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Hello out there
Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 2:44 pm
Hi. I am new to this forum so I thought I would start by saying hello. I do frequent other depression forums and find that I come and go over time as my mental state ebbs and flows. Here I am online again finding that I need to seek out others who deal with similar problems.
I am in my late 40’s, married, with children, and a small dog. I live in a nice house, have a good job, have nice cars, toys, and all that stuff. But, I spend pretty much every day trying to figure out what is wrong with all this. If the characteristics of my life are so good then why am I at such odds with everything around me?
I’ve been dealing with depression for 30+ years. For as long as I can remember I have always disliked myself and my situation. Even in very good times I have always had a feeling/thought that something was not right. And that ever-present concept of angst prevents me from being a productive, confident person.
The past 5 or so years have been an ever-deepening pit of despair. I will have days where I can barely function. Barely concentrate long enough to accomplish even the smallest tasks at work with my whole goal being to leave the office and escape that pressure of being found out as a fraud. But then going home doesn’t offer help either because the pressure of my family puts into my head gnawing thoughts that I should be more capable, stronger. more adult-like. That cycle stabilizes after a few days then I go into a mode where I’m a complete automaton feeling no emotion (which helps me cope) but it also leaves me with no hope or direction. That period lasts a few days to a few weeks but then I will eventually find myself in the self-hatred mode, which gets worse ever time I descend into the pit.
I used to be fairly suicidal a couple years ago and even got to a point where I was planning where and how to do it. I know I do not want to end it all because I do not want to put that horror and life sentence on my wife and children. But the constant pain and angst always clouds those moments of better judgement. Two years ago, though, I had a small miracle. Because of deepening financial problems I was no longer able to pay the premiums on my life insurance, so it expired. One of the main drivers convincing me that an exit could be ok was that at least my family would be financially healthy. But the loss of insurance made such a plan not even an option. So the negative event of losing my life insurance has in a way saved my life because it removed the excuse I was holding on to. That might be great for the long-term but in the short-term it places me in an even more hopeless place because I don’t have that light at the end of the tunnel.
Where I am at now is a hopeless, purposeless, rudderless, meaningless place. I have thrown away all of my hobbies because they bring more pain than joy. I have zero friends. I don’t see a future at my job because my mental state prevents me from doing anything. And I live in paranoia because eventually my employers will recognize that I’m no longer capable of anything. I have no desire to live and constantly pray that a truck, heart attack, bolt of lightening will take me out and end this joke of an existence.
Wow, that’s a spectacular “hello!” If you’ve made it this far, thank you. I look forward to learning from the wisdom that I’m assuming is present on these forums. I cannot continue an existence like this but taking a direct approach to the end is not an option. So I am in desperate need of hope and a solution.
Re: Hello out there
Posted: Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:02 am
I am new here.
Re: Hello out there
Posted: Mon Oct 28, 2019 7:47 am
Welcome to this forum.
Perhaps you are at “odds with everything around you” because those things in your life are only materialistic possessions. For some people, this may bring them happiness—or at least the illusion of happiness. But for the more enlightened individual, true happiness cannot be found in those temporary things.
I used to live with that feeling of “something isn't quite right”. I couldn’t even understand the point of our existence: to suffer, to work all day just to provide the basic necessities, to grow old and suffer because of old age, then to finally die.
I used to rationalize it and subscribe to the attitude of “life is what you make of it” OR “leave the world in a better place than I entered it”, etc. But I still couldn’t see the point of our existence.
What’s interesting is that, when I was depressed, I thought the depression removed my blinders and made me see things for what they truly are, not for how I wished they were.
But all that changed once I worked towards becoming more spiritual. I got the answers to my questions.
So keep searching, and I’m sure you’ll find something that gives you clarity, purpose, and direction. Some people will be content with how things are. Other people, however, may need to go on a bit of an inner pilgrimage to gain greater awareness, understanding and clarity.
Your family need YOU more than they ever will money. In my view, you ARE strong and capable, given you’ve lived with depression for 30+ years, not to mention you still provide for your family.
There is still hope for you—it’s never too late.
Some people will try the same therapy or approach to overcome depression, year after year, expecting different results.
In my experience, I learnt that it is essential to keep an open mind, try new things, experiment, make adjustments, and keep trying.
Furthermore, what works now may not have worked before. For example, even though my approach was as simple as you can get to overcome depression, it may not have worked as effectively and efficiently several years ago, for whatever reason. For instance, I first established a good environment, as the previous environment I was in was fueling the depression. Thus, if I was in the same environment, it may have counteracted my other strategies.
Nevertheless, in my experience, I learnt that to overcome depression, you don’t actually “treat depression” —rather, we work on ourselves.
One disadvantage of relying only on drugs for depression is that you take the drug as a treatment for depression, thus you develop the mindset of "treating depression". I feel that this is a counterproductive mentality, at least it was in my own experience. Overcoming depression, at least in my experience, began with the right mindset and attitude followed by working on ME, not the depression.
