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Impossible To Communicate With My Wife
June 21, 2007
10:27 am
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GuiltTrap
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Long story short: two weeks ago I had forgot to log out of my email account (have many stories begin that way that have a happy ending?) In this email account I had been talking to my sister about how unhappy I was in my marriage and how I was planning to divorce my wife. Well, I never went through with it but because of long standing serious problems in our relationship I still had one foot out the door and my emails reflected that. So my wife finds these emails and predictably goes ballistic.

Here’s the problem: the major problem I have with my wife is communication. I cannot communicate with her. If I tell her I have an issue in the relationship (ie she’s doing something that is bother me and I’d like her to change) then she will ONLY respond in one of two ways. She will get angry and insist I’m being unreasonable and that it’s all in my end and that I’m “imagining” that what’s she’s doing is bothering me. Or she will start sobbing and saying that she had no idea I hated her that much and that if I’m that miserable it might be best if we got a divorce.

Note what she doesn’t say. She never, ever says, “I’ll change.”

Here’s another problem, she’s wildly co-dependent. She cannot stand to be left alone in the house and absolutely refuses to go anywhere without me. So basically my “life” has been reduced to spending 24hrs a day with her. I spend 8hrs at work, sure, but every single second thereafter must be spent with her. I need my alone time! I desperately, desperately, desperately want to go visit my parents out of state for a week and get some alone time – but she wouldn’t like that because she’d have to be on her own (gasp!) for a week.

And if I tried to tell her that it’s important to me to spend some time alone -- can anyone guess what her two reactions will be?

“If you need to get away from me so badly – well then I guess I didn’t realize how much you hated me!”

“What? So you get to go have fun and I get to be stuck here by myself for a week? God! You’re so selfish! You never think of anyone but yourself!”

She’s a pro. This girl is the undisputed master of getting her way.

Now here’s what I find weird. Normally co-dependents freak out if someone tries to leave them and they start swearing they’ll do “anything” to get the other person to stay. “Don’t leave me! I’ll do anything! I’ll change!” My wife? Just the opposite. No matter how bad it gets she never breaks.

Another problem with the communication is that every time I bring up an issue that is bothering me like, for example, I want us to both be responsible for the finances so that it’s not all my responsibility – she accuses me of “attacking” her. Keep in mind my own personality flaw is conflict avoidance. I’ll do anything to avoid a confrontation or a fight, so before I even bring up my issue to her I feel obligated to spend 15mins explaining how this isn’t an “attack” and there are no good guys or bad guys, etc. Yet no matter how I phrase it and no matter how long we talk (or argue) it always ends with nothing being resolved. And that’s why our relationship is dying. How can you trust someone or even feel close to them if you can’t communicate with them? I can’t honestly talk with her and when I do all I get is a big wall wherein she refuses to change – but without actually saying she refuses to change. She’s good, I’ll give her that. She never says, “No. I’ll never change.” Instead she simply changes the subject and talks instead about how sad she is that I hate her or how mad she is at how selfish I am.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to deal with someone like that?

Before anyone shouts out “therapy!” – we just started. After she found the emails I suggested we needed therapy, but I also knew that she has so many walls and defenses built up that couples therapy probably won’t work. Luckily I found a guy who will do individual sessions with each of us with the goal of ultimately bringing us together at a future point.

Any ideas other then that?

June 21, 2007
11:10 am
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nappy
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What do YOU truly want out of life?

With all the things that you have tried in this relationship, what has change?

Reading of what you wrote, what patterns in your life that you are reliving over and over again?

With so many problems in your relationship, is this the person that you want to spend the rest of your life with?

What happen when therapy don't work?

Husband or wife, girlfriends or boyfriends, I see that people still plays games. Me, personally, I don't play games with peoples. Why should I let them get all into my head making me crazy. I see that you can talk and talk until your head fall off and your wife is still going to be the person that she is. I understand that you want her to say that she will change how she is. And she could do that just for the moment to get what she wants but then again, you have to keep up with the act and it just can't be done. To me she is showing you her true self but the person that is not getting it is you. You said it yourself
" She’s a pro. This girl is the undisputed master of getting her way."
She is a pro alright. She knows how to play the game and she is playing the game with you and you are letting her.
I understand that we all maybe codependent, but it does comes a time when you have to ask yourself, Why am I taking this. But then again there are some peoples that likes to be in this type of mess. It keeps there life interesting because that is all they know but I'm here to tell you that this is not a life and this is surely not a marriage that I would want to be in. I can't even imaging everyday, everyday with the same thing. Even though you say your wife is codependent, you are to and you really need to work on YOU. Maybe you will work hard on yourself so that inner person in side YOU will say
"I WILL CHANGE"

Nappy!

