and I have found that through all the support on these forums. So I am forever grateful to everyone who reads and takes the time to reply.

    Thanks again and take care.

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