To clarify, depression is not the problem. Depression is a symptom of something that is wrong with our health and/or our lifestyle. Once you correct this, then logically depression must dissipate.
I don’t know what you have or haven’t tried to overcome depression.
Have you made any dietary modifications? Do you exercise regularly?
I would start with these two basics of life.
Medication and psychotherapy can be very good for some people. But it is also important to remember that medication treats illnesses and suppresses symptoms, but it does not improve health. Food, however, does improve health AND can be used as medicine. How awesome is that? Exercise also improves health.
Both food and exercise have natural antidepressant effects by re-establishing a healthy balance of neurotransmitters in your brain. Of course, there could also be other reasons for depression, such as environmental, genetic predispositions, medical reasons, etc.
However, dietary and lifestyle modifications are essential. Of course, they do take time, just like anything else. I personally feel the antidepressant effects immediately, but they only become established and lasting after my body has had time to realign itself to a healthy state. Thus, it is important to have consistency and to persevere.
I lived with severe clinical depression for over ten years. I can't say how long it took to overcome it once I modified my diet and exercised vigorously. It possibly took a year, or even two, but I can't say for sure. Then again, it may have only taken months! The reason I am not sure is because it happened naturally and gradually. The only thing I know is that, one day, I woke up realizing that I was not depressed. The symptoms were drastically reduced previous to this, but that morning I just felt "different". I realized I did not have a suicidal thought for many months. I also, for the first time, had hope of the future--I was even planning for the future. It was the most amazing feeling, but it is blurry I think because of the gradual nature of depression dissipating.
As for your diet... everyone has different dietary needs. A bit of research (and common sense) will put you in the right direction. I kept my diet very simple and stuck to the common sense thinking of: "eat what my body is designed to eat". In other words, I removed all junk food, sugar, processed foods, and caffeine from my diet. I ate fresh, whole foods: vegetables, fruit, salads, meat, healthy fats such as coconut and olive oil, abundant fish, lentils, eggs, etc.
I exercised A LOT everyday. This gave me antidepressant effects, which in turn augmented the antidepressant effects of my diet, literally putting me on a constant high (in a healthy way).
I exercised rigorously to the point that I was too tired and felt too good to be depressed lol. I did an exercise that was enjoyable. I love running, so I ran 70+ KM a week, with a 25-30KM run every Sunday to close the week. Also, the long run was a good opportunity to reflect, to chant positive thoughts to myself, etc. It is easier and more natural to think positive when our brain chemistry is balanced. Thus, I often used positive thinking techniques while I was running to capitalize on this antidepressant effect, getting the most bang for my buck so to speak.
Just find what works for you, based on your time, energy, fitness level, motivation, etc. Main thing is start small and build it up and, most of all, make it enjoyable so you will be more likely to stick with it. Again, consistency is key.
There are many other things one can do to overcome depression, as there is no “one-size-fits-all" approach to depression. But in my opinion, DIET and EXERCISE are two of the “must do” for any situation concerning our health, along with good common sense.
Other things that helped was study. I did a course that I would enjoy, which kept my mind busy. It also gave me structure and a sense of accomplishment. I did study in the past, but the courses I did was not as useful or enjoyable, hence why they possibly did not work. You need to enjoy what you are doing, especially if you are depressed.
Furthermore, at the time, the conditions were not ideal for full-time study, with extreme pressures and debt. So the conditions need to work in our favor for optimal results. Now you can see why I say we work on ourselves, not the depression. Our entire life needs to be evaluated and adjusted.
The running itself was also great, not just because of the health benefits, but because it challenged me. I am a highly motivated person and enjoyed challenging myself to push my limits in which running could provide. The adrenaline rush of conquering long, steep hills in the mountains was an amazing feeling. Then you got to enjoy the view just by making it to the top.
So I think there are the added benefits of such things as exercise, study, working, etc. Structure is very important, as well as something that can help to give us some meaning and purpose. For example, running gave me purpose: reestablish neurochemistry, boost health, keep busy, challenge myself, keep me motivated, keep me strong, improve sleeping, clear my mind, lower stress, etc.
Speaking of stress... that is another thing that is essential to monitor, as prolonged stress is known to be a causative, contributing and maintaining factor of major depression. The diet and exercise is necessary to help lower stress, help you to better cope with stress, and to help replenish the nutrients that stress depletes. Depression is in itself a HIGHLY stressful condition, thus why a diet rich in nutrients and antioxidants is absolutely essential.
Finally, what ultimately helped me in my relapse several years ago was my transition to becoming a spiritual person. I was always motivated by the militaristic way of life and thinking. But once I made the choice to become spiritual, my entire life changed. God has changed my life and there is no looking back.
I hope my suggestions were of some use.
Keep trying. You will find a solution. Meanwhile, we are all here for you. Sending our lots of love, thoughts, and prayers to you, friend.
Re: Hello out there
Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:21 pm
Thank you @spleefy for taking so much time to compose such an elaborate response. Thank you. Just knowing that someone out there first listens to me and second spends the time to offer a helping hand slightly warms my frozen heart. And when your heart and soul are frozen solid even the tiniest bit of warmth is like a blow torch. Thank you.
