symptoms

Depressed Men and the Impact of Emotional Abuse

John Folk-Williams Community Member June 19, 2010


  • I’ve written here about periods in my life when I was emotionally abusive to my family. It’s painful to look back on those times, harder still to bring it out publicly. But it’s one of the things I’ve had to do as part of recovery from depression. Women are capable of this same behavior, but judging by reports from therapists and the thousands of requests from women for help online, it’s far more common in men.

    Because of my experience, I’m often asked for advice from the partners of depressed men on what they can do to help change this behavior and save their relationships. Those questions can pose a difficult problem. How can you tell the difference between a depressed man who is acting abusively and a man who may be depressed but is primarily an emotional and psychological abuser? That may sound like quibbling, but this isn’t about words and definitions. For the partner, it can push a hurtful situation into a physically dangerous one.


    Last year, Merely Me wrote two excellent posts, one on how to recognize the signs of an emotionally abusive relationship and one on how to escape it. She makes it clear that an abuser can eventually turn violent. The relationship is a serious threat to both psychological and physical safety. What can be confusing is that the patterns of relationships with depressives and abusers can be surprisingly similar.

    The emotional anguish and self-doubt that a woman experiences is also similar in both cases. And the questions I try to respond to come from women in the midst of turmoil and pain, not after the fact when feelings are less intense and they can see more clearly the sort of man they’ve been dealing with. They’re looking for help at exactly the time of the worst hurt and confusion when saving the relationship is all that matters.

    The stories I most often hear go like this. A woman meets and falls in love with a man who is incredibly caring, attentive and responsive. It may feel like she’s found the ideal partner. But after a glorious period, things start to change. The once loving man turns into an angry and abusive stranger. This may happen very gradually. He might at first become laughingly insulting, but the words get more and more cutting. He claims that her behavior is starting to upset a great relationship. Before long, the woman is blamed for everything. She’s the cause of everything going wrong in his life, especially his depression.

    The level of anger escalates, and he threatens to leave unless she changes. There’s so much pressure on her that she wonders if her behavior might really have contributed to this breakdown. Under constant attack, she may be fearful of losing the security of the relationship - though there is probably little left anyway. She might suppress her own anger for fear of making things worse and finally pushing him away forever. When her justifiable anger does come out, it may be explosive and “prove” to the man that she’s the irrational and destructive one. The man may not only withhold affection but also shut down communication, isolating himself, refusing to explain anything, barely tolerating her presence.


  • Despite all that, she may be convinced that there must be a way she can help get rid of this nightmare. She asks over and over again: Is there any hope? What can I do? Even if there is no response from him, she tries to assure the lost partner of her support - she’ll always be there. She gets desperate as everything she tries seems to backfire. Yet she clings to the hope that the wonderful person she used to know will return.


    My wife’s reaction was very different from those of many anguished women who are seeking help online. She never had any doubt that the problems were mine and that I was imposing a lot of pain on her and our children. She knew - and told me many times - that it was up to me to get treatment. Then I’d usually wake up to what I was doing, be full of remorse and suddenly become a loving partner again - for a while.

    I’d also explain that, when these feelings came over me, what I did wasn’t about her, it was about depression. But she’d remind me of a basic truth. It didn’t matter what caused the behavior. Abuse is abuse, and it hurts. She couldn’t take it forever and needed to know that I would take action to deal with my problems. She would support me as long as I was working hard to fight depression and also working hard to restore our relationship.

    I think one sign that depression is the basic problem is the shifting back and forth that I experienced. Depression often comes in episodes, and behavior can change dramatically from abusive to loving, then back again. A true abuser will not let up on the blaming and manipulative behavior. He simply doesn’t have any other side to his personality. Whether he’s loving or depressed, charming or hateful, he’s using these moods - perhaps quite unconsciously - to assert control.

    There is hope that a depressed man who is acting abusively may eventually realize his need for help and start on a road to recovery. An abuser, on the other hand, will rarely change, and can become more menacing and physically violent as time goes on. Over time, this difference can become clear, but by then a woman will have been through a terrible emotional battering that leaves permanent scars.

