Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

I don't know how to help my husband

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This topic contains 24 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by avatar dinoceros 3 months, 1 week ago.

Viewing 12 posts - 13 through 24 (of 25 total)
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  • #844976 Reply

    To answer the EMDR question-no,it did not get worse before it got better.

    #844998 Reply

    This is a tough situation to be in, not to mention you in it with a child. Definitely keep him in therapy and the couples counseling should be a must if you want to save your marriage. He needs to continue to express his thoughts and feelings about what happened in order to get better, keeping them bottled up will just sink his ship deeper and deeper into the sea. Also see if he can hold his abuser accountable for his/her crime and let it be known, it might help him to see the backlash he abuser receives for the mental and physical torture they put your husband through all these years.

    #845007 Reply

    I feel for you and your husband. I think husband is in this spiral of self-fulfilling prophecy. “Everyone abuses me. Everyone leaves me. This is all a house of cards and as soon as they find out, I’ll be alone.” Which is so sad. But… he has choices. I think he was holding this in for so long that he doesn’t know what’s up or what’s down anymore. He’s in recovery. Good step. But he’s reliving his childhood and as an adult woman, you’ve taken on a maternal role and that’s very bad.

    You can’t fix him. I’m the first to say that unconditional love doesn’t exist between adults. There are always conditions. For example, no hitting, no cheating, no lying, no leaving dirty wet towels on the floor. Everyone’s got their own conditions. So maybe work with a therapist on figuring out what your conditions are and what the consequences are. Unlike a 13 year old brain – his adult brain can actually process consequences. And working with a therapist you can say that you’ll provide a safe space as long as he meets your conditions. And those conditions will change. For example, getting a job is a good condition. Staying in the job is the next condition. Getting a better job may be down the road. Managing a budget is a starting condition. Putting money to savings is a later condition.

    As sad as this is, I do think that it’s possible to move forward but he has to do the work. The world isn’t going to give him a break because he was hurt as a child.

    If he won’t do the work, then you have to leave if only to save yourself.

    #845037 Reply

    He’s the best part of my life

    Someone else can’t be the best part of YOUR life.
    Start by getting help for yourself.

    #845040 Reply

    Bittergaymark, I can see how you can gather that from my posts. I do feel like he should have told me what he was struggling with before we were married, but I don’t think he necessarily meant to deceive me. I think he was ashamed and doing his best to repress everything. He still should have been up front with me, though. You are right.

    Essie, you are very sweet to worry about that. I didn’t take it negatively at all, though. I don’t think his doctors know how bad it is. He tends to be much too agreeable and play off his pain. He also has a hard time being vulnerable, so it is a valid point and a worry I’ve had. I don’t think they know just how desperate the situation has become.

    Logan, he would very much like to hold his abuser accountable, but his mother refuses to disclose the abuser’s full name or any other details. He’s since cut his mother out of his life, which has been an amazingly good step for him.

    Lis, I think you’re right on the mark with your reply. It’s almost as though he held on so tightly for so long trying to control it all that he just let go and doesn’t want to go back.

    I did talk to him last night about therapy. He’s agreed that he needs to keep going, and that if he doesn’t feel like he’s making progress, he may need to try a different form of therapy.

    I’ll work on creating more boundaries and focusing more on myself. Even just reading my own replies it’s become apparent to me how dull and hollow I sound.

    Again, thank you all for your replies. It has been tremendously helpful even just to have someone to “talk” to about the situation.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by avatar Threepwood.
    #845044 Reply

    You don’t have to divorce him if you don’t feel ready for that, but you need to start putting plans in place to protect yourself if divorce is the outcome. Make sure you have a life outside of him– friends/support, a job, hobbies, money you can use to live on if you have to get out. And definitely individual therapy for you.
    I agree with Ale that you shouldn’t have your spouse be the best part of your life. Be an individual without them and find other things that make you happy and whole.

