My husband has anxiety and I'm struggling
My husband has anxiety and low self-esteem. We usually get on fine and communicate well, but I really struggle when he is suffering from an acute episode. I want to support him, but frequently end up feeling hurt and upset myself. In these episodes, he perceives something in my every-day words or actions as malicious, or he hears something insulting in my tone of voice that I'm sure isn't there (at least it's certainly not intended). Things that he usually wouldn't raise an eyebrow over now end up with him feeling outraged by my "callousness", or listing every negative thing I've ever done, and no amount of apologising or reasoning can calm him down. I feel attacked for my normal behaviour that I can't comprehend could be perceived as hurtful or insulting. I want to be supportive, but at the same time I feel like I'm just leaving myself open to being hurt and attacked for something that I feel is perceived on his end rather than given on mine. I attribute this to his anxiety as when he's feeling better and calmer he apologises for his behaviour, and says he had been feeling stressed at the time. I still find it hard to get over the hurt that lingers from his words after these episodes end.
I'd really appreciate any thoughts or advice. Thanks.
Hi Kate and welcome to our community forums
Thank you for sharing your story. You're not alone with how you feel. Both my husband and I have anxiety and depression issues (both low self esteems). So if you can imagine for a moment what that would be like. We both take offense at what the other one says. If one of us is feeling down, we inevitably bring the other one down too.
I've recently had a situation with my hubby. Focussed in on one aspect of what he said and believed he didn't love me anymore, felt hurt, felt hard done by and threw up everything at him in response. Gets neither of us anywhere of course. Once I've calmed down and started thinking 'rationally' I'm then able to see how I've thought about what he's said and realise I made a mole hill into a mountain.
We've both seen health professionals (separately) to help us manage our anxiety, self esteem issues. This was good so we're able to talk about our responses to one another.
Does your husband see anyone, e.g. a doctor and/or health professional? It might be good if you could convince him to see someone if he doesn't.
How about yourself? Do you have anyone to talk to, e.g. a close trusted friend or family member? It does help. Being on the Beyond Blue forums has helped me significantly. One of the major benefits I've found is to test my view point on things. To get some clarity around what I'm thinking. It's just in the writing that's helped me. It makes me think about the situation and it is extremely good for seeing things differently.
Not sure if this has helped you Kate. Just remember you're not alone and it's good you are reaching out here. Look forward to hearing how things go for you