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Author Topic: Was I rude/unsympathetic?  (Read 8172 times)

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Re: Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2013, 04:42:20 PM »
Your happiness hinges on your husbands moods...and that is not right.  He needs to learn that, while concern for his family is normal, HIS family (wife & children) are his first and most important concern.  He needs to also learn what he can control and what he can't..he can't control his mothers illness but he can learn more about it so he has a better understanding of what she is facing and what is the normal course of said disease.  He needs to learn he cannot control his brothers misdeeds and shaky marriages, but he can still love him but not play into his shady dealings by allowing him power over his families assets.  I am assuming because counseling is out, that a separation is a definite nono.   Not only do you suffer over and over by his over focusing on his FOO, but I'm sure your kids do too and that is not fair that they grow up always waiting for the next upheaval with grandma and uncle.  I would sit him down and say that you do care about what happens with his family, but this constant worrying is destroying your happiness and it is unfair for all of you to be so miserable.  Ask him how he sees his way out of this cloud of distress and work with him on solutions to support his family emotionally but without them sucking you dry.


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Re: Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2013, 05:36:53 PM »
It's past time for him to cut the apron-strings to his mom. As for the rest of the family, he needs to realize that they are no longer his primary, nuclear family. They are his family of origin.


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Re: Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2013, 07:17:28 PM »
Think of the emotional support in your marriage as a bank account.  You put in a certain amount of energy/love into the account every day.  But every day, like clockwork, your husband takes out a massive withdrawal due to his focus on his Family of Origin and their problems.  And not only that, he takes that withdrawal and passes it along to his Family of Origin, robbing you of the resources from that account.  And the one time you try to make a withdrawal, because you've had a bad day, he pitches a fit because you're not feeding him his daily requirement of support.

If you had a joint checking account, and your husband not only told you that you don't have the right to withdraw from it, but took a large portion of the account and passed it along to his family, would you be OK with that?

His focus on his family is only a symptom of the problem.  His unwillingness to share the "spotlight" in the marriage is the problem.  It sounds like he MUST be the focus, each and every day, his problems, his worries, his needs.  And if you have needs, that's too bad, because he needs you to focus on him again.  Marriage is a joint account of love and support.  Both partners must be able to take withdrawals, and more importantly, both partners should be willing to make deposits. 

When the house is calm and quiet, maybe before bedtime,  maybe you should sit down to talk with him about the other day.  Tell him that you're sorry he's so stressed about his mother and her illness, but that is a situation that is not likely going to change anytime soon.  He can't continue to use it as an excuse to be grumpy or mean to you.  You understand that he is worried, but you have emotional needs that must be met too and you have the right to a bad day every once in a while.  If he tells you that you don't understand or he can't focus on you when his mother is suffering so, you can tell him that if that is how he feels, he needs to understand when you turn inward/quiet and take care of yourself.  If he tells you that you can't do that because he needs your support, ask him when/how/from whom you're supposed to get support.

If he is willing to go to counseling, you should seriously consider it.  This is not a situational problem.  This is a ingrained "how I treat my spouse" problem.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2013, 07:39:37 PM by weeblewobble »


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Re: Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2013, 07:31:37 PM »
I had a lot to say, but weeblewobble said it already, so I'll just POD her. Your husband is WAY too invested in his family of origin and not enough invested in the family he has now.
"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so.


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Re: Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2013, 07:42:13 PM »
I think previous posters have talked about other aspects, but I wanted to say, it sounds like he may just be a worrier.  This does not mean that he has license to treat you badly or like your feelings don't matter.  But my suggestion would be to also take stock of your expectations.  Do you want him to be a happy upbeat person?  It doesn't sound like he's that kind of person, and it would frustrate you both if that's what would make you happy.  Do you want him to be supportive and understand that you have needs and wants, even when he's unhappy?  Totally reasonable, and something he should work with you to achieve.


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Re: Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2013, 07:47:16 PM »
Absolute, 100%, I'm w/ dawbs. I was going to quote her/him, but that's annoying for people to read sometimes.

Just go read her again.

I think your DH might benefit from NOT trying to stop worrying and instead assigning times and places to genuinely worry. So he can sit all the way through a movie and call when it's over.

He may also need to really delve into his worry and work it through, rather than just saying, "Oh, I shouldn't worry."

