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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got together with a bunch of guys on Saturday to watch the games. One of the men told us of a situation he and his wife were going through and I thought I'd post it here to see what everyone thought.

This man was approached at work about doing a special project. Since it would involve working late he talked it over with his wife. They agreed that it would be a good thing for his career so he accepted the assignment and started working later at night. After a couple of weeks he noted that his wife was anxious and even angry at times. After some discussion it came out that she thought he was having an affair at work and this special project was being used to cover his tracks. No matter how much he tried to assure her that this wasn't true she would not believe him. Each day she got more upset and angry and he often walked into the house after a 12-14 hour day to her screaming and yelling at him. She is a SAHM and she stopped making him dinner, doing his laundry etc. She frequently locked herself in the bathroom or bedroom. Several times she made him sleep on the couch and a few times she locked herself in the bathroom right at the time he needed to get ready for work forcing him to shower and dress at the gym. During one particularly bad argument his wife threw a coffee mug she was holding and it shattered against the wall. He doesn't believe she was throwing it at him but he's not really sure. He cleaned up the mess btw. Needless to say that there was no affection or intimacy at all.

This all went on for several months until the project finally came to a close and his hours went back to normal. His wife still believes that he had an affair and is probably still having one even though he showed her his expense reports, documentation of the project, and the bonus check he received at completion. He's even offered to take a polygraph test. He believes that his wife got it in her head that he was having an affair because her best friend is going through a divorce after her husband cheated on her. He says his wife has not acted like this before but she can tend to be emotional at times (I thought of BPD or something similar but it doesn't seem to fit). Needless to say although the knock down drag out fights have mostly stopped their relationship could accurately be termed frigid at best. They are still not intimate and are barely talking. I think I've posted all the details I can remember but if I think of any more I'll add it.

The reason I'm posting this is not necessarily to get opinions on whether he was in fact cheating although those opinions are of course welcome. I am posting because of something one of the men said during the discussion. He said that this man's wife's behavior was abuse and should be treated as such. I admit that the statement took be aback for a moment so I thought I'd post this and see what everyone thinks. Was this wife's behavior abusive? Since we're probably going to get back together this coming weekend I'd like to be able to share TAM's collective wisdom with the group.
 

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I say yes, she is abusive. Hopefully he will learn the skills needed to deal with her behavior. Locking herself in the bathroom so he can't get ready for work is crazy.

Maybe this will also help:

What is Emotional Abuse?

Abuse is any behavior that is designed to control and subjugate another human being through the use of fear, humiliation, and verbal or physical assaults. Emotional abuse is any kind of abuse that is emotional rather than physical in nature. It can include anything from verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics, such as intimidation, manipulation, and refusal to ever be pleased.

Emotional abuse is like brain washing in that it systematically wears away at the victim’s self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in their own perceptions, and self-concept. Whether it is done by constant berating and belittling, by intimidation, or under the guise of “guidance,” “teaching,” or “advice,” the results are similar. Eventually, the recipient of the abuse loses all sense of self and remnants of personal value. Emotional abuse cuts to the very core of a person, creating scars that may be far deeper and more lasting than physical ones.

Types of Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse can take many forms. Three general patterns of abusive behavior include aggressing, denying, and minimizing.

Aggressing
Aggressive forms of abuse include name-calling, accusing, blaming, threatening, and ordering. Aggressing behaviors are generally direct and obvious. The one-up position the abuser assumes by attempting to judge or invalidate the recipient undermines the equality and autonomy that are essential to healthy adult relationships. This parent-to-child pattern of communication (which is common to all forms of verbal abuse) is most obvious when the abuser takes an aggressive stance.
Aggressive abuse can also take a more indirect form and may even be disguised as “helping.” Criticizing, advising, offering solutions, analyzing, probing, and questioning another person may be a sincere attempt to help. In some instances, however, these behaviors may be an attempt to belittle, control, or demean rather than help. The underlying judgmental “I know best” tone the abuser takes in these situations is inappropriate and creates unequal footing in peer relationships.

