My husband is a good provider - let me make that clear first. I'm a stay at home mother of 2 children, i do the housework, cooking, mowing, all that stuff, the husband goes to work and comes home, and he is also studying. So when he gets home, he studies for most of the evening. This ends up being every single day of the week, including weekends.
A while back, he had a nervous breakdown. The breakdown was based around work stress, and while at first i didn't realise what was happening, i quickly caught up and began acting. Doctors appointments, medication, counselling, making sure he wasn't alone, i helped him organise it all. I called his work for him and called in sick for him, helped him pick up the pieces and move forward.
Things were going great for a little while, however when the meds kicked in, he became very mean spirited and selfish. I don't know if this is a personality trait he's always had (but never showed) and now it's just more prominent (due to the meds), but he's mean. Maybe it's to make himself feel better, i'm not sure. However there's just no budging with him. I can't talk to him about something, not usually, because he's got his mind made up already and isn't willing to hear my side.
He doesn't look after the children. Not properly. We have a school aged child and a toddler. The school aged child is quite capable of getting their own food and drink, however the toddler is not. Twice now, I have come home to a crying, scared and hungry (ravenous) toddler, who's nappy hadn't been changed since i left earlier in the day, and hadn't been fed since the breakfast i had made for everyone. After the first time, i promised myself that i would never let it happen again, and i felt awful, like it was my fault that it occurred. All i asked was that he tear himself away from what he was doing for short periods of time, to tend to the kids, be a father, but it was all too much effort. The study commitments seem to be (to him) much more important than the family that supports him daily. Our older child just wants his attention, but it's like my husband is being 'put out' by giving the attention. Not to say he never gives our children attention, but the whole process seems such an effort. The study seems like more of an excuse to shut himself away from us and the world (as that's exactly what he does).
I sat down with him and discussed all of this not long after it happened the second time, told him i needed more help with the children (so i could do the one thing outside of the house that makes me happy), and he agreed. I spoke to him about a possible change in meds, as that might be effecting him also, not much of that part of the conversation got absorbed i think. Not 1 week later, he basically refused to watch them, telling me that i hadn't mentioned anything to him about what i required of him, when in fact i had (and had proof of this also). I was so angry and upset.
I'm constantly making excuses for his behaviour (or lack of parenting). Putting up a facade of a happy family for so long, is so damn hard and exhausting, i just don't want to do that anymore. But then i think to myself that i'm the one being the bad guy - he provides our family with a roof, food, electricity, internet - why am i so angry? Am i expecting too much of him? I honestly don't know what to do, because our family can't continue like this.
I've found that i resent him. I understand that being the sole monetary provider is tough and lots of work, but growing up in a close knit family, i know that there is so much more to a functioning family. Love, attention, just spending time with each other - and that doesn't happen. If he wants to unwind, he generally goes out on his own instead of including the rest of us, so again the kids miss out. Things change for a while, but they always end up back here. It might sound funny, but i feel like i'm a housekeeper and babysitter. The only thing that makes me feel like i'm married, is the sex, and honestly that isn't happening often either
Asking for money for things like my activities, a haircut (3 years + now) or even clothes (as i've lost some weight and nothing fits properly anymore) for me AND the kids, is such a hassle. I've got to wait till the right time, or just not ask and go without, so i don't have to deal with the controlling attitude i get. Asking for money has always been tough, and it shouldn't really be an issue if it's in the budget (which it is). It has gotten to the point where there's been no food in the house, and i just have to take the bank card. I don't like doing that, because it's his card, but how do we eat otherwise?
Yesterday, i went to give him a hug because he looked stressed when he got home from work. So i went into the room where he was studying, started to talk (didn't even get a word out really), and the look i got scared the hell out of me. I thought i was going to get hurt to be perfectly honest, it's not a look i've seen from him before, so i told him as much, and walked back out, and we didn't really talk the rest of the night. There's been a lot of that lately.
