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I can't seem to help my wife any longer

S

sunnydays76

New member
Joined
Jun 1, 2021
Messages
3
Location
London
Hello,

My wife and I met 20 years ago, whilst we were in our 20's. She was very secretive about her history of anxiety and depression, which often manifested as anger and selfishness. It took about 10 years to work out why things were always strained. Up until that point, I just thought she was negative and tired a lot.

Once she began to open up a little, things made sense. What followed were many years of being as supportive as possible, discovering when to offer help, when to step away.

However, I'm writing today because over the past year or so, she's slowly become more and more distant. It's really difficult to put into words, but essentially I see a wife now who I don't recognise.

Her facial expressions seem to have gone, she is almost lifeless behind the eyes. She has a few minutes each morning of seeming like normal but as the day progresses, she becomes increasingly jittery, flies around the house, crashes on the sofa.... she has nothing to say and when I ask if she's ok, she denies feeling bad at all. Many, many things make her angry, such as asking if she's ok, asking her to talk to me, tell me how she's feeling.

It's horrible to watch this unfolding in front of me. I only wish I could describe it better. But here's something I noticed around a year ago instead. I was at a theatre with her. During the interval, I turned to her and in the foreground was her face, the background the faces of everyone else in the audience. They all seemed "alive" to me, while she seemed void of emotion.

Does any of this make any sense to anybody? I don't want her to have to live like this and I'm also starting to feel a bit sorry for myself also, because indeed, I have to live like it too. She refuses to communicate and so it doesn't feel like I'm left with many options to be able to see a brighter future for us.

Each year seems worse than the last.
 
2

2Much2Feel

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 24, 2021
Messages
1,223
Location
US
Hello,

My wife and I met 20 years ago, whilst we were in our 20's. She was very secretive about her history of anxiety and depression, which often manifested as anger and selfishness. It took about 10 years to work out why things were always strained. Up until that point, I just thought she was negative and tired a lot.

Once she began to open up a little, things made sense. What followed were many years of being as supportive as possible, discovering when to offer help, when to step away.

However, I'm writing today because over the past year or so, she's slowly become more and more distant. It's really difficult to put into words, but essentially I see a wife now who I don't recognise.

Her facial expressions seem to have gone, she is almost lifeless behind the eyes. She has a few minutes each morning of seeming like normal but as the day progresses, she becomes increasingly jittery, flies around the house, crashes on the sofa.... she has nothing to say and when I ask if she's ok, she denies feeling bad at all. Many, many things make her angry, such as asking if she's ok, asking her to talk to me, tell me how she's feeling.

It's horrible to watch this unfolding in front of me. I only wish I could describe it better. But here's something I noticed around a year ago instead. I was at a theatre with her. During the interval, I turned to her and in the foreground was her face, the background the faces of everyone else in the audience. They all seemed "alive" to me, while she seemed void of emotion.

Does any of this make any sense to anybody? I don't want her to have to live like this and I'm also starting to feel a bit sorry for myself also, because indeed, I have to live like it too. She refuses to communicate and so it doesn't feel like I'm left with many options to be able to see a brighter future for us.

Each year seems worse than the last.
Hey, @sunnydays76, welcome to the forum. I'm really sorry you're going through all of this. It sounds like she could really use some professional help. Do you think she'd be open to that? Even via a zoom session?

Also, for you, if you feel like you don't know how to communicate and stuff, look into the book Walking on Eggshells. It helped my husband a lot after we divorced, as I have strong emotions with BPD. But it can be applied for depression and anger, other conditions.

I hope you find it helpful on here and get some good advice. I think a lot of people can relate. Have you thought of getting any professional help for yourself to get through this? It's a lot.
 
S

sunnydays76

New member
Joined
Jun 1, 2021
Messages
3
Location
London
Well, she has seen 3 different psychiatrists over the years. All agreed, she had PTSD (heart op at a young age), extreme anxiety levels and depression and some disassociation.

Also, all three blamed her parents. Her mum is a very selfish woman and her dad is what she seems to be becoming... angry at the world and everyone is an idiot, etc. Also, they all told her that she needs to communicate more with me, to no avail. I have begged and pleaded for her to open up for around 5 years now.

I'll take a look at that book, thank you. It sounds a good starting point, because I think I've run out of ideas! Lately me I find myself saying "plleeeeeaase, just tell me what's on your mind" - stupidly I still think I can "fix" it and that she knows more than what she lets on. This probably isn't the case.
 
