I have some crazy relationship problems, and don't know what to do!
This may be long, but please hear me out. To start off with, I recognize that I am part of the problem in this issue. I have anxiety and depression that I battle with, and I know that makes me hard to live with, especially when I am having a bad day. I do take medication for these problems, and I see a therapist on a regular basis, but I have always refused to say negative things about my wife and family because I have always been afraid if I started, I wouldn't be able to stop. Because of this, my therapist thinks my wife and in-laws are the best thing I have going for me, so when I tried sharing this with my therapist, she thought I was just over reacting. I don't feel like I am overacting, and I really don't know what to do, so I came here. The town I live in is really small, so any other counselors or therapists are a few hours drive away, and that is a few hours I don't have.
So, I have been married for 10 years, and it has been decent, for the most part. The problem is, when things are bad, they are very bad. Because I have anxiety, sometimes there are little things that irritate me or cause me to panic that might not seem like a big deal to other people. I have always been good at holding that frustration in, but when I am not able to hold it in anymore, I can get pretty angry or stressed. Most people who don't know me well probably would never know the struggles I have. I usually don't actually openly freak out or break down, so when I do it is because I have reached my limit and I can't hold it all in anymore. When this happens, instead of helping and trying to understand, my wife gets mad at me. Usually simply saying that I am frustrated is enough to release my stress and then I can move on, but my wife she thinks I am complaining and being negative. She doesn't allow me to vent my frustration, but somehow she thinks it is okay for her to get mad at me just for being stressed.
When she does this, then I blow up and have a full on panic attack, which then makes her even angrier. This happens almost every other day, and lately it has been getting worse. When I break down she won't let me talk, so I have to yell just to get her to listen, and then she just starts screaming and she will throw things and she has even hit and scratched me before. It doesn't hurt or anything, but it really bothers me. Sometimes the noise we have caused has been so bad we have had the police called on us by the neighbors on a few different occasions.
Not too long ago we were visiting her parents, and I had gotten food on a brand new white shirt. I tried to wash out the stain, but nothing was working, so I was frustrated. I simply said that I hated when this kind of thing happens, and she shut me down and told me to get over it. I told her I knew it was fine, but that I needed to vent because that kind of stuff really stresses me out. She then criticized me for getting mad over something silly like that. I realize it is silly, but that doesn't make me feel any better. In fact that makes me more stressed, and so I told her that. She then told me to shut up. I told her I just needed a minute to calm down, and she got even angrier at me. At that point I got angry and told her to leave me alone. She instead decided to start screaming at me and told me to grow up. That made me furious, and we ended up making a huge scene in front of her parents.
After all that was over, her mom took me aside and told me as the man in the relationship, it is my job to hold things in. According to her, my wife is incapable of letting things go, so I am the one who has to. Just the day before all this my wife tried taking a picture of a book in a bookstore, and one of the workers told her that wasn't allowed. Apparently the worker gave my wife a dirty look, so my wife stormed out of the store and as we were walking down the street she said she was going to poke out the lady's eyes and beat her to death with a baseball bat, just for looking at her funny. She was doing this all loud enough so that people walking by could hear. It was super embarrassing, and she kept it up for 3 or 4 blocks. I told her to stop once, and she said she just need to vent, so I let her. But when I am in the same situation, I am not supposed to. I was disgusted when my mother in law told me that my wife needs to vent, but it doesn't look good when a man does.
On top of this, my family is not super supportive either, and in fact there are other issues with them that make this whole thing even worse. My family is ultra religious, and I am not. I stopped going to church during college, and they think they need to save me. Everything bad that happens in my life they just blame on my lack of faith. If I share this kind of thing with them, they just say "I told you so."
My siblings aren't that bad, it is mostly my parents, but my siblings are 6 and 10 years younger than me, so they don't really relate to these kinds of problems. I have asked my parents for years, to stop trying to convert me to their beliefs, but they refuse. My dad is a doctor too, and my whole life I was raised to be a doctor. That was the expectation from the time I was a kid. I did eventually get into medical school, but I hate it. I actually flunked out of school because of the issues I have had going on with my wife. We would get into huge fights right before I had to take tests (when my stress and anxiety was at its peak), and I failed every test. I talked to the admissions department at my school and explained my anxiety (and my depression was at its all time worst at this point) issues, and brought them a note from my doctor and therapist and they are allowing me to start school over this coming fall, but I really don't want to go back.
I am just afraid if I don't go back, everyone will abandon me. I have moved around a lot my whole life, so I don't have a lot of close friends. My wife and my family are all I really have. I don't think my wife will divorce me or anything.That is her go-to threat when she gets mad, but she told me even though she wants to get a divorce, she never will because she would be too ashamed.
I just don't know what to do or who to turn to. I just feel like to some extent, most of my relationships have this feedback system where when I am doing good they make things even better, but when things are bad that make it way worse. I know I am part of the problem, and I do my best to change so that I can move beyond these issues. Lately I feel like I just want to run away and get away from it all, but I am too afraid. I don't know if that would be the right thing to do. I love my wife and my parents, and when we aren't having issues, things are actually pretty good. The problem is that more often then not, there are issues. I think they are all well intentioned, but I don't know how to help them understand how I feel. I have talked to them about this before, but the blame is always placed on me. What do you think? Thank you for your time and consideration.
So sorry to hear you are having a rough time.
I have suffered with depression for almost 9 years and I have been with my partner for the same amount of time. I also had therapy as I had some bad stuff to work through, I went through a divorce at 25 and entered an abusive relationship and then lost my house and had to move back home to my parents house. When I was officially diagnosed I didn't know a thing about my illness so didn't expect friends family or my partner to even know where to begin, 9 years they still don't fully understand my triggers or how to deal with me during certain episodes. But the point is - they are experienced enough now for it not to be odd or unmanageable. I cannot urge how important it is that people you love with understand your illness as much as you do - if they care one iota for your wellbeing they won't need to be told to do this.
I don't think any of this is your fault - you didn't ask to be given anxiety or depressions did you? And your wife is totally unsupportive, telling someone with your issues to just get over it is the most unfair thing in the world and I think if she could be bothered for 5 minutes to stop thinking her own selfish needs she would be pretty ashamed for speaking to you that way.
I've been in the worst human situation ever I promise you - being abused, no job, no food, no heating, a partner who is sleeping with women in the same room as me and laughing at me, a partner who robbed me and stole my credit cards and STILL I thought if I walked away my life would be over. But I did it. I'm not saying you should ditch your wife and family, but you need to think of your own health, can your wife go to therapy with you?
I'm not sure this has helped at all but if you take anything from my message please let it be this : NONE OF THIS IS YOUR FAULT.
Curious, did your wife know about the depression and anxiety before you were married? You could try to remind her of how she used to be there for you, and ask why she feels differently now? I think the biggest problem is either of you are validating each others feelings. Everybody has their stupid insecurities depression aside. Everybody has their moments where they let their emotions control their actions or words. I just feel bad for the whole situation. I'm glad to hear that you still love your wife and family even though a lot of the blame is placed on you. I hope everything works out.