    When I’m asked for advice by a woman agonizing in the midst of emotional abuse that’s linked to depression in some way, my first thought is for her. She needs all the help and support she can get. The focus needs to move from the man, who has to make his own decision to change, to the woman, who needs to think more of her own wellbeing.

    Often, I can’t tell anymore than she can whether she’s dealing with a depressive who might be able to change or an abuser who never will. But protecting herself has to come first, especially if the situation feels menacing. It’s time to get out, no matter how painful or unthinkable that action must be.


21 Comments
  • Merely Me
    Health Guide
    Jun. 19, 2010

    Hey John!

     

    So glad you wrote this...as so many members here come for support and guidance on this very issue.  And you give a much needed perspective as a man who had dealt with depression and recognizes the impact it had upon your family. 

     

    Two extremely popular themes on My Depression Connection are:

     

    1.  The member is being...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Hey John!

     

    So glad you wrote this...as so many members here come for support and guidance on this very issue.  And you give a much needed perspective as a man who had dealt with depression and recognizes the impact it had upon your family. 

     

    Two extremely popular themes on My Depression Connection are:

     

    1.  The member is being emotionally abused in his or her relationship and wants to know what to do.

     

    2.  The member has a spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend who is inattentive, neglectful, and all of a sudden....not acting in a loving manner.  And the "feeling rejected" loved one asks if this is all caused by depression.  And sometimes they will report that their partner is angry or hostile.

     

    One point I strongly wish to make is that behavior is behavior regardless of cause.  If someone is being subjected to emotional and/or physical abuse...this is unacceptable despite the cause.

     

    It is very difficult to discern what may be the cause of some behaviors.  And to know...is this abuser behavior or depressive behavior?...maybe in some cases it is both.   I am hoping your post launches a good discussion about the differences...as it can be extremely confusing.

     

    But one thing I am very clear about...I do have to interject my experience and knowledge about one point you have made.  You said:

     

    "I think one sign that depression is the basic problem is the shifting back and forth that I experienced. Depression often comes in episodes, and behavior can change dramatically from abusive to loving, then back again. A true abuser will not let up on the blaming and manipulative behavior. He simply doesn't have any other side to his personality. Whether he's loving or depressed, charming or hateful, he's using these moods - perhaps quite unconsciously - to assert control."

     

    But how does a women tell since an abuser can have periods when they act lovingly....apologetic...charming....buys you things to make up...always sorry.  And you are right...it is for control.  An abuser can also shift their behaviors and quite dramatically.  And this is what makes things so confusing for many women. 

     

    I just want to warn women that...periods of niceness or a change in overt behavior...doesn't mean it was depression and things will get better.  Abusers have those periods of quiet and remorse....but then they almost always go back to their same behaviors.

     

    Here is an excerpt of a powerful post about Emotional Abusers:

     

    "To outsiders, abusers often appear as decent, successful, sensitive, calm and nondescript. To their families, they are often controlling, self-absorbed, hypercritical, compulsive, childish and mean-spirited. Most of abusers are actually BOTH. It is the disparity between the one they love and the one that harms them that keeps the woman confused. He may intersperse episodes of abuse with words of love, telling her that she is "the best thing that has ever happened" to him, and that he wants to start treating her that way, confusing her further. She keeps hoping that if she does enough, if she gives enough, he will stop hurting her and the loving, caring side of him will prevail. Unfortunately, this is a fallacy that often keeps the woman in the relationship for far too long."

     

    Obviously...this is very emotional topic and...there is a huge difference between a spouse or loved one who is depressed but does take responsibility for their actions...gets help...and ultimately grows...and an abuser who will rarely if ever change their behavior.

     

    I am very glad you wrote this...I am just not sure there are any hard and fast rules about how to know...when to stick it out...and when to say...this is a situation which is not going to change and only get worse.

     

    I am very eager to hear from our members to see what they have to say and based upon personal experiences.

     

     

     

    • Donna-1
      Jun. 19, 2010

      Thank you, MM and John.

