My husband of 10 years was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety back in July. It came as a bit of a relief to me to actually have a professional diagnose him. We have struggled for years with his irrational behaviour, verbal and sometimes physical abuse, bouts of crying and lethargy and dependency on me. Earlier this year things became consistently worse. i asked him to move out as he his treatment towards myself and the kids became unbearable. He saw a psychologist for about 4 months and a one off visit to a psychiatrist who diagnosed severe depression (at that time he was suicidal). Things improved for about 3 months but has now started to go downhill again.
Specifically, life with my husband is a "constant walking on eggshells"
He has no time for the children or me and completely shuts us down if we try to speak with him. He either ignores the conversation or becomes angry and tells us to leave him alone. If we try to discuss how we feel, he reverts the conversation back to how he feels.
He berates me and the children both at home and in public. For example: I asked him (in a nice way) to clean up the kitchen one day. He was immediately defensive as he believes he always cleans up the kitchen satisfactorily. Hours later he is still demanding an apology from me for asking this. Screaming at me out on the street because I have misplaced the car keys (which incidently were found in his pocket), calling me names, threatening me.
By the next day he is reasonably normal and carries on like nothing happened. Sometimes he apologises and says he will try to control himself, but I honestly don't think he is motivated enough to change.
If I blow my nose and he walks in the room, he accuses me of blowing my nose right in his face!
He talks to himself, mutters frequently in an angry tone of voice. This has been going on for years and has got worse. He claims he has no knowledge of the fact that he talks to himself.
He speaks over people (friends and family members) and is unable to pick up on the usual social cues of someone trying to wind down a conversation or move on from the topic.
His main interests are soccer, old films and Queen. He repeats the same subjects over and over again. he will randomly appear in the room where I am and ask me if I remember the episode of ????? tv show and then start speaking lines from the film/tv show. He does this even when I am in the middle of something quite unrelated (eg: doing our tax return or trying to put a piece of furniture together).
He appears to have no awareness of what is going on around him, yet gets incredibly angry at us if we do not realise what he is doing and respond accordingly.
He does not like his job and wants to take on work that involves no thinking. eg: packing apples into boxes
he has definite anxiety issues surrounding sudden changes of plans and the way things are done around the house.
He is not motivated to arrange anything or plan for the future. He allows me to take control of the finances, social stuff, kids schooling etc. I don't mind this but I also work full time and study do it is a lot of pressure to handle all of this alone.
His relaxation time is watching tv and drinking alcohol which happens about 4-5 evenings a week.
He claims he loves us, shows affection and wants the family relationship to work, but hours later he is calling me or the children names and moaning because we are walking in his way.
I have asked him to leave permanently (and we even have a second house he could move to once the tenant leaves) but any suggestions I make about work, activities or lifestyle changes he could make he always says "yeah maybe" and that is the last I hear of it.
He refers constantly to the unfairness of his life in the past. How he wasn't allowed to have excuses, he always did the right thing and look where it got me. etc etc.
He is good at the housework and I would say is physically a hard worker and always attends his work shifts, no matter how dreadful he feels.
45% of the time when he is around us he is vague, unresponsive and 45% he is angry and verbally and emotional abusive to me and the kids. The remaining 10% would be the time when he is normal. We would have a few brief hours or days of a connection and normal interaction and then he is "gone again"
My 10 year old daughter claims she hates him and has told me of some incidents which I find concerning. Situations where she has literally had to get right in her fathers face to alert him to the fact that our youngest son, age 7 has fallen off his bike and is bleeding out on the driveway.
She often calls her nana after school and he has accused our daughter of calling her nana to "moan about him"
And constantly telling the children to "get out of his way because he is busy cooking or washing" or something.
I can't believe I am actually having to do this, but I am setting up a voice recorder device in the house to monitor what is going on when I am at work.
This is actually LESS than depression. Depression is just a low quality way that a person uses to meet his needs. In your husbands case that need seems to be SIGNIFICANCE. He probably doesn't get the feeling of being important at work, probably also at home, so he feels the need to take that importance through being obnoxious whiny.
Let's face it, it's much easier to feel significant by berating your husband and children and whine about how much he hates work, then actually doing something proactive to be a more significant person. The fact that everyone in the family responds to his behavior at a moments notice, either with anger or frustration, simply rewards his behavior by making him feel significant.
