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Old 02-10-2011, 07:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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my DH is a fairly negative and unhappy person most of the time. when we talked a week ago it really became clear to me he hasn't a clue about how to *BE* happy. he has no idea what one needs to cultivate in one's life. he keep focusing over and over on other people and situations outside himself. 

 

i told him if people can find meaning and purpose in their lives in a concentration camp, he surely could in his life. (see "man's search for meaning" if you don't know what i am referencing)

 

when i spoke about gratitude, helping others, creation, accepting and loving oneself, he poo-pooed me. 

 

i am interested in other's take on this. do you have suggestions, websites, books, other bits of wisdom? when i say something he ignores me, when he reads it or sees it online it's totally different. 

 

TIA. 


"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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Old 02-10-2011, 07:48 AM
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Does he ever seem blue or depressed to you? There is a type of chronic, low-level depression called dysthymia. Just wanted to throw that out there in case it's not been considered. People with dysthymia often have been "down" for so long that it feels normal to them and they don't recognize it as negative.

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Old 02-10-2011, 08:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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he knows he's miserable. he hates it and doesn't know how to change. it's something he's never learned how to do. (negativity and general unhappiness run in his family) learning to choose to be happy is a skill some people need to learn.

 


"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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Old 02-10-2011, 08:42 AM
 
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Somebody did a "gratitude" experiment. Made a list of things he (she?) was grateful for. Maybe he aimed to do a certain number (10 things, for example) every day, or maybe just spent some time each evening thinking about what to add to the list.

 

He found himself thinking throughout the day what he was grateful for, just naturally, planning for the list in the evening. Maybe jogging past Central Park and thinking "wow, the air feels so good to breathe." Or noticing that someone held the elevator for him. Stuff like that. Little stuff.

 

The process of noticing the stuff really made an impact on him, and eventually he wasn't doing it just for the list. He was noticing on an everyday basis what he was grateful for, and it really changed his perceptions on the magic and beauty of everyday life.

 

But of course that could only be helpful if your husband actually wanted to do it.


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Old 02-10-2011, 09:14 AM
 
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The best book I know of on this is Ask and It is Given by Hicks. The first half of the book is very new agey, but the second half is an explanation of how our emotions work and how we can choose to move up the emotional scale.

 

number 1 on the scale is joy/knowledge/empowerment/freedom/love/appreciation.

 

number 22 is fear/grief/depression/despair/powerlessness.

 

In the book, it teaches to just move up one step at a time and get comfortable there before trying to move further up. number 9, for example, is pessimism. Pessimism is sooooo much lighter than 22, and it's usually pretty easy for me to get there.

 

The most powerful part of this book is the exercises in the back. There are a bunch of different exercises and some of them are rated as being better for certain places on the emotional scale than others. They are different ways to think about things, ideas for journaling, etc. Keeping a gratitude journal is one of the exercises. I really love this book and it total works for me.

 

There are several writers who talk about how we choose our thoughts and then our thoughts become our emotions. Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, and the chick who wrote The Secret come to mind.  All of cognitive behavior therapy is based on this truth as well. (though I find the new agey self help stuff more fun than CBT, it's really the same core truths)


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 02-10-2011, 10:43 PM
 
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I'm with Linda on the Move in thinking that he needs something that will tell him about how our emotions are determined by our thoughts, and we can affect our thoughts.

 

I'm more influenced by the science-y type stuff, it works better for me.  So if you think he'd go for new-agey more, go with Linda's suggestions.  If you think he'd like a more science-based approach (written by an MD, like), then I would recommend Feeling Good, the New Mood Therapy.  It's a cognitive therapy based approach, much like what Linda is describing but better if he would scoff or feel self-conscious about new-age things like affirmations.  My dad loves to make fun of new age stuff, and this book is working for him.  He might resist it a little, because there's a quiz near the start that rates your depression, and many people (guys especially) don't like to be labeled "depressed"  Anyway, it focuses a lot on how it's not the outside world that makes you feel negative or angry or ashamed, it's your own thoughts.  And it gives specific strategies for how to deal with those thoughts when they arise, and how to keep them from arising.  Pretty good, in my opinion.

 

Just to give you another option.  Hope you two can find something that works!