I have always believed in the positive effects of exercise. I also run fairly regularly. If I’m lucky and my schedule allows I run twice per week 5-6 miles (I’m in the US) per run. I do not call myself a “runner” because I’ve never really been good at it or like it but I run nonetheless because I enjoy the results it brings. A slightly unlucky week has me running once per week and then unfortunately I get a week or two where I don’t run at all. If it was up to me I would run twice per week and then also hike/climb once per week into the mountains. That used to be a huge passion of mine but the responsibilities of life take over and you slowly give up your passions. I wish that wasn’t the case but that’s just how things are.
My diet is so-so. During the week I eat fairly healthy with small meals, fruit, veggies, etc. but on the weekend I’ll usually indulge in a burger or some other unhealthy meal.
Stress is a huge neg factor in my life but I just don’t know how to get away from it. I know of all sorts of coping techniques which I practice (breathing, meditation, journaling, etc) but they never seem to do the trick. Maybe they buy me an extra 5% of coping. But I’ll take whatever I can get.
In the end, I’ve just been out of fuel, out of hope, out of will. I spend most days as if I’m just sitting in my cell waiting for that final knock on the door. I’ve been in that mindset for 5-6 years. I have always been a positive, forward-looking person so the hopeless state I’ve been in destroys me all the more.
Re: Hello out there
Posted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:55 pm
Spleefy has provided so much valuable information, it makes it difficult to add to it. I always find myself trying to simplify things, and pulled this from his post.
"Nevertheless, in my experience, I learnt that to overcome depression, you don’t actually “treat depression” —rather, we work on ourselves."
This rings so true to me, and it's something I think should be kept in mind.
I do have one bit that I would like to add as it is something I've been researching lately. It is in regard to materialistic possessions, the things that we believe make us "happy". Humans have been around for a very long time, thousands of years, and the simple things that make us human remain unchanged. What has happened though, is that the world has changed around us, things have been over complicated with all of our societal advancements. Technology and social media have almost entirely eliminated the need to have face to face interactions, which is one of the many key parts that make us human. I could write pages of examples, but I'll give you a quick personal one.
My depression and anxiety make socializing extremely difficult to begin with, I am a stay at home dad and I've been trying to find activities to do with my daughter during the day to get out of the house and meet people. Not too long ago you could walk outside and see children playing in their yards, neighbors communicated and interacted with each other. Your community, socializing, was simply right outside the door. I take my daughter for a walk every day, at different times of the day, and it's largely a ghost town. I live in tract housing down the street from an elementary school, there's plenty of kids and people around, they just all stay inside, no need to come out, life exists in the digital world now. So I have to search for activities, and they are few and far between. I have to get my daughter ready, make sure her diaper bag is packed, and drive about a half an hour from my home to a situation with many parents and children that my anxiety can barely tolerate. Oh how I long for the time when I could just walk outside the door and socialize, we have "advanced" past that though.
Even this, right now, is an example. It's hard to find people to actually have a face to face conversation with about mental illness. So we work with what we have, the internet.
Re: Hello out there
Posted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 6:45 am
I also love the results running gives you. When I run, I imagine myself like a wild horse galloping, free and happy.
You sound like you enjoy the outdoors and nature. I love the outdoors, exploring, and adventures—there is nothing quite like it.
It is such as shame when we put our passions and the things that bring us immense enjoyment on the back burner. I hope you can find a way to do more of the things you love, such as hiking and climbing in the mountains. Alas, sadly we are all faced with the same dilemma of balancing our responsibilities with other activities.
What I found helps is to simply my life.
Life is complicated enough without adding more to it. I find it helps to think in terms of “less is more”. I reason that if I can be happy on less, then I will be able to live a fulfilling life faster. Thus, I don’t need much to be happy—I’m what you would say, “low maintenance”. And you will stress less! The more you add to your life, the more stress that comes with it. It is just part of the package.
The approach of simplifying seems to be working brilliantly, and I’m in a happier place in my life than I have ever been! Actually, I would say I’m in a happy place; whereas in the past I’ve never been happy. In all fairness, I’ve had somewhat happy days, but never actually been happy in my life… until I began simplifying it.
I think this was because my focus and priorities were based on this worldview. My idea of success and happiness is far removed from what it is now, that’s for sure.
So I simplify my life the best I can. I don’t overburden my life with unnecessary objectives, pursuits, or toys. I aim to keep those things that are actually meaningful in my life and will bring me enjoyment, peace and happiness… then scrap the rest.
Sure, there are many things that I want in my life that leave a bit of a void. But I have conditioned (and continue to train) myself to not whine about the things I don't have but instead appreciate the good things that I DO have in my life right now. I also remind myself that things and circumstances can always change--both for better or for worse. So I just enjoy what good I have now.
Coping strategies for stress is fine. But I think a better way is to organically lower it by not overburdening ourselves in the first place. In other words, simplify our lives. We all have a habit of taking on too many things—aka the mindset of “more is better”.