    #845077 Reply

    I was in a similar situation a few years ago with my husband. There are multiple mental illnesses that don’t have an onset until mid-twenties/early thirties (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder). It was at the point where I too did not want to have kids, although I was open with him about needing birth control and he understood (it probably did feed into his depression/anxiety, though). After he had a full breakdown that really scared me he stopped doing EMDR and went to a psychiatrist. He got put on Abilify and within a couple days he wasn’t suicidal, within two weeks he was well enough to do activities, and after a month he was the man I fell in love with. Four years later we have two kids and while it’s not always perfect, when I tell him he needs to get his dose adjusted he goes in right away.

    I’m not saying that medication will definitely work in your case, but if it is something you haven’t explored, please do so.

    #845085 Reply

    He doesn’t need his stupid mother to reveal his abusers name, all he has to do is go to the police and report that he was sexually abused as a child and his mother knows the person that abused him. Once the cops have this information they can ask his mother to reveal the person or get charged with helping to hide a child sexual predator and I’m sure once they give her Jose options she will come clean.

    #845106 Reply

    Wow, Betty, thank you for sharing your story! I’m sure that was a very difficult thing to go through. I’m happy that are doing so well now. My husband just recently turned 32. One psychiatrist diagnosed him with bipolar, but the other two said they don’t think that diagnosis fits. That’s something I hadn’t really considered–that maybe his medication isn’t working for him anymore and that may be part of the problem. Thank you, you’ve given me a lot to think about.

    Logan, good point. I think with some more therapy he’ll be able to sort out if he wants to pursue that avenue. And yes, “stupid mother” fits perfectly.

    #845124 Reply

    I just really want to caution you about sinking a lot more time and energy into “helping” him get better. Again, spending money irresponsibly, being cruel, not contributing to household upkeep, all of these things are choices that he is actively and purposefully making. You want children, and it sounds like you’re in your mid 30s? Even if he turned completely around tomorrow you’d need to see a solid year at least of changed behavior, no relapses, and holding a steady job to even consider trying for a child. Do tou think thats likely? You say he basically had to be pressured into therapy, and he’s been through a litany of therapists without improvement. It’s really important that you understand, some of this behavior isnt related to trauma and is completely unacceptable. He’s being really, really selfish and allowing you to shoulder an immense load of responsibility alone. I get that you love him and may not want to leave, but it’s time to make changes for yourself. Has he been diagnosed with, or does he show symptoms of, a cluster B disorder? Please get into therapy for yourself. Spend some time thinking about how long you’re willing to stay, assuming nothing changes. Think about how much of yourself you’re willing to sacrifice going forward, what changes you’d need to see from him and in what timeframe, and what changes you’re willing to make on your own to be happier.

    #845205 Reply

    My story is somewhat similar to yours. I am now divorced.

    My husband’s personality changed over time immediately following our getting married – slowly at first, then increasingly more so until he no longer resembled himself. He became verbally abusive and aggressive.

    We thought it was depression. We thought it was bipolar. He did therapy. He got pills. His mood improved but his rage-outs and irritation with me did not change.

    He, too, confessed that he had been molested. After he told me, he became even worse towards me, as if punishing me for having this knowledge.

    It was actually narcissism, a personality disorder that is incredibly hard to treat, and people with it are unlikely to want treatment in the first place. Forget what TV tells you about personality disorders; it’s wrong. You need a good therapist who knows about personality disorders, and you need to protect your assets. You need to know, if this is your situation, that it unlikely to change, and highly likely to get worse. Don’t make the mistake I did of waiting until police have to get involved.

    #845214 Reply

    Carrotstick, this is why I asked her above if he has been diagnosed with, or is showing signs of, a cluster B personality disorder. Unfortunately narcisstic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder are a common denominator in a situation like the LW’s. The selfishness, escalation to verbal abuse, and feeling entitled to allow the LW to shoulder all of the burden of his issues are red flags to me. That’s certainly not to say this is the case, but doing some research into what BPD/NPD look like is something the LW needs to do. Cluster B’s are lifelong, incredibly difficult to treat, and the reality is the likelihood of improvement is very slim. Although, again, we certainly don’t know if that is the case here

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