Hey honey, I'm thinking about dying again
September 2, 2013 5:14 AM   Subscribe

Recently I've been struggling with thoughts (but not impulses) about suicide. How can I help my wife understand what's going on? How can I manage it when it happens?

To be absolutely clear from the outset, I have no intention whatever of killing myself. None at all.

The way things tend to happen is as follows: I'll be in a stressful situation which is raising a lot of negative emotions in me - for example a row with my wife, or after the end of a long, exhausting day at work (I'm going through some issues in my work life now that are triggering this particularly acutely; I seem particularly to find these thoughts cropping up if I'm feeling worthless or trapped). In addition to feeling tired and wrung out, I start seeing images playing in my minds eye of me shooting myself. Typically this mental video plays through all the stages of loading a gun, putting it to my temple, and pulling the trigger. The whole thing is extraordinarily vivid; sometimes I can actually feel the barrel of the gun against my temple.

At best the thoughts are distracting; I try to acknowledge them and then return my thoughts to whatever else is going on. At worst, though, they're debilitating. I had an attack of them at a tube station recently and find that I had to shrink into the darkest corner I could find to get away from the noise of the crowds and the trains.

I'm working on all of this with my therapist. My lack of actual desire to act out these intrusive thoughts is a positive, and she thinks that it's more my brain's way of offering me an escape route when things all get too tough to handle.

Bringing the problem up with my wife has, however, been quite difficult. I tried to tell her as gently as I could, but naturally it still upset her greatly, first that I was having the thoughts and secondly that I might have talked about it with my therapist before I talked to her (there is a long-standing argument between us that I shouldn't talk to my therapist about stuff without letting her know first).

I promised to tell her if I'd been having these dark thoughts again, and so far I've done exactly that, because usually they happen when she's not around (the aforementioned tube platform incident, for example). However, yesterday, during a big row about my having to travel for work, the thoughts resurfaced. I didn't want to bring them up during the row because I thought that would seem like a manipulative way to end the argument in my favour, but it was clear to my wife that something was wrong. She asked, still angry, "what the hell is wrong with you?" and I replied "I'm having those thoughts again, about killing myself, and I can't get them to stop."

At that point I just wanted to be comforted, so I was rather shocked when she yelled "come on then, let's go to a bridge and jump off it together! Let's get it over with!" In fact it shocked me so much that the thoughts stopped completely, and I suddenly felt calm.

My wife later apologised for her outburst, and I apologised for bringing the thoughts up during a row; as I'd feared, they'd felt manipulative to her and she'd reacted out of anger.

I'd like you help, mefites to:
  • Find a way to talk constructively about this problem with my wife.
  • Find a way to address the way she reacted during the row (which, whilst it stopped the thoughts, doesn't seem like a healthy way to handle them at all)
  • Find a way to handle the thoughts better when they happen so that I'm not brought to my knees by them
Any help would be appreciated.
posted by yasp to Human Relations (23 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Bringing the problem up with my wife has, however, been quite difficult. I tried to tell her as gently as I could, but naturally it still upset her greatly, first that I was having the thoughts and secondly that I might have talked about it with my therapist before I talked to her (there is a long-standing argument between us that I shouldn't talk to my therapist about stuff without letting her know first).

I don't see how this is any of her business. You are very clear that you are not suicidal. If you were suicidal, I think that it would be appropriate to reach out to her, but you are not obligated to tell her things before telling your therapist and you are not obligated to tell her every single thing about yourself.

You, like everyone else, are still entitled to some private thoughts. Your therapist sounds like the appropriate person to work on this with, and perhaps to also help you work on how you handle your wife's boundary issues.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:25 AM on September 2, 2013 [20 favorites]

(there is a long-standing argument between us that I shouldn't talk to my therapist about stuff without letting her know first).

What goes on in your therapist's office is private. And YES, even coupled and/or married people are entitled to privacy. Your wife is just plain flat out wrong about this and you should not indulge her incorrect position.

Humans have a basic fight or flight response, and it seems from what you've said like this is just your brain's way of fleeing from stress. You're getting help, you're monitored by a mental health professional, and what you're experiencing does not sound to me like it's even unusual, let alone dangerous. (I am not a mental health professional, but I totally indulge in the same fantasies when it all gets overwhelming...)

