Dear Aunt Becky,

I am 15 weeks pregnant and have never felt more confused, stressed out and alone. I have been married not even a year and have a six year old stepson whom I have been a full-time mommy to him for in the nearly three years I have known the both of them. The problem is, my husband has serious trust and paranoia issues, which has really taken a toll on our relationship. He is always mad at me for one thing or another, usually something that is just made up in his head. He even says he does not trust me and he has called me a selfish bitch on numerous occasions.

Because of his issues, I do not have any friends and feel hesitant to talk to anybody anymore, let alone my husband. Since he is always upset with me about something, my pregnancy has been nothing but stressful. I am afraid that his anger, which he blames on me, is going to seriously affect my body and our baby. I love him and when he is happy with me he is the most loving, awesome man in the world. He has a lot of past issues ( his ex-wife cheated on him) and he keeps blaming me for things when I haven’t done anything wrong. I think I am a good person but when he gets like this (which is all the time) I just feel like I want this baby out of my body. I get really depressed. Especially last week when he went so far as to pack up his and his son’s bags and leave me.

I really want this marriage to work out for the sake of his (our) son and our unborn child. He refuses to get help for his issues and I just want to crawl in a hole and die some days. My body cannot take much more. I am afraid the stress is going to make me miscarriage. I have no friends and have never felt more alone. I just want my husband to be happy with me again. I love him so much and would do anything for him.

Sincerely,
Pregnant and Hurting

P.S. – Thanks for your blog. It has really helped me through this.

Dear Pregnant and Hurting,

If only I could reach through the computer and give you a big squishy hug. I’m so sorry, Prankster. Now I’m not going to presume to tell you what to do with your life, but I am going to tell you that you do not have to live like this any longer.

I’ve spent much of my life on edge, afraid convinced that someone in my household was Furious George with me, and it’s been an incredibly stressful thing to overcome. Being raised that way (no matter how unintentional), it’s taken a long time to not revert right back to that feeling of being on constant edge from “someone” being mad at me. That’s how living with someone with a serious mental illness is. These are some of the long-term effects.

I suffered terribly from antenatal depression (depression during pregnancy) in at least some part from the stress of my life. It’s a very real thing. It’s not because I’m a bad person or because I didn’t love my child or because I was a bad mother. Antenatal depression just...is. But that doesn’t mean that antenatal depression needs to be in control of you.

You need to seek some treatment for yourself and your baby. There are many kinds of antenatal depression treatments – some that don’t involve medicine – that can really help you through the worst of it. It’s not going to fix everything in your life, but knowing that you have an ally can help tremendously. This is the link to antenatal depression resources on Band Back Together. Here’s (my friend) Katherine Stone’s Postpartum Progress; also an amazing resource.

I’m telling you with all of my conviction that you need help of some kind. I wish I’d sought help sooner. I wish I’d told people how much I was hurting. I even knew I had antenatal depression and still thought I didn’t need anyone. If I had, maybe I wouldn’t remember pregnancy as the single worst part of my life (parenting, even on it’s worst days, is so much better). Talk to someone. Write down how you feel. We’d love to have you at Band Back Together. Reach out to people.

I know that all of these things may sound impossible, but you can do it. You’re worth it. So is your baby.

As for your marital situation, I only want what’s best for you and your baby. Your husband’s trust issues are not your fault. You cannot fix someone else. You cannot take responsibility for his emotions or his actions. I know how much it hurts and I know how isolating it is to feel so alone all of the time, believe me, Prankster, I do, but you’re not alone.

We’re none of us alone. Please get some help. You’re worth more than feeling like this all of the time.

We love you and we know you can make it. You’re going to come out the other side and know that you can kick any problem square in the nuts. It just doesn’t feel like it right now.

In the meantime, we’ll be anxious to hear how things are going.

Much love,

AB

—————

Pranksters, please help me out here. But whatever you do, remember that “just leave him” or other guilt-inducing statements (“think of the children!!!!!!!”) may make her feel worse. It’s just never that simple.

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

30 Responses to Go Ask Aunt Becky

  • Wow. I wasn’t even aware of this condition. I’m sure the simplest answer is just leave him but you’re right, when hormones are raging it’s difficult to know which end is up. That was great advice. I’m impressed!

