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Sarah
Sarah, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 143
Experience:  Chart'd Psych, 12 yrs exp. English prisons, Clinical Hypnotherapist, EMDR Therapist, BPS, HPC reg'd.
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I am so tired of drama though maybe I gravitate towards it

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I am so tired of drama though maybe I gravitate towards it? Yes, there were red flags and due to embarrassment of 2 divorces have stayed. The problems my 58 yr old husband is still paying child support on a 30 yr old child, he sold a place and has been moving things over for months to his 3000 sq ft garage here (buckets of rocks, door knobs, and on and on) he did leave the telephone poles but has 7000 bricks he's moving. Not to mention 3 canoes, rafts, 100 rods and reels, had old toilets, rusted cars and on and on. All were free or very good deals (which I say isn't a good deal if you don't need it) and has trouble getting rid of things. He could pay off the child support if he sold things. I don't think he's normal and if I get upset with him bringing this stuff here (though before marriage I told him I couldn't handle it and he said he'd sell it -4 yrs ago) he gets angry calls me a psycho and F-U. When I talk about leaving all of this craziness he promises to stop to sell it all and not to call me names but then doesn't keep his word. He's kicked holes in walls when provoked,hangs up on me if he doesn't like what I'm saying and walks off when home. Once when drinking he hit my arm so many times it bled. But has stopped the drinking now. We tired counseling and he wasn't honest about himself. He can be yelling and if I say what are you mad about he says "I'm not mad." His father was an alcoholic and hit him once when he stepped in for his mom when he was calling her names. I guess I wonder if this is something that can be solved or should I realize that I will always be dealing with this and move on?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Sarah replied 4 years ago.
Hi there

Thanks for your question. I think part the answer to this lies in what you already said. Your husband needs to learn to control his temper whilst he is calm and how to anticipate when he is going to feel angry so that he can recognise it and start to move away before he is in full blown temper. This can be learned through anger management courses, which you may be able to locate on the Internet. Your husband would be encouraged to identify what are called risky situation ( things that happen to which he responds angrily), risky thoughts (what are frequent thoughts that he has when getting angry and when angry) and risky behaviours (what are his pattens of behaviour when he is getting angry, what does he say, do, what does his body do (eg clenched fists, sweating, etc. Etc.). Our behaviours happen in patterns and learning to manage these behaviours means learning what the patterns are and breaking them down. Your husband needs to learn how to Avoid these situations, to Control the situations he cannot avoid and how to Exit them safely without losing it. It takes hard work and courage to learn how to do this, but as your husband has shown that he can control his behaviours. By controlling his drinking, then I feel sure he could learn to control his temper also. As with all habits, you can expect downfalls, so be prepared pad to help him when he loses it, as long as he is willing to learn from his mistakes, pick himself up with the appropriate apologies and start again. Sometimes the best response is to say firmly "I am not getting into conversations with you when you are in this temper, I will talk to you when you have calmed down"and walk away, so that the message is clear and you don't get drawn into an argument with him. This type of therapy is called cognitive behavioural therapy (cbt) and draws on the cognitive (thoughts) and behavioural aspects of our life.

