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Yes, and more: “don’t believe your lying eyes... only believe what I tell you.”

She’s getting him to mistrust his own sense of self, and trust her opinion more.

This is why she made him ‘confess’ to her father that he feels lust for other women: to shame him into rejecting his own personality and the reality that everyone lusts for other people occasionally, and replace it with only her own opinion (and by extension her idealized father figure).

This is why I freaked out so many posts ago, and insisted that he should leave, and why she doesn’t love him. This has never been about love, it has always been about control. Her need to control is likely rooted in her own insecurities, maybe about her own faith. But this doesn’t matter. He cannot change it. She will not ‘see the light of day.’ Words from ministers will not reach her. The more he slips away, the more she will tighten her grasp. She needs him much more than he needs her, and this is what she is likely terrified of. Because if he leaves, she will be a failure.
QFT. Preach, Marduk, preach!

One quibble I have with Brother Marduk, however, is that there is no need for a rapid departure. Rather, this is the time for you to work on yourself and become more skilled at identifying - and asserting - your own needs. Your changes are likely to cause your wife great angst. But they are necessary for your own self-preservation. Become comfortable - even encourage - the chaos it's likely to create. It's becoming increasingly apparent that there's nothing that you can do that will bring your wife into the "normal spouse" range. But the work you do now will help you become a more authentic partner for someone else if / when the time comes when this marriage arrives at its likely final destination.
 

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QFT. Preach, Marduk, preach!



One quibble I have with Brother Marduk, however, is that there is no need for a rapid departure. Rather, this is the time for you to work on yourself and become more skilled at identifying - and asserting - your own needs. Your changes are likely to cause your wife great angst. But they are necessary for your own self-preservation. Become comfortable - even encourage - the chaos it's likely to create. It's becoming increasingly apparent that there's nothing that you can do that will bring your wife into the "normal spouse" range. But the work you do now will help you become a more authentic partner for someone else if / when the time comes when this marriage arrives at its likely final destination.
This.

Your wife asserts control when she cannot adequately manage her fears.

Why does she fear? Because she associates security and safety with heavy-handed, domineering, patriarchal leadership...the exact opposite of what you are providing for your family.

As I stated before, I'm not suggesting that you need to become your FIL. However, I would bet that you becoming secure in yourself and assertive will result in her not seeking out as much control.

And if I'm wrong, and it doesn't work, you will have become a better man while simultaneously exposing her for being a terrible partner, even when you're not.

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This.

Your wife asserts control when she cannot adequately manage her fears.

Why does she fear? Because she associates security and safety with heavy-handed, domineering, patriarchal leadership...the exact opposite of what you are providing for your family.

As I stated before, I'm not suggesting that you need to become your FIL. However, I would bet that you becoming secure in yourself and assertive will result in her not seeking out as much control.

And if I'm wrong, and it doesn't work, you will have become a better man while simultaneously exposing her for being a terrible partner, even when you're not.

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Were he able to see reality while being in relationship with her, and if he didn’t have his ego depleted to the level it has been, I would agree. I’d say the standard stuff: hit the gym, eat right, be gone a lot, don’t give excuses or explanations for his behaviour, ignore the insults or attempts to control her, etc.

But this poor dude isn’t there. Just like I wasn’t there when I was married to my ex. I couldn’t see reality because the person I trusted most in the world had actively been distorting it for years, abusing me for a long time, and was using very basic manipulation and operant conditioning tactics the whole time.

He needs to get out long enough to get strong. If he chooses to re-engage when he’s ready, so be it. But likely by then she will have lost any interest in maintaining the illusion that she gives a damn about him.
 

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My wife is very black and white, very dogmatic. In a nutshell, her paradigm is that all people are horrible, need Jesus to save them, and then need to live according to every moral imperative taught by her by her fundamentalist church growing up.
No, taught by her abusive father whom she worships and thus must never doubt or question.
 

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Were he able to see reality while being in relationship with her, and if he didn’t have his ego depleted to the level it has been, I would agree. I’d say the standard stuff: hit the gym, eat right, be gone a lot, don’t give excuses or explanations for his behaviour, ignore the insults or attempts to control her, etc.

But this poor dude isn’t there. Just like I wasn’t there when I was married to my ex. I couldn’t see reality because the person I trusted most in the world had actively been distorting it for years, abusing me for a long time, and was using very basic manipulation and operant conditioning tactics the whole time.

