You mentioned that your husband shows signs of severe depression but you didn’t name any of those signs. It would be interesting to know if he was diagnosed with depression or if you are attempting to diagnose him. If it’s the latter, it’s best not to diagnose if you’re not trained to do so. Sometimes, when untrained individuals attribute certain behaviors to a diagnosis, they get it wrong. It’s always better to describe the behavior rather than to categorize it. Having a description of the behaviors would have helped me to know if depression is a possibility. Of course, I would never diagnose someone on the basis of a short letter, but a description of his behavior could provide insight into why you think that he is severely depressed. The more information, the better.
You also mentioned the possibility of him being a narcissist. Laypersons use the term narcissist to describe many behaviors, some of which are not applicable. This is also a frequently used term in our culture. Without a more detailed description of his alleged “narcissistic” behaviors, it’s difficult to know if the term is being applied correctly.
You asked whether or not he could be “manipulating” you and I’m not certain what you meant by this term. Manipulation is an act of deliberate deception. Based on the information provided, it would seem that your husband is at minimum not being very nice to you. Moodiness and irritability commonly co-occur but verbal abuse is not a symptom of depression. Why he is acting a particular way is not always easy to determine. Even if you could definitively attribute his behavior to severe depression or some other mental illness, it’s still unacceptable. He does not have the right to abuse you under any circumstances.
If he’s unwilling to seek treatment, that is a worrisome sign. He is essentially admitting that even though something is obviously wrong with his behavior he is not willing to try and fix it. In that case, it would be wise for you to consult a mental health professional. It would help you to know how to handle this situation.
You mentioned not being able to afford therapy. Community mental health centers are available in many communities and often provide free or low-cost services. See what’s available in your community by doing a google search. In addition, if he sees that you’re in counseling, he might be willing to join you. That would be ideal. It’s worth a try.
He may be depressed which could explain his behavior but that doesn’t make it okay. Intervention is needed. If he’s unwilling to seek treatment, then it’s up to you to remedy the situation. Try counseling for yourself and he might follow in your footsteps. If so, that could facilitate a quicker resolution to this problem. Good luck with your efforts. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle