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Pain, Anger & Resentment

by Anonymous

I've been married for almost 5 years. My husband has severe back problems from an accident in his teens. He compressed and shattered two thoracic vertebra.

Over the years he's become lazy at work, lost his job, started a business and has failed at maintaining his clients. He smokes marijuana from morning until night. Whenever I mention his going to look for a job, he gets extremely defensive.

I lost my job almost one year ago and have since been unable to find work. So, I've started a business which has been quite successful. Our lifestyle has drastically changed with the loss of my job. I was basically the main breadwinner.

Since I've been home full time I have seen that he does absolutely nothing to keep us afloat--not even domestic chores. While driving in the car, he's constantly criticizing my driving abilities, at home--he's never happy with the meals I cook. At parties, he doesn't like anyone. Even with his own parents he is unhappy.

Most of his day is spent hanging out in the "man cave" on the computer arguing with people through forums. He seems to constantly be ready to fight. Over the course of a year, he's lost numerous friends and acquaintances due to his aggressive nature. Our sex life is empty. My desire to kiss him and enjoy passion is dead.

Just this morning, I started reading advice on how to better my relationship. I started the day by trying to wake my husband at 1 o'clock in the afternoon. His back was aching as usual. I asked him to go to the local home improvement store for some odds and ends. For one hour I heard nothing but criticism about EVERYTHING (ie. how I was wearing my sunglasses). You name it, I heard it.

I don't even bother saying anything or fighting with him anymore because my entire day will be blown. On our drive home, he says I didn't drive right and that I made an illegal turn. He demanded that I apologize. I, of course didn't.

I'm just exhausted by the overwhelming negativity that I experience in my relationship. I fear a future filled with loneliness and anger. My husband has hardly any friends. I have a lot of friends, but their spouses don't want to be around my husband--and rightly so. Most of the time, I don't want to be around him either.

Please offer me some advice. I'm lost and want to find happiness in my relationship again. I'm not a quitter, but I don't feel my husband really understands how his behavior effects me. His mood can change in a matter of seconds. He'll be a jerk one second and nice the next and I'm still upset over his words. I don't know what to do. Help!

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. Your situation is certainly difficult. The marijuana smoking, negativity, arguing on forums and unemployment are a very toxic combination. He's the only one who can change that, so your focus needs to be on what you can change.

My first suggestion is that you read the following page, which focuses on the kind of relationship challenges you're facing:

how to deal with verbal abuse

If things don't get any better, you might consider telling him that you can't stay married to him if things stay like this.

At some point, you will have to make a decision about your marriage. If you decide to stay with him, it will help you to focus on his positive aspects, and the journaling process on this page will help with that. This doesn't fix anything, it just keeps you from obsessing in your mind about his problems. You have to be the one to decide what you can and can't do, and what you want to do regarding your marriage.

Make up your mind that you're going to have the life you choose for yourself, and keep taking the next best step until you get there. You can do this.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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