Further to that, I'd stop telling your wife about these thoughts at all. You have no intention of killing yourself, these are your private thoughts, and what is the upside of sharing them with her?

Instead, I'd work with your therapist to develop a crisis plan - if you ever do feel like killing yourself, you'll let her know; together you'll do A, B and C; the therapist will be alerted and C, D and E will happen. If this isn't sufficient for her, I think there are larger conflicts than your internal thoughts at issue here.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:31 AM on September 2, 2013 [17 favorites]

Also something that might help you is the knowledge that you're not the first person to have this problem. I used to imagine hanging myself following incidents of social embarrassment, which I continue to have plenty of.

It was, as you mention, a form of stress relief. In retrospect, it was sort of funny. I am not sure why I stopped. I might have just started accepting those moments more and gotten less OMFG AWKWARD about them.

They sure as hell didn't stop happening.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 5:34 AM on September 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

As someone who's partner spent years telling me about their suicidal thoughts, and is still tramatised by it, I think you should not share those thoughts with your wife, especially when both sides are in a highly chartered emotional state. Choosing to address your wife's reaction to your disturbing statement strikes me as manipulative; distracting from the fact that you should not have shared your thoughts at that time. Your therapist is the appropriate person to help you develop healthier coping skills. Are the two of you in couple's therapy? Does your wife have a strong support system? Because it sounds like you are not able to be a support to her right now due to your own issues and you are relying on her quite heavily for comfort - who is meeting her increased needs right now?
posted by saucysault at 5:34 AM on September 2, 2013 [6 favorites]

I think the fact that these thoughts are about suicide is a bit of a red herring. They're a big part of OCD, but I think a lot of people with a tendency towards depression/anxiety have them sometimes to a greater or lesser degree. Like the same sorts of wires are getting crossed.

Those intrusive thoughts can really be about anything. Typically they're negative, but like, if you mentioned you were having intrusive thoughts about running your car into random pedestrians, people would be much more inclined to reassure you and tell you that oh, no, these thoughts don't represent anything you'd really do. Suicide is something that gets taken more seriously, and it should, but I don't think this is necessarily any different than if you found yourself with random sexual fantasies about someone inappropriate or about doing something that would blaspheme some personal religious conviction you have. It's a particularly unpleasant trigger/response, but it doesn't mean it's more than that.

Then it sounds like those thoughts are either triggering or being triggered by panic attacks part of the time, on top of that. Which of course makes you feel worse.

Yeah, this is armchair psych kinda stuff, but I guess I'm a little concerned that your therapist doesn't seem to have communicated that this is... well, not normal, but not particularly weird? That there are medication options, both for this kind of obsessive thinking generally and for those panic attack moments, which do not replace therapy but can really be a vital part of the process? Given that you're working on the therapy thing and it's still this bad, that's the next place I'd be turning, anyway.
posted by Sequence at 5:45 AM on September 2, 2013 [10 favorites]

Yeah, your wife is not your therapist. And it's absolutely wrong for her to insist that you tell her what you tell the therapist. The whole premise of therapy is that you have a safe, non-judgmental place to talk about whatever the hell you want to, not just the topics your wife has cleared for you in advance.

So. Don't tell your wife about these thoughts. If you need to talk to someone other than your therapist (I know I need to because the time between visits just feels incredibly long sometimes) then see if you can open up to a friend about it.
posted by dawkins_7 at 5:51 AM on September 2, 2013 [6 favorites]

The way you described this latest incident, it almost sounds like you're saying the whole problem is that suicidal thoughts wrecked an otherwise perfectly satisfactory fight with your wife. You don't seem to realize that fights that trigger stress responses like this are a problem in and of themselves. I think you could stand some couple's therapy.
She asked, still angry, "what the hell is wrong with you?" and I replied "I'm having those thoughts again, about killing myself, and I can't get them to stop."

At that point I just wanted to be comforted, so I was rather shocked when she yelled "come on then, let's go to a bridge and jump off it together! Let's get it over with!" In fact it shocked me so much that the thoughts stopped completely, and I suddenly felt calm.
Have you considered that you suddenly felt calm not because you were shocked, but because your disclosure threw your wife off balance and put you in control of the conversation? This sort of pattern, where you say stuff that upsets your wife because you feel better when your wife loses her shit, is really going to do a number on your relationship if you allow it to continue.
posted by jon1270 at 6:15 AM on September 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

and she'd reacted out of anger.