I also view my life as a responsibility. I view my health, happiness, and wellbeing a responsibility to myself. I see my life and wellbeing as one of the most important responsibilities that I have. After all, it is our life and we must take care of that one life we have. It is a responsibility that belongs to us and nobody else.
I also reason that the better care I take of myself, then the better I am able to take care of other responsibilities in my life. In addition, I will also be able to cope better with pressures, stress, and so forth.
So if going into the mountains will sincerely add to your quality of life, then I encourage you to find a way to make that happen. It is important to you, and you are important. It will also probably lower your stress.
A tip that I have found useful is to not say, “I can’t do that”. This shuts down your brain from exploring possibilities. Instead, ask yourself: “how can I do it”. The latter will stimulate your brain to think of ways to make it happen. I do this all the time when I encounter a problem and I’m trying to find a solution.
Ironically, this advice came from a financial book. Many years ago, I thought being rich was the way to freedom and happiness, and so I read financial and investment books to increase my financial IQ and financial literacy. But the author of this particular book, where this advice originates, had some incredible advice that you can use in many other areas of your life, and that was one of them. How times have changed, and now money no longer has that hold or power of me. Incredible!
I used to hear that phrase so many times growing up. Whenever you have a great idea, many people will shut it down by saying to you, “you can’t do that!” OR “it can’t be done!”. What they are really saying is that THEY can’t do it. Too bad for them if they don’t have the gumption and ambition to make things happen and their dreams a reality. So I vowed never to say to myself, “I can’t do that”… or say it to anyone else for that matter.
It is like when I lived with depression for so many years. Sure, there were many times I felt defeated and tried to take my own life. But, at the end of the day, I stuck around. Deep down, I knew there must be a way out of this living hell I was in...
I refused to accept defeat.
I refused to be submissive to depression.
I knew there must be a way for me to overcome it or, at the very least, still live my life with it. I used the words, "how can I?" "how do I?", etc. I never tried to convince myself that I can't overcome depression, even though many times I did feel that way. So the words I chose to use, "how can I overcome depression?" encouraged me to explore different strategies, approaches, and to keep thinking. To keep fighting.
There were times when I thought I found my way out of the black hole... only to realize it was just a short burst of motivation. This happened time and again. Did I feel disheartened? Damn straight I did. I felt more and more suicidal each time my efforts didn't work. But, again, I used the same words, "how can I?", and it kept me thinking of new ways, new ideas, new approaches until I found a way to crush depression once and for all.
Lastly, I like think outside the box and be creative because that is where you find gems. It is the unexplored terrains where all the goodies can be discovered—the places where other people rarely venture.
I also don’t count the things I enjoy in life or my passions as secondary to everything else—as though it is something that I must fit into my life when I get time. I consider them a very important part of my life and something that I make time for, just as I do any other responsibility.
I’ll use a personal situation to illustrate how this worked out…
I am a proud full-time, informal carer for my uncle. I used to put his needs first and foremost. However, I put my responsibility to him at the expense of my own needs and wellbeing.
It took a while, but I soon learned to view myself just as important as him. After all, I’m the one doing all the work and caring for him. And I’m not going to be any use to him if I neglect myself. So I made myself as much as a priority as my uncle.
The result? Things are now going better than ever for both him AND myself. I discovered that it doesn’t have to be one or the other—it can be both. I can fulfill his life and my own life at the same time… all by making myself and my needs as much as a priority as his.
By taking this approach, I am better able fulfill my role to him. I stress less. I also seem to now have more time to pursue other things or responsibilities, whereas before when I put him first at the expense of my own life and needs, it felt like I had zero time for anything else BUT him. I couldn’t understand why. It made absolutely no sense because he is only ONE person and, yet, I was flat out looking after him and keeping house. Now it all makes sense. I was focusing just on him and not on myself, too.
Just making that small change seems to have bought me more time to take care of him, take care of other responsibilities, work on other pursuits, and even spend some time with friends. I even have plenty of time to do obedience training and care for a puppy, which significantly added to my responsibilities, cleaning routine, etc.
Before I changed my approach of making my happiness, passions, etc., an important responsibility, I would never have found time to raise a puppy, let alone research and spend a lot of time working towards high level obedience training with him. There was just no way! But somehow now I can do it and still have time to pursue other things if I want.
Another quick example is my car. I can't stand a dirty, untidy and disorganized household and car. My car is always immaculate, and I get a lot of compliments on it from people. People asked how I find time to keep the car always pristine clean, especially now that I have a dog and it is still always immaculate. The answer is: I make time to keep the car clean because it is important enough to me. Also, growing up I learnt to keep on top of things before they become a problem... or in this case, too dirty, which will take twice as long as long to clean. So 10-15 minutes a day is nothing to keep the car pristine.
Hopefully this will give you some encouragement to find a way to make time to pursue those things that bring you enjoyment in your own life. You are worth it, my friend!