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Old 02-10-2011, 11:38 PM
 
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There are so many options for depressed people. Personally I like acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. That and like you said, helping others.Stepping outside of yourself to help someone else is very satisfying.  If he's more of a pill and therapy kinda guy there is a therapist in Marin  here in Nor Cal who wrote a book called "The Mood Cure". She works with Amino Acid therapy to correct mood disorders. Did you know that people can be low in tryptophan and it can run in families. Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin. But as I said before Acupuncture is also wonderful and can reprogram the brain and relax you.


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Old 02-11-2011, 03:05 AM
 
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Good point on the tryptophan as well - L-tyrosine helped my dad for a while, but it didn't really deal with either the underlying cause or the baggage he had built up.  So far so good on the cognitive therapy stuff for him, though.  I think for some people just that can do the trick (and it's so much cooler to take an amino acid than a drug, in my opinion.)


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Old 02-11-2011, 06:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm wi  If you think he'd like a more science-based approach (written by an MD, like), then I would recommend Feeling Good, the New Mood Therapy.  It's a cognitive therapy based approach, much like what Linda is describing but better if he would scoff or feel self-conscious about new-age things like affirmations.  My dad loves to make fun of new age stuff, and this book is working for him.  He might resist it a little, because there's a quiz near the start that rates your depression, and many people (guys especially) don't like to be labeled "depressed"  Anyway, it focuses a lot on how it's not the outside world that makes you feel negative or angry or ashamed, it's your own thoughts.  And it gives specific strategies for how to deal with those thoughts when they arise, and how to keep them from arising.  Pretty good, in my opinion.

 

Just to give you another option.  Hope you two can find something that works!

 

 

this sounds awesome! just perfect. he wants something that says: "do this when this happens." (he's very left brained." he does see a CBT twice a month, but T moves really really slowly for him. mostly because it's really hard for him to translate stuff to the real world. he's not very good at changing his way of doing anything. he's very rigid and intrenched. anything like supps, meds or accupuncture are off the table. so far none of that has helped him change his thoughts or behavior and so he isn't interested. and he needs a long term permanent solution. 
 


"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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Old 02-11-2011, 07:07 AM
 
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this sounds awesome! just perfect. he wants something that says: "do this when this happens." (he's very left brained." he does see a CBT twice a month, but T moves really really slowly for him. mostly because it's really hard for him to translate stuff to the real world. he's not very good at changing his way of doing anything. he's very rigid and intrenched. anything like supps, meds or accupuncture are off the table. so far none of that has helped him change his thoughts or behavior and so he isn't interested. and he needs a long term permanent solution. 
 

 

But isn't applying the CB techniques to his real life what he works on in therapy? To me, the basic teachings of CBT are pretty simply and available in a variety of formats, including science type books and new age books, but the strength of going to a real life therapist is having a real life person talk to you about your actual life and which techniques are most helpful in which situations.

 

Old, very bad joke -- how many therapist does it take to change a light bulb?

 

 

 

 

Just one, but the light bulb has to want to change.


 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 02-11-2011, 07:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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yeah, so what's your point? 


"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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Old 02-11-2011, 12:41 PM
 
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Changing the mind is as simple as turning on a light. Just gotta find the switch.


Self employed 38 year old Mother of one 5 year old super heroand wife to a lovely DH who is my hero..
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:48 AM
 
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Old, very bad joke -- how many therapist does it take to change a light bulb?

 

 

 

Just one, but the light bulb has to want to change.


 


ROTFLMAO.gif

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Old 02-12-2011, 07:19 PM
 
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I just want you to know my DH is very much the same. He is a negative, glass half empty, black cloud guy. He knows it and just accepts it. He doesnt try to change even though life could be so much better for him. He is anxious a lot and gets mad fast. He is a very good guy, but suffers a l ot from his own misery and outlook on things.

He says he is a realist. I always get mad at that. He is a pessimist. A realist would know that seeing the bad side of things isnt accurate.

 

Anyway, I try to stay upbeat around him and sometimes just say "Cut the crap and look at the beautiful day!"

I cant make him change and I don't want to wear myself out trying.

I do know though, that he is definitely much better when I am in good spirits. The times when I get down, he is in bad shape.

Fortunately I am happy most of the time, so it helps balance him and keep things up for the kids.

