Husband with anxiety has suddenly he wants to leave me

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Sara83

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#1
Hi,

I am wondering if someone can help me. My husband has out of the blue come out and said he wants to end our marriage. Until recently we have realised that he needed to talk to someone professionally because he has had issues with anxiety for some time which I felt was affecting our marriage in many ways. He did attend therapy but I feel that has made things worse. He stopped it after 6 weeks because he felt it wasn’t helping. I would have thought by encouraging him to get therapy for his issues would somewhat help our marriage but in fact its hasn’t. It actually has given him more to say. He often comes home after therapy very grumpy not in a good mood at all. But looking back maybe because therapy didn’t help. I tried recommending going to another therapist but he doesn’t want too.

I also feel he is always testing me all the time to see whether I want to fight for our marriage. He wants to leave me but hasn’t started divorce proceedings which means I always feel like i’m in limbo. He tried to submit divorce application online last night but not sure if he completed it in the end.

We also have a 4 year old son who was diagnosed with Autism last year which I know both of us have found overwhelming. The fact he wants to turn his back on the both of us breaks my heart. Not sure what I can do. I have suggested marriage counselling but he isn’t open to that at all.

Is there someone who can help me with what I can do to give my husband support to show i’m there. Or at least try to understand anxiety.
He keeps pushing me away and being quite cruel. There is only so much I can take. I really don’t want our marriage to end :(
 
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NorasDad

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#2
"Relationship OCD" is really common with us anxiety sufferers.

Suddenly all you see are your partner's flaws and you convince yourself that if you could end this relationship, everything would be fine.

This is very typical thinking in anxiety. Anxiety often kind of "pushes out" into OCD, phobias, sometimes rage. Your husband needs to get control of himself right away. We know this because he's hurting the mother of his child entirely unnecessarily.

Clearly you're commited. Clearly you've both gotten into lifelong commitments that you CHOSE. Clearly you have a moral obligation to one another. If your husband has the capacity to be a good person (and let's assume he does) that he will see he is not acting morally.

I would not discuss your plans vis-a-vis the marriage under any circumstances. You've heard what he said. That's all the response his machinations deserve.

If he goes back to therapy (and, boy, is he a fool if he doesn't), then I would ask him to try CBT therapy first. It's very much about practical steps. I would get into couples' counselling immediately. Sign up for it on your own, get a caretaker for the baby, on your own and present it to him as a fait accompli on the day you are going. All you have to do is make sure his schedule is free so he doesn't have an excuse.

Your commitment to the marriage is not at issue here.
 
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Sara83

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#3
Thanks for your advice. I desparately want to make it work not just for us but for our little boy who is already noticed things aren’t ok between mummy and daddy.

The thing about making an appointment for marriage counselling he could easily turn around and say no he isn’t going. How can I make him go? I don’t want to force him to go into something he isn’t comfortable doing but nor do I want to just let him carry on the way he is.
 
mlj6019

mlj6019

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#4
This must be heartbreaking for you. I feel your pain and I’m sure sense of betrayal. I can see you love your husband very much and it seems you have been a great support for him. @NorasDad has a great reply of support. If he isn’t willing I would seek the therapy for myself anyway. Best of luck to you.
 
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NorasDad

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#5
Thanks for your advice. I desparately want to make it work not just for us but for our little boy who is already noticed things aren’t ok between mummy and daddy.

The thing about making an appointment for marriage counselling he could easily turn around and say no he isn’t going. How can I make him go? I don’t want to force him to go into something he isn’t comfortable doing but nor do I want to just let him carry on the way he is.
Hi Again,

I've gone through this very problem.

You can't make him go.

But accepting that is an important step in accepting his limitations. You don't want it to be true because you're afraid for the results for your little boy (as I was for my Nora). But, people have limits and sometimes their limits are the result of trauma, mental illness or just bad attitudes.

