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Jean
Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 20 plus years of experience in the field.
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My husband is changing his behaviour. Weve been married 35

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My husband is changing his behaviour. We've been married 35 years. He's a gentle kind man but he gets really upset at stuff, overly upset; is now carrying a gun everywhere he goes; does things just to do it because he thinks he 'has the right'. I can't explain it all but an example is he will go out of his way to park in a spot that says "for take out only" or something similar. He is obsessed with the way stop lights work always complaining and getting upset that it's his turn for the light or that the turn lane didn't get it's turn correctly... strange things to point out. If he wants to turn, he does even on a red light because "the light should be on a switch and not a timer this time of evening" or because nobody is coming and he's not waiting. In contrast, he gets upset with almost every driver on the road for not following driving rules such as the speek limit or using cruise control. Riding with him is very stressful because it's never without some kind of complaint. Lately I notice he will try to block someone from passing him. I'm getting concerned. When I try to talk to him, he gets defensive and denies it. He's also been very rude to people, not friends but to customer service people. Example: he called the cable company because he couldn't get the tv to work correctly and after he told the rep to shut up and listen to him, they hung up on him. I could hear his side and he was really rude. I told him I would have hung up too that it was rude of him to talk to anyone that way and he got angry with me. I try to not fight with him but it's getting hard.
I don't know what to do.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Jean replied 1 year ago.

20pluscounts :

Hello, I am available to help you- Welcome!

20pluscounts :

I do have a couple questions that may help me better answer your question. How long has he been acting this way? Is he showing symptoms of anxiety or depression?

20pluscounts :

Symptoms of depression may be, trouble sleeping, lack of motivation, lack of interest in his usual things, appetite changes.

20pluscounts :

It sounds very difficult, especially because he is not at all responsive to your concerns.

20pluscounts :

Irritability, lack of tolerance for frustration, and agitation can be symptoms of anxiety or depression.

20pluscounts :

Thank you for joining me, and offering the additional information. Whatever he is suffering from, his behavior is concerning, and you as his spouse are negatively affected by this. The most difficult thing is that in order for him to recognize a problem- he needs to be in a place and willing to "see" this as a problem. The focus may need to go into you protecting yourself, removing yourself from driving with him, going out with him, etc. I know that would be difficult, but this is creating a lot of stress for you, and he may escalate. Would he agree to seeing his doctor? If so, if you could attend with him, that would provide the doctor with more information. In order to address the "problem" he needs to see it as so. You may consider approaching him with words of love and concern: "I'm worried about you, is there something I can support you on?" If you approach him with a raised voice, ridicule, etc. he will only get more defensive.

20pluscounts :

I'm sorry, it shows you typing, be sure and hit reply when you are done.

20pluscounts :

What sometimes happens in order for the person to see a "problem" is that the person needs to experience some sort of consequence to their actions, such as you refusing to ride with him, removing yourself from him when he's aggravated, or something happens on the road, or with another person. If he were to threaten someone, show road rage, get involved with authorities, etc. he may begin to see this as a "problem".

20pluscounts :

What he is showing you now is that he is entitled to feel as he does, that others have the problem, and they need to cooperate with him. That includes you when you try to approach him and he says you are making stuff up.

20pluscounts :

Things may escalate- get worse before they get better.

20pluscounts :

The best you can do, is to not fight with him- gets really difficult and aggravating for you- because you see it clearly. He is not seeing it as you are.

20pluscounts :

Approaching him with "I'm concerned, worried, (whatever the emotion), may lessen his defensiveness. Right now he is feeling attached by most people- including a customer service person who try to be so accommodating!!

20pluscounts :

A gentle kind of man who is struggle within, but if he does not provide you with anything, you are left to make guesses about what is going on. You said he is carrying a gun, if at any time you are concerned he is a danger to self or others, you must call the police. If he's on the road and someone cuts him off and there is a gun, road rage plus gun is not a good combination.