  • Cici says:

    First off…big hugs to you…it is a very difficult time and so many flood of emotions. I, too, wish I would have had someone or somewhere to turn during my difficult time. While I love my children dearly, it just wasn’t easy. I am not going to pour it all out or tell you what to do either, all I can really say is, you are worth so much. Sometimes our individual worth is not acknowledged by the person who is most important to see it…OURSELVES. Please go find somewhwere you can seek some help. We cannot fix another person, we can only help ourselves, and it is totally ok to focus on YOU! I cannot express how much I wish I would have asked someone’s opinion and sought some help. Everyone deserves to be happy.
    Best wishes…
    Cici

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  • Sam says:

    To Pregnant & Hurting;

    No matter how much it hurts *you*, (the things he says, does, etc.) the root is still HIS problem(s) – but he’s making it YOURS. Even if you did have a great support group, it would still be hard, but right now the best thing is an impartial third party; i.e., counselor, therapist, etc. He/she will be able to help you through your emotions, and help you set healthy boundaries with your husband. Ultimately, HE is probably the one who *needs* the counseling, but by going yourself, at least ONE of you is getting the help you need for his issues. And you’ll have support if things get worse or don’t work out… Best wishes and hang in there. You’ll get through this!

  • Jen P says:

    Hello, dear Prankster,
    Have you talked about any of this with your doctor? I would think your doctor would be a good place to start talking about both issues – they can help with the antenatal depression and also give you some ideas for where you can go for help with your husband. It’s so hard to open up to someone and trust them, but I hope you can gather your courage and be open with your doctor.

    Thoughts and support your way, Prankster, and I hope we hear back from you happy and healthy and better.

  • Katie Seelinger says:

    Hello,
    I simply wanted to say that I am so sorry for what you are going through. Congrats on your pregnancy, maybe it can be a transition to a healthier, more stable progression for all as a way to bring you two together to focus. I am keeping you in my prayers and sending love and healing your way. Find as many positive, helpful support resources as you can and hold onto them, tightly. *hugs*
    Wishing you all the best..
    Katie

  • I hope you do take Aunt Becky’s advice, and get some help for yourself. You can only control your own actions and emotions not anyone else’s, however when our thoughts and behaviors change some tines that has a profound affect on how others behave towards us. I’m sending you a big hug and hoping for the best.

  • Jacob says:

    Right. Afterall, when someone tells the person in such a predicament to leave the situation, the victim of some sort of abuse tends to side with their partner even more. It’s up to them to come to that conclusion on their own. You gave some excellent advice and resources because really the person needs to help themself first. Eventually you come to the realization after you are down and out and sick & tired of such crap, that you are just not going to take it any longer, or really are just at the point that you are completely incapable of doing so & need to leave for your own mental health. I hope she seeks out your advice and finds peace in her life.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      I know from personal experience that saying, “GET OUT” or “THINK OF THE BABY!!” only makes people feel worse. She needs compassion, not more people making her feel like she’s wrong.

      Brilliant comment. ALL of these comments are brilliant.

      • Jacob says:

        Absolutely!!!!! It does leave you with a crappy feeling knowing at that moment it feels impossible to get out! It’s true that people delve out a lot of advice that just brings people down further and in reality it’s easier said than done. Easy to “say leave the bum!”.. lol but that’s not going to help anyone. YOU are brilliant!

  • Erin says:

    Dear Pregnant and Hurting,

    My heart goes out to you, and I’m sending warm thought-hugs your way. Please make an appointment and see your doctor. Depression can make it impossible to cope with everyday life, and I’m sure pregnancy hormones multiply that greatly. As someone in remission from depression, I resisted treatment for years, but now I know that getting help the best decision I ever made. Like Aunt Becky said, some treatments don’t even involve medication, and they can make a world of difference. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to actually talk to someone. Depression can make you feel stressed, alone, and undeserving. It can also have really nasty physical side effects, too. There is no shame in asking for help; it will make you and your baby healthier.

    I came out of treatment stronger than I knew I could be. Once you’ve gotten yourself healthy, then you will be better equipped to deal with the other big problems in life.

    You are WORTH being happy and healthy. You DESERVE support. You are not to blame for any of this.

    Wishing you all the best.

