Here’s a letter from Susan, who’s in that age-old dilemma of what to do with a man who’s going downhill emotionally and physically – and won’t do anything about it!
We women are ALL so much smarter than men, so much more conscious, we can multi-task and solve problems with our boy energy in incredible ways – and it’s SO frustrating, exasperating, and sometimes soul-destroying to watch your man suffer (and bring his suffering into YOUR space and the relationship in general).
And yet – you have to do it the right way. You can’t overfunction, or try to make it happen. It still has to be in Feeling Messages, and the firmness of what you “don’t want.”
Susan’s doing a great job with this – her letter is SO helpful:
I wrote you before. I have husband who is depressed, who seems to have some physical/vitamin deficiency thing going on (due to medications/giving blood) which is causing depression/tiredness. He drinks more than he should and it really seems to because of his depression. And he is a perfectionist.
Previously, I was using your tools and coming across as trying to change him and being very needy, but I stopped doing that. It was really tough for a while there, but I finally shifted. I was getting so fed up that I was ready to leave, and that really started me shifting. I started focusing on me and getting out of the house more and doing fun stuff. The neediness was making him nuts so I stopped needing him.
I have been practicing these steps very closely:
1. You must FILL your life with all the things that make YOU feel good, such as work you enjoy, activities which fulfill you.
2. Let that full-life feeling and real interest in yourself show on your OUTSIDE! Change hair style, etc.
3. As you go about your life being filled up, you must keep your heart open to him so he feels welcome to come to you. (It’s really important to remember – no matter how hard it is – that HE must come to YOU, not the other way around (and he will).
4. Remember this important key: A man is HAPPIEST when he’s actively making YOU happy.
But he doesn’t seem to have much confidence that he can do number 4.
I started going to a Chinese medicine body work healer, and that has really helped lift my depression, which has been tremendously helpful for me. I have really been focusing on making ME happy, not trying to “change or need” anything from him and have been spending a lot of time away from the house – almost every single night.
But I am home on the weekend nights. Getting out of the house and doing fun stuff has been great for me. I am finally feeling happy and not focusing on healing the marriage.
I was so fed up that I went out of town for a weekend (Last weekend) without him to see what it would be like to be away from him and it felt very freeing, but sad. That really shifted things a lot too. When I came back a little later than usual, he said the he wondered if I decided not to come back.
Perhaps because of this, he was very sweet to me this past week, and I was keeping my heart open the whole time, letting him take the lead, and very consciously being strong on the inside and soft on the outside. He said some very kind things to me. Really sweet actually. It was very hopeful for me.
He is quite the perfectionist (I am too actually). And though this week went really well, this past weekend, he was critical of me a few times. It made me said, because we were on such a roll of enjoying each other. I don’t want to be criticized anymore. One time it was friends on Friday night. Instead of saying anything, I just got quiet and looked away, instead of making a stink about it. Then he ask me about it after the friends left. And I said I wished that my feelings were more important that strangers.
He wanted to know how he could tell me that I was doing something wrong (not his exact words) and I said I don’t want to be scolded, I don’t want to know if I said something wrong, etc. Another time, I just avoided the topic and went back to what I was doing. Not sure how to handle this with him. I feel like I am at that stage where I should not be talking about the problems in the relationship.
So, should I just let the critical comments go for now, or do like the examples above?
Secondly, he seems so depressed.
Previously, he was just laying around the house and not doing much by watching tv, reading or listening to the radio. And cleaning.
This weekend it was nice out so he did some projects in the yard. Some heavy duty work, and it made him tired and he drank 4 beers both days, alone on the front porch while I was out having fun. He gets really depressed about all the projects that need to be done around the house.
Meanwhile, I am out having fun, and finally feeling happy and not focused on the marriage. But when I came home on Sunday, I just felt like I was hanging out with a dark cloud. I kinda wish I had stayed with my friends who were talking and laughing and having fun.
But I think me going out and having fun, and him staying home and working on heavy duty house projects is making him more depressed. I used feeling messages and told him how I felt happy all day, and all the fun I had with my friends.
He said he wished he could be out having fun and not working on the house. He thinks the solution is to sell the house and buy a townhouse. But that is a lot of work too, and selecting a new townhouse and moving would add a lot of stress on the marriage. And frankly if we sell the house, I would rather wait and see what happens with this marriage first. If it is not going to work out, I would rather sell the house split the equity and move on. Or if it works out, great, we move into a townhouse. But that is no magic cure. Any house needs projects done.
He seems so depressed. When he was lying in bed last night (he went to be early) I said to him “If you want to have fun with me sometime I would be very open to spending time with you having fun.” He said he would like to have fun, and that the house felt like a noose around his neck.
Was that leaning forward too much?
I feel like my situation is so complex. Am I doing the right things? Do you have any tips for me? Was saying that I would like to have fun with him too much leaning forward?
Or do I just keep doing what I am doing, keep having fun and enjoying my life, but spend a little more time at home, and spend a little more time working on projects around the house. That might make him feel like I am doing my share. But I have enjoyed having fun.
Do you have any suggestions for me? I feel like I have made huge progress in recent weeks, but am not sure how to proceed.
Last weekend seemed like a turning point for us. Not sure what this week will be like.
I feel like I need to wait a little while longer to do a speech. What do you think?
Susan – first – BRAVA to you!
I’d like to post this letter, which is brilliant, on my blog, and answer it there (It’ll take a couple of months for it to come out…and it’ll be anonymous…but your steps are SO powerful and helpful!)
My quick answer:
***Your next step is to insist that he see a doctor, just as you have, to help him physically and lift the depression.
Just tell him, when he brings up stuff that’s bothering him, that you really don’t want to discuss this until after he’s seen a holistic Dr. (Western medicine likely won’t do much of anything for him but prescribe anti-depressants – though MANY prescribe Omega 3′s and other herbs…).
The kind of Dr. who will help is one who SPECIALIZES in depression and men’s hormones.
Just stick to requiring that, along with doing everything else you’re doing.
Just say that you did this to help yourself, and that it would make you happy if HE did that, also.
***On a personal and experiential note: I have found, in my practice, and personally, cod liver oil and probiotics and Vit D and “adaptogens” and some kinds of whole food vitamins that stabilize blood sugar and hormones to be incredibly helpful to energy, overall well-being and mood.
Many psychologists and psychiatrists these days recommend large amounts of Omega 3′s in fish oil and cod liver oil to help with depression.
But DON’T TELL HIM WHAT TO DO OR WHERE TO GO -
Just insist that he go to someone (some male acupuncturists have formulas that can help a man’s hormones and mood, too) and try some things and get results – and THEN you’ll talk with him about whatever’s bothering him.