He needs to get out long enough to get strong. If he chooses to re-engage when he’s ready, so be it. But likely by then she will have lost any interest in maintaining the illusion that she gives a damn about him.
Maybe.

DIGB, the single largest thing you are going to lose is comfort. More specifically, emotional comfort.

You are going to have to accept that your wife will not like this one bit.

If you can't come to grips with this fact, then Marduk is right and you will need some separation from her.

if you can, for lack of a better term, embrace the suck...then you have a shot at doing so without actually separating from her.

It all depends on your level of tolerance, dude.


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Yes, I like that women in videos never reject me are always available. I'm addicted to the dopamine hit of seeking and finding fantasy, release, pseudo-desire. I feel like doing it often, especially "triggered" when things with my wife are rough. It is a tiny area of my life that I feel that I can control. And yet I am ashamed by it. I am reading NMMNG, so I should get to the boundary part soon. My wife requires that I give it up. I have tried in the past to do so, but I eventually return to it. I am trying again, being "sober" for 1.5 weeks now.
Good that you’re making progress. The key is finding other, healthier, ways to deal with the negative feelings and being able to express your dissatisfaction to your wife without hostility.

When you got married, had you two agreed upon homeschooling any children that you brought into the family? If not, when did this come up?

Your wife seems like a very honest person to share with you her feelings for your brother. Did she say why she did that? I hope neither of you say anything about this to your brother.

It is hypocritical that your wife is entertaining feeling for your brother. She did not have to share this information with you and I wonder if she did it as a protective measure, because she has obviously not been controlling her thoughts or she wouldn’t be continuing to have these feelings. A fleeting feeling isn’t something that is controlled, but to dwell on it and fan it’s flames is quite another thing. She wouldn’t continue to have these feelings if she hadn’t been allowing her thoughts to go there. She is not exhibiting self-control. I’d be careful about how you talk to her about this, because you don’t want to discourage her from coming to you with her issues, but I think you should speak to her about self-control and taking her thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ.

I could never, ever be with someone like that.
If she had changed into this person that would be one thing, but she is exactly who she presented herself as. I understand that the marriage is dysfunctional, but both of them are dysfunctional. If they get divorced, they are still both going to be dysfunctional. They may as well try to work through this together to resolve these problems rather than taking this unresolved baggage between them into their next relationship. This isn’t good for the children. It’s time that DoesItGetBetter? makes changes to turn this family around into a more loving, peaceful household. I don’t think that should be too difficult to do if she is lead in that direction through her belief in the Bible, because the Bible does not teach this kind of critical, rude behavior. If she would read it and seek for herself, she would see that. Motivation from her husband should help her to see that, which will not only help her, but DoesItGetBetter? and the children who are being raised in this dysfunction.


Yes, I would like to be a man of integrity. I'm trying to stop watching videos, and I have gone months in the past. What happens though if I fail at some point? Does that mean that I have no integrity? I'd like to be open with my wife about it, but when I admit that I failed she gets very upset and has threatened to leave.
Integrity is about being honest about who you are and living out what you believe. This means you also have to have a set of standards you live by. I think it would be good for you to get into counseling with your wife and talk to her about your struggle with pornography. If she wants to leave you, that is up to her. Let her go. But she may not want to lose the family structure, which might motivate her to be more gracious towards you and to work with you.

I think your wife needs to recognize that how she is living is not biblical at all. Again, I recommend you get and read with her "The God Shaped Brain," by Timothy R. Jennings. I believe that your wife is so desperately trying to get you to lead her that if you start telling her what you are going to read together to resolve some of the dysfunction in your marriage that she will agree to it. She needs a better perspective. She thinks she's doing this because she has been taught this is how to be a Christian. She needs to learn that she's wrong, but you can't just tell her that. She needs proof. If you read to her (or take turns reading and listening) this should help her form a healthier view and be a much better wife and mother.
 

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My brother married a woman who limited his access to family and friends, who had a spending problem, who could not accept anyone else's opinion than her own, who stopped sleeping with him, who stopped talking to him, who hired a private investigator on him (finding no affair), who refused to ever admit that she was wrong (maybe one or two apologies over the years of marriage).
So he married your wife.
 

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This.

Your wife asserts control when she cannot adequately manage her fears.

