Originally Posted by Zapp Rowsdower
Actually, depression is an issue. She's struggled with anxiety before (as have I) and there is a serious possibility that our older son (aged 2 1/2) may have autism. We're devastated by this, but she is taking it much worse.
I've cut her some slack because of this. (She has just been prescribed antidepressants.) That said, even before she was pregnant she raised the issue of my parents supposedly not contributing enough.
And then there was the time she complained about the wedding photo my brother gave us (a beautiful framed scenic photo he took himself) because he presumably didn't spend any money on it. Or the time she said a friend of mine from back home was not allowed in our house because he didn't get us a wedding gift. And so on.
OK, well then my bet is on that her parents done something to her that make them feel guilty. She needs to not take their money. Put it in an account for your son. Try to get him into a treatment program. My son was on the spectrum and went to preschool and Kindy full-time year round with OT, PT and speech-communication therapy embedded into the program. I designed the program putting together pieces from our university. Now Easter Seals has a formal program at that school. Anyway, now he is much much better. He's still kind of out there, but most of the time he is with us, and not all frustrated over it (usually).
Probably your wife needs individual therapy but also some family therapy, and a good baby sitter. I had students who were in third or fourth year of college studying OT (occupational therapy), they came to the house but also took my kids on age-appropriate outings. Having a child who doesn't connect can be really hard.
My son's issues, some of them, turned out to be a spinal cord issue. Well, the doctor at the Children's Hospital, who diagnosed him, said to me her son had a diagnosis of autism. I felt so bad, here she found something of my son that had been missed for 5 years since I suspected it, and her son just getting a diagnosis like that. Now my son's endocrinologist (he has a thyroid problem too, this can present as somewhat autistic, because of the symptoms it causes - foggy brain, sluggishness...) also tells me he has a child with a disability. I guess because i went through so much and the doctors know it, and I worked in medical care before, I hear about these things. I know it's very hard. Because your entire identity as a professional has to be re-designed to fit with a child who is not what you expected.
That's why I suggest family therapy, because maybe she feels responsible, or can't figure out how to adjust, because really, it's the whole family that needs to adjust.
Things will get better. But take that extra money and put it away. Get a budget under control, and get help for the kids. Make sure Mom doesn't forget what REAL fun is, which is the free stuff.
Don't travel, it is really disruptive and escapism. Armchair travel (movies, books) and walks are best.
I used to go every day with my kids to a community support center. They had parenting groups and parent-child activities, free play for the kids, and chit chat and coffee for the parents. Also snacks. You could go every day. Mine was only 2 miles from my house and it was free. Sometimes, even though I didn't have a diagnosis, I used to go and do crafts with the women's recovery/resiliency group: knitting, fish-print tee-shirts, that kind of thing. It was just fun.
Your wife probably always had some kind of need for control. Maybe her parents giving her money is a way of them telling her she needs them, not wanting to let go or give her independence, this feeds into her feeling of not measuring up, needing to buy things to show how worthy she is, or normal, successful, etc. She's been disenfranchised for one reason or another. And now perfect child won't cooperate. Of course the child is perfect. But maybe grandparents won't see it that way? There are all kind of possible issues here.
That's why independence is best. The fathers of my children (two of them) were in these kind of money-based relationships with their controlling fathers. I said many times, why not give them the finger as to finances? I did to them and after that they respected me. They knew I didn't like them for their money, in fact, they knew I only liked them when they could behave to me. :-) We got along great after some good fights, called it a match.
A normal person wouldn't spend the money. They would save it. Your wife spending the money like that, maybe she's angry and doesn't want it.
I think things will work out for all of you. Some women don't finish growing up until after they have their children.
Edited to add: I think HOME needs to become a safe place where she can feel comfortable having her real needs met. But first she has to express them, and before that, she has to see what they are. This can be really difficult. She probably needs a real good cry. Even though there hasn't been any loss, there has been a loss, maybe more than one. When my father died of suicide, guess what I did? I shopped. It was like a kind of canned interaction. That had a predictable outcome. Of course, I'd been neglected and didn't have many clothes, so there was a need to shop, and it was limited, because I was busy and also didn't have a car, but I do remember that shopping was something that was seen as 'safe'. Given all the marketing and ads, and how things supposed to make you feel one way or another, connected to home stuff, which is what stay at home moms get exposed to on t.v., it's not surprising. Also, it seems that's the easiest way to connect. But our marketplaces, though instinctual, don't provde the same connection as the old-fashioned marketplaces of ancient times. Here we have canned interactions, set prices. You cannot tell your life story as a bargaining tool, or question someone down a price with your knowledge and skill. Nope, not even the currency is real.