20pluscounts :

I know this is difficult, but you may have to make some tough choices, do what you can to not enable the behavior, such as apologizing for him, cleaning up a "mess" he made with someone else. You may want to consider avoiding time in the car with him, at least until he's willing to see his doctor.

Customer:

I don't see any signs of depression as you described, his appetite is the same, he sleeps fine I think. He does take sleeping pills here and there because of his schedule but not consistantly and not more than once/week. I'm not a professinal but I wonder if he's ADD. He can't concentrate on one thing at a time. He loses everything. He can't find anything. Anytime we get ready to go somewhere, he remembers something he has to do before we leave. He forgets his wallet. He forgets his meds. So now, everything has to be 'out' and in sight. I can't put away his meds or he forgets to take them. I'm very organized. Our house is neat and always clean so it's hard for me to leave things everywhere and I know I bug him about it so I've tried to help him instead by reminding him to take his meds. Or putting his shoes on the shoe rack for him, etc. He drinks more than he used to and hard liquor instead of beer. He doesn't do drugs although he is on several medications for about 3-4 years now... metformin and genuvia for type 2 diabetes (which he refuses to control through diet), high blood pressure meds, high cholesterol meds. I've noticed his attitude about things changing over the last couple years but it's getting more prominent. We've been married 36 years, he was never predjudiced and now he is. He uses phrases like "I am protected by the constitution to have a gun" and says things about 'if we have a war in Texas'... ? He is very easy to get into an argument over his 'rights'. He can be mean and that's very unusual for him. And something that bothers me alot... he lives on his ipad. It's the first thing he does in the morning and I mean the first thing. He gets up and has it on his lap. He's obsessed with being online. He takes it to the bathroom. He takes it and his gun everywhere we go. I'm trying to give you as much info as I can which I know is difficult. He can't remember things he says or does and when I tell him he said it or did it he accuses me of being crazy or trying to make him crazy. I've actually started keeping a journal because I wasn't sure which of us had the issue.

20pluscounts :

Another option would be to provide his doctor with what you are seeing, and ask if it's an option for the doctor to call your husband.

20pluscounts :

He's using alcohol and internet to "self medicate".

20pluscounts :

His forgetfulness can also be related to anxiety or depression.

20pluscounts :

In order to better pin this down, getting him to his doctor would be priority. But again, you can not "make" him do anything.

20pluscounts :

He sounds like he is on a path to self destruction with the health issues and not taking care of himself.

20pluscounts :

I do not think you are doing anything wrong- trying to do what is right to help him, support him.

20pluscounts :

I'd say you are doing your best to make life less miserable for him, but that also needs to come from him.

20pluscounts :

Whatever the diagnosis, and there is definitely something going on- he needs to see a doctor or psychologist to sort this out- again you can not make him.

Customer:

We both see the same internist and I have asked her a few questions about him but then when she tried to talk to him about his obsession (which is all I really talked to her about) he got angry at me. My husband used foul language maybe once in awhile, never in front of our children or to anyone. Now he curses like a truck driver, no disrespect intended. He wouldn't pull his gun on anyone. I'm not concerned for my safety at all. He would never raise a hand to me. We didn't even spank our kids. Our daughter is 32 and she told me last summer that her Dad seemed different. She gets upset that when we visit her family he spends the whole time on his ipad instead of joining in the conversation or playing with our grandkids.

Customer:

Oh, the way I try to talk to him is when he yells at a car on the road about not going the speed limit, I tell him "just worry about YOUR driving. You can't control what other people do and it's not affecting us". Last week I asked him if he thought WE should see a professional about forgetting things. He said "because you think I'm crazy?" then I just leave it alone but I think not approaching it is even worst. He and I have always been able to communicate about things. I don't want to be negative all the time to him so I don't press much.Last night we had a blowout which in our marriage is so unusual. I can count our fights with one hand over the 40 years I've known him. But last night, he lied. He did something a few months ago that upset me and I didn't talk to him for hours, asking him to just leave me alone because I was so upset at what he did. Last night he mentioned that time with a new twist. A complete turn around of really happened. I wasn't letting that go... he was wrong and I told him he was wrong and why. He got angry and so did I (which is another unusal thing, I seldom get angry). I told him he either is lying or he really doesn't remember it that way and if the latter is the case then he needs help. He accused me of saying things to make him feel like he's going crazy. Same thing all over again. I don't know what else to do. What dr do I talk to? Our internist thinks he is fine because he's fine with her but she only sees him every 6 months for a med check. I'm concerned about his health and his future. He's a pilot and one of the best in the country but I want him to retire. I think the job may be part of the issue too.

