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My wife's insecurity and lack of self care is dragging me down

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My wife has a big heart.
But she is bitter about all the shit she has gone through in life, starting with an alcoholic father, Parents who succumbed to pressure to get her into a fake arranged marriage with a first cousin against her will so that he could come from India to Canada to study. She was ruined by that experience, of being forced into something against her will. But her loyalty to family was stronger than her love of herself and she ripped herself apart and reported the scam to Canadian authorities and never consummated the fake marriage. He got deported and her relationship with her parents was never the same but still continues to be toxic to this day.

We are married for 20 years with 2 kids, 15 and 18.

We spoilt our kids. Spoiled them rotten unfortunately and they have a level of entitlement that has ruined our family. First daughter left the house to go to college (all paid for by us) - and now refuses to have anything to do with us. So we are estranged by her. She has chosen psych as her major, which I hear is common from narcissists who want to help themselves. We got no empathy from our daughter whatsoever, just a total stab in the back and level of coldness that we have never encountered in our lives.

That's just some stuff to get off my chest.

Obviously, my wife is even more traumatized, she gave her daughter everything she never got, and this is how she got rewarded.

And on top of it, I lost my job and my wife is even more of a nervous wreck.
It's hard enough for me to keep it together with all that we've gone through, and I am just depressed as shit. I have a job interview next week luckily, and we have all just been on eggshells for fear of triggering each other since the blame game has been in effect and my wife already tried to leave the marriage once. I convinced her to stay.

How is all this sustainable. I love her, she loves me, her betrayal of me almost quitting the marriage, the betrayal of our children, the pandemic, the racism, the job loss - it is just too many compartments driving us all crazy. I have told her for so long that she needs better self care, but she is completely stuck in a funk and I feel worthless to be able to help her. Everytime I try, it only seems to get worse. I feel like such a loser and I cannot even share this with my family since they are not supportive in things like this and will likely scapegoat my wife and say it is her fault.

Why does it have to be so hard? If anyone can offer any advice (other than leaving her, I just cannot ever do it) But I don't want to hurt her either, and maybe she wants me to leave but doesn't want to say that since she knows I will implode as well.

BTW, we are both 'high functioning' in practical terms. i.e. jobs, house, bills, meals, shopping, cleaning. But everyday is spent sighing. Communication is always initiated by me, and quickly shutdown most of the time by her, unless I keep it light. Depression is slowly withering us away. Marriage counseling is laughed off by her at this point, since she has never been able to place herself as the victim, which our daughter is an expert at doing to manipulate us with. We are just incredibly low on so many fronts at this point.
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Hi there, Rob

Welcome to SF. Honestly your post sounds like a lot of people right now -- a whole lot of "smaller things that are piling up and up and up and up" until you feel like you're about to explode right? I can see that you're not exactly expressing a long history of mental illness or depression here but rather worrying and stressing out about lots of things in reasonable amounts, just loads of them.

Personally I think the easiest of these to attack is about your children. Spoiled entitled children (and most children in general that wander off around this age) will come back after being gone for a few years. These kids go off on their own and get some real life looks at the world and eventually see that you guys tried as hard as you could and get some perspective. Yes, sometimes they don't return quickly, but often it only takes a few years of them eating less well, driving a crappy car and sharing bills with someone for them to come around. I sincerely think the way to play this is to keep in touch when they feel like it and don't push too hard. Send texts to them to let them know you're thinking of her, even if she doesn't reply. Send her a birthday and Christmas gift. But also don't overdo anything like you need to "buy her back" in some way. She'll be back. Daughters need their parents (warning! stereotype coming!) and I think they need them even more than boys tend to.
Good news? Your son is 15? You've got time with him to mend some of that behavior before he leaves the house. Get him out there working or volunteering or something. He'll appreciate that later on :)

The world, politics, racism, pandemic, etc. Shit, man, no one can crack that code at the moment but we're all feeling this. It's weighing on everyone and it's making life really hard. Being in lockdown with a woman who you're feeling a bit rocky with, especially while you're out of work, might be making that extra hard.

So the difficult one is your wife. You can't control her behaviour and I can't really gather where you are in that relationship aside of that you seem to love her although you don't use that word specifically. You say several times that you "can't leave". Is that because you love her or is that because you've been together so long you don't know what to do without her? Those are two very different things.
Sounds like she's had some rough times. Has she received any professional help? Is that financially feasible? Would she be willing to do that?

Best of luck with your interview. Let us know how it goes, yeah?


