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How to deal with a depressed husband?

Updated on January 23, 2014
Image courtesy imagery
Image courtesy imagery

“That's the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it's impossible to ever see the end.” – Elizabeth Wurtzel

Your marriage would be easy to live if you and your husband had a positive attitude towards life. When you are confident you enjoy the good things in life and endure the bad things that come your way with equal mindset. But this is not the case in most marriage as invariably one is positive while the other is negative.

What happens when your husband does not have self confidence and always feels miserable about life? He feels depressive and makes you feel depressive as well. It is a big challenge to live with a husband who always sees the gloomy side of life. Your life becomes taxing and exhausting as you have to pull your family along with no help coming from your husband.

What does your depressive husband do to make your life nightmarish?

  • He refuses to interact with you and spends time brooding.
  • He does not involve himself in family problems and stays aloof.
  • He makes the atmosphere at home gloomy by his depressive attitude.
  • He talks about suicide and actually tries it.
  • He finds fault in whatever you do.
  • He lacks interest in everything and also loses his sexual drive.

A lot of mentally draining symptoms, isn’t it?

Your married life would be happy only when there is emotional sharing with your husband. You cannot shoulder all the family problems by yourself, can you? What should you do when your husband acts as though the world has come to an end? Should you allow him to get away from family issues? Should you fight with him and make him understand his duties?

If you turn aggressive and bombard him with questions, he further shrinks into a shell of dejection. There are certain things you must understand about the basic mentality of a man to comprehend why your husband is behaving in a manner which destroys your total happiness in your married life.

A man is not as mentally strong as a woman and easily cracks under pressure. Though he is basically practical, he is totally vulnerable when it comes to dealing with problems. His ego is shattered when he feels he is not respected by you. When you do not trust his ability and compare him negatively with others, he loses confidence in himself and turns recluse.

Alcoholism and drugs can also make him feel depressed as he is guilty and feels ashamed to face you. When you earn more than him and quickly climb up the ladder of success, your less intelligent husband feels inferior and crumbles inside in a defeated mentality. When you further bruise his ego by behaving as though you were the authority of the family, he becomes completely cowed down and feels he is worthless. When you do not interact with him, but behave closely with your male colleagues or relatives, he does not like it and shrinks inside in frustrated anger.

You should not thrust him aside as someone not worth your attention. In modern marriages, it is common to see couples being able to survive in their own world. This is the main reason why most marriages fail. Unless you respect your husband and unless you are caring enough, he does not feel comfortable to co-exist with you.

Do a little analysis about him!

  • Is your behavior making your spouse feel less about him?
  • Was his childhood abusive?
  • Are you more professionally successful than him?
  • Do you dominate him and act as a boss?
  • Do you compare him in a lesser light with your male colleagues?
  • Are you very friendly with your male colleagues?
  • Are you not transparent with your husband?

Abusive childhood can make your husband lack the positive energy needed to face life. When his childhood was spent under the offensive control of his abusive parents, he develops various complexities as he does not enjoy normal life like other children of his age.

It is parents who shape your life and inculcate good characteristics in you. But when his parents were violent in behavior and used expletives, beat up your husband, he never comes out of the depression that shrouded him at a very tender age.

When you are more successful than your husband and play the boss of the family, his male ego crumbles to ashes and he feels he is not worthy of your love. He is terrified of your lashing tongue and feels very small before your tall stature. This is yet another reason for his depression.

His work might be tormenting him and he might be a victim of a bully or a nasty boss. He does not want to share his work related stress with you as he fears your ridicule. Persistent failures might also make him desolate and miserable.

Do you know everyone wants to be happy? When someone is unhappy and depressed there has to be a reason. Your husband also wants happiness, but feels it impossible to experience it as he does not have your moral support. You as his wife must not reject him, but boost up his ego, by appreciating him; by giving him unconditional support and showing him that he has your trust and love always.

© 2014 mathira


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    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      It is tough when your spouse is depressed. Both my husband and I have had issues with depression. For many years, we had an up-down type of relationship, when he was up, I was down, and visa versa. During that time, we were a one-income household, and I was a stay-at-home mother with our children. It wasn't until I went back to school, and got out of my own cyclical issues that he was able to break his. Now, we enjoy a much better relationship.

    • daydreamer13 profile image

      daydreamer13 4 years ago

      Very good advice. I'm sure this will help many. Well done!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good information Mathira. I do not suffer from depression....I'm kind of an upbeat guy. :)