As for breathing and meditation techniques… Yeah I didn’t find them all that effective, either. Similar to you, I felt slightly better on the spot, but it was not something with powerful and lasting results. I just don’t have the personality or mindset for those type of things.
I apologize if it was a bit long again. I think all of us here could easily write a book on our experiences with depression. Depression is just that complex. Living with depression is like an entire lifetime’s worth condensed into a few years.
You make a great point. So much has changed around us, hasn’t it?
I feel the same way in that it is a shame people have replaced face to face interactions with technology. I also think it depends on the area you live in.
I live in a country town, but there are still a lot of people around. The one good thing about the towns here is that people of all ages are out and about. Pretty much everyone owns a dog around here, so everyone is always walking their dogs, going to the beach, playing, talking and socializing. I always end up meeting and chatting to someone on my walks, especially now that I have a dog of my own, there is always someone to meet and talk to.
This seems to be the case in all the surrounding towns where I live. You never have a shortage of face to face conversations. Even children are more invested in playing and doing stuff outdoors, not sitting on the backsides or walking around with their faces buried in their tablets or smartphones. And, not to mention, they are very well mannered. Things, though, are quite different in the city.
Re: Hello out there
Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:42 pm
Thank you all for your thoughts. Just having a simple conversation about these topics gives me a tad bit of strength.
Interesting comments about social media and technology. I have learned to despise technology in recent years. While I fully fathom the benefits technology has added to our society, I think the costs greatly dwarf those benefits. And I work in the technology field. I used to be someone that craved every new bit of technology because I loved the change and promise it all brought. But I’ve just seen too much change to the negative that I’ve become convinced it’s a downward pull on society. That honestly doesn’t bother me because I just live a more simple life. But it’s tough to watch so many others struggle with the stress of life, most of which is compounded by technology.
I wish I could focus on myself because I truly believe all of my stresses would be gone. I am a very simple person and am extremely low-maintenance. If I was alone in the world I would live in a very small house or apartment with few belongings and that would be life enough for me. My difficulties mainly revolve around my family who are all extensively high-maintenance and do not share my desire for simplicity. In a way, they find my simplicity to be an impediment to their life. So that’s how I foster a hatred for myself: I am not capable enough to give my family the life they want. I also am not capable enough to convince them that they don’t need such complex and extravagant lives. Nor am I able to find a way to be happy with myself about these shortcomings or my lack of ability to take care of my own needs. So I spend my time in purgatory mindlessly taking care of my family’s needs and wants at the same time always knowing that this is not a life I would choose. And the cherry on top of all that is the monstrous guilt I feel for thinking this way about my family. I love my family more than anything. But I struggle with the hopelessness they all bring to me.
Re: Hello out there
Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:36 pm
I find myself re-reading your paragraph repeatedly.
"I wish I could focus on myself because I truly believe all of my stresses would be gone. I am a very simple person and am extremely low-maintenance. If I was alone in the world I would live in a very small house or apartment with few belongings and that would be life enough for me. My difficulties mainly revolve around my family who are all extensively high-maintenance and do not share my desire for simplicity. In a way, they find my simplicity to be an impediment to their life. So that’s how I foster a hatred for myself: I am not capable enough to give my family the life they want. I also am not capable enough to convince them that they don’t need such complex and extravagant lives. Nor am I able to find a way to be happy with myself about these shortcomings or my lack of ability to take care of my own needs. So I spend my time in purgatory mindlessly taking care of my family’s needs and wants at the same time always knowing that this is not a life I would choose. And the cherry on top of all that is the monstrous guilt I feel for thinking this way about my family. I love my family more than anything. But I struggle with the hopelessness they all bring to me."
I keep reading it because I feel like it's something I would have written. I've been struggling with depression for a long time now, but only within the last few months have I been willing to do something, anything, about it. I'm really trying to understand what the cause is, and while it is definitely different for everyone, the technology angle is really something that makes sense to me on a fundamental level. Not even just technology, but progress in general, the over complication of our lives. It is definitely one of the many ingredients in my depression cake if you will.
So I have this newly adopted belief about the world and how it works, and it is almost in exact contradiction of how I used to see things. Which in turn is making things difficult because my wife doesn't see things the way I see them, I now long for simplicity, and she doesn't. It's hard to figure out, it doesn't seem like there is a good answer, and round and round we go. I think the key is right in your first sentence though.
"Thank you all for your thoughts. Just having a simple conversation about these topics gives me a tad bit of strength."
Having these simple conversations gives me a tad bit of strength as well.
Re: Hello out there
Posted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:28 am
I have been thinking about your situation. I am not in your shoes, so it would be easy for me to say to try this or try that. I genuinely want to see you have a more fulfilling life, both in your personal and family life. Thus, I will throw out some ideas and thoughts for you to play around with.
You mentioned the main issue revolves around your family, particularly in regards to the differences in lifestyles.
Do you and your family have periodic family meetings? This might be a good place to start, so that everybody can have an opportunity to identify and raise issues, explore family matters, make plans, keep track of progress, and so forth. Then there is the added benefit of family meetings being a great activity for bonding.