  • CatPS says:

    Ah Prankster,

    I won’t presume to tell you what you SHOULD do. But I will give you a different point of view… that of the kids. And I hope it will be helpful. My mother stayed in two separate marriages that had gone badly south, because she thoroughly believed that it was best for her children (ie. me and my sibs). After many years of therapy, she finally sees that she was wrong on this point. While she suffered in a bad marriage, she wasn’t able to see that her kids were suffering along with her. To this day, I wish that she had been able to see this much sooner. My childhood was most certainly NOT better for her having stayed in these relationships long-term.

    Here are the things that I believe kids need, aside from the obvious food and shelter: love, stability, and safety. Two parents are not necessary. One good parent and one bad parent is FAR worse than a single good parent. They need to know that their caregiver is in their corner at all times, that coming home means coming to a safe place, free from fear, where they can be themselves. Stability doesn’t mean the same house or the same school for their entire lives. It means having something they can count on, always, no matter what, and it means knowing what to expect from their parents, even when they’ve screwed up. It’s more about trust than anything else. So see, you can be enough for a child on your own. Really. So I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t sacrifice yourself for your kids’ happiness… at the time you may not see that doing so hurts them far more than you can imagine. And always know that you can give a child a wonderful life on your own. It’s the love and trust that counts, not the warm bodies.

    Best of luck to you!!!

  • michelle says:

    It sounds like your husband has some serious issues. Have you researched any disoreders, such as BPD? The walking on eggshells thing is a hallmark of it. It may not fit your situation, but check it out.

    Whatever the problem, he is not treating you right and you owe it to yourself and your unborn baby to get some support. It’s extremely unhealthy for you to be under such stress. Please talk to a professional who can help you.

    Big hugs. It’s not easy to be in a difficult relationship and noone deserves the treatment you’ve endured. You are a good person and you deserve a happy home. I hope you can figure out a way to have that.

  • ScienceGeek says:

    Sometimes, truly loving somebody means standing up to them.
    You fell in love with this man for a reason. You KNOW he is capable of being a loving and wonderful husband. But he’s letting his fear and his anger destroy you and your marriage.
    I think you need to tell him exactly what effect his behaviour is having on you. Hold nothing back. Then demand some therapy, alone and together. A professional will help both of you understand and commmunicate your feelings, and then get some control over them. If you can’t find the courage to tell him directly, show him this letter.
    This might seem impossible, but what’s the worst that could happen? He’ll get angry and call you a selfish bitch? You’ve survived that. The risk here is nothing compared to the benefit to your marriage and your own peace of mind.
    My father’s first wife cheated on him. My mum didn’t have it easy. 30 years later, Dad still acts up sometimes. But he loves her, and she loves him, and that was incentive enough for him to work on his fears, drag them out of their dark places and burn them in the light.
    Good luck. We’re all thinking of you.

  • nicole says:

    Oh preggers,
    I just want to say that these folks have given you some amazing advice, please follow it and get some support.

    But also, don’t be afraid to tell your husband what you are doing. Try to be open about it. If he freaks out, just try to hear it out and say something like, “i feel your concern. I think you are worried about us, but this is me trying to be the best I can be for all of us. If you want to talk the therapist or check out her credentials I’ll give you the number (website).”

    But I want you to go anyway, even if he yells. This is dynamic of him being freaky, isn’t just going to stop by magic. Something has to change, and since you can’t change him, you must take action yourself.

    What we are asking you to do it soooooo hard when you are already depressed. I know. I’ve spent more than half my life there. I know you can do this.

    HUGS

  • Alison says:

    I read Aunt Becky’s previous post on Antenatal Depression a few weeks ago. I’ve suffered from Depression for years and was aware of POST natal depression, but hadn’t heard of Antenatal. I’m pregnant and I got help. The Antenatal Depression was the worst, most soul sucking thing I’ve ever felt. I thought I would fade into non-existence. My doctor put me on an anti-depressant that is safe to take during pregnancy. This worked for me. Not saying it works for everyone….the point it I got help.
    I am not sure what to say about your marital issues, but I do think that you need to get help for YOU first. You don’t have to make a special visit, if you are worried about sparking his paranoia. Just talk to your OB at your next visit. If he goes with you and you don’t want him to know, call while he’s away. But before you can tackle your issues with another person, you have to get your head clear. It takes a tremendous amount of will and determination to get yourself off the couch and get help, but I believe you can do it! :)

    Thank you x a million to Aunt Becky for writing and sharing about Antenatal Depression. And P&H, take care of yourself, good luck…

  • mel says:

    big squishy hugs… we’re all rooting for you, no matter what you decide. Know that there are strangers out here who care about you, and KNOW that you deserve to be happy.

