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Shouldn't I be happy?

Community Member


I'm a male in my early 50's, married with two teenage sons and reasonably well paying job but life just seems a never ending battle. I'm the only earner for the family and I'm paying two mortgages and we're always just scraping by. There's never any money for anything other than just getting by. I've ended up in a management position at work that I didn't ever really want but took anyway to have a bit more job security. At times I feel that the weight of the world is on my shoulders and I don't know how much longer I can keep going. I guess I do suffer from depression and sought help in the past. To be honest it didn't help. I sleep about 4 to 5 hours a night and went to my GP for help with this. Unfortunately his solution for any medical issue seems to be to prescribe pills which is what I got. They didn't help so his answer was to increase the dose that didn't help. I can't afford to go back to the GP so don't know where to turn for help. I've tried discussing how I feel with my wife and how our financial situation is killing me but she's not interested. Over winter I got to the point of almost ending my life so the pain would be over. I've told this to my wife and her reaction was simply unbelievable. She told me that people who commit suicide are just selfish cowards who leave everyone else behind to clean up the mess! She just doesn't have any idea of how depression works. I didn't put my hand up and say I want to feel so low, so worthless that taking my own life is the only way out. I've tried suggesting that we sell one of our properties so we're only paying one mortgage. She wouldn't even consider this as apparently I would just fritter the money away! Well, perhaps it might take some strain off me. So I really don't know what to do. I feel that I can't even provide properly for my family and feel bad if I were to ever even dream of having some sort of holiday or a hobby. There are a lot of people worse off than me so why shouldn't I be happy with what I've got? I sometimes harm myself I get so frustrated. The pain helps me carry on. In my 20's and 30's I flew hang gliders. I was really good at flying and it took away all my feelings of low self esteem. I gave up flying 20 years ago and I've bee trying to return to the sport the last 5 years now. I've no idea how though as in my situation it just seems a impossible dream. Maybe I am just selfish and should forget any idea of wanting to do something for ME? Thanks

14 Replies 14

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Hi Fly free,

No, you are definitely not selfish. Quite the opposite actually.
You recognise that you're not coping with your current situation and suggesting solutions to your wife but she's not supportive. That must feel like a blow to you. It's also unrealistic and unfair.
Have you explained to your wife that you're really not coping and something has to give.
In my opinion she should be taking you more seriously.

Since you're the breadwinner I'll be taking matters into my hands and giving up a mortgage. I'll be engaging in hobbies too.

Surely your wife doesn't want you to be feeling this low. But if she does, you may just have more problems than you originally thought.

You sound more than capable to me and I believe things do need to change for you and the family.

All the best.

Welcome Fly Free,

We're so glad you decided to reach out here today - we know it's not always easy to take that first step seeking help, and we are really grateful that you were able to do this for yourself today. We're concerned to hear that you've been harming yourself, and have previously considered suicide. It sounds like you've been carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, and you're not being supported in this at home. We'd urge that you do seek professional help, as trying to cope with this alone seems like it's been overwhelming. We're trying to get in touch with you privately to try and offer some extra support today.

Firstly, if at any time you become an immediate danger to yourself, this is an emergency and you should contact 000 (triple zero).

We would strongly urge that you do book in an appointment with a GP to get a referral. If cost is an issue, try and find a GP in your area who bulk-bills. If you need some support and advice on how to go about this, we would recommend that you get in contact with the Beyond Blue Support Service. They are available 24/7 by phone on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 3pm-12am AEST on our website: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport 

We understand that it can take some time to get access to more long-term mental health support. This does not mean that there is no support for you in the meantime, and we would urge that you don't sit with these feelings and experiences alone. MensLine Australia is a free 24/7 telephone and online counselling service for men with emotional health and relationship concerns. You can contact them on 1300 78 99 78 or https://mensline.org.au/

Welcome again - please feel free to keep us updated on how you're going here on your thread.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello Fly Free,

A very warm welcome to the forums..

Depression doesn’t care who it invades, whether rich, poor, such, healthy..it just drops its ugly head into anyone it wants to.....I’m really sorry you’re struggling with it...

Not sleeping enough hour per night I feel increases the depression even more...I listen to Dan Jones Sleep Stories when I lay down for sleep at night..they are calming and a great distraction from our mind if I listen very mindfully...Maybe something you can try..if you want to...It might help you to fall asleep faster....

Please..try hard to not think about ending you ending your life..you have two beautiful teenagers that love you more then you will ever know...it would absolutely devastate them...and I think also your wife..So please don’t...

Is it possible to speak to your wife and ask her to get a part time job to help you out?...because it’s just to hard for you to continue 2 mortgages, and if she doesn’t want you to sell one of them, she needs to help you to maintain the payments...

If keeping the 2 mortgages is causing you mental health issues, to the extent of you wanting to end your life, please let your wife know that..and that you cannot continue to do so with her helping you financially by getting a job...

I think you deserve to have a hobby that you like...It’s not fair that your constantly working working without caring for you and your needs..no Fly Free..your not being selfish at all in wanting to do something for you....You have done so much for family..it’s time for you to enjoy your life a bit...You deserve it and more importantly you need it, for your mental and physical health..

Talk here anytime you feel up to it..and the numbers our lovely Sophie has given you have beautiful caring trained people on the other end...Please ring them if you feel overwhelmed...

Sending you my kindest wishes with my care..


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Fly Free,

Thank you for reaching out to the bb forums. I hear that you are feeling responsible for carrying the financial burden for your family and receiving little to no reward or regard for your sacrifices - leaving you feeling invisible beyond the scope of your provision. Perhaps you also feel cornered by your responsibilities to those who seemingly do not appreciate you?

