Both my babies cried! DH question... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 11-02-2008, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DH is a good dad. He is a hard worker and works 50 hours a week so I can be a SAHM to our 4 mo. He works half of that from home so he can enjoy our LO too.

How can I help my DH? He gets so overwhelmed and angry about work, finances, and seemingly little things set him off. Other than being snappy and obnoxious he doesn't really take it out on me (not a yeller), but descends into a dark cloud that definitely negatively affects me...

One problem is that he's a procrastinator big time and also a perfectionist. So he puts things off and then beats him self up when they are not perfect.

This morning he got frustrated over an auto-pay for a bill that didn't go through and he got so upset that he had tears! He said "I mess up everything!" and then stormed off to the office. My DD was crying too, so I couldn't really help him...

I am going to take over bill paying to relieve him of that stress... And I rarely ask him to take the baby - even for the first diaper of the day and an hour of play so I can sleep, which we used to do... I am ON 24 hours a day and NEED a happy partner!

My question is: how do you partner with someone who doesn't manage their emotions the best? I don't like having mister cloud hovering around and I don't think it is good energy for our daughter. But I know that my job as his partner is to support him and love him. How can I do that? And how can I preserve my sanity and protect my daughter?

BTW - he is pretty resistant to counseling...

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#2 of 22 Old 11-02-2008, 01:54 PM
 
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It sounds like he could really benefit from managing his time better. I don't know what 'system' would work best for him, but you should encourage him to start trying something. I personally love flylady (www.flylady.net) because she addresses both procrastination and perfectionism.

Also, the tearful outbursts and dark-cloud moods are something I slip into when I am not getting enough sleep/water,calories,healthy nutrients/sunshine/exercise. When those things are lacking, I am easily set off and can't keep my cool when stressors like screaming babies and toddlers happen. But when I'm 'in balance', the little problems just roll off my back.

So my advice is to get him to take responsibility for keeping things in balance. He needs to get a routine going where he takes care of himself on auto-pilot so that he has the reserves to deal with his every day stresses. You can help by doing things like making sure he has good food to eat, or a fresh water bottle at hand, or a chance to take a twenty minute walk in the sun, but he has to actively be aware of his health and how his actions/inaction affect it, too.

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#3 of 22 Old 11-02-2008, 02:10 PM
 
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I think you taking over the bills and him taking more baby time would be a great first step. I do all our bills. I don't mind pushing the paper a few times a month, but dh does it all day long (well, not all day, by ykwim). So I'm happy to take that off his plate. Good luck.
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#4 of 22 Old 11-02-2008, 07:23 PM
 
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He sounds stressed out & depressed. Is there any way he can cut back his work hours? If he goes into work & does the work there does he procrastinate? Perhaps working at home is more of a distraction & he can get more work done at work?
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#5 of 22 Old 11-02-2008, 07:30 PM
 
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is he taking vitamins?
maybe B complex would help him.
good luck.

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#6 of 22 Old 11-02-2008, 07:36 PM
 
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It sounds weird but maybe you could start a discussion about doing things poorly? This concept was INCREDIBLY helpful for me, and I spent all of my early adult life as a SEVERE procrastinator and perfectionist. I had to learn that I could mess something up and that was ok. I made it "if something's worth doing, it's worth doing poorly" my mantra, and I had to practice it a lot.

Once I learned that the world won't come crashing down around me and that people *will* actually still love me if I am not perfect, I got a lot more comfortable looking at what was realistic for me in terms of making commitments and following through on them, and one of the most GLARING things I noticed was that I was often seriously over-extending myself, which I used an excuse to leave everything to the last minute and then beat myself up about. Those days sucked and I'm glad I am where I am now!

For your part, you have to know that even if he does make changes, there will still be times when he goes into dark cloud land. That's when you ask "is there anything that you need right now, or that I can do to help?", and other than that, learn how to take the very very best care of yourself and your daughter that you can -- maybe that means going out for a while and letting him cool off or figure it out on his own, maybe something else, who knows. If other people have a hard time with things, I have found that often the best thing I can do to be helpful is to take the best care of myself that I can so that I *can* show up for the other person if they ask me to, or so that I can take care of the other things around that need to be taken care of.

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#7 of 22 Old 11-02-2008, 10:15 PM
 
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Are you me?

Seriously--this sounds like us right now. We're (but esp dh) are in a stressful career situation right now, we're both overloaded at work and have 2 little kids, incl a 3yo (need I say more?).