It feels like i've been pretending and trying to hold on to something that isn't real, for so long now, i'm just over it. I've asked before for him to consider couples counselling, but that went nowhere. I've asked him if he can start his own counselling again, he's said no. I've asked how i can make things easier for him, and i've accommodated that (keeping the kids out of his hair so he can do what he needs to do). I try to tell him about my day! And i get almost accused that i'm stressing him out by simply talking to him.
What do i do? What else can i try? Do i literally have to leave for it to get through to him? I asked him if he wanted a break, and while i don't think he answered properly, I don't think he would want that for himself, but do i need to do it anyway?
Please help, from one frustrated and hurt wife.
Why is this studying so important? Insist that he take a semester break and get back to paying attention to his family.
PS - his meds should NOT make him mean, short tempered or agitated.
I can't believe that his counselor hasn't suggested that he cut back on his studies. He's burning himself out.
I'd suggest taking a break. Get yourself a big dose of fresh air. Take your kids and go stay with family for a little while. Tell your husband (or leave him a note if you're worried he'll get violent or angry) and be without him for a few days.
Tell him to call when he misses you and ask him what he's willing to do to get you to come back.
Yes, sometimes it does take someone outright leaving for the other person to REALLY see what's going on.
I wish you the best of luck and keep your chin up.
This is a difficult one.
1. Being depressed can distort ones perception of ones problems and sap the energy required to address difficult/complex issues (which could result in what comes across as lack of care and empathy). This could run to causing unreasonableness (vis-a-vis your right to normal financial access for the purposes of acceptable expenses.) So the problem could be that his meds AREN'T WORKING - because they're not strong enough to counter the incredible amount of stress he's still under - and need to be changed?
2. Women who are desperate tend to clutch at straws, including that the man might be depressed or (your case) *still* depressed despite effective treatment is already well ensconced?
What's not up for debate is that you sound highly demoralised. I think in part this has resulted from the situations-based, byproductive neglect. But only in part, given that all you describe is definite grounds.
Since trying to talk, reason with him and strike agreements and compromises, including seeking couples or solo counselling, has repeatedly fallen on deaf ears and paralysed limbs, I fail to see what other choice you have left other than objecting with your feet. Actions speak loudest and all that.
Also, it's not good that you've begun walking on eggshells to the extent illustrated.
Let's get clear on a few things, though. A good provider doesn't make routine but vital spending nigh-on impossible. So what you're actually saying is, he *used* to be a good provider. What use is past track record when you and your kids *can't suffer* in the past?
Was he always apt to be controlling or is this a product/an expression of his sense of too little or loss of control everywhere else in his life? People in such a state of helplessness do tend to try to compensate by turning their need to control towards unacceptable and/or petty/trivial targets.
In terms of 'babysitting' for you, however, I can understand how it's not practicable in the midst of a need for such intensive studying and how all too easy it is in that scenario to get totally absorbed to the point of not noticing the time (or that anything/anyone else even exists). It's also not conducive to have to keep breaking off from deep concentration like that. So, although he shouldn't be agreeing to play sole parent in the first place, maybe this somewhat unrealistic repeat expectation of yours is your way of scrabbling around for (or squeezing out of him) some sort of 'last-ditch' show of reassurance, which is then inevitably falling flat due to said pragmatics? Or maybe you're citing this aspect simply because you lack the words with which to better or more precisely articulate the things you *are* most upset with?
I also appreciate how tightly men can cling to their role of provider, thus how desperate and single-minded they can be in their endeavour to remedy any such perceived inadequacy/failure (you may deem him a good earner but he may not). I therefore wonder if, simply, he expects you to play unpaid houskeeper and bottle-washer only for the time being as his idea of wifely support (a precedent you *have*, if you think about it, firmly set), yet is completely failing through his already overloaded plate and self-absorption to communicate this distinction?
I'm TERRIBLE at being interrupted when I'm engrossed in something I feel is very important, including giving those thunderous looks you describe if the individual persists. Doesn't mean I'm about to yell at or hit the person, though. Saying that, if the person voiced their fears and objections like you did, it would bring me up sharp and see me apologising toute suite...which he didn't do. Instead, it sounds like he sulked like he thinks he was the sole victim. Yup...totally self-absorbed lately, isn't he.
