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Feels like im drowning

Community Member
Hi everyone,

My partner and I have been together for 16 years. We had a baby young, and our issues started then. We have always pushed through our issues, we never resolve anything and just move on.
We bought a house together 8 years ago, and then shortly after he started having issues with his back. His back causes him ALOT of pain, which makes him angry. Door slamming, yelling, and swearing are common our house. Our house is falling apart, and his back is always the reason things don't get done. Our huge yard is out of control and his family has offered to help clean it up, but he refuses.
When approached about the house, he tells me that he needs me to help get it all done. But I am overwhelmed with working full time, doing all the cooking and the cleaning. When I explain that to him, he says he is trying to help around the house, but the most he can do is feeding the pets because everything else hurts his back. Im left feeling like an unappreciated maid.
Ive been sleeping in the lounge for months. We have had some huge fights, and some things have been said that make me feel lower than ever. He has told me that im a bad person, that im lazy and that he regrets telling people that im supportive partner. Its also become clear that he is holding onto a night from 14 years ago when we were drunken kids, I broke up with him and was with someone else. We got back together a couple weeks later, but its still being brought up 14 years later.
We both have depression and anxiety which is hard. I know Im not blameless in is. When things get hard, I put walls up and shut down to protect myself.
I made the decision a couple weeks ago to move out and rent for 6 months. I suggested counselling months ago but was told that if I wanted it, I would have to pay for it. I have the support of my family and have signed the lease already. Its going down with him like a tonne of bricks. I've asked him to please let us trial it so we can try and heal ourselves. But he said if I leave, I won't be able to come back.
I can't sleep, I cant eat. Im always shaking and close to hyperventilating. I feel so guilty, like I'm abandoning him. He needs help too but I just can't give that to him. Im terrified that Im making a huge mistake and breaking our family up. Im trying to get help. Ive seen my GP and started a mental health plan and I've made an appointment for myself with Relationships Australia. I love him so much and im heart broken but I also cant go on like this.

24 Replies 24

Community Member

Hi Miss Mel

I wish my soon-to-be ex was as wise as you!

From what you have shared, I would say that you are doing all the right things. When someone like yourself admits and acknowledges that they are not "blameless", then the blame most likely lies elsewhere.

I can understand your husband's frustration with a bad back; I have lived with the condition for 40 years. I cannot stand for more than 5-10 minutes at any one time, but I did not let it defeat me. I did not use my condition as an excuse to wreck the house or to abuse those around me. I worked full time; when at home I devoted all of my efforts to the renovation all four houses that we lived in. My point is, a bad back is no excuse for your husband's behaviour.

If you want to save the marriage I would suggest that couples counselling will be required. You can't move forward if you husband can't or is unwilling to let go of the past. My soon-to-be ex also had problems letting go of the past; she dramatized every minor, petty, childish little issue that I had long forgotten about.

A short break might be what you need; but that is a decision that you will have to make. The health care plan and RA are a good start.

Please stay in touch, if you are up to it.


Community Member
Hi Paul,

Thanks for replying to me. I know I have a great support system, but I feel alone and reading through the forum has helped me alot.

I just wish he would try and help himself with his back. He never does his physio and only focuses on pain killers and drugs to help. Both of which have caused so many problems in the bedroom.

Im hoping once he sees that im trying counselling, he will want to try too. So far all he is worried about is money and the possibility of losing our house. He said that if I go, he probably can't afford to keep it and he will have nowhere to live. Which makes me feel incredibly guilty. I have no idea if this is true or not though, after 16 years I still have no idea how much he earns. I asked once, the response was "enough".

He feels like he has been trying and that im running away from my problems. But I feel like I've given this everything I have over the years. Every discussion turns into a tit for tat argument. Feels like im stuck on a round-a-bout going around and around and im out of fuel.

Community Champion
Community Champion

hi and welcome to beyond blue.

Mr Paul response is good on a number of levels. While I had back issues once, I cannot really comment on that.

It sounds like you have been carrying much of the load in and around the house, supporting your husband as much you can. The breakup of a 16 year marriage would also be great loss. Even if you were only supporting your husband that can have an effect on you as well. Now... everything seems to have come to a crunch? Your reaction to what is happening is normal as you try to determine a way forward.

At the end of day the only person you can change is you, not the other person (your husband in this case). His anger might be frustration of what he cannot do anymore, and directs that at you. This is still not justified.

You are also taking positive action as well - talking with your GP, family, etc. Talking to relationship australia is another positive step. Hopefully, you will be able to find a way to move forward.

I hope you come back and share more of your story. I will listen if you want to chat some more.

Peace to you,


Community Member

Hi Mel

For what it's worth, I think you have made the right decision. Someone has to step up and address the root cause of a problem that has probably been festering for some time. That someone appears to be you.

I don't think that you have anything to feel guilty about; you sound like a very reasonable and responsible person. From what you have said, you are not walking away from your family or your husband; you are simply looking for some space while you and yours work through some difficult problems. From my perspective, that is a refreshing change from the abuse I am getting from my soon-to-be ex of 30+ years.

Like you, I have found this forum to be very helpful. This forum helps to put my own problems into perspective.

I hope it all works out for you and yours!


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Oh dear MissMel, huge hugs. This situation sounds so difficult, more hugs.

You are doing so well. Organising a rental and organising counselling at the same time as everything else is amazing. Without trying to play a blame game....

