Where's the line drawn?

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
I'm not one to write about my problems normally but I'm struggling.
My husband has numerous ailments due to past cancers and mental health issues. Lately I've been feeling like I'm more verbal punch bag than a wife. I put on a brave face while meandering the mine field that is my husbands feelings. I'm exhausted!
Today I was made to feel like I was wrong for having an hour to myself. Just one hour where I could curl up with a peppermint tea and read a few chapters of a novel. BUT he was having another bad day emotionally. He stated that "I don't care." " I'm selfish." "He shouldn't have to ask for me to spend time with him" Our every conversation is about his needs and wants. No joke. I've enabled him for so long that my life is based around him and how he feels on a day to day basis. If he's happy we do what he wants to keep him in his blissful state. If he's upset i try to sit down and talk about what is bothering him. Then follow that up with a non too healthy dose of pandering. If he's angry he grunts and ignores me until I think he's ok then BAM I'm hit with the same emotional abuse. Today internally I rebelled against his needs because i needed some time to myself. Ooorah, warrior woman right? The work up to say no even in my own head is what I imagine navy seals endure during hostage training week! If thats a thing. Lord help if I'm having a bad day.
Usually I tell him what is bothering me and he comes straight back to how he's feeling. Like I'm just not worthy of his attention or my feelings are inconsequential. So I opted for a timeout. Instead of being ignored, I ignored him. Not in the truest sense because i did actually tell him i was going to read for an hour and have time to myself. An hour later we're arguing. He acted calm while verbally ripping me to shreds. Then pulled his phone out to record me when I'd finally had enough and shouted back. Holy cannelloni he's being calculated with it now!
Where is the line drawn? I love my husband. I just don't feel like a respected wife again today. Do I waste 11 years together? Does he want to break me because he feels broken? I joke but I'm torn on how to make things better. I've tried every way i can think... tough love vs being a yes woman etc and I'm close to giving up on him entirely. I will not be another victim of his illness.
Kate, it's very sad he's had cancer, but that is not your fault, is it? It's very sad he's got MH, but, again, it's not your fault.

It's HIS responsibility to control his own reaction and behaviour.

This is abuse you are suffering, and no amount of 'making allowances' for both physical and mental illness excuses it.

he is behaving tyrannically, and coercively.

MH patients are, grimly, very often utterly self-obsessed (self-focussed I believe is the psychiatric term), and care about no one and nothing except their own miseries. They make other people's lives a misery, with their endless self-pity.

You DO need to stand up to him, so well done. Bullies, and he IS bullying you, always HATE people that 'defy' them, and will react by 'smashing back'. Physical bullies of course can injure you badly when they smash back. BUT, verbal bullies can ONLY hurt you if you let them.

The key thing is not to care a stuff about what they say, or how they sulk (and yes, he's sulking!) and how they kick off. His temper, his problem. NOT YOURS.

As you start to show how not-giving-a-rat's-tail for his anger starts to dawn on him, he will try other tactics to get you back in line - ie back in the role of punch bag, and 'look after me I'm ill!' and 'poor poor me!' that he's got you in.

There's a book I heard of (but havent' found yet) called 'Walking on Eggshells' and the key message is this - the MOMENT you realise you are 'walking on eggshells' around anyone (anyone at all!) it's a BAD SIGN.

Never pander to people, If they don't like it - tough. Your husband's anger and self-pity are HIS problems. Don't let them be yours. You have to develop a thicker skin (because the kickoff will be BAD!), but remember, his words CANNOT hurt you if you don't let them.

The more you stand up to him, the more, eventually, he'll stop. (It may take time). Remember, the power is YOURS - you can walk out on him any day you like. HE will have caused it.

PS - do NOT try and 'argue' with him, or seek to 'justify' your behaviour - he will twist your words and tie you in knots to prove HE is right (I've seen this, believe me!). Simply state what you are going to do - eg, I'm having my time off now, see you in a couple of hours' (or whatever), and if he kicks off, walk out. DON'T engage in trying to justify it beyond saying 'I'm entitled to breaks, everyone is, and that's all there is to it. If you don't like it, get another slave.' Then walk out.

