Feel utterly alone in this

Hello everyone. I am new to the Forum and am posting in the hope that someone on here will be able to say: “Me Too” and help me not feel so terribly alone in all this.

My husband started CBT a year ago after many years of progressively damaging behaviour. He has a diagnosis of severe depression and abandonement anxiety. I consider myself his main carer and life at times is very tough. Today things have come to a head and I find myself on the sofa in tears with nobody to turn to.

He displays behaviour that would previously be termed “manic depressive” although he does not have a diagnosis of bipolar. He goes through periods of mania and compulsive spending, which he then attempts to conceal by lying. I have employed all of the strategies people advise. I control the finances and give him an allowance that is “his” that he can spend on what he wants and he has a bank account with no overdraft facility. I do everything I can to keep him away from credit. I make sure all the essential bills for the house etc are taken care of. Anyone who cares for someone like this knows what it is like… the constant need to be vigilant. He has, on many occasions, stolen and destroyed my post to conceal any bad spending.

He is also very clingy during a bad patch and is unwilling to be on his own. For me, this equates to me being unable to get much time to myself. If I wake up in the night for a wee, for example, he will often get up too…

Today, I have managed to get him to undertake an activity out of the house for a few hours to get some time on my own. This is a rare treat for me, and I planned to sort some Christmas gifts. I have a cash fund that I savw throughout the year for such things.

I have discovered this morning that he has taken the entire £1600 I saved throughout the year and frittered it away. I am heartbroken. Not only from the deceit (this is not the first time he has stolen from me) but because I now have no money for Christmas for him, my relativrs, and my two children from a previous marriage. This is the latest incident in a long history of lies, deceit and deception that - whilst I know are caused by his illness - are so painful and upsetting. It seems that I am the one who has to suffer from his illness, even though I am the one who cares for him all the time.

I do not feel that I can leave him, as he would have nobody to look after him and genuinely cannot manage life in the “real world” on his own. At the same time, if I tell anyone what life in my home is like when he is really bad - they would tell me to leave.

I hold onto hope that he will get better one day. I have memories of the time “before” this illness when he was such a different person. But they seem so long ago…

I just need someone to put a (virtual) arm around me until I can find the strength to remember that tomorrow is a new day and I will feel much better after a short interlude.


Here’s a big virtual ((HUG))) from me.
I’m dismayed that although he has stolen from you in the past, that you haven’t separated your accounts so that this is impossible for him to EVER do again.
I don’t know much about mental illness, but I know too many people who have lived in hope of better things in the future, which never happened before they died.
I now believe that we are all responsible for our own happiness, you and him.
If you don’t put yourself first, no one will do it for you. Just wish someone had told me this when I was about 10 years old, not in my sixties.
I’d always followed the Brownie Guilde Law, to “think of others before myself and do a good deed every day”! Not many good deeds came my way, but an awful lot went the other way!

(((Hugs))) from me too Laura
I have lived with a compulsive liar and know how very very much it hurts. It seems to hurt the person being lied to more than the liar.

I think the key here is that you have tried everything you can, and he is not responding. So, stop hitting your head against his brick wall and walk away to save your sanity, your money and your self esteem.

He has had so many chances so it not your fault or your concern any more. Ok, he can’t cope in the real world, but that is his problem, not yours. By managing his money and caring you have in fact been covering up for his issues and (unknowingly) allowing him to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

I don’t say this lightly, I know it will read harshly but he is as bad as an alcoholic or any other serious addiction where their problems affect those around them most cruelly .

You need to be strong, hard and resilient and walk away and don’t go back. He will promise ‘never again’ but will then do the same again, and again, as he has done.

Whether you decide to do this planned or more quickly, you will find advice and support from your local domestic abuse unit. He may not be physically abusive but these thefts and his other behaviours do constitute abuse and you are a victim who just doesnt realise it yet.

Whatever you hope, you cannot fix him. Only he can, with professional help. He must take responsibly for himself and will make massive errors along the way, but you cannot be involved and hurt any more. You have to protect yourself.


I think you need to ask yourself - and, more importantly, a trained therapist in bipolar etc (ie, someone who knows what can and cannot be achieved) - whether you are actually HELPING him at all…or only helping his ILLNESS.

Because it sounds like, sadly, you are not helping HIM at all. You are only helping his illness ‘stay where it is’ (ie, inside him).

As for the term ‘illness’, think about that, too. Is he ‘ill’? Is he truly incapable of controlling his own actions at any level whatsoever?