20pluscounts :

Like I said, do approach him with care and concern, even though this is so frustrating and aggravating to you. All you want is what is best for him- and communicate that to him the best you can. What I hear from you is worry and concern. Is there a friend or family member he may respond to- someone who can talk to him about your concerns? You may need to bring others on board to help you to help him, and to support you during this struggle. Whatever you do to lessen his aggravation- it doesn't always work- it's unpredictable what will trigger his anger. Sounds like he is looking for a fight- entitlement to fight- parking in "take out only" spot. If he refuses all of your efforts you may need to focus on taking care of yourself. This is really a stressful situation for you- you are both now suffering. The internet can become an addiction. It's a good idea to journal this- to show specific details of your concerns, if you get a chance to bring someone on board- dr. friend, family member. You can not do this alone- get support. He may be dealing with a mood disorder- with that level of agitation. Do you know what he is viewing on line? Ask him to see the dr. for you- to help ease your mind. He is struggling, and it's hard to watch this, I'm sure. You are powerless to making him see "it". Feeling helpless is not a good feeling when it's your family/husband you are talking about. Not joining the conversation or playing with grand kids- avoidance- lack of interest- can be depression.

20pluscounts :

Yes his job is stressful. I'd try first talking to the doctor that knows him, be persistent with her about your concerns, if she does not respond I would consider another dr.

20pluscounts :

As best you can approach him with "I" statements, I'm worried, scared, sad, etc.because... and I wish/want..... I do need to run. Please let me know if I can help again. Please rate my response okay or higher so I can get credit. Much appreciated!! Remember, you are only one person, can only do so much. As best you can bring someone else in- someone he may "listen" to. He's in a place where he's not hearing anything other than what he thinks its right. If your daughter could share her concern, the change she saw, may be helpful?? He may get angry that you bring someone else in, but he's angry anyway- do what you can, and realize he needs to be open to the help that is out there. Might he be more responsive to hearing feedback from someone other than you? You see the worst of it- he lets it out at home.

Customer:

Ok. I have talked to our oldest son who is 34 and he said he thinks Dad is just getting older. My father in law is 94 and he's the most negative man alive. I worry that my husband is turning into him. I've confided in my best friend. I don't want to worry my kids. I've never seen any inappropriate sites he's on...usually he's reading jokes and searching the web about politics. He's become very political. Listens only to AM radio talk shows about politics etc. He also believes crazy stuff on the internet about the president and other scams so I will investigate them so I can show him in print that they are misnomers or not true. So now he'll show me something and ask me to check it out. We have a very loving relationship so he's not pulling away from that part of our life.

Customer:

Im going to push him into talking about this even if it gets him angry. I can't live like this. Just typing it all out really helped me think about it. If I have to, I will remove myself from him and our relationship until he agrees to get counseling. You're right. I love him so maybe I don't see that he could be putting himself and me in danger.

20pluscounts :

Older does not mean, miserable- I hope he finds some peace. He can not be very happy and content- but wont' admit it. Some people are closed to the idea of reaching out for help or support- from the old school- must be tough and take care of it himself. I would again share your concerns with your son- give him examples and tell him you are worried. I do wish the best for you and your husband. Like you said you have a very loving relationship-that's special

20pluscounts :

Try writing you feelings about this on paper, and share it with him- from the heart.

Customer:

Thank you!

20pluscounts :

You are so welcome!!

20pluscounts :

Thank you for your post today

Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience: Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 20 plus years of experience in the field.
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