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tell me what I'm doing wrong
September 14, 2006
10:29 am
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lovingmom
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Not many of you here know me. I've only posted a few times. I am married and am codependent and very lost in it all. I'm in counseling for myself and trying to work through the anger and hurt. My husband refuses to admit there is anything wrong - why would he? I make it all good for him all the time. Here's my question of the day. Yesterday I was talking to my sister on the phone. She lives several states away and we talk about once a week, but usually only for a short time because we both have such busy schedules. We are very close and confide so much in each other that we can't confide in anyone else. We were able to talk for close to an hour yesterday without interruptions and it was such a great conversation. At the very end of the conversation my husband came home and instead of greeting him with a kiss and "how was your day" I motioned to him that I would be off the phone in a minute. This did not sit well with him and I know this becuase he motioned back with his "whatever" look (very annoyed). I hurried off the phone after this and she knew why; I didn't even have to say. When I got off the phone I asked him if I did something to upset him and he said, "I know where I am on your priority list" and started putting dishes in the dishwasher (which is something he does when I "ignore" him, so that he can slam the dishes and make a point). I instantly started to cry, mostly out of frustration. I told him that me being on the phone had nothing to do with how important he was or wasn't to me. I told him that at least I showed him the courtesy of getting off the phone and acknowledging him. It ended up with him telling me that his feelings were hurt and me telling him he didn't have any right to be hurt because it was so trivial. I know I don't have a right to tell him how I feel. I just felt like it was another one of his moves to make me feel like crap!! I ended up apologizing to him for trying to tell him how to feel and for "ignorning" him when he came home. Like I always do, I took the blame. HELP - I can't break this cycle.

September 14, 2006
10:37 am
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balancesekr
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Hi lovingmom,

I have posted to you b4. Things take time. It may be a good idea to sit down and discuss some of your feelings with him. He is used to things a certain way so when you change, he is going to react.

What's good here is your awareness. You realize you let your feelings go unrecognized and you want to change that, fantastic! That is awesome.

From your other post, I think you mentioned that your hubby doesn't want to go for therapy, so it seems he likes things the way they are, or just doesn't want to address things.

It's OK you apologized to him, you may apologize 1,000 more times before you feel stronger so that you won't have to apologize and you will realize you are taking care of yourself.

This all takes practice and time. You are starting down the right path.
b

September 14, 2006
10:38 am
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lovingmom
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Quick correction - Near the end I put - I know I don't have a right to tell him how I feel and it should have said - I know I don't have a right to tell him how to feel. oops

September 14, 2006
10:41 am
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lovingmom
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I know it will all take time. I just can't seem to get past making him happy despite me and my feelings. My mom was this way with my dad and I learned it very early. I don't know how to stop feeling guilty about doing things for me. And it seems so small, but that phone call was doing something for me. He knew that and he made it about him, again.

September 14, 2006
10:48 am
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atalose
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You will break the cycle when you have accumulated enough pain.
You are aware of your needs and wants and standing up for them is the only way to break this cycle. Quilt is a horriable weapon used to manipulate and control, you are turning quilt inward against yourself.
How long has this been happening, how long have you been married?

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

September 14, 2006
11:13 am
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lovingmom
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Been married 8 years, together 12. It's been happening WAY TOO LONG. I feel like such a failure.

September 14, 2006
11:25 am
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jastypes
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Okay, now mind you, this is Healthy Jill speaking. You have a right to be on the phone with your sister for as long as you want or need to. Your dh (dear husband) is a grown man, and I'm pretty sure he can wait a few minutes before he is greeted formally. (bless you that you can still do that -- it says to me that you are not as bad off as you think you are.) It is perfectly okay for him to voice that his feelings were hurt. And it's perfectly okay for you to say, "I am sorry you felt that way." I learned to say 2 things in the height of my recovery: Not my problem; and None of Your Business. I do NOT think an apology was necessary. I'm sorry I was on the phone with my sister and not able to drop my life on a moment's notice to make you feel more like a man? I don't think so!!!

