husband isn't coping well

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by SuZir, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    husband is starting to be a PITA again. As I feared, when we moved from 'do this, this and that to take a handle of this crisis'-part to 'all that done, now wait and see and hope and pray'-part he is starting to have difficulties to cope. Looking to point fingers, getting frustrated, starting blame game and wanting it to be over with.

    husband is a traditional guy. He likes being a main breadwinner of the house, he likes being a fixer, he thinks himself of the man of the house and likes to think he is a decision maker here (who just happens to delegate most of the practical decision making to me ;) works wonderfully for both of us.) He thinks himself as a family man. He certainly thinks his biggest responsibility is to take care and protect his own. Our difficult child has never been a good fit to that type of parental thinking and that accompanied with husband feeling a failure and guilty because he wasn't able to protect difficult child from this and having no way to fix it and make it better for difficult child brings all the frustration out of husband.

    That has always been a sore spot in their relationship. I will never forget when difficult child was still quite little and got himself to an accident and broke his leg and hurt his shoulder and ended up bedridden for sometime because of that. From the point there easy child came inside to tell us difficult child had hurt himself, calming both boys down, to the hospital and back home and making sure difficult child got all medical attention and primary pain relief he needed, and bringing difficult child's bed down to the kitchen and moving tv so he could see that and buying him a new PS game and few books to kill the time, all that husband did well. But when few days went by and difficult child still whined that his shoulder hurt and leg was so itchy he couldn't sleep etc. husband went to total PITA on difficult child. From his point of view he had done everything right and fixed it and the darned child was still uncomfortable and whining and not grateful at all. Just to console difficult child when there is nothing to do to fix it has always been impossibly difficult to husband. He does it much better with easy child and even with me for some reason, but with difficult child he just gets so frustrated right away.

    And this, if anything, is a situation with no fix, no quick solution, but long road of difficult child still hurting after everything we can do to help has been done.

    It doesn't help that one of the main perpetrators was a kid we had known, and liked, a long time. The kid husband always hoped difficult child would be more alike. The one husband often referred with 'why can't you do this or that like X?' The kid husband always assumed to be in right when he and difficult child had a problem with each others (not to say that wasn't the truth most of the time.) For that perfect kid to hurt difficult child so bad, it had to be somehow difficult child's fault, now didn't it? Or maybe it was my failure to protect difficult child? Or difficult child's failure to stand his ground and protect himself, be a man? And isn't that so, because his mother coddled him and didn't teach him to take care of himself? No, husband has not yet said any of that aloud, at least not straight up. But I know how he thinks. And he is feeling guilty and like a failure of the dad and that just has to be someone else's fault, doesn't it?

    I know he is hurting so badly. I know he loves difficult child and would do anything to fix and take away any hurt difficult child has. But I'm hurting too and I will have difficult time to bear husband's hurt on top of my own. And if he shoulders difficult child with any of his own hurt, I may not be able to forgive that. Ever.
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member


    would husband be willing to speak with a counselor? Someone who specializes in working with parents of victims of crime? You all have a hard road to walk for a while. Accepting help is okay. Maybe this can be one more thing he does to 'fix' things. If he thinks of it that way, maybe he'll be more willing?
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It's difficult to be the one person in the family who negotiates the peace, I feel for you. Is your husband aware of how he moves from fix it guy to blame someone guy? Have you discussed your feelings with him, without blame or ridicule, but simply from a point of observation? I think JJJ's idea of counseling with someone whose expertise is to help the families of victims of a crime is a terrific idea, would your husband be willing to do that? It's got to be a very challenging road for all of you, on top of the gfgness, this is a whole new issue which has it's own pitfalls, pain, loss and difficulties. Professional, outside support seems like it would be able to help everyone, including you, because the weight of trying to make it work for everyone is heavy, it seems you would all benefit. (((HUGS)))
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Suz, I'm so sorry. I have found, at least in my world, that men are good for the short term and fall apart in the long term for exactly what you expressed. They like to fix things and when they do all they can and it is still a problem, I think many men just get very frustrated and develop short fuses. And often it is Mom who has to pick up the shattered pieces long term and with compassion. Not that men don't have compassion...just that many think so very differently from us.
    I have nothing to offer other than empathy and the hope that things improve for your family and that husband is able to take it easy on difficult child and realize this is not his fault. And he needs to realize he has done all he can to help, but that there is a limit.
    Gentle hugs.
  5. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    JJJ, huge thank you for putting it that way. I may be little dense, but never thought it so.