  • MXW says:

    I can only speak from what I know, and of course I have no real idea of what you, the asker, are going through, but this situation reminds me of my best friend’s father.

    My best friend and I have been inseparable since we were 2 years old. We grew up next door to each other; her family is my family, and her mom is my second-mother. Her dad is a different story though. He has quite a few issues all his own, including OCD and PTSD (veteran). Territorial behavior and possessive-ness. I’m not saying your husband has these same things, but the two situations seem similar because my best friend’s dad blames every single one of these issues on her mom. Throughout our childhoods, my friend’s mom was a whole different person when her dad was around, trying as hard as she could to please him and put HIS issues at peace because she loved that man to pieces, for reasons I definitely don’t understand.

    They finally got divorced after 22 years of stressful marriage this last summer, and as usual, the dad put every single reason for their marriage’s failure on my second-mom. And the saddest part is that a large part of her believes him.

    Sorry this is a long and seemingly pointless story, but basically, you do not deserve to live your life this way. His issues are not yours and you CANNOT waste years and years of your life catering to problems you had nothing to do with, and that are so wrongly being blamed on you. This is not your fault. His “anger” is NOT your fault. I’ve seen what blaming yourself leads to, and it is hard. My second-mom is one of the most amazing, caring and compassionate people I’ve ever met, and despite her jerk of a husband, she raised two amazing kids. It seems she’s just had the misfortune to be in love with a guy who doesn’t deserve her.

    I hope you can get some help and find some peace soon. All the luck in the world to you. :)

  • Andra says:

    Dearest Prankster,
    How I wish I could tell you what the magic formula for making it better was. I have no idea. I am the LAST one to say what you should, or need to do. All I do know, is, I was married to someone who was an alcoholic (he hid it well, until we married), he was verbally, mentally, and emotionally abusive. My friends, and family kept telling me I should leave. I am not an idiot, not then, not now. I knew it. In the deepest darkest part of my soul, I knew. However, the more they said leave, the more I couldn`t. I felt like it would be my fault, the giving up on what was, at one time, a wonderful relationship. I lasted 15 years….

    But you, you have not only yourself, you have a son, and an unborn child to think of. This is a man who you love, very much. Enough to create life with. Aunt Becky gives wonderful advise. Talk to your Dr. You only have the power to help you, and the child you carry. Wether he needs help or not, that is going to have to be his choice.

    I hope that you find your way, whichever path it takes you down…….. Sending you many hugs!

  • Manda says:

    I know it’s hard. I had antenatal depression and I was afraid to ask for help because I was afraid my doctor would blow me off. And sure enough, when I finally got the balls to say something, he nearly did. He told me it’s normal for pregnant women to be irritable and emotional. I argued with him for 30 minutes and finally broke down in tears and said “Fine. You’re right. I’m supposed to be miserable”. At that point he looked at my ex and asked how bad it really was. My ex agreed that it was bad, and he finally agreed to help me. This is every woman’s fear, I think, in asking for help with depression. That it will be blamed on hormones or PMS. That you’ll be blown off.

    Ask anyway. If your doctor is a man, ask for a woman. If the doctor blows you off, ask the nurse for a referral. If they still won’t help you, go to a different doctor. It’s important. It’s not normal. Don’t let anyone tell you it is.

    As for your husband, I don’t know. I’m a single mom for a reason. But there have to be support groups out there. Maybe someone knows of one online. Maybe you can level with him on a day when he is feeling well. I know that it’s hard when you love someone who treats you poorly, and my heart and thoughts are with you. Be well, darlin.

  • Allison says:

    Some days I sit at my computer and can’t think of a single thing to type. I wonder if anyone is reading my drivel and think it’s all just silliness. Today I remembered that I blog because I love to write, and there is a piece of me that believes that bloggers can and do change lives. Brilliant answer. Just brilliant.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      I used to feel like I was talking to a computer screen. Every now and again, I’m reminded that there are people – real people – that read the words I spew. I used to mock what we all do much more than I do now.

      I genuinely believe that what we do is important. Very important.