He may, however, in all of this, be taking liberties when it comes to needing a cat to kick (you) in order to discharge whatever portion of stress his meds aren't putting paid to? You know how your little terrors are good as gold for their teachers whereas with you act like demons with because you they DO know and trust not to wring their little necks? Same sort of thing. It's not on, though.. nope.
I wonder if you've 'trained' him to increasingly behave like this and believe he can get away with it, though having said and done too little for too long? Could this be the case...ARE you a lengthy put-up-and-shut-up followed by opposite extreme of major overdue-bursting-at-the-seams type?
I really wouldn't like to pose any premature conclusion over such a complex, long-built-up issue based only on a few paragraphs. However, I do suspect a whole chain of liberty-taking met with over-tolerance as has led to things having developed unchecked until coming to this head in terms of him having the idea he can 'take a mile' and cease all considerateness whilst under all this unrelenting pressure. So, yes, again, I do think it's put your foot down more loudly time. That's foot, not mouth.
Alternatively, have you not considered getting counselling yourself, on your own, in order either to gain a more insight and perspective (*IF* that's even part of the problem) or to help you take and sustain said firmer action?...or does that just bring us back full circle to, how can you if you've no-one to sit the kids? (I take it there's no-one else can sit for you?)
Basically, in summary, I need much more data to be of any real use to you. But do let me know if anything I suggested chimed with you?
Can I just point something out, however, vis a vis your suggestion about getting him to get her to come back? There's such a thing (depending on country of residency) as being seen, legally, to have abandoned the family home, whereby one could lose out on property settlement (just in case it came to that from either side). So I'm not sure going away and staying away for a *non-determined* period, would be a sensible tool.
Furthermore, if you intend to take the kids for any lengthy period it's best to seek a court temporary custody order to avoid vindictive claims of kidnapping... in which case, this going away 'for a while' under the threat of possibly not coming back should be done under advisement of a solicitor (including for the record).
Also, before leaving, one should take an inventory of important possessions/furniture, including photos where necessary, just in case the abandoned spouse takes any rage out on their partner's possessions/the house itself and/or its contents.
Soulmate - you're right. I think i've been letting him 'get away with it' for so long, it's just increasing in frequency because i haven't done more than talk to him about it when he's done it. I am absolutely demoralised, it's taken you to point that out to realise this. The reason being, i've asked, i've tried, i've done - but nothing seems to work, and it's never worked really. The situation changes, but remains the same at the end of the day. He's always been controlling, just the intensity varies. I also thank you for clearing up the study thing for me, i know it's intense for him, and any interruption can cause issues - however my reasoning for this not being an issue for me, is that i worked from home for a period, and had few problems with stopping what i was doing to tend to the kids. I understand people deal with their tasks differently, and appreciate that more now in hindsight. With the babysitting the kids, I use that term with him, because basically he's just making sure they're not getting into any strife. I'm pretty sure they don't do any activities together when i go out, and i do have another person (family) i can ask, but they have a casual job and i don't want to push too much, you know? Just seems to me like, he's their father, and it should be a given - not that he should drop everything, but make himself available to them to be a father.
Megan - Yep i agree - like i said at the top, i think i do need a break, but i'm working on how to go about this, and if i really need to do it. His feelings are definitely playing a part in all my decisions right now, not mine. I've never really been one to put myself first. I think i can talk to him about whatever decision i do make, i don't think he'll get violent or angry, he just won't see it for what it is - a time to reflect and prioritise.
Susie - i agree, his meds should not have that effect on him. There's been a definite change in his attitude - more confidence etc - however he's become more adamant and less willing to hear someone else's point of view on a subject, or like i mentioned, the stuff about the money for basics.
I feel like i need to have a plan before i do anything, sort out a job, accommodation (although the kids and i would have somewhere to stay, no problem).
I also live in Australia, if that helps at all.
