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My husband is depressed and damaging our family

Community Member


I am feeling sad, frustrated and angry with and for my husband at he moment. He is obviously depressed. He has put on a huge amount of weight and become seriously obese, is cranky and unreasonable with myself and our three young children, and is stubborn and won't do anything to help himself. He hates his job and is miserable because his older children to a past marriage have some big problems and he feels that his hands are tied and can't do anything to help them. His life consists of sitting in front of the television or playing games on his ipad. He encouraged me to follow my dream of enrolling full time at uni so that hopefully I can gain some decent work next year and we can achieve some other goals and look at new career options for him. I told him that to do the very intensive full time study I am now doing I would need a LOT of support with the house and the kids. He is not coping with this and when I address this he refuses to acknowledge it. Now he throws a tantrum when I ask him to look after the kids so I can study. I will not complete my studies if I don't have the support to look after the kids. I suggested going part time to make it easier but he insist I not give up my full time studies. I want to continue doing what I am doing. Now that I am doing my studies I am really happy and loving it and feel more happy and motivated myself than I have in years. I should mention that I have struggled with bouts of depression myself over the years. I sought help and treatment and can manage to lead a productive life. I feel guilty that I now feel so angry and frustrated with my husband who won't get off his butt to do anything to help himself. I have spoken to him about this repeatedly and he has assured me he will 'work it out' but still has done nothing to seek help. I feel caught about what to do. I want to help my family and see them happy but I can't do it FOR my husband, and I also want to pursue the path for myself that is helping my mental health - I have found something that I look forward to and makes me want to get up in the morning! I feel guilty and selfish, because I am thinking of separating from my husband - to give him the big kick he needs to address his problems. I would work with him and support him in anything he did to try and work through this - but I can't do it for him, and in the meantime, his lack of support and agro, down mood and apathy is affecting me and the kids in a negative way.

2 Replies 2

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Hello Miraazlife, congratulations on your study. I see so much positive in your post around how going to university is giving you a vision for your future, motivates you, fuels happiness. This is to be treasured.

Unfortunately you've hit a wall with your husband around the support you need in order to study full time, an agreement which it sounds like you came to but he is having difficulty in now upholding. It makes sense that you would feel frustrated and angry about this, particularly given you have mentioned trying a number of avenues to motivate him to get help.

It sounds to me from your post that he is preoccupied with his own problems, his job, and his other adult children. He doesn't seem able to communicate his needs around help in the same way that you are able to, and is not proactive in seeking solutions as you did with your own depression.

So what to do?

I would say firstly, try not to feel guilty about how you are feeling. You are coping really well in a difficult situation, and are working as hard as you can to resolve it. You can't lead a horse to water with regards his depression, of course, so that leaves you with the problem of the practical help you need right now with the house and children.

You say your husband is insisting that you not give up your full time study. This is, I believe, a positive. You cannot continue your full time study without further support around the house. How do you think he would react if you sat down together at a quiet time to discuss this with those two points above as a starting point. The point is not to assign blame, but to come up with solutions together about how you get that extra support around the house. All options are on the table in this discussion, including getting in outside help from family members and friends. Leave his depression out of it, just try focusing on the immediate problem. What do you think?

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
hello Miraazlife, this seems to be a catch-22 situation, where your husband wants you to continue going to uni full time with the presumption that you may get a highly paid job where he won't have to do anything, although that's exactly what is happenng already, so he is looking towards the future, but this won't happen until the present period time is resolved, and if it's not then there will be no future with you.
As much as you want to help him, it won't happen until he realises that he needs this himself, whether he's in denial or not, he won't do anything until he sees it himself, and sitting in front of the telly isn't going to do this, so it will need something to happen to him, to wake him up.
For you it's going to be tough work trying to study, look after the kids, the household, cooking and washing when he does nothing, in fact it's going to annoy you like crazy.
Whether or not he does have depression is a question he has to ask himself, because he won't accept you telling him that he may, if he is in denial, but a decision has to be made by you, are you able to cope with this current situation in the future, or do you have to do something to overcome it. Geoff.