I am extremely depressed and lonely in my life, and have been for almost 20 years (I'm 34). My marriage suffers a lot because of it. It doesn't help that I am an overachiever and my husband is almost the opposite. We have been married for about a year, I am a lawyer and he is works in computer assisted design. I feel like I work so hard all the time, do my best to be physically active and eat properly, and he does the bare minimum in his career, smokes and drinks a lot and doesn't worry about diet. I get paid a lot more than him, put myself through school and have savings ready for a down payment on a home. His work is contract, so he often gets laid off, he never finished college and is also in a considerable amount of debt so doesn't want to house shop. Yet, he is never stressed out, but I am. He is always happy and energetic and has lots of friends and I am generally angry tired and antisocial. I try to put in more of an effort but usually am just too tired at the end of the day. I get angry at him for his lifestyle (mostly about drinking and smoking), which is the source of many of our fights. I try my best to hold my tongue but often I slip and say something while emotionally charged and it triggers a fight. These usually start with us not exchanging words for a few days, then ends with me initiating discussion and having to apologise profusely. I end up taking all the blame and almost begging him not to divorce me. It makes me feel pathetic. it has gotten to the point where I feel like I can't even express the way I feel when something bothers me because he'll dismiss it as invalid. I am not in therapy but just reading what I wrote makes me really think I should be. This is my first time trying to reach out and I really don't know what to do. Would really welcome some supportive advice. Thanks for taking the time to read. Posted via Mobile Device
I've also been a depressed person for most of my life. When I started dating my H all my very destructive symptoms of depression started coming out. I didn't realize it at the time and my marriage spiraled out of control. For the first few years I blamed my H; it was his fault that I was depressed. I thought he was emotional void, a porn addict, and that he loved basketball more then me. We fought constantly and I started hating him. And then I discovered boundaries.
If you scroll about 2/3rds down the page you'll see a circle exercise. If you do that exercise you might be shocked at how you're violating your own boundaries by letting certain undeserving people into intimate areas of your life- and how that is contributing to your pain.
You have a certain level of underlying pain and loneliness but it is by allowing others to violate your boundaries that sends that pain spiraling out of control. I dont know if you can ever get rid of all the pain, but certainly by mastering your interactions with others you can make it livable.
I also read a few books about boundaries and did some online reading, too. Here are a few resources:
Right now I'm reading Earkhart Tolle's The Power of Now. I like a lot of what he has to say but sometimes i think he's a little dissociative.
I also told my H that in order for me to feel there was any hope in the relationship that he had to go to counseling once a week. I'm not a huge advocate of counseling for depressed individuals, like myself, because I think it's more enabling and less helping. Counselors get you to talk and then offer no real solutions. They get you all worked up and then send you home. If you do decide to go to counseling use it only as a way to voice what you're feeling and do not expect it to be helpful in any other way. It is merely a tool to stop bottling up your emotions-if that is your problem. But if you are severely depressed and have poor boundaries counseling is extremely destructive. It does not focus on action but merely perseverates on the past- horrible combination for those who are already masters of inaction. What you need are tools for managing your poor boundaries. If you can find a counselor who will focus on developing problem-solving skills and boundaries, and not one that just digs up all that you're angry about, then that would work.
You might want to read up on codependency as well. You've managed to snag yourself a victim and you're the rescuer/fixer.
Like Blanca my depression really came to light right after I got married. Therapy was what turned my life around. She taught me how to rewire my brain and how to start setting boundaries. She did have solutions for me but many don't that's true.
Thank you both very much for responding. Blanca, your comments about boundaries are very interesting. I do come from a dysfunctional upbringing and it has been my goal for many years not to let that hinder my personal success. I have not spent much time researching psychology of people in my position because I have always focused more on technical knowledge (for my profession) that will bring me financial independence. This was often motivated by fear and the desire to prevent anyone from having the power to make me feel as helpless as my parents did. I Find the statement from the website you sent "When parents disrespect a child's boundaries, the child's sense of self—his or her autonomy, self-respect, feelings of effectiveness and of making a difference—are compromised. " to be particularly enlightening because I regularly question my self-worth in social situations and I suppose this is extending to my marriage. I also appreciate your thoughts on the variable levels of effectiveness counseling can have. I am looking for solutions and so will keep it in mind to find someone who can help me develop problem-solving skills as you say, rather than just seeking someone to air my gripes to.
Thank you Mavash for your thoughts about co-dependence. It never occurred to me to think of my husband as having a possible victim-type personality. I will read more on this to try and understand. I am extremely lost at the moment because we are currently in one of our rough patches. This one started on Tuesday (today is Sunday) because I made a comment about his lack of acknowledgement of our relationship in an email. He does this type of thing regularly, never with malice intended. It hurts me though because it makes me feel as though I am on the periphery of his life and not important to deserve mention. I try to explain this to him but he calls it petty and refuses to validate my feelings. He says he treats me with respect, is faithful, includes me in things etc (which he does) and therefore i have no right to feel this way. After a few days of silence we had a discussion on Friday in which he stated that he was fed up with my criticism and nagging, and was done with the marriage and we should think to start parting ways. I said to him that I love him and want to work things out. Towards the end of the discussion he said he will not give an answer about whether we will separate or not at that time. He asked for space for a while to think, which I am giving him. This is difficult to do under the same roof, as you might imagine, but I have been leaving him alone. This time has been very similar to our "silence" periods and it is hurting me so much. I am feeling so helpless and unloved. I have been spending time with friends alone, and constantly breaking down crying. I am not sure what to do with myself, both now or when/if he comes around. I am afraid that when we do speak about it again the hurt that I have been feeling over the past few days will take over. I am also afraid that if I tell him this when we speak, he will angrily dismiss my feelings.