Why does she fear? Because she associates security and safety with heavy-handed, domineering, patriarchal leadership...the exact opposite of what you are providing for your family.

As I stated before, I'm not suggesting that you need to become your FIL. However, I would bet that you becoming secure in yourself and assertive will result in her not seeking out as much control.

And if I'm wrong, and it doesn't work, you will have become a better man while simultaneously exposing her for being a terrible partner, even when you're not.
This is exactly your problem. 100%. It's always the psychology, dude.
 

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Discussion Starter #329
A Narcissist's Prayer
That didn't happen.
And if it did, it wasn't that bad.
And if it was, that's not a big deal.
And if it is, that's not my fault.
And if it was, I didn't mean it.
And if I did...
You deserved it.
This is so good that I printed it out and put it on my desk. My brother's soon-to-be ex-wife was a textbook narcissist.
 

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No - do you think I should share this with her?
IDK. Are you capable of saying it without being a jerk but also without capitulating the instant she goes off on you for daring to besmirch her? And she will.

fwiw, women WANT to know their men will get jealous. It makes us feel wanted. They just don't want their men to turn into a$$sholes about it.
 

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Your wife seems like a very honest person to share with you her feelings for your brother. Did she say why she did that? I hope neither of you say anything about this to your brother.

I doubt it’s simple honestly.

I find it more likely that it’s either an attempt to make him insecure and therefore more easily controlled, or her acknowledgement that she wants someone more easily dominated.

Or both - a carrot and a stick, all in one.
 

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Discussion Starter #333
QFT. Preach, Marduk, preach!

One quibble I have with Brother Marduk, however, is that there is no need for a rapid departure. Rather, this is the time for you to work on yourself and become more skilled at identifying - and asserting - your own needs. Your changes are likely to cause your wife great angst. But they are necessary for your own self-preservation. Become comfortable - even encourage - the chaos it's likely to create. It's becoming increasingly apparent that there's nothing that you can do that will bring your wife into the "normal spouse" range. But the work you do now will help you become a more authentic partner for someone else if / when the time comes when this marriage arrives at its likely final destination.
I agree and am going to try to find some happiness in life, to focus on some of my needs. I don't know what these are yet, but I am searching. I have a few NMMNG affirmations running through my mind:

I am lovable just as I am.
I am perfectly imperfect.
My needs are important.
It is okay to be human and make mistakes.
 

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You're right. I need unrestricted computer access. However, I also need to stop lusting after women. Maybe I could get a filter installed.
You do the exact same thing I do as a result of lack of control over my own life - pick feel-good things or actions to say to yourself that you are your own person, dammit! Except mine is going out to eat Mexican food and drinking wine, lol.

But I know, I can see it, that once I gain control over my self and my authenticity, I will no longer NEED those things. Why I push myself to change, to stand up for myself, to stop worrying about how HE feels (not my problem).

I daresay you'll realize the same thing.

I will add, though, that if you're not even getting decent missionary sex, it's going to be hard to be satisfied. Without going into too much detail, do you do things for each other in the bedroom? Does she orgasm? Ever? I'm betting she said no to that years ago.
 

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Oh, good stuff turnera. What drove me to TAM was how I could get my wife to stop being upset by me so frequently. Yes, I have been measuring the goodness of my days by whether or not my wife is upset with me, because I just hate feeling downcast, like I have failed her, like I can't measure up to her standards (unlovable, unacceptable, unworthy). I would have stopped dating her if I knew what I know now.
You realize this is all low self esteem talking, right? IMO, none of this is going to get fixed without you going to a (non-Christian-based) therapist.

What was YOUR childhood like?
 

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Maybe.

DIGB, the single largest thing you are going to lose is comfort. More specifically, emotional comfort.

You are going to have to accept that your wife will not like this one bit.

If you can't come to grips with this fact, then Marduk is right and you will need some separation from her.

if you can, for lack of a better term, embrace the suck...then you have a shot at doing so without actually separating from her.

It all depends on your level of tolerance, dude.
Every single time I go to therapy (this is my 3rd, cos I never stuck with it in the past to make any real change), every single time, it's about me telling my husband what I think and what I want. And every time I cry, say I can't, say he'll be mad, and so on. Now, she knows he'll never hit me, doesn't even yell anymore, won't hurt me.

And every time, every single visit, my therapist says "What's the worst that can happen?"

Because really, dude, what's the worst that can happen?
 