  • Wombat Central
    Twitter: wombatcentral
    says:

    I agree with the prankster who urged you to go no matter what he says. Do this for you. Do it for your baby. Please take care of YOU. ((hugs))

  • Kristina says:

    ((((((((((hugs)))))))))))

    You’re advice is good but I couldn’t stress enough how unsafe it sounds. You are being abused. No matter what you do at least seek help! 1-888-7HELPLINE (1-888-743-5754) Assuming you have insurance you can contact them for a list of therapists and tell him you are seeing someone for depression or stress, if you have to tell him anything. You and your baby are worth it. Good Luck!

  • Jamie says:

    I’d say now is the time to think of you and your unborn child. Be selfish. You don’t have to leave but you do have to take a stand, marriage counseling or church counseling whatever you feel comfortable with.
    Like the prankster with the POV from the kids perspective, I grew up in a house where my father did not respect my mother the way he should. We would have amazing days together that would all come to a screaching end if my dad saw my mom say or do something he didn’t like and it was never the same thing. Once I became a teenager he started in on my brother and I! The thing is most people might say that it made them act badly but for me it just made me very untrusting. How can you be in a complete state of bliss one moment and terror the next and expect me to have fun next time? I also have resentment for my mom for not being able to stand up for herself, or at least when she threatened to leave I wish she had just left sometimes so that my dad would take her seriously. They are divorced now and my dad is off and married to another woman making her life miserable. My mom is alone and still terribly bitter and untrusting and it is so sad.

  • cathyjoy says:

    I have been in your shoes almost exactly. Just didn’t have the stepkid. When I was pregnant with my 2nd daughter, I actually prayed for a miscarriage because I did not want to bring another child into the relationship I was in.

    Getting help for yourself is the first, most important thing you can do. Having a support system of some kind (I went to an abused women’s group) will give you the strength to do what you need to do for YOU.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Katie says:

    I don’t often make comments in situations like these, as I rarely know what to say. But after a recent experience, I believe I do know what to say to you dear prankster.

    You are stuck in the middle of a very difficult situation. All I can do is tell you a story. A friend of mine, we’ll call her Anne, was dating a guy we’ll call Jack. Anna and Jack had been friends for years before they started dating. Anna knew Jack (a former drug addict) had some issues, but he seemed like a wonderful guy. A couple weeks ago, I started hearing things from Anna. It’s been a while since they had begun seeing each other, but this was the first I had heard of these things. Jealousy was apparently a huge problem. He checked her phone and her text messages, he made her delete people off Facebook if he felt that they were not who he wanted her to be friends with. He screamed at her when she wanted to hang out with other people besides him. He would get up in her face and call her a liar and a bitch. She did everything for him. She took care of him, bought him gifts, and loved him. But she knew that something wasn’t right. This past weekend, Anna left him.

    Now, I am not saying that leaving your husband is the best choice…that is a decision only you can make. I think that first, you need to find yourself again. You are so caught up in everything that is happening, and I think it must be wearing you down like crazy. I know my friend Anna told me she felt as though she was trying to carry the world on her shoulders alone.

    Please get therapy. As soon as possible. I think that they can at least get you back in fighting form. Have this baby and love this baby. Take care of you.

  • Amy says:

    High-quality feedback there. So glad she has you for guidance :)

  • Korinne says:

    My Dad used to be abusive to my Mom. He would do the same kind of stuff to her. He would always call her names and just be a huge jerk (very similar to the way your husband is treating you). My dad even blamed my mom and told her she was the “crazy” – not him. My mom went to a therapist and she saw straight through my mom’s “crazy” and into my dad’s abuse. She recommended this program Advance. Advance is a batters intervention group located in York, PA (i’m not sure if there are others around like this) but it’s totally awesome and really helped my dad and my family. My dad is a changed man now, my mom and him have been married for 19 years and they are still very much in love and happy. I hope all of the best for you and your husband and that he changes.

  • “A cheating ex doesn’t give you a free pass to act like a Dick.”

    I think that should be on a T-shirt or something.

    When he’s in a rage packing his bags (and his son’s bags?!?! WTF?) it’s moved beyond “trust issues” into emotional abuse. You raised his son, married him, and are carrying his child–what more can you do to prove that you’re committed to him/the relationship/the family?

    Try couples therapy rather than just therapy for you. Because your depression issues are stemming from HIM and his paranoia from his 1st failed marriage and the drama he’s causing at home.

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