He needs to make a life change. That choice needs to come from him. The goal is to make him feel more significant at both work and at home. He can do this by getting a better job that will earn him some respect from you because he is actually worthy of you giving him the feeling of significance. When he's at work, not doing a low-skilled job will automatically give him more responsibility and being able to handle that will also make him feel valued.
One thing that you can do as a couple is build his roll within the family by giving him more chore to do. Right now he has the level of responsibilities as a 7 year old in 1st class would. Get him out of the house, redo the back yard, repaint the fence etc. Then he will feel like he is contributing and you can reward him by giving him attention and love.
Right now you need to get him to lay down his weapons, his habit of completely withdrawing. You can do that by IGNORING any inappropriate attempt for attention he makes and OVERCOMPENSATING him with love and attention when he does something good like a chore etc. At the moment he feels like another one of your children and he needs to feel like a man. To compensate for the fact that he is not stepping up and being the man, you have taken over that roll. This is not a natural state for him, which is why he is "depressed" and immature all the time. Both of you need to be reinstalled with your natural identity.
If you can, have an upfront discussion with him. Tell him that you understand that his unpleasant behavior is just a cry for love and the feeling of significance and that you are committed to changing that. Explain to him what you need to feel happy and fulfilled and how he can meet those needs. Now let him explain what he needs to feel significant and let him tell you how you can help him fulfill this need.
When you feel like things may be getting too much and you are about to yell at him, try this breathing exercise. Yelling at him will only reward his behavior, you can do better than that.
Lay down/sit comfortably.
1. Breathe in through your nose on one count, make sure you are breathing into your stomach, not your chest (if you aren't sure if you are breathing right, place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach, your chest should be almost still while breathing in)
2. Breathe out through the mouth on 5 counts (simply count to 5 while you are breathing out)
3. Do about 5-10 repetitions and it will remove your anxiety.
It will help you to have that conversation with a couples therapist, simply because there are quite a few facets of understanding that are important to both of you to really turn this around.
1. Reward him for good, manly behavior like heavy house work, yard work etc. and ignore him when he is acting up.
2. Let him take over masculine chores like finances, yard work and make him a part of decision so he can feel that he is valued.
3. Have a conversation with him about the fact that you understand why he is acting the way he is and work out some better ideas with him so that he can feel significant at work/at home (new job, be nice/make more money/make more big decisions which will show that you trust his judgement etc)
In this conversation also explain what your top needs are and how he could meet those to make you happy. Trust me, men feel like **** when they don't feel like they are making their wives happy and they run away shutting down or getting angry. Give him concrete options that he can do (more intimacy, loving words, take responsibilities of your back)
You can do this, this is not a life or death situation but a case of misunderstood needs.
Argentina, this is your second thread seeking advice on what is wrong with your husband. Apparently you did not like the responses you got in the other thread. As I explained on 12/5, the behavior you are describing sounds like the classic traits of BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). Whether those traits are so strong as to meet the diagnostic criteria for "having BPD" is a determination that only a professional can make.
Recognizing a strong pattern of such traits, however, is not difficult. It is easy, for example, to spot strong selfishness in your spouse without being able to diagnose Narcissistic PD and to spot strong shyness without diagnosing Avoidant PD. That is one reason I encouraged you to read more about BPD traits to see if they sound familiar.
Another reason is that, if my experience is any guide, you cannot rely on the professional's diagnosis of depression and anxiety as proof that your H does not have BPD. Professionals are loath to render a BPD diagnosis even when it is clearly warranted.
One reason is that BPD treatments are rarely covered by insurance because insurance companies claim (falsely) that it is untreatable. Another reason is that most BPD sufferers will immediately quit therapy on hearing such a dreaded diagnosis. A third reason is that, because the social stigma is so negative for BPD, psychologists are concerned that such a diagnosis may result in a client losing his job or being disqualified for a new job. The result of all this is that therapists often list the the diagnosis not as "BPD" but, rather, one of its associated symptoms like depression or anxiety.
I therefore suggest that, to confirm that your H only has depression and anxiety, you should go to your own psychologist -- without your H -- and describe his behavior. The psych will be far more likely to speak candidly about your H's behavior even though, absent the H, he will not be able to render a definitive diagnosis. That is, he likely will say "it sounds like he is suffering from ...."