‘Illness’ is a term much beloved when it comes to mental illness and I do not deny that it is a highly, highly, highly complex issue, but ‘illness’ - the term itself - can be used as the ultimate Get Out Of All Responsibility For Everything card.

‘Oh, he’s ILL’, you say, ‘Oh, i’ts the ILLNESS’…well, is it? Or is it ‘him’…?

From the point of view of both psychiatry (ie, the ‘mechanics of mind’) AND the point of view of ‘ethics’ (our ‘voluntary’ behaviour), it IS incredibly complex and ‘tricky’ to ascertain just WHAT someone in his condition COULD do IF HE REALLY REALLY TRIED.

To what extent is he capable of ‘not stealing’ from you? When he saw that money, what went on his head? Did he just think ‘Oh, I really need it, she won’t mind, I’ll put it back one day’, or did he think ‘I shouldn’t take this, it will deeply hurt her?’

To me, if you feel he really TRIES to FIGHT his ‘compulsion’ (even if he sometimes fails), that is…possibly…‘enough’ to invest more of your precious time, your precious life, in his.

Do you feel he ‘tries’? or does he just ‘give in?’ Does he use his ‘illness’ as his ‘It doesn’t matter what I do, because I am ILL’…

How is he in terms of regret and remorse? Does he actually DO anything to even start to ‘make up’ for what he does to you? Does he, say, go out to work (IS he working?) and give you the money? Does he deny himself ‘nice things’ (eg, beer) to show his real remorse and make a real sacrifice to YOU to try and make material redress for the horrible damage he has done to you (not ‘just’ the HUGE amount of money he stole, but also the HURT he’s inflicted on you).

Or does he just say ‘it’s my illness, I can’t help it’…(as, sadly, you seem to be saying of him…) (‘I know it’s his illness’ you say…)

Personally, I would say that if he makes NO attempt to accept PERSONAL responsibility, and to not ‘excuse himself’ by saying ‘it’s my illness’ , or show even any awareness of what he’s done, if he just says the words, but does not do the deeds (ie, makes real SACRIFICE to repay you, even if only a fraction), then he is simply ‘not worth it’.

In which case, Leave.

May I put this a different way?

You know that your FIRST responsibility is not to him, but to your children.

Therefore, do you think YOU have the moral right to expose them to a thief, to someone who will steal from THEM (which he did it was THEIR Christmas present money he stole).

Don’t you think you have a DUTY to protect them from such a thief?

WHY he steals is not the issue for your children. It is THAT he steals.

Why should THEY go without Christmas, so HE can steal with impunity?

Your children come first. Not this man.

That’s where YOUR responsibility is…to your children.

PS I do wonder what on earth possessed you to leave cash anywhere, let alone such a vast amount! Knowing his ‘previous form’ how could you hope he just wouldn’t find the money???

As BB says, even IF you give this man another chance (the LAST one, please!), you MUST put ALL money straight into YOUR bank accounts, where he CANNOT steal it from you.

What is he going to do, now, about repaying you, and earning money for your children’s presents, by going without things he wants for himself. HE NEEDS TO FEEL THE PAIN HE HAS INFLICTED.

PPS - please read the post in the Newbie section, on ‘Here Again’…it’s a sober warning alas.

Hi Laura
Everyone else has the advice part covered so I’m just gona send you a big squeezey warm hug, and let you know that you are not alone. We all have each other on here and it’s nice for us carers to have something just for us. Try and get a good night’s sleep and clear your mind xx

Thank you everyone for taking the time to reply.

I’m not sure attacking me for keeping cash is productive. This is my home for goodness sake.

My husband is not a layabout or a monster. He works full time and keeps the roof over our heads. He is an attentive and affectionate parent. He is committed to his treatment and attends all his appointments on time and takes his medication. He does not drink. He is intelligent and thoughtful and affectionate.

At the same time, he has an illness that affects his mood and has unpleasant symptoms that make our life difficult at times and make me at times frustrated, sad, angry and hopeless.

I took vows to stick with him in sickness AND health and for better OR worse. I came here for support, not to be told to walk away from my marriage.

Hello Laura
I was just about to pm you as things always read hard in black and white and would come across much better in a face to face two way conversation.

No one means to upset you or attack you, and I so wish even one of us could say “yes tomorrow it will all be alright and he will be magically cured” but I know of no one that has happened to.

We just want you to be safe and happy. Caring for someone with MH problems is very much a long long haul, often lifelong.

Have a read of all the other threads in the MH section where there’s many others in similar situations . You’ll see advice to the carer is always to look after themselves as it so easy to get worn down .