2

2Much2Feel

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 24, 2021
Messages
1,223
Location
US
Yes, it likely isn't the case that you can fix her, but you sound like you're a dedicated and loving husband who has stood by her through a lot. That is huge. I know it was tremendously hard on my ex, we were married 20 years, and yeah, he took on a lot thinking he could fix me, to the point of losing everything we had he tried. But you can only do so much, and if you do all you can, try to give yourself a break, you aren't a professional, and even they have a hell of a time.

I really hope you can find a therapist for you to talk to and get some good advice on how to get through to her or at least support. You'll find support on here as well. Really hope for the best for both of you. Marriage w MH issues is not easy.
 
S

sunnydays76

New member
Joined
Jun 1, 2021
Messages
3
Location
London
I wouldn't mind asking you a question if you don't mind. Thank your for your replies. :)

Did you feel a sense of relief after you split?

I often wonder if I am nothing more than a hinderance these days and that actually, if she was on her own, she wouldn't need to be letting me down (her words). She sees the way she is as being a disappointment, constantly wanting my approval and always thinking I'm going to think or act in certain ways that are the complete opposite of how I actually tick. If I wasn't around, she wouldn't have anyone to answer to!
 
TooMuchPain

TooMuchPain

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I’m sorry this is happening to you. And to your wife. I really hope you can both go to therapy for private and together sessions. If she has tuned you out. You gotta find someone else to communicate the message. The best answer is a therapist. To help both of you.
 
TooMuchPain

TooMuchPain

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Feb 6, 2019
Messages
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\_(ツ)_/
I wouldn't mind asking you a question if you don't mind. Thank your for your replies. :)

Did you feel a sense of relief after you split?

I often wonder if I am nothing more than a hinderance these days and that actually, if she was on her own, she wouldn't need to be letting me down (her words). She sees the way she is as being a disappointment, constantly wanting my approval and always thinking I'm going to think or act in certain ways that are the complete opposite of how I actually tick. If I wasn't around, she wouldn't have anyone to answer to!
My guess is that you both still love each other. She needs you. She just doesn’t know how to let that happen. I understand you are worn out. I really hope you find a way to make it work.
 
2

2Much2Feel

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 24, 2021
Messages
1,223
Location
US
I wouldn't mind asking you a question if you don't mind. Thank your for your replies. :)

Did you feel a sense of relief after you split?

I often wonder if I am nothing more than a hinderance these days and that actually, if she was on her own, she wouldn't need to be letting me down (her words). She sees the way she is as being a disappointment, constantly wanting my approval and always thinking I'm going to think or act in certain ways that are the complete opposite of how I actually tick. If I wasn't around, she wouldn't have anyone to answer to!
You know, for me it was one of the greatest reliefs of my life after trying to make it work for so long. I had no energy for it any longer, always trying to keep up with him, always feeling like I was failing and that he'd be better off w someone else. So yeah, I did. You can message me if you want to talk at all. It's a really frustrating and difficult position to be in.
 
2

2Much2Feel

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 24, 2021
Messages
1,223
Location
US
You know, for me it was one of the greatest reliefs of my life after trying to make it work for so long. I had no energy for it any longer, always trying to keep up with him, always feeling like I was failing and that he'd be better off w someone else. So yeah, I did. You can message me if you want to talk at all. It's a really frustrating and difficult position to be in.
I meant frustrating for you, but both of you. And yes, now that we've been apart for years, there are plenty of times I miss him and have great regret. But overall, I think it's a better arrangement for us. For you, it is likely still worth fighting for. If she gets the right help, it could still be something to salvage. Divorce is really hard, and it remains hard for a long time.
 
Signofthetimes

Signofthetimes

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Mar 1, 2021
Messages
2,480
Location
California
I wouldn't mind asking you a question if you don't mind. Thank your for your replies. :)

Did you feel a sense of relief after you split?

I often wonder if I am nothing more than a hinderance these days and that actually, if she was on her own, she wouldn't need to be letting me down (her words). She sees the way she is as being a disappointment, constantly wanting my approval and always thinking I'm going to think or act in certain ways that are the complete opposite of how I actually tick. If I wasn't around, she wouldn't have anyone to answer to!
Hi Sunnydays 76,
I know this question was asked to someone else and I am not answering for what you or your wife may feel is the answer. It sounds like you are both having an extremely difficult time. It is a very sensitive and personal choice.

I will always love my husband. He has said the same to me. I want happiness and joy for him. I don't want to take joy from him. He told me that he understands and knows me. There are things that when he first experienced, shocked him, but once he knew he knew and he loves me unconditionally- his words. We had this talk just a few days ago. I had a need to share everything wrong with me. He already knew. I felt a little confused and even reexplained things. He knew and said I love you. I want him around. I don't want to cause him hurt. I feel so much gratitude that he want me too.
 
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