Wednesday, July 20, 2016

When Both Partners Struggle With Mental Wellness

Lately I've been having a hard time keeping my thoughts straight.

Let me give you some background. I have a history of depression and I fear it's rearing its ugly head again. I've been battling doctors for six years to find a diagnosis for my health issues. Instead, I just hear the same tired phrases over and over: "Lose weight and you'll feel better" and "Exercise more and eat less." Blood tests come back inconclusive because my issues keep evolving. I know for certain that I can not live like this anymore, so I am having a hysterectomy consultation at age 37. This prospect elevates the tension in my already anxious and paranoid brain. In the meantime, I've learned to advocate for my daughter, who suffers from autoimmune disorders - multiple disorders - which exacerbate her depression.

My husband and I have struggled throughout our seventeen-year relationship; our problems are only getting worse. major factor is his relationship with a former female co-worker.  In the past, he ignored me when they worked together. If I texted or called while he was at work, he never responded. After he came home from work, he talked about their lunch together and jokes they made to each other. When she texted him, he became instantly defensive towards me.

It had been six months since the last text from her. Then, BAM!, as I was texting his friend at his request, a message from her appeared! I kept my calm and didn't react initially. He continued to text her and his friend for an hour in front of me. The next day as we discussed my upcoming surgery, I said, "My biggest fear is that you'll cheat on me." OMG, he flipped out. He cursed, and then yelled at me, "You're just going to hide in your shell now." I decided to give him the silent treatment immediately! The following night he belittled and cursed at me again. I said, "It's funny how you can disrespect me and curse at me, but the one time I say a curse word to you, it's not okay. I'm done and I'm going to give it right back to you this time." I stood up for myself and walked away. He tried to be nice at bedtime, but I kept my silence.

Why do I keep putting up with this? Because there are more reasons to stay than there are to leave. Honestly, I don't want a divorce and I don't want to be another statistic. I want our marriage to succeed. Yes, he can be a monster at times, but I thank the military for that. I believe he still cares for me; he just cannot control his rage due to his PTSD and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). I can see his tender side and the remorse he feels after our fights though. I am an empath, so how does an empath leave someone who is injured and hurting? Also, I have noticed some positive change in his rages. These little things keep me hanging on.

I will continue down this path, while working towards my career goals and making wonderful memories with my kids. However, I will not put up with his disrespect any longer. I will stand up for myself and my children. I will also start "putting him in his place" when it comes to hurtful things he says or does. Like he's told me many times, how does he know what is offensive to me if I don't tell him? Except for joy and anger, I'm very good at hiding my emotions from him. I will continue to work on expressing my emotions as he works on thinking before speaking.

The struggle continues...

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