Please don’t give up on the forum, we do mean to be supportive. Your situation ,when read in black and white does sound quite difficult.

We do wish you the best and hope you stay with us

I found counselling helped me with my feelings of frustration, sadness, anger and hopelessness.

Hello Laura
Sometimes, reading texts, letters, forum messages, can read so differently to how it is meant. We probably all realise this after feeling annoyed at hurt at suchlike, where face to face you can ’ read’ body language and actually feel a hug etc.
Please don’t feel attacked as that is not the intention.
Another trait of human nature, and loving someone, is you can say what you like about them, have a moan etc , but as soon as someone else does, the need to defend and stick up for them kicks in.
My sister adores her husband but sometimes will grumble about him to me , always ends with but he is ever so good really!!
I’m sad you feel attacked, and that you are going through such hurt ( my situation is different to yours, but still very painful)
Please stay with the forum, as it’s a good place to vent, helps sort out the mixed feelings we can get and practical help is around.

Laura, you told us your were “heartbroken” that your cash Christmas savings had all been spent by your husband.
A whole lot of embarrassment could easily have been avoided if you had just put the money in the bank.

Yes, it’s your home, but it’s also the home of your husband who is currently mentally ill and has a past history of taking your money. So why did you put temptation in his way? Was it some sort of test?!

It really doesn’t matter how you interpret it, the money has gone, and the whole family will suffer at Christmas as a result.

I’m a great believer in personal responsibility, so you have both failed each other.
Now is the time to sit down and agree how you are both going to deal with money in the future, and what you are going to do about Christmas.

“I have employed all of the strategies people advise. I control the finances and give him an allowance that is “his” that he can spend on what he wants and he has a bank account with no overdraft facility. I do everything I can to keep him away from credit. I make sure all the essential bills for the house etc are taken care of. Anyone who cares for someone like this knows what it is like… the constant need to be vigilant. He has, on many occasions, stolen and destroyed my post to conceal any bad spending.”

You’ve done all the above, which sounds absolutely excellent - and then left a FORTUNE in the house for him to find and spend when he was at his worst!

I, too, was wondering whether, perhaps subconsciously even, you were ‘hoping’ that ‘this time’ he would ‘resist the urge’ that comes over him…that, maybe, you were ‘telling yourself’ that he is not REALLY the afflicted person he is???

??? Do you think that might be so?? It would be understandable, even if ‘rash’ (as you now know, sigh).

(All that said, personally, I can’t even begin to imagine keeping that much money at home and not in a bank!) (That’s what banks are for!)

“I came here for support, not to be told to walk away from my marriage”

Yet when you described what you are going through now, you also said that if you described your home life to anyone they would tell you to leave!

It could be, though, that if you can ‘contain’ the malign impact of the ‘bad times’ ie, by ensuring there is nothing he CAN steal when those bad times are controlling him, that you can ‘tough them out’ for the sake of all the good that you also describe. That the ‘good times’ outweigh the bad times.

All that said, your first responsibility is to your children, not your husband, whatever vows you took. They must not suffer for his illness.

How has he reacted to your discovery of this current theft? Is he remorseful? What is he going to go to repay you, and do what he can to ensure his step-children’s Christmas is not ruined by having no presents? If he frittered the money away, as you say, on THINGS, then I think he should hand them over to you - he should not be allowed to ‘enjoy’ them, when they are ‘stolen goods’.

I do appreciate he is ‘not himself’ when the mania comes over him, but for all that, it has appalling consequences for you - reducing you to heartbroken tears - and to your children - robbing them of Christmas.

Hi Laura
Just wanted to send you so much love and understanding right now, and to say what a marvellous job you are doing. Mental Health issues are so misunderstood, that it really needs someone who has walked in your shoes to understand the daily difficulties and heartbreak that we as carers endure.
I care for an adult son who has schizophrenia, and I can relate to the money struggles you describe, and the need to be hyper vigilant. Please know that you are not alone in this struggle.
Kindest regards. xx

Hi Laura

Just wanted to post as others have to send you a hug - I’m going through a situation slightly similar to yourself although my husband has different issues as a result of his anxiety and depression.

I know how it feels to feel so utterly alone, I don’t have many people in my life I can turn to and I don’t tell people like my parents everything that goes down as I still want to protect my husband and believe it’s his illness making him do the things he does.

I can’t give any advice, personally I’m hanging on in there until the new year as we are still going to give marriage counselling a go, follow your heart and if you want to talk just drop me a message or keep using the forum.

Emma x