Ask yourself, when did your wife start to demand to know what would take place at the therapists office? Before, or after, you started telling her about your troubling thoughts? People have an extremely hard time, even during the best of times, separating thought(s) from actions(s); we're told that suicidal thoughts are troubling and need intervention and it's drilled into us, so much so, that admitting we have them can seem revolutionary. I think much of this is her reacting out of fear, not anger and I would suggest that you stop sharing these thoughts with her because I think you're unintentionally scaring her and placing an extraordinary burden on her.

Like jessamyn in the linked thread, I ask myself why I want to run away when things get hard and in the asking I usually uncover what it is I'm needing from the universe. It doesn't always give it to me, but the knowing helps.
posted by redindiaink at 6:18 AM on September 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Can you acknowledge that its scary for her to realize that you might kill yourself, that she might lose you? Can you see that she would feel guilty for not doing everything possible to help you? She gets controlling and afraid and stressed and then she breaks just like you. Please help her to get a therapist to talk to, one that is all her own, that she can share her fears about you with. And stop sharing with her about your thoughts. Its not helpful.
posted by SyraCarol at 6:25 AM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yup, intrusive thoughts are pretty much part of the human condition, but in this case I think yours are clearly trying to tell you something (i.e. “Get out now!”). Your last question, back in July, was about the difficulty of reconciling with your wife. You also mentioned money worries. Given this kind of pressure, it’s hardly surprising you’re getting these mental images.

I get a strong impression that you and your wife are not good for one another’s mental health, to put it mildly. This reconciliation business sounds like a lost cause. You’ve tried all sorts of therapy and counseling, and it’s obviously not working. Life is short. Despite the heartbreak and massive inconvenience and expense, it’s pretty clear you need to leave, and soon.
posted by Grunyon at 6:27 AM on September 2, 2013 [8 favorites]

Oh God. Please review your previous question and all of the answers. Your "long-standing argument" is symptomatic of your wife's insecurities and controlling behaviour. Is she in therapy? Because if she isn't... dude, this relationship sounds so, so unhealthy and frankly "come on then, let's go to a bridge and jump off it together!" is batshit crazy. It doesn't matter how much you love her if she isn't working towards bring a whole and healthy person to your partnership.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:29 AM on September 2, 2013 [19 favorites]

I'm not usually one to say this, but you have got to get out of your relationship and work on yourself for a while.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:34 AM on September 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

I can't really talk to how you should handle this with your wife. I think you should probably discuss that with your therapist first. I had a really big WTF moment when I saw what she'd said to you. I would tread very carefully indeed about telling her any of this again if she's going to handle the situation so incredibly badly as that. Personally, I'd ignore the agreement that you two have, to tell her when this is occurring. It's hard enough to deal with thoughts like these without your wife suggesting that you actually kill yourself. Jesus.

I understand that it's stressful for her, but this isn't something that you're doing deliberately, and she did ask to know. If she can't handle it, which she apparently can't, she could always ask you not to tell her. Honestly, that comment and the assertion that you should tell her things before you tell your therapist, who is presumably a trained professional and can help you handle situations like this more than your wife can, is pretty eyebrow-raising to me. Having an outlet for a scary thing like this is a good thing, and I think that a therapist is the best possible option for that.

Talk to your therapist about your wife's reaction and about the argument that you and your wife have about telling her first. Ask your therapist for advice, and also maybe look into couples therapy of some kind. You and your wife need better ways of handling this.

Regarding the thoughts themselves, I've always called them pigeon thoughts. I used to have them a lot, but not so much now.

