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Drained from the spouse's moods

Community Member

Hi all,

I've just joined this site. I decided to just post something as I do feel I would benefit from hearing from others. After my loveless marriage of 19 yrs ended I was single for abou 4 yrs then reconnected with an old friend. We got together, dated for about a year and a half and now married for 3.5 yrs. He was my Mr Wonderful. A month into marriage I was completely caught unawares. I saw another side, a dark side, a mean side. Our vows, principles that we had agreed on before in regards to relationships all went out the door. I knew he had had PTSD but the following 2 yrs took its toll. I won't go into all that. He really had an epiphany of his own last year after he asked me to leave that maybe his thinking wasn't correct. He contacted a psych and psych confirmed he still had PTSD plus his heavy alcohol consumption were not a good mix. Anyways about a year ago he threw the alcohol away and started to seek counselling, again. ( had seen 2 psychs previous in the first 2 yrs) plus we started seeing marriage counsellor earlier this year but haven't been in a while. I noticed more recently he has returned to a more consistent place of being in bad moods. If I ask him how he is or if he is in one, he gets defensive. the first couple of years were really difficult with his emotional/verbal abuse (stonewalling and passive/aggresive behaviour) but I forgave him and we moved on. But I'm tired of bearing the brunt of his moods. He's not as bad cause he's not drinking but the angst is still there. If I just try to move towards him, I get coldness and he speaks rudely to me. We haven't quarelled or anything I just get the bad end of the stick and it's happening more regularly. The other week he called my daughter a name and I told him to not speak about my daughter like that, his response was to call her something worse. He has acknowledged pain/resentment that he has, unfortunately, we wear it. You can't talk to him when he's in it, there is no point and when he's out of it and in a good place, I don't want to bring it up cause he's like "what are you talking about" as if it never happened. His values change when he's in a mood. I'm a spiritual person who thinks on and reads spiritual type stuff, I seek kindness, compassion, goodness. It's taxing on my self cause he's just a bundle of negative energy. I've tried to show kindness and I don't react but I don't want to be looked at with disdain for no reason and spoken to rudely.

9 Replies 9

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear Livedivine

Welcome to the forum and thank you for telling us your story. I am sorry you are in such a hard place with all the frustrations and pain it causes.

I appreciate your dilemma about not being able to talk to your husband when he is in a bad mood and his lack of response when in a good mood. Tricky. When you say he sees a psych do you mean psychologist or psychiatrist? I ask because I wonder if he takes any medication which a psychologist cannot prescribe. I'm not a fan of medication although I take an antidepressant. It can be helpful in many circumstances but of course it is up to the treating doctor to determine this.

Your husband sound like he is in a very confusing place and as a result you are also confused about what is happening. Perhaps he will be better off in therapy with a psychiatrist. If he is already seeing a psychiatrist it's great. It's also a positive step that he no longer drinks. That can be a hard habit to kick and I applaud him for keeping to this decision.

Have you considered getting some counselling? I ask as you are so obviously distressed and it may help to talk it over with someone. For example, when should you speak to your husband about his interactions with you. What sort of conversation should this be. How to tell your husband his abuse is not acceptable.

You say his therapist confirms he still has PTSD. Is there a possibility of another illness as well? I have no idea if this likely and all his behaviours may be due to this horrible illness.

It is hard when you offer whatever help is needed and you are ignored. It has been going on for some time now and you are clearly becoming deeply distressed. Have you thought about leaving? I know it's not what you would want but there are times when we need to put our own health and safety first. Just a thought you may want to consider.

I feel I have not made suggestions that will be helpful but I want you to know you can write on here in safety. I think others will be along to add their comments.


