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Husband angry at entire family and now not speaking to me.

Community Member


My husband has was diagnosed with depression and bi-polar 11  years ago. He takes medication sporadically. He will try it for a few weeks and then stops as he thinks the side effects are worse than the depression.  He generally suffers severe depression a few weeks a year and at this time is unable to attend work. We have three children under the age of 10. This year has been very difficult. He has always been very close to his parents and sisters but in January had a falling out with them and refuses to speak to them. They are not perfect but haven't done anything horrendous. They have tried to keep in touch by phone but he will not communicate with them and we live on the other side of the state. Our children adore them and this has been very difficult. He has spoken to one sister on limited occasions throughout the year. I have done my best to allow the kids to have some contact with his family. His sister was married on the weekend and we all attended the wedding at my encouragement. He did a great job but did not speak to his parents or one sister. The following day we caught up with his family so that the kids could exchange Christmas presents.The kids keep asking why we aren't spending Christmas with his family so I thought this would be good for them. My husband was angry and didn't want to be there. He left without telling me not long after we arrived. When he returned his mother tried to give him something for Christmas and he ignored her and asked to leave immediately. I was angry at him.and told him to be be nicer to his mum and to grow up. I know I shouldn't have said this but it has been a very stressful year and I just want things to be good between him and his family and I saw this as the last time we might see them. He stormed out and now refuses to speak to me. He said that I knew he didn't want to be there as he felt like he was going to explode.and I shouldn't have criticised him in public. Only his mother and aunt were actually there. Our children where somewhere else in the house. I don't know what to do.I know I should have probably been more supportive of him especially since he tried very hard at the wedding but I can't change things now.

2 Replies 2

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Maggie, welcome

I'll try to be clear about my thoughts on this sort of family divide.

Just because your husband wont talk to his mother and sister should not impede on your childrens relationship with their grandparents and auntie etc UNLESS they have proven to be a poor influence on then or abuse them. Why shouldn't grandparents continue to see their grandchildren?

You know now that it wasn't the right thing to do - to make him feel he was wrong in front of his mother and sister. That would send him to a place where he'd feel all alone. The only thing you can do now is tell him you are sorry for that, that they are his blood relatives and it is his choice and you got too involved emotionally due to xmas. Then wait until he comes around. Don't push the issues and wait. A brief "I love you" might help to.

Children are very resilient and they have to learn that life isn't being wrapped in cotton wool. They cant have a perfect childhood. Xmas is often full of issues among family members. That's life.

You can plan things better next time eg. In this case you could suggest he attend the wedding then when he feels he has been around enough he can return to the motel and allow you and the kids to be there longer. That will allow him to feel he doesn't have to hang around. After all its the bride and grooms day and risk of an upset isn't good for them. In effect, due to his condition, he needs free reign to bow out if the stress gets too much. He also needs to remain without his sister and mother etc in his life if he so pleases. Time can heal these wounds sometimes. We cant be repairers of relationships all the time. Even relationship counsellors cant heal all wounds.

For what its worth I'd continue the way you are going, keep in close contact with your in-laws, allow them contact with your kids and go about things as normal as possible on the basis that "he'll come round". In time he might "come round" as his mood changes and time heals.

In the meantime a sincere apology to him is a start and an expression of love a beginning.

Tony WK


Community Member

Dear Maggie.  I agree with Tony in that apologizing for telling him off in front of his family was the right thing to do.  Once you've apologized, leave it at that.  Don't take his anger on your shoulders.  Whatever his problems are, he needs to face them.  I would discuss with him about letting your kids see their g'parents.  They are after all his parents.  If he feels really strongly against letting them see their g'parents, try asking him what the problem is.  Let him know you support his decision.  In-laws can cause lots of problems when it comes to g'children.  Perhaps the kids can talk to their g'parents either phone or email.  It sounds as though you're pulling the kids in two different directions.  That's confusing for them.  Whatever the problems are re: him and his parents/ you and him, try and keep the kids out of it.  Once they grow, if they want to, you could discuss it with them, then.

Perhaps he has issues with his parents that he hasn't told you about.