You could also have a look at the theory of Transactional Analysis, which suggests that we all have modes of behaving within us, the adult, the child and the parent. The adult is rational and calm, the child is selfish and needy, with less control, and the parent is authoritative. The theory has it that if a couple can interact whilst both in adult mode, then all is well. If one person flips into child mode, they become more selfish and childish, unable to control temper, as a child isn't; the impact is that the other person flips into parent mode and tells the child off, making them feel small and more like a child - the argument ensues between the parent and the child, both people firing up the response of the other. The best way to get out of this is if one person (in the role of child or parent) stands back and takes the adult role, allowing the other person to drop back into adult mode too. For example, let's say one person hoards loads of stuff - the other person talks to that person as if they are a child, for example, 'I don't know what you've got to keep all that stuff for, it just gets in the way, we don't need it and i'm sick of it.' The other person takes the child mode and says. 'well I'm keeping it, it's mine, and you can get stuffed.'. The argument and the anger takes over and becomes larger than the point itself, which is the amount of clutter. If the first person takes more of an adult mode, and says something like 'I know this stuff has taken you a long time to collect and some of it at least is very important to you, but I feel that we could do some extra stuff if we were to turn some of it into cash, so I was wondering if you would like me to help you to sell some of it - we could put it on eBay together, do a sale, etc.' then the heat is taken out of the situation and the person will remain in adult mode and respond accordingly. If they take a childish mode, then it's important to respond as an adult, and say something like, 'it impacts upon both of us and I would like to talk about it again sometime, so maybe you could have a think about it.'. I have chosen a topic you can relate to here, but it works with any topic at all. It's not really to put blame on anyone, it just shows how two people can interact and bounce off each other, allowing things to escalate without intention. It reduces the. 'you always' and 'you never's, -try and use the word 'i' rather than 'you' because it gives less for the person to fight against. So 'i feel sad when you ...' rather than 'you always... '

As you will already know from counseling, we cannot make another person change, we are only responsible for our own behaviour. So your husband would need to want to do the cbt therapy if it was to be successful. However, you can have an input using the transactional analysis, as you can change how to interact and respond to him without him even knowing why and the dynamics of the relationship can start to change.

Another thought to consider is that this stuff that your husband hoards could be a comfort blanket for him, perhaps hiding him from something (not literally) and to let it all go may be more painful for him than you can ever imagine. So tackling it little bit by bit might be useful. If you husband has strong memories of being hit by his father when he was young, he may want to find an emdr therapist (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing) which encourages clients to process away old emotional memories, that can actually have a very powerful effect on our lives without us knowing it consciously. You can find an emdr therapist local to you at www.emdr.com and more info about it. You will see that it is a trauma therapy - the trauma (having an alcoholic father and all that that entails for a child) would be revisited in his own mind for the last time and the relevant anger and sadness processed away. It could be that the anger your husband displays is actually anger he is holding inside for his dad, even though it is many years ago. It could get stronger and stronger until released. It might be worth your husband talking to an emdr therapist to discuss it with them.

So there are some ways forward for you and for your husband, but your hubby needs to be on board with you and honest with himself and want to put the efforts in to make it work with you. Unfortunately, if he is unwilling to do this, it might be time for you to suggest (in an adult mode) that you are unhappy enough to leave, that this is not what you want to do because you love him, but that you cannot therefore stand by and see him destroy what happiness you could have together with his anger. This might be what it takes to realise that therapy could be a good option compared to losing you. I do hope some of this is useful to you and wish you all the best, Sarah





Edited by Sarah on 8/9/2010 at 7:55 PM EST
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The counseling didn't work because he said I was making things up, didn't happen I was crazy. Then if the therapist said something he didn't like she was a freak if something he liked she was great. Ended because he said she was depressed and telling him her problems?
The keeping of things aren't family keepsakes they are things he picked up or bought at thrift stores. It's a 3000 sq ft building and his offices at work are the same way. You can't walk through them. He had 4 shirts alike and said they were a good buy. Never wore them nor boxes of boots the same. Still in boxes as are coats a like etc. Good bargains. we are talking about 7000 bricks.
Always, losing things. Doesn't even know what town they are in much less what room. Can't remember when he saw them last or retrace steps. I could tell him I was a cheer leader in high school once a month and he's says.,You were?
He denies being upset even if me or others in the room can tell. He'll be slamming cabinets and I'll ask what's wrong and he says nothing. I'll say then why are you slamming cabinets? He's say he's not I'm crazy. How do you change something if they say it's not happening? or calls me names if I say it is?
I know about the Dance of Anger and have tried that. As long as he gets his way, you ask for nothing and don't disagree things are fine. But that's not showing me love that he says he feels but never shows. Physically either. Can be months and he doesn't seem to notice. I could walk across the room naked and he'd look around and say what are you doing? Like he's very uncomfortable with me. I'm still attractive and need physical attention and he seems to care less and has had few relationships in his life. He's been single for 20