Husband with depression and anxiety who is verbally abusive

My husband has overworked for the last 10 years in a very stressful job. Therefore his brain has constantly been under a large amount of stress. In the last 6 months however, things have taken a turn for the worse. His daughter (my stepdaughter) has cut herself off from us, rejecting him essentially as her Mum is very manipulative and difficult to deal with. Whilst not his fault it has obviously been very difficult to deal with. He also found out 6 months ago that his Mum had had an affair when he was young. Slowly over a space of about 3 months he became more and more paranoid and controlling of my behaviour. He wanted to check my phone constantly for texts, he expected me to report exactly who I had phoned or who had phoned me that day etc. And he wouldn’t let me tell any of my friends what I was going through. It became very wearing and I found it very difficult to deal with.
We have 2 young children and I basically do everything at home, run the household, look after them, do all school runs etc. plus keeping up a job as a teacher 4days a week. On a good day I am tired and barely able to keep it together. So when all this started I didn’t really have the head space or the ability to help him. When I tried to suggest getting outside help he found this as a rejection.
He was constantly asking for me to be “open and honest” which I thought I was being. However, whenever I got angry because he was accusing me of having deleted texts etc. he said I was “not there for him”, “not supporting him”, “just thinking about myself” etc.

In the last few weeks things have got worse with him telling me constantly that I am the reason he is depressed, that our marriage has been rubbish for years (something I don’t agree with), that I am not a nice person because I get frustrated and angry with him rather than trying to help him etc.

I know this is just his illness (he has just started another set of antidepressants and the counselling from NHS hasn’t kicked in yet) but I am finding it difficult to stay positive and hopeful. He sounds so convincing, I wonder if he is right. Maybe our marriage does need to finish. Then I think, no that is ridiculous. And I find it hard not to hate him for being so unkind and uncaring and cold towards him.

Does anyone else have a similar experience? This very verbal abusive, blaming depressive is difficult to live with. I always thought depressives would just withdraw and want to stay in bed all the time. However my depressed husband seems intent on getting help (restarting the gym, taking up a hobby etc) but still blames and verbally abuses me. I just feel so sad for myself (and guilty that I can’t keep myself from getting frustrated with him rather than helping him).

Hi Claire,
It sounds like you’ve got ever such a lot to cope with.
Is there anyone who could look after the children for a few days to give you and your husband some special time together?
It may be that your husband doesn’t feel he’s important /loved anymore.
Let him make day to day decisions.

That is the first step. You need to gently and politely encourage him to be active. What are his hobbies? The secret is to find one he truly loves and enjoys doing. When will the counselling commence? You are only human after all. Remember that always. And talking helps.

You have to think about yourself as well as him.I’d be looking at separating from him and then talking if his behaviour improved.No one should be having to put up with him how he is at the moment.
Depressed people can get very angry its not all being withdrawn and sad etc.I’d be telling him straight about his behaviour and how its affecting you. Also you have the children to think about.
Look after yourself and don’t put up with it.

You do NOT have to accept abusive behaviour. Walk away, or better still, video on your phone his behaviour towards you, which can be used to show his GP, or yours, or evidence as “unreasonable behaviour” for a divorce.

I would strongly recommend counselling to help you discuss your feelings, and where to go from here.

Both of you need some ‘quiet, stress free’ time together as a couple again.
Can you take some time off work so that you can be there for him?
Try putting him first (before the children, housework etc), listen to what he says.

What has this week been like?

One of the sentences in your original post which really stands out is “he won’t LET ME tell anyone”.

It is up to you what you say or do. No one has the right to stop you saying what you want to say, because going along with what he wants all the time isn’t doing you, or him any good in the long run. You can’t keep pretending that all is well, because it really isn’t. This must be awful for you and your daughter.

I’d suggest counselling. When I had competing demands on my time, a disabled mum and a son with severe learning difficulties, when I was newly widowed and newly disabled after a RTA, I was on the verge of a total breakdown.
Counselling helped me set my priorities.
My son had to come first, before mum, because he couldn’t speak up for himself, mum could.
I couldn’t spend all my time running around both of them, my needs mattered too.
Stop feeling guilty about what I couldn’t do, feel proud at what I could do for them.

Counselling when you are stressed can be a real release, especially when you can’t share things with your partner. Mine had died, yours is there in body, but certainly not in mind.

As you work as a teacher, have you shared this with your headmaster?

Shared the home situation with your child’s teacher or head? There might be possibilities for someone else to share the school run, for example, to take the pressure off.

Make a list of all the pressures you are under, put them in priority order.
One person running a home is very different from two sharing jobs, so don’t try.
Instead, look at everything you do and work out which jobs can be dumped altogether, which ones someone else can do, and which ones can be reduced by doing things differently.
This was positively life changing for me.

Thank you for your comments. It has been really useful to read them. I have disengaged from this site for a while but have felt I needed it again of late. What you say is true - the “won’t let me” is not a good situation. He is controlling. And you are right. Call in help where I can, dump unimportant jobs etc. But it is exhausting and I am fed up with constantly being told that I don’t support him. 4 months later and the record hasn’t changed! But thank you for posting and caring!

Hello, I had had deal with it with my dad who was abusive because of his childhood. However, we found some natural remedies for it, so I could help you

This is an old thread, I am locking it.