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First of all, I sincerely believe this is the most helpful site I've found on the web thus far for this set of circumstances.

I will attempt to explain my situation concisely, but I've been known to ramble a bit. At times, I feel like my ex and I were dealt an extraordinarily difficult hand, but I feel somewhat guilty even claiming this having known what others have been through.

The basics: we've been married 11 years and together for 13. We are both in our late 30s and have a wonderful 4 year old daughter. We've now been separated for 6 months, yet she filed the papers on day 1. We have a pretty unusual set up due to my daughter whereas we all live as a family for two weeknights per week and alternate who watches her the other 5 nights. In essence, we have 50 50 custody. My daughter stays in the primary dwelling every night.

Our issues began 8 years ago while trying to get pregnant. Ultimately, my wife had 5 surgeries, 2 IUIs and a IVF (successful) over a 4 year period. As a side note, she comes from a 6 sibling family (I'm an only child) and her identical twin was able to get pregnant within two months of trying for all 3 kids. So, the pressure on us was enormous. . .to further complicate things we were in a race against time because her mother was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer during that time frame.

My first big mistake was that I just simply couldn't show outward emotion during this process. I was grieving, but it was completely out of my control on whether or not we got pregnant. I mistakenly thought she needed a rock instead of a grieving partner. As a byproduct of this grueling process our "night life" was so rigid and controlled that it became a chore and the romance was gone. So, I have some guilt with how I failed to be outwardly supportive.

We had our daughter and thought things would change, but we slowly drifted apart due to having a child and she transitioned from a full time 60 hour a week sales manager job into being a stay at home mom. This was tough on her because she was doing the stay at home thing for her mom to prove her maternal worth. She has been in 6 years of therapy coping with this very issue. To compound matters, her mother passed away when my daughter was 18 months old, so in her mind she was never able to prove herself to her mother that she was just as successful being a mother as she was in the work force. It should also be noted that she is a serious type A personality and is driven with everything she does.

She also has serious anger and rage issues whereas I've been called every name in the book and even been hit by her a few times. So, when things do not go right she strikes atbthose closer to her. After we got separated, I even had her friends say that I put up with a lot.

My issues are the exact opposite, I do not get angry at people, but tend to take it out on myself. In a strange way, I find it therapeutic to call myself names and tell myself that I'm worthless, but it really does not linger and I get over it quickly. I honestly think I do this because I experienced an enormous pain at age 21. My mother had a terminal illness and took her own life. To make matters worse, I found her and had to break the news to my dad who was on a business trips, so, yes I have some baggage and maybe I'm damaged goods. I like to think I've accomplished a lot, considering my past, and have been afforded wonderful opportunities throughout my life. The one big feather in my cap is I have completely built a company from scratch to a 20 M dollar corporation within the last 14 years. I was crazy and started it when I was 25. So, money has not been a marital issue and can be ruled out IMO.

One year after her mom died her father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. And in the mean time we lost our 11 year old dog. So, things gradually got worse and she continued to get angrier and rightfully so. She's had a tough time with all of her personal tragedies, but it got to a point where I couldn't take it any longer and I did the absolute worst thing and started getting angry back at her. Why after 10 years of knowing she simply has a temper did I finally snap?? Why did I have to stoop down and call her names? I'm not sure if I can forgive myself because I love her dearly and we shouldn't do this to the ones we love. I think I can answer my first question by saying we started counseling and my anger started swelling by me being given an officiated platform to voice my frustrations with her yelling at me. It was almost like I got too comfortable and started thinking that I should yell back. Anyhow, that was the beginning of the end after 3 months of counseling. She filed for divorce and stated thatbwe grew apart. Unbelievably, we still went to counseling after this act and my counselor said I was reacting in a way that few people do in my situation. I wasn't getting angry and was feverishly working on bettering myself for myself, my daughter and ultimately her. He told her I was making it difficult on her because I was giving her no justification whatsoever. every day I've tried to do something nice for her and I just can't tell if it's working because two months ago her dad died. I'm lost, I'm confused and I feel like an epic failure to her, my daughter and myself. I wish I could've been there for her like a real man, but I messed up. It's also sad that there was no real big event just a series of unfortunate circumstances. She is a wonderful person and I let her down in the time of need. . .I should've taken the name calling and shrugged it off. I should've openly cried, but I have emotional barrier issues due to my mom, which I finally sought therapy for after 20 years. It felt like the good will hunting moment where I just let loose a stream of tears that was somehow blocked for years and years and you know what? It felt great. It felt like for once I was being real to myself, but why did I not do this earlier. . .