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I do love her and did say that - and I mean it. The only reason I mention leaving is because I think it might help her, even though it would hurt me deeply that I was not enough for her. I love her, and I guess some say that if you love someone you need to set them free; she probably feels less free now that I am out of work, and is going through imposter syndrome herself at work. She really could use some professional help, but views it as a weakness in herself. She is stubborn and pretty closed off.

i have tried to convince her to get professional help many times. She is highly resistant to it. I even got it for myself to show her that there is no taboo, no weakness in getting it. In fact it really is an act of courage in my view. Financially it is feasible. betterhelp.com have online which could work during lockdowns, which is what I did. But she has said that she hates identifying as a victim. I think she knows deep down that therapy will be very hard for her. I have done everything I can think of but as they say 'you can only lead a horse to water...' -


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On the kids I 1000% agree with your advise. But if I tell my wife the same, she misinterprets it as me not caring. She was the spoiler in chief, and I allowed her to be, since every time I tried to control it, I was demonized by all of them. My 15 year old is also a girl btw. My wife is not as forgiving as I am to the kids, so that is going to be an issue for a long time unless the kids really grovel, which I doubt they ever will since they are pretty strong willed. The world will have to break them down quite a bit before they come to their senses, which is just scary as a parent to realize that. Will definitely look into some volunteer work for my daughter, but covid concerns are going to probably stop my wife from 'allowing' that. Maybe not; will try for it. Thanks for the advice. Nice to have my opinion validated without expressing it :)


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My 15 year old is also a girl btw.
whoops. Don't know where I got that assumption from. *dunno2

i have tried to convince her to get professional help many times. She is highly resistant to it. I even got it for myself to show her that there is no taboo, no weakness in getting it.
That's really crap, man. It's hard to watch someone you love hurting and not be able to *do* anything about it, isn't it? I was with my ex wife for more than 10 years and she really needed therapy and wouldn't go either. She was deeply depressed and therapy of some kind would have drastically improved things with us but she thought she would be able to "outsmart" the therapist so she was resistant to going. We also weren't in a financial place to have her go there for a millennia to find out if she would cooperate. Having your wife saying she won't go out of being stubborn is difficult. It's nice you were willing to go as a show of strength. You sound like a good guy.


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Thanks for your words they help. In a way, as long as we can get our daughters to be self sufficient (they are both smart and hardworking, just not grateful) I think this can be a phase where my wife and I can take it easy instead of working ourselves to the bone. Then our time together can be quality time and I can be her therapist. It's just all this stuff at once that has us both super down. I am usually more of a rock, but the last year has withered me down and I am pretty raw. I guess being aware is part of the problem, but when you are this raw, you generally need 'space' and it feels like we are in different worlds sometimes, and then really tight at other times. It's very spiky and volatile emotionally and lots of deep breaths and leaving the room is the only coping mechanism when we are both so sensitive and likely to yell from the fear, pain and fragility we are feeling.
Hi. I'm sorry to hear you are feeling down and going through a tough time.

I'm sorry to hear that your daughter is acting irrationally and selfishly. My only advice would be not to give up on her yet; Walker is right, in a few years she will likely come around. In teenagers and young adults the prefrontal cortex isn't fully developed yet (taking till at least 20 to fully develop). The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain which is used for logical thinking, decision making, long-term planning and various parts of a person's personality. Obviously this doesn't excuse your daughter's behavior - and not all young adults will act like your daughter - but hopefully this information helps reassure you that your daughter will likely have a change in perspective as she matures.

I'm also sorry to hear that your wife is so opposed to therapy. Do you think she would be less opposed to other forms of therapy (e.g. couples therapy) or medication? As for you, make sure you are taking care of yourself. If your current situation is making you feel terrible could you temporarily move out? As in still try to work through your marital issues but just be temporarily living apart. Maybe this could help.

You sound like a nice guy, who is trying his hardest. I hope things can get better for you. *hug10


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I am so sorry that you are struggling with so much. As a wife who suffers from depression reading your words made me think about how my actions/inactions continue to impact my husband and our marriage of over 20 years. Much food for thought on my part.

My parents also gave me so much as I was growing up to the point of sacrificing their own dreams and am ashamed to admit it took me a long time to truly appreciate all that they had sacrificed to give me all that they did. I hope that eventually your daughter will realize that in time.

I also can relate to how your wife resists seeking help as I was raised that you just keep going like the energizer bunny despite all that you may be going through. For me I reached a point where I simply couldn't ignore it any longer as I went through a forced retirement. I hope that for you in time she may realize that seeking help either through counseling or talking with her gp is not a sign of weakness as I eventually did but rather a means to develop a healthier perspective on all that life throws at us if that makes any sense.

Sending you hugs.
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