Dear Annie: My husband, “Jay,” has suffered from depression for years. He is an intellectual and feels he should have a higher position in his particular line of work. He has not been successful in achieving this, which has depressed him. He has also suffered many deaths in his small family, and this has compounded his depression. He has threatened to leave me and our teen daughter and move out of the country, saying we would be better off without him. For years, he has threatened this, and each time, I tell him we love him and of course want him here.
We have a teen daughter who is a sophomore in high school. She is extremely intelligent, having skipped a grade in elementary school. She takes advanced courses in every subject in high school, achieving all A grades. However, since the beginning of this year, her stellar A grades have fallen to D’s and F’s in all subjects. She is depressed and has no drive to do well in school. My husband (her father), who used to dote over her for her grades, now calls her stupid and tells her that she is ruining her life and that she is responsible for all of our family problems, which, of course, is untrue. They haven’t spoken in a few weeks. I am afraid to leave them alone for fear of what he will say to her if they do speak again.
I work a full-time job and sometimes get home late. Jay, who used to help me with meals for our daughter, won’t lift a finger to help her with anything.
Jay will not seek any help and feels a counselor or psychologist is a bunch of quackery. My daughter, at times, won’t even open up to me, and I am at a loss of what to do. Any thoughts would be appreciated. — At My Wits’ End
Dear At Wits’ End: Jay is seriously depressed, and he desperately needs help. His toxic influence on your daughter at this age can cause a whole lifetime of damage to her.
People who call psychology “quackery” are afraid to do the hard work of looking inward — to try to understand their feelings at a deeper level. Instead, Jay is projecting his dislike of himself onto your daughter by constantly criticizing her. You and Jay are in the middle of your lives, while your daughter’s life is just beginning. Your focus should be on saving her from the consequences of his depression.
If he still is not willing to seek treatment, then he should move out — for your sake and, especially, for your daughter’s.
“How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology — featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]