September 14, 2006
11:39 am
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atalose
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The control via emotional abuse from him is done to make you feel like a failure. That's how this cycle continues. You feel bad there for you attempt to over compensate for that by being a "doer, a fixer, the one to make it all better, the one who is constantely accepting the blame". He has set his standards and you have walked on egg shells, jumped thru hoops to meet those standards and lost yourself in the process. Now it's time to reclaim who you are and who you were meant to be. I would suggest a codep group and stick to it no matter what he says or does. You matter, you need to stand up for you, you deserve to have your own needs and wants.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

September 14, 2006
11:50 am
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lovingmom
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Thank you all so much. I think deep down I know what you are all saying is true, but as I am sure all of you know, it's hard to see the truth through all of the BS. I'll keep on keeping on and will look into a codep group ASAP, and make time for it when I find it, and stick to it because I need it!!

September 14, 2006
11:53 am
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southgoingzax
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hi lm,

I know you feel you are between a rock and a hard place - I think nearly all of us here have experienced what you are feeling right now. And it can be very hard to disengage or detach from the emotional rollercoaster - you get a little addicted to the ride, you know?

If you can, try to say to dh the six magic words (they've already been posted):

I am sorry you feel that way.

Then walk away. You ARE sorry he feels that way, but you shouldn't let it become YOUR fault that he does - it is his fault he feels hurt, insulted, rejected, abandoned.

The best thing (and the hardest) for you to do is to learn how to say those words and detach emotionally and physically from your dh - try not to let him turn an issue into your problem.
sgz

September 14, 2006
12:13 pm
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lovingmom
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You are all so wonderful to accept me and help me with your caring words. I know I have so much work to do. I can't see the light yet, but I know it's there. I feel stuck, but not so stuck that I won't eventually get out of the muck and move forward. Thanks again southgoingzax, atalose, jastypes, and balanceskr. You've been great for "listening" and lending your thoughts.

September 14, 2006
12:20 pm
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StronginHim77
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lovingmom -

1. It's OK to be on the phone when hubby walks in the door and REMAIN on the phone, until your call is completed.

2. He is demanding that you center your entire existence around him, or he feels "hurt." That is highly controlling, selfish behavior. Ignore it.

3. I agree with the above: Whean he starts into his manipulative, emotional, grand-stand performance of "I feel hurt..." RESPOND AS SUGGESTED: SORRY YOU FEEL THAT WAY. And go about your business. Issue closed. End of scene.

I'm rooting for ya.

- STrong

September 14, 2006
12:25 pm
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jastypes
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Something else that helps me: I am not responsible for someone else's reaction. I am only responsible for my own behavior.

Being on the phone with your sister is perfectly normal, healthy, affirming and soul nourishing. Therefore, you have nothing to apologize or make amends for.

September 14, 2006
1:08 pm
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atalose
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Were all rooting for you, I'm glad you are going to look into a codep meeting. Strong is so right, keep it simple and walk away. The first time you do that and not feel the quilt associated with it, you'll feel like you are walking on water!!! Hang in there and please keep posting, it's good to vent and share, you gain new approaches to life and ideas on how to handle things others have handled before you.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

September 14, 2006
1:14 pm
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taj64
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I really like the answer best of all to say "Im sorry you feel that way". I try to use that more often now when people try to make me feel guilty. You stop them from making you feel guilty and at the same time, letting them know that you are sorry for their feelings, therefore acknowledging their feelings and not ignoring.

September 14, 2006
1:30 pm
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JeanieMovingOn
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I agree, right on. Your husband is having to adjust to you asserting your own needs. As a perhaps overly sensitive person myself it's very calming for me to hear the words "I'm sorry that you're feeling hurt." Perhaps followed by "That was not my intention; you know i care about you." those are usually the magic words for me when I'm feeling overly needy or demanding of someone else. And then just try to distance yourself from HIS hurt.

September 14, 2006
2:39 pm
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lovingmom
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Wow, the responses I'm hearing are amazing. I appreciate all of you. The phone issue is just the tip of the iceberg here, but I'm sure you all have guessed that by now. I will work on things. Going out of town today - husbnad, kids and me - to see my mom. That's always a eye opener for me too. Spending time with mom, not giving husband enough attention. I'll work on all of the things that were suggested, i.e. walking away, saying "I'm sorry you feel that way", reassuring without feeling guilt. I have some things to think about and work on. You've all been super!! I'll check back in when I return home.