Denying
Invalidating seeks to distort or undermine the recipient’s perceptions of their world. Invalidating occurs when the abuser refuses or fails to acknowledge reality. For example, if the recipient confronts the abuser about an incident of name calling, the abuser may insist, “I never said that,” “I don’t know what you’re talking about, “ etc.
Withholding is another form of denying. Withholding includes refusing to listen, refusing to communicate, and emotionally withdrawing as punishment. This is sometimes called the “silent treatment.”
Countering occurs when the abuser views the recipient as an extension of themselves and denies any viewpoints or feelings which differ from their own.

Minimizing
Minimizing is a less extreme form of denial. When minimizing, the abuser may not deny that a particular event occurred, but they question the recipient’s emotional experience or reaction to an event. Statements such as “You’re too sensitive,” “You’re exaggerating,” or “You’re blowing this out of proportion” all suggest that the recipient’s emotions and perceptions are faulty and not to be trusted.
Trivializing, which occurs when the abuser suggests that what you have done or communicated is inconsequential or unimportant, is a more subtle form of minimizing.
Denying and minimizing can be particularly damaging. In addition to lowering self-esteem and creating conflict, the invalidation of reality, feelings, and experiences can eventually lead you to question and mistrust your own perceptions and emotional experience.

Understanding Abusive Relationships

No one intends to be in an abusive relationship, but individuals who were verbally abused by a parent or other significant person often find themselves in similar situations as an adult. If a parent tended to define your experiences and emotions, and judge your behaviors, you may not have learned how to set your own standards, develop your own viewpoints, and validate your own feelings and perceptions. Consequently, the controlling and defining stance taken by an emotional abuser may feel familiar or even comfortable to you, although it is destructive.

Recipients of abuse often struggle with feelings of powerlessness, hurt, fear, and anger. Ironically, abusers tend to struggle with these same feelings. Abusers are also likely to have been raised in emotionally abusive environments and they learn to be abusive as a way to cope with their own feelings of powerlessness, hurt, fear and anger. Consequently, abusers may be attracted to people who see themselves as helpless or who have not learned to value their own feelings, perceptions, or viewpoints. This allows the abuser to feel more secure and in control, and avoid dealing with their own feelings and self-perceptions.
 

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Agree.

Isn't that a symptom of BPD?
Yes and I cringed reading that post being BPD myself. I used to throw some HUGE tantrums when my husband left me for any reason. I wasn't as bad as that woman but I did do some serious screaming and yelling when my husband left me. I never thought he was having an affair either. My fears never went that far because he's just not that kind of man.

I know.....I know anyone can cheat but you'd have to know my husband to understand why I don't have that fear.
 

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Something is really wrong there, but before we blame his wife, is there anything else going on? Past or present? I don't think a person would react like this right out of the box unless there was a history of some sort. Just sayin'

It's too late for this now, but when she was starting to get nervous about this and the trouble started during the project, was he being fully transparent? Were there any other behaviors, other than the long hours that made her feel that way? Some of the things they could have done to help the situation:
  • Phone call during the evening would have gone a long way to ease fears.
  • An occasional visit to the office by his wife during the evening to have dinner
  • Turning on the "find my friends" feature on the phone.
I guess I'm asking did he do anything to calm her fears or did he get defensive?
 

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He said that this man's wife's behavior was abuse and should be treated as such.
And what exactly did he think that treatment would be? I mean, we can label behavior as abuse all day long but to what end? Personally, if my wife started acting irrational about my work, I would just stop until we could get it settled. No job is worth losing your marriage over. Now your poor friend has an even bigger job in front of him putting his marriage back together
 

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Maybe she has cheated on him and that's why she is reacting this way.
Definitely emotional abuse.
Posted via Mobile Device
 

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Abuse, sure whatever you want to call it the woman’s antics sound like she is “bat s*it crazy”, not on board with the marital team and jeopardizing the financial viability of the family unit.

She either needs: (a) to take a pill, (b) go to a talk doctor or (c) receive a swift kick in the chops from the gods of reality and life aint easy if we don’t work together.