Hi Mary,

Thank you for responding. Yes he has seen both in the past when in the depths of his PTSD. He has been on antidepressants long term. Though after his epiphany a year ago we went back to the psych who tweaked his meds. He still needs to go and see the other (sorry forgotten which is which) for follow up with his mental illness, not medication. Which I reminded him of recently but due to finances back in June he didn't end up doing it but he is aware that he needs to. During the first couple of years I ended up seeing the counsellors and a psych that he was originally meant to see. I found them helpful for that period. After that we separated for a time last year when he asked me to leave. After he had his epiphany that the problem could be with him he then sought out immediate phone time with a psych who confirmed the types of things he was experiencing was still the PTSD, explaining that there can be ongoing illness with PTSD. So yes, i came back to him because he promised and did do all the right things in getter better. However a psych also said after we got back together he believes my husband still suffers depression so there will be those bouts. I have thought about leaving. I think mainly because after being in a 19 yr loveless marriage and with my age I came to a point that I won't just put up with living in a place of unhappiness. I care too much about myself now to do that. however, I do love my husband and I see the wonderfulness in him that is there and that he can exhibit. However I know many a woman who holds on because of that. As women we tend to hold onto that. But I've also said I'm at peace more when he's not around, as in he goes to the country sometimes to help with family. I feel relieved of stress. I guess I need to make sure he does follow up with seeing someone. I believe for his own sake and his own life its time he needs to actually get help in facing his inner pain. He wouldn't allow psychs to go near it, in the last few years. It's deep but it's the cause of his distress and the distress he puts on me. I believe. Oh in answer to your other question, no other illness other than the PTSD has been stated though it was hinted at by someone but I don't remember now and like I said he needs to see someone, I'm sure they probably might identify something else unless it's all a part of the PTSD.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Livedivine

Sounds like you're both living with a great degree of stress, which can definitely take a toll mentally, physically and spiritually and I really feel for you. With your husband's moods getting worse, it sounds like he's so fed up with himself.

During my years in depression, my husband put up with a fair bit in the way of my sadness, lethargy, anger, loveless attitude, mood swings, control issues and so on and so on. We did split briefly in the early stages, with depression being like 'a 3rd person' in the relationship. With me having been free from depression for a number of years now, I still remain grateful to my husband in regard to his endurance, patience and love. Like you, he's a true champion. Livedivine, it's definitely asking a lot to have someone stay with you when you suffer from mental dis-ease. Of course, there is only so much we can give which makes the thought of leaving completely understandable.

It is tempting to feel partly responsible for helping someone through such issues, although in reality we can't take responsibility for the battle in another person's head. Asking your husband to take responsibility is not unreasonable. If he revisits the psychological assistance that worked previously, this might make all the difference. Also, as we age or as circumstances change, a medication that worked at one point may no longer continue to work. Addressing the medication may also make some difference, in righting the chemistry.

As a fellow traveler on the path of enlightenment, I wish to recommend a book to you, 'Becoming Supernatural' by Joe Dispenza. To date, it is one of the most liberating and enlightening books I've ever read (and I've read a lot). He provides a whole different take on the mind/body/spirit thing, in the form of neuroscience, epigenetics and energy. Although a bit of a long read, it is a very easy read believe it or not in regard to the topics mentioned. It will not only help you make sense of what your husband is going through, it will also give you a view into the incredible power you possess on a variety of levels. In summary, I would label it as 'An instruction manual for life'. It is a bit like entering into 'a rabbit hole' though, triggering a thirst for more knowledge. I'm now obsessed with the work of Dr Bruce Lipton (amazing guy). Knowing how we tick really is so incredibly important in this current world of wonder and stress.

Take care of yourself Livedivine. Sending positive vibes your way!

Thank you so much. It is nice to hear from someone who has been through the depression themselves. So you're speaking from the other side, so to speak. I feel from you, understanding, objectivity and peace. Thank you for being you. Also thank you so much for the book recommendation. I've read so much and currently have two books on the go. lol. anyways will definitely look at it. I don't think these coincidences happen by chance so I take your recommendation to heart.

Thank you again.

Community Member
Now I feel awful. My hubby just got home after a few days away. I admit I'm on edge because I think being around him day to day stresses me out, not knowing what he's going to be like. Anyways we arrived home pretty much same time. And he tried to help me with something, but then was condescending. I said "don't start' cause he looked at me condescendingly and said "women drivers". thing is with him this is how his moods are expressed, a little bit of a put down here and there. Anger always needs an outlet. He was obviously taken back and then he said "and here I am thinking I have the issues". I explained to him, that i don't want to be condescended upon. The thing is, this is it. Now there's tension. I made a decision on the way home that I was going to pick him up on things he said to me that wasn't right. So I'm on 'alert'. Maybe I did overreact???. But here I am facing, either I could've worn it like I usually do and had a good weekend with him depending on his moods or I stand up for myself and push back just a little and now put up with stressful, tense ongoing days. I followed him just after and I said "look all I'm asking is that you be mindful, that you come across condescending, I don't want to be condescended upon". and I said it calmly. he just said "ok" without looking at me. Obviously frustrated. Now I'm left feeling bad. I'll have to put up with this horrible knot in my stomach, when there's tension between us. He's not used to me saying anything most of the time so his nose is out of joint and he'll be thinking why does he have to 'put up with this shit'. (sorry that's his language) because I've just now made him accountable. And I'm questioning myself. ahhhhh... I'm trying to be more assertive but to fix this discomfort normally I will go to him to try make it better. Very rarely if ever does he, me.

