Blurred lines of depression and mental health conditions

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
Emma, the only alternative to leaving him is this:

Print out that post you just wrote and hand it to him. Tell him that's how you see him.

Tell him he MUST get counselling or you leave.

Tell him he MUST pull his weight in the household (write a list of 'fair tasks') or you leave

Tell him he MUST do more child care (again, write a list and a rota), or you leave.

Tell him he has six months to get off his self-pitying backside and man up, or you leave.

Tell him you'll go to joint counselling with him, including marriage counselling, and if he doesn't agree, you'll leave.

Can you talk to his parents openly and honestly about the idiot he is? After all, they raised him, they are responsible for him.

'Not taking responsibility' seems to be his mantra. Not acceptable.

You may well love him, and he may well love you - but right now he is utterly unfit to be a husband or father. Or even a decent human being.

You said so many 'honest things' about how ungrateful etc etc mental illness (IF it is that, and I REALLY doubt it!), and that appalling sense of 'entitlement'. You can SEE what he is. But don't indulge it yourself.

The MOST important person in your life is your son. HE deserves a decent father. It isn't hopeless for your husband, and he CAN man up etc etc and learn to be a decent human being and a good dad, but if he won't (and it will be a question of 'will' or 'won't' not 'can' or 'can't'!), then to be honest, your son is better off without such a bad influence in his young life.

The kindest thing to say about your husband is that he is as he is because he is 'afraid he is useless'......but again, the only way to disprove that fear is to BE 'useful'. And that requires effort, and not self-pity.
One other rather sad thought. Have you considered that your husband might actually be happier if you DID leave him, taking your son with you?

He would then be free of his responsibilities, and he might cheer up!
Hi Emma,

I’ve been reading your posts but haven’t posted much due to feeling a little helpless myself, but if it helps at all I understand a lot of what you’re feeling and going through. It’s tough and you sound very caring and understanding x
Just to say I truly don't think the situation is 'unsalvageable' - far from it.

But the challenge for your husband is to learn how to belatedly 'grow up' - if he's never done that yet, and feels that adult responsibilities (from household chores to earning a living to sharing childcare, etc etc) are suddenly all bursting into hideous life all around him, I can understand why he wants to 'hide under the duvet'.

BUT, he cannot use his 'depression' as a permanent excuse for not pulling his weight.

It does sound like he's thinking 'Hmm, if I say I'm depressed, I can STILL get out of doing all the horrid stuff I don't want to have to face up to'......AND I can make everyone around me feel sympathetic to me and say 'oh, poor you, poor you!' And, even better, I can blame THEM if they tell me to man up and stop whingeing!'

I would give him six months, no longer than that, to show significant improvement in his behaviour and attitude.

But I would also, in your shoes, also plan for the worst - a permanent split, which will require thinking about the Big Questions of where you would live, how you would keep yourself, and who would look after your son while you are at work etc etc etc.

In many respects, sigh, you are ALREADY a 'single parent' as your hubby does pretty much SFA to contribute to the household whether in money or labour or childcare. In fact, YOU would probably find life easier on a daily basis if you shipped out! You wouldn't have hubby to fuss and fret over and 'mollycoddle'.....?????????

I am aware I'm painting a bleak picture and it MAY be grossly unfair to him. But if you reread your posts as if you were one of your own girlfriends hearing about their marriage, I suspect you might see it as bleak?

Can you name the GOOD things about your husband at the moment! He can't be a total waste of space, surely! (CAN he???)

Thanks for your replies. I am lucky in that my husband's parents are really supportive towards me in regards to the situation and I caught up with them on Friday as I needed them to know I wasn't sure what else to do or how much longer I can hold the fort in terms of plate spinning to get him back on the up whilst getting it in the neck if I try to talk about next steps etc. We agreed to get Christmas done along with his birthday which is NYE so only a week later. I believe we can keep it together in order to give my son the Christmas he deserves so that's what I'm working towards right now and trying to focus on.

Then if he hasn't started taking positive steps into the kind of therapies that will help him get better, then we'll instigate some sort of an intervention to help him make changes and that could result in me and my son moving into our own place or people accompanying him to make sure he goes to appointments but we all agreed if our family is to stay together he needs to decide if he wants to get well in order to step up or he might need to decide for now to go and get better but on his own.

One post asked would he be happier on his own and to be completely honest that is something I am really scared of finding out because I think he WILL be much happier as he will be able to come and go as he pleases, stay out, get up when he wants with nobody to nag him or call him out on drinking and (in his mind) see his son when it suited him.

Which is why I also think the best course of action even if it was just a short term thing is for me and my son to find our own place and him to find his own place. Another thing I'll look at in the new year.
Parting may be for the best - or, rather the 'least worst'........

It's a truly wretched situation. How to make someone 'grow up' when they have no intention of doing so, and feel aggrieved that anyone is presuming to expect them to!

You say his parents are supportive - but I wonder whether they have taken on board that, sadly, they had the raising of him. Has he got siblings by the way? If so, how did they turn out? Sometimes sibling interactions do not help a situation (I have a friend who is VERY responsible, and her younger sister is the opposite - thinks she is 'hard done by' endlessly and it is 'easy' for the elder sister who simply knuckles down and gets on with things she doesn't want to because they need to be done, etc etc etc).

