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Do you believe that you are responsible 100% for the state of your marriage? What percent is your husband responsible for? Marriage is a give and take, you can't make the marriage better by yourself, he has to do some work too.
 

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I don’t think my husband is a narcissist or a bad man. He only treats me this way. He is very involved with his friends and church. He is empathetic towards others. Not me. He is a good parent when he parents. He goes out of his way to help others. I don’t receive the same treatment as others because I’m a bad wife. I watched the videos and I read a website with 50 signs of narcissism many were answered yes. He is only like that with me though. He has a lot of friends and is well liked. He is well liked in our church. He is completely different around other people or when we are in public. It’s my fault for letting it happen. I read about gas lighting and parts of that read familiar.
Narcissists are nearly always well liked by their friends and extended family. They have a public face, and then a private one for their immediate family.

Your husband is a garden variety narcissist. This problem isn't going to get better, unless you stop the "I'm such a bad person", stop putting your husband on a pedestal, and recognize who causes all the contention in your relationship.

But if you don't believe me, buy a couple voice activated recorders. Record your interactions with your husband for a few weeks, and then take them to a therapist of your choosing. See what they say.
 

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If he is mentally abusive how can I be married to him and not realize?
I think you do realize,seeing all you've posted here and the acceptance of all the negatives of yourself that he has you believing. What do you think that the people that you say he treats well,and seem to hold him in high regard,would say or think if they knew how he treated you? It's also very telling of your real opinion of him when you say in your post that you don't want your young son to be like him.

I feel terrible about the situation you're in,but even more so for the skewed view you have of yourself. If you were doing and saying the same things to him as he has to you,then what would you honestly think of yourself? If you had him believing he was a bad husband and lousy father without really caring about how he was affected,then what kind of person would you be? Look at him the same way that you would look at yourself in those situations.

Hope you find some peace,truly.
 

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I don’t think my husband is a narcissist or a bad man. He only treats me this way. He is very involved with his friends and church. He is empathetic towards others. Not me. He is a good parent when he parents. He goes out of his way to help others. I don’t receive the same treatment as others because I’m a bad wife. I watched the videos and I read a website with 50 signs of narcissism many were answered yes. He is only like that with me though. He has a lot of friends and is well liked. He is well liked in our church. He is completely different around other people or when we are in public.
Of course, he interacts with everyone else differently. That is classic in abuse. Abusers usually only abuse their wife and they only do it in the privacy of their own home. Or at least when no one outside the immediate family can see them.
Does he treat you much better when you are at church and/or out in public? Or does he put you down in front of everyone at church?
It’s my fault for letting it happen. I read about gas lighting and parts of that read familiar.
I it’s said that it’s your fault for letting it happen, what is meant is that you have a lot of power if you would only use it. You are only responsible for your own actions.

