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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 sharon hill, Community Member, asks

Q: My husband left 3 weeks ago, is very depressed, blames and despises me - what can I do?

Hi I have been reading a lot of the posts regarding depressed partners. My husband left our family home, me & our 4yr daughter nearly 3 weeks ago. He has been diagnosed with depression for some time but only recently (2 weeks ago) agreed to start taking anti-depressants, it seems that these haven't yet had any effect. His has been to counselling on and off and if anything this seems to have hardened his extreme way of looking at life. In his mind I am the sole cause of his depression, my behaviour has been "monstruous" for the past 5 yrs and he cannot forgive me. I am no saint, I have lost my temper, got frustrated, I can be bossy too but I am not the evil witch he believes me to be. I have never felt so despised and hated in my life. We are talking (sort of) as he is seeing our daughter, but nothing I say is right, I'm either "too frivolous" or being accused of blackmailing him. What I am to do? Just waiting seems so useless and the practical reality of being apart is taking us down the path of separation regardless. Any advice would be appreciated.

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Answers (6)
Merely Me, Health Guide
9/15/09 3:16pm

Hi Sharon


This is a really tough situation to be in.  And especially because you have a child who most likely is not going to understand any of this.  I think it is very important that you do convery to your daughter that both you and your husband love her very much and that what is going on...is not her fault.  Children sometimes have a way of internalizing things because they don't understand.


Your relationship with your husband...it does seem from what you are telling us...that it is at a pivitol point where it may break.  Two weeks is not enough time for an antidepressant to work but then again...a pill is not going to solve the problems within your marraige. 


I guess my question to you is...do you want to make this work?  But too it takes two and he may not be willing to give it another try.  But...what would you do to compromise or...show a willingness to work on your couple issues?  What changes do you both want to see in how you relate to one another? 


Would he be accepting of you both going to marraige counseling?  I have heard mixed reviews of this type of help...some people say it does help and others say it just confirms that a separation is inevitable.


You need to take care of your daughter and her needs and also your needs during this stressful time.  Think about what you will do if he does wish to leave the marriage. 


I wish you the best of luck.  I know this must be one of the hardest times in your life right now.  Keep us updated.  I am sorry you are going through this.

Smomdukes, Community Member
9/15/09 3:23pm

Hi Sharon, my heart is heavy for you and for what you are going through.  I am not a doctor, a pchologist or marriage counsol, but if I were in your shoes, the best advice that I would give is just to "Be still".  Give him space, and time.  He needs this.  Be patient, I know it is probably the hardest thing to do, but slience is "golden"  Maybe some of the others have something more tooffer, but this is just me take.


psychoward1, Community Member
9/16/09 5:25pm

My thoughts are that you should get involved with a family counselor so that all of your feelings can be brought out on the table. The child is very vulnerable to both of your actions and you need to setup boundaries with a counselor as to how to handle the situation. Too many people emotionally abuse their children without even realizing what they are doing. 


Leave the communication lines open. Always let your husband know that you are there to listen and support him. Let him know what you appreciate about him every time you connect even if its thru your daughter.



LJ, Community Member
10/18/09 12:58pm

I am in a similar situation as regards being blamed for my partner's depression and being forced into a separation as a result.  Like your husband's, my partner's worldview has become extreme and rigid and angry. He has been diagnosed with depression and prescribed medication before (which he took briefly. he also had childhood and teenage episodes). But with this current depression he claims he never had depression EVER (even his youth episodes) and that the problem has always been me and our relationship. Yet since "getting rid of" me, he is more depressed than ever and suffering greatly and wonders why.  I've never seen him so angry or confused in his life (13 year relationship).


He does not at this time want couples counseling, because he feels paralyzed and like he can't talk in front of me, though I am the only person still, in fact, that he speaks about his feelings with at all.  (He calls and sees me regularly to do so.) He has decided to use a limited amount of exercise for self-help. If he does seek therapy, I think he will only talk about what's wrong with me and why he decided to stay with me because it seems suddenly very important to him not to acknowledge his lifelong struggle with depression right now. It is all very weird as he openly dealt and acknowledged his troubles in the past and we worked through problems together. I think he has gotten more ill over time from not seeking treatment or doing any self-care.


I think it is hard to predict whether therapy will help your husband or not and whether or not it will hurt your relationship.  I've been to therapy too, and though I'm not a practicing Christian, I've noticed that only Christian counseling seems to believe in marriage preservation.  Other types of therapy seem to encourage people to adopt band-aid fixes ("you need to only take care of you right now") that cause families to fall apart in the interim. If I had "only taken care of me" as often as therapists told me to (and used it as an excuse to isolate), I would have no family, friends, or relationships left right now.  I am not a Codependent Giver either. I'm a realist.  I believe families and societies are interconnected and that's good. (This is a point of view more supported in Asian countries right now than in America.)

Theverybravest, Community Member
10/18/09 8:29pm

Depression of one partner is sometimes very difficult on the other partner .Wow .thats not a revelation EXCEPT the partner who isnt depressed honestly cannot understand depression as a real illness ! "Get over it" is a common answer from one person to another . Imagine a person who has a leg 3 inchs shorter than the other  and you tell them try to stop limping :IE "grow the short leg longer" ! Impossible , but sometime the obvious isnt so obvious .

        As we get older we have certin personality traits we seem unable to change , but, its easier than growing a leg 3inchs longer . Maybe if you made a list, written down of the specific problems with you ,your husband needs to see changes in ....they might be changable . Only the ones that are easy is the first place to start . Additionally  when the medication starts to take effect he will also change . Anexiety , fear , depression  are all hinged upon one another so as things change, so will its preception of the person who is depressed .Time , understand and support  is key .

starshine, Community Member
2/27/10 3:05am

hi sharon tr he way you spouse is thinking is his depression talking, was he ever in  therapy? has he learned any skills to communicate with you , it is sad but this is not the real him when we are depressed and we cant self talk it down, we need support from an outside source, it would have been good if you both could have d gone to therapy and would be able to tell the difference between depression taking over and what is true and real i know i suffer from depression and can talk to it and try to get a grip on what is really happening. it takes more than pills to deal with depression, it takes more than one involved to support this person therapy truly helps, with medication, and how you react to the behaviour involved, screaming, acting out will not help youu must take care of yourself as well . i am alone my life partner to be passed away 5 years ago I am not a person to be vexed and participate in confrontation, I had so much love and now it is gone but i am learning to to like myself i refuse to go into relationship until i have a better grip on this monster called depression, i dont want that baggage to follow me into a new life. sometimes separation is good but just leaving without the spouse left behind know where the other is makes the situation sicker, i am sorry you feel so down but try to take care of yourself and children

I hope he returns and you can work it out with medical assistance. peace, starshine

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By sharon hill, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/26/10, First Published: 09/15/09