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I do think you need to speak to your wife about her crush on your brother before you go to his place and let her know that you no longer want her texting your brother since it seems to be making things worse. You aren't telling her she can't. You are telling her that you are no longer comfortable with her communicating with him by text. Her relationship with him has crossed the line. Furthermore, you want her to redirect all of her romantic feelings towards you as you are doing for her according to your marriage vows. Tell her what you want. If she doesn't comply, then tell her that you will not be held to a higher standard than she is and let her think about what that might mean.

The only way this is going to turn around is if you lay down some boundaries peacefully and with confidence.
 

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I agree and am going to try to find some happiness in life, to focus on some of my needs. I don't know what these are yet, but I am searching. I have a few NMMNG affirmations running through my mind:

I am lovable just as I am.
I am perfectly imperfect.
My needs are important.
It is okay to be human and make mistakes.
There are three best ways to find that stuff out. One is exercising, which you're already doing. One is becoming productive - build something, volunteer somewhere, learn how to do something, join a club for something (I'm thinking of taking my dog to flyball). And one is HAVING FRIENDS. You simply MUST make some, or find some, friends and start having man-on-man time. Please trust me in this. Who are you going to call up today or tomorrow to hang out with?
 

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Discussion Starter #339
Curious, what was you dating history prior to meeting wife?

Given the Christianity angle, I'm assuming you were not intimate in the "biblical" way prior to marriage. The long-distance nature of the relationship suggests you might not have recognized her controlling tendencies during courtship. At what point in the marriage would you say you started noticing your own dissatisfaction. Is this something recent or long brewing?

Do you see the parallels with your brother? While his soon-to-be-ex is not religious, he also selected a wife who "could not accept anyone else's opinion other than her own." I would suggest you married two variants of the same wife type: only one holds and credit card and the other holds a bible. This particular angle could be particularly fruitful if/when you decide to pursue counseling. It may suggest something in your shared upbringing that both linked up with domineering spouses with inflexible outlooks.

It's very "Maury Povich" in nature, but the idea of pawning your wife on your unsuspecting brother is looking better and better. While probably not practical in the real world, it would seem to solve a lot of problems.
My past dating relationships were sparse, as I am shy and did not pursue females much at all, feeling like I was not what they wanted, that I did not have much to offer, that I would fail, that it was vanity and probably wrong/selfish of me. During college, two or three girls became interested in me, but I was not interested in them due to weight and looks (superficial, I know!). I thought they were just being friendly towards me, and I wanted friends. But eventually it dawned on me that they wanted something more. I had to tell them that I was not interested. I never chased any females. I was strictly focused on school. After college, I wanted was lonely, and I wanted a girlfriend. I found one, a girl that went to the same college as me. We dated for a month or two, but she broke it off when I moved for my job by ceasing contact, which was painful for me. I never had sexual intercourse before marriage, which is the same for my wife.

I noticed something was really wrong during our honeymoon. She cried for hours during it. She was incredibly sad. She was not really interested in sex, even though we tried a few times. After the honeymoon, when we moved away from her family to a different state, she was sad and cried many times. I felt guilty of taking her away from her family. During the first few months of marriage we fought about finances. I was more of a saver then, and she was more of a spender (not out of control). I have since loosened up, which was the right thing, so she feels more free, empowered, happy.

My brother's soon-to-be-ex is religious, attending the same church as my brother. Yes, you are right - we both selected wives with dogmatic theology, inflexible opinions, hard to please, domineering/controlling. My brother and I have people pleasing personalities, avoiding conflict.
 

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Discussion Starter #340
I do think you need to speak to your wife about her crush on your brother before you go to his place and let her know that you no longer want her texting your brother since it seems to be making things worse. You aren't telling her she can't. You are telling her that you are no longer comfortable with her communicating with him by text. Her relationship with him has crossed the line. Furthermore, you want her to redirect all of her romantic feelings towards you as you are doing for her according to your marriage vows. Tell her what you want. If she doesn't comply, then tell her that you will not be held to a higher standard than she is and let her think about what that might mean.

The only way this is going to turn around is if you lay down some boundaries peacefully and with confidence.
Yes, you are right. I made a note with the right words to say, so I will share this with her. There is so much that we need to fix. I'm feeling overwhelmed and am shedding a few tears. The brother thing is raising all sorts of feelings of inadequacy with me.
 
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