You do not make him mistreat you. You have no respopnslibty for him treating you badly. He learned it from watching his father mistreat his mother. And now he has chosen to treat you that way. He is 100% responsible for his actions.
Our church does do marital counselling. It might help. The man is the head of the family and he has authority over the wife but I know he isn’t treating me the way he should. It isn’t supposed to take away my equality or be a dictator. Even on the Islam side men are the head of the household and the wife obeys her husband but the husband treats his wife with affection, courtesy and mercy not be a dictator. Whichever he is using he’s doing it wrong. I know that. He has to know that too. The link with the 10 commandments of a husband and father. My husband doesn’t do any of those except the first and last maybe. Going to our church and talking could help with that. I can ask about antidepressants and maybe it will help my husband understand that they are okay. My husband said he would go with me.
Yes, seek out counseling at your church. The Catholic Church also has programs and retreats for married couples. That would help as well.
Through elementary and high school all that was taught about sex was to wait until marriage or no man will want you, pictures of STD’s, oral sex is disgusting, anal sex is forbidden, and sex is to create children and pleasure is a bonus. My family didn’t talk about sex. I still have a chastity card that I signed 18 years ago. I completely stopped believing in a god in high school but all of that stuck. My husband and I waited until we were married to even kiss. Our first kiss at our wedding was our first kiss. Going from being told that sex is bad and not to do it, to getting the green light and expected to have a great sex life was hard. It’s still hard. Hopefully that’s okay to say.
I’ve known a lot of Catholic girls who went to Catholic high school. I don’t think their schools’ taught sex ed the way you experienced. Catholics don’t normally teach that sex is bad. Is more of sex is great but wait till marriage. When I married, we had a session with our Bishop. He told us that in marriage whatever you do sexually is good. After all there are sections of the Bible that sort of read like a porn story. I thought that the Canadian Catholics were far more liberal than even the US Catholics.
The birth control situation is what it is. That isn’t going to change. IUD’s are abortifacients. Conception can still take place but implantation cannot occur. Copper IUD’s kill sperm which isn’t allow either. The only allowed method is natural family planning. Nothing can be done to prevent pregnancy aside from abstaining on fertile days. Which our church allows but doesn’t recommend. Withdrawal method isn’t allowed. All sexual pleasure must end with the man having an orgasm in the vagina. Sex is essential to marriage. We can’t abstain long term. I need my husband to get on board with NFP.
Well, you have had a lot of children thus far. And you have been lucky that you have not had any really bad pregnancies. The more pregnancies you have, the more likely you are to have a hard pregnancies. My mom had two bad pregnancies in which the babies were still born. After that she had to pregnancies that ended with c-sections. She almost died in both of them. In the old days, when women used to have an average of 8 pregnancies in their lifetime, 25% of women died in child birth. I’m really not trying to scare you. Instead I’m pointing out that you are physically and mentally exhausted. If you got pregnant in your current condition, it would be a very bad thing. Talk to your doctor about this.
I’ve done things to prevent pregnancy. I shouldn’t even say that. No one knows. My husband would never forgive me. I deliberately lied and hid it. It makes me feel horrible and like I’m living a lie. It’s hard because my husband’s beliefs are not my beliefs but at the same time they are in a way. I know certain things are not true but they feel brainwashed in to the point that I don’t know what I think anymore.
And with your depression, mental/physical exhaustion, I’m sure that you didn’t have the energy to contemplate these things you feel brainwashed of. A priest told me once that a good Catholic is not someone who just believes what they are told by the Church. A good Catholic questions everything and seeks out the truth, challenges the status quo and arrives at the truth… even if the truth differs. Most of the Saint are people who when through this sort of struggle. Now you don’t have to go off to a cave for 10 years for this. But you really should have time and energy in your life to deal with the things that you feel brainwashed about.

God never meant for women to just be baby factories and house maids. Your current life is not allow you time to really live.
Our marriage dynamic closely resembles the dynamic that my MIL and FIL have. That’s why I don’t know if I can get the dynamic to change.
I’m not surprised it resembles the family your husband grew up it. I sort of figured that was the case. This is usually a learned behavior. You could be the person who leads your husband to change. It would be a great gift not only for your husband, but for your children. Like you said, your 4.5 year old is already acting like his father. That’s very sad. If you will not find your power and influence in your marriage for yourself, find it for your son and the other children.
Should my husband be as attracted to me now as he was before we had children? Or is the husband losing attraction part of marriage? My last pregnancy did the most to my body. I got pregnant at 2 months postpartum and my body didn’t have any time to heal before starting over again.
Yes, your husband should be attracted to you now even after the years and the children. It should be a more mature attraction based on love. You are the mother of his children. You have given him what no other woman has given him.
Do we read those books together? “Love Busters” and “His Needs, Her Needs”. I am going to look more into the groups through our church. I bought the routine cards and ordered the chore bundle. Thank you for that recommendation. I don’t like labelling my kids. My 4.5 year old has been my most difficult child. It could be from him modelling my husband. I don’t want that.
You should read the “Why does he do that book.” For yourself. That’s not for him to read but for you so you understand the dynamic of why he’s being controlling and abusive. I can help you learn how to deal with him and what you need to do.

The books “Love Busters” and “His Needs, Her Needs” are first for you. Read them in that order, “Love Busters” first. What I suggest is that you read them first and do the work they say to do. The idea is that you will learn a lot and grow a lot as a wife. Then you can ask him to read them with you and do the work together.

