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Discussion Starter #1
So I had a long talkl with the wife...

She wants to "deal with issues" and so I try. When I tell her what I have issue with... She gets angry and "why are you blaming it all on me?"

The fact is, she doesn't have any faith in me doing anything. She claims she has anxiety about a few things. Most of us would say they're OCD matters. Like, just coming unglued because I had a stack of boxes to cut up and go in the recycler bin. Seriously, it just totally unnerves her, I guess. And, she wants, in her words "I want things to change". And yet, about all it means is "I want you to make more money, I want the kids to make money, and I want someone to never make any messes".

I tried to get across that somehow, I need to have how she trods all over me stopped, and all she did was tell me that was stupid, because "I can't control you".

Even though I explained it's about how I have passively let her basically just do whatever she wanted to avoid any confrontation in the past, she just rejected that notion like it's dumb.

So, I don't know what to do. I have no energy, no money, no will for dealing with this stuff right now. And really, I get the "You can hang around if you're going to make my life good" impression. I have to deal with two deadly serious health problems right now, and both are pretty much terribly exaggerated by stress.

Yet, she claims I don't talk about things ( true ), and that's why she's mad at me. But, when I do, then she really gets mad. Which is why I don't want to talk about things.

I guess I'm just screwed.
 

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As an outsider with NO understanding of details but trying to imagine both sides of your story...

It seems that she's a little like me. If you don't stand up to me, I assume you're ok. If you're angry but don't say anything, I feel resentful if you later tell me that I've walked all over you. Even if it's true, my perception is that you could have spoken up and influenced that.

Now, I know that's not always true. I railroaded a couple good guys into the ground before I learned how my way of thinking and acting was insensitive and even cruel at times. I simply couldn't see that their conflict-avoidance wasn't the same as agreement, and if they tried to tell me we'd be back to the point I made above.

I also think you might benefit from learning to change your perception of her "mad" moods. Is she really mad at all these times, or is some of her reaction really anxiety, fear, or guilt instead? You've already said she claims to have anxiety, and that your perception is that it's obsessive-compulsive - clean house kind of stuff. I have two suggestions for you:

1. When you see her "OCD" stuff or other things she calls anxiety, learn to ask "What's important about that to you?" four or five levels deep. It looks something like this:

Her: Why are these boxes here?
You: Oh, I'm going to put them in the recycle bin.
Her: Well, why did you leave them RIGHT HERE? (Commence flipping out.)
You: I can see that you're upset. What's so important to you about having them moved right now?
Her: They're making a mess!
You: So what's so important about not having a mess?
Her: I like the house to look good. When you make a mess, it's inconsiderate of me.
You: When you think I'm being inconsiderate, what's important about that?
Her: Well, obviously it means you don't love me enough.

NOW you're getting to the real issue, and you now have enough information to reassure her. You'll know that you've gotten far enough when her answers get down to love, God, or both.

You: I am sorry to hear that you think I don't love you enough. I do love you, you know.
Her: I know you do, but I don't see why you need to make such a mess.
You: Well, I can promise you that when I put those boxes there, it had nothing to do with whether or not I loved you. I was thinking it would be good for me to do it this way because (your reason.) If you really need them to be moved right now, I can do that, but it would help me feel more loved if you could be ok with me leaving there until (your deadline). Would you be willing to do that?

My second suggestion for you... Sounds like you guys need some good ground rules before you start talking and the ability to take time-outs if emotions start interfering with progress. You might find it helpful if you read my article on fair fighting and print it up for her to read, too. Let her know that if you can agree to the "rules" there, you'll do more to open up to her. Pay close attention to the second rule about avoiding blame!

Best wishes to you both.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
As an outsider with NO understanding of details but trying to imagine both sides of your story...

It seems that she's a little like me. If you don't stand up to me, I assume you're ok. If you're angry but don't say anything, I feel resentful if you later tell me that I've walked all over you. Even if it's true, my perception is that you could have spoken up and influenced that.

Now, I know that's not always true. I railroaded a couple good guys into the ground before I learned how my way of thinking and acting was insensitive and even cruel at times. I simply couldn't see that their conflict-avoidance wasn't the same as agreement, and if they tried to tell me we'd be back to the point I made above.

