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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

Not sure if I'm unwittingly destroying my marriage or if my wife is! I do know that at least half of the time I am completely stressed-out by her.

For the past year I have been working in a very abusive job with long hours that went late into the night. It was so abusive that I had to get police escorts to my car after one guy threatened to shoot me (I was a manager in a unionized environment, and I was the new guy)! I also quit smoking permanently and took on all the responsibility of financially providing for my wife and I (no kids) because she only worked part-time for minimum wage.

In the past year I put on 50 lbs, lost hair on the back of my head, stopped hanging around with friends and have had no energy or desire to even go for a walk. I no longer want sex. My wife is beautiful but I have no sex drive whatsoever and find excuses to avoid having sex with her. My doctor put me on anti-anxiety pills but I no longer have benefits to pay for them. They didn't change much anyways.

I used to be an adventurous, fun-loving independent guy who cooked his own meals and always kept my apartment clean. One thing my wife loved about me is the fact that I could take care of myself. I was confident and happy and genuinely loved life and spent the first two years of our courtship romancing her. I am nothing like that person now.

Then there's my wife. She nags and criticizes me constantly. If I do the dishes I didn't do them well enough. If I don't do them then, well, I get in trouble for not doing them. When I open mail I leave everything in a pile on the corner of the desk to sort and file on my weekend. That gets me in trouble and she'll sort and move everything god-knows-where and then give me trouble for not remembering a certain bill or important deadline that came in the mail.

I did laundry a few weeks ago and didn't use the dryer; instead I hung everything up to dry. That got me into trouble for being inconsiderate. I did laundry last night and to be considerate I put the clothes in the dryer. That got me in trouble for using electricity. The list goes on. I'm jumping from one foot to the other and trying not to break any eggs along the way.

I recently quit that hellish job (and someone left a note on my car the day I left that said they hoped I die) and my wife and I moved to a new city. We did this for a job opportunity for her. Now she's working and I'm not but nothing has changed. I cleaned the entire house yesterday and cooked dinner, and drove her to work and picked her up again, but today she's arguing with me that she has to do everything around the house because I would be "..happy living surrounded by garbage." (Not true: she knows damn well that I clean, do laundry, cook but also do more manly things like fix door and walls and keep the car running fine).

I have no family here (they are 2000 miles away) and no friends, but neither does she. We only have each other, and instead of helping each other our marriage is falling apart with constant bickering.

Am I killing our marriage? Is she?
 

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Yes.

That was the short answer.

Here is the long answer. When you live for long periods of time under great stress the body tends to shut down. You are kind of in a post traumatic funk, the lethargy the follows after an adrenalin spike... Make sense?

Your wife doesn't seem to understand/know about/respond to the high state of anxiety you've lived under and her criticism and negativity is keeping you in a shut down state.

I like that you have recognized and listed how you "used" to be because that's your goal...to get that back.

1. Sleep. make sure you get enough sleep every night.
2. Fresh air. get outside every day. Either go for a walk and do outside chores, but get moving every day for at least 20 minutes.

Those two strategies allow your mentally fogged brain to both rest and heal. It won't happen over night but you should start feeling short periods of "like your old self again" pretty soon. Focus on those two and once they are consistent move on to learning about putting a stop to saboteurs, such as your wife. Don't try to deal with her until you are getting stronger and feeling a few periods of emotional control in any given day.

Dealing with your wife... Does she realize, have you told her, how this makes you feel? Have you told her you are trying to get healthy and her negativity and lack of support need to stop. have you explained to her what you need from her, in terms of support? Do you know what you need from her?
"I don't want to hear criticisms and negative comments. Keep it to yourself. I'm trying to get healthy again and I need your support."

If she doesn't respect your request, you may need to consider moving back to a home town where you DO have support, without her.

Mental health, like physical health, is not something we should take for granted. While at the same time no one wants to play nurse maid to a spouse for extended periods, we all get sick from time to time and if a spouse can't alter things in order to promote health, maybe we didn't make the right choice to marry them?

Your brain has taken a beating over the last year, you need time and support to heal. I am positive you will heal, but you may have to make some tough decisions in order to get there.

I advise you to get into therapy. You sound like an excellent candidate for good progress in a short period of time. Medication, maybe it wasn't the right one for you, the strength want right, but no doctor should proscribe psychotropic medication without therapy! man, I'm getting tired of seeing this happening!
 
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Thanks Anon. Your reply does make sense and I will take your advice seriously.

To answer your questions, she is aware of the stress I've been under, often getting angry at some aspect of my work in my defence.

I have told her how her constant criticizing makes me feel, and what I need from her, but she instantly became defensive, accused me of all the wrongs in her life and then wouldn't talk to me for two days. This has happened on a few occasions. In fact after an argument she'll completely cut me off from any affection or even talk to me for a couple of days, until I apologize profusely.