Is your partner willing to compromise and find middle ground in regards to your lifestyles?
What about also selling the idea of simplification to your partner? When you sell something, you don’t sell the product—you sell the benefits the product will give to the customer. So I wonder if it would be worthwhile to jot down all the benefits of simplifying your lives, and how it can even enhance the lives of your family. Understanding the customer (in this case, your partner) will help you to target specific benefits to that person so you are more persuasive.
I would imagine, too, that simplification would be a great way to teach the children that we don’t need a lot to be happy. This is especially important in a world where the focus tends to be on materialism.
What about suggesting doing a trial run on simplification? There is no harm in a trial run. Once your partner gets a taste of it, she may love it.
Because I’m not in your shoes, it would be easy for me to say to not put yourself down or to feel like you are somehow failing your family. But I understand why you would feel that way. I can only imagine how hard it is for you and your partner to have such different views--at least in lifestyles.
But it could be seen another way in that it is unreasonable to expect you to provide for an extravagant lifestyle.
I have another idea…
Perhaps this is a good opportunity to examine the structure of your family.
I will use a brief example of what I mean by structure...
In a spiritual household, it is much easier to deal with conflict. This is because everyone has the same core values and they are going in the same direction. Each member in the household also has a defined role in which they are encouraged to perform to the best of their ability.
When important decisions need to be made, the leader of the family--the husband--will consult the Bible, think it through, pray on it. If he needs some assistance, he can always consult the Elders for Biblical-based advice or even another brother. In other words, decisions are not based on what the husband wants or what will benefit him... it is based on Bible principles and decisions that will be for the betterment or protection of the entire family.
I think it is a lot more challenging in a non-spiritual and less structured family where tug and war is going to be more common, or where one partner will sacrifice their own happiness for the sake of other family members.
However, even in a non-spiritual household, structure is still very important.
So maybe it is a good time to think about how you want to manage your family. Where do you see you and your family in the future? Is the current situation sustainable? Can you really live like this? Should you be expected to live like this?
Perhaps you could think of a new way to bring in more structure to your family so that it becomes more harmonious. As leader of your family, if you truly believe that simplification will be beneficial to the entire family, then maybe you can insist more on a gradual lifestyle change towards simplicity. And there is always room to compromise to ensure it is a win-win situation. There should be no losers in a family.
Your partner has every right to voice her concerns, interests, fears, etc., but at the end of the day, a good wife will support her husband’s decision and headship, just as a good husband will respect and love his wife, listen to her and take everything she says into consideration. Structure and respect for everyone’s role in the family is what makes a family strong.
Another point to mention is that it is hard to be a good leader if you are not in a good place mentally or emotionally. So sacrificing your own happiness, even for the sake of others, will inevitably compromise your position as a strong leader to your family.
While we are on topic of leadership, I would like to quickly mention something...
We are all leaders of our own lives. Life is something that is managed, not cured. If we are mismanaging our lives then we are being poor leaders of our lives. So, as leaders, we need to be strong and make sure we manage our lives well by giving it the best opportunity to thrive.
I thought that would be a good thing to mention. I find that by thinking of my life as something to manage, and that I am the leader of my life, I take my role seriously and ensure that I don't fail myself. To be a strong leader to other people, we need to be a strong leader to ourselves. If we can't successfully lead our own lives then we will struggle to lead our family. So perhaps it is a great time to rise up and become a stronger leader to your own life. Believe in yourself! You can do it.
One thing I learnt years when I was training for the military was that we can go well beyond our perceived limits. I would exercise to the point where I wanted to collapse from exhaustion. Physically I was spent... but I had one thing left--my mind. I mentally pushed myself. It hurt, and it hurt bad because I was physically drained and hurting all over. But I told myself otherwise. I told myself that I CAN and I WILL succeed. I will do another rep. I will do another mile. I cannot be stopped. I cannot be beat. And so forth.
It is amazing how much strength this gave me to keep going. All this taught me how much we humans are capable of doing, even when we feel like we have nothing left in us. So keep going. Keep trying. Never say die. Don't make quitting an option. It must be removed from your vocabulary. There is only ONE option, and that is keep going.
When I was depressed, I was spent. But I knew, deep down, that if I kept trying to find a way out of this darkness, I would get there. Even if it took me trying 1,000 different things, it was only a matter of time. And if 1,000 times didn't do it, then 1,001 would! But I would never get to 1,001 if I stopped trying.
And one more thing... when I was depressed, I learnt that I only had myself to rely on. I was the only one that could make myself happy. Nobody was going to make me happy or believe in me. Nobody was going to give me the support and love as much as I can give it to myself. I had to work having a good relationship with myself. This is something that most of us do not do. We have a good relationship with other people, but bad relationships with ourselves.
So I had to give myself love, support, and believe in myself because I knew nobody else will. This truly does make a difference. If other people believe in you and give you love, that's great. But you won't depend on it because you will already be giving yourself all those things anyway, so you won't be hurting for it. It takes time to develop a strong relationship with yourself, just like any other relationship. But it is well worth it!