       

      MM, I was in an abusive marriage for 13 yrs.  It was abusive to some extent before I even married him.  I thought it was just stress from working and going to college and trying to have a personal life all at the same time.  Then there was always some excuse after I married him and as the years went by.  There...

      RHMLucky777

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      Thank you, MM and John.

       

      MM, I was in an abusive marriage for 13 yrs.  It was abusive to some extent before I even married him.  I thought it was just stress from working and going to college and trying to have a personal life all at the same time.  Then there was always some excuse after I married him and as the years went by.  There were disputes at work, embarrassing public displays of controlling behavior that he thought were reasonable, behavior at home that I found repulsive, sexual abuse, excessive use of pornography, insistence that I have plastic surgery in order to please him, and so on.  And I always meekly gave in.  I never raised my voice.  I figured it was all because I wasn't trying hard enough to understand him.  I thought if I could just please him (which never happened) that he would love me more (which never happened.)

       

      Only after I ended up in the hospital 2-3 times from being suicidal and psychotic did I file for divorce.  Even that was not my decision -- my sister put the phone in my hand and told me to call him and told me to tell him to be gone by the time I was discharged from the hospital.  And it took a long, long time to recover from the abuse.  I should have had the marriage annulled after the first couple of weeks but I was so naive.  I didn't really understand there were men in the world who would treat their "loved ones" so wickedly.

       

      I am happily divorced and I doubt I will ever trust another man.  A woman should never stay in an abusive relationship.  A psychology professor in college told me that he had worked with many abusive men, and he had never seen one stop abusing even when they said they wanted to stop.  It is like an addiction.

       

      Donna

    • define depression
      Jun. 22, 2010

      how do we learn to trust again ?

       

      can we learn to be ourselves openly without judgment ?

       

       

    • Donna-1
      Jun. 23, 2010

      I wish someone could give me an answer to that.  It is difficult to do either.

       

      donna

    • John Folk-Williams
      Jun. 23, 2010

      Those are powerful questions, and it's tragic to have to ask them. Being open without judgment is a tricky one. It's judgment you need above all else in trying to understand the surface behavior. An abuser would probably just work twice as hard to be Mr. Wonderful when facing the challenge of a woman who has learned how to see through manipulation from an earlier...

      RHMLucky777

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      Those are powerful questions, and it's tragic to have to ask them. Being open without judgment is a tricky one. It's judgment you need above all else in trying to understand the surface behavior. An abuser would probably just work twice as hard to be Mr. Wonderful when facing the challenge of a woman who has learned how to see through manipulation from an earlier relationship.

       

      But I realize that many women wake up to one abusive relationship, leave and then fall into another - despite the most sophisticated judgment in the world.

       

      It's the most evil thing I know to work so hard to earn trust and love, only to betray them and destroy the person who has shared so much.

       

      We all need to work on finding answers about trust. Wish I had them.

       

      John

       

       

    • define depression
      Jun. 25, 2010

      it seems to be the trust thats broken in these relationships,

      trusting your own judgement,

      trust from your abuser,

      trust from friends that side with them and joke and put you down, as the once vibrant person you were shrivels into oblivion,

      trust from the professionals that cant see through it, the police that say there is not enough physical evidence, you...

      RHMLucky777

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      it seems to be the trust thats broken in these relationships,

      trusting your own judgement,

      trust from your abuser,

      trust from friends that side with them and joke and put you down, as the once vibrant person you were shrivels into oblivion,

      trust from the professionals that cant see through it, the police that say there is not enough physical evidence, you must carry a camera around on the back of your head to capture the abuse, ohh then they take you seriously, 

      then the ultimate let down the trust that if you always do the right and careing thing that life will be kind to you,

       

      how do we regain the open trust?

       

       

      I trust in my ability to be able to see the truth and act on it !

       

      do not be blinded by the abuser

       

      document everything read it back to yourself later and realy see whats the truth,

       

      trust yourself first, its ok, you are a intelligent person who fell for the fool,

      learn every thing we can about the manipulation behavior so we can spot it and run the next time and then be able to tell the differance when a trustworthy beautiful adoring individual stands in front of us and we dont miss it.

