Please help me help my wife.
March 21, 2012 12:34 PM Subscribe
I need professional help with trying to save my marriage to a person who has had profound anger, anxiety, and depression issues since childhood. I need help with leading her toward restarting therapy (and potentially toward reconsidering her insistence on no chemical treatment). Our relationship is in serious jeopardy and we have a child.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (16 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
She won't consider chemical treatment because she doesn't want to change her personality. But I can't be with her personality in a sustainable way. I regularly find myself craving more time away from her than I naturally get (and feeling incredibly frustrated and trapped if we've planned I'll get such time and then something unavoidable comes up that prevents me from getting it). There have been many points when I've thought I would have to leave her if it weren't for our toddler, whom I love like crazy and want to give the best possible environment. I rarely go more than a few days without thinking, "I have one precious life and this is cannot be the way I spend it."
She has fully agreed she needs to restart therapy several times -- most recently after a crisis point several months ago, when among other things she FINALLY admitted how profound and how pervasive her anger is (one of our many issues had been me feeling the huge weight of this anger and her never admitting it was as serious as I knew it was). But she doesn't actually want therapy, hasn't made any move toward restarting it, doesn't want my help with research on therapists/etc. (we agree her previous therapist wasn't effective -- partly because she also didn't admit the seriousness of these issues to that therapist).
I feel intensely and increasingly frustrated that the only way I got through that crisis was our clear agreement about what would happen (we specifically agreed she needed therapy "right away"), and now nothing is happening.
She is functioning in life but ranges from moderately to severely depressed, with profound anxiety (constantly anxious, often very irrationally). She feels little emotion; she has little interest in being social or being sexual; she feels she has "no skills" (despite the high-level, six-figure tech job she's successfully held for years). She's not directly angry at me or at our son; she's angry at other people very close to her, angry at the world, angry about a childhood where her mother was depressed and emotionally abusive. Often directionlessly angry. She's intensely focused on our son: she says nothing matters except him, nothing excites her except him, and if anything happened to him her life would be over. Her depression has increased even further over the two years of his life (it didn't observably spike in the months after she gave birth -- more like an erratic but clear overall increase since then).
I want to save this marriage and I want to reconnect with her. I have to want to stay with her for reasons other than for our son's sake. I have great passion for life and great ambition, and I'm extremely sad to know how unsustainable it would be to spend the rest of my life with my wife if she continued to feel little/no excitement for or connection with life.
I know very little about psychiatry or counseling. Will you please either advise me yourself or point me toward hotlines or professional services you know and trust that help people try to get their loved ones help with these issues?