When arguments do occur and she levels absurd accusations against me ("You NEVER close the bread bag! You're a horrible person!") I have started to walk away. This has only led to even more extended periods of stonewalling and silence.

Lately I lay in bed in the morning pretending to be asleep until she leaves for work, and then make sure I'm not there when she comes home (I hang out in a park or just sit in my car around the block for a couple of hours). This helps me get through the day so I don't have a constant nagging monkey on my shoulder.

She didn't use to be like this. Only two years ago she was sweet and kind and supportive. Before we married I never saw this side of her (otherwise I would have ran for the hills).
 

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Yikes, poor guy. This sounds like bait and switch gone horribly wrong!

Since you didn't see this side of her before you got married, it may not be BPD because that stuff just doesn't take a holiday. Unless you met your wife and two weeks later got married...

Listen, you seem like a decent enough guy, obviously you've got some back bone to have taken that management job in the first place. So why are you allowing her to chase you from your home? I get that after all you've been through the last thing you want is to deal with more conflict, but running from her isn't getting you anywhere, except out at the park and while the reason you're there is crappy, being there itself isn't so bad. Back to the point. So what if your wife wants to tell you what a lousy person you are cause you wrapped the bread wrong. Tell her to get over herself! It's your home too, right?

I should admit that waaay back when I was first married I'm sure I said some stupid things to my husband, making him feel like an idiot because he didn't fold the towels the right way. But if he hadn't stood up for himself, by telling me to calm the eff down over something so stupid, I might still be picking on those stupid things. (BTW, he still doesn't fold the towels right but I have a complicated system!)

The point is, by not calling her out on hurtful and nasty comments, you are teaching her that it is okay to make them. And she will not only continue to make them, she may get even worse. Next time she makes a comment about not closing the bread bag, take the bread out of the bag, lay each piece on the counter top, then take plastic wrap and wrap each piece, right in front of her! Do something grossly over stated, then laugh and tell her how absurd it is to argue over something like that. When she pouts for days... LET HER! Not until you show her that A, you're not going to be treated like a little boy scolded by Mommy. And B, that her sulks and pouts won't cause you to beg for forgiveness, you will have begun teaching her how to treat a husband!

She's taught you very well how to pamper a princess, now teach her how to keep a husband!
 

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...seriously...BPD doesn't take holidays.

...one of the common dysfunctional R/S patterns is avoidance/aggression.

...so, maybe you're coming out of a depression and not being as assertive as you once were.
...and your wife is chasing you in a hostile fashion.
...so you're avoiding her more.

...it would be wise to take care of yourself.
...it would also be wise to talk to her about what's going on in your life in a calm, nonjudgemental manner - see - nonviolent communication. Mastering the Mysteries of Love is a free marital communication course that is offered through many churches and I'll say that it even helps demonstrably insane people.
...and figure out what she's feeling.
...and, honestly, even if it is really, really hard...please assert yourself instead of hiding under the covers. Marriages survive aggression far better than passivity. If you have issues with boundaries - Boundaries, by Townsend, is pretty handy.

--Argyle
 

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I feel your pain.

I used to have friends. I used to get out of the house and do things.

Then is started to become a fear to go home. I knew somewhere I would do something wrong in her eyes. For a long time I felt that I was the problem. She was stressed because of me. Now I have started to realize that I don't have much of anything to do in her mind except being the evil guy who took her away from her family.

I don't get much sleep anymore, her either, usually because she throws fits until midnight or later. She complains we go to bed to early.

Like your wife, she will complain at one thing and when you improve, something else is wrong.

My wife has ruined our marriage, and I can clearly see that now. I just catered to it and let it happen. I told her how I felt, and as you may suspect, she said it was my fault and I was hurting HER.

It has got worse and worse. Last night she grabbed a bottle of pain meds and tried to swallow them. I can't be with someone so unstable. I just hate myself for not realizing it sooner.

I can't really give you advice because it looks like my marriage is over. Just be careful.
 

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Leo, I can answer the part of depression. For me when I was injured in the line of duty, I was out of work for nine months. In that time I packed on 40lbs of garbage. On a 5' 8'' frame not good. I also turned 40, in my family some would argue "mid-life." In that time I drank heavily. I quit that crap behavior, but I continued to use prescription pain meds, can't exist without them.
In using pain meds, there is a correlation of low T-count. I was tired, run down, moody, irritable. Every emotion you could think of. I finally had enough and told the doc. Long and short and lo and behold "Low Testosterone." I started to work out heavily, running, throwing the iron around and so on. The doctor also wanted to try T-shots to help. I declined and went natural. In retrospect, I should have.
I guess I'm attempting to answer your question. Can depression come in the middle. "Yes," it can. Is there something you can do to improve your marriage, "Absolutely." You have to want to. For me in the end it didn't matter. The other matter "BPD" I don't have much experience, but did wiki the disorder, all I can say is "WOW," that sounds like it could be rough. Good luck to you.
 
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