I finally got dh to agree to go back on his meds, and it's made such a difference. Has your dh been tested for ADD? dh finally did get tested, and scored off the charts for almost all the criteria; being on meds for that has helped him HUGELY, and he's also on antidepressants to help with the mood swings and anxiety. Honestly--it's so important. Maybe if you present it as a medical issue (rather than an emotional one, requiring counselling), he'd be more amenable?

Big doses of vitamin B really do help, also.

And look after yourself, mama--I say this as someone who doesn't do a good job at that, trying to compensate and make dh's life easier. I hope you've got someone to talk to, and get to take some breaks, because it's emotionally draining taking care of someone like that, on top of a LO.


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#8 of 22 Old 11-03-2008, 03:54 AM
 
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Oh wow you are so loving and your DH is really lucky!

Sounds like a really stressful situation, and the replies here are great!

I know the pressure that befalls the "breadwinner" is tremendous...invoking archetypal stuff as well as the here and now real life issues. I wonder if he's also feeling incompetent in some other area that he's less comfortable with and so projects that feeling onto little things like the auto-pay bill?

Many men have a deep rooted "I'm not good enough" script playing in their heads. It sounds like he might be struggling with that, and is battling the fears associated with "what if it's true?" To me, it sounds like he's dealing with that, at least unconsciously.

I would come from underneath it if that makes sense, rather than talk about what he could do about it (which would translate to him as he's not doing it right or well enough, further reinforcing a mistaken belief that he's not good enough) point out where he DOES do it well....leave a sticky note for him to find appreciating what a great dad/worker/husband he is for a specific event that he did....make sure he appreciates you taking the bills off his plate so he doesn't think that's another thing he's "failed" at, maybe say you'd like to do it because it'd be good for YOU, something you like doing and want to help so you can feel more balanced....

Basically, reinforce the positive as long as you can do so sincerely.

And when he gets upset with little things, EMPATHIZE. Probably better to say, "Oh, I hate it when I do something and it doesn't work. I can imagine you must feel so mad at yourself! That's so hard. I'd be upset too." so you're normalizing his feelings, and then, not too soon, point out that mistakes happen even to the most capable of people. He might be able to hear that if he's been listened to about how he feels regarding "messing up."

Hope that helps, along with all the other great suggestions and thoughts.

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#9 of 22 Old 11-03-2008, 10:43 AM
 
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From the way you posted this it sounds to me like you really love and respect your DH and that he is feeling emotionally sad from all the hard work he does and not feeling good enough anyway.
My advice is to simply love and praise him as much as you can!
In my relationship, I am the more insecure one- but DH and I praise and build eachother up every day.
I would suggest saying to your DH often things like:

"You are so great, I love you"
"I appreciate so much how hard you work and how well you take care of us"
"You are doing such a good job taking care of this family, I know it can be hard sometimes and things get away from us"
and simply, " I love, respect and appreciate you."

I think people's insecurities go deep- back to the childhood messages and so forth. I think in a marriage we have the opportunity to reparent eachother- and I think praise, respect and encouragement go a long way, especially when applied regularly.

I think by doing this, by approaching the situaiton with praise- it will work better for your dh, you and your baby- because I think often times people just need to hear that they are good and it helps them to feel better!
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#10 of 22 Old 11-03-2008, 11:58 AM
 
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My dh tends to be the same way. I think taking over the bills, if that's something you're good at, will be a big relief for him. My dh is better at numbers than I am, but because of procrastination and perfectionism, it would be super stressful for him. So I do it.

I also do not let him beat up on himself. If he starts talking badly about himself, I cut in right away. If it's true that he's messed up, my response is generally "You're right that it's not perfect. But now you know what *not* to do next time, and it's not the end of the world". If he's just being depressive and unreasonable and dissing himself I respond with a hug and "That's not true. You are not [lazy, stupid, whatever he's just called himself]". It does sound like perhaps he needs a professional counselor at some point.

Finally, I refuse to let his negativity get to me. Doesn't help anyone to let his unhappiness bring me down, so I don't. He can be as crabby as he wants. I'm going to be happy.
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#11 of 22 Old 11-03-2008, 05:00 PM
 
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moved BACK to Parenting so the op will have access to it

                                Whatever will be, already is...
 