I also think you might benefit from learning to change your perception of her "mad" moods. Is she really mad at all these times, or is some of her reaction really anxiety, fear, or guilt instead? You've already said she claims to have anxiety, and that your perception is that it's obsessive-compulsive - clean house kind of stuff. I have two suggestions for you:

1. When you see her "OCD" stuff or other things she calls anxiety, learn to ask "What's important about that to you?" four or five levels deep. It looks something like this:

Her: Why are these boxes here?
You: Oh, I'm going to put them in the recycle bin.
Her: Well, why did you leave them RIGHT HERE? (Commence flipping out.)
You: I can see that you're upset. What's so important to you about having them moved right now?
Her: They're making a mess!
You: So what's so important about not having a mess?
Her: I like the house to look good. When you make a mess, it's inconsiderate of me.
You: When you think I'm being inconsiderate, what's important about that?
Her: Well, obviously it means you don't love me enough.

NOW you're getting to the real issue, and you now have enough information to reassure her. You'll know that you've gotten far enough when her answers get down to love, God, or both.

You: I am sorry to hear that you think I don't love you enough. I do love you, you know.
Her: I know you do, but I don't see why you need to make such a mess.
You: Well, I can promise you that when I put those boxes there, it had nothing to do with whether or not I loved you. I was thinking it would be good for me to do it this way because (your reason.) If you really need them to be moved right now, I can do that, but it would help me feel more loved if you could be ok with me leaving there until (your deadline). Would you be willing to do that?

My second suggestion for you... Sounds like you guys need some good ground rules before you start talking and the ability to take time-outs if emotions start interfering with progress. You might find it helpful if you read my article on fair fighting and print it up for her to read, too. Let her know that if you can agree to the "rules" there, you'll do more to open up to her. Pay close attention to the second rule about avoiding blame!

Best wishes to you both.
At this point it's "if you loved me, you'd make everything the way I want it" and "if you loved me, you would have great financial success" and "If you make a bunch of money and do everything my way, then I can let you hang around." "If you love me, I get my way, and get to be mad that you let me have my way."


She totally shut down the notion that she's stressing me to death.

And she is.

Our discussion took my blood pressure from normal to "danger" and my blood sugar from "normal" to 3 times normal. Measurements taken less than 2 hours apart.

She says "I want things to change and I'm not seeing them change". But, "change" is "you make more money" and "keep everything spotless and exactly as I want it", and there's not even a hint she'll do anything but more of the same.

As far as your description... I've got to say it sounds a lot the same. She makes our kids mad and they stay away or avoid her a lot, too, for the same reason. She just can't keep herself from "expressing my opinions", but it's a very forceful "you need to..." type and if you don't agree she starts what seems terribly like a manipulation by guilt rant and no matter who the person is talked about, it's me who gets it vented on.

At this moment, I'm just trying to stay alive and she refuses to accept even in the slightest that she needs to change as well. Her attitude is "you choose how you respond to what I say, so, stuff it".

Yet, I am supposed to do the exact opposite, and I'm responsible for all the things she imagines I think or feel. She keeps saying that I rejected her. Yet, in the last decade, you can count on your fingers, probably on one hand I've even so much as raised my voice to her. I've never nagged her about the crazy crap she's done, the agonizing financial stress she's caused by irresponsible money management and so on - driving the car with never checking the oil or water, and running out of both, racking up 3000 dollars in bank fees, driving on a flat tire and damaging the car badly when it came apart and tore up stuff.

None of these things have I ever brought up again. I let them go. But nothing I have ever done, real or imagined, has ever been forgotten, and I hear about them over and over and over.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Here's a for instance.

For my business, I buy a large internet pipe. It costs about 1800 - 1900 a month right now. I found a way to reduce that cost a large amount, but it involves actually renting a building just for the location. It happens to be on the main street through town and I'd have this nice retail space, but no current use for it.

So, I started telling her about this and how if I could make this work, I'd save a considerable amount... And she flipped out. "why don't you tell me this stuff, you never tell me anything, why am i in dark, I'm supposed to help you with this and you never talk to me..." blah, blah blah. Except that was precisely what i was doing, was attempting to explain how it works and why and how it would improve the business bottom line a bunch.

She cut me off from trying to explain to her how it worked... to make the tirade about how I'm so secretive and never tell her about it. It's all technical and she understands not on iota, so, no, I wasn't telling her about all the stuff I'd been doing to work out the deal. It isn't done yet, but it is a possibility, now.

Talk about frustrating. And despite my efforts to explain I was trying to tell her, she just got even more butt-hurt and angry at me.

So... I dunno. I seriously question her emotional and mental health at this moment. It appears nothing I do would actually matter.
 