There are options to ease your suffering:-

  1. Sell the second property and purchase a cheaper one to reduce mortgage payments to suit your earnings (re negative gearing), thus retaining a sensible investment property for security - this should satisfy your wife that the proceeds will not be squandered.
  2. Ask your wife to take on part time work to meet the payments (as she seems keen to retain the current arrangement) and reduce your work hours a little to provide time for your own interests.
  3. Ask your teenage sons to pay board (if old enough to have casual jobs) or do chores (even mowing the lawns or washing the car for you is time you can have to yourself) - if nothing else, it shows a willingness from them to contribute and also teaches about finances and self restraint in discretionary purchases.
  4. Examine your financial position (or consult your advisor) to see where your income is going, and how you can make adjustments to expenditure to live comfortably within your means - make an annual budget (including recreation), and project where you will be in five years.

Adopting one or more of the above should restore your self respect and belief that you shall fly free again one day. With everyone pitching in, and knowing that the burden is being shared, I trust you will be back on top of things and finding a more positive outlook.



Thanks everyone for your comments and support. It really was the thought of the effect that it would have on my sons that stopped me taking my life and still does. Also the thought that life can't remain like this, surely tomorrow will be a better day? Although I feel trapped in this situation. I find it so difficult being the breadwinner but having almost no say in our finances. My wife has her "system" as she's told me in no uncertain terms that I would just fritter the money away. As so as I get paid she withdraws all the money except for any automatic payments and I have no access to any. If there's any left in the account it's kept track of very carefully and I get questioned if anything looks out of order. I know that this sounds absolutely ridiculous but this is how I have to live. It's been like this the last 10 years. Whenever I try to discuss finances with her it just ends in a blazing row. It's not that she spends the money on herself, it all goes on food, rates, insurance etc. She's very careful with it. She has a very domineering personality and it's very difficult if I don't agree with her way of thinking. I sometimes wonder if she has some kind of personality disorder. I'm just so fed up with living like this. I read financial advice so times to see if there's somewhere money could be saved. Get so pissed off reading advice along the lines off "don't eat out so often, don't buy so many takeaways or buy so many barista coffees". We've been to one cafe in the last year, I make my lunch every day, I don't ever buy any barista coffees" I'm wearing the same pair of work trousers I bought 15 years ago and the same shirts I bought eight years ago..

Sorry, I'm just having a bit of a moan but I don't have anyone to talk to. I don't have any friends. I hate living like this. Not sure what to do.

Hi Fly Free,

Moan away....this is what this space is here for.

After reading how tightly she is managing " your" money I felt sorry for you. You work hard to bring home the bacon but can't spend any, that's an aweful way to live. You are sacrificing your happiness.

It sounds like you're a bird trapped in a cage wanting to just be free...

Financially and otherwise.

Most people set aside money to spend on themselves in a budget. These are things like barista coffees, takeaway, clothes, hobbies, holidays, etc...but you are denied these.

It might be the way your wife wants to live but it's clearly not how you want to live.

I'm not sure how you can approach the subject with her since she is domeneering and perhaps has a personality disorder.

I just think it's " your" money and I would think you have the right to some of it to spend on yourself.

It sounds like control to me on her part and it could even be financial abuse to you personally. The fact you think about ending it doesn't sound like the way you are being treated is healthy.

All I can think of is couples counseling where this matter is brought to the forefront and discussed until there is a " fair" resolution for the both of you.

You are stronger than you think. Don't allow her personality or this situation to make you "shrink"or people please. You are the breadwinner, you hold the value and the power- remember that. If you've been overpowered so long you can be programmed to be/ live a certain way but you can find yourself again to then take better control of your life. It sounds like she's had a hold over you and your finances for a long time now. Be the change you want to see in your world.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

HI Fly Free,

"Whenever I try to discuss finances with her it just ends in a blazing row. It's not that she spends the money on herself, it all goes on food, rates, insurance etc."

- This is a troubling comment since expenditure should be mutually understood and agreed (notwithstanding that you are the sole provider and funds). Why would this cause consternation to your wife? I'm sorry, I'd be asking to see the balance sheet to check how monies are being distributed. Failure to comply with this reasonable request would then lead me to changing from joint bank accounts to personal, where your salary is deposited (or just open a new one) - that would then make your wife accountable to you.

Feel free to moan here as much as you wish - your head is telling you something is not right and this can help you sort things out in time.



Fly Free

I have just read your posts and all the helpful suggestions offered to you.

I agree with tranzcrybe about changing things to find out where the money is going.

Do you have an accountant ?

Does your wife do the tax returns or do you do them together. Is there a person outside your family who sees your income and expenses?

Money can be an issue with many couples and if one person is controlling all the money it can cause problems.

It must be so frustrating for you but hopefully there will be change.

Apart from the finances do you feel your relationship with your wife is going well?

Our tax return is done by an accountant. I don't believe that my wife is spending money on anything I don't know about. Her "system" is a series of envelopes that she divides all our money up for her fortnightly budget, ie one is for food, one is for petrol, one is for insurance etc. Part of the difficulty is that there's no money left for anything other than existing. The budget is so damn tight. Not that I get any say in how the budget is done. She decides everything. I feel so bad that I am such a weak person that I can't stand up to her. It pisses me off too that when she hands the money out from her envelope system, eg to our sons for their school bus money she says "I've got $20 for you this week". As if it's her personal money! I'm the one who went to work all week to earn it for the family. She hasn't worked for the last 17 years. If I point this out to hear or say that I'm sick of having no say in our finances I'm told that she won't be bullied, that she's been raising our children while I work, and specific examples of my frittering are quoted. Then I give up yet again and usually end up apologising to her after a few days of not speaking to each other. So nothing is ever resolved. So our relationship isn't the greatest.