June 21, 2007
11:31 am
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ScaredinMichigan
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You want her to change for you, and it isn't going to happen. She can't change for you, she has to change for herself...and she has to want it. The truth is that she has some issues that she needs to deal with. Was she abused as a child?

"Now here’s what I find weird. Normally co-dependents freak out if someone tries to leave them and they start swearing they’ll do “anything” to get the other person to stay. “Don’t leave me! I’ll do anything! I’ll change!” My wife? Just the opposite. No matter how bad it gets she never breaks."

Do you want her to beg you? She KNOWS that you are not going anywhere, because you never have. TRUST ME. My husband knows the same thing. I can threaten to leave, and I can say that I am done...but the truth is...I am still here. And so are you. Empty threats prove NOTHING to anyone.

Your lack of communication seems to be about things that you want her to change...does she ever hear what she does right? Or good enough? Or the things that make you happy? When someone is put in a position that they never feel "heard" themselves they quit talking. That is exactly what I did. My husband also claims that communication is the biggest problem between him and I. It gets old to hear everything that people don't like or love about you, and everything that makes them unhappy.

I am NOT insinuating that you are the problem, but I think that you need to really look into yourself as well. I am glad to hear that you are getting some counseling. I think that would be good for both of you. It will only work if you want it to though. If you are done, don't waste her time or yours, and be done.

You said that she is the master of getting her own way. That will continue as long as YOU let it. You can't blame her for what YOU allow to happen.

I am not trying to sound harsh or not compassionate...but...just something for you to think about.

I wish you both NOTHING but the best. I hope that counseling really helps. (If that is what you want)

June 21, 2007
11:43 am
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glittered when he walked
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GuiltT,

Well, all we can do to communicate better is to be honest and listen well. I understand about your desires to avoid conflict...I'm much the same way. I used to avoid voicing displeasure with another actions or lack thereof in another lest I seem overly critical or nagging. I've changed that a bit. I have found ways to voice my displeasure with my stbx wife. I just tell her "it bothers me when..." If she starts getting defensive i usually reply with "i'm just telling you how i feel."

Oh, there's tips like things to avoid like saying "always" or "never". but in the end if your wife is like my stbx they can be hell to communicate with. They react like children, but use adult tactics like instead of talking about the issue, they'll point out some flaw in your character. aka. the ad hominem attack. one thing I try to do is to point out, I'm not attacking you, I'm just letting you know what I like and dislike. I think sometimes we are just looking for the response "I'll try not to do such and such" followed by an effort and with some results.

I guess in the end all we can do is voice our displeasure, accept people for who they are, and react accordingly. we really can't change people...all we can do is to let them know what behaviors are acceptable and which are unacceptable and alternatively what behaviors we do like and which we don't like.

the reactions of "you hate me" or "you are selfish" are judgments and labels and aren't conducive to bettering a relationship as much as they are conducive to widening a gap within it. i mean, who feels loved arter hearing something like that?

Good luck in therapy, work hard be open, honest, and try to imagine a positive outcome and you will be doing all u can.

June 21, 2007
3:31 pm
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Tiger Trainer
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SIM, I agree with you.

June 21, 2007
3:41 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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do you think you subconciously left that email open so she could read about your displeasure, without actually saying it to her face?

I know that when I actually confronted MYSELF in the mirror, I found that I did similar things...because I was trying to control the situation and outcome...so I would write notes, then put them away, but still leave them available for him to "find" by accident...like my journal or something...then say "you weren't supposed to see it"...but secretly glad, cuz it made us face the issues.

you said she started counseling...which you eluded to in the emails...so, maybe secretly, you got what you were hoping for?

I take two stands on this issue - while I agree with mich - that acceptance in a marriage is important and you can't change her...and it's unfair to ask her to change...without making changes yourself.

I also wonder if your wife has borderline personality disorder, in that her statements sound alot like someone who is manipulating to get noticed.

I think counseling is great and I hope it gets you solutions to the problems.

In the end tho, you do have to realize that there are only so many changes you can expect your partner to change...you married her "as is", not with conditions...not "if you will change", kind of thing.

sometimes we need some tweaking...but overall, marriage and love is about acceptance and unconditional love.

June 21, 2007
3:53 pm
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safeinside
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You have to love her the way she is. Love is not based on what someone does or doesn't do. Your focus is to be a good husband, not to change your wife. Let her figure herself out. Things will work out in due time. If you really want to be with her, stop trying to change her... just my opinion.