I'm sorry for the long first post and I do have lots of friends helping me throughout this, but i cant open up as much to them. I made a promise to myself that I'd never do my soul searching alone again and this seems like a great outlet. Thanks in advance for listening.
 

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The short answer is that you're a codependent.

Her physical and verbal abuse of you was something you accepted and "allowed" her to do to you.

Internally, there's no way anyone can put up with that sort of treatment for an extended period of time WITHOUT getting very very angry.

Has her counselor ever spoken with her about her anger and it's disastrous impact on her life?

I've gone through all the infertility stuff and it's hellish.

Yet, your wife's competitive nature with all around her indicates very low self-worth. She's set to spend her entire life proving herself to someone or something and never actually living.

If she's been through 6 years of counseling, it wasn't a very productive experience for her. She and you both need some rigorous individual counseling where you face your issues head on.



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Her counselling started out as a way to repair her relationship with her mother. Granted, I will agree her mother was very tough on her and would not give credence to her business successes vs her lack of being able to have a child. I believe she has not been entirely honest with her counselor about her "true" issues, but I was not present during her individual sessions obviously. Her counselor was telling her to be more open and direct with her wants and needs with her mother and her marriage. The counselor felt that she was getting angry because her needs were going unfulfilled due to no one knowing what she wanted, so in essence, she would get angry about something completely unrelated to the situation. For instance, I remember vividly one time when she called me a effing imbecile (in front of my daughter) because I was taking too long to put her in the car seat. Obviously, something else was bothering her. Over time, I believe they began discussing her rage issues. It is something the whole family (her 6 siblings) has to deal with on a weekly basis. Up until recently, I believe we all mistakenly chalked up this behavior to being a very driven and intense person.

For me personally, I have come a long ways with my issues. I used to take a me against the world attitude and become intensely motivated. Right after my mother passed away, I graduated with an Engineering degree from a top 10 Engineering school and became heavily involved with a few charity organizations while also being President of my fraternity. In retrospect, I realize I was filling my void with activities, so I would never have to face my issues, but you always have to "pay the piper" at some point.

I also faced abandonment issues which caused me to jump from long term relationship to long term relationship. In the last 22 years, I have been single for a grand total of 6 months (excluding our current situation) and this was with 5 different girls I dated at least 18 months. My counselor stated that sub-consciously I always selected girls I knew would never work, so I would never have to get close to anyone, yet fulfill my abandonment void. So, yes, I think I have learned a good bit about myself, but still have a long ways to go. Pesonally, I have been with two different counselors over the past 2 years for about 20-25 total sessions. I stopped going about 2 months ago because the counselor ended our session prematurely 45 minutes early two times in a row by telling me I have come a long long ways and seemed to be dealing well with my adversity. Granted, his intention was for me to move back from weekly sessions to every other week, but I took it as a sign to quit, regretfully.

I am the guy you would never guess in a million years has "huge" issues because I have put on a good face for the world. Everyone always describes me as a "happy go lucky" person that goes with the flow when i really have some deep-rooted issues. I guess I have learned to be deceptive over the years and recently have focused on trying to improve this character flaw. . .I mean intensely focused by reading self-help books, coping books and setting personal goals (rather than busiess goals). Also, I am trying to be comfortable with myself and not being co-dependent on getting self-worth from a place I will never get it from. Thanks for the reply, I really do sincerely appreciate it :)
 

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Sounds like she comes from an abusive childhood home - which means she is emotionally broken.

This results in anger being her "default response" when she feels some emotional tugging. So, she doesn't "get mad"... she IS mad.

People that were supposed to care for her didn't - and deep inside, she is furious with them. But, you are the stand-in for her anger. So, it gets dumped on you.

And, I'm sure you've taken it... feeling like you needed to give her space and let her heal. While a completely understandable emotional response, it's also completely counterproductive in these situations.

The more she gets the idea you aren't willing to stand up for yourself, the more she will steamroll you... because she can.



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