Well-Known Member
As far as YS, things have settled into something of a routine. He is continuing his recovery and is expected to be hospitalized another month at minimum. He will be exiting the intensive care unit and transferring to the physical therapy floor next week. He will also begin psychiatric treatment. They tell us that he identified issues that led to his suicide attempt. He remembers everything, which we hadn't been sure about in the beginning. His psychiatric treatment will include a brief period of inpatient care followed by an intensive outpatient program.

We are very lucky. YS has defied all odds and is on his way to making a good recovery from this nightmare.

The same cannot be said for my marriage, unfortunately. I think I have been reasonable and supportive, but nothing I do is enough for my wife. She is deeply angry and resentful of any time I take away from the hospital. She is not taking care of herself and seems to expect that I shouldn't take care of myself, either. I really don't know what she expects because she does not articulate it. I have the idea that nothing less than daily vigils at YS' bedside will placate her. He is hospitalized 50 miles, round trip, from our home. I visit every other day and have offered support in many other ways as well. I think this is reasonable.

She is lashing out at me, often abusively. Someone wisely stated in another thread that crisis will either bind spouses together or rip them apart. In my case, at the moment, we are being ripped apart.

It is a vicious circle, because the worse she behaves, the less supportive I feel.

I am going to take care of myself regardless of what my wife says or does.


Well-Known Member
I was just on your other thread asking how things were going literally one minute ago, and I found your new thread. Your wife has to be mad at somebody and you're probably the safe one right now. It wouldn't be seemly to be mad at her son, right? Even though that would seem to be a natural reaction, mixed in with all the other stuff.

When my son died, I didn't think my husband and I would make it. It was his stepson so he didn't really get it fully and I certainly was in bad shape and didn't feel like I could take care of myself. Looking back, I realize how hard it was for him and how much he held things together. I had two other children to worry about, also his step kids, and I had a free-floating resentment and my head and heart were full of things I couldn't and wouldn't say. You guys need the gift of time and hopefully you can rebuild around this.

I'm glad to hear your boy seems to have less neurological damage than you first suspected. But it sounds like a long journey. Many hugs to all of you.


Well-Known Member
hi culture.

there is a post that sam3 wrote last night or this morning on a thread of mine. that may give some perspective.

i really do not know how to do what she suggests but i will try to learn.

her point is that our children do not necesssarily intend to hurt us. that our suffering comes from how we interpret what they do and personalizing the effects of their suffering.

your wife is terrified. she is traumatized. it is a parent's worst nightmare what she is living. and on so many levels she must blame herself. she is trying mightily to unload some of this by focusing on you.

you (i) can stay in our own lane (like you are doing) and not take it on. do what you determine you can and take care of yourself. this is very hard for me.

you are doing it.

your wife's fury is a coping mechanism. what is beneath it is too horrible for her to bear right now.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

I agree with everyone's comments.

I think she just is handling things the best that she can and I think sometimes we are the worst to people that we know love us unconditionally (would explain why our adult difficult children act the way they do too).

She is being unreasonable right now but she probably isn't herself right now either.

I think that in time she will see things more clearly. It's very evident by your postings how much love and care you have for her and the boys. She will see that in time.



Well-Known Member
I think this tragedy has further exposed the shaky foundation of my marriage. My wife skirted dangerously close to hitting me just a day or two before YS attempted. I was considering leaving her as a result, and was not sure I made the right decision when I did not go.

Then YS attempted suicide and the world turned upside down.

My wife is abusive and unsurprisingly, she is responding to this situation by becoming abusive.

If I leave her she will do everything in her power to deny me access to the boys.

I don't know if I love her anymore. That was true before this happened. It is still true.


Well-Known Member
Maybe see if she’ll go to counseling where you can tell her how you’re feeling without it quickly devolving into a fight. If she won’t go, try going by yourself. What you’re going through has got to be the toughest thing a couple can face.


Well-Known Member
It is especially hard as a stepparent, feeling like you don't have a right to an opinion about how anything is handled, being pressured to give 1000% of myself to a spouse and a family system I feel ambivalent about, my feelings and needs being completely disregarded and ignored, being despised by my monster in law and treated like garbage by her, having to deal with my wife's ex-husband who is dysfunctional himself, being confronted by the obviously unfinished business between my wife and her ex-husband which factors prominently in this whole mess, trying to work a program of recovery in Al Anon and ON TOP OF IT ALL, working full time and trying to maintain my own sanity, sleep schedule, eating schedule, etc.

I get that I don't matter in this. I even understand it. I am just the step-parent.

Not one time has my wife asked me how I am feeling and how all of this has affected me.


