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Carer looking for some support and guidance

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strugglingcarer16

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Hi everyone. Apologies in advance for the long post!

My husband has some fairly severe mental health issues (mainly centred around depression and PTSD from sexual trauma). Many of these issues stem from years before I met him but they have been coming up more and more in recent years. This past year in particular has been bad. He has been in crisis three times which is the worst he has ever been.

His main trigger at the moment is one of my family members. An older aunt has become one of our neighbours and she just seems to always set him off. He has a lot of triggers and I have to be very careful what I say around him or what programmes we have on TV. But she obviously doesn't know about any of this, as he is incredibly private about this, so she always seems to say the wrong thing around him.

It has got to the point where he refuses to have anything to do with her. She knows that something is up but he has told me I am not to say anything to her. It has put me in a really terrible position, because I encouraged her to move here in the first place last year. My husband was supportive because he knew it was important to me, and he has since said he didn't think he would find it so hard. I feel torn between the two: my aunt is in her 70s and doesn't have great mobility, she doesn't know anyone else here and the social side of things was a major factor in moving house, but I need to support my husband even if I don't agree with his opinion of her. She has become this twisted, nasty figure in his mind and I don't believe she is like that. She just doesn't think before she speaks and a lot of what she comes out with, he takes offence to.

I have finally managed to persuade him to seek help from the mental health service, as before he would never talk to anyone. He has convinced himself that this is his natural state and nothing can be done about it, that he's too broken to fix. But we're waiting to hear back from them. It could take weeks.

I just don't know what to do. My husband's method of coping is to bottle everything up and pretend like it's all fine. He has been doing it for years. He will go through times where he needs to talk and he will spend hours going over old stuff, things from years ago, things people have said to him, that he goes over and over. I feel so useless as I am not a trained therapist. I don't know what the right thing to say to him is. It's now starting to take its toll on me and our son (who is a teenager) is picking up on a lot of it as well.

I know there's a lot here but any advice would be greatly appreciated!
 
calypso

calypso

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:welcome: to the forum. You are in a terrible position aren't you? Would your husband consider therapy of any kind to help him through with his issues? He needs to sort this out for his sake as well as yours. What happens if you gently challenge him and say that you are going to talk with your aunt? He can't go on like this can he? I would suggest you write out what is happening in bullet points or headings (not too long) and try to get him to a doctor and say all this. Or go to a GP yourself about it. I worry that your mental health might suffer too.
 
Bod

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Welcome to the forum, I can relate to your husband and I do think if he can then he should try and see a therapist as it helped me many years ago as it sounds as if he is struggling with and triggers.
 
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strugglingcarer16

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I really do think it would help him to talk things through with a therapist and understand why he feels the way he does. He does not believe it will make any difference and does not want to discuss his problems with a complete stranger. It's hard to find a balance between pushing him to see someone and pushing too hard. I don't want to make things worse for him at a time when he's already struggling.
 
Bod

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I do hope he does see a therapist, as with me it was a case of I had to to stay alive all my sexual abuse and rape was destroying me and I was so glad and very grateful to get the help I needed.
I agree that you can't really push him as he will just fight back and not listen at all, but I do wish him and you all the best in his journey to recovery.
 
SoftRain

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This might not be good advice. I would talk to the aunt in private and tell her the situation but thats just me.
 
OCDguy

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Normally talking about past issues helps unless all they are doing is manifesting anger, or no closure gained. Closure is important as it helps to leave go of the past and helps restore a healthy mind-set (no easy task if someone has been a victim). In the case of anger, someone needs to see past the anger because until they do they are just holding onto resentment, and that resentment is what is blocking them from making progress (again no easy task if someone has been a victim). This probably doesn't help you though and to tell him this will probably just make matters worse. Hard to say it but he probably needs to change his approach (bottling things up doesn't seem to have helped him down the years), but he possibly needs to do that himself. If he is under the Doctor etc. I think if it were me I would work with them and keep them in the loop as to how you are feeling together with everything that is happening. Hope this helps. :)
 
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strugglingcarer16

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I think this lack of closure is really holding him back. He can't move past anything that has ever happened to him, every negative experience, anything someone has said to him or in his hearing. It all just reinforces the negative thoughts he's having and makes them worse. And it means that any small thing gets blown out of proportion because it's backed up by all this other stuff.

I have spoken privately to my aunt and asked her to give him some space. It's tough because she doesn't think she did anything wrong. She doesn't seem to have any boundaries which is difficult to deal with, particularly because my husband has nothing BUT boundaries! I will try to be a buffer and keep both sides happy.
 
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