Two weeks ago my husband started weaning off of one anti-depressant and increasing the dose of another. I sent an email last Sunday to his therapist "for your info and my permanent record, as I will be keeping a copy of this email."
Just wanted to let [name] know that [my husband] was doing a medication change, and it has not gone without affect on his personality. He was more aggressive in driving, compulsively eating again, withdrawn, and antagonistic when any of these issues were brought up as a problem. This is a change back to old ways of thinking and behaving. After weeks of no time-outs at all, there were three days of time-outs last week, with Friday night requiring more than one time out that evening alone. He went ahead and took another dose of the med he was quitting (I don't why the doc didn't choose to taper him off) Friday night and he is better, but not fully happy and participating in life with joy like he was before.
I'm posting it here because I know women in other bad marriage situations read here, and it would be duplicitous to hide problems. He is still not "fully happy and participating in life with joy like he was before."
He is returning to the old husband, the one who pleasantly enough ignored everything I said until I was frustrated, and then responds to me as if my normal human frustration at being stone-walled is characteristic of "a bitch". My efforts to talk to him about how his personality and behavior have changed are called "mean and hateful". I can not account for this return to his old ways other than the changes in medication.
Last night, as we went to bed he read from one of the marriage books we have found helpful, apologized for not helping me as I had asked earlier that night, and promised he would help today. We got into bed and were both almost asleep. My cell phone rang.
It was my daughter with an unexpected crisis (no one's hurt). My husband's response was to turn his back to me. When the phone call continued, he let out an exasperated sigh. He did this a few times.
Wow. Total abandonment of both me and my daughter in one grand gesture. She is shivering in a parking lot afraid and worried about this fender-bender, and he has NO COMPASSION. He hears me comfort her and offer advice and he HAS NO DESIRE TO COMFORT HER OR SUPPORT ME.
Instead, he feels put out and has no problem passive-aggressively broadcasting his self-centered disorder as self-righteously as he can. Unbelievable.
When I do finally take a break from my phone call to tell him to get up (my job as ezer, and he has agreed repeatedly he wants that kind of relationship) he grudgingly does so. He is very kind to my daughter on the phone, but not to me. When the crisis is past and I try to talk to him, he is not at all interested in bringing healing to our relationship.
Unbelievably, he denies that he abandoned me to deal with this myself and was a self-centered jerk, because in his mind once he did get up, then the facts, that he laid there for five minutes sighing in irritation and never did man up and do anything motivated by love, but ONLY took any action in the form of REACTING to my frustration and rebuke, were magically erased from accountability.
All attempts to address the real issue- his self-centered return to PAPD- are being met with classic PAPD behavior. Trite apologies with right words and no emotion. Self-righteous withdrawal into himself when I point out the reality that in human relationships, this is not enough. One must do more than apologize, one must repair the damage done. He knows this. PAPD counts on it. That way the original offense can multiply and cause more pain and damage in the relationship while allowing the PAPD to pity himself as the victim here.
(Religion teaches this constantly. Anyone who brings up a problem "needs to forgive" i.e. suck it up and accept the mistreatment. I hate what the church has done to the words of Christ.)
Well, I had hoped that after a full night's sleep, he would be reasonable again. Nope. Full blown PAPD this morning, complete with physical, verbal and emotional symptoms. When I tried to talk to him this morning (yes, in a calm rational voice, though we are discussing a problem that an apology alone won't solve) he first withdrew his arms, next crossed his arms over his chest, and then actually started to walk out of the room.
I thought his conscience must be scratching his heart somewhere, because then he did come over and lay beside me and put his arm around me, though his arm was now across my neck. I noticed he could have hurt me badly, but chose to assume it was not intentionally intimidating. But then he started repeating, "poor baby" and I then I knew for sure this man was not in his right mind.
This "poor baby" crooning is a personal symptom of his when he is in a PAPD episode/domestic abuse. It's physically manifesting that in his thoughts he is belittling and infantilizing my concerns. Another term for is is misogyny. He is not an adult having a conversation with another adult; he is a god managing an inferior being. His patronizing behavoir is intended to make him look good and reveal his contempt for me at the same time.
The literature about PAPD points out that this is (subconsciously?) intentional and that this thinking about oneself and others is the bedrock on which all the passive-aggressive behaviors are built. Heck, it is the bedrock upon which all domestic abuse and violence is built.
So silly me, I tried having a rational conversation about this too. Why do I think he will hear me with a heart of good will when he is like this? That is about as likely as snowfall in July.
So he turned that around to say I was saying hateful, cruel things about him (pointing out his PAPD behaviors) but he loves me anyway. O. M. G. The therapist calls this the reptile brain and I see why. I might as well be talking to a reptile.
So, he is in a "time-out" right now, but barring some miracle of God all it really is a free pass to avoid dealing with his very real personality problems that are causing distress, pain and frustration to those he loves while indulging his ego. There was absolutely NOTHING humble or honest about his going to this "time out". He is attempting to use it as just another weapon that keeps intimacy and love from invading his life. Ugh.
Well, good news on my front. I am frustrated, but I have a plan. Go back on full dose of the anti-depressant immediately and make an appointment with the doctor next week to discuss the persistent personality problems that are accompanying these changes. That's my bottom line.
And if he chooses not to? At the very least, he will be sleeping on the couch. As to further consequences if he persists in misogyny/self-absorption/resentment? I don't know, but I know that God will be my strength and deliverance.
Peace and good will, SS