There are several possible explanations for your husband's behavior, the most likely being anxiety over his current (and future) situation. Coming to the end of one's working life can be a very worrying process indeed. However, some of his accusations seem to be quite bizarre, and for that reason I think it advisable that should be evaluated at least by his Doctor, who may also suggest a psychiatric referral.
This is a very difficult situation, and to be honest, there is no simple solution.
Until someone with a problem accepts that there is a problem, they won’t do anything about solving it. That’s the first hurdle.
The second is convincing them that help is available, and that the should accept it.
Sustained gentle persuasion is at least part of the answer. Just being there to listen, and letting the person know that you are there for them may let them build up enough trust inside themselves to begin to deal with it.
You may not to be able to solve their problem, or for that matter understand how they feel, but just listening and letting them talk can be really helpful.
Getting people to open up can be difficult. It has to be done sensitively so that the person does not feel put down or alienated.
A gentle approach like ‘It must be difficult feeling as you do. Perhaps we could talk about it? is often the best start.
Choose your time and place carefully if possible so that the person feels as safe and as comfortable as possible.
Try to make sure that the person feels that you are on their side, and try to use ‘open questions’ – ones that don’t allow a simple “Yes” or “No” answer.
Don’t try to give them solutions, because as they open up and talk, the person begins to find their own solutions.
Good beginnings are:
Where – 'Where did that happen?'
When – 'When did you find out……?'
What – 'What else was happening?'
How – 'How did you feel?'
Can you tell me…….
How are you feeling? This helps to get past the bare facts of a situation, and lets people begin to look at their inner turmoil.
Don’t push hard or try to tell them what they MUST do – give them space and time to talk.
There are some things you can do, and here are some tips:
What you can say that helps:
I’m here for you – you’re not alone.
What causes these thoughts and feelings is a real illness, and it can be treated
You may not believe it now, but someday, this will pass and you’ll feel differently.
I care about you and want to help, even if I don’t really understand what you are going through right now, how you feel, and what you’re thinking
Don’t ever give up – just hang on one more minute or hour – whatever you can.
You are important to me. Your life is important to me, and to everybody who knows you
I’d like you to tell me what I can do now to help you.
We can get through this together
Cheer up- it could be worse
Quit worrying about it – you’ll be fine
Your just imagining it, it’s all in your head.
Everybody feels like this sometimes
You’ll just have to help yourself
I’d have thought you would be better by now.
Get over it and snap out of it.
Grow up and act like an adult.
What’s the matter with you anyway?
You’ll also find some helpful information here:
If you continue to notice bizarre behavior or accusations, it would be useful for his diagnosis if you could keep a few diary notes as to what happened and when – it is easy to forget essential details.
If he does become aggressive with you, you should remember that we humans only indulge in behaviour that brings reward of some kind. Only when that reward (whatever it might be) disappears, or the consequences of our behaviour promise to be unpleasant do we consider changing what we do
Here is the clue to sorting things out. When you are faced with non-co-operation – give him choices, and make sure he understands the consequences of his choice – and always follow through.
Your husband needs to be confronted with unacceptability of his behavior, and made to understand while you care for him, his behaviour towards you is unacceptable and has to change. Make that very clear to him.
He also needs to understand that any continuation of offensive behavior will have unpleasant consequences. They need to be spelled out to him very clearly, with clear emphasis on the fact that they will apply immediately. These could be, for example, from no more cooking or washing done, or if he does not change his ways, the relationship is over.
Make it crystal clear to him what you expect –, no demeaning remarks, controlling his temper.
This may sound harsh, but unless he is given a reason to change, he will not. By being soft, you are just encouraging his behaviour, and not helping him at all.
Stay calm, remain objective and avoid drama, but stick to your guns. NEVER scream or shout – always keep focussed on what you want out of a discussion and remember if you resort to screaming and shouting, you’ve lost the argument.
Best wishes, NormanM