    My first reaction of husband and counselor was, that he would not do it. Because he is not the one who needs fixing here (if you ask him) and he is not a therapy kind of guy. But really he has done counselling before, in fact we are currently having marital counselling. And when difficult child was young we had parenting counselling and classes (they were a big help for us even though I do know many don't like them.) With parenting counselling idea was sold to him as getting tools to parent difficult child better and fix his behaviour more efficiently. Marital counselling I sold him as a way to fix our marriage when things were going wrong. So if I would try to locate a counsellor who specially deals also with family members or crime victims I would sell it as something he could do to support difficult child and help to fix their relationship, that has been troubled some time now, he could well buy it. For him the big difference would be that he wouldn't be getting help for himself but trying to find better tools to fix his and difficult child's relationship. And because that is of an importance for him (I at times am afraid I paint too bleak picture of my husbands feelings and attitude towards our older son, husband does indeed love him very much, he just have lots of difficulties dealing with him) he would do it.

    While part of husband's frustration of all things difficult child is certainly that very male thing to be a fixer, I think part of it also about personalities. husband is much better with easy child when he can't fix the problem but just comfort. But they are more alike. I think, and husband has even said so himself few times over the years, that a big problem for husband is difficult child's intensity. Whatever it is, for difficult child everything is always so big. husband is very moderate guy, difficult child wouldn't know moderate if it kicked his butt and danced tropak on him after that. husband is overwhelmed by all that intensity difficult child has and gets lost and then frustrated.
  6. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I think you are describing most men.

    This might sound harsh, but in his need to always want to fix things, he may need to look to fixing himself. He may want to blame others for what happened to difficult child to make himself feel better and not face the reality of HE may be part of the reason this happened. If he said things like that to difficult child, perhaps difficult child never felt enough self confidence to prevent this from happening AND he wasn't comfortable telling what happened to his father, because he felt his dad would blame him.

    I think we are all guilty of wishing our difficult child kids would be more like another kid. We just have to be careful not to express it to them.
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, dear. I'm so sorry. That's so frustrating.
    And it breaks my heart. Those kinds of wounds from parents never really heal.
    I do agree, that to a certain extent, a lot of men are like that. But your husband sounds more exaggerated.
    Definitely, counseling is in order. And I love JJJ's idea of reframing it as a fix-it idea.
  8. buddy

    buddy New Member

    In a small sense, I can relate to husband, I do well in a crisis, then fall apart after. how I fall apart is very different from him though. It is really sad that how he reacts can end up hurting you and difficult child more.

    He clearly does care, just has not a clue how to deal with all of this. I think you are really on to something using his frame of reference, needing to fix things.

    Hang in there, you are really a strong person. I so admire how you are dealing with all of this. I hope you are keeping up with your activities for yourself while on this journey. HUGS
  9. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately it seems that supports specially available for family of crime victims are group thingies (not working in our situation.) We have much less of counselling, therapy and support groups available anyway, part of culture I guess. So I think I will angle to parental relationship direction and try to locate family therapist and sell it to husband as difficult child needing to feel supported by his dad (whom he looks up to) specially in this situation, their bit strained relationship getting in the way of that and pointing out that in this situation it's not reasonable to expect difficult child to be the one who starts building that bridge and husband needing to both take the first step and probably also do most of the work after that. And that he could use some help and advise how to do that.

    We have in the past talked about husband's need to be a fixer and him getting frustrated if thinks don't fix themselves right away. He does admit that to certain degree and with easy child he mostly does okay. Same with me too, but I have to more often remind him that I understand there is nothing to be fixed but I would like to be comforted anyhow. With difficult child husband just tends to easily work himself up and become too upset to reflect his own behaviour.

    Buddy, I'm in fact keeping myself quite busy at the moment. I have my work, my exercising, my college course, my dogs, my rented horse evening once a week and my new (old) hobby handball. And of course we have kitchen reno that is about to begin (and having to cook freezer full so we don't end up eating pizza and chinese for two months.) And top of that I have spent all the free moments I may have had cleaning closets, so soon I will have clean and organized closets first time after just before difficult child's birth (I had month of maternity leave before he was born and was bored silly and they said that cleaning (and some other activities) helped to start the labor.) In the other words I'm afraid that if I stop and sit down to the couch I may just stay there weeping and never get back up again. I think that when I will feel little more stable I will have to do just that. Preferably take a weekend and go to our cabin alone and just sit down and weep (and drink a bottle of vodka.) But that has to wait until I'm sure I can get back up at Sunday night, dry my tears and go on.
  10. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Survival mode a healthy way. I admire that!