Q. I was recently in treatment because I wanted to kill myself. I became very depressed and suicidal because my marriage was falling apart and I couldn’t save it. My therapist asked me why I wasn’t angry with my husband. What is wrong with me that I wanted to die because of what he did? – Melissa Jenny
Here is Melissa’s story:
I married Rick in my early 20’s. I had a few boyfriends before Rick but nothing serious. We have been married over 30 years. I had suspicions during our marriage that Rick was cheating but no real proof. We have three children who are now adults.
The last 10 years have been very rocky. Rick has always been controlling and frequently accused me of cheating or lying to him. During our 30 year marriage I have never cheated nor has he ever found evidence that it occurred. But he accused me anyway.
I became more suspicious and hired a private detective. He had pictures of Rick walking out of a casino and hotel room with a young woman, on many occasions. He quit his job and withdrew a large sum of money from his retirement. He had been spending many hours (while I was working) at casinos. He talked me into borrowing money on our home that had been paid for.
Rick finally admitted that he had a gambling addiction and a girlfriend. And it had been going on for a long time. I was so overwhelmed that I did not know what to do. I really was angry at Rick but I found myself thinking of ways I could kill myself as a way to deal with the problem.
So lets get this straight. You wanted to kill yourself because your husband lied, cheated and gambled leaving you heavily in debt. You have a degree and a full time job. You are in good health. You have sounded the alarm that you need help. Don’t stop now.
You mentioned you were in therapy and plan to return to your therapist. Excellent plan.
Find a CODA meeting. (Codependents Anonymous) This is a 12 step relationship program designed to help you find strength and power within yourself to make healthier choices. You learn more about your family of origin, the role you played as a child and how not to be someones doormat.
Killing yourself because of your husband’s behavior is not an option. Let this be an opportunity for you to re-examine your life and decide how to take care of you.
You don’t need a knight in shining armor. You just need a sword. BEHIND every strong woman is herself.
Vicki L Mayfield, M.Ed., R.N., LMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Oklahoma City
If you would like to send a question to Vicki, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org