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Look for the comedy, geezer. If she is so far gone that she's doing this to the nth degree, then recognize that she's nothing more than an automatic wind-up doll who is controlled by her fears and anxieties instead of being in control OF them.

You do play a role in this because you take it personally. You *do* feel pressured and responsible for the things she forces onto you, but she is right that you do have an option to respond in any way that you want to.

Don't be afraid to walk into another room and lock the door if you need to! Tell her calmly that you will do this whenever you feel attacked. When she claims she's not attacking you, etc., tell her you understand her position but you're not changing yours.

Tell her you're cancelling your life insurance policies until she learns to stop attacking you, too. (HA! Just kidding, but I imagine you feel this way at times.)

In any case, STOP getting hooked!! When she attacks, remind yourself that you can swim away. You MUST change you and the way you react if you want to get a handle on this and not let it affect your health. As soon as you start recognizing the physical sensations in your body, or as soon as you hear "that" tone of voice from her, take action to prevent things from escalating.

And I still stand by my other post, ESPECIALLY if she goes berserk over your new behavior. It will take a while for her to see that you ARE choosing a different response, and if she doesn't like it, well... she can get happy in the same britches she got mad in.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm not sure how to deal with this. I think I did the right thing... so, here goes.

I visit the doctor tomorrow, I put it off a week after they told me I needed to make an appointment after the lab results. Since they really only tested a couple things, I just made an assumption and picked up a glucose meter at walmart and sure enough, blood sugar is high. So, after 5 days of watching what I'm doing I'm back down in the safe range and know what to do to keep it there - sans drugs.

Anyway, she had a hissy fit because I didn't tell her right away. Oh, and yes, she spent an HOUR alternating between being angry at me because she's sure I'll mess this up and and demanding I follow her advice. Ie, I had to endure lecturing for an hour... And yet she's sure I don't get it... and she's mad because I don't make her feel her input's important.

Dang, it's hard to make her feel her input's important, because it's an avalanche of emotionally loaded stuff. The slightest thing and she's all ticked off because I "don't support her feelings". And she's certain she wasn't in any way pressuring me.

<<< arrrrghhh >>>

She would NEVER tolerate me doing this to her. And I tried by example to get that across... yet, she's certain that I needed to tell her absolutely everything I'm doing... But not the other way around. She feels no obligation to tell me much.

I even used a real life example of what she does, and what she says if I even slightly get involved in something she's doing. "You take it over" she says. But, she tries to take over everything I'm doing... I'm supposed to keep her updated and listen to every last thought on every last thing... But she doesn't tell me squat. And sees no contradiction or inconsistency.

Nor how her obsession with poking her nose into everything and demanding it as a condition of having a relationship isn't pushing herself on and into everything. She does this to our kids, they get so mad they hang up. And then she sits and cries and moans and throws temper fits and "woe is me, everyone hates me..." for hours.

And then claims I'm doing this to hurt her, if I point it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The "you're ignoring me" comes from something like the following:

Issue blah: Something's come up, I gotta deal with it. I mention it in passing. Already handled. She tells me what she thinks. If I don't do precisely, and I mean precisely, that, then I've rejected her. But, no, she's not controlling and she has very strong boundaries. She explained it very forcefully.

Again... ARRRRGGGHHH...

I need to get it across that this is emotional blackmail. No, she can't "make" me do anything. But then I have to endure the "nobody listens, everyone freezes me out, why are you not communicating...blah blah blah" if I don't appear to go exactly there.
 

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She's not abnormal.

You have to come up with a gameplan based on what you know. Here is what you know.

-- She values financial security
-- She values the state of her house
-- She has a "this is me, take it or leave it attidute"

When someone says "we have to deal with our issues" they mean you have to deal with your issues. Stop stepping in traps. She does not want to change she wants you to change. You want her to change. She cant change you and you cant change her. You can only change you.

Your gameplan:

-- Make her feel financially secure. You have to find a way to do this through improving your communication to her
-- Show her that her needs for a nice house are important to you
-- Adopt a take it or leave it attidude inside yourself, just as she has done
-- Do not tolerate her speaking to you in a nasty fasion. Do not engage in any conversatation about anything until she speaks to you in a proper fashion. Abruptly stop all nasty talking at you. Always say you will speak to her once she addresses you nicely. Just tell her to stop speaking like that and when she's ready to speak to you properly you will listen to what she has to say...
-- Stop having big discussions.
 