Is he really so bad that I need to be planning on how to leave him or be safe around him? He has never hurt anyone. I can’t come to terms with the idea that my husband could be abusive. He doesn’t ever put his hands on me. If he is mentally abusive how can I be married to him and not realize? Is their any hope for our marriage to get better? I don’t want a divorce. I won’t do that. I would never even threaten divorce. But if he’s going to be abusive what else am I supposed to do.
It is very normal for a woman who is married to a verbally/mentally abusive man and not realize it for a long time. Usually the woman does not realize it until she reaches the point you are at… the point where she is seriously depressed and has lost herself identity. Women make excuses to cover what their abusers do because it helps them pretend that everything is ok… until they get to the point you are at now.
You are still making excuses for him on this thread. That’s ok because you need to contemplate all this. It will take you time to fully own the realization that he’s abusive and you have zero responsibility for his actions.
Only you can decide if it ever gets to the point where you have to leave him. But I do believe that things are bad enough that you need to think about the things in that plan I posted for you.
Do you actually think he could be having an affair? That terrifies me. We have only been with each other and he wouldn’t do that. Can he really have the beliefs that he has and have an affair? I’m the only one who should experience my husband. He is supposed to be mine. I have never gone through his things. I would never think to go through his garbage. I have never had a reason to think I needed to invade his privacy and not trust him.
There idea is to “Trust but verify.” There should be no privacy in marriage. The way I’ve heard it put is that in marriage, privacy means that you can close the door when you go to the bathroom. Everything else is open to both of you.

You are as one, so anything that one of you has is as though you both have it. So, you should be able to open his mail, see his phone

If he’s having an affair that makes me look even worse. I’m that bad that I could have pushed him to have an affair. Something he is completely against.
What? Why would it make you look bad if he decides to do something so horrible as have an affair? Why would you think you would have pushed him to have an affair?

Did you grow up in a family that mad you feel guilty for everything? Your self deprecation is so deep that it’s rather astonishing. You really need counseling so that you learn to understand your own worth and power.

I feel bad talking poorly about my marriage. I shouldn’t be doing anything that I need to hide from my husband. I just want my marriage to be better.
You have the right to talk honestly about your marriage and to get input that you can use to better your situation. In order to get help, you have to tell the truth, even when the truth is hard to tell.
 

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He has really damaged you. Maybe you can’t see that from the inside looking out. It is so sad to hear you talk about yourself like this.

He does not appear to love and cherish you.

Tell us when is the last time you felt cherished?

Is it ok for him to not follow bible principals but you have to even though you don’t believe in God?

Which brings me to my next question, if YOU don’t believe in God, why do YOU have to follow bible rules in regard to medical decisions on your own body? I would have an IUD put in tomorrow. Or take the pill or whatever concteption (if any) you would feel is ok to use. The IUD is great because there is no pills or prescriptions to be discovered, and you are covered for like 5-7 years.

Ultimately though I am hearing that you are not willing to change the core problems, mostly out of fear, self degradation, and imposed rules. Without changing those things, you will just remain in this awful situation (which will got worse) until you give up and leave. If you want to save this marriage, I would start tweaking these problems, or else one day you will just be fed up and leave completely, and never look back.
 

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It is YOUR body and you should feel allowed to decide about your own body!!

No church should be allowed to control you that way!

That’s not right... they live to control you.

And yes, I was raised Catholic. But I have a mind and thoughts of my own about what I do with my own body.

God gave you a brain, right? Use it as you wish!
 

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He's being unreasonable and his religious beliefs are damaging you and your relationship. He will never change. You need to find a safe place for yourself and your kids and get out of this relationship, even if you love him (although I don't understand how you can love someone who treats yo like this). Ring the numbers and ask for help.
 

