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Frustrated at spouse's mental health

Posted by Orchid , 02 December 2013 · 155 views

I am an abuse victim, and it took years to overcome the abuse.  That being said I am frustrated at my spouse who was also abused but has some mental health challenges.  I wish my spouse would stop hiding and just dive into every issue, ripping apart each problem one by one until they can rebuild who they are into a person that is more stable. 
I'm a person that sees a problem, names it, and then I go head on into it until it's conquered for the most part.  I believe issues can be corrected.  I know health can also be improved.  My spouse on the other hand is right the opposite. 
It feels as though I'm pulling teeth when expecting them to address their issues.  If we were not married it would be none of my business, and their pace would be just that.... their pace.  However since I'm directly impacted by their issues my expectations are for them to not stop until they have improvement.  Ignoring, or being the poor pitiful me person is NOT an option when you have a family. 
I'm tired and angry that they are not taking the best care that they can with their health.  We've been at this for years, and I'm running out of patience.  It seems every six months to a year I find out something more that makes me realize how many issues have been lurking beneath the surface.  I am even more pissed off that these issues have been hidden while I kept wondering why in the world their behavior or choices were so destructive.  I don't "do" secrets very well, and I sure don't "do" excuses.  It's time to have a little face to face talk with some concrete expectations with timeframes.  I refuse to feed secrecy and excuses.  If anything I will delete those options completely off the map.
My biggest pet peeve in life is a person that will not go to the end of the road to do and try anything to help improve issues.  The same pet peeve includes those people that harbor a negative attitude while trying everything "oh this will not work".........As long as a person is negative nothing will work.  A positive attitude of "let's do this" will change the world of the person, and the people around the person. 

I'm sorry you are going through this with your spouse. It has to be insanely frustrating. I can understand wanting your spouse to face their issues head on, make a bigger effort and be more positive. Obviously, I do not know you or your spouse. I have no background on your relationship. That makes virtually everything I say irrelevant to you. This is what is relevant to me... We are all unique and deal with our pain in different ways. Healing is something that can not be rushed or chosen by anyone else other than the survivor. It has taken me a very painfully long time to address my own issues. My husband has told me on several occasions that I wouldn't be able to hold it all in forever. He was right and he was right when he said it years ago. I was not ready or in a place that I could deal with it. I'm thankful for his ever lasting patience with me. It is because of him that I am finally able to push myself forward and I hope eventually upward.

Thanks JRAE for responding.  I do understand we all are at different paces, and believe it or not I am a very patient person.  I also work closely with sexual abuse survivors,(it's part of my job) which is ironic, since the one thing I didn't want to do, is marry a survivor. 

Two survivors in the same household can potentially be a recipe for disaster.

However, even though we all grow at different paces, it is just as vitally important for a spouse, child, family member, or friend to set boundaries when destructive actions are harming everyone.  That is when the line gets drawn in the sand.  It's one thing to have patience when the issues are challenging in a relationship.  It's a totally different matter when behaviors began to spiral out of control hurting everyone in the path.  As a survivor myself I recognize the "victim" mentality.  It's the poor me, I'm so weak, need others to pick up my mess, and I'm not responsible, thought process. When there is family/children involved not making healthy choices is not an option.  If I just said "honey, I understand" to the destructive actions it would feed the unhealthy choices.  If I set expectations and boundaries it shows the other person that they now have the power to make healthy choices.  It teaches them to have healthy control.  Likewise if the person truly can't do certain things, struggles with flashbacks, nightmares, etc., then I can say "it's o.k., I understand". I really am a very understanding person.  I "get" why people (including myself) do a lot of things, but putting mechanisms in place to help a person move out of destructive actions is very important.  Luckily I had a ton of people to move me along and I'm very thankful.  We all need a seed planted, and an expectation of responsibility.  I'm not saying force, that would be abusive in itself, but I am saying that I have the right to say "Either you address this in the healthiest way possible, or the consequences will be far more damaging, especially when children are harmed.  Using abuse as an excuse or the reason why there is harm to others is not appropriate.  There is a fine line between making choices because one is so destroyed by the abuse that they truly can't do better, versus making unhealthy choices because it brings selfish gain.  I've seen both in life.  Some of the best manipulators in the world are abuse victims, because that is the language they learned.  When that language begins to harm others, it truly is the responsiblity of family and society to say "STOP". Even if I understand why they have the actions they have. It' my job to say "here is what is expected of you". I truly believe because I have been so patient (codependent) over the years it has enabled many people especially my spouse to make some really unhealthy choices. I'm not choosing their speed of healing.  I'm choosing what I ALLOW or better yet prevent from hurting me.  I hope all of this makes some sense.  Again Thank You for your response. I truly am glad you had the type of support you needed. I (along with the counselors) believe that my spouse needs the support of boundaries and expectations.  I've just not been very good at setting them, but have finally, and I do mean finally have gotten frustrated enough to have that face to face conversation.

March 2015

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