Advice pleaee - i cannot cope
Sorry for the long post – I am desperate for help.
My wife started a new job in January working in a school as a learning mentor – essentially it is pastoral care and child safeguarding (ie reporting to social services if any safeguarding issues arise).
She works 3 days a week, Mon, Wed & Fri, 18 hours and is obviously only term time – she has every half term and full term holiday off.
We currently have two children, with a third on the way due in April.
My problem is my wife seems to have depression as well as suffering from stress and a lack of confidence. About 5 or 6 years ago we got married, however, the run up to the marriage was horrendous. So much so that I actually thought if I was making the right decision. My wife became stressed with all of the planning and for the wedding and had just finished a masters degree. Even on the wedding day she had this paranoia all day that people weren’t enjoying it, despite hundreds of people dancing to a live band and everyone having a huge smile on their face – it was a fantastic day. It took all my strength to bite my tongue throughout the day and I found it ha4rd dealing with my wife’s change into what I would call ‘a proper stress head’.
This was the start of what has seemed a huge burden for us both ever since. Ever since this period my wife seems to have suffered with a lack of confidence and has suffered from stress and depression on and off.
The next major phase was when she fell pregnant with our first child. Her new job was incredibly stressful and towards the end of her pregnancy she had difficulty keeping up with her work. Despite informing her manager over this, her manager’s response was ‘you are pregnant, not sick’ and her manager did nothing to reduce my wife’s workload. My wife cried every day she went into work, she was bringing work home with her and crying every night, blaming herself that she was ‘not good enough’ to do her job. (I have since learned that this is a text book example of sexual discrimination against my wife).
My wife eventually started her maternity leave and all was fine. However, her confidence had taken a knock. With problems breastfeeding her confidence took a knock. As her maternity leave went on she became more and more stressed about daily life and went into a spiral of what I can only describe as hatred towards herself and me. She blamed me for not having a good enough job (I earn well over the national average wage), saying I wasn’t motivated to succeed, had no drive and would amount to nothing. I used to beg for some sort of affection from her – it had all fizzled out (one valentines day I got a card saying ‘To Cxxx, from Hxxx). I started to price up how much it would cost me to leave her. Despite this I continued trying to love her and shower her with compliments, flowers, but to no avail. Eventually I lost it and ordered her to go to the doctors or I would leave, her initial response was to tell me to leave but she went to the doctors. She was diagnosed with depression, prescribed anti-depressant tablets and went through counselling. This had an almost immediate effect. She began to be nice to me again (she admitted that during the bad times she fell out of love with me), she found her confidence again and could finally smile for more than one day on the run.
She moved jobs and about 3 months after returning following her maternity leave, fell pregnant again. This time the run up to giving birth was a lot less stressful. But until last December I found I was really spoken down to, treated with disrespect and I again started to find it hard to deal with our relationship. I eventually told her on boxing day last year that I was no longer happy in the relationship and I wouldn’t continue to be treated like that, particularly given that she had put no thought into my Christmas present after saying what I had previously wanted was stupid. She immediately dealt with this threat by becoming loving again, telling me she didn’t know what she would do without me. I told whether she thought what I wanted for Christmas was stupid or not, surely if it is what I wanted then shouldn’t I be allowed to choose my own present. She then said sorry, of course you deserve it and gave me the £40 short I was to buy a Playstation 4!! She then was really affectionate to me for a long time and I had a huge weight lifted from my shoulders
After that things were great, it was then one of the happiest times I have been in our relationship, my wife seemed confident and was starting to do well in her job. Then, one night my wife cam home and decided she wanted sex (she is was no longer on the pill). I protested against at first but then we decided to be careful. Despite this, at the moment of importance I told her to get off, which she refused, despite me trying to push her off she clung on tight and it was then too late. Behold, 5 weeks later my wife was pregnant. I’m seriously think that she did this on purpose.