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One comment on the anti-depressants. If someone is in a terrible situation, which I think is the case for the OP, its normal to be very unhappy. I think the correct approach there is to find a way to escape the situation. I think antidepressants are appropriate for someone who is depressed, without clear external cause.
Depression and external cause can be very linked. Antidepressants can be a very helpful tool to deal with the lethargy (not quite strong enough word to describe it, but all I have right now) that makes change even harder than usual. When the "external cause" has PPD as part of the scenario, they can be VERY helpful.
 

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Having been in a similar situation, I found that using antidepressants helps. They help a person by removing the mental anguish and allowing a person to thing straight.

If the OP has postpartum depression, then the situation itself is not the only problem causing depression. It's a real medical condition.
For some reason, when an "external" thing causes a physical ailment like getting hit with a bat causing a broken limb, people don't think that is not a "real medical condition". But when external factors cause depression, the stigma is that the person in question just needs to put on their big girl/boy panties and get 'er done. I say this not to be critical of any poster(s) who commented this way but to indicate to the OP that depression is a) totally normal and b) something that can be helped if not cured.

Otherwise, situational depression is very real and can be debilitating. With antidepressants a person can more easily handle the problems. And once their life is in order, they can discontinue the meds.
What she said.
 

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He has really damaged you. Maybe you can’t see that from the inside looking out. It is so sad to hear you talk about yourself like this.

He does not appear to love and cherish you.

Tell us when is the last time you felt cherished?

Is it ok for him to not follow bible principals but you have to even though you don’t believe in God?

Which brings me to my next question, if YOU don’t believe in God, why do YOU have to follow bible rules in regard to medical decisions on your own body? I would have an IUD put in tomorrow. Or take the pill or whatever concteption (if any) you would feel is ok to use. The IUD is great because there is no pills or prescriptions to be discovered, and you are covered for like 5-7 years.
With regard to discovery, the little hanging bit CAN be felt sometimes. Just throwing that out there.

Ultimately though I am hearing that you are not willing to change the core problems, mostly out of fear, self degradation, and imposed rules. Without changing those things, you will just remain in this awful situation (which will got worse) until you give up and leave. If you want to save this marriage, I would start tweaking these problems, or else one day you will just be fed up and leave completely, and never look back.
Yes.
 

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I don’t think my husband is a narcissist or a bad man. He only treats me this way. He is very involved with his friends and church. He is empathetic towards others. Not me. He is a good parent when he parents. He goes out of his way to help others. I don’t receive the same treatment as others because I’m a bad wife. I watched the videos and I read a website with 50 signs of narcissism many were answered yes.
Narcism is the new pop diagnosis that people who like to be arm chair psychs. What I have bolded above is classic abuser tactic. Look, no one wakes up in the morning thinking, I am going to abuse my spouse today! THEY believe their victim is **** because they need to. For whatever compulsion drives an abuser, this is a key way of thinking they are correct. Their spouse deserves the treatment that they are given.

There is no amount of housekeeping, parenting effort that you can do to "prove" your worth as a wife to him. Because finding fault with you is part of his own mental issues... around self esteem? Inadequacy? Who knows. That is between him and whatever counselor he ultimately does not get because abusers very, very rarely admit to themselves that THEY have a problem.


He is only like that with me though. He has a lot of friends and is well liked. He is well liked in our church. He is completely different around other people or when we are in public. It’s my fault for letting it happen. I read about gas lighting and parts of that read familiar.

Our church does do marital counselling. It might help. The man is the head of the family and he has authority over the wife but I know he isn’t treating me the way he should.
I am not sure it is important at this point. But why do you cede to HIS religious beliefs if they are not yours?

It isn’t supposed to take away my equality or be a dictator. Even on the Islam side men are the head of the household and the wife obeys her husband but the husband treats his wife with affection, courtesy and mercy not be a dictator. Whichever he is using he’s doing it wrong. I know that. He has to know that too.
He does not "have" to know that. His actions are not primarily driven by logic or by belief. He is cherry picking his belief to support his mental actions.

The link with the 10 commandments of a husband and father. My husband doesn’t do any of those except the first and last maybe. Going to our church and talking could help with that. I can ask about antidepressants and maybe it will help my husband understand that they are okay. My husband said he would go with me.

