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Wife's Father Died And Now She Is Angry

by Jason
(Brooklyn, Ny)

Hi. My wife's father died about 10 months ago. My wife was very close to him and is now depressed over his death. It was sudden and unexpected.


Since his death, she does not want anything to do with my family, who she was close too, nor does she want our kids to have much contact with them. She has said that her father was a great grandfather and that my father doesn't deserve to be one because he doesn't do as much as her father did, and that if it were up to her the kids wouldn't see him at all.

In terms of my family, her response is that since the death of her father, her small family is no more, and if the kids can't have her family why should they have mine. To say she is angry and depressed is an understatement. It has gotten so bad that she has threatened to leave me if I take the kids to my parents' house.

Please advise, how do I handle this.




Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Jason, and thanks for telling your story here. Unresolved grief, as apparently your wife is experiencing, can lead to tremendous anger and depression. It sounds like that is what is happening. She is totally responsible, however, for her reactions and actions, regardless of what her loss has been.

The best thing would be if she would choose to learn about grieving and go through the grief process. If she doesn't, and continues to try to control you and your family in this destructive way, it is difficult to see how you could have a happy marriage and family.

Make up your mind that you're going to find the gift in this problem. Your wife is a good person, and this is part of her journey. Trust her to work through her process and come around to a more reasonable way of being. Believe in the goodness in her, and try to keep your focus there.

As long as she continues in this destructive pattern, I suggest that you keep your focus on yourself as a man, as a husband, and a father. Make up your mind to do the right thing, Jason, regardless of what she is doing. This could change if she becomes reasonable and compassionate, but for now her motives seem self centered and destructive.

If your wife is open, you might suggest this page on grieving to her. I realize she may be too angry for this, but it's there if she's interested.

And for you, I suggest you read the following page on relationships:

how to deal with abusive relationships

Believe in yourself, your wife, and your family.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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Dec 15, 2016
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To the author of "Going Through A Similar Situation"
by: Dr. DeFoore

Hello - You're right...this is hard. However, it is very important that you make something clear to your wife.

Her behavior is unacceptable. She needs to know that from you, in no uncertain terms. She needs to know that you will not tolerate this continuing. It's your job to protect your children, at the very least. You also need to protect yourself.

If she gets the message from you that you are intimidated by her anger, and that you will continue to tolerate it, it will continue and get worse. You are not helping her in any way by allowing this behavior to continue.

Knowing as little as I do about you, her and your situation, there isn't much more I can offer at this time. Do take to heart what I've said, however. Tough love is love. Soft, passive response to extremely abusive behavior such as hers is not love...it is actually giving permission and support to destructive behavior.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

Dec 15, 2016
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Going Through A Similar Situation
by: Anonymous

Hi,

My wife's beloved mother died six years ago today. She is probably through the grief process, but it still stings.

Last week, her father died as well. Not as beloved and there is a lot of friction between her and her father's siblings.

Now my wife is deeply upset with me that I have not suffered any loss at this level. My parents are alive and she hates them. She actively wishes they would die, saying this laced with profanity in front of our children.

I love my wife. She has exhibited anger problems since I've known her, but now it has devolved into cursing at me and the children and telling me that she is going to leave me because I cannot identify with her loss.

This is hard. Her immediate family now has only her and a mentally ill brother (for whom we will now be financially responsible).

Any tips on helping her (and our kids and me) to get through this? She is endlessly raining hatred on me, and I feel that she is using her father's death as an unassailable platform from which to do this.


May 10, 2016
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Thank You
by: Anonymous

I truly appreciate this.

Oct 26, 2011
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One more ?
by: Jason

One further question. Do I agree to limit contact with my parents till she becomes more reasonable or do I behave as if business as usual?


Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hi Jason

You will have to decide what you feel the most comfortable with. You might tell your wife that you're willing to move in her direction, with some limits. See if she's willing to compromise. If not, then just come up with what you're willing to do, with the understanding that the limited contact will be temporary in the long term.

Hope this helps,

Dr. DeFoore

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