Have you heard the term 'infantilise'? I'm wondering if that is what your husband's parents did to him in the first place?

It happened with my bro and SIL - they worried endlessly about their children, and ended up 'infantilising' them both. The son has (finally) 'grown up', but the daughter remains 'a child' (with depression) as nothing was ever 'expected' of her (because she was so fussed and fretted over all her life).

Have you had a frank talk with your inlaws about WHY they think their son is so reluctant to accept he is grown up now and has to shoulder his share of responsibility?

Do you have any analysis of what drew you to him in the first place - or he to you? Do you think you have picked up the role of letting him remain a 'kidult', bending over backwards to let him build his 'dream career' as you describe, not to mention all the 'indulgence' you've been offering him, tolerating his behaviour now???

It IS going to be hard for him to 'grow up', and he may never do it. People who refuse to take responsibility can persuade themselves endlessly that it is 'not their fault' etc etc.

Parting may be your only option, alas. That said, do everything you can in your power NOT to 'make it easy' for him.

Sadly, he will, at some point, 'lose' his son. Not while he's growing up (the son, not your husband, sigh) (unless he does finally!), because you will have to let your son have SOME 'remnants' of whatever he can of his (useless) father, for your SON'S sake. But, for all that, at some point, when your son is an adult, he will see his father for what he is....and despise him for it.

Do you think that ANYONE can 'get through' to your husband and teach him how to Grow Up and Be A Man???

You say he gets angry when you try and talk to him about anything he finds uncomfortable etc - but can you not just 'force a showdown' (not in your son's hearing, obviously), to at least ram home to him what a self-indulgent, COWARDLY 'waste of space' he is if he does NOT finally accept his responsibilities???

For all of the above, however, do YOU get counselling about him? I could be being really unfair to him - and maybe a psychiatrist would cut him a LOT more slack. An 'infantilised' adult is a sorry creature - my niece is - but they are also to be pitied as well. They truly are, in a way, victims of 'unwise parenting'.....
PS - what do YOUR family think of him???
"I think he WILL be much happier as he will be able to come and go as he pleases, stay out, get up when he wants with nobody to nag him or call him out on drinking and (in his mind) see his son when it suited him. "

Er, what will he be living on when he does this? How will he pay for food, alcohol - electricity, housing, etc etc?

Will he 'go home to mum and dad'? Expect YOU to go on paying his bills????
Hi Emma
I like the idea of intervention. :D I even coupled it with subterfuge to get my boy to the doctors. :whistle:

First I offered to make the phone call, then on the day when I thought he'd bottle out, I changed my work day and 'happened' to be at home.Then near the appointment time I said I was going to the post office and offered to walk along with him... he couldn't really say no. As we got near the surgery I offered to come and wait outside, or go in with him. He asked me in. Then I said I'd wait in the waiting room but he could call me in if he wanted. Then as his name was called he asked me in. After he did say he wouldn't have had the courage to get there and go in alone. Depression sucks everything out.

With your hubby I do wonder how he has the motivation to go out. My boy's depression kept him very firmly in. Others can hardly get out of bed with it.
We did find that we had to wait for the very low points to get him to agree to get help.

Emma, do you think your husband is AFRAID to grow up? Does he fear that he won't be able to 'do' adulthood? That he'll be a failure at it? So he keeps bottling it?

There must be some reason he is still a kidult, wanting to avoid responsibilities and just 'play' at life. Perhaps fear is at the root of it?

I mentioned my niece, and how her loving but fearful parents have infantilised my niece, and how she now lives with chronic 'life-long' depression (which 'defines' her - she defines herself as 'someone with depression' )(she's in her mid thirties now).

The root problem seems to have been that yes, my niece did have educational issues - she was statemented (in the days when you could GET statemented!), and she had substantial dyslexia (took a while to identify and then remediate), and her best subject was (and is, Art)(got into uni, then promptly dropped out, out of fear and anxiety etc). But the ROOT problem I would say is that, ironically, she is shy and introverted - whereas her parents are both 'natural extroverts'. They are outgoing, sociable, confident, etc etc etc. I personally think they saw my niece's shyness as 'something is wrong with her'.....they 'medicalised' her quiet personality and then 'taught her to think there was something wrong with her'.. They fretted and fussed over her endlessly, making it clear that there was 'something wrong' with her....

They 'made her afraid'.......

Do you think any of that might echo with your husband? You come across as a strong, capable, competent woman, well able to hold down a job, while being a mum, and having a husband who has opted out of responsibility and is sunk into depression and 'evasion' so to speak. It wouldn't be unreasonable to argue that those were the very qualities he wanted in a wife to, effectively 'take over' and 'run everything for him'???

In a way, with your husband, doesn't it have to boil down to 'sad or bad'??

'Bad' if he just wants to be a kidult and not take responsibility because, hey, life is nicer for him that way, and he can't be bothered with his son, or getting a job again, or doing any household chores, and it's much more enjoyable to go out drinking, and seeing bands, etc etc etc etc.

But 'sad' if he is just 'too scared of his own inadequacies to 'dare' to grow up???