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#12 of 22 Old 11-03-2008, 05:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milletpuff View Post
It sounds weird but maybe you could start a discussion about doing things poorly? This concept was INCREDIBLY helpful for me, and I spent all of my early adult life as a SEVERE procrastinator and perfectionist. I had to learn that I could mess something up and that was ok. I made it "if something's worth doing, it's worth doing poorly" my mantra, and I had to practice it a lot.
ITA!

Sometimes a job can be so overwhelming that it just gets put off and put off. A person can't perform to perfection all the time. It is a huge stress. I agree that flylady is great for creating routines and systems and you can modify it to suite business (its about lifestyle management not just housecleaning).

Organization and systems relieve so much stress.

Another practice he could do is to always tackle the hardest job first thing in the morning. That way after that is accomplished he can relax and finish other smaller projects. This will realy help with procrastination.

Writing out a schedule for what your day will look like helps a lot too.

Breaking down a big project into smaller steps also helps.

To me it just looks like organization is what would help your dh the most.
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#13 of 22 Old 11-03-2008, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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He sounds stressed out & depressed. Is there any way he can cut back his work hours? If he goes into work & does the work there does he procrastinate? Perhaps working at home is more of a distraction & he can get more work done at work?
He is stressed and depressed! He warned me when we started seeing each other that if he doesn't work out he gets down (and I don't mean in the dancin' way!). When he is overworked, the first thing to go is the gym.

He can't cut back his hours right now as we are just scraping by. Unfortunately, he procrastinates just as well in the office than at home...

But I will take more off his shoulders. I am making sure to cook for him, etc.

Gotta fly - baby squeaks!

Thanks to the others for their suggestions too! I feel more positive about it now!

Added later: I have been trying to have a conversation with him about organization and procrastination. It is persistent, so I will be! i love your idea about "doing things poorly." I'll talk with him. Thx!

Mama to DD luxlove.gif born June 2008 and Wife to my dear Magyar foreign exchange husband. Expecting again in September!joy.gif 
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#14 of 22 Old 11-04-2008, 12:31 PM
 
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Added later: I have been trying to have a conversation with him about organization and procrastination. It is persistent, so I will be! i love your idea about "doing things poorly." I'll talk with him. Thx!
These are both symptoms of ADD. I really want to repeat my suggestion that he get diagnosed and treated for both ADD and depression (depression leads to anxiety which makes the ADD worse). I never go to doctors, dislike medication in general, but in this case it's made a huge difference. Feel free to PM me if you like.

Good luck!

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#15 of 22 Old 11-05-2008, 10:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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These are both symptoms of ADD. I really want to repeat my suggestion that he get diagnosed and treated for both ADD and depression (depression leads to anxiety which makes the ADD worse). I never go to doctors, dislike medication in general, but in this case it's made a huge difference. Feel free to PM me if you like.

Good luck!
Hmm, I will talk with him about that. It is time for a physical for him so maybe I can get him to talk to the dr. He really doesn't like to talk about this stuff, so its hard.

Thanks!

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#16 of 22 Old 11-05-2008, 11:03 PM
 
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If you have the 'doing things poorly' discussion, I would emphasize that as a provider (the "Man Job" that all men worry about), he is doing GREAT!

Let him know that he is doing such a great job providing for you all and that the little things are just that- little things.

ADD could, I suppose be a factor. Or depression. But I always try to remember that the way we live modern life is NOT natural. Going to work 8+ hours in a florescent-lit prison (and all the other trappings of modern life) isn't natural or particularly healthy.

Some people handle that unnaturalness better than others. He should NOT feel bad about not 'handling' it.

I am also a personality that gets overwhelmed easily. But my DH always tells me that I accomplish a lot and that it doesn't matter that I don't accomplish what I think other people are getting done. Our life is just right for us.

I try to balance myself by taking something off my 'urgent' list any time I start feeling 'stressed'.

Ooh, and another idea: (Oh, btw, Generalized Anxiety Disorder is another possibility)- One thing that helped me immensely was a mental exercise. I would make myself walk through the 'what if'.

What if I don't do this, or what if this happens? And when you are honest with yourself (assuming there isn't a serious underlying clinical depression), the results typically aren't going to be the end of the world.

Take that auto payment. It's late. Oh no. But wait, did they cut you off? Take away your house? Repossess your car? So you go through, what-iffing and telling yourself the likely outcomes, and you can even indulge in a few doomsday scenarios. Pretty soon you realize it probably won't be that bad.

