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How to help my son with his wife’s depression

Community Member

Hi everyone I have sunk to the depths of despair worrying about my adult son. Not long after my son married he found out that his wife was bingeing alcohol behind his back. A few trips to emergency and she has been placed on medication. Her depression is all consuming. I know that is a hideous disease but it is destroying him. The other day he got a phone call from her on his way home from work to say she’d overdosed on her medication. She is going into rehab again. Part of me wants him to leave her but I know it’s not my decision. He says he loves her but I’m wondering if he’s just scared. This is not the life I envisaged for him. They don’t go anywhere or do things as a couple. Certainly no signs of affection from her and they’ve only been married 4 years. He does most cooking and housework. How do I help him. We suggested he get his own counseling. Keep up some exercise and do something for himself each week. It’s killing me inside to see his zest for life slipping away

2 Replies 2

Dear Loubaby

Welcome to the Beyond Blue forums we are so glad that you have made you way here and had the bravery to post. We want you to know that this is a safe space to discuss your thoughts, feelings and experiences and receive honest responses and suggestions from fellow forum users.

We can only too hear just how distressful this situation is for you right now, torn between wanting to understand what you daughter-in-law is going through whilst at the same time wanting to protect your son from the stress he is being put under.  It also demonstrates the love and support he has in you as his mother as he tries to support his wife through this.
We are also here 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or via our Webchat.  Our team who answer the phones are ready to have a supportive and non-judgmental chat whenever you need it.
We’re sure to hear from some of our lovely community members here on your thread soon. They’re a really amazing community, and will have understanding, advice and kind words for you.  Thanks again for sharing. It’s a powerful and brave first step towards feeling better.


Sophie M

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Loubaby and welcome to the forums. 

I really hope you find this to be a space where you can open up and let it all out. 


The sheer frustration you must feel. I've been in a similar situation re: my eldest daughter who had children with the (substance) abuser. They'd been together 10y. 


I was in Counselling already and spoke with her at length over my sheer stress over this (and the myriad of other things happening ie Family Law). She has been a true Saint with her advice. 


My MAIN aim was to retain a relationship with my d. Yes I had to prioritise, it was a mental time. 


I had forked out thousands to support her in the past but facing our own legal family issues, meant I was unable to keep doing this. 


This may sound counter intuitive but the following worked and my d is now more or less free of the ex. Living on her own, 50% care of the kids. Working and studying. She has a lot of trauma to recover from but is doing well now. She has HOPE for her future now. 

The advice I had from my C was to be available to talk but NOT to give too much of anything. 
Us enabling our adult children to keep on a path that is destroying them, is not what we want. 


Once they hit rock bottom, the only way is up, or OUT in our cases. 


Having Counselling yourself and encouraging son to have his own Counselling (best with a Counsellor trained in drug and alcohol abuse) will support him to make better decisions for himself. 


You've raised a fine boy. 
Hope you keep us posted about how you are doing, 
Love EM