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Discussion Starter #1
Well, I've been lurking and reading on here for a few weeks now and thought I had gotten some good advice.

I'm 52, been married since 98 (my second, her first), she is 41. We have been on a bad road for some years now. She just seems to be always angry about something and takes it out on me and my 9 yo daughter. It's a hair trigger on her anger too, because it is usually something really small that sets her off. In my reading on here, I realized that unfortunately, I seem to have the problems of the nice guy. Always trying to just keep the peace, do what it takes to make her happy, always apologizing regardless of right or wrong, and also I'm hot and she's cold. All I'll say about our relations is that there haven't been ANY for the last few years. They were never great, it always just seemed like it was something she put up with, despite the fact that when we first started dating, she was very aggressive in getting to bed, but not very adventurous when we go there.

So I took some of this free advice and began turning the temperature down. It seemed to be working in that she has started saying ILY first (well, she did it once), but has seemed to warm up a little bit over the last week. I haven't told her ILY except in response to her telling me, and I have stopped doing the hugs and kisses when I get home and throughout the evening. It bothers me that she seems to not to have even noticed, but seems to be responding nonetheless.

So tonight, we are on our way home and she was saying something, but said it so that I couldn't hear her. She got mad! I tried to explain that I just couldn't hear her. She just said she was ready to end it. This threat has recurred many times over the last few years, but she has never carried it through and I always just wound up apologizing and taking the blame. She also would frequently call me a jerk, and so tonight I told her that it wasn't OK to call me names, that I wasn't OK with that. I told her that I had done nothing wrong and her mouth dropped open and I got a REALLY hateful look. I tried to talk to her about it, but she refuses to even talk to me.

So I'm a little freaked out right now. We are strong Christians and I don't think divorce is an option, but based on her recurring threats, I'm not so confident that she feels similarly. It looks like she also just got set up with separate banking accounts, but that was based on an episode from last weekend when she got mad because I had not gotten the playset put back together yet. It was all done but the roof, I and I had to build a boom for the front end loader on my tractor to lift the pieces into place. I'm always fixing things too... One more indicator.

I have mentioned counseling a few times and she always just said that we had done that once and she wasn't interested. We did go to counseling for a few visits after she caught me looking at some porn over 10 years ago.

Honestly, I would be crushed if she wanted to end it, but I'd probably survive. I'm not so sure about my daughter though, because she frequently suffers through my wife's bouts of anger and I cannot bear the thought of fighting for custody and her winding up with her mother. There is a significant element of psychological abuse when she gets angry. She just berates whomever is that perceived cause of the rage.

The other hard spot is that we are both active duty military. She is on shore duty and has a more normal daily routine, but I am on a ship and our schedule this spring is going to have me at sea quite a bit, so there are tons of ways she could hose me over with custody.

Obviously what we have isn't working and something has to change. Clearly she doesn't respect me and I think that's a big part of it, because I think my fear of this custody issue has kept me from ever standing up to her. I think tonight was the first time I've ever really stood up like that and she did NOT take it well. I honestly don't know what tomorrow will bring.

Any prayers and advice would be appreciated...
 

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I think it's very important for you to understand that people resist changes, especially changes that take them out of the driver's seat. Your recent behavior changes have taken your wife out of the driver's seat, and she will fight to regain that control.

When she fights, threats of divorce are one of her tactics. It's hard to say if she does or doesn't mean them, especially since she has anger issues in the first place.

Whether she leaves or stays, I can promise you that learning how to accept only good treatment from other people will be worth it - both to you and your daughter.

In many cases, you'll find that you will start gaining the respect that she doesn't offer you now. You'll have to engage in the power struggle to get there, which will be uncomfortable for you, but she cannot develop respect for you if you don't go through that discomfort. Just don't expect her to give in willingly! She's used to being able to control things.

When she threatens divorce, my recommendation would be to say, "I hope you don't leave, but I don't want you here if you don't want to be here, either. I'll respect whatever choice you make for yourself." This puts the burden of the decision squarely on her and lets her know that you will not take the blame for it.
 

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You're welcome. :) Something that has helped me get through similar things is picturing an analogy:

Two people (John and Jill) are pushing against each other as they stand their ground and fight for what they want. When Jane feels as if her position is threatened, she'll push harder to make sure she doesn't lose ground. This can keep on going until one of the people realizes that they A) cannot win and B) that the other person is not going to give in.

Once that recognition sets in, the person can take a step back in the hopes that the other person will stand still and the "fight" will stop long enough to relieve some pressure. Let's say Jane does this. When she takes that step back to cool off, John has an opportunity.

If John keeps pushing and Jane feels no relief, she'll fight a while, and then step back again, until eventually she'll step out of the fight altogether because she knows she'll lose. (Divorce or separation.)

On the other hand, if John acknowledges that she has provided him some relief, too, and he takes a step back from *his* own position, they have more space between them to see each other better. If he shows that he sees her position and is willing to come toward her without pushing, she is more likely to come back toward his way without pushing, too, which allows them to rebuild intimacy.
 

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She also would frequently call me a jerk, and so tonight I told her that it wasn't OK to call me names, that I wasn't OK with that. I told her that I had done nothing wrong and her mouth dropped open and I got a REALLY hateful look. I tried to talk to her about it, but she refuses to even talk to me.
Here's a suggestion... after you stood your ground, go silent. Your attempt to engage her after that just makes the situation worse for you. Only engage in conversation when she is respectful and rational. Any other time, just don't engage.

This is part of manning up, something you admit you have not been doing. Trust me, you'll feel better standing up for yourself, regardless of the outcome of your marriage.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Funny because I came to the same conclusion as I was thinking about the situation a few hours ago. I do agree. At that point, it was probably perceived as me trying to placate her. To my credit, I did walk away and just started doing some routine things to get ready for work.
 

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I feel sorry for your daughter.

How horrible for her to have such an angry Mother. Have you researched bipolar - specifically manic rages? Look for a poster named "Uptown" who has good info. on BPD.

It is important to rule out any possible mental illnesses to fully understand what you are dealing with.

Regardless, she is abusive (your word) & you are co-dependent on her & her moods.

Is this your life with her:

Wife in good mood - Attono happy.
Wife in bad mood - Attono unhappy.

Check out the book "Co-Dependent No More."

Good luck.
 
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