My husband thinks discussing our sex life with absolutely anyone is unacceptable. It is private and between him and I. It makes it hard because sex isn’t really talked about and we stopped talking about it years ago.
Handy for him, isn't it?

Through elementary and high school all that was taught about sex was to wait until marriage or no man will want you, pictures of STD’s, oral sex is disgusting, anal sex is forbidden, and sex is to create children and pleasure is a bonus. My family didn’t talk about sex. I still have a chastity card that I signed 18 years ago. I completely stopped believing in a god in high school but all of that stuck. My husband and I waited until we were married to even kiss. Our first kiss at our wedding was our first kiss. Going from being told that sex is bad and not to do it, to getting the green light and expected to have a great sex life was hard. It’s still hard. Hopefully that’s okay to say.
YES it is OK to say what is on your mind. YES it is ok to have your own feelings. Many of us TOTALLY understand this paragraph.

The birth control situation is what it is. That isn’t going to change. IUD’s are abortifacients. Conception can still take place but implantation cannot occur. Copper IUD’s kill sperm which isn’t allow either. The only allowed method is natural family planning. Nothing can be done to prevent pregnancy aside from abstaining on fertile days. Which our church allows but doesn’t recommend. Withdrawal method isn’t allowed. All sexual pleasure must end with the man having an orgasm in the vagina. Sex is essential to marriage. We can’t abstain long term. I need my husband to get on board with NFP.
Not sure what weird Catholic sect this is, but it is not the Roman Catholic that I was raised with.

I’ve done things to prevent pregnancy. I shouldn’t even say that. No one knows. My husband would never forgive me. I deliberately lied and hid it. It makes me feel horrible and like I’m living a lie. It’s hard because my husband’s beliefs are not my beliefs but at the same time they are in a way. I know certain things are not true but they feel brainwashed in to the point that I don’t know what I think anymore.
Personally I would be chewing Plan B pills like they were candy and hiding it for all I am worth. The next time you wonder about gaslighting, be clear that not only is it occuring, it is working. You don't know what to think anymore.

Our marriage dynamic closely resembles the dynamic that my MIL and FIL have. That’s why I don’t know if I can get the dynamic to change.

Should my husband be as attracted to me now as he was before we had children? Or is the husband losing attraction part of marriage? My last pregnancy did the most to my body. I got pregnant at 2 months postpartum and my body didn’t have any time to heal before starting over again.
Your husband is a monster for doing this to you. A MONSTER. I can't even read any more. I wish you the best.
 

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OK, I am just popping in again to tell you that my heart goes out to you. I don't usually offer this for privacy reasons, but if you want to send me a pm, you are welcome to. I understand spiritual abuse pretty well.

I confess, I was also catching up to see if anyone was still ridiculous enough to try to justify anything at all that your husband is doing. Thank goodness no one is that stupid.
 

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OP: Is your husband really doing his fair share of the work? If you look at the total hours he spends working and commuting, how does it compare with the total hours you spend taking care of the house and kids?

Another issue - you can't keep having unprotected sex and having children. It will destroy you physically, and it will use all your time and energy - not to mention just the financial issues. If you can't have a reasonable discussion with your husband about this, that is another very bad sign for the marriage. Do other women in the church have so many children? You have to find a way that is acceptable to your religion to not keep getting pregnant.

We only see what you post, we can't know everything that is going on, but I think its clear that most people here think you are being treated extremely badly. This is not what a normal loving marriage is like.
 

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Good gravy, I can't even unpack the level of ****ty-ness your husband is. The fact that your first inclination is to believe you're the reason for your poor marriage is evidence of that.

He's absolutely wrong on so many things... exercise and weight, mental health, etc.

He doesn't help you, does his own thing, yet still expects an unreasonably high standard.

Christ, stand up for yourself. Stop blaming everything on yourself. Talk to someone. It's your life, not his, take control over it. Find a counselor, and tell him to go to hell when he objects.
 

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The name you call yourself is a huge lie you have bought in to. So I refuse to use it!

