I have always had a difficult relationship with my husband because of his moods & outbursts of anger. Challenging him either results in him getting angrier or he denies it or he says it is all my fault. Over the years, I have become more unassertive & never challenge him because I'm afraid of his temper. I don't think he would be physically violent but he can sustain a mood for a long time & also slams doors and throws things around. Now I have a bigger problem. He has always been jealous of my family & of my close relationship with them & always badmouths them to me about things he doesn't like about them. This last Christmas & Easter were the worst ever. My h was sulky & silent at best & at worst, was downright rude to my sister on many occasions, dismissive towards my Dad & at one point, walked out of the house in the middle of a meal & went for a walk because he told me he couldn't stand being at the table with them any longer. He also said some extremely hurtful things about me to them. They are obviously angry about it & I can see them looking to me to sort things out although they always avoid talking about it out of loyalty to me. I just let things pass with nothing said, in the hope that he will be better next time, and sometimes it is but sometimes it isn't. My husband is from a different, dare I say, lower social class to myself & I sometimes wonder if that is a factor, but it's not an excuse. He has little to do with his own family, except his mother, who he only sees 2-3 times a year. But, he loves trying to make friends with strangers. I can't let this go on. I want to ask my family to visit but don't want them to feel as though they are unwanted & disliked. When I have asked for advice about my marriage before, people always ask why I don't leave him. I don't know either. Partly because I still love him & know that there is a vulnerable side to him & that when he is nice & kind, he is a different, good person. But he seems to have the devil in him too. Partly because I'm Catholic & whilst I know that marriages break down, I feel I must do my best to hold my marriage together. In fact, the thought of a breakup is devastating. But I don't know how to deal with this because he will either deny his behaviour, justify it by saying my family was behaving badly or just lose his temper. Or, just refuse to discuss it, which is another thing he does.
I also should say, there is no way he would ever agree to seeing a relationship counsellor. I have suggested it in the past & he was adamant that there was no way. He did once admit that he had done an Anger Management course but that was many years ago & whatever he learned has got unlearned.
Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).
I am very sorry to know about this very sad, frustrating and distressful situation.
The reality you are depicting here seems very concerning and serious, because it shows severe and chronic behavioral and personality problems affecting your husband's mood, functioning and relationships, leading to domestic violence, where mental, emotional and verbal abuse, neglect and manipulation have been present for several years.
I can see you decided to remain passive long ago out of fear and because of not getting any solution from trying to address any of these serious issues. One of the toughest problems with such approach is that by ding things that way, you have tolerated and enabled more of it for so long, that now it's become harder to control or to expect any significant improvement, since your husband could literally feel entitled to be this abusive, neglectful, manipulative and violent towards you and your family.
The fact he denies reality, and shows inability and unwillingness to acknowledge his serious issues and disorders, so to get necessary professional psychological therapy to work on himself, and from there on healing your marriage makes of this situation hopeless, unless he changes his mind about it, what does not seem to be happening at all.
Thus you need to carefully reassess what you really can and want to afford in this marriage in the present and in the long run.
You need to be clear of your core needs and expectations, and choose from there, re-evaluating your core belief and value system in ways you could take good care of yourself, from your mental and emotional health, to your general well-being as an individual and at other core levels.
Does it make sense?
Hi, thanks for your response.
I understand what you are saying.
My problem is finding the courage to say what I want to say.
What I mean is, if I were to say to my husband "I would like you to behave better to my family and if you don't ..." - that's the thing - what "threat" if that's the right word, can I use, and mean it?
I have, once or twice, threatened to leave, but I haven't and in fact, think I don't have the courage to and he knows it.
I think also, he believes that because of our marriage vows and my religious belief in them, I would not leave.
But I don't want to leave - I just want him to behave like a normal, reasonable human being.
And he does for much of the time.
This is about basic boundaries and limits, about respect and maturity, those which he obviously openly disregards, XXXXX XXXXX to be reasonable with him would not work, even more now that you have enabled his dysfunctions for so long out of fear.
Unhappily I do not think it is realistic for you to expect that now, since for that to happen, if it happens at all, would take years of therapy and hard work on himself, and he does seem far away from even acknowledging all these serious issues.
Then it is mostly about you choosing what you want to afford and taking full responsibility for your decision, since while you cannot control his actions, you can and should control and take full responsibility for your own feelings, choices and actions, thus if you choose to continue this way, just be clear of what you have to afford with it.
I think you need individual psychotherapy to work on yourself around this tough situation and to effectively cope with the decision you make and the challenges it presents, since it is tough, because of the multiple serious issues around abuse, neglect and manipulation you described.
Yes, although I must admit that I have seen a couple of counsellors over the years and each time, we kind of veered away from the subject of assertiveness, which I was seeking advice about, and went delving into other areas like things in my past, and grief management for the loss of my Mum a few years ago.
The last counsellor I saw said that we needed to terminate our sessions because she didn't see any change in me since she first started seeing me.
