My Spouse Feels That All The Problem Is Me
I am in a 2nd marriage, my husband in his 3rd. I entered this relationship feeling "if it doesn't work out, I can always leave". This is what I did...left. BUT I came back, many times.
My husband and I have communication problems, & because I felt unheard, I would get angrier & angrier, til I'd throw my hands up in desperation, & leave. He would say "I'm not gonna play your game," and not respond at all.
He now believes he tried everything, to no avail. This is not true. If it is true, I don't remember him trying. All I remember, is him being passive, not doing anything to help me stop this behaviour.
Yes, it resembles the 'rage cycle,' and yes, I did feel better after the rage had passed & things had cleared up, after days, or weeks had gone, and we were talking civilly again. This is NOT a 'thing' I did in my 1st marriage, however, I would use the escaping to get away from my controlling 1st husband.
He began being abusive 15 years into our marriage--poor life choices resulted in him losing job after job. He was an adulterer, & he objectified women. All 3 of my sisters had incidents to tell me of, & one niece, too.) I realize I entered into the current relationship with baggage. I didn't know how much baggage there was, nor did I realize how my current spouse would trigger things I was unaware of existing in my responses.
I entered into counseling to change my thought processes, & began taking meds to control my outbursts, and have a file looks like 4 inches thick at the Behaviour Health office. Now, my husband & I are having problems because of my running away, (trust issues) and because of the anger resulting from him not being able to discuss his feelings resulting from my actions. I have a problem taking full blame for all that happened, & we hit a big wall when a discussion is attempted. I break down almost immediately, and he gives up, because he doesn't like me to cry.
I don't know how to interact with him without getting hurt, and he has similar issues with me. I recognize that we cannot heal us, that we need outside help, but he won't go. I know he needs more professional help than is available in any passive way.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. I can tell that you are an intelligent woman, and clearly, from what you’ve written, you’ve worked very hard to make things better.
I think it is very good that you are seeking counseling, and I encourage you to continue to do so. Your default strategy of leaving, as you know, is not healthy. Leaving is sometimes the healthy choice, but the pattern you describe is clearly problematic. I hope you will address this with your counselor.
It could be that your anger (and your pattern of leaving) is the reason your husband thinks the problem is “all you.” Often, the most outspoken and emotional partner is blamed for the problems. However, you are correct in thinking he needs to work on his issues as well...the only problem is that there’s really nothing you can do about that. People just don’t seek therapy (as a general rule) because someone thinks they need to. Therapy is sought when the individual is ready to accept responsibility for change and personal growth.
I encourage you to continue to be responsible yourself, by seeking help and working on your own issues. Love and respect your husband as much as you can, while believing in him as a person. Choose to be optimistic that he will seek help and deal with his issues.
It will also help you to use the exercises described on this FAQ page to deal with your anger and the underlying issues. This will help you regardless of what your husband does or does not do.
Believe the best of yourself and your husband, and keep taking the next best step toward your goals. With this approach, you will be very likely to succeed.
My very best to you,
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