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Anxiety over husband coming home...

Community Member

I have been with my husband for 20 years and we have two children together. He has always been volatile and has mood swings, suffers from PTSD ect. I have always been the forgiving, placating one that says sorry and wants to stop the arguments and his sometimes silent treatment. Lately after all this time of good and bad, ups and downs I feel that I can't do it anymore. I get extreme anxiety when he comes home from work, I work later myself so I don't have to come home. When I hear his car coming up the driveway I feel scared, I don't know what mood he will be in. I have to stop being myself and start pretending. I am walking on eggshells when around him and often say the wrong thing, which causes him to get angry. He has let me know that he will be having a day off and instead of being happy for him I feel angry as he has ruined my plans that I have made with my work, I will have to postpone them because he gets angry if I have something to do when he is free.

I feel that I am slipping into depression, can't cope and overeating is my way of coping. I am overweight, which just gives him another way to put me down.

I know that I am not perfect and I am sure that he has just as many complaints about me but I just don't know what to do. I am powerless as I don't want to talk to him about how I feel, don't want to have a marriage breakdown, put my children through hell... I am just stuck

He works hard and I do love him but it is not right that I am feeling this way. All I want to do is sleep and do my own thing, the less I interact with others the better as I feel I am a failure and just don't want to get into an argument with him.

Any advice would be appreciated, thankyou

10 Replies 10

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Julie_81~

Welcome here, it is a friendly and understanding place, and lots will relate to what you are going though - it is no way to be. Being forced to avoid home is terrible and a symptom things are very much astray.

I've seen it from the other side of the fence, with PTSD, anxiety and bouts of depression. This made things incredibly hard for my wife. To start off with she thought that part of the reason I was bad tempered, resentful and self-absorbed was because of her. Complete rubbish of course. I wasnot always that way, and I could see how I was behaving and when able tried to make up for it. Things got better.

It took medical treatment, meds, therapy, GPs and Psychiatrists, but I improved out of sight. Can I ask if your husband is undergoing treatment?

Having said all that I think that you are the one that needs looking after at the moment. To walk on eggshells all your life and have all that anger directed at you is simply not right. When we care about someone we try our hardest to make their life better, but it has to be a two way street. You are not a bottomless well of strength and hope, everyone has needs. From the sound of it your husband is not trying, but instead controlling.

You said you do not want to talk to him, however if you do not do something I have the feeling things will only get worse and your ability to cope become less and less. One of the real downsides of this sort of situation is that it does breed quite unjustified but powerful feelings of failure. It can go on to the extent that you become ill, and you are showing all the signs of stress at the moment.

All along you have been supporting him, may I ask what support you have? My wife had her mum all the time, which made a huge difference.

With some people one can talk, or write, and make them understand. Do you think in the right circumstances that might be a possibility here? Couples counseling might be a first consideration too.

I would really like it if you came back and talked more, we do care


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear Julie

Hello and welcome. I am sad that you are going through this trouble and uncertainty.

I felt you were telling my story. My ex was very controlling and believed his wants and wishes were paramount. I feel he never thought of me as an equal partner, just someone to look after his needs. We had four children which meant I could not work outside the home. However I found a job just before my youngest started school.

That was my salvation. I shudder to think what my life would have been if I had been the stay at home mom. I did achieve things that were important to me but even then he would say it was because he helped. I completed a uni degree part time as I was working full time. His response when I graduated was that his name should have been on the certificate because of all the work he had done. In fact it was very little. Occasionally I would ask him to proof read something but then he started to tell me what to write and when I pointed out his comments did not fit the assignment brief he told me not to ask for advice if I was not going to take it.

I think many people change the real point of a conversation, as he did, to make it appear they have done the right thing. This is so hard to fight against. I put up with it for 30 years and wish I had left ten years earlier. My self confidence had gone, I thought I was stupid and the only reason this did not stop me leaving were the people at work who let me know I had something to offer.

My children had all left home by then and were living their own lives when I decided I had enough.

I left and have lived on my own ever since. On the whole it has been a good life although I did fall into a huge depression. Even that has made me a different and stronger person. I cope with it, mostly, and have friends I like and activities I enjoy and which I feel are worthwhile. It's a good life but I am lonely at times.

Is this better than staying with the ex? Well I can never know for certain but I believe so.

Sorry to detail parts of my life. I want you to know you are not alone. If you believe it's time to leave then start to make preparations and do not rush off.

Unlike Croix it sounds like your husband does not try to be well. There is a limit to supporting anyone who simply lets their problem affect anyone they live with. If he tried, got some professional help and talked to you, both of you could have worked on his well being. If he will not acknowledge he needs help I do not see your life improving.