Sometimes when people are obsessed with something (as your DH is), it is actually helpful to go deeper INTO it, to work through all the things that could go wrong, and then to truly look at each of them.

That might be something to try, next time he worries about his mom: You get out a piece of paper and write down each of his worries that you coax out of him, in a list.
Then go through from the top and say, very matter of factly, taking each worry VERY seriously and NOT being dismissive at all:
"OK, how likely is this? Would there be an indicator of this being the result? How would you know if this was going to happen? And if it did happen, then what?"

So that he sees there's an "out the other side" thing.

Maybe even "What *would* happen if your mother died?" OK, maybe not right way. But maybe with a counselor, he could face that concept. And I would encourage you to NOT simply accept the concept "counseling is out."

He's really suffering. He's majorly handicapped, and it's affecting his life.


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Re: Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2013, 06:50:02 AM »
I agree that it is difficult that counselling wouldn't be seen as an option, but it does seem as though better communication is needed.

You want to be supportive, but it sounds as though you are getting to the point where you felresentful because your DHs worry is so draining. You feel he is not supportive of you when you need him, but he expects you to be there for him.

It might be helpful for you to sit down with him (preferably at a time when you're both calm and as unstressed as possible) and discuss things.

Try to emphasize the positives - "I want to support you"
 Identify the issues and how they look from your persepctive -  "I feel that I'm ding that, but  when I try to be encouraging it feels as though that isn't appreciated, and that it's not helping you"
encourage him to identify what he wants/needs  - "what is it that you are asking me to do? What would help?" "waht can I do to help you deal with the stress and anxiety you are feeling?"
Identify how you feel "I feel that are not supportive of me; when I've been upset / stressed, it feels as though you haven't noticed or don't see that as important." "When you spend so much time checking up on your mother / when you insist on letting your brother deal with our finances it makes me feel that you are giving your relations higher priority than our family. It makes me feel undermined"
Be clear that you are not disregarding or belittling his feelings - "I'm not asking you to stop worrying, or to not a support your family - I understand that this is important to you, I'm trying to work out how we can deal with this as a couple"
Be explicit about what you want to achieve "I would like for us to agree that we will discuss financial decisions and make those as a couple" "I would like us to agree that you will limit yourself to one call per day to your mother (unless she is actually in hospital/other major emergency)

I think Toots is right and rather than telling him not to worry, it may be more helpful to help him to address his worries, and let him feel that you are supportive of him even if what he needs to do seems to you (or actually *is*) objectively someone validation about how they feel can be hugely powerful and can help them to cope with those feelings.

(personal example: after my grandfather died (of old age, following a long illness) i had a totally irrational fear that my dad was going to die in his sleep. What helped was having that fear acknowledged. And a very practical solution offered (if you wake up in the night, in a panic over it, tap quietly on the door and come in to check he's still breathing). In your case it might be that acknowledging his fears rather than telling him not to worry may be more helpful, and a practical solution (phone her once a day to see how she is) might help. If you start by supporting him in ways which feel helpful to him, it may then be easier to talk with him about the things which feel difficult for you.


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Re: Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2013, 08:33:30 AM »
Remember that counseling isn't necessarily with a psychologist or for the mentally ill. It can be with a religious advisor or a trained couples advisor, just to help with communication.
A real desire to believe all the good you can of others and to make others as comfortable as you can will solve most of the problems. CS Lewis


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Re: Was I rude/unsympathetic?
« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2013, 07:27:20 PM »
I'm going to go a different route here... I was in a somewhat similar situation with my DH. The cause was different (trouble at work), but the effect was that his emotions were dragging us down, and my attempts to help him weren't working.

I had a flash of brilliance one day, just when I was starting once again to give him advice (that he would ignore). I stopped, and said, "Why don't you call Steve?"

Steve was an old, close friend, who had helped DH in some difficulty before I had ever met him. We had moved away from that area, and hadn't seen Steve for a while. DH called, they got together... and things got much better.

And a smaller bit of advice... if you share your DH's faith, next time you're tempted to say, "Don't give up; pray for her," don't. Instead, say, "Let's pray for her, right now!"
For in the fatness of these pursy times
Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg,
Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.
     Hamlet, Act 3, scene 4, lines 144-146
       (Pursy: wheezing)

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