Hi Livedivine

As mothers, we are automatically programed to feel guilt (I am smiling).

I like to see guilt as a positive in my life, although easier said than done at times. I try seeing guilt as a signpost of consciousness. It is basically asking me who I want to be, which path I want to take. So which path do you want to take LD? Do you want to be someone who accepts the words of others without question or someone who responds to them when you feel there is a need? Neither is an easy path to take. I imagine, feeling bad is just you questioning whether you have chosen the best path. The great thing about committing to the path of clear communication is - we are free to develop skills as we go along.

By the way, that knot in the stomach is calling for courage. Be true to yourself and work that energy out, it is longing to flow. Remember, when courage flows to the heart and keeps on going we become free to find our voice, a voice which reflects self-love.

Take care of yourself

Hello Livedivine

I think therising has put it very well. In some ways I can understand you as I eventually left my husband because of put downs such as the one you wrote about. I'm not sure that our respective situations are the same but I think with enough similarities for me to get what you are saying. I also acknowledge that two similar events are not the same so I am not presuming I get it all.

Your previous marriage will colour how you think and act now I feel. I have been asked if I want to have a new man in my life but the thought is not good. I did not become depressed until a year after we separated. I'm told that was the honeymoon period after separation before I rejoined the real world. Well it was definitely a shock to the system.

So what to do now? I know how much we want to stay and help a spouse and this was true in my case. My ex had a dreadful upbringing with an incredibly abusive mother. He has never said much but his sister has filled me in on some episodes. Sickening. So I felt guilty about wanting to leave once the children had made their own homes but I found it worse to be alone with him. I know that knot in the stomach and the urge to make peace at any price, which I always did.

I suppose when he got physically abusive or gave me the silent treatment I knew it was time to go but it still took many years to leave. By the way the physical abuse was not constant but even once is too many times. The question I asked myself was "When is enough, enough?" The answer is different for everyone. I stayed for 30 years and realised afterwards I had lost all my self confidence.

This reply seems to be about me not you which is not what I intended. I think, overall, I am trying to say you are the only one who can decide. Getting your husband back to his therapist and possibly reviewing his meds is a good start. Your decision to remind him when he makes sarcastic or condescending remarks I think is a good start. I expect he will be defensive at first but when you show him you care for him despite these comments he may start rethinking his words.

The hardest part will be to get him to realise you are not attacking him in any way and that you deserve respect as much as him.


Thank you. Yes i do feel that call for courage. All youve said is spot on. Thanks again.

Thank you Mary. Not a problem you talking about yourself i like hearing others stories. Ive been fortunate that theres never been physical abuse. However the emotional side is torturous for me. Particularly the first couple years. It was a shock witnessing a completely different personality. A vast difference from the person i fell in love with and married. The stonewalling for weeks on end and the manipulation. Then... overnight return to my Mr Wonderful. Being tossed to and fro cause you try and respond correctly and adjust internally to cope then suddenly switch and try and be open to this person who has just walked over you. Very difficult those first two yrs and with the heavy drinking it was horrible. But this past yr has been alot better but the last few mths there is more time in his sullen phase. Something he claims to have no awareness of.

All i can do is stand now for the honoring of myself. Become consistent in confronting lack of resoect. Again its not like weve fought or anything. Im just consistent and easy going person. Its difficult experiencing the changes and not being able to talk about it with him. Well im tired of trying. Its useless. He knows what he needs to do. Im not going to keep trying to attend to him asking if hes ok. It doesnt go well. So atm hes avoiding me. We are civil but hes staying in his room all the time. Or going out for long periods of time. But if i used this as evidence he would deny it. So im letting go i think. He doesnt have the ability to keep things in a healthy way between us i dont think. Its too much to be responsible to a wife that wants more than he can be.