Things that helped me included:
  • Remaining as calm as I could when they were happening. Taking a deep breath and carrying on walking with the pigeon on my head was the first step.
  • Letting the pigeon stay on my head as long as it wanted. Trying to fight it off just drew the attention of more pigeons.
  • Reminding myself that it's just a pigeon. It's going to fly away soon. Eventually, I'll walk out of its territory and it will go back to where it came. It's just a few milliwatts of energy floating through my brain. It's not an action, or a consideration. It's no different to any other thought that I had, I just reacted differently.
  • Bringing myself back to the situation at hand through my senses. Whenever there was a pigeon on my head, I'd count five things that I could see, five that I could hear, etc. Basically, just giving my brain some sensory input was sometimes enough.
  • Thinking about how thoughts actually work in my brain. I like to think of it as being like a chalkboard, that gets written on. Sometimes I write on the board myself - "I must remember to buy some milk" - and sometimes my brain writes on the board - "Go to the store and buy some milk, Solomon". Both types of thoughts appear in the same place in my brain, but only one of them comes from "me". The other comes from my brain, which is doing thins like keeping my heart pumping, regulating my temperature and telling what to type in this sentence so it's actually legible and makes some kind of sense. Intrusive thoughts are from the latter "place" in my brain.
  • Everyone has these thoughts. Some people have them more than others, some people get them more at specific times, etc. But they're common to the human condition, so much so that those people who never get them are the odd ones out.
  • CBT was helpful for me in handling them too. I found this page that seems to offer a reasonably good explanation of the hows and whys of that. Memail if you want to chat.

posted by Solomon at 6:36 AM on September 2, 2013 [12 favorites]

Another thing that just occurred to me is that it might be worthwhile you keeping a diary of some kind of when you get these thoughts, to see if you can work out what is triggering them. When you know that it is, you can work out ways to handle that situation better. At the train station, for example, perhaps you were feeling claustrophobic about being with all of the people. CBT can help you learn new ways to think and behave in and around these situations.

Also, it's completely OK to focus on yourself and what you need on a daily basis. Please don't stay with your wife if she's not going to be helping you with this. I just reread your previous question and it sounds like she's going to be the opposite of what you need. Can you see any kind of correlation between these thoughts and your wife's behaviour? Have things improved since your last question?
posted by Solomon at 7:02 AM on September 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

There's some really unhealthy communication patterns going on here. If you're disclosing suicidal thoughts because you want to be comforted (At that point I just wanted to be comforted, so I was rather shocked when she yelled "come on then, let's go to a bridge and jump off it together!), well then, that is manipulative. You know it's okay to stop an argument for a moment and say, "I really want to be comforted right now. Can we take five minutes to cool off and sit down together?"

This book, by John Gottman, might help you to find more productive argument strategies to use. I know they helped me learn to recognize when I was escalating for attention or comfort and when to use straight-forward, honest communication instead.

Also, generally, I don't think you should be sharing these thoughts with your wife. I think they're none of her business and also just going to upset her. It doesn't seem productive at all, especialy since the thoughts actually have nothing to do with suicide.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:09 AM on September 2, 2013 [5 favorites]

I'm sorry you're in this place. A therapist told me that when you have fantasies specifically of blowing your brains out, it may not be about dying but about blasting unwanted thoughts out of your head. Maybe consider whether you are trying to get rid of thoughts that you would do better to allow yourself to have.
posted by BibiRose at 7:34 AM on September 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

I had frequent intrusive thoughts about suicide when I was in an abusive relationship.

Reading your previous question? Your wife sounds abusive to me. She doesn't want you to have a car because "then you could leave her any time"? She wants to read all of your texts and emails? She doesn't want you telling your therapist things that you haven't told her first? She asked you to swear on her life that you'd never leave her? She refuses to get help for her controlling behavior - and refuses to even admit that she has a problem?

These are huge red flags of abuse. My abuser said and did all these things to me. My therapist was a huge point of contention in particular, just as it sounds like yours is.

I would suggest that you might be thinking about getting out of this toxic-sounding relationship (escaping your life) when you have a suicidal thought. Sounds like you have a really controlling and upsetting home life. No wonder you want to escape. Have you talked to your therapist about this - your relationship with your wife?
posted by sockermom at 7:48 AM on September 2, 2013 [27 favorites]

thought experiment: you have a recurring nightmare/fear of carrots. every time you feel pressured to the point of collapsing from the burden of your stresses, you picture yourself peeling carrots, making carrot cake, dipping them in ranch, etc.

you explain to your wife that you're deathly terrified of carrots but because your mind helps you cope with your life's pressures by imagining these carrots, you tell her when you think of them. however, while it's a comfort to you, you are still afraid. make sense?

the mind is complicated. she's afraid of losing you because instead of carrots, it's a gun. however, this is not about your wife's fear of losing you, this is about you taking on too much and needing to explore other options for coping mechanisms with your therapist.

your wife has to understand (not be comfortable or ok with) that you're in therapy to better your and her life and you can't stop or hinder the healing process bc you haven't run it by her first. these things are an organic unfolding process that has to be followed through when the time is right or you feel ready. she's not always going to be there.