The last piece is to ask yourself, "So what can I do about it?" If the answer is nothing, then you try to not stress. Or maybe the answer is simple... or you get it. There's usually a nice happy in between of what could happen and what you can do about it.

It took me a while. I had to make myself go through the steps to break worrisome things down. But once I got used to it, it became automatic.

So maybe that might help. Good luck!!
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#17 of 22 Old 11-05-2008, 11:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would come from underneath it if that makes sense, rather than talk about what he could do about it (which would translate to him as he's not doing it right or well enough, further reinforcing a mistaken belief that he's not good enough) point out where he DOES do it well....
Dylan - I just reread this and I like it! I do verbally tell him that I appreciate him, love him, etc. but I think I could comment more on the specific actions!

It's interesting - I am not sure it is rooted in insecurity, tho... It seems like it may be a chemical-brain thing. He is VERY resistant to the idea of medication for depression and I agree with him. I would not want to take it. However, if it would drastically improve the quality of my life (which it might!) I would consider talking about it with a trusted dr.

But like the vax issue, it is so hard to figure out what is coming from care-oriented medicine and what is coming from the med companies. I do not trust the latter.

Any experience with alternative depression and anxiety treatment? I think he would also benefit from talk therapy immensely, but he doesn't want that. He is eastern european and mistrustful of american medical professionals.

Hmmm. A lot to think about.

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#18 of 22 Old 11-05-2008, 11:08 PM
 
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http://www.amazon.com/Overcoming-Anx...5937196&sr=8-4

I think this is the book... Anyways, worth checking out what your library has. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (Which you can do by, and for yourself) is very helpful just in general, IMHO. It's a great coping mechanism.
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#19 of 22 Old 11-05-2008, 11:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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For your part, you have to know that even if he does make changes, there will still be times when he goes into dark cloud land. That's when you ask "is there anything that you need right now, or that I can do to help?", and other than that, learn how to take the very very best care of yourself and your daughter that you can -- maybe that means going out for a while and letting him cool off or figure it out on his own, maybe something else, who knows. If other people have a hard time with things, I have found that often the best thing I can do to be helpful is to take the best care of myself that I can so that I *can* show up for the other person if they ask me to, or so that I can take care of the other things around that need to be taken care of.
Milletpuff - this is great advice and exactly what I try to do. But my feelings get hurt when he won't share with me and I start to get frustrated with him for being down so much. So, I guess I am not very good at it. It also just hurts my heart knowing he is at home beating himself up for something and I am out enjoying a latte and engaging in self-preservation. I want to solution for him more than more myself...

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#20 of 22 Old 11-05-2008, 11:53 PM
 
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By and large, men don't get the same relief we do from 'sharing' and commiserating.

I've had to BEG my DH to talk to me about stuff. But I tell him it makes me feel better, and occasionally he obliges.

Would walking be near enough exercise to improve his mood? We like to walk together, with the baby in tow. That's also when we do a bit more talking/sharing than normal.
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#21 of 22 Old 11-06-2008, 02:42 AM
 
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Any experience with alternative depression and anxiety treatment? I think he would also benefit from talk therapy immensely, but he doesn't want that. He is eastern european and mistrustful of american medical professionals.

Hmmm. A lot to think about.
Well, not really, as far as supplements go. I know what you mean about not trusting the medical professionals, sometimes it's hard to know what their agenda is as far as the pharmaceutical profits go.

But I do have some experience with treating depression in adults through therapy...and I don't do "talk therapy" and am not able to accept medical insurance because I'm not willing to conform to the regulations required. Mood disorders often have their origin in the prenatal experience, when the autonomic nervous system is being set up and hardwired in the brain...the emotional regulation set points so to speak. It's possible to shift those patterns and develop new neural systems.

Anyway, if you want more info, shoot me a private message.

I think you've gotten a lot of good suggestions and support here, I hope you're feeling better about things!

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#22 of 22 Old 11-06-2008, 07:34 PM
 
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My DH is very similiar - we go through this exact thing periodically.

I think it helps to reassure my partner during these times. I write him little post it notes saying how important he is, how much we love him etc. Sounds tacky but I know he gets a bit of a kick out of it - he notices if I miss a day, lol.

Talking it through with my DH doesn't work - he's an introvert - so he gathers energy from being alone and having some space. Can you find him a space of his own - to recharge?

Oh, and I pay all of the bills It's taken a while to sort all of this stuff out but I think we have a nice little system going now, lol

Mel - Loving mama and wife to the A team
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