All you can do is go yourself and tell the therapist the reason that there's an empty chair. Therapists deal with that all the time. He'll most probably go. Actually it will give you an important opportunity to get some expert opinion on what his behavior likely indicates.

There's no reason for you not to make that appointment and every reason for you to do it.

Meanwhile, make sure you take stock of your thoughts and look to see if there are unhealthy ones happening that have come from trauma. The therapist can really help with that.
 
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pollypocket88

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#6
Hey there

I suffer with bad anxiety and ocd . I love my partner and he is very amazing and understanding of my anxiety I know my night panic attacks and not sleeping has kept him awake at night and all he does is supports me and is there for me 24/7 I do fell bad at times like Im holding him back and I feel like at times I wanna push him away and I can get stressy with him but its not me its just the anixety telling me that he deserves better than me than having be there for me but he assures me that he loves me and im no bother to him.

Sounds like your a nice lady trying your best to be there for him and show your support which is amazing.
 
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Sara83

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#7
Hi all,

Thanks for you all getting back to me. I very much appreciate it.

I will try to get him to marriage certificate counselling. I just know he won’t turn up.
Even when I try to show him support he just throws it back at my face.

The other day I wrote little messages of support on little pieces of post-it notes. Cheesy I know. 🙈 I strategically placed them in his draws. He comes home finds them all and makes a point of tearing them up in front of me. There is only so much more I can take. I’m trying ever so hard, try to be present but at the same time giving him the space he needs. I am even considering separation. But I’m so conflicted and confused. Just feel so lost and alone.
 
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NorasDad

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#8
Hi all,

Thanks for you all getting back to me. I very much appreciate it.

I will try to get him to marriage certificate counselling. I just know he won’t turn up.
Even when I try to show him support he just throws it back at my face.

The other day I wrote little messages of support on little pieces of post-it notes. Cheesy I know. 🙈 I strategically placed them in his draws. He comes home finds them all and makes a point of tearing them up in front of me. There is only so much more I can take. I’m trying ever so hard, try to be present but at the same time giving him the space he needs. I am even considering separation. But I’m so conflicted and confused. Just feel so lost and alone.

It's a terrible shame that he's trying to make himself feel better by being insulting like that. It sounds like the problem now is that he's in a state where everything that you do somehow re-justifies his anger. My very strong advice to you is to disengage as completely as you can. He doesn't have the answer to your pain right now because his pain is all he's thinking about. If you can arrange to have a vacation with your son, really do it. Discuss things as little as possible. Communicate by text and email. Arrange as many play dates as you can. Spend time with friends and family.

Don't worry if he doesn't go to counselling. That is part of the process right now. He has to see how outrageous he's being and that will only come from changes in life, not your words, sadly.

[Obviously this is all my personal opinion, intended as support.]
 
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Sara83

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#9
Thanks but my question how much time should I give him? He just not the person I married anymore. As much as I want to give him the support and be there for him how much rejection can I take. I’m so close to going through a separation.
 
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RoJo

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#10
Hey I know this is really hard but please hang in there with him. Anxiety can cause a person to do a lot of things that don't make sense. He's defiantly not himself, I don't think a divorce is what he really wants. I would say keep supporting and showing him you love him and care about him. Once he gets this more figured out he'll probably be so upset he even suggested leaving you, hang in there.
 
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Sara83

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#11
Thanks for replying Rojo I’m trying ever so hard. But this isn’t fair on my son. It’s awful living with him when he is like this. This weekend I took my son to my mums. I’m going back tonight. He has not once contacted me to ask about our son.
 
claude

claude

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#12
From reading through this thread, I am really unclear on what it is you are getting out of this relationship Sara83? Your husband has someone who is attempting to support him emotionally and is treating him with unbelievable levels of patience despite his cruel behaviour (who would stand there and rip up kind notes as a performance to the person who wrote them?? Thats so aggressive, I don't see how it can be put down to anxiety)

I'm not sure his behaviour here has anything to do with anxiety diagnosis, and even if it does I'm not convinced you should just suffer through it. I think you should focus on your own emotional needs and the needs of your son right now. No matter what your husband is suffering, it is not ok for him to be so aggressive and cruel. Many people would have kicked him out of the house for far less and tbh I wouldn't blame them.