Your husband seems to have not only a serious anger management problem but personality issues, and for him to significantly change for better would take intensive long term psychotherapy...I am sorry to see you did not get competent help from these counsellors. That's very frustrating.
Psychotherapy is an ideal source of professional support, and as long as it is with a competent therapist and the client is willing to work on taking consistent actions making real changes in self and life, it could work very well, otherwise it could be useless. Codependency could be a serious issue here.
I need to find my inner courage, if it exists, and it eludes me. The fear of the consequences dominates. The fear of losing my husband, my home, my pets, the goodwill of my family. Also, the fear of the effect it would have on him because I know he is quite a vulnerable person and I am the one constant in his life.
This is why I strongly suggest you to find a competent and experienced psychotherapist willing to specifically support you working on this process, you would commit to it so not to self-sabotage in order to create the changes you need and deserve, facing the tough and unavoidable challenges it presents.
Is a psychotherapist different from a counsellor?
When looking for a counsellor, I searched for areas of expertise and selected one that seemed a good fit with my issues.
As long as you take responsibility for his actions and abuse, while exposing to it, enabling the violence even more, your situation could only gets worse, as well as his distortions and mental health problems would deteriorate even more too. This is a very codependent approach and could never help any of you.
But reading the resumes of most of them, they claim the same or similar skills.
It depends, technically counselling is a level of psychological support intended to address mild and moderately severe life issues, mostly based on counsel or advice, while psychotherapy requires more therapeutic expertise, in order to work on serious life issues, requiring intense psychological processing, insight and work.
A good professional would be one with further education, training and experience.
One with an integrative and eclectic approach, and with expertise in relationships and codependency issues.
A marriage and family therapist could be good ,math as long as having an integrative approach, expertise in several therapeutic interventions and enough experience around these issues..
People could claim different things, but you should focus on credentials and experience, and mostly on how effectively the professional listens, understands and support you making concrete and effective changes in yourself and life, that's what shows how good a therapist is regardless of credentials/
It is not the same to work with a person who got a BA in social work and then a certificate in counseling, compared to one with a y.master degree in counseling or one with a BS and an MS in psychology. counseling, or a PsyD after several years of clinical practice instead of research. But again, regardless of credentials, it is through concrete and direct experience and work, results and changes that you identify the good from the poor professionals.
Interesting. I have googled a few and most of them have lists of credentials and areas of expertise. It seems difficult to decide which would be a good match.
You set your main goal, find a professional, discuss about it and what you want to achieve, then you see from results how well or not they can help you.
I think seeing the last counsellor was a repeat of my personal life. We got on, she was somebody to unload issues on. I knew nothing was really changing but I kept seeing her anyway because it would have seemed rude not to.
If she hadn't terminated the sessions, I expect I would still be seeing her.
If after a few sessions, 3-4 you see they are not being proactive and focused on implementing concrete steps to achieve your final goal, in a realistic and responsible way, regardless of you openly discussing about it, then better to look for a better one right away.
Ah, thank you for giving me the permission to do so. Don't ask me why I need that permission.
Because I don't know.
Then that shows your codependency undermined your very ability to take good care of yourself while in counselling, leading you to stay with a professional who was not helping you. You need to directly address and work on rehabilitating from codependency if you expect to be able to take good care of yourself and life.
Thank you for that and for the rest of your advice.
The rest is now up to me.
You need and deserve to enjoy a healthy and fulfilling life, and for that you need to work on truly being yourself, respecting and supporting yourself.
You're very welcome.
Thank you. I will go away now and try. Bye Rafael.
Thank you for your trust, Please take gentle care and consistent action.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions and to follow up, since I am here willing to support you as possible.
You can contact me using this direct link to my profile http://www.justanswer.com/relationship/expert-rafael-morales-toia/, you could bookmark it for easy access, and just make sure you state "For Rafael only" in your request, for other experts to know you want me to reply, and I will respond in less than an hour most of the time.
Bye for now.
I will suggest a couple of books that could help you too.
Should I Stay or Should I Go?: A Guide to Knowing if Your Relationship Can--and Should--be Saved
http://www.amazon.com/Should-Stay-Relationship-Can-Should-be/dp/042523889XBoundaries in Marriage
Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes from, How It Sabotages Our Lives
Women Who Love Too Much: When You Keep Wishing and Hoping He'll Change
Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself
Thanks for the links. I will bookmark your profile also.
Here you have a directory of local codependency support groups, which could significantly help and complement good therapy: http://www.coda-uk.org/?page=all
You're very welcome. Thank you and take good care.
Thanks very much for your advice and for the self-help links.
No problem. thank you for trusting me. Please feel free to keep in touch to follow up, since I am willing to support you as possible, and in case you cannot find a good match for therapy, let me know if you want to consider online therapy. Thank you agaon and bye for now.
OK, thanks. I didn't know one could do online therapy.
I have to sign off now. Thanks again and bye for now.
Yes, it is possible, but not through this public forum but using a confidential interface.Thanks. Bye