Well-Known Member

if you believe she would seek vengeance upon you, not just as a reflex, but intentionally--that is a hard, hard thing.

my s o is in your spot. he feels total responsibility with no authority or gratitude.

i think these things are only partly about the other. they are about us. our own attachment history. our character.

there is so much loss here.

the person in the equation of my own life who is ignoring my own feelings and needs, is me.

we potentially determine what we give. you know this. and many (most?) merge with dysfunctional or toxic and conflictual family systems where we are either to some extent disliked, not considered and/or used.

none of this means we should stay.

i am in a similar spot. there are reasons to bail. similar themes to yours. but at the same time i recognize that my history and current stressors intensify and distort how i perceive my strengths and power, and thereby how i respond, take responsibility.

i realize if i leave i abdicate my own capacity to grow in this relationship. but there are lines that are crossed. when they are it is hard to crawl back or to know if one should.

in your case, you are out there pretty much alone. and she s flailing at you. which feels like attacks. whether or not it is directed intentionally at you or she is drowning and trying without reason or plan, to grasp for safety, to stop her descent--in time, you will decide.

i am sorry.
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Well-Known Member
Cult, you DO matter!!! Her son not only recovered, which is a miracle, but she has a support system. Where is the gratitude??? Although I have not gone through this, I think you can look at the gifts even here and she has a brand new chance with her son. Why wont she find solace with you?

When my spouse and I found out our young ones had been sexually abused for three years, we fell together, not apart. That your wife is not doing that makes statements about your relationship. And your wife.

We all know how much you love the boys. You have been there for wife. And for stepson. You did your best.

Nobody should ever hit you.

I am sorry you are dealing with your relationship on top of stepson. sound like such a kind, giving person. Your wife is lucky, even if she doesnt know it.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Ugh. I was not aware things were not great going into this.

You do have a right to take care of yourself and no one should be in an abusive relationship. How long have you been together?

I can see how this current chain of events could bring everything to a head. Maybe even taking a break from each other for a while and regrouping is a good idea.


Well-Known Member
you have an absolute right to express a point of view. you are all in with this. you are her mate and the child's parent by virtue of the responsibility you have shouldered with her, the children and the family. the question here is: how is it that you come to feel you are denied this?

i am negotiating a similar situation relationship-wise. in terms of my feelings. i cannot figure out if it is an issue of voice and/or an issue of self-abandonment. and the way i have mentally constructed the situation it is m's fault. is it only about him?

m can be either the kindest person, most generous and ethical and commited--or critical, defensive and even volatile.

i can be selfish and self-centered and overwhelmed by my feelings about my son, and other losses. when m lashes out i feel powerless and voiceless. i am none of these things. all i want to do is retreat.

everybody knows this is not a goal to strive for. voiceless.

do i leave to find my voice and my center?or stay and take a stand? is the stand i take inside me or is it for me in relation to him or both? is it about more support, from more people, too? is it about compassion for myself? for him? for everybody? i don't know.

i heard today one of my very favorite leonard cohen songs. anthem. paraphrased: let go of the need to be a perfect self. (he calls it "your perfect offering." everybody is broken. "the cracks are where the light gets in."

by light he means both divinity and healing too. we are almost all of us badly broken. that's where the light (and love) gets in. when i am not in agony, i can remember.

how do i negotiate all of this with another person who feels equally damaged?

some of us do not learn how to do this in the maternal dyad or family. we learn in relationship.

my point in writing this is to say: this is hard and complicated. and imperfect and messy.

the last thing i am saying is that you should stay or leave. what i am saying is: sometimes relationships are not born whole. they are forged out of times like these.

but of course. people leave. after the fact it is often obvious that the relationship had ended before the leaving.

domebody once told me that the severe illness of a child is the single greatest stressor in a relationship. because so much "primary process" stuff emerges. ugliness that all of us have in us. these couples leave their spouse in order to leave behind what has emerged in them. the ugliness and horror at it. imagine what it is when a child almost suicides? you don't have to imagine. you are living it.

i think your wife is projecting her own self-accusations onto you. who does she really blame? herself.

culture. you are a wonderful person.

it is never okay to hit. it is my understanding that she did not. nor should anybody hang around until it does happen.

of course you deserve acknowledgement, support,safety. we all do.
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Active Member

I'm so sorry. So very sorry. You are in a tough situation. On the one hand, you were re-evaluating your relationship already and considering leaving her. On the other, if you leave her now, she will spin it as you exiting left just when her world turned upside down.

I will also say that some people when in a crisis want the whole world to feel that crisis and pain too. She's expecting this of you as a kind of "joining" or camaraderie. As if you being as disabled as she is shows that you truly share the pain and anguish. Your strength feels like a rejection to her. I'm not saying this is what you are doing, I'm saying this is how she perceives it. And no it's not healthy.