I hope you are getting good support from your mum? And that you have more support around you. Are you able to go see a counsellor to talk all this through for yourself? Have you discussed it with any friends?

I wish you luck and happier days round the corner
 
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NorasDad

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#13
Thanks but my question how much time should I give him? He just not the person I married anymore. As much as I want to give him the support and be there for him how much rejection can I take. I’m so close to going through a separation.
In terms of time, my feeling is that you have a son together so you're going to "give" him the rest of your life in that sense. My point is that this is clearly an essential transition in an ongoing relationship. Right now - right now - you need to reduce the direct role you have in each other's lives and concentrate on your son. Reduce the possibilities for conflict and try to foster POSITIVE communication. Make it clear he's not to speak to you disrespectfully. Again, do it in writing.

My personal opinion (well, this is ALL my personal opinion) that you not make decisions, not make deadlines, not try to solve the problem per se. Just distancing yourself from it and recovering will be enough work for now.

Couples' counseling (whether he goes or not) will help you discover the path that's best for you in terms of time.

What I'm trying to emphasize is that looking to the other person for answers is not productive, particularly if the other person is suffering from mental illness.
 
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NorasDad

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#14
I just also want to say good luck and I couldn't sympathize more. I'm going through the same kind of thing right now.
 
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Sara83

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#15
I just also want to say good luck and I couldn't sympathize more. I'm going through the same kind of thing right now.
Thanks, I’m trying to keep my distance. He came back late from work tonight. I messsged him asking where he was he just replied with ‘why do you care’. I got some good news regarding a job I had been interviewed for but clearly tonight wasn’t the night to tell him this. Trust me i’m trying to be positive but I’m so scared to even communicate to him in case he bites back at me. 😢

My mum wants me to walk away and leave him because I can’t keep living like this. He needs to get help for us too work I can’t deal with his mood swings anymore.
 
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NorasDad

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#16
Thanks, I’m trying to keep my distance. He came back late from work tonight. I messsged him asking where he was he just replied with ‘why do you care’. I got some good news regarding a job I had been interviewed for but clearly tonight wasn’t the night to tell him this. Trust me i’m trying to be positive but I’m so scared to even communicate to him in case he bites back at me. 😢

My mum wants me to walk away and leave him because I can’t keep living like this. He needs to get help for us too work I can’t deal with his mood swings anymore.

It's unbelievable tough - the shaming, the rudeness, etc.. You are doing a great job staying positive, actually.

I think it's one of these things where the short-term is too tough to think about, so concentrate on a brighter, if uncertain, future. You can be sure about your boy. It sounds like your family is a good emotional resource, too.

Do what you can to just live life tonight.

That's what I'm going to try to do.

Good luck to us.

:)
 
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Sara83

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#17
It's unbelievable tough - the shaming, the rudeness, etc.. You are doing a great job staying positive, actually.

I think it's one of these things where the short-term is too tough to think about, so concentrate on a brighter, if uncertain, future. You can be sure about your boy. It sounds like your family is a good emotional resource, too.

Do what you can to just live life tonight.

That's what I'm going to try to do.

Good luck to us.

:)
How long have you had to deal with this with your partner? How have you managed?

My husband has just left for work so will see what mood he is in tonight.
 
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NorasDad

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#18
How long have you had to deal with this with your partner? How have you managed?

My husband has just left for work so will see what mood he is in tonight.
My partner is more angry/depressed but it hasn't been easy at all. She also has no family history of communication. I mean they NEVER talk about anything. So, that's driven me totally nuts.