June 21, 2007
4:25 pm
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ScaredinMichigan
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Rising,

Being someone with BPD I agree whole heartedly...she sounds a LOT like I do...on MANY levels. Obviously there is a LOT we don't know at this point.

However, my husband could ask me to change over and over...I am not going to move forward at all thinking that I am not good enough for him anyway...and that NOTHING that I do is going to be good enough for him. I have to know in relationships that I am ok the way that I am. That is HUGE for me. I can't handle only hearing the negative. BUT...I don't think in my heart that BPD is the only cause for that. I believe that MOST normal people need to know what they are ok at, and what people love about them too. I don't think that belongs to ANY disorder...it belongs to being human.

While it is ok to not be able to love who she is, or the way she is, it is not ok to make every conversation that takes place...(communication) into who you WANT her to be. How hard it is for us to know that we are not and can't be who the other people in our lives want us to be. It is a tough life to struggle wanting someone to love us, knowing that we can't do anything right. I don't think that it isn't that she (or myself) doesn't do anything right...but when that is all you hear..it makes it a tough life to live.

While I agree, there are things that can be done to improve EVERY relationship....it isn't going to work if you don't love the person that you are dealing with.

It will be very hard for your wife to love you, if she doesn't love herself. If she doesn't feel loved and accepted for who she is, that is a hard feeling to come by.

Do you ever have fun times together? Do you go out on dates WITH her? DO you watch movies with her? Do you show her any affection? Do you ever do things for her "just because?" I think that those things are HUGE. It makes her feel special.

A good book to read is...The Five Love Languages. It makes a HUGE difference if you aren't showing love to each other the way that you each need it.

I hope for the best.

June 21, 2007
4:32 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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mich...thanks for that insight...it really helped me understand better...you have such a gift for words! glad you decided to share this...totally different perspective.

It made me think...my ex couldn't do anything right in my eyes...I wasn't BPD...but I was demanding, controlling and manipulative...as I mentioned above about leaving things out "by accident". I didn't love myself...so I am sure this was part of it.

But more importantly, I was struggling to make HIM fit into the ideal of what I thought he SHOULD be...instead of accepting who he was in reality.

If I had accepted him for him...I would have realized early on that he wasn't a good match for me...and instead of trying to beat him over the head with my demands, I would have walked away and found a better match....which I eventually did.

I think you are right about loving yourself first.

I also think it's important not to keep trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.

June 21, 2007
4:40 pm
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ScaredinMichigan
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(((rising)))

June 21, 2007
4:44 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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guilttrap - what DO you love about her? what makes you stay?

June 21, 2007
5:13 pm
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codie pendant
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I had been married for 18 years to a very demanding and high maintenance woman. I loved her and still love her today; sometimes, i wonder if it is the thought of her that I love so much. Mostly, when we were together, we were at each others throats. I have left and flied for divorce. A year later, we are still not divorced.
I have been the victim in a vicious pattern of emotional abuse. At one point, I got so depressed that I was erroneously diagnosed as being bipolar. Placed on medication, I went from depressed to hypomanic. I and we did a lot of crazy things. She, at one point, said, " Finally, I got my husband back!" Though, she verbally expressed this to the benefit of others, her invalidation, crticisms and vergal abuses continued. I neglected to mention , she is an alcoholic. Eventually, I snapped after hearing for the millionth time,
"I hate you. I wish that you would die. I pray at night something bad happens to you. I or you should get a divorce. You are shit."
I am off the medication, seeing a different shrink, the rapist, attending CODA and alonon meetings regular.
We have two beautiful children who are stuck in the middle and suffer. Regularly, she uses them as spies, messenger and weapon to get to me. The manipulations and deadfalls lay deeply embedded and everywhere. Ihave attmpted to reestablish line s of communication, books, web links, letters, emails. Nothing has helped. I am always to blame. The invalidations , insult and attacks are never far off.
I separated myself with love; though, in the process, I have secondarily been alienated from my children that I love and cherish.
I believe I have done all of the right things. Are there any other veiw point anyone can offer?

Codie

June 21, 2007
5:19 pm
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I read , absorbed and applied a book I found, Love and Respect by Eggerich. I was fascinated and enlightened. She said I was guilty of every offense listed in the book.

Codie

June 22, 2007
1:43 am
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2BHAPPY
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GuiltTrap,

Sorry to say it but the way I see is that she is manipulative and you are co-dependent on her..Co-dependent people are very clingy and cannot stand to be alone..she doesnt seem to really care if you go..only thing she might care is to lose control over you when you dont listen to her. Dont think that making someone feel guilty about doing things on their own is healthy in a relationship.

Probably get some counseling and address the issue of manipulation and control on her part.

 

 

2bHappy

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