You have some hard decisions to make. I really feel for you. xo


Roll With It
I am so sorry. Her behavior is just wrong. Attacking you verbally is bad enough. That you fear her physically attacking you is just beyond acceptable.

You matter. You have done all you can to support her. You may not have been at YS's bedside every minute, but you have done the things that keep life going as she was at his bedside. Someone has to get the laundry done and the pets fed and the other things done.

Please do whatever is needed to keep yourself safe. If it is time to go, then go. Don't stay if it isn't safe. If it is time to go, leave when she is not home. She is not stable right now. Don't leave when she could become more unstable.

Always take care of yourself. You really do matter.


Well-Known Member
Just because some people, who are very selfish, want us to suffer when they do, doesnt mean those people are good folks. Why would a good person want a loved one to hurt because they hurt??

Anger is never helpful. Yes, everyone feels anger, but we choose whether to lash out meanly or to realize that hurting those who love us is wrong. Not everyone thinks "I hurt so I am going to make sure you do too." I would guess this is not the norm. not normalize abuse no matter why it happens. There is really no excuse for abuse, no reason we should accept it from anyone. Yes, the suicide attempt was awful, but the adult mind should not lash out at those surrounding us. It is childish to think "i hurt so you better hurt too and I will make sure you do!"

Do what your gut tells you. Nothing has to be decided right now.


I am so sorry for what you are going through. You are a kind and caring person. Please honour yourself and do not allow ANYONE to treat you poorly. Hugs!


Well-Known Member
Culturanta, you have to put your own oxygen mask on first. You know this, and are trying to maintain your responsibilities outside of the crisis. But is this still a crisis? YS is improving, he's being moved to another floor and psychiatric treatment will be started, along with physical therapy. The situation is still serious, no doubt, but I wouldn't say it required your presence 24/7.

Your wife becoming abusive is kind of a deal breaker for me. I realize you're the safe person for your wife, the one she is able to unload on, but hitting you is not the answer. Please keep yourself safe. Sending many hugs.


Long road but the path ahead holds hope.
I am very sorry for the difficult situation you are in. I can see and feel I in your writing how torn you are with emotions. Navigating through relationship difficultie is never easy. When it is at a time of crisis only make things more complex.

Be patient and kind and seek some guidance and support for yourself. One step at a time and one day at a time is what is important. Self Care is not selfish.

my point in writing this is to say: this is hard and complicated. and imperfect and messy.

I agree so much with everything that has been written here and especially with the statement from Copa above. Life is imperfect and messy. We expect ourselves to manage with perfection and ease that which is imperfect and unpredictable.

You will do what you know is the right thing to do for you when the time comes. Life is hard at times and relationships are even more difficult is seams. We must surround ourselves with what we need to thrive, not simply survive.

Be kind to yourself and the rest will fall into place.

I am so happy to hear that YS is healing with full mental capacity. I know he is getting the help he needs both physically and mentally to continue to heal. This is a focus for all of you involved. Don't focus so much on others that you neglect yourself.

Remember we can not control the actions of others, we can only control how we react.

pigless in VA

Well-Known Member
I am so proud of you for taking care of yourself through all this. I hope that your wife will dispense her anger somewhere else and find her way back to you. I agree that this horrendous situation has brought out the worst in her. Give her time, if you are strong enough, to regroup and refocus. Perhaps her own vigil is guilt driven.

Sending strength ~~~~~~~~~~~


Well-Known Member
Thanks for all the friendly and supportive words. They mean a lot.

I am taking it day by day.

YS moved to a rehab floor and the focus is now on gaining his strength. The psychiatric piece is also being addressed more and more. He is where he needs to be. He is healing.

SO and I are communicating a little better now. This is also part of a pattern. It does not necessarily mean that a page has been turned. She will abuse and then behave more rationally for a time. It is the classic cycle.

She has never struck me. She has been physically threatening and menacing but has never touched me in anger. The incident I mentioned earlier is the closest she has come. She wanted me to leave the room and swung her arm out and around, coming very close to striking me.

I believe she meant that as intimidation which is frankly almost as bad.

I can see that rationally but in my heart it is different. Anyone who comes from a dysfunctional family understands what that is like.

If she ever actually hit me it would be over right then. There would be no doubt in my mind.

Emotional and verbal abuse, and even physical intimidation, is easier to justify unfortunately, particularly during such a difficult time.

There are a lot of skeletons falling out of many closets in the wake of YS' attempt and many chickens flying home to roost. My new favorite saying: when the chickens come home to roost expect a lot of chicken :censored2:!!

I am safe and okay. I'll keep checking in.