I think that the best thing I can tell you is that mental illness is "contagious" in a way. It's very important for you to keep your boat upright.

I've had terrible anxiety for years. Would you like to talk about what your husband's anxieties are? I may be able to give you some insight.
 
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Sara83

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#19
My partner is more angry/depressed but it hasn't been easy at all. She also has no family history of communication. I mean they NEVER talk about anything. So, that's driven me totally nuts.

I think that the best thing I can tell you is that mental illness is "contagious" in a way. It's very important for you to keep your boat upright.

I've had terrible anxiety for years. Would you like to talk about what your husband's anxieties are? I may be able to give you some insight.
Wow that must drive you mad when your partner doesn’t communicate. I really don’t know how you have managed. How many years have you been with your partner? Is she on medication?

Oh yeah it’s definitely getting me down.

Well my husband doesn’t like to go out last minute so for example if I were to say let’s take our son to the local park he wouldn’t like it. He gets very snappy and irritable and would rather play his computer games. Yes his computer games , he enjoys playing PC games. He does eventually come when he sees us getting ready but he likes to come home after 20 minutes. When I say come on we just got here he doesn’t like it. At the time it never made sense I just thought he just never liked to spend time with me or our son as a family. Now I know it’s anxiety. All these small things make sense. He now says that I have been controlling because I would make him go out or tell him what to do. When that’s not the case at all.

He just had a go at me for misplacing one of his items of clothing. He just ordered food from outside I said there is food in the fridge. He replied with don’t tell me what to do I will eat what I want.
This is emotionally draining. 😢
 
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NorasDad

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#20
Wow that must drive you mad when your partner doesn’t communicate. I really don’t know how you have managed. How many years have you been with your partner? Is she on medication?

Oh yeah it’s definitely getting me down.

Well my husband doesn’t like to go out last minute so for example if I were to say let’s take our son to the local park he wouldn’t like it. He gets very snappy and irritable and would rather play his computer games. Yes his computer games , he enjoys playing PC games. He does eventually come when he sees us getting ready but he likes to come home after 20 minutes. When I say come on we just got here he doesn’t like it. At the time it never made sense I just thought he just never liked to spend time with me or our son as a family. Now I know it’s anxiety. All these small things make sense. He now says that I have been controlling because I would make him go out or tell him what to do. When that’s not the case at all.

He just had a go at me for misplacing one of his items of clothing. He just ordered food from outside I said there is food in the fridge. He replied with don’t tell me what to do I will eat what I want.
This is emotionally draining. 😢

Ah, I know this well.

First, I'm assuming that you are right and that his problem is anxiety and not something else. I don't have any reason whatsoever to disbelieve you. I just want to say that before I hold forth as if I have all the answers to your problem. You know? What if I've got it all wrong?

Anyway, computer games might as well be nicotine or opioids to the anxious person. They quickly become a compulsion.

What he's doing is called "barricading". He's constantly putting things in the way of relating to other people so he can retreat to a place that doesn't make him feel guilt or anxiety.

Anger is another drug. For the anxious man, it can become another addiction. Violent video games, angry Internet disputes, having a go at your wife whenever your sense of order is disturbed or your retreat space is invaded - these all build on each other.

Part of the reason you really will benefit from couples' counselling whether he goes or not is that you have to learn the language with which to communicate to the person whose anxiety (and therefore behavior) is out of control.

In his mind, nobody understands how bad he feels. Nobody gets it. Nobody understands how his wife and child make his life unlivable. Nobody will leave him alone and let him have the peace he needs more than anything.

It's all a nonsense, sadly. That's the worst part about anxiety: when you analyze the problem with a clear head and see yourself as others see you, all the issues that were so dramatically important just crumble and you're left with just yourself. It's a very hard place to climb down from.

A relationship counsellor will explain to you the constructive boundaries you have to set and the ways to talk about his behavior without playing right back into the pathology. It's a bit like learning a foreign language.