I find that I have to give him regular pep talks on how good our life is and how thankful we should be. It's exhausting, but I have to help him with reality (since he is a realist) smile.gif

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Old 02-13-2011, 06:58 AM
 
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Since your DH is already in therapy and receiving CBT support, what about a resource like The Happiness Project?


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Old 02-13-2011, 07:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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awesome! we should start a wiki!! i love it. posting to my FB page now. thanks so much. 


"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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Old 02-14-2011, 07:14 AM
 
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Thanks for this thread!
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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read this book this weekend. thought it was going to be some fluffy new age bullshit. instead it turned out to be a really good book. sometimes he rambles off into rantville. but for the most part a good, honest, down to earth insightful book. i hope if i can start practicing some of his "happiness tools" it will rub off on DH. 

 

 

i have started watching these ted talk videos too. 

 


"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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Old 02-15-2011, 09:28 AM
 
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I just want you to know my DH is very much the same. He is a negative, glass half empty, black cloud guy. He knows it and just accepts it. He doesnt try to change even though life could be so much better for him. He is anxious a lot and gets mad fast. He is a very good guy, but suffers a l ot from his own misery and outlook on things.

He says he is a realist. I always get mad at that. He is a pessimist. A realist would know that seeing the bad side of things isnt accurate.

 


That's my husband as well.  A L W A Y S negative, and believes the world is a bad place.  Always looking for a negative spin on anything.  It is soul-sucking to live with him.  And the sad part is that he is certain that he can't change, that the only emotion he can feel is anger and that things are always other peoples' fault.  He "doesn't have time" to read books (although he has time to watch TV/be on the computer into the wee hours of the morning; therapy is out of the question since all therapists are quacks and more screwed up than their patients (although he has told me that I should "get some help" when *I* get angry), and cannot imagine why dealing with his s**t over the years has beaten me down.  I obviously have a personal problem and need to get a better job and get out of the house more...

 

Sorry to hijack - I wish I has a good suggestion.

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Old 02-15-2011, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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sweatpea, i told my DH he needed to do something or i was gone. he claims he wants to change. however he does have a generalized anxiety disorder that also affects how he feels. we'll see what happens. i am not particularly optimistic about his desire to change, but i am wiling to support him and love him for a time as long as he is trying. i will not however spend the rest of my life with someone who does nothing to feel better. 

 


"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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Old 02-15-2011, 02:17 PM
 
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Find some videos and put them on while he's around, if he won't read. Or read the books and just keep quoting from them to him. I do it to my DH all the time (not to try to get him to change but because I want to share with him).


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Old 02-15-2011, 04:10 PM
 
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That's my husband as well.  A L W A Y S negative, and believes the world is a bad place.  Always looking for a negative spin on anything.  It is soul-sucking to live with him.  And the sad part is that he is certain that he can't change, that the only emotion he can feel is anger and that things are always other peoples' fault.  He "doesn't have time" to read books (although he has time to watch TV/be on the computer into the wee hours of the morning; therapy is out of the question since all therapists are quacks and more screwed up than their patients (although he has told me that I should "get some help" when *I* get angry), and cannot imagine why dealing with his s**t over the years has beaten me down.  I obviously have a personal problem and need to get a better job and get out of the house more...

 

Sorry to hijack - I wish I has a good suggestion.



My DH had/has the same attitude about therapists. I didn't give him a choice though. He went for about 6 months and was able to get some help with dealing with anxiety and anger.

He is MUCH better than he used to be. Part of it is that I won't tolerate misery and I am a happy person. His family life was miserable and we met young. Until he met me he was surrounded by negativity and anger. It's kind of like I adopted someone from another country. I can't relate to the darkness, he can't grasp why I can be light and fluffy.

He knows enough to know that my way is better for kids and a family, and does the best he can. It's a lot of work for me. I didnt sign up for having to teach my partner how to be okay, but I love him and I think we are meant to be.

I totally understand about the soul sucking part. I am getting so much better about not letting that happen. As the years go by I learn how to deal with it. I am responsible for my happiness. When I make sure to take care of myself, I am happy. He is usually pretty chill when I am in good spirits. If he's not- Oh wiggety well!

