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Frustrated And Sucked Dry

Question:

‘Frustrated’ writes: Anne, I am frustrated! My husband is disabled not to the point that he can’t function physically but he has RSDS which stops him from working a job due to constant pain and meds that he is on. Here is my dilemma, he either doesn’t do anything at the house or he starts things and they don’t get done fully. His excuse is he always gets interrupted. When i confront him with it he gets defensive and states “I clean up the house”. I have run out of solutions. I would appreciate your input. I work full time outside the home and end up having no time to do the things I enjoy while everyone in the family around me does. Thanks ‘Sucked Dry’ writes: I am going to be 52 in the Spring, I am 7 yrs into my 1st marriage and I feel totally sucked dry by my husband and my 18 yr old son. I have severe boughts with depression and I am the main wage earner in our household. I’m not sure if I love my husband .. I feel really used – he works as a musician in a band and refuses to even try to find real work .. he has degenerative disc and refuses to go to Dr. He is a pothead – says he uses it for his pain – and I – we are always teetering on loosing everything. If I divorce him he has told me he will take everything he can and then he swears he will never leave. I feel trapped and hopeless .. I love my home and I don’t want to be homeless and poverty stricken in my later years. I feel so trapped!!!!

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Answer:

Every so often I get similar questions from different people. It just goes to show you that you are not alone in your pain. You are both bread-winners who have become ‘trapped’ in marriages with disabled men who apparently don’t contribute to the household. You are both intensely conflicted as to whether or not to continue in your marriages, feeling as you do that you are being taken advantage of. One of you admits to being afraid to leave the marriage because of the uncertainty of being alone, while the other just appears angry. Both sorts of feelings seem to be pretty normal feelings to have given the situations. In considering your two questions, it is important to keep the issue of depression somewhat separated from the marital problems you each are encountering. While it’s likely that your frustration and anger are contributing to depression, it isn’t entirely necessary for you to solve the marital problems in order to get some relief from depression. Please see your doctor and talk about how depressed you are feeling. There are a number of reasonable medications out there now that can really help with depression feelings. Perhaps one or more of them can provide some degree of emotional support. Whether or not you choose to go the medication route, I do think it is quite important that you seek out counseling of some sort. I think both individual counseling and also marital counseling could be important. An individual counselor or therapist can help provide emotional support, but also could help you sort through whether or not it is best to stay or to leave this relationship. However, there are clearly serious marital issues going on here as well, with your husbands reacting defensively, and with drug or medication abuse hovering in the background. These marital issues probably have a better chance of being resolved if both you and your husbands will agree to attend couples counselling. The typical response at this point in time is that you can’t afford counseling, and this may be true to one degree or another, but it also may be your fear speaking. Low cost counseling may be available in your community if you don’t have insurance. Also, counseling has a halfway decent chance of being a good investment in your future happiness, and as such should take preference over paying for luxury goods like cable television, at least for a while. I don’t think there are easy answers to your problems. You have to deal with your varying degrees of depression first, and then you have to work out (whether with counselors or not) whether your marriages can survive, and what the pros and cons will be of leaving or staying. I can recommend a book, Too Good To Leave, Too Bad To Stay to read if you’re interested in a therapist’s guidelines on how to make these types of difficult decisions. Good luck!

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