Of course, we’re only getting a hearsay version of the husband’s take on the matter. He may have neglected to point out he came home smelling like Chanel No. 5 with traces of lipstick on his unit and a smile on his face.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Something is really wrong there, but before we blame his wife, is there anything else going on? Past or present? I don't think a person would react like this right out of the box unless there was a history of some sort. Just sayin'

It's too late for this now, but when she was starting to get nervous about this and the trouble started during the project, was he being fully transparent? Were there any other behaviors, other than the long hours that made her feel that way? Some of the things they could have done to help the situation:
  • Phone call during the evening would have gone a long way to ease fears.
  • An occasional visit to the office by his wife during the evening to have dinner
  • Turning on the "find my friends" feature on the phone.
I guess I'm asking did he do anything to calm her fears or did he get defensive?
As I said I wasn't privy to all of what happened, just what was said. My understanding though is that he tried to prove that he was at work when he said he was but his wife believed it was a workplace affair so proving her was there wouldn't have done much good. I think I forgot to add that in my original post.

He swears nothing was going on and says if something was others would have known about it. There was a discussion about what he did to alleviate his wife's concerns. That was when he said he showed her the expense reports etc. He also said his wife was free to visit him at work whenever she wanted but she said she has the children to take care of and it was too far away. As I said I don't know all the details. I would say that he doesn't seem like the type to cheat but we all know there really isn't a type.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
And what exactly did he think that treatment would be? I mean, we can label behavior as abuse all day long but to what end? Personally, if my wife started acting irrational about my work, I would just stop until we could get it settled.

He mentioned that once he started this project he couldn't just drop it which is why he asked his wife first. I suppose he could have quit his job but he does have a family and insists he did nothing wrong.


No job is worth losing your marriage over. Now your poor friend has an even bigger job in front of him putting his marriage back together

True
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Agree.

Isn't that a symptom of BPD?
I too thought about BPD but he insists that it is not in his wife's character to act like that. He also said she can sometimes be emotional so I'm not sure what that meant.

And thanks for the post on emotional abuse. I'm somewhat old school so I guess I'm not as aware of these things as maybe I should be.
 

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He mentioned that once he started this project he couldn't just drop it which is why he asked his wife first. I suppose he could have quit his job but he does have a family and insists he did nothing wrong.
Yeah quitting your job isn't always the wisest moves. Recently my husband asked me to agree to a 'project' and I said yes thinking I could handle it. I couldn't. We both realized it (too late) but there was nothing we could do at that point but deal with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yeah quitting your job isn't always the wisest moves. Recently my husband asked me to agree to a 'project' and I said yes thinking I could handle it. I couldn't. We both realized it (too late) but there was nothing we could do at that point but deal with it.
That's how he saw it too. I really feel bad about the whole thing. I really believe he loves his wife but he's just hoping it all blows over. He said he hopes when his wife's friend's divorce is final things will get better. I think he's sticking his head in the sand frankly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
BTW, I did ask him if he and his wife were going to MC. He said his wife refuses until he admits what he did wrong and that's why he agreed to the polygraph. She said he would just find a way to lie and still pass it.
 

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He should just take schedule and invite her to the lie detector test.

Then if she still feels he was lying he should push her to decide if she wants to stay married to him.

He can't buy into this craziness.
 

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Yeah quitting your job isn't always the wisest moves. Recently my husband asked me to agree to a 'project' and I said yes thinking I could handle it. I couldn't. We both realized it (too late) but there was nothing we could do at that point but deal with it.
I'm not recommending that anyone quit their job but if a man were to go to his manager during a period of extraordinary duty and say that his wife is having a meltdown and his marriage relationship is disappearing before his eyes as a result of his work activities, it a rare manager that wouldn't give him a break. I mean, the downside here is enormous. Most family men work, at least ostensibly, for their families and it's difficult to see how the destruction of their motive would be positive for their employer
 

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I'm not recommending that anyone quit their job but if a man were to go to his manager during a period of extraordinary duty and say that his wife is having a meltdown and his marriage relationship is disappearing before his eyes as a result of his work activities, it a rare manager that wouldn't give him a break. I mean, the downside here is enormous. Most family men work, at least ostensibly, for their families and it's difficult to see how the destruction of their motive would be positive for their employer
I see your point. And truthfully my husband did try to get out of that long project that I mentioned when he saw how badly it was affecting me. I however told him no because I didn't want him to resent me later for it. I chose to deal with it the best I could and now it's over. I'm still coming down from it but oh well it was a small price to pay for his happiness.
 
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