So "Totally adequate and awesome mother and wife" please pay extra attention to all of EleGirl's very wise posts and info. She is giving you exactly what you need to hear right now. You don't recognize what is going on in your marriage because you have bought into all of the lies and crap your husband has been telling you. I hope soon you will refuse to buy in to them any more!

I only have one more thing I want to address - You say that you have gained weight since having children in spite of the fact that you eat very little during the day. I think you wrote that you eat only one small meal a day - is that correct? Eating too few calories will actually sabotage loosing weight efforts because it puts your body into "starvation mode". In "starvation mode" - the body tries to protect itself and conserve energy by slowing down your metabolism which if it goes on long enough, it can actually result in "metabolic damage". You are probably eating way too few calories for your needs - and then add on top of that - you are also trying to nurse 3 children. Honey - you are literally killing yourself. It is no wonder that you have no energy - and are buying your husbands lies. You are probably not thinking clearly either. Not only are you getting emotionally and verbally abused by your husband - but your body is being abused by not getting enough nutrients to keep it healthy and strong. Your body is probably NOT getting the nutrients it needs to LIVE - let alone not enough to be physically and mentally healthy.

Please, for your sake and for the sake of your children - start eating regular, healthy meals immediately! You may put on some weight at first, but don't let that stop you from feeding your body what it needs. Then later, if you can, add some form of light to moderate intensity exercise to your day. Walking and some light weight lifting exercises would be great. In addition - only continue to nurse the baby - and wean the other two.

When you eat - choose your food carefully. Your goal should be to GAIN health not lose weight. Your body needs quality protein, lots of colorful fresh vegetables and fruits, and also healthy fats (they are a necessity for good health). Choose food as close to nature as possible. Stay away from processed foods as much as possible, stay away from sugar and processed flour foods. Choose whole grains and fresh natural foods instead. For example - eat an orange instead of drinking orange juice - a colorful salad with grilled chicken and olive oil dressing instead of processed chicken nuggets dipped in low calorie ranch dressing - drink water instead of diet sodas Etc.

I think if you do the above - and start to pay more attention to your body's health needs, including your mental health needs (address depression issues) - down the road, you will find the way your body looks and how you feel about it and yourself - and also your energy levels - will all greatly improve.

Good Luck, Totally adequate and awesome mother and wife! I hope someday soon you will actually believe this truthful label instead of the lie your husband has gotten you to believe.
 

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Your husband is abusive. He has convinced you that you are inferior. Frankly, he needs to be met at the door with the locks changed and a sherriffs order to begin paying you support, while he goes looking for someone else to abuse. If you were my daughter, I would be coming over regularly to give your hubby a swift kick in the nads. That is what he needs. Not more housework, not knocking you up again and again, not a hot meal waiting for "massa" to grace the castle with his nobless oblige, nope, a kick in the nuts with a hobnail boot, or a visit from Lorena Bobbitt. Stand up for yourself. Any further remarks, and make him stand in the corner like a petulant five year old. PS, Let him know that you are going to tell everyone at church that he abuses you. Watch his image take a nosedive.
 

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IW, Read @EleGirl's post #84 -- PLEASE read that in depth, and understand it. The "religion" you are being told about is NOT the Catholic religion (I am Catholic). It is being tailored to supress and abuse you -- the WORST kind of religious BS.

Read about the religious vocation of marriage. Read about the religious vocation of being a husband/father and a wife/mother. Read about a wife being subservient to her husband -- it DOES NOT MEAN to be a slave, never contradicting, not being your own person, etc.. PLEASE do this for yourself -- your depression is adding to these negative thoughts and not wanting to do anything -- please get that treated by a MEDICAL doctor, not a priest. Please be aware that you are being brainwashed by your husband to a large extent and that he is manipulating you.
 

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Not sure the OP is still around, but here's my 2 cents.
All the complements here toward you, and all the insults at your husband here, are not solving your problem.
It's like page after page of fluff to me.
Drugs for depression are short term. You need to find your place in this world.
You need to find meaning. Read up how to improve your mental state, and focus on YOU.
Sounds like you love your husband, find some time to look at yourself introspectively. Don't aim at your husband.
That won't help anything.
 
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