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We have been married for about 10 years now. We live in a nice home, we are both pretty successful, and we have great kids. The negative traits were visible a long time ago, but they have gotten worse every year. It breaks my heart what they would have to go through if we sere to split, but I am not sure of any other option. I know that I have some negatives about me, but I feel as if they are apparent because of her. Let me explain......

I always thought of a marriage as a 50/50 split in every catagory. If you are lacking in one, then make up for it somewhere else. I don't believe that money is a factor. If you both work 40 hours a week, then that to me is 50/50 no matter what the paycheck looks like. In my case, we pretty much make the exact same and we typically work the exact same hours. That is pretty much where the 50/50 stops.

My life is dedicated to work, school, family and home. I have almost no time to myself. I spend my time working, school, cleaning, making dinner, cleaning up after dinner, remodeling, landscaping, grocery shopping, and fixing what is broken. She shops for other things (kids clothes, paper goods, etc) and laundry. Her shopping includes buying what we need, and buying what she wants. When she gets home, she throws everything on the floor as if it will magically make it's way to where it belongs. Her idea of doing laundry means making piles, putting stuff in washer, maybe move it to the dryer, but typically is smells up the laundry room for a few days, rerun, maybe move, eventually making it to the dryer, maybe fold it, maybe not, and it almost never gets put away. If she does lend a hand in cleaning, it is a constant fight from the time she stands up until the time she sits back down. If she does get up to clean, you had better be helping or things will get even worse. If it is me that is cleaning, she has no problem sitting there and watching me. The same goes for cooking, and anything else I do. If I get invloved in something big, such as remodel the basement which she asked for, she does nothing to help me such as clean, cook, etc. I am expected to work on finishing the basement, come upstairs around dinner time to cook, clean up afterward, then resume basement. At the end of the night, I will crawl into bed, first tripping over new messes that she has made, or looking at the crap that she has left out. I can give example after example, but I think you get the point.

Now that my role in the household has been established, I would like to talke about how I am a terrible husband. Like I said, it is all work and no play. When I have my 5 minutes of the day, I had better spend it with her, or I am accused of not spending time with her. Even so, it is never enough. When we do "spend time" together, she passes out after 10 minutes. She complains constantly, I mean non stop. She uses excuses for everything. As Rodney puts it, "I get not repect." I could spend a half a day cleaning a mess of crap off of a table. She will walk over and put something on it with a claim that she'll take care of it tomorrow. That just escalates into a mound that she claims is now too overwhelming. She makes these claims all the time as if there would be a chance that she might do something, but mostly ends in disapointment on my side.

When I have important school work to do, she'll take the kids out. Sounds nice? This means that she is going out with friends that also have kids to have fun. This is fun time that I do not get with my kids. So OK, sounds like she is helping me despite of the possible selfishness, right? These do not go without wanting something in return. Another issue is how rude she is. I am ebarrased to take her out with my friends, or at family functions. My friends do not like her around, some have said, others have hinted. She makes friends very easily, but also loses then just as fast. Her family is always arguing, and she believes that this is what a normal family is supposed to be like, open and honest and in my opinion, rude. She says things around the kids that they should not hear, and she yells at them all the time. For some reason, the kids cling to her. I can start to see these traits in my oldest child and it concerns me, but all I can do is try to stear her twoards being a better person. I believe she loves to argue. I have pleaded that she should get help, but that just leads into an argument. Currently I am supposed to be working on a paper that is due in less than a day. I can hear yelling, and my youngest child just came in to tell me that they want dinner. Is this sad or what?
Let me finish with our sex life. It sucks. Based on what has been read, she states that she controlls when it happends. She does nothing to spice things up.

I better go before she gets pissed about dinner.
 

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Out of curiosity, what would happen if you didn't go down to prepare dinner? Would your wife have a meltdown to the point that she would grab a kitchen knife and stab you repeatedly? I'm serious. What is the absolute worst thing you honestly believe she would do if you told her you had a deadline on a paper, and she needed to fix dinner?

Sounds kinda like you're stuck in marriage hell. You both have good jobs, nice home, all the trappings of a successful life. And a marriage that leaves you feeling like crap. It also sounds like you are ripe for an EA and/or PA. I am not saying you are the type of guy who would indulge in either, but you sound pretty miserable with the missus.

How about IC for you? Set some boundaries. Did you get glimpses of what she was like prior to marriage? Was she lazy and indifferent about housekeeping when she lived with roommates or at home with her parents?

There are people who love to argue and really get into the drama "thing." I found the only way I could successfully diffuse an argument with my first husband - and he LOVED to argue - was to make noncommital comments, wander into another room, play dumb, or just walk out the front door and take a ride in the car. I basically went into avoidance mode. An arguer can't argue with thin air.

Get counseling. I'd also suggest a family law attorney, just so you know where you stand if it comes down to the D-word. I don't know if you've even considered that, but other than telling her straight out you're not the house slave, and then following through on that boundary, I think you're in for more of the same.
 

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Thanks for reading my rant. If I don't go then I would get the guilt trip that the kids are hungry. It would put her in a "mood" which if it turns into an argument. Let me tell you how those work. She will never ever ever admit to being wrong. The more you prove it, the more pissed she gets. As for how was she before, I did notice some weaknesses in these catagories such as picking up after herself or cooking. It was minor, and it has just gotten worse over the years. I think most of it is inherited. Her mother is on her second marriage. Her new husband is a push over and I think it becomes a competition on who can be most controlling. I know that arguing is just part of being married. My problem is how it is escallated. If you show any sign of weakness, she will strike, but she will not let down. I have heard that some wives actually say things like, "I'm sorry" or "Let's make up and forget about this" or even "Let's just drop it".

Every now and then, things go well. She has even admitted that when she knows that she is wrong, she won't admit it. She tends to bring out a lot of negativity. Just when you think that you are having a great night together, WHAM, I get sideswipped with something I did wrong and then she is just ticked off all night.

So putting most of this aside, the constant complaining has got to be the most annoying thing. She tends to be one of those that tells people what a wonderful job I did at something, but then nit picks it when no one is around. These is nothing that she can not complain about and it is always the first thing. We'll go out somewhere to have fun and she'll find a dozen things to complain about in the first hour. There has been several times I have just said "Try to have fun".

I have tried the walk away approach, but that just makes matters even worse. She will not come to her senses and when you finally return thinking that she has cooled down, wrong, now you just kicked it up a few notches. I believe that she is a narcissist. And not like, joke around, haha, I mean text book narcissist. What does counseling really do? Do they provide solutions? Do they take sides? What do typical sessions consist of? I am afraid that she can convince them that she is the victim.
 

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Maybe try individual counseling first, then you'll get an idea of the format. Regardless of whether you stay married or not, counseling that involves your wife can't be a bad thing. With the level of criticism and yelling at the children, that's just not a great thing for them, so if counseling can help her lessen that, that's a benefit.

I think most counselors are pretty good at knowing there are two sides to every story and the truth is in the middle somewhere, but if you want to make sure they know what the fighting/criticism sound like, just use a VAR and record it. if she denies fighting or yelling or being negative, you can pull it out and play it.

It sounds like she's figured out that everything will bother you first - hungry kids, a dirty house, lack of sex - and just lets you do everything. It's painful, but you do have to stop taking care of everything. It may be you just can't live that way at all if she can't shoulder more of the burden.
 

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Fred, I would suggest you read up a bit on narcissistic personality disorder. One thing I learned in my reading is it's very difficult to treat. Why? Because the narcissist thinks everyone else is to blame and an a-hole, while the narcissist thinks he/she is in the right and knows what is "right" for all concerned.

I married one, and I finally walked out the door one Sunday night and kept walking. Seriously. I didn't know where I was going at 10 p.m. that evening, but I knew I couldn't take another second of the insanity.

You are right that walking away from it and then coming back doesn't improve matters. It sounds like your wife remains at a simmer and once you come back into the house you get the volcanic eruption.

Get counseling for yourself. If she wants to join in, fine. A good counselor isn't there to take sides. I went with my flaming narcissist, and he did, indeed, charm the counselor to the point that I think the guy was buying into his crap. And my couselor had a Ph.D. in psychotherapy with a specialty in marriage counseling. Meh! Doesn't mean a degree makes a good therapist.

It may be trial and error before you find a counselor who is a good fit. A good one can see through a client blowing smoke. You have nothing to lose by giving it a shot.

It's an exercise in futility trying to get your wife to see she is wrong. She gets ticked off and it probably frustrates the heck out of you. Just don't buy into the guilt. How 'bout this: if she tries to guilt you that the kids are starving, tell her to heat them a can of soup. Seriously. Would she let her own children go hungry if you didn't cook the meal?
 
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