       

      can i please hurry up and get to that point and trust so as not to be alone for ever.

       

      now back to work on trusting myself to know the differance

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

    • John Folk-Williams
      Jun. 23, 2010

      Hi, Donna -

       

      Thank God for your sister! It's so tragic that you as a victim should go so far as attempting suicide, while your husband couldn't ever feel anything like remorse or guilt. I'm sure he found a way to feel like the agrieved and manipulated one. It drives me crazy to hear so many stories of how immobilized women can become by this systematic...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hi, Donna -

       

      Thank God for your sister! It's so tragic that you as a victim should go so far as attempting suicide, while your husband couldn't ever feel anything like remorse or guilt. I'm sure he found a way to feel like the agrieved and manipulated one. It drives me crazy to hear so many stories of how immobilized women can become by this systematic attack on mental and emotional integrity.

       

      It's wonderful that you could come out of it - though the cost of losing trust in relationships with men is a hard price to pay. However, it's probably the only safe thing to do. I hear from women who've escaped one relationship like that only to become trapped in another. Too horrible to think about!

       

      All my best to you - and thank you again for another brave and intimate post.

       

      John

       

       

    • John Folk-Williams
      Jun. 23, 2010

      Merely Me -

       

      You're so right, it's not as clear cut a difference between depressive and abusive behavior as I made it sound in that paragraph. There is a difference between the change in a depressive and the manipulative apologies of an abuser, but exactly how to tell and what to look for are not so clear. That's especially true for someone who's been...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Merely Me -

       

      You're so right, it's not as clear cut a difference between depressive and abusive behavior as I made it sound in that paragraph. There is a difference between the change in a depressive and the manipulative apologies of an abuser, but exactly how to tell and what to look for are not so clear. That's especially true for someone who's been exposed to abusive behavior for a long time and doubts her own perception of what's going on.

       

      I'll revisit this in the next post that gets more into communication.

       

      I've just had an extraordinary exchange with a woman in an abusive relationship through the comments at Storied Mind. We talked over this difference between a depressed man who is abusive and an abuser who also is depressed. It was an eye opener for both of us, and I'll draw on this for my next post.

       

      Thanks for this great post.

    • define depression
      Jun. 25, 2010

      thanks MM

       

      what a great article, i would never have read it due to the web address making me think of the abusers calous nature,

       

      http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/manipulator/emotional_abuse.shtml

       

      thankyou, it certainly helped, the more we can realise how we have been manipulated the more we can move on to being healed.

       

       ...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      thanks MM

       

      what a great article, i would never have read it due to the web address making me think of the abusers calous nature,

       

      http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/manipulator/emotional_abuse.shtml

       

      thankyou, it certainly helped, the more we can realise how we have been manipulated the more we can move on to being healed.

       

       

    • Jeanne
      Jul. 01, 2010

      My father was depressed but is also an abusive human being; so he is both things not just one or the other.  My doc thinks he may actually be depressed bipolar along with abusive.  Either way, I wish my mother had been less of an enabler for him and taken us kids away.  All 4 of us are damaged in our own ways because she stayed, put up with it...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      My father was depressed but is also an abusive human being; so he is both things not just one or the other.  My doc thinks he may actually be depressed bipolar along with abusive.  Either way, I wish my mother had been less of an enabler for him and taken us kids away.  All 4 of us are damaged in our own ways because she stayed, put up with it and didn't acknowledge he needed help (I guess she did to, since she stayed and enabled this behavior to the detriment of her kids.)

    • Anonymous
      Maria
      Aug. 05, 2010

      I'm right in the midst of the confusion resulting from emotional abuse by a depressed partner.  Despite excellent support from counsellors and domestic abuse support groups, I still revert to this uncertain state.

       

      My partner was the love of my life - and though I now realise with hindsight that some of his responses to the usual (minor)...