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Old 02-15-2011, 04:12 PM
 
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Find some videos and put them on while he's around, if he won't read. Or read the books and just keep quoting from them to him. I do it to my DH all the time (not to try to get him to change but because I want to share with him).



Im so glad that I'm not the only one who quotes to my DH.

Isnt it funny how it actually works?

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Old 02-15-2011, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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unhappy people are drawn to happy people like moths to flames. but what happens when they can't learn something form the happy partner is they get angry. which is where i am with my DH. instead of being quiet, withdrawn, and shy now, he's angry, withdrawn and sullen. 

 


"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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Old 02-17-2011, 07:51 PM
 
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In the past, when my DH was in a sucky mood, I always tried to make him happier. Exhausting. I finally realized one day, "Everyone is responsible for their own happiness." joy.gif Talk about freeing. If his life sucks, it's on him. I am a separate being.

“Woman with Flower”

by Naomi Long Madgett


I wouldn’t coax the plant if I were you,

Such watchful nurturing may do it harm.

Let the soil rest from so much digging

And wait until it’s dry before you water it.

The leaf’s inclined to find its own direction;

Give it a chance to seek the sunlight for itself.



Much growth is stunted by too careful prodding,

Too eager tenderness.

The things we love we have to learn to leave alone.


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Old 02-18-2011, 06:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i cannot make my spouse happy. that's the whole point. he *wants* me to make him happy and i can't. my point is that he needs to take responsibility for making himself happy. and if he doesn't want to do that he's going to have to find someplace else to live, cause i can't cope with him the way he is. 

 


"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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Old 02-18-2011, 10:37 AM
 
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i cannot make my spouse happy. that's the whole point. he *wants* me to make him happy and i can't. my point is that he needs to take responsibility for making himself happy. and if he doesn't want to do that he's going to have to find someplace else to live, cause i can't cope with him the way he is. 

 


Umani - our spouses sound very similar!  A couple of days ago, during a conversation, which we rarely have anymore because they inevitably lead to fights, he stated "Well, maybe I'd be happier if you tried harder to help me be happy."  Um, nope - not gonna rise to that bait.  I've learned that no matter how hard I try, he's not going to be happy or have a positive outlook, and the blame is always on me or some other problem in his life.  How can he be happy when...  his mother is sick, his job sucks, the car needs work, his wife tunes him out, blah blah blah.  Obviously I've given up on most aspects of our relationship.

 

We are stuck in someone else's rut.  These guys cannot get themselves out of it, so it is our fault.

 

Mine has decided that his negativity has a cultural basis (which is does, in part), and that I just need to accept that and get over it.  I told him that I accept that he has certain cultural issues that cause him to behave certain ways, but that I DO NOT HAVE TO LIKE LIVING WITH IT.  That was a shock to him.  He wants me to forgive and forget, just because that's the way some other people in his heritage behave, but I won't do it.  Gee - holding him accountable for his behavior, and not taking responsibility for making it all better for him.  What a concept.

 

I desperately want to establish separate living arrangements (at this point I don't care whether we divorce or not - I just want to live in a space that is not so energy-draining and dark).  I am avidly searching for a new job that will pay a living wage in order to accomplish this.  

 

FWIW - the energy is so bad, last week my 6 year old said "you guys should just get a divorce" - something I am sure he has heard from his siblings, because I don't really think he knows what it means.  Not healthy for anyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Old 02-22-2011, 12:43 PM
 
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there is a school of thought that super huge mega doses of Niacin can cure depression.  Google Dr. Abram Hoffer for more info.  He's a psychiatrist who uses mega dose vitamin therapy to treat patients.

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Old 02-22-2011, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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good info. my Dh won't take supps. and honestly, i'm not really interested in offering any to him. i want him to LEARN FOR HIMSELF what he needs to DO to make himself happy. if i drop dead tomorrow he needs to raise our children and he is such a miserable cur that they would hate him. 

 

on a good note, i noticed him staying up late reading the last two nights. and he's reading the "what happy people know" book. joy.gif

 


"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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Old 02-22-2011, 07:54 PM
 
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This post just made my night. It is the most empowering thing I have seen on MDC in a long time. bow.gif You go girl.
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good info. my Dh won't take supps. and honestly, i'm not really interested in offering any to him. i want him to LEARN FOR HIMSELF what he needs to DO to make himself happy.


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