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oldgeezer, I feel your pain. I have the same trouble with my wife, it is her way or no way. She has the same attitude as KB:

If you don't stand up to me, I assume you're ok. If you're angry but don't say anything, I feel resentful if you later tell me that I've walked all over you. Even if it's true, my perception is that you could have spoken up and influenced that.
Even if I vocalize and disagree with what she thinks, I get this:

I railroaded a couple good guys into the ground before I learned how my way of thinking and acting was insensitive and even cruel at times. I simply couldn't see that their conflict-avoidance wasn't the same as agreement, and if they tried to tell me we'd be back to the point I made above.
The only thing I get is "At least I will apologize (much later) if I am wrong." This is after a prolonged tirade of how much I am not doing it her way. The apology is a mute point by the time I get it, I am completely pissed at her trying to railroad me.

I guess it kills me sometimes that she is a licensed therapist yet she cannot apply the same skills between us that she does helping other people. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #10
She's not abnormal.

You have to come up with a gameplan based on what you know. Here is what you know.

-- She values financial security
-- She values the state of her house
-- She has a "this is me, take it or leave it attidute"
1. Yes. But doesn't make decisions to arrive there, instead, does the opposite. I'm the one who'll not buy a replacement vehicle, find and drive decent older vehicles so there's no payments and low insurance. I'm the tech geek who has no "techy" toys. She has them all. And they just sit around. My daily driver work rig is 31 years old. She won't touch it. But if I ever mention the idea of replacing it, I hear a long tirade about how broke we are.

2. Yes, but for the most part, she collects all the clutter and junk and never cleans it up. She just explodes if someone else leaves the stove unscrubbed or a dirty counter or something. Yet, two rooms of the house are full of her untouched projects, bits of this and that, stuff she never puts away or finds a place for.

3. No, she claims to be going to great lengths to accommodate everyone else's issues, but in reality, she's just doing more of the same.

Ehh, duty calls. Gonna be a busy day today.
 

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oldgeezer - are you the poster who has serious medical issues that are almost killing you? sorry cannot remember your various threads.

I don't know you but for some reason I care about you.

I also don't remember why you are with a person that is so toxic to you.

Praying for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
When someone says "we have to deal with our issues" they mean you have to deal with your issues. Stop stepping in traps. She does not want to change she wants you to change. You want her to change. She cant change you and you cant change her. You can only change you.

Your gameplan:

-- Make her feel financially secure. You have to find a way to do this through improving your communication to her
-- Show her that her needs for a nice house are important to you
-- Adopt a take it or leave it attidude inside yourself, just as she has done
-- Do not tolerate her speaking to you in a nasty fasion. Do not engage in any conversatation about anything until she speaks to you in a proper fashion. Abruptly stop all nasty talking at you. Always say you will speak to her once she addresses you nicely. Just tell her to stop speaking like that and when she's ready to speak to you properly you will listen to what she has to say...
-- Stop having big discussions.
Yes, I know about the traps. And she gets really pissy if I refuse to step in them.

1. The more I tell her, the more she wants and the more she micromanages, eventually to the point it's just prolonged war - or that's how I see it.

2. To my perception, at least, no matter how clean and neat, the level of conflict never changes. Her piling her laundry in the corner is fine, just not me doing it, to use a metaphor. Her mess isn't a problem, just everyone else's. To my perception, at least.

3. Not going to happen. If the only reason to have a wife is to share chores and have a sex partner, then I'm not. Nobody is an island, really, unless they care about nothing. If I am going to have someone I care enough about to matter to me, I'm not going to be in a take it or leave it, don't care if that person constantly commits emotional bruising. Sorry, if I have to be calloused, then I find no point in a relationship.

4. Tried. Maybe the wrong way. Not successful. It seems like the right thing, but I dunno how.

5. She claims that all she wants is the big discussions. And of course, those are all about how I'm the problem.

Do I have faults and have I done things I should not have? Uh, yeah. Readily acknowledged and agreed to. And to a degree, we all have to just live with each other, there has to be some semblance of accomodation and sometimes just overlooking a lot.

As I have told her... What I want in a relationship is that "safe" place, where I know that no matter what happens elsewhere, there's someone who doesn't try to inflict pain.

I guess what she doesn't get, is that she uses the "inflict pain to get what I want" method and often what she wants is affection. I find that really, REALLY difficult to do.
 

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The level of conflict will drop dramatically if you decide that you will not have it in your life. This must come first before anything else.