{PS - he will NEVER admit he's wrongs. Bullies and tyrants never do. But that doesn't matter. You just want him to shut up about it - which he will, eventually, even if it reduces to a 'low grumble'. But if he doesn't shut up, again, it doesn't matter, because YOU will be ignoring it! (In fact, you'll be walking out....). He HAS to take the consquences for his behaviour. If he is too vile to you, you'[l leave and it will be HIS fault, not yours. He is refusing to take responsibility - that's being a baby.
PPS - the more you stand up to him, the easier it gets! Soon it will be 'automatic' and you won't go through the agonies of verbalising it in your head. You'll just say it out loud and be done with it.

Developing an equivalent of 'yeah yeah, whatever!' total indifference to his anger, is what you aim for.
Hi Kate
I too think you need to be more assertive, it isn't right he behaves like this towards you.
There are online self help courses and books to help you learn how, and counselling may help too. Did you know you can self refer, and based on priority that may offer face to face, telephone or online. I did some online and found I could do it without my caree knowing.
Just Google CBT and your area and a range of options should pop up.

Of course all this will take time, as patterns are so ingrained so meanwhile I am issuing you with the forums invisible virtual Teflon coat. It tough and hardy, no slings or barbs pierce it and any insults just slip right off. Being invisible you can put it on any time hubby is having a go and it will protect you while you calmly say "I am not going to listen tothis" and walk away.

Hope it helps
MrsA
Thank you so much for your replies. I'm so grateful that you took the time to advise me.

I will definitely research more things to help myself, not him. I have had counselling before through a volunteer organisation but it was for my past (pre-relationship). I will look into doing it again. The Teflon coat is much appreciated. It's already deflecting his vicious words!!

I'm feeling totally flat and useless within my own marriage. You put my emotions together and summed up the situation perfectly. Bullied. Nothing is good enough. He controls so many aspects of our lives that it isn't mine. It's a one man show and I'm a spectating puppet waiting to be told what to do next. He doesn't see anything that he is doing. I truly think he believes he's not part of the problem.
He woke up today still in a bad mood and said that he was 'still entitled to be angry because of the way I handled things'. Me? Of course it's my fault. I know it isn't. Im a strong person generally except with him. He has made me into someone that I don't even recognise. A mouse of a woman afraid to do the wrong thing. It's time I take a stand or leave. It's so hard to love someone that doesn't respect or appreciate you. Every day waiting for something to happen. I will not live like this forever. I'm adamant that I will be happy, with or without him.
This is coercive control. Please look it up on the internet! It is now a crime, by the way.

You were not put into this world to be anyone's punch bag. HE is responsible for HIS behaviour - controllers always try and blame their victim. 'Now look what you made me do'.

Was your last relationship a coercive one? It can run in patterns until you break that pattern.

Pesonally, I would probably walk out, but do not do that too quickly - plan carefully. Controlelrs re at their MOST dangerous, when their victim tries to escape. THat's when these ghastly murders happen.

Get proper counselling from someone trained in helping victims of abuse and coercive control.

Oh, and tell him to go xxxx himself! It COULD be that if you stand up to him (remember the 'yeah yeah whatever!') and he sees that you are 'immune' (you say what you want, sunshine, I don't give a monkeys!) he will, eventually, back off (after the smash back I warned you about).

Prviding he does not hit you (which he might escalate to - be warned), his anger is utterly and totally irrelevant. He bullies you because he CAN. If you refuse to be bullied, he can't.

He sounds a total pain.
Have to agree with Jenny and you have all of my sympathy as I can recognize myself in some of your comments.

No real advice but remember it is NOT your fault. I know how it feels to be constantly walking on eggshells trying not to upset my husband. I have had to distance myself emotionally to cope and just tell myself it won't last forever.

Is there any chance you could search for a good counsellor to help you work through this situation and maybe look at other options?