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TOPIC TITLE: Spouse who can't cope
Created On 7/15/15 12:11 PM
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whatheheck
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7/15/15 12:11 PM
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I am diagnosed with mild depression and with meds it is under control most of the time. Once in a while I have a down, normally triggered by an event, and a lot of my issues are marriage related. My wife is the type who has no patience for mental weakness/illness, and sometimes has not only no interest in discussing these topics but shows how little respect she has for me when I get these feelings (I'm a guy - according to Dr. John Gray we need our wives to respect us ).
We have been to counselling but since we have been doing better, she doesn't want to go back, and I also don't have much appeal for it.
I find it very hard to be unable to discuss with her the things that she does that triggers these events because it makes me feel like our relationship isn't real and on the other hand if I try to discuss it with her, it just makes her look down on me, so I'm stuck in a painful situation.
Any advice?
 
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keep climbing
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7/15/15 4:47 PM
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Welcome!
May I ask how long you are married? Are you sure she feels this way? Maybe you are imagining it. There's so much more to you than the depression and she can respect you for that.
 
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whatheheck
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7/15/15 4:54 PM
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Married 14 years. Thanks for the support but I know I'm not imagining it because she has specifically said this. She said she does have respect for me when I am acting "normal" but she finds it hard when I show this weakness.
 
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wishtobehappy
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7/16/15 10:48 AM
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Welcome, whattheheck. Your situation sounds painful. I'm no expert on marriage issues, but maybe you could confide your feelings to a close friend, mentor, professional etc. instead of your wife. Having a healthy outlet for painful emotions can be enough to fill your need for validation, and you won't need to share them with your wife if she can't cope with it. From my experience, spouses don't have to know and understand every detail about each other, as long as there's mutual respect and trust, the marriage can thrive.
 
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whatheheck
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7/16/15 11:32 AM
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Hi wishtobehappy,

Thank you for your support as well.
I don't want to sound difficult or argumentative but this is also something I am already aware of, and I would try not to share these types of emotions with her, except that sometimes the downs are caused by things that she does or says.

I am generally speaking keeping it together but most of my issues are connected to our relationship, so I wish I could have her be aware of what she is doing/saying that triggers negative feelings, and have her sympathize to the extent that she is OK with not doing/saying those things without feeling burdened by my issues.

Don't get me wrong, most of the time we have a good relationship, and she is never verbally abusive or deliberately triggers a down. I believe either she is totally unaware, or subconsciously she feels that I shouldn't be bothered by it. I don't think she would consciously decide to upset me.

It's OK if no-one here has a solution for me, I'm just venting to get it out of my system.
I'm trying to internalize that this particular lack of empathy doesn't mean we don't have a good relationship as long as I act normal.

When you get married, you know in the back of your head that people get sick (hopefully later in life) with sicknesses that can be long term, painful, costly and will take over your lives in a very stressful way, and you pledge to be there for your partner if G-d forbid it happens. You don't expect mental illness to show up when there was no sign of it prior to the marriage. So this is something that's hard for her to deal with.
Does it make sense to say she loves me but because she has a hard time dealing with other people's emotional weaknesses it's just not enough to enable her to still look at me with respect when I display weakness?
Acceptance - still working on it.
 
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MoMo
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7/16/15 5:27 PM
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Sounds like a hard situation!
When you say display weakness what do you mean? What are you displaying?
 
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whatheheck
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7/16/15 5:46 PM
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I mean being down for a reason that is not rational / normal, and either discussing it or just not covering it up enough so that it's noticeable.

It can be hard, but compared to some of the posts I've been reading here I have it easy.
 
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MoMo
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7/16/15 6:32 PM
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Can you give an example?
 
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whatheheck
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7/17/15 12:02 AM
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Sorry I would feel uncomfortable getting too personal for a public form.
 
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MoMo
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7/17/15 1:18 AM
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Ok sure I understand

I had a hard time offering feedback without understating the background I was trying to help...
 
