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Smile82
Casual Contributor

Am I being selfish?

I have been with my wife for 13yrs and married 9.

When we married I knew there would be some needs she would never be great at meeting. Due to what I thought was undiognosed ASD (diognosed now 1yr). 
I also thought there would likely be a time her childhood trauma (which she was only just starting to recall bits of) would likely lead to her getting unwell. 

3 years ago that happened, it has been far more serious than I expected and the abuse far greater than I realised.

 

she now has diognosis of CPTSD  & ASD. 
for the last 3 years she has been in and out of inpacient stays and worked with various community MH teams. With varying results including being retraumatised by some experiences. 

despite having regular therapy throughout about once week, progress has been slowed, largely the ASD is felt to be blocking progress but lack of understanding of ASD by professionals and incorrect diognosis also have not helped. 

she finally seems to have a support team around her that understand her. She is slowly starting to return to work and is rebuilding her life despite still being acutely unwell. Only discharged from latest stay yesterday & still very suicidal.

 

Throughout people have said look after you self care all that and I thought I was but couple months ago things started to impact my job, I had to go see new psychologist and she said it sounds like there is loss there. It hit me like a truck. Since then I am have realised how much I have lost and how little my needs are met from this relationship. 

I love her very much, i care for her very much but I'm not sure I can be in this relationship any longer.  I want to prioritise myself and find someone who can meet my needs. 

the thing is she is not abusive, she doesn't drink or use drugs. She loves me so much and while she struggles to met my needs she really really tries. 

Am I being selfish, to say your efforts and love are not enough? 

should I wait and see if things improve as she gets better? But if so how long do I wait? It's been 3yrs since she got unwell. But I have had these feeling twice before in our marriage and stayed. Am I just delaying the inevitable? 

also what if I do leave and she kills herself? That's a real possibility and what gives me the right to say my life satisfaction is more important than her life?

 

she is an amazing person with big heart and makes huge difference to number of people in her life. Am I just expecting to much of one person? 

18 REPLIES 18

Re: Am I being selfish?

Hi there, 

I understand exactly how you feel. 

My partner has suffered with mental illness from before we met,  has what I believe to be undiagnosed ASD and possibly BPD. Formally diagnosed with anxiety and depression, which I feel is a result of the undiagnosed conditions.

We have been together for over 12 years and also have 2 kids. From my experience, it sometimes gets easier, but the cycles keep happening over and over. Some boundaries have been agreed to over the years and are working,  but not without resistance and episodes of intense unregulated emotions for hours or days at a time. I'd say life has been in turmoil more often than it hasn't. I've been at the crossroads more times than I can think of and I am there yet again. 

We are starting couples counselling soon and I've been very clear that this is make or break. His illness has had a negative impact on myself and the kids,  so I've decided that it just can't continue without progressive steps towards positive change. 

My partner also talks about suicide with every emotional episode he has and also states that if I leave with the kids, he will commit suicide or that I will regret it.

I am not responsible for his decisions or happiness, nor are you for your wife's.

The guilt of leaving someone who is suffering an illness is horrible,  but if your own identity and hapiness is diminished or non existent,  then that is not ok. 

It's a really tough situation to be in and it is a lonely and stressful life, regardless of how much self care. 

I wish I could offer more, but I'm in the same boat and still don't know how or if I am going to separate. Deep down I want to part ways,  but my empathy is telling me otherwise. (he is a caring,  passionate and loving person with so much to offer when not hindered by illness) 

I will be weighing up the pros and cons of leaving vs staying when attending couples counselling, so it can be discussed in a controlled and professional environment. 

Would your wife be willing to do some counselling together? 

Re: Am I being selfish?

Hello @Smile82 and @DOT2 

 

Welcome to the forums.

 

I hear both of you and I am sorry you are in the positions that you are.

 

I can't tell you what to do only you can make that difficult decision and then live with it. I care for my son and there are days I would run away never to return so I understand completely how difficult things can be. 

 

My advice if you stay...learn as much as you can about the conditions/s.

Ensure you pracrice self care, i.e. take time out for yourself, see a therapist, set boundaries. Communication is the key. Let them know your expectations, how you are feeling and tell them you expect the communication to be forthcoming in return. 

 

I should add no relationship is a walk in the park, mental illness just adds another dimension. It's not all bad, my boy is gifted in so many ways and quite possibly the kindest most gentle person I have the pleasure of calling my son.

I hope that one day someone loves my boy enough to stick it out with him.

 

P.S to tag someone just out @ in front of the members name.

 

Happy to answer my questions you might have, hugs to you both 🤗🤗

 

Tagging a few other members to say hi to

@Smc @Shaz51 @Determined @Appleblossom 

 

 

Re: Am I being selfish?

I think it is difficult if your partners @Smile82 @DOT2 @Anastasia  have low insight into the difference between being unwell, and being unstable. Because quite frankly, someone threatening suicide if the relationship ends is unstable and needs immediate medical care. If they are unable to see how unstable that is, and this becomes a pattern of push-and-pull where suicide is used to keep someone bound to a relationship, there needs to be some sort of drastic intervention however uncomfortable and embarrassing that is. They may need to be in an intensive DBT course, which most seem to be long ones of 6 or 12 months or one-on-one therapy. People can experience suicidal ideation, SH without any trauma history, mental illnesses are illnesses in and of themselves, trauma and neglect doesn't always play a major role. 

 

Word on the street is that people tell me the in vogue thing for married couples to do in these sorts of situations is to use a third person temporarily to plug the holes in your failing relationship, only to return for the 876,00,567,00,328,000 time; while deluding yourself you still have credibility. Dozens and dozens of innocent, unassuming women and guys, seemingly with no heart of their own that may be broken. Just objects in space to be used as a service, no credit card necessary. 