Since then her boss in work has become really difficult. Being honest I think my wife’s treatment is bullying, but my wife refused to confront her. She was then crying every night before work, every morning before work. My son would point to a chair and say ‘look daddy, that’s where mummy cries’. My wife is depressed again. She at first refused to go to the doctor’s to discuss it. I went to the doctor’s myself to beg the doctor to just invite her in for a medication review to ask her questions. They did this and now my wife is going to go to a counsellor again. I wrote a letter for my wife to pass to her boss off her in order to discuss the situation, since then the boss praised her professional approach and has allowed my wife to develop the role according to the way my wife believes that she should. Last night my wife returned from work crying once again saying how she doesn’t feel organised. I went out and bought £40worth of stationary – folders, files etc, to get her more organised. I devised a timetable for her, and helped her through her work emails. She immediately felt better and said she was more organised. My wife was contacted by her union today (she approached them for assistance in dealing with her boss weeks ago). They weren’t very helpful. My wife called me and was again crying down the phone. She says she can’t handle the stress of being so disorganised doubting her own ability again. Her confidence is taking a knock. Being honest, when she brought some work home the other night I was completely shocked about how disorganised she was. It made me think that her boss might have some points retgarding time keeping and organisation
I am now at my wit’s end. My wife is going down the same path as before and it is a vicious cycle. It culminated in me picking up the pieces for everything, being there for her, reassuring her, trying to take the burden off her, and also being the butt of negative comments. I am starting to resent my wife and the situation I seem to find myself in all of the time and constantly have to battle it
I cannot cope any more, I still try and maintain an active social life, I also play in a band part time (about 15 gigs a year). Please could you tell me if there is anything I can do or should be doing? I know my wife must help herself, but she doesn’t. she keeps telling me that she is exhausted. Truth be told, I no longer care how tired she is (although will never admit this), I am mentally and physically exhausted. I still do everything I can for her, but I find myself now starting to get angry (although I haven’t showed this to my wife).
Is there anything I can do to help her?
She's in serious need of professional counseling and so are you---please find a counselor fast through your health plan.
I say that YOU should seek some professional help for yourself, and ask for guidance of some sort in how you can better help your wife. You've already suggested to your wife that she should see a therapist and she got help, but it didn't seem to work out for her. She seems to be in denial and maybe if you take the first step in seeking help for yourself, you can help and understand your wife better. I think she should find another job or just become self employed? There's a lot of options available, you just need to communicate things with your wife and work out whats best for your children and your marriage.
Hope all goes well!
Has she had her hormones checked? I feel your wife is continually suffering from depression. Its not a confidence problem but anxiety related. The boss may be right. If you observe, whenever there has been a little extra stress there is a repeat episode of this.
Wow you seem like a very pacient, supportive, kind, loving partner. I'm sorry that you and your partner are experiencing such stress and strain, I really hope things will improve for you both. I think encourage your wife to go to counciling and probably seek some yourself. Maybe couples councilling because I think your partner needs help realising that you have needs too and how it's impacting the relationship when she isn't coping well with other things in life. I see you love her dearly . With the deliberate pregnancy I'm not sure because I don't want to sound dirty but that's the most intimate thing to have a man um .. You know inside? and in the heat of the moment it's hard to stop. I don't know..
One thing that glares out at me is possible post partum depression.
How many children are there? 3 or 4? and she works 18 hours outside the house?
She sounds like an over-loaded perfectionist personality. No wonder she's off her kilter.
Thank you everyone for the responses so far. Thankfully I have convinced my wife to go to the doctor who has referred her on to a counsellor.
In regards to post partum depression (we call it post natal depression here in the UK), I did suspect that was part of it when she had the first major bout after the birth of our first child 4 years ago. But when we discussed it, particularly when she discussed with her counsellor, the main factor was the work she was doing and the bad boss she had.
She places herself under a huge amount of pressure, as a result of this she will often doubt herself which is where the problem seems to stem from. She will also try and take on numerous large tasks at once to keep her focussed and give her something to aim for, inevitably it is me who ends up having to do the tasks, redecorating seems to be a common occurrence, particularly around bloody Christmas (ie now). The smell of Christmas reminds of paint, and painting reminds me of Christmas!
I told her that she could stop work about a year ago, but she wanted to move to a bigger house. I told her that she would have to carry on working if that is w3hat she wanted, and she chose the house. So there is no negotiating there now – which is why I suppose she has brought up my earning in the past (it also places a huge amount of pressure on me).
I think SUSIEDQQQ hit the nail on the head, my wife is a perfectionist. She is always pursuing perfection and has not realised she sometimes sets herself unachievable goals and it is a moving target. Nobody is perfect, no one. Not even me J. She needs to accept that she will sometimes not achieve what she sets out to do, be it personal or professional targets.
Thank you again for the comments and advice, I have doubted whether I am just being over picky, impatient or just wrong about the whole situation, but I think the next stage is to try and get some sort of joint counselling. I think I will start by seeing if she will allow me to go to the doctors with her so I can be sure everything is raised and discussed properly.
I see a small glimmer of light in the background – the problem is that it is miles off with huge mountains in the way!.
In the mean time, I am out to catch up with friends for a Christmas drink. One of the very rare occasions I get out of the house and wind down (I think it must have been about twice in 5 or 6 months now!), I’m very much looking forward to it!
I understand you are saving for a new home, and that your wife needs to work right now to save toward that end, but why not suggest she get a different job. It's not worth it to have her treated the way she's treated, then to have her come home and treat you (and the kids?) how she does.