September 19, 2006
11:55 am
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lovingmom
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We went on our trip to see my mom and returned yesterday. It all went ok, I guess. I have to admit that all weekend I went back to my "pleasing" self and didn't make any waves...just pleased my husband and kept my thoughts to myself. This is my problem. I know that I need to change my ways, but I just can't. I try to picture myself as a strong individual and try to see how it could be if I would just stand up for myself and my feelings, but it's so much easier to just keep doing as I have. Am I still in love with my husband or am I just so used to making him happy that I don't know any other way?? That's the big question I have. I know that no one else can answer this for me. It's up to me to figure it out. Lately all I can think about is the hurt I've experienced and the unneccesary crap I've put up with. I'm feeling really negative. How am I ever going to know what I want? I really don't know and that scares me!!

September 19, 2006
12:15 pm
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taj64
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Change is very hard work and very scary at the same time. im sorry you're so hurt. It is difficult to make it go when you are afraid. Take baby steps. it doesn't have to move the world but take little steps to think of yourself more and be more in tune with yourself and your own needs. It is long process. When you go to a gym for the first time, you don't start out by lifting things that are too heavy or push yorusel too hard where you feel like you can't move the next day. You do it gradually. Have you read any self help books? I can't think of any specific ones at the moment beside the codepedency book mentioned on the site but there are so many out there. Just do the little things for yourself. It can't be all about him all the time! 🙂

September 19, 2006
12:20 pm
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StronginHim77
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loving -

There is nothing wrong with "loving" a spouse. Trouble enters when the spouse is unwilling to respect, acknowledge and honor the needs of his/her partner. In other words, real love requires RECIPROCITY. If one partner is doing all of the work, all of the "bending" and accommodating, that is unhealthy. Eventually, the partner whose needs are NOT getting met will become resentful and even bitter. Not good.

I see you asking good questions and searching for answers. You are facing issues which you have feared looking at in the past. My hat's off to you. That takes courage. Keep asking the questions and seeking the Truth. You deserve Truth.

- Strong

September 19, 2006
2:12 pm
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atalose
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Loving,,
Taj is right, change is hard and it's done in small steps. You haven't aquired all the tools yet to make big changes for yourself. Don't put that big burdon on your shoulders all at once. Take small steps in the right direction for you. Look into a codep meeting in your area and actual go. Head to the library and pick up a book, co-dependency no more. Learn about yourself first, learn about co-dep and then you will understand the tools you need to make the changes for your life to be what you want it to be.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

September 19, 2006
2:17 pm
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lovingmom
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Again, thank you for your words of encouragement taj and strong. The only book I've read so far is The Dance of Anger by Harriett Lerner. It was really helpful and I related to many of the different situations. Like I said before, I am also in counseling and am making some steps toward helping myself that way too. I think up to this point I have been only minimally truthful with my counselor about my situation, still trying to protect my husband and not let anyone think badly about him. I've made it more about me and the changes I need to make, which might have something to do with why I'm so confused.

I will take it one step at a time. I know that changes will have to be made. Not only for me, but so my kids can see that there is a better way to live and a healthier way to have a relationship with someone. They deserve that, not all the negative stuff that they see.

September 19, 2006
2:18 pm
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lovingmom
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Thanks to you too atalose, I posted my message before I read yours.

September 19, 2006
9:29 pm
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tuann
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lovingmom'

Isn't it so funny how the pattern continues with us as codependents. We all think that we are the only ones who feel and think the way we do. We are obviously so self esteem impaired that we can't see the forrest for the trees. We all are good people.....just messed up thinking we don't deserve to feel a need let alone have it fulfilled. We are so afraid that saying what we feel or need will end up having a loved one get angry or heaven fobid leave us and make us feel even more unworthy. We feel like that already so it would really accentuate the thought. If only we could come to terms with the reality of needs of everyone in the room are important including ours. That is of course the hard part. We need to focus....focus....focus. Believe in the kind words our friends, family and all we encounter actually tell us. There in lies the toughest job of all.

September 20, 2006
5:02 pm
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lovingmom
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You're right tuann. I haven't seen the forest for a long time!! Thanks for your thoughts. I'll just keep plugging away, one day at a time. Hopefully my baby steps will get me through and some day there will be happiness for me and the ones I love.

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