 

But you guys are sensitive and thoughtful so some other path has to be found that isn't 'people like that'. I can't really see any other way except individual therapy before couples therapy. When was the last time you were single? Have you ever been single? If the answer is no, I don't see how you could possibly know your own reactiveness and patterns of behaviour, ie: you are still your own unknown.....Corny dog 

Re: Am I being selfish?

Very good advice @Corny 🙏

Re: Am I being selfish?

Hi @Corny 

 

I have been having 1-1 therapy thought this process for my own self care (maybe not enough) and historically too. My other half is having intensive therapy and has had DBT and EMDR (which is ongoing), she has weekly therapy and engages in speach therapy and with OT to try make changes. 
We plan to restart couples therapy this week. 

the issue in my case is not so much the CPTSD but the ASD communication is hard on a whole other level despite best efforts. Connection is harder to maintain and needs go not met despite best intentions.

not sure I fully understood your advice, I feel like it was to sort my stuff out first, which I really have been working on far more last two months which is what lead me here. 

as for the suicide, she is constantly in a state of suicidality. I picked her up from ED this morning, she was dissociated and telling me she wants to die and texting friends good bye, I told psych team they said ok, but she wants to try manage at home and boom she is back in my care, for me to worry about. 

 

we are trying she is really trying. It's just not feeling like enough. 

 

Re: Am I being selfish?

@Smile82 Sorry for hijacking your post. 

I hope the replies are helpful in some way.  

@Anastasia 

Thank you for your reply. Hugs right back at you. You're obviously doing an amazing job caring for your son by the way you talk about him <3 

 

I also agree that all relationships have their issues and difficulties, regardless of mental illness. I find that lack of communication or ineffective communication (irritable, accusatory, blaming) to be the main issue for most. 

If this could be improved,  then most certainly, so can the relationship.

At this stage,  this is something my partner lacks. He blames,  accuses,  acts the victim with every stress in life. Brings up issues with agitation and blame. This behaviour is on/off and it affects not only myself,  but my children. 

My eldest child has anxiety, very low self esteem and has expressed suicidal thoughts (they see a psychologist, so is well managed) with the main reason being arguments (my partner won't leave me be if he is in an episode,  he just persists to blame me for his problems as he cannot control his emotions) and also their whole life being blamed everytime my partner gets stressed by parenting.

I put a stop to him blaming the kids and I have always stepped in,  but it unfortunately just shifts to him blaming me instead. I'll note that this issue has been addressed and has reduced, but still an issue on/off.

I can honestly say that if we never had kids,  I would have walked out the door 1 year into the relationship.

I'm torn between doing what is right for me,  my partner and most importantly the children. I know my partner loves me and the kids dearly and separating would be devastating for him, which is probably what's making me hesitate leaving. 

Separation creates a whole new set of issues, stresses and what ifs.  Pros and cons need to be weighed up.  

 

I am also seeing a Psychologist myself,  so will be trying to learn skills and strategies for managing things better before I make any decisions. It is a must for me, otherwise I implode and end up depressed.

xx

Re: Am I being selfish?

@DOT2 

 

thank You so much for your reply it is so lovely to realise we are not alone. 

im greatful we don't have children I can only imagain the complexity that adds. 

we are starting couple counselling again this week, she is good at translating for me. But if I'm honest not sure how it will go as I think I know where I want to be. Like you. 
But that is poor attitude so I'm going try be open minded. 

good luck and please stay in touch. 

Re: Am I being selfish?

Thank you @DOT2. I try.

It does sound like you are both doing everything you can for yourselves and I commend that totally 💞

 

I cannot shout to the hills loud enough that if the relationship is "that bad" that the kids are being affected detrimentally then dig deep and leave. I did and it took a long time to have the courage but it's taken equally as long to "repair" the damage caused. 

 

@Smile82 in answer to your question, no you are not selfish, you have one life to live..

 

Re: Am I being selfish?

@Corny 

Thanks for your input.

I am questioning whether couples counselling will have any affect at all. 

In a way I am doing it to air my concerns and feelings in a safe and controlled environment.

It has been communicated to my partner that this is our final attempt before separation.

I'll also note that he had been cared for by the short term care team last year (he lost a parent,  which exacerbated things) and medication numbed his moods to the point he was a zombie.  He's still on meds (reduced mg),  but the moods and behaviour are still prominent on/off.

I believe this is due to ASD or Borderline PD. 

In regards to myself,  I had a terrible emotional,  sexual abusive relationship with my first longer term b/f in my late teens. I then had another b/f long-ish term who was ready to settle,  more responsible, but controlling, so I ended it. 

After that, I was in a relationship with my current partner (we were friends for a couple of years prior). Cracks started to show early,  I got pregnant and my morals told me to stick it out. I was wrong. 

Over the years I have grown,  matured and have a stronger sense of self than I ever have. Unfortunately I consider others feelings before my own too often. I can be a bit soft,  laid back and absolutely hate conflict, so I let things slide. I don't hold grudges,  I forgive easily and I like to help people with problems. My partner is a problem I can't solve, so I have stepped back and removed myself from being responsible for his choices or behaviour anymore,  which has led me to where I am now. 

I'll admit,  I should have left years ago.  But I didn't, so I don't dwell on the past and focus on being present and dealing with where I am now in the relationship, not to make the same mistakes I've made and not to enable any behaviours. 

I'm in control of my own choices and while there is a level of fear for the unknown,  I know I will be strong enough to deal with whatever I decide to do.

 

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