      RHMLucky777

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      I'm right in the midst of the confusion resulting from emotional abuse by a depressed partner.  Despite excellent support from counsellors and domestic abuse support groups, I still revert to this uncertain state.

       

      My partner was the love of my life - and though I now realise with hindsight that some of his responses to the usual (minor) conflicts that characterise early stages of relationships showed an unwillingness to take responsibility - we had a very close, loving relationship for nearly 10 years.  

       

      Then I noticed my partner had begun to see everything negatively, including our relationship.  I suspected depression and encouraged him to get help.  He didn't.  The onset of his depression brought what I now recognise as covert emotional abuse (critical comments made 'helpfully', constant overseeing, sabotaging, isolating me/us).  All the time, to everyone else, he was still the lovely, kind, understanding, supportive man I fell in love with.  (However, he did not work or earn any money.)

       

      I began to believe I was not good enough.  He frequently said that it was our relationship which was making him depressed but he seemed unable to engage in constructive talking about it and adamantly refused to go to Relate with me.

       

      I spent the next 10 years trying to make things better: for him, for our relationship.  I worked extremely hard, supporting us both, and had several periods of counselling myself - due to depression.  He had a breakdown in 2003 and I hoped that at last he would get help.  He tried a couple of things and said they were useless.  He gave up medication after 6 months because he 'didn't want to be on it for the rest of his life'.

       

      Things deteriorated steadily after that and in 2005 I broke down with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  He nursed me with great care, which brought us closer, and for a while I thought things would improve.  However, when I said I now needed him to help with our income he reacted badly.  He retreated into depression and I was shut out of his world.  

       

      I begged him to get help with his depression, to no avail.  I supported every idea he had to take action to change his life: each idea faded to nothing.  I wrote him a letter expressing my deep love for him and wish that we could find a way out of this.  No response - when prompted he told me what things I did that upset him.  Finally I felt I had no alternative and gave him an ultimatum - I could see no future for us unless he did something to help himself.  No response.  I ended the relationship.  He was angry and also acted like a helpless child.

       

      I still feel the weight of responsibility for taking that step, even though I know it was the only chance for both of us.  I understand that his depression was rooted in a very difficult childhood.  It seems that his descent into depression distorted his view of me, and took away his ability to empathise.  I could observe him projecting his bad feelings onto me.  If he'd been prepared to accept help, I'd have persevered.  He's responsible for not having done so but was he so depressed that he couldn't see the benefit of it? 

       

      Through counselling and reading about abusive relationships and co-dependency, I'm rebuilding my life and learning to love myself in the way I deserve.  But it's like a bereavement without a body.  Somewhere out there in the ether there's a man I loved deeply, and who I thought loved me.  It's hard to recover from something you've tried so hard to make work.  And I still don't know whether, with help, we could have made it work.

       

      Somehow, I can't let that rest.

    • CatMom
      Nov. 27, 2010

      Donna, your story could be mine.  My husband and I have been together 30 years (married for 28); and for the first 15 -17 years things were great.  We had arguments, but when we argued, we would work through things and eventually come to an understanding.  He was supportive, he helped me emotionally, and we were best friends.  There were...

      RHMLucky777

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      Donna, your story could be mine.  My husband and I have been together 30 years (married for 28); and for the first 15 -17 years things were great.  We had arguments, but when we argued, we would work through things and eventually come to an understanding.  He was supportive, he helped me emotionally, and we were best friends.  There were "issues", but I think that's actually normal in most relationships.

       

      However, about 10-12 years ago things began to change. He gradually got more and more critical. His moods got darker. Never physically violent; but more and more negative, critical, passive-agressive, and controlling.  It began about the time our oldest daughter was a pre-adolescent; even though he was still a loving, wonderful parent most of the time, he had bouts of trying to control her, where he'd be very critical of her for being "manipulative", for not being considerate of others' feelings, etc. 

       

      During the same period the arguments between the two of us got more and more intense.  When I tried to intervene between him and the girls, he acused me of "being a bad co-parent" and not respecting him.  He would twist and turn my words so thoroughly that I would end up blaming myself, even though later I'd look back and wonder why I'd felt that way.  He was laid off in 2006, and hasn't worked full-time since (although to his credit, he has tried to find work and has worked whenever he can find work). 