it will get better. don't be afraid if you are truly NOT suicidal. if you ever feel like you're slipping, falling, can't hold on any longer, tell her you will let her know when it gets to be unbearable. that you need her emotional support and encouragement and alleviating her fears is hindering your healing. that if it's too much for her to handle, you won't tell her anymore, but her being your pillar of strength while you're mentally vulnerable is integral to stopping these disturbing day dreams. feel free to me-mail me.
posted by lunastellasol at 9:28 AM on September 2, 2013

In your case I suspect suicidal thoughts are really escape thoughts. What is it you want to escape?

I think that is your answer.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:52 AM on September 2, 2013 [6 favorites]

I, too remember your previous question, and I, too, think you are in an abusive relationship.

Your current ideation/ visualisation, I believe, has a lot to do with the impossible situation in which you find yourself with your wife: you love her, life with her is impossible, you sought a solution by moving out, it failed, you are now in a corner. Professional woes on top of that – really, really hard. Your mind is seeking solace in imagining an escape down to sensorial details. I had a similar thing going on, imagining how I would leave (the situation I found myself in): for some reason my fantasy was coloured by the illustrations in a German children’s song book (a bit like this), so I, an adult of 30 plus, imagined myself in a particular kind of canvas trousers, a knapsack on a stick etc, setting off into the woods, and I could really feel the details – the pressure of the stick on my shoulders, the steps transitioning from pavement in my UK town into the woods (in reality, there were no woods) etc. I KNEW this would never happen, but it quietened my brain and emotions a lot during tumultuous times. The reason it worked though is because I did keep it separate from the source(s) of my troubles – sharing this with your wife takes something vital away from you, I think (even if the actual imagery is disquieting).

I also think that your wife, who is abusing you, is also a victim here, which makes my conclusion the harder to bear.

To me it seems that your wife is devoured by her anxiety, and her anxiety is also slowly devouring you. Everything you told us about your wife’s behaviour in this question and the previous one indicates she is essentially trying to colonise you in a futile attempt to quieten her anxiety. The outlook for this dynamic is dire – you are both going to end up as mere shells of the people you might have been, if it continues. And if you stay put, it will undoubtedly continue. I’m sorry to say this, but whilst your wife is a minefield of anxiety and associated behaviours (for example her insanely controlling impulses towards you), you are not strong and knowledgeable enough to truly help her deal with them. This says nothing about you personally – in anyone other than a child, I think this level of inner tumult and misalignement would be too much for anybody, other than a trained professional.

I’ve seen people with profound anxieties and insecurities, and whilst my heart broke for them, it was completely obvious that they had a devastating effect on people around them – family, friends, partners, kids (oh, especially kids!). Your choices seem to be to allow your life to slowly degrade to a living hell with ever rarer moments of respite, or get out. You love your wife, and might find it impossibly hard to extricate yourself from her, but, to help both you and her you might just have to bite the bullet and leave. Who knows, maybe a seriously reinforced separation now might lead to both of you doing the necessary work for genuinely actualised individuality, which is pretty much a premise for harmonious relationships. The (far) future might hold a happy resolution for you two as a couple, but the present doesn’t.

PS Also: the way she says really awful stuff "as a joke" or "out of (excusable) anger" – one of the markers of abuse. Basically, she gets to act in a totally uncontrolled, hurtful, possibly even dangerous manner, but wants to control how you react to it, trivialises it and thereby trivialises your own experience and boundaries. The source of this is her anxiety – it controls her and wants to control you, too. Find the fortitude to break this cycle, or else it’ll break you.
posted by miorita at 10:19 AM on September 2, 2013 [17 favorites]

I can make this long and tell you my own angry wife escape story (I had recurring dreams of having to run away from gangsters), but to save us all some time, St. Alia of the Bunnies is spot on.
I didn't see it then. When I re-read my dream diary that I kept at the time it is clear as a bell that I was mentally on my way out of my relationship. It is not your work that's bothering you here, mate, no way.
posted by Namlit at 10:26 AM on September 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Find a way to talk constructively about this problem with my wife.

I'm not sure if you should be discussing them with her. Your therapist - yes; she is qualified to help you. Your wife though has not been able to respond in the way you need her to.

