The Saboteur ~ Relationships #InTheRaw

Relationships in the Raw is a series that I created to discuss difficult relationships. When I was dealing with family issues, I felt there was no one to talk to help me through and see the other side. I hope this series finds those who feel alone. This is the third installment with many more to come! 


Relationships in the Raw

Is it back?

I don’t know yet, but am watching, waiting, to see whether the proverbial bad penny is back in my life for another round.

And I’m scared.

Each time he says “I feel down.” “I’m not in a good humour.” “I just want to curl up in a ball.” “I’d rather not be here.” I get that sickening, nagging dread in the pit of my stomach – that awful feeling of a hangover that hasn’t quite gone, and it makes me want to reach for a drink to start numbing the looming threat of ‘Maybe’s which are building on the horizon.

Maybe The Saboteur has returned.

Maybe it hasn’t.

Maybe this is the start of the next bout.

Maybe it will be better than last time.

Maybe it will be worse.

Maybe our marriage won’t survive.

Maybe Husby will try to kill himself again.

We’ve had six months of respite. Six, precious months of peace when things have been on a reasonably even keel and we haven’t been battling for diagnoses, fighting the Saboteur on a daily basis, grieving for our lost children, mourning our infertility (now as confirmed as it’s ever going to be), or struggling to survive in spite of severe financial hardship.

The even keel has only been ‘ish’, but it’s been bloody marvellous compared to the hell we endured for the first three and a half years of marriage. The Saboteur ruled every day, causing Husby to not want to live to the end of many of them; making him question, constantly, whether it was all worth it; turning his thoughts into dark, twisted logic where I was better off without him, and he’d be doing us all a favour if he took himself out of the equation.

The Saboteur started fights. He made us both vicious; stirring up trouble then standing back to watch us wound one another, with a smirk on his face. He dragged Husby deep into an ocean of nihilism and despair, and in trying to save the man I loved, I nearly got sucked under, too.

Because once he’s in, there’s no rescuing allowed. And the victims of the Saboteur can only save themselves if they somehow become convinced it’s worth their while to do so. It doesn’t matter what love or logic is applied, the Saboteur twists the words into incomprehensible jargon and doesn’t let them understand.

“I love you” becomes meaningless.

“I want you to live” becomes an unbearable trap.

“I don’t want anyone else” elicits a hollow laugh of incredulity.

But perhaps the hollow laugh is allowable, because admittedly, in those times, I don’t want him. Not with the Saboteur so intrinsically tangled into every cell of his body and every fibre of his mind – his whole being clouded and buffeted by the storms of self-hatred, disillusionment, disappointment and futility.

“What if it happens again? I’m worried about that”, he tells me.

I’m worried too, love. In fact, I’m bloody terrified, because we barely made it through the last round, and I’m not sure I’ve been in the corner for long enough to recover and make it through the next.

I’m not sure I’ll ever recover.

When you’ve gotten to such a dark place that if your husband kills himself, you only don’t want him to make a mess;

When you feel so rejected that you don’t care if, whilst out jogging, you get caught and accosted because at least that would mean someone found you an attractive prospect;

When you find yourself wishing you’d never met. Never said yes. Never stayed. And you know that your soul is inexorably linked, in love, to a man with whom ‘til death will you stay, and you don’t know whether you hope it will be sooner or later, and that thought plays over and over and over and over;

When those ‘maybe’ clouds loom so close and so menacingly that the world takes on a dark tinge, even in sunlight, because if the Saboteur takes him again, you don’t know what you’ll do;

When those patterns of thinking are engrained like dirt into the fingernails you hang onto your sanity with, and each day becomes an epic, uphill struggle, just to make it to bedtime;

When you find yourself escaping more than engaging;

When you live in fear, each time you leave, that it could be the last time you see him;

When you live in anger, each time you return, that he’s still there – still depressed – not fighting it, but letting it break him into pieces;

When he sits, quite calmly across from you and tells you that your love isn’t enough to make him want to stay alive;

When you aren’t enough to combat it;

No. You don’t recover.

You just desperately, fervently hope that you don’t get pitched back into the ring.

You cry. You beg. You plead. You pray. You hope.

You gather your friends around you and you try to focus on the good things. Try to help him focus on the good things. You hope.