Wife: YOU ALWAYS LEAVE PILES OF CLOTHES IN THE CORNER.

You: Stop yelling at me


IN other words, do not discuss clothes when she yells at you about clothes.
 

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^ I like that.

By the way, the only way I was able to learn to change was when I lost a relationship that was very important to me. This was with a really good man who even offered to cosign a loan for me to buy a truck despite having broken up with me.

My self-centeredness knew no bounds, and it was only when my "self" was hurt that I realized I was to blame.

I say not to get hooked, but I do know that it can be impossible. The man I'm talking about often shut himself off when I did this to him, and yet I would stand nearby and make snide comments and just keep egging things on. Even though I didn't see a reaction (which I thought meant he didn't have one), I later realized I certainly was having an effect, and it wasn't the effect I wanted. I had this expectation that if he would just do things my way, we'd both be happy.

To be fair, there *is* some truth to what my perceptions were. People are happiest when they feel they have influence in another person's life. When we don't feel like we have an influence, we're miserable. I suspect you feel this way, OG, but so does your wife.

One thing you could do is to start asking for her opinions on the things that you don't really have a lot of importance to you. "What color shirt should I wear today?" If you can do this on some things, it might help her feel more important to you. It also gives you some credibility to say, "Listen, I take your advice on many things, but I'm going to make a command decision on this topic."

I suspect that she's got herself tied up in the same mental bind I got myself into. If you caved to her all the time, she'd lose respect. If you don't cave, you're an a$$. You cannot win against that mentality and you cannot challenge it directly. I imagine she is aware of it at some level. If not, you can ask her if she recognizes it to at least plant a seed of awareness in her, but I wouldn't argue the point. Just say that it's your perception and leave it at that.

You might HAVE to leave this situation to get peace.

By the way, I was the WORST about all this when I was counseling. Mental health counselors often seem to think they have the best answers for how things "should" be. There's a catch-22 to being a counselor because they're supposed to have it all together and thus, cannot allow themselves to be the same fallible human beings that patients are. Besides, they've got the authority of "knowing" how the mind works. I realize that same arrogance still comes across in some of my own posts on here long after I've left the field.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
^ I like that.


I say not to get hooked, but I do know that it can be impossible. The man I'm talking about often shut himself off when I did this to him, and yet I would stand nearby and make snide comments and just keep egging things on. Even though I didn't see a reaction (which I thought meant he didn't have one), I later realized I certainly was having an effect, and it wasn't the effect I wanted. I had this expectation that if he would just do things my way, we'd both be happy.
That jumped out at me big time.

The whole thing. The snide comments, the shutting off, trying to egg it on, assuming no reaction if you don't see one...

I am going to have to keep this handy.

How do I illustrate this to her, so she can see it?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So, she got angry at me over the porn thing. Really, really angry, claiming I hurt her terribly.

Ok, so, I can see her side, and really, porn just isn't my life and after years of her withholding sex and just endless emotional badgering, I just could not find it within me to be intimate.

Porn's the "last resort", I guess you'd say, in terms of what to do with that drive.

But she's convinced I'm terribly addicted. She wanted me to read people's stories of being so. I did so, and dang, I'm just lost, I can't relate to those things, and I don't even understand them, much less see myself in them.

But, once she's made up her mind, then the fix is her way. Absolutely has to be the way she wants and what she wants. No matter what. She wants me to get professional counselling for an addiction. And, because I just don't find that to be a terribly productive way to spend money and time ( i'd rather see a relationship counselor, MC, for instance) she's still angry and assumes I thought it was "no big thing". And if I don't do it it's because "You don't care!"

It's just that once she has an idea, if you don't accept it, she goes in a world of butt hurt rejection, the "you don't care!" thing starts up... "I'm tired... and you don't care!". "My shoulder hurts... And you don't care!". Over and over and over and over and over, on every possible matter or subject she can dream up.

I think that kind of emotional manipulation is both dishonest and totally disrespecting of the person it's being done to. And the only way to "show you care" is to do what she wants and how she wants it, which are often wildly unreasonable and/or impossible.

I believe she is utterly oblivious to this behavior, and in fact, thinks what she's doing is both right and proper and deserved. It's what I mean when I object to her "controlling" behavior, and despite efforts to point out what she's doing, the moment that becomes the topic, it's back to being fiercely defensive and starts in on the "why does everyone reject me, nobody loves me, I'm a horrible person" rants which I think are to emotionally blackmail me into just shutting up.
 
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