However i did want to say thank you for all of your advice, thank you for letting me vent and thank you for being supportive also. I have quite a bit to consider.
Men note actions. They chew things over privately *inside* their heads (which is how they just seem to suddenly act without thought), unlike us who 'run it by' someone and THEN decide. So even if you SAY you're giving HIM space, replete with reassuring smile, he's still going to at some point be sat there wondering and worrying whether that's true or not or whetheryou'vegotasecretloverorwhetheryou're this/that/HHHHHHHHH!?!!! ...at which point you'll get a faux-nonchalant-sounding call... "Hi, everything okay?...just thought I'd say Hi..".
Sound chilled and friendly, BUT CUT THE CALL A BIT SHORT.
This is way to get him administering 100 bum-strokes with the cane HIMSELF. And you then can't be blamed for it...because all you did was ...give him space (how lovely, aren't you nice ).
"I've never really been one to put myself first."
What do airlines warn will happens if you do that with administering oxygen masks on a plane? Yup. Not sensible or clever, is it.
" but they have a casual job and i don't want to push too much, you know?"
It's not your prerogative to second-guess and prempt people's feelings and desires, it's up to THEM to SAY SO if they can't or don't want to accommodate you. Your job is to make them feel as useful and needed to you as you (constantly, I'm betting) are to them.
Funny how you didn't worry about asking complete strangers for their time and energy without fear of rebuttal, isn't it? Is there a clue in there to something, Scooby?
Saying that, however: "Just seems to me like, he's their father, and it should be a given - not that he should drop everything, but make himself available to them to be a father."
Yeah... if this point in his life were giving him the freedom to and if he were at home because of having a cushy day off. How many men have YOU met who can multi-task? (Can *I* have one???)
If you ask me, he's simply in too much of a hurry, with his head too firmly up his own a*se. A shake-up dealt by his own mind courtesy of your 'kindly and considerately giving him space and room to study' is, I suspect, a far firmer action than your statement (asked/tried/done) claims you've taken in the past. So yes, a break certainly can't hurt.
This isn't ABOUT him doing 'things' for you, anyway, is it. It's about how you think he's outgrown you or something because the two of you seem to no longer be on the same page going in the same direction. For starters you call yourself THEMISSUS like there's none other facet to you. Secondly, how insultingly impersonal! Do you frequently belittle yourself like that?? Do you think you should perhaps change that boardname?
He was your whole world, wasn't he. And now he's super-busy for a tediously extended period. Your mind is free to roam into unnecessarily dark territory, using the fact he's a typical male clod as your justification.
And if he's worried about money (hence trying for promotion/a career betterment) and he's got big, clumsy, hamfisted hands, maybe he WOULD turn the 'tighten our belts' dial up too high? Because if you claim he's a good provider despite right now he's not, yet DIDN'T grab a hold of the bait I wafted in front of your nose on that score (financial abuse), then that suggests all this bad behaviour is reactionary to the current situation *combined* with him not liking your uncharacteristic 'rearing up'.
A break will be what HE needs (to get him to reflect on his recent behaviour), and will do you good too, but I think what you need most - whilst he's unavailable - is something meatier than familydom to get your teeth into. Because seemingly you were 'happy' and motivated enough when he was contributing to your workload and need for challenge (the depression) yet are unhappy now that he's currently flying solo with this solitary pursuit called studying.
In summary, I don't believe you've asked/tried/done ASSERTIVELY ENOUGH and are getting your new-found attempts to assert yourself more, wrong in some way (rotten timing?). Because you've been a stay-at-home too long who completely lost your confidence and it out of practise.
"I feel like i need to have a plan before i do anything, sort out ****a job****, accommodation (although the kids and i would have somewhere to stay, no problem)."
Needn't be a paid job, just a meaty project that doesn't involve him or the kidlets. What are your hobbies/interests?
PS: "I also live in Australia, if that helps at all." Not really, no. Not unless you do some major arm-flapping so's to send some sunshine OUR way, LOL. It does make you very jammy, though. I just did my best not to hold it against you, that's all, LOL.
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