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whatheheck
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7/17/15 9:54 AM
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I know and I really appreciate it that you're trying to offer me even more than than the sympathy that is so precious on this forum. I hope I didn't offend you. I will try to give an example that is not real in any way but just to give you an idea.
Let's say for example it would bother me if my wife would spend an hour on FaceBook every evening because it makes me feel neglected that she could do that during the day when I'm at work not in the evening when I am home, however it's only 1 hour and we do still spend time together. So if this makes me down, it's a reaction that is based on a valid feeling but the reaction is out of proportion and therefore it's a display of emotional weakness if I try to discuss it with her.
Just to reiterate this is not an issue at all, it's just a good parable of what I am referring to.

I know my reaction is unreasonable, but my emotions are still real and painful, so I would like to at least let her be aware of my feelings because otherwise she has no idea that what she is doing is causing me pain. However I can't discuss it because just starting the conversation really upsets her and she tunes out with an expression of disdain.

Another paraphrased quote from John Gray - men like to fix things, women want sympathy, so I understand that you are trying to help by providing a solution, and I appreciate it. BTW, it's just a coincidence that I have quoted John Gray twice in this thread, I speed-read most of the book once but I don't live and die by it.
 
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MoMo
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7/19/15 4:25 AM
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Are you in individual therapy? The right therapist might really be able to help tremendously. If you're in the tri state area I know someone who would be a great fit for you
 
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mouse
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7/19/15 8:55 AM
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I'm not sure where to begin on this thread. I guess I was alienated when Dr. John Gray was quoted as men need wives to respect them. Respect goes both ways. Don't think for a second a woman doesn't want to be respected. Then later you quoted with another negative disparaging (in my eyes) remark that men want to fix things and women want sympathy. These are gross generalizations that demean women. To me that is like saying a woman is stagnant emotionally while the man can get up and "fix" his problems. Fumes at this point are nearly exiting my ears and no, they aren't the kind from my mind being blown. Perhaps communication is at the root of the problem -- I don't know but just toss the book by Gray and get live advice from someone who respects women. I am writing this in hopes I don't regret it later.


-------------------------

All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again.
 
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TBear
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7/19/15 10:13 AM
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OK - First of all welcome to the forum. It takes courage to come on and look for help and support!

Secondly, I do have to agree with Mouse that it seems there are many generalizations and expectations going on here that aren't rooted in the here and now, give and take of a real relationship but what "should" be. Throw out the expectations for they are many times a root of bitterness - when expectations go unmet or unrealized.

So to start with, I am a firm believer that we are all responsible for our own happiness and feelings - no one else is. (this may get me irate answers) Let me clarify - Of course no one should treat another with abuse or disrespect - and feelings need to be validated with care. That being said you are only responsible for your reactions and responses - your feelings. Not hers. She is responsible for her words and actions and her feelings. You both need to communicate with each other and validate the other with respect - listen carefully to the needs of the other and realize that you must be the source of your own happiness . If someone acts in a way that is disrespectful - or that I perceive as disrespectful - it is my choice to either tell them (carefully using I statements - I feel bad when.... I really miss being close and spending time talking with you) Then it is up to that person to respond - no longer in my control, but I have maintained my self respect by voicing my feelings. This gives an opening to the other - and remember their response is not in your control and you may get a response you don't "expect". That is where listening comes in handy.

I agree that having a neutral party to help you through this time is valuable - be it a counselor or Rabbi -

Good Luck!
 
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mouse
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7/19/15 2:10 PM
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Thanks Tbear....you said it bbetter than me .


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All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again.
 
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whatheheck
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7/19/15 3:37 PM
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Thanks everyone for you replies.

MoMo - please PM me with your recommendation, and I would also like to know what makes you think they are a good match.

Mouse - I am sorry if I offended you, it was not deliberate. We have been to couples therapy for a while so I have already taken your advice. I don't assume everything Gray says is true for everyone or even for anyone in every situation, but there are some truths in his book. If millions of people have been helped by it, that's hard to argue with. In any event, to me this is just a distraction as those comments were sidelines to the main topic.

TBear - I hear you and I'm working on not letting my happiness be controlled by someone else, but that's not something I find easy bc part of me still thinks that when it comes to a spouse it should be that way.
 
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