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I am living in Japan and just had a daughter with my wife. I am suffering through some serious depression from alienation, loneliness no work...etc. I am trying to get my wife to agree to go back to the US, but she all of a sudden said how she hates my hometown and never wants to live in America and is well aware of her power with tour child. I did everything I could to make her comfortable in the states, but all she did was complain and refused to see my parents and friends and did everything possoble to stop me from doing so too. Out of care for her I agreed to come to Japan. I thought it would make our relationship better but it hasn't. Needles to say I didn't plan well at all. I not even imagine myself living here any more and I am going thorugh some major depression of the likes I've never experienced. We live with her mother in law who is constantly doing sneekiy things to make me look bad and to scare my wife from moving to the US. I am getting beet down and have no friends family to talk to about this and I am scared to death to lose my daughter. Any advice or does anyone have some experience on how I might be more succesful in getting her to agree to go? Also, in Japan can a woman divorce you if you refuse to sign the divorce papers? Thanks Posted By:
ph19712003
11/11/2004
Order:
Andrew (51 posts)
11/11/2004 13:20:03
re: Any Recommendations   profile
Hi ph....

Firstly, I relate to your story very much - it mirrors my own situation from a couple of years ago almost to every detail.

Any advice or does anyone have some experience on how I might be more succesful in getting her to agree to go?

This is very tricky thing....because one of you will likely be unhappy whatever you decide:-

1. she will likely be unhappy if you go back to the US

2. you ARE unhappy in Japan

Whoever makes the big sacrifice will have to jump into the foreign culture and do their utmost to make the most of it. It sounds like she didn't do that in the US when you two were there. What about yourself? Have you a means to get your depression treated/alleviated? I know all about depression and living in Japan - I suffered it quite badly, and found it very hard to treat because there were simply too many depression triggers (the mother-in-law - a master at passive-aggression - she would transfer her own stress onto others with a smile, work, the long crowded commute, the general alienation, no feeling of belonging). Without treating or alleviating the depression, I don't see how you can do anything constructive. If you can see your local doctor, I would try this first. Exercise, eat good food, drink moderately (trite advice - but the basics help!). Believe me, I know it's not easy.

Having said all that, I dived straight into Japanese culture when I was there - working for a Japanese firm, making Japanese friends, and living with my in-laws. I learnt the language to a respectable level (had to speak Japanese at work - including making presentations in Japanese). And guess what? I was thoroughly depressed. The Japanese culture grates against my soul. I hated it. My wife and I would argue about the problem you are having - where to live. I came up with a plan, which I think you could present to your wife (didn't work for me but...):-

Make a plan to live in Japan for a couple of years (I know, I know...). Then plan to live in the US for 2 years. That way nobody should feel they were the only ones to make a sacrifice, and also it will allow both of you to know which country is best for the family as a whole (well.....hopefully!). It also gives both you and your wife a fixed plan. Your depression now might be lifted if you know you will only be there for a fixed amount of time. Also, after two years you can't lose: you gave Japan a fair go and either learnt to like it (maybe unlikely) or did your best and now it's time to move back to the US. If your wife breaks her promise and becomes stubborn and refuses to move to the US, there is zlich you can do; but you tried your best. This is the only advice I can think of that is the best for you, your daughter and your wife.

If your depression is driving you up the wall at the moment, and you have enough money, why not go back to the States on your own for a few weeks? Take the opportunity of being unemployed to do this.....you sure as hell won't get much time off when you do work in Japan!

Also, in Japan can a woman divorce you if you refuse to sign the divorce papers?

As far as I know, divorce is possible without mutual consent, but it has to go through some legal hoops before it gets to that stage. More info here:-

http://www.crnjapan.com/japan_law/en/divorce.html

Also, there is a method in Japan of preventing divorce. Every 6 months, you can issue an "anti-divorce" form to your local ward (不受理申出 - the kanjii for the form). I can't for the life of me find the page on crnjapan.com where you can actually print out this form, but I'll supply the link to this thread when I find it....

Anyway, hang in there.....keep in touch!

Andrew

Edited 11/11/2004 15:46:24
ph19712003 (3 posts)
12/11/2004 11:09:49
re: Any Recommendations   profile
Andrew:

This may sound strange but just that fact that someone can relate to my problem helps me out a bit. I thought I was the only one going through this. I think I am going to take the trip back to the states and try to get some therpay. It's funny I never thought of myself as being the type for therapy but hey life's one big adventure isn't it! I figure that at least that way I will get myself into the right state of mind then I can approach things in a better way. Do you know how to get a re-entry permit for a visa? Do I also do that at the ward office. Here were I live (hamamatsu) there is a govern ment office very near were I live I think it's called a kominkan. IS that were I could get the anti-divorce form? There is also a large city office in downtown Hamamatsu is that the one your talking about? Luckily I don't think my wife really wants a divorce (she said she would if I left Japan) but I think it was just out of anger. Also, I know she won't prevent me from seeing my daughter she isn't that mean (at least for now).

How did you get through your depression? Did you have to get therapy? If so, what kind of remedy did they recommend? Did it help? Were you eventually able to overcome your hardship? So, it sounds like you eventually got divorced? Do you live in the states now or in Japan?
Sorry for all the questions. I don't how to thank you for responding to my desperate post, but Thank you.
Andrew (51 posts)
12/11/2004 19:50:24
re: Any Recommendations   profile
This may sound strange but just that fact that someone can relate to my problem helps me out a bit.

The feeling is mutual, believe me.

I started this site out really as a way for people to get in touch and at least relate their problems. The Japanese law is like an immovable rock, at least in perception, but I think one of the first battles people like you and I face is to get on our feet first of all (defeat depression for example) and then have the means to mend a marriage/answer back to the law. Most of the time I refer people to http://www.crnjapan.com when it comes to legal matters because this site covers those angles well.

Anyway.....!

I think I am going to take the trip back to the states and try to get some therapy.

I think that's a good move. I think the trip in itself may be therapy for you. From my own experience, it was nice to find familiarity with language, customs and the common sense of my homeland. That in itself helped me get out of my own hole.

Do you know how to get a re-entry permit for a visa?

I'm sure I got mine at the Immigration Office in Tokyo (sketchy memory):-

http://www.moj.go.jp/ENGLISH/IB/ib-18.html

I once forgot to get one and got a bollocking at Narita by a bunch of officers......they issued me a re-entry visa on the spot however and over-charged me for the convenience of that (don't do this - it's not always guaranteed to work out!).

Here were I live (hamamatsu) there is a govern ment office very near were I live I think it's called a kominkan. IS that were I could get the anti-divorce form?

Don't worry about this. This is something to worry about when things go totally pear-shaped and you and your wife have separated or she SERIOUSLY talks about divorce, like she totally means it. Again, as far as I know, divorce isn't that easy to make final in Japan if one party is against the idea. The anti-divorce form is a way to PREVENT divorce until at least the expiry date of the form (6 months after issue). I have filed one of these myself. If you do need to get hold of a copy , I have found the page on crnjapan.com:-

http://www.crnjapan.com/forms/en/PreventDivorceInstr.html

In Japanese, the anti-divorce form is called "fujyurimoushide". If you need help filling in the form, I got somebody to do it for me (a Japanese legal guy). You can contact him at this address:-

email: info@ishizuka-office.com
name: Ishizuka (family name) Hirokatsu (firstname)

He filled in the form and sent it to my local ward office on my behalf. He charged a reasonable rate.

How did you get through your depression?

Well, after my wife and I separated I lived in Japan for a further 6 months and deteriorated quite badly. I was rarely allowed visits to see my son, and when they did occur I was made to feel incredibly unwelcome, particularly by my mother-in-law. I would feel elation at seeing my son, while fielding overt bullying by my in-laws. Each visit left me exhausted with stress. Eventually my visits were denied because my wife and son would not be at the flat when I arrived. This was done on purpose to put me off regular visitation. I complained about this at mediation. It achieved nothing. They still denied me visits. I was at a complete loss.

I flew back to the UK (I'm from the UK) after this time for some R & R. For a number of reasons, one of them being advice from my local GP, I decided to stay in the UK for an indefinite period of time. I am still in the UK now. Technically, I'm still married to my wife. I miss my son a lot. I pay roughly 10,000 yen maintainance per week in lump sums.

Luckily I don't think my wife really wants a divorce (she said she would if I left Japan) but I think it was just out of anger. Also, I know she won't prevent me from seeing my daughter she isn't that mean (at least for now).

See how it goes. From where I'm standing, I would keep things mellow in the household (don't bring up moving the family to the US) - take the trip back to the US for a rest; then get back to Japan and give it a serious go there: give yourself a time limit of a couple of years to make the most of it. Your best hope is probably you finding some contentment in Japan (steady job, some friends, make better the relationship with your wife).

All the best,

Andrew

Edited 13/11/2004 01:23:36
japchap (48 posts)
13/11/2004 14:40:47
re: Any Recommendations   profile
Hello ph -

Andrew's been giving you a lot of useful advice.
I too had been in a very similar situation for some years.
I wanted to move the family back to the States, but my
wife kept bitterly complaining "it was too dangerous,"
"you're a quitter if you leave your job here [in Japan] now,"

and eventually she just told me that she doesn't want to
move back to the U.S. until the kids are in high school.
No amount of discussion ever solved the issue
(notwithstanding the fact that she was completely unable to
actually "discuss" the matter rationally to begin with).
After 4-1/2 years of not even going back to the States to
visit, I did what Andrew recommended that you do -
I went back for a two week visit, alone. That really did wonders
for me. Sometimes it can really help just to see the whole
situation in a new light. Not everything in this world has to
revolve around our wives or their mothers. I had gotten into
the unproductive habit of being far too submissive, afraid to
"rock the boat" with my wife and endure her temper tantrums.

I used to live in Hamamatsu, you know...
Isn't there a center for international exchange and information
close to Shin-Hamamatsu station?
... I just checked the web and found it. See this link...
the place is called HICE.

http://www.hi-hice.jp/english/map3.htm

A visit to there, if you have never been there before, might
help you feel better and give you some insight.
Also, I think you really need all the support you can get at
this time. Things aren't sounding good. You're at where I
was at about five years ago, and it was a very rough time in my life
with my wife. Everything I tried just seemed useless.
Fortunately, a local friend of mine here in Japan gave me a lot
of good advice and was always there to read my mails and
helped me see things in a more realistic light. Don't be
afraid to reach out and make new friends there - I know it's
not easy, because Hamamatsu is not exactly the sprawling
metropolis ripe with foreigners who speak English.
But check out HICE - it might be a good start to answer some
of your other questions about where to go regarding your
re-entry permit and so on, as well as where to meet other people
who share your interests.
On a side note, I live not so far from you on the map -
I'm just outside of Nagoya. If you'd like to contact me directly,
I'd be happy to make your acquaintance and chat with you some
more. You can send me a mail at japchap @ hotmail.com -
please remove the spaces in that address. Be sure to include
my name in your message, so that it will make it through Hotmail's junk mail filters... hahaha...

Looking forward to hearing from you again, on this forum or via e-mail anytime. I know it's not easy, and we unfortunately can't work miracles - but we all want to do whatever we can to give you the benefit of our experiences and help share your burden of this situation, if at all possible.

- Jeff

Edited 13/11/2004 14:50:35
ph19712003 (3 posts)
15/11/2004 06:14:49
re: Any Recommendations   profile
Jeff:

Thank you for your info. And thank you for offering my your help. I will definately keep your e-mail address for emegency. I guess every person has there limit. I think I finally reached mine and it has allowed me to open my mind and start to think clearly. Also, thanks to you guys. I feel there is one thing that I have very little control over and that is the ability of my wife to open her mind and think rationally. All I can do is make my best attempt at fixing my problems ( I have many now...lack of confidence, self esteem and depression) and making myself stronger and show her that I care and do love both of them. Maybe over time she will come to see that I am really not the devil she thinks. Maybe not, but at least I will be able to live with myself in the fact that I have tried. At least I know she would never deny me visitiation or contact as she was abandoned by her father and knows the pain. It's funny how you said that your wife said, "you are a quitter if you quit now" isn't it amazing at how well some women are familiar with the male mind and know just how to control them? I haven't found work yet....for various reasons, but I have been trying up to about a couple of weeks ago. With the constant barrage of negative comments and hidden innuendos from my wifew and her M.I.L. and other relatives and friends my Psych has just been dwiddled down to a pulp. I can even bare to look at peoples faces when I walk down the street. I feel like I just want to hide away in a room (which I often do) I always go down to help with my daughter. I change her diapers, giver her a bath everyday, feed her and give my wife positive support on breastfeeding even though I am dying inside. She has repeatedly called me a loser and when I tell my daughter I lover her she always says, "yeah, but daddy's leaving you" and "you are abandoning us. This really hurts. My wife had a complicated preganacy and was in the hospital for almost three weeks and my daughter was born premature and was in the hospital for well over a month. Everyday I drove to the hospital and sat with my daughter for hours while my wife was getting better and then at night I would sleep in thehospital room won a chair with my wife. This also had some effect on my abilty to effectively look for work. My wife almost died on one occasion from blood loss and I was always worried. The M.I.L. was always trying to make the decisions regarding my child and wife without consenting me and one time even told me to shut up so my wife could rest (I don't htink she knew how strong of a word Shut-up is in English). She told the daoctors I was making my wife tired by being in the room too much and the doctors said it was ok. SO, I have accumulated around $20,000 debt almost over night that I wasn't expecting. That is another cause of stress. I have a little cash left over to but not much and my wife wants me to give it to my M.I.L. for the bill, but then I would be broke completly and wouldn't even be able to get back home if I have to. So, I told my wife I want to go back to the states gets some counseling and work for a while and pay off our debts and get my mind straight. I feel this is a very noble and sacrificial thing to do considering I won't be able to seemy daughter for a quite while. I don't know how I can make it any more clear that I do not intend to abandon them and I will work two jobs to pay of this debt and then get a nice home in which they could come live and that I just can't live in Japan any longer at least for now.. She still calls me a loser and says I am leaving them. I think she wants me to use up all my cash so I will be stuck there, but that is not good for either of us and could lead to hoorible results I think. So yesterday after trying once again to calmly explain my intentions to her, she just shook her head and said, "I don't want to look at you anymore and just go get out of here" This was the straw that broke the camels back. I am not angry just sad and hurt, but I realized that I have to go back to the US or nothing will get better. ANd that it is not healthy for me to be around this mental torture any more. Even If I found a job today I would have to continue living with the MIL for at least another 6 months to a year to recover fully. No way can't do it, won't do it to myself. I will be responisble and send money and pay off this debt but, I am not going to subject myself to this anymore. I will never be a good person in there eyes as long as my wife is here in JApan. Once I decide to accept this it was like a heavy weight off my shoulders. And now I know I can be better. The challenge now comes between now and the day I leave, probably in a week or so. I just have to be a mental rock and not let anything get to me. I will not ask her to move to the states anymore for a while and I will just keep telling her how much I love her and the baby. Hopefully she will change after I leave. Right now as I am writing this she just came up here to check on me and saw me writing this post. She didn't see what I am writing, just that I am writing and just gave me a dirty ook and shook her head and went back down stairs. Well, wish me luck with my challenge. I appreciate all the positive suppor tyou guys, you have really given me some badly needed strength just when I needed it. I will keep in touch. Sorry for the long message.
Andrew (51 posts)
15/11/2004 23:15:17
re: Any Recommendations   profile
Hi ph,

Sounds like you might be some time over there in the States......one thing I'd make sure of before you go (IMHO).....set a fixed date for return to Japan, and send money from the States to your wife when you can...I think if you keep it open-ended, it might get mis-interpreted by your wife (and with the MIL hanging around, she would no doubt misinterpret your need to clear your head and earn some money as abandoning the family)....anyway, I'm sure you will feel better and be able to get some income over there.

I will keep in touch.

Yeah, keep in touch! :-)

Good luck over the next few weeks......all the best.
japchap (48 posts)
20/11/2004 14:55:24
re: Any Recommendations   profile
Ph -

Good to hear from you again.

I take it that you are going back to the States for longer than just a few weeks, then? That's the way it sounded in your post.

As for trying to work yourself to the bone, getting two jobs and trying to support your family and "pay off debts," your idea sounds noble, but I seriously advise you to get a grip on yourself. You don't need to do this to yourself. Go back to the U.S. for a much-needed hiatus, yes. Discuss the situation with your friends and family, and even get counseling if you need to - good thinking. But don't make your life harder than it already is. Your wife and the mother-in-law are trying to give you major guilt, when in fact they completely fail to recognize their own roles in the situation. That shows a total and utter lack of humility, and is the biggest disrespect for you I can think of. Don't bend your butt over and let her sap you of the best things you have ever offered. Take back your own life, and start to get acclimated to living with people that respect one another as human beings. You are right, you will never get that kind of treatment from your wife.

As for losing your daughter, I can totally understand the pain you are feeling - I had to leave TWO daughters. Of course I can still see them at least a few times per month, sometimes more, sometimes less. It's better than nothing. Sometimes I get in a negative frame of mind and feel very sorry for whatever hurt that the kids had to and will have to go through, being without their father. But it only makes me feel more miserable.

I love my kids, still do and always will, and what I did was not to hurt them. If I had stayed in the house with my psychologically (and sometimes physically) abusive wife, I would have had to suffer greatly, and I feel I may have lashed back in very damaging ways to my wife in my frustration. Being separated from her has largely reduced my anger against her and has given me a much better outlook on life and on my future, although there is and may always be the stinging burden of grief knowing that this freedom did not come without a price. What I did was logical, but logic does not always feel good. Sometimes it feels very bad... for a while, at least.

One more thing - don't make any more financial sacrifices for your wife. You will regret it later. Give her what she needs to stay afloat, but don't give in to any selfish demands. First do what YOU need to do to get your own life straightened out. Build up again what you once had. Face your trials like a man, not like the half-man that your wife and her mother-in-law are trying to turn you into. Then, consider what the best thing is to do for your family. It will take time. There is no need to rush anything - you have a long road and better days ahead of you.

Keep in touch with us, ph. And feel free to contact me personally if you ever want to talk more.

- JC
Andrew (51 posts)
20/11/2004 23:35:54
re: Any Recommendations   profile
Your wife and the mother-in-law are trying to give you major guilt, when in fact they completely fail to recognize their own roles in the situation. That shows a total and utter lack of humility, and is the biggest disrespect for you I can think of.

These are gold words. This is the (often unspoken) truth of this type of situation.......the wife and mother-in-law undermine the father and actually work against the father! They weaken his mind and his position in the family, as if they are an enemy within the family and not part of a family team. Everybody has a responsibility in this kind of situation to give each other some grace and respect to help strengthen the family as a whole, particularly family members who are struggling with problems. To exacerbate these problems with hostility is an abject failure of fulfilling familial responsibilities.

I have also seen this type of behaviour first hand, and I can comment on it quite dispassionately now (it's been two years). This type of antisocial behaviour occurs, I think, when both wife and mother-in-law (and it tends to be the mother-in-law, Japanese father-in-laws stay out of this) see the end-game of divorce and are slowly ushering the unwanted father out of the family. This may be happening with you ph, as all the warning signs are there - however, all you can do is treat your depression with a commitment to look after your family financially at least, and a commitment to return to Japan.
japchap (48 posts)
21/11/2004 00:42:48
re: Any Recommendations   profile
This type of antisocial behaviour occurs, I think, when both wife and mother-in-law (and it tends to be the mother-in-law, Japanese father-in-laws stay out of this) see the end-game of divorce and are slowly ushering the unwanted father out of the family. This may be happening with you ph, as all the warning signs are there - however, all you can do is treat your depression with a commitment to look after your family financially at least, and a commitment to return to Japan.


Yes, I think that Andrew has hit on an important point here. Once you are seen as the "outsider" in the family, once your ideas and opinions are no longer considered or recognized as that of a fellow human being, it is time to get out. Traditional Japanese thinking holds the "ie" (household, NOT necessarily "family") in a sacred light, and the roots of that thinking still carry over to this day - as well as being the primary reason why family courts here in Japan can be so callous and unfeeling in regard to the husband's position.

In my case, it started out as the opposite. The mother-in-law lived far away (in Kyushu), whereas I lived in Aichi prefecture with my wife and daughters. Even though I submitted several pleas over the years to my wife's mother to try and help us with our situation, she never really stepped in to help, and never really followed up with any positive action besides just coming up to visit and saying "Why don't you two just start getting along now, eh?" But once she heard that I had gotten tired of enduring the situation and was readying for divorce, she blasted on up and basically camped out in our house. I was excluded from everything then. I tried to take my older daughter out for the afternoon to the toy store, but the M.I.L. and my wife worked valiantly to keep my older daughter "busy." They made sure that the kids no longer would come to visit me in my room upstairs anymore (I slept separately from my wife).

Then on one afternoon, after a heated debate with the two of them, I decided to go out for the rest of the day by myself. Unfortunately, I had forgotten my wallet. However, the wife and M.I.L. locked me out of the house. When I went around to the side windows to try and get in, they both stood at the window - with my two daughters - and they started laughing comically at me. It was a pitiful sight. After that, I began making preparations to move out. Things had reached the point in time where they had "seen the end-game of divorce" as Andrew had put it, and the Hyde personality of Jekkyl and Hyde came forth with all its might to assail any attempts at recovering some kind of sanity and reasonableness.

I'm so glad that this part of my life is over.

- JC
ph197120032 (1 posts)
11/12/2004 21:48:07
re: Any Recommendations   profile
Thanks for all the good advice and for sharing your experience with me. I am now back in the U.S. I am getting my feet back on the ground. It feels good to be out ofd that destructive atmosphere. I feel I can think more clearly now and realize that I am not as bad as they (wife / MIL / Wifes friedns) were making me out to be. It's funny because prior to moving to Japan my realtionship with my wife was quite well. I guess the social pressure and feeling of needing to satisfy the MIL changed her into a completely different person. The birth of my daughter may have had some psychological effects on her as well (ie: Postpartum..etc). Prior to leaving it seemed as though she mostly excepted my idea (didn't like it but understood) but the day she dropped me off at the train station she started freaking out a bit (somewhat understandable). When I called her from the airport prior to leaving she was once again calm.

Since I have been back I e-mail her and she doesn't retrun my e-mails for usually 3-4 days. She says she has to take care of the baby and has no time; However, prior to leaving she was checking her friends e-mail on a daily basis. I feel she is attempting to punish me. I am very supportive and caring with all of my e-mails (this may be the problem) I Am prepared to send most of my savings to pay of the medical bills and have asked her for copies of the bills. She refuses to send them to me and just accuses me of not trusting her. In all honesty I have lost a bit of trust in her becuase every time I asked her the price of the bills it's different. I also mentioned that I can right the amount off on my taxes here, but she says that her brother is going to write it of in Japan. I doesn't seem right since he is not paying for the bills. I really want to pay and support but she will not cooperate by sending me a copy of the bills and I do not feel my request is excessive. She is very bitter and tries to fill me with guilt when she does write. I normally e-mail her back right away, but I have decided to wait a coupke days. I think thta once she realizes that I am not jumping at her ever7y command that it might change things a bit....who knows. I feel I was always to submissive to her.

On a positive note, I feel a little better after being here. I must admit it is a challenge being away from what is familiar to me and getting usedto my own culture again. The friends we use to hang out with are kind of cold and act different to me. i do feel that I can see myself more accurately now and begin to address my issues, and also realize which issues I am respopnicble for and which ones I am not. Unfortunately I still care about my wife, but all she seems to want to do is cut me down and be rotten to me. I can only do so much in this relationship. I have been looking for work and feel something will come up soon and I will start going to the gym, that always makes me feel better.

Do any of you guys feel it is overboard to ask for copies of the medical bills prior to paying. To me it seems quite normal especially since we are talking about thousands of dollars.


FRIJ recommends you also visit crn japan, who are fighting international abduction to Japan and working to assure children in Japan of meaningful contact with both parents regardless of marital status