You try to help him remember the strategies he learned in counselling. You suggest he goes back to the doctor. You go the extra mile and try to take the pressure off. You hope.

And in the meantime, you suck in your tummy, stick out your chest and do your best to ignore that gnawing, agonising, sick feeling. Because you think that probably, maybe, for now, you might make it through and have another period of respite when you can pretend to yourself that it’s not going to cycle back to the beginning, and you’re not going to have to endure it again.

You live life in Silver Linings; because as long as they keep coming, you have hope.

Have you lived through this? What did you do to hold things together? *Did* you hold it together? What do you do when love no longer seems enough?


Today’s author is a Seeker of Good, Teller of Truths and Wender of Words, living life in Silver Linings. This story originally shared at!

Do you have a story to tell? Please email me at spiritedlife @



25 thoughts on “The Saboteur ~ Relationships #InTheRaw”

  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    I am that person that would probably bail on the relationship. If I tried that hard to help him and nothing I did helped, I would figure there was am not the person he needs in his life.

  2. That’s hard. I think for your own sanity, there gets to a point where leaving is sometimes the best option. If you’ve tried everything to keep things together and working and he keeps heading down that road, sometimes you just get to the point that enough is enough regardless of how much you love him. It’s not healthy to stay in a relationship like that. For anyone.

  3. Depression and other mental illnesses can really wear on a relationship. It’s hard to work through it, especially when they can’t see anything other than the doom and gloom that surrounds them.

  4. It’s terrible to say, but I would also probably end the relationship. If I can’t help, no sense in sticking around, making myself sick because ultimately, others moods affect mine and my health.

  5. I feel awful but I don’t think I could deal with these things. Honestly, you only live once and relationships can be so hard and complicated I just don’t know if or how I would deal with any of it!

  6. This is so sad but yet so very real and so many people are dealing with similar relationships. Depression and Mental Illness is so prevalent in our society and we are so ill equipped to deal with it.

    I am not sure I would be strong enough to endure this type of relationship with a spouse or significant other.

  7. This made me cry and bawl and the sad thing is I know who wrote this and it makes me even sadder still. Depression is an mean, ugly bastard and it sucks all the color out of your world and turns it a dark, dull gray. I’m hoping the light stays around for awhile.

  8. As someone who suffers from multiple severe mental illnesses, there is a lot to take in here. Is your husband on medication? Are they the right ones? Have you guys been to therapy? Has he? He probably needs an actual psychiatrist, not a counselor or therapist. Having my own suicidal tendencies, I don’t take these sort of things lightly. Matter of fact, I had my own breakdown right before Christmas (my goodbye video is on my website) and this is not my first bout it the ring. I know it is hard on my husband to deal with me. The nightmares, the not wanting to be touched for fear it will cause a flashback. The severe manic depression (bi polar) and never knowing how one day is going to go from the next. But, he did marry me. And that is “in sickness and in health.” However, I have told him multiple times that if he can’t handle it then I have no problems with us leaving the marriage. I completely understand. Does it mess with my self-esteem to think I can be unloved? You bet. Unfixable? Even worse.

    My husband went through his own depression issues shortly after we moved in together. His daughter suffered greatly because of it. When I was down and ready to walk away, it was her I thought about. Knowing I could not leave her here alone with him. Worried he wouldn’t take care of her the way she needed.

    I suffer from infertility too. And I am on my 2nd husband. And, I am facing 40 this year. All to late for me.

    So while it is hard on you, imagine how he must feel. He is the one living with the invisible illness.

    If you honestly feel you are no longer strong enough to deal with the situation than you need to leave. You’re not doing anyone any good by staying. Just make sure some sort of watch is placed on him to make sure he doesn’t harm himself. It might be a good time to call your local adult protection agency or dhs to see what sort of resources are available.

  9. Wow- what is there for me to say that you probably haven’t heard already? You are obviously a strong woman, but strong women can only take so much. I’m having family issues too, and recently just asked myself if I could take it anymore. I still don’t know the answer to my questions. Just know- you are not alone in these struggles.

  10. What do you do when love no longer seems enough? That is the million dollar question. I guess the answer lies within you, are you willing to keep going, to keep giving of yourself, to get what seems like nothing in return. Is that the life that you want to lead? Are you done fighting?

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