You are absolutely correct .. not hard to guess, is it? In her family of origin, gossip is their bread and butter. To the extent that it sometimes gets disgusting. She remembers her dad berating her in front of visitors and family and putting her down and oftentimes praising her sibling. She remembers being very deprived and birthdays are a huge trigger for her. She once showed me a note she wrote to herself in eight grade basically saying how miserable her life was because tomorrow is her birthday and her mom's not gonna give any money for candies she could share with friends.This has less to do with you, then her.
Her inner critic is brutal and it lashes out at you.
@heartsbeating mentioned her childhood, I suspect this is where she learned this behavior. She did not receive much positive reinforcement (then) and it damaged her.
What was her mother like? Weak or very demanding?
Was her father absent?
She is extremely insecure and her social anxiety is off the charts.
Your wife is immature and is locked down by peer pressure. This is the stuff of adolescence.
She needs individual counseling, or she will suffer divorce at her own hands.
I always feel it takes two to tangle and there are issues on my part. My family is not big on gifts and surprises and it's no big deal for them. In fact, in my entire life I remember receiving gifts maybe 3 or 4 times for my birthday. On top of this I am socially pretty isolated and not in tune with what today's trends so when she tells me of all the nice things her female friends experience I am totally clueless. Apparently a simple card and flower does not suffice these days.. there's got to be a room full of balloons with crazy confessions that I am alive and well only because of her. And she can pull out Instagram posts to exemplify this. I am also not good at diffusing situations, I panic when there is an argument and can't calm her down or cheer her up .. all things I am working on. There are also occasions where I truly messed up (no cheating or anything of that sort, but forgotten occasions and surprises) and I have, in my opinion apologized profusely. That's not enough she says.
Right now, I just want to string together a drama free month so I get the space to work on these issues and get out of this stalemate. I am going to go counselling or therapy. She won't come because that'll fly in the face of a fairy tale married life that her friends are apparently experiencing. I am hoping to have someone to talk through all of these issues because I have no one else .. no parent, sibling or friends and dealing with this myself is killing me. My doctor has already mentioned that I am moving towards stress induced high blood pressure.