Find a way to address the way she reacted during the row (which, whilst it stopped the thoughts, doesn't seem like a healthy way to handle them at all)

Try articulating your needs: "When I am upset, I need you to comfort me."

Find a way to handle the thoughts better when they happen so that I'm not brought to my knees by them

Here's the thing. You know these thoughts of escape are because you want to escape. Things aren't right in certain aspects of your life and you know it. It bubbles up in this way when we feel out of control and exhausted. There are things in your life you need to change. First, your marriage needs to change. Second, your job needs to change. Radical changes are not what I'm talking about, but actively looking at both situations and working out where you can make some positive, long-lasting tweaks are very important. Over time, you might find that this job is not for you or that where you live is too busy for you. But, it's about looking at all of the parts and making slow steps towards something better.

A large part of anxiety comes from trying to fit things into a particular mould. You might want to (or feel you need to) tell your wife everything, but if it's harming you personally, what is it achieving? Think about the other aspects of your life - what is it that you hope to achieve, what do you feel you are achieving, what can be done to get those two things aligned?
posted by heyjude at 1:57 PM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you feel like you need permission to (or can't) draw the boundary line "I will not clear my thoughts with you before I reveal them to my therapist," I suspect you and your wife have some fairly major issues that go so far beyond this one suicidal ideation type incident that it's really unfair to try and just give you advice about the incident itself. I say this without having read your previous question yet - I had to make myself read the rest of this question before answering because I pretty much felt like the answer was already "you both need serious help that maybe can't be gotten without professional involvement" by the time I reached that sentence. I'm very glad you're in therapy; please keep going.

For what it's worth, no one in my support group ever (ever) needs to clear what they're going to say with a therapist in advance with anyone - not spouses, not lovers, not parents, no one. Not even the folks who really have trouble drawing boundaries. Some of us take significant others into therapy now and again, mostly so that they can get a clearer sense of what's going on, maybe share their view of current symptoms, etc. All of us have severe mental illness - more than half the room on any given night has had an actual bona fide "ended up in the hospital for multiple days" suicide attempt. And again, none of us has done what your spouse thinks you must do. Does your therapist know about this aspect of your relationship with your wife?

And yeah, it's not OK to pull the "I'm having suicidal images come into my head without warning" card during a fight, but more importantly it's completely ultra mega 100000% not OK to ever say anything even remotely like "well let's just jump off a bridge and get it over with." I'm not a person to use profanity, but honestly, WTF. Please work on walking away from these kinds of situations if you feel like your only other choice is escalation (and get some comfort and stuff from elsewhere - see below for self-soothing stuff.)

Since immediate escape isn't possible for you, I think the best advice I can give you is to focus on what's happening before, during, and immediately after these ideation episodes. Write down a specific plan of action for when you experience the thoughts - and I mean as soon as you realize you've started having them; don't wait till the panic sets in. Ideally, with some work you will learn to be able to pretty quickly develop a way of creating a space which feels safe emotionally/physically/etc. pretty much anywhere you are. It's usually a good deal easier to do this when your panic has an easily identifiable intrusive thought like this, and when you haven't become agoraphobic or something - taking care of the issue at the stage you're in now is a very very very good idea.

This worksheet can help you work through the general thought process part of the reaction you want to train yourself to have, this is a leaflet that talks about immediate and longer-term stuff you can do in response to suicidal thoughts, this worksheet is something you can use to record what happens (what you were thinking/feeling/doing at the time) in the moment, this is a list of positive thoughts you can say to yourself while you're trying to remain calm, this is an explanation of the coping "toolbox" (mine has a tiny stuffed bear, sweet-smelling hand sanitizer, a list of support people who are on my side, and a few other things,) and this is a very nice little booklet about dealing with distress in general.

I also think you should talk to your therapist about finding good ways of having an argument with another person. There are healthy ways of disagreeing with one another, there are crappy ways of disagreeing with one another, and what you described is well past the "crappy" versus "abusive" border line, in my opinion. No idea if it's possible to learn to have that kind of argument with your current spouse, but I think this is a skill you should spend a bit of time on for the sake of future relationships (school, home, work, whatever.) It's usually in the "assertiveness" or "non-violent communication" category of self-help books.
posted by Fee Phi Faux Phumb I Smell t'Socks o' a Puppetman! at 6:59 PM on September 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

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