Community Member

I understand your situation and hope that by now it is maybe better for you. Been with my partner for 30 years and have 2 teen children. I've had anxiety over him coming home from for about 15 years. He was unpredictable and verbally abusive to me and the kids, I'd no idea it was unacceptable/abusive behaviour at the time. I made excuses for his behaviour, his stressful, unsatisfying job, lack of sleep, drinking too much. I used to finish work and not go straight home- too anxious to go home, not knowing what mood he would be in. Sometimes he was absolutely loving and caring. That is what keeps me here. Other times he would be cold, hostile and silent, giving one word answers. Been contemplating leaving for a few years now but there never seems to be a good time. I will cope financially but not sure I can cope emotionally- even when he is mean to me, it seems to make me want to hold onto him more - crazy right? The kids both hate him as he has made our whole home feel uncomfortable, unrelenting high standards, explosive episodes when expectations were not met, unknown things would trigger him -we would be stonewalled and ignored. I can see him trying to get better as he wants our relationship to work and has often told me (and shown) that he loves me. He slowed down his drinking about a year ago, and is doing small things to work on his patience and curb the verbal assaults. I work from home now and still feel a sense of dread when that time comes around and I know he will be home soon. We have tried to work on our relationship but the history of hurt has been very hard for me to overcome. I absolutely understand the feeling of "stuckness". You are NOT a failure. I also understand the fear of speaking up about this. It is difficult to find your voice when it has been taken from you for so long. I've been to therapy to rebuild my self esteem, clearn about acceptable/healthy behavioiur, set boundaries, explore my valueand standards. Been doing lots of reading, listening to podcasts. It is exhausting and pushed me out of my comfort zone, have made some progress but not there yet.  Even as I write, he is giving me cold shoulder, being cold/unfriendly, but I am holding onto hope for his 'good persona' to come back. I hope you have found some peace and have been able to move forward since your post. 


Welcome to the forums and thank you for sharing this here. We’re really sorry to hear what you and your kids have been dealing with. 

It sounds like you've taken some amazing steps with therapy, and finding books and podcasts to help you to move forward. It sounds like it can be really difficult to get support with this, so please know that it could be useful to have a chat with one of the lovely people at 1800Respect to discuss how you’re been treated. They're on 1800 737 732, or you can reach them on online chat, here. As you mention, in a healthy relationship, you should be communicated with and treated with respect, and you deserve to feel peaceful and happy in your home. It might be worth having a look at the 1800Respect pages on healthy relationships.

It sounds like it's really having an impact on how you're feeling day to day, so please know that there’s always someone here for you to talk it through with. The Beyond Blue counsellors are available 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or online, here. It's really important to be kind to yourself through this, so there's some tips for practicing self-care here.

We did want to just let you know that since this thread is a couple of years old, it might take a bit of time for the community to spot your post. IF you wanted to start a thread of your own on this topic, please feel welcome. There are some tips on doing so here.

Thanks again for posting here. It must have taken a lot of strength to share this but you never know who will read this post and feel less alone in their own experience.

Kind regards,

Sophie M

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello MAGK, when you have been married for 30 years, there are few expectations, only excitement as well as annoyances and if you are still worried about your partner, even though he has cut down on his drinking, doesn't mean that when everything seems to be OK, that he won't increase his alcohol intake once again.

Unpredictable partners/spouses are not easy to live with, especially if major problems have occurred before.

Therapy is good for you to help you gain strength, however, if your partner is unable to change their attitude or behaviour then you are always under pressure.

I often say kids are happier in 2 happy households and not unhappy in one and if you can cope financially then you should consider yourself to be one step ahead, the idea is to make yourself and the kids to feel at peace, relaxed and happy to come home everyday and be able to do exactly what they are allowed to do without any unresponsible comments by your partner.


Life Member.


I have goosebumps reading your post.

This is everyday for me, I try to avoid coming home, I also see the good & bad side of our relationship. I feel sad that my kids have been driven away by the tension in the house & I cant provide them have a peaceful home.

I dream of being happy to come home & feel like its a sanctuary. Also hope my kids will come to a peaceful home.

I feel like I wont cope if I left, and will be alone. Even though this is best solution for peace I crave.

Finally I recognise the patterns and spending more time on myself to do something different & aim for my sanctuary.

Community Member

Hello Julie_81😀

Thank you for making the effort to ask for help as it is the start for you. It seems you have made that first step, it may seem a long road but I have been on that road. My marriage ended in divorce 25 years ago, I suffered too like you around my husband and know so well of crackling of egg shells.  I was a size 14 and by the time my our only child was aged 16, I was a size 20. I moved away to the coast when she went off to university and now I am a size 14, had my first relationship in 2019 after being single for 25 years.  I did not go on a diet. I just simply used the word 'discipline' in my mind. I no longer bought butter, pasta, sugar etc and recently gave up tea and coffee. I feel so much still, calmer. I walk everyday but have a day when I just relax or do some gardening. Carrying the weight that I had size 20, I felt so much lighter and happier plus old friends and relatives marvel at my new appearance. I still suffer from bouts of depression and seeing Relationship Australia in early January to help me with some communication problems with my daughter. I am still better off now I don't have that weight to carry as it was just another burden to carry. Best of wishes on your road to finding yourself again. HelloGail. 

Tiredkeeptrying and hellogail

thanks for sharing your stories honestly and sharing personal insights.


sounds like me you have a plan mine will take a long time with small steps. 

I can relate to being anxious and not feeling my home is a safe peaceful place. I also know there are good times but am aware the  controlling critical  and stressful  times will return.


Hello Gail,

I am glad you have found a peaceful and healthy way of life.


HelloGail, its reassuring to know there is a peaceful life after this type of relationship.

Sometimes I feel like this is all I know now and each day with drama becomes normal. I am worried about how I will cope & strong enough to stay away.