       

      It's taken me years to recognize the signs of depression and mental illness in him. John's comments about the difference between someone who is an abuser, plain and simple, and someone who abuses because of depression, are right on-target - but so are the comments about the need for the abusive partner to take responsibility for and end their abusive behavior no matter why they abuse.  My husband is under treatment for his depression, but it hasn't entirely ended his abusive behavior and he still does not recognize it as abuse. 

       

      My daughters and I are in agreement, finally, and finally talking openly about this.  I've tried to be clear to them that I recognize what is going on, that they are not to blame, and that I am trying to figure out what to do about it.  I know they've suffered, and I take responsibility for not taking decisive action before now.  I don't want him to face criminal penalties; I don't want child protective services to be called in - none of us feels that that is warranted - but I do want to protect myself and my kids.  Even though they are nearly adults, they need to see that I finally see what has been going on and that I won't let them suffer.

  • Dr. Mom
    Aug. 18, 2011

    I lived through 12 years of marriage and manipulation. I tried hard to make things work and always felt like I never did anything right. Part of what allowed me to do this was being the child of an alcoholic and my strong codependency problems and I didn't realize it until the end of the relationship. I asked my husband to give me time to work on this problem...

    RHMLucky777

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    I lived through 12 years of marriage and manipulation. I tried hard to make things work and always felt like I never did anything right. Part of what allowed me to do this was being the child of an alcoholic and my strong codependency problems and I didn't realize it until the end of the relationship. I asked my husband to give me time to work on this problem and he wanted specific time line, 6 months, a plan for how we were going to make our marriage work among other demands. When I couldn't give him the exact answers he filed for divorce. Then told me it was a piece of paper that we could still work to rebuild our relationship. I wish I had come across these articles 10 years ago.

  • Judy
    Jun. 19, 2010

    Thanks for the post - I think my dad was/is both of these - an abuser and depressed.  Nothing has made him change, except that now he is older and more mellowed out.  To people who don't know him, he's the "nicest guy" but he emotionally beat up my mother and emotionall AND physically beat his kids.  I feel very lucky that I didn't choose...

    RHMLucky777

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    Thanks for the post - I think my dad was/is both of these - an abuser and depressed.  Nothing has made him change, except that now he is older and more mellowed out.  To people who don't know him, he's the "nicest guy" but he emotionally beat up my mother and emotionall AND physically beat his kids.  I feel very lucky that I didn't choose someone like that as a spouse.  I know that happens a lot, but I've had such a feeling of injustice about it that had my husband started acting that way, I would have run for my life.  I think there are also emotionally abusive women that we don't hear too much about.  I think my mother turned into an emotional abuser because she felt she had to stay in the marriage (what with being Catholic and all) and she couldn't have supported us, so she learned to fight back and even how to push his buttons and also took it out on us.  She's seen herself as a victim as long as I can remember.  I can't tell you how sick I am of the whole thing, the endless sick relationships.  I try to keep the time I spend with them to a minimum; thank God I don't have to live with them.

    • John Folk-Williams
      Jun. 23, 2010

      Hi, Judy -

       

      Those scars from growing up with such parents are the hardest to heal. So long as my mother was alive - except at the very end, in her nineties, when she could finally express love and receive it - I couldn't get out of the no-win trap I was in with her.

       

      Thank God you've learned to stand up for yourself and avoid repeating the past....

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hi, Judy -

       

      Those scars from growing up with such parents are the hardest to heal. So long as my mother was alive - except at the very end, in her nineties, when she could finally express love and receive it - I couldn't get out of the no-win trap I was in with her.

       

      Thank God you've learned to stand up for yourself and avoid repeating the past. You must have been very strong as a child to hold onto an inner integrity in the face of emotional and physical assault. I've encountered three suicides of kids - two of them only twelve - who could only blame themselves and escape through self-destruction. Worse than tragic.