Do you have any advice for me in the here and now?
Thank you so much for reading Posted via Mobile Device
This was often motivated by fear and the desire to prevent anyone from having the power to make me feel as helpless as my parents did.
Been there done that.
And the irony is your husband DOES have power over you. Whether you realize it or not you handed it over to him on a silver platter. And you are absolutely behaving helpless. Read up on learned helplessness while you're at it.
My advice in the here and now is to quit focusing on your husband. Oh on the surface it appears as if he's the cause of all your problems but I assure you he's not. He's merely a symptom of a much larger problem.
You need to heal yourself, learn to be happy by yourself, and detach from him emotionally. I know I know easier said than done but hear me out. The more you focus on him the less you will be able to fix what's wrong. You will stay helpless and you aren't really. It's a false belief. You are so very powerful more powerful than you know. You just need to claim it.
The process of detaching is quite painful as you've identified yourself too much in terms of him. You struggle being alone. And yet the very thing you fear is the very thing that will bring you peace. You just have to stay with it until you get in touch with the real you that is there.
Its hard. I've been married 20 years and sometimes I fall into that trap of making my happiness reside in him. It's so not true though. My happiness is IN me not in any outside person, thing or circumstance. My marriage almost failed because I was too needy. I couldn't be alone and I sure thought I couldn't be happy without him. So not true. Ironically the happier I am without him the happier I am WITH him. Make sense?
Thank you very much Mavash.
I appreciate the "matter-of-fact-ness" in your response, especially "Oh on the surface it appears as if he's the cause of all your problems but I assure you he's not. He's merely a symptom of a much larger problem. " Lately I have been pining over the thought of leaving him (before this recent outburst we are currently in) because of all the conflicting ideals that we have about lifestyle. Through these musings I have concluded that many of my issues with our relationship stem from my self-diagnosed depression, which is why I chose to post in the depression category here.
Although logically it makes sense for me to focus on self-healing and not on my husband, as you say, I do love him very much and want to save my marriage. He has a good heart and brings a lot of joy to my life. In your 20 years of experience, I imagine that your focus had to also be somewhat on your marriage specifically, and not just your personal self-healing in low times. Would you agree, and/or do you have any thoughts on this? Posted via Mobile Device
Do you have a good therapist? How are you managing your depression? Just meds or a combination of things? Do you keep a journal? Do you have hobbies that make you feel nourished and stimulated rather than depleted?
Your work sounds demanding and exacting, but in much of your initial post, there is competitive comparison going on. I wonder if you are feeling some kind of death or lack of nourishment (emotionally, spiritually, whatnot) and are micromanaging these other things because you're feeling a scarcity of emotional resource rather than a surplus. You're resenting his happiness because you're not happy. That's no good. You need something that makes you feel re-charged so that you don't take this loneliness and emptiness out on your marriage. Whatever that something is should not be another person.
I just love this quote that was in Bianca’s post. It fits so well with what I often use as a starting point for problem solving.
"I'm a lover of what is, not because I'm a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality."
- Bryon Katie
Accept what is. Accept exactly where you are in your life at this moment. Yes I know that where you are is not a good place to be. But to do battle with yourself and the world around you will create more pain.
Accepting the way things are has at its core a real contradiction.
1. We are all very ordinary people living an ordinary life.
2. You are an amazing human being living in an extraordinary world.
3. You just take a mental step back to recognise it and accept the fact.
That is the place to start from. If you find accepting difficult then just allow yourself to be aware of the reality and later to acknowledge it and the true acceptance will come in time.
The other problem with most relationships is that we all bring our own baggage into them. Added to this is our learned way of thinking. We tend to expect our partner to think and operate just like we do and then find it hard to come to terms with the fact that they do not.
This takes us to another acceptance. Simply accept that the other person runs their mind in a different way to your self. Partners do not think like us and probably never will.
Take a mental step back from your partner and see him for the person he is. Accepting his true nature and his wonderfulness.
I have also found that it is difficult to love other people fully until we truly accept and then fully appreciate the person we are. What I have seen happening is that we tend to look for reflections of our self in partners. We never find a full reflection only a similar humanity. We try to find a similar being to our self in partners but of course they are unique. Then we want to change them to fit us better. It may work over time as relationships develop but not in the short term and not in painful pressured situations.
The final acceptance is accepting that courtship is different to a full partnership / marriage. I know of some situations where individuals seem to change once this courtship period is over and the partnership is made official.
Remember in each relationship we bring all our Values and Beliefs and these are very deep seated. They can shift but fundamentally stay with us for life. The closer we become to another person the more we see and experience their true nature.
To your depression. I personally work with NLP Neuro Linguistic Programming and can recommend that as an approach. CBT or Cognitive Behaviour Therapy also has a good record. The key here is looking around to find someone who you know by reputation or by talking to the coach or therapist.
I am sure that there are people in your area who will be able to help you. Look around carefully and ask questions. Then expect to work hard there are few easy rides but changes can be made.