The thing that stood out to me from your last post is that your H hasn't told you what he earns? Like EVER?
This is a red flag.

The yelling, swearing and abuse is another red flag. Crazy that his back is fine to do that.

Smoking drugs is a red flag. That costs money besides being illegal.

H not attending to physio is another red flag. It's his choice not to, but should keep all complaining about it to himself if he won't.

Not accepting help with the house and garden maintenance is one thing. Putting it on you to do that with him is a red flag. He doesn't care about the house anyway, so if it's lost then so be it. He just cares about controlling you.

Calling you those names (when he knows it absolutely isn't true) is a red flag. He is projecting how he feels about himself AND trying to get a reaction.

Repeatedly bringing up a night when you were TEENAGERS is woah a red flag. (I bet he does this when he hasn't been able to get the reaction from you that he wants ie crying, apologising etc. He resorts to this one).

There is a pattern of abuse here and without going into the different areas of abuse, the whole thing is wrought with emotional and psychological abuse. I am sorry if this is a new concept for you to process, 1800RESPECT is a fantastic helpline to call. The DV hotline is probably more tailored right now.

Abusers ramp up the abuse if they sense they are losing control over you. Now is a potentially dangerous time ie leaving, so please do whatever you need to, to keep yourself and the children safe.

There is hope for your relationship, so getting all the help you can muster will only help you so everything in your life is improved.

It'd be great for H to spend some time with himself.
Your focus for now is on you and the children "Oxygen mask on self first".

Sending you love and support.


No wonder your anxiety is sky rocketing. You are definitely doing the right thing leaving, just so you can BREATHE, sleep, do some things in peace.


There is a pat




Hi Tim,

Thanks for replying to me.

I have always carried the load in our home. But now he is expecting me to paint the walls and lay down the flooring. We had a burst pipe in our bathroom that destroyed the hallway, linen cupboard and bathroom and we put in an insurance claim. We spent a year showering in a pop up tent in the backyard because he kept putting off the phone calls he had to make to get the bathroom done. When he finally did, the insurance company paid us a decent amount to replace all the destroyed belongings and I have no idea where that money went. I had to replace everything from my pocket. And to this day, we have no flooring down, just concrete. There is a pile of floor planks sitting in the corner just waiting to put down. Again family have offered to help but he declines.

He recently inherited a decent sum of money from his grandmother but he refuses to spend it on the house, as that money is "special". My smaller inheritance from my grandfather was used to cover the costs of having a baby on one wage, and I never thought twice about it.

Ive always just wanted things to be fair and equal, we're meant to be partners after all. But I'm drained and I feel like a shell of a person.

Thanks for listening,


Community Member
Hi Em,

Thanks for the reply.

Having my family has been life saving. My parents have helped me buy a car as I didn't have my own, and they have supplied my son and I with furniture as the only things from here I can take (because it's all I own) is the washing machine and the vacuum.

If any of this was happening to someone else, I would be screaming at them to see the red flags, but it can be so hard to see them when you live in it.

But I'm also not naive, his anger can be scary and since I've been on the lounge room floor (where I belong apparently), I've kept protection very close by.

He isn't a bad person though, he just needs help. As do I. I'm just hoping he can see that.

Mel xx

Hey MissMel, this is Sophie from the moderation team here. We are sorry to hear things have been so difficult recently. We can't imagine the amount of stress and self-doubt you must be feeling in your relationship. We want you to know that our community is here to provide you with as much support, advice and conversation as you need. Our Support Service is trying to reach out to you via email as we are worried about you.
We hope you know that there is always help available to you, whether it's from our professional mental health counsellors Beyond Blue (available 24/7/365 on 1300 22 4636) or our friends at Lifeline (13 11 14).   Many of our members have felt similar and will be able to talk through these feelings with you.  If you would like to post further, please tell us more about what's on your mind and how we can best help you get through this tough period.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Dear MissMel

I'm so glad you have your family! That's so awesome they are helping you at this difficult time. They sound great.

You'll get through this.

All the things you've learnt in this relationship have made you very resourceful. Keep drawing on any supports in the community you can. Now is the time you need support, people will really want to be there for you and your son. There are community organisations / churches in many places that can give you free furniture etc. I have a list as long as my arm. If any others can help by making calls on your behalf, then that would help.

Oh darling girl. No you don't deserve to sleep on the floor. In your new home you will have a nice, warm, safe place to rest at night. That is what you deserve. Big hugs.

I am so sorry for what you've been through and are still going through.

If you register your separation with Centrelink then this will help. It may help you financially too. See how you feel. A Centrelink Social Worker may have an up to date list of supports in your local area too. There are lots of supports but it can be so tiresome phoning all the time.

The situation you described about the insurance money being taken by H and not used to fix the bathroom, and consequently you having to pay for it all, is in the lines of financial abuse.

If the mortgage is in both your names, you may have to get some legal advice re: payment of mortgage in your absence. You can contact the bank and ask questions. If you have any loans, credit cards etc in joint names then you may be able to dissolve these or separate them, esp with H history of financial abuse and making you pay for so much. Same with any utility accounts for the home in joint names. If they are all in H name then that's different.
It is in your best interests to avoid issues over debts. If left unchecked, it has the potential to cause issues for you later on down the track.

Having people with you every time you visit the family home would be advisable.

I am so glad you have booked in for counselling.

Good luck with everything.