       

      My best to you - John

  • Donna-1
    Jun. 19, 2010

    Thank you John for your honesty.

     

    I honestly doubt my husband was ever depressed.  He was too narcissistic to be depressed and too busy thinking up new ways to make me miserable.  He was like shifting sand -- I never knew if I was on solid ground or a sinkhole.

     

    I don't hate him now like I did when we were married.  And for a while...

    RHMLucky777

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    Thank you John for your honesty.

     

    I honestly doubt my husband was ever depressed.  He was too narcissistic to be depressed and too busy thinking up new ways to make me miserable.  He was like shifting sand -- I never knew if I was on solid ground or a sinkhole.

     

    I don't hate him now like I did when we were married.  And for a while it felt like it was all my fault, e.g., What did I do to deserve this?  But I never want to see him again and would prefer never to think of him again.  I still cannot forgive him for the mental and physical torture and my divorce was final 14 yrs ago.  Maybe some day.

     

    Donna

    • John Folk-Williams
      Jun. 23, 2010

      Hi, Donna -

       

      Forgiveness would be good for you, I think, because it can free you from looking back and the anger that can only tear into you. But it's always been hard for me to forgive - which I know has to be free of strings - when there is absolutely no reciprocal remorse and only continued abuse from the other person.

       

      What I've been able to...

      RHMLucky777

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      Hi, Donna -

       

      Forgiveness would be good for you, I think, because it can free you from looking back and the anger that can only tear into you. But it's always been hard for me to forgive - which I know has to be free of strings - when there is absolutely no reciprocal remorse and only continued abuse from the other person.

       

      What I've been able to do - and it's been essential to my recovery from depression - has been to relax about the past, stop obsessing about it and face the reality that it was what it was and is beyond changing. I might feel a little momentary regret but nothing of the anguish and self-torment I used to feel. That change is the closest I've come to forgiving others who were part of disastrous events and who never could change.

       

      John

    • Donna-1
      Jun. 23, 2010

      Thank you.  I agree.

  • define depression
    Jun. 19, 2010

    thanks John,

    you are so spot on here,

    I fled 700km to protect my children and myself (leaving a business I built over 10 Years).

    The abusers won't let up they eat away at you until you question every thought and action of your own.

    The most important is to protect, keep yourself and your children safe.

    There is no off button for their rage and eventually you...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    thanks John,

    you are so spot on here,

    I fled 700km to protect my children and myself (leaving a business I built over 10 Years).

    The abusers won't let up they eat away at you until you question every thought and action of your own.

    The most important is to protect, keep yourself and your children safe.

    There is no off button for their rage and eventually you and who ever is caught in the cross fire will be hurt emotionally and physically .

    On one occasion My mum was beaten by this abuser while I held my child (Baby) tight trying to protect her, this event alone has left scars in all our minds.

    Get out and protect yourself.

    Depression can be treated, when you are dealing with what feeds it.

    Abusers can be treated short term but they will resort back to being controlling and confidently using every trick in the book to bring you down.

    How much is your life worth to your children your family and most importantly yourself?

    I am a survivor, I am mostly Confident and Happy, We can recover from this abuse and the quicker we get out the quicker we recover.

    seek guidance

     

    • John Folk-Williams
      Jun. 23, 2010

      It's a great testimony to your resilience and courage that you were able to get free of such extreme abuse - and survive it with your personal integrity - scarred as it must be. I haven't been in your position, but abusive tactics in childhood turned my sense of who I was inside out, and it took years and years to get past that.

       

      I wish you all the best...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      It's a great testimony to your resilience and courage that you were able to get free of such extreme abuse - and survive it with your personal integrity - scarred as it must be. I haven't been in your position, but abusive tactics in childhood turned my sense of who I was inside out, and it took years and years to get past that.

       

      I wish you all the best - and I hope you'll keep us posted on how you're doing.

       

       

      John

    • define depression
      Jun. 25, 2010

      thanks John,

       

      some days you just feel damaged

       

      other days you feel overwhelmed with pride your children are happy and you survived.