But back to your family, of course I don’t have all the facts about your family and how you run it. But I suggested this as it may be something that you haven’t thought of. Perhaps structure in your family is something that needs to be addressed. But only you can determine the best course of action for you and your family.
I truly do hope that you find a way to bring harmony back into your family. I also hope that you are able to move closer towards a life that will give you greater peace and happiness.
Re: Hello out there
Posted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:48 pm
Well, I can say that I am definitely not a leader. I am the head of my family and my wife always insists that I make the decisions but every, and I mean every decision has to be what she wants. If I ever decide something on my own without consulting her then we have big issues. She’s definitely a controlling type of person. On top of that, she also rejects, and worse, belittles any idea that is not hers. I cannot recall when I have ever come up with an idea, solution, plan that wasn’t put down by her as ridiculous, impractical, not going to work, or whatever. It’s just her impulse reaction to shoot everything down - which stems from her control and self-esteem issues. So I have learned over the past 5-10 years to not take any initiative on anything. Why should I try to take initiative when whatever I do will be ridiculed? So I essentially stand around and wait for orders. But guess what? My wife doesn’t have respect for me because I’m passive and not a take-charge kind of person. It’s all a lose-lose for me everyday.
Obviously, much of my problems stem from a disfunctional relationship. I have tried many, many times to discuss these things but each time the response is that I’m being overly sensitive, not strong enough, or even not being in touch with reality. I notice myself that over time I ebb and flow between awareness of all this and to believing that everything she says and thinks of me is true. Very much a reaction one should have in an abusive relationship. All of which has decimated my self-esteem and sense of myself.
In the end, I can’t separate my family because it would destroy my children. So I stay the course each day because that’s what I believe is what I have to do. That just gets brutally painful because there is no hope, no sense of purpose, no self-esteem. Just day after day of pointless, meaningless, boring, unintelligent, senseless days.
Interesting points about being strong. I very much have a “never quit the fight” mindset so no matter how horrible things are getting I still endure and move forward. I do struggle with that sometimes. Is that a wise strategy because eventually hard, dedicated effort will be rewarded or is that a horrible strategy because it’s submitting oneself to unneeded brutality?
Re: Hello out there
Posted: Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:27 am
Based on what you said, I feel that if she wants you to be a more assertive husband, a good leader and what have you, then it is her role as a wife to support your headship. She should be helping you to develop that confidence and headship, not shutting it down. Instead of belittling you, she should be building you up to bring out the best in you. What a pity that support does not exist in your relationship.
Has she always been domineering or controlling in the way you described? Or has this been a something that developed or worsened over time? Do you think she has resentment towards you, for whatever reason?
I do understand that you are in a dark place right now. But I really do feel strongly that you can flip the script on your family life. I have learned in my own adversity and painful experiences that there is always a way out of the darkness with the right information and the application of it.
I’ll share some thoughts and information that you might find useful…
You said: “I can’t separate my family because it would destroy my children
From a secular viewpoint, it is better to come from a broken home than to live in one. This means that one would not stay in a broken or toxic relationship just for the sake of the children because it would be more damaging to them in the long run.
The caveat is that the partners would need to earn their way out of the marriage. In other words, put 100 percent into everything they can to make the relationship work and explore all possible avenues. Then, and only then would it be justifiable to dissolve the relationship.
In addition, you have to look at the cost for being in a highly toxic relationship and whether it is worth the price—for example, where you lose yourself as an individual. For the past 5-6 years you’ve been in that dark place and hopeless state of mind. Not only are you doing yourself a disservice, but imagine if you reached breaking point because of this and it just pushed you over the edge? Imagine the impact that would have on your children.
Do you believe your children will be happier with a dad that is happy and enjoying life OR a dad that is utterly miserable, empty, and at high risk of self-harm. A dad that is feeling like there is no hope or purpose, with no self-esteem, and just wanting to cease to exist? Your children love you and they would never want their dad to feel this way, even if it means staying in a bad relationship to play happy home.
Another thing to think about is: Do you think you will be a better role model to your children if you are happy or living in utter misery?
Even if you tried to hide it from them, children are not stupid and will eventually pick up on this. It is bound to have a negative impact on them.
I don't think it is possible to enrich other people's lives when we can't even enrich our own. I don't think we can be good role models for other people, such as our children, when we can't even be that for ourselves. And I don't think we can be a good friend to other people if we can't even be a good friend to ourselves. Of course, I don't say this as fact, but just as my own logic and truth.
I personally view secular relationships too high risk and lacking structure, so I would never myself enter one. But I do tip my hat to you for sticking it out for the sake of your family, especially your children. Sadly, in modern times, divorce is promoted and seems far too common. What a pity
In this case, it will be worth finding a way to create a happy family and structure rather than just staying in a toxic relationship for the rest of your days. Because one day the children will grow up and have their own lives, then what? Where does that leave you and your wife?
You are both unfulfilled in the relationship. I know you said you tried many times, but have you asked her what you need from her as your wife? And have you asked her what she needs from you as a husband? This simple question will help you to both work towards fulfilling each other's expectations.
I guess the question is: is she willing to meet you in the middle and put in 100 percent to fix the marriage?
Another bit of information that might help you is the concept: “we teach people how to treat us
Here are a couple of links that has some information about what this means and the application of it...https://psychcentral.com/blog/what-it-m ... treat-you/https://www.drphil.com/advice/life-law- ... -treat-us/
Do you read, or have you thought about reading self-help books? You might find some valuable information that you can apply to your own situation.
If I was looking for a secular viewpoint and solutions to fixing my family, one place I would go is to books written by Phil McGraw. I like his no nonsense, direct approach for getting what you what out of life and your relationships.
Tony Robbins was also one of my go to life coaches back in the day.
There is also a spiritual viewpoint that you may find useful to fix your marriage.
I will leave you a link to a publication. The title is: The Bible Can Help Your Marriage
. In the last paragraph it says, “rather than resign yourself to an unfulfilling marriage, why not resolve to do something about it?
” Then it leads to the next article called: How to Strength Your Marriage.
There are many useful and practical articles on relationships and marriages on this site that I’m sure you will find useful. And don’t worry, you don’t have to be spiritual or believe in God to benefit from the wisdom and practical advice of Bible based publications.
The information is targeted towards Christians, but applies to all humans, especially those who are serious about making positive changes in their lives. It is all about knowledge and information—knowledge is power! Or, rather, the application of knowledge. But first we need the information for knowledge and the knowledge to apply it.
Here are the links...https://www.jw.org/en/library/magazines ... /#?insight
[search_id]=da9bc4b7-594b-4127-a117-05be90f1e0b9&insight[search_result_index]=9https://www.jw.org/en/library/magazines ... /#?insight
One last thought is that maybe you can raise your standards. I think it is good to have high standards and never to drop it for anyone. So maybe if you raised your standards in the relationship, she would see this and it may inspire change in her to raise her own standards to keep up. I think low standards creates for a sloppy lifestyle, sloppy diet, sloppy thinking, sloppy relationships, sloppy everything. So raising our standards has tremendous value in all aspects our lives. Just a thought!
See how it goes. I will pray that you find the strength and motivation to find a way to fix your family. I know in my heart that you can flip the script. I believe in you.
I just got out of the shower. Whilst in there, I felt like I should expand on some thoughts. I actually do my best thinking in the shower. I do that with my own issues in life. Take a shower and do some praying and thinking about solutions haha.
Anyway, I wanted to expand on the two concepts of "we teach people how to treat us" AND "raising our standards".
Your wife treats you this way because she has learnt to do it, and you have enabled
it. This is where the concept of teaching people how to treat us
comes into it. And this links with the concept of raising our standards
In terms of raising our standards, I don't mean raising them to unreasonable expectations. For example, it is impossible for us imperfect humans to match God's standards. It will never happen. We are imperfect and have inherited sin.
God knows this, so he does not have the unreasonable expectation for us to be perfect like him. However, he does expect us to do our best to live according to his moral standards, such as not stealing, being honest, not committing adultery, sexual immorality, engaging in violent behavior or activities, being loving and patient towards other people, etc. These moral standards are not unreasonable because it is doable for even imperfect humans to accomplish. Of course, as imperfect and sinful humans, we will make mistakes. We will sin. We will do things that displease God. We will be tempted and weak at times. He knows this and forgives us when we repent sincerely. But what he does expect is for us to to keep trying to raise our moral standards and not live by the low standards of this world--Satan's standards. He expects our loyal love and to always strive to raise our standards closer to his and away from Satan's.
So in terms of your relationship, raising your standards would be something like not allowing others to treat you in a way that you do not like. So if your wife is being emotionally abusive, controlling, or mistreating you, then you have every right to tell her directly and in no uncertain terms that you do not like the way she is treating you and that it must stop right now.
It is not an unreasonable request or expectation, provided you are treating her in the way you want to be treated. Do you agree?
She is free to make the choice of respecting this or not. But you must also make that choice of whether to keep these reasonable standards of being treated fairly and with respect or dropping your standards to her level so she keeps continuing to treat you in a way that you do not like.
Have a think about that. I really do believe that is where change needs to take place... at least that is where I would start. I would first look at how I am treating her and make sure I'm treating her in the way I want to be treated. Then I would raise those standards and tell her lovingly but firmly and directly that I won't stand for being treated how you are being treated. I would then let her know that I love her and that you and her cannot live like this. I would reassure her that change is going to happen and I am going to do whatever it takes to fix this marriage and I expect the same effort on her part.... something along those lines. I'm not in your situation, but I would start by not enabling her to treat you poorly. Then go from there. I mean, maybe she doesn't even think there is a problem in the marriage because it is all going her way. But that is where you need to tell her, then act on it to redirect the marriage to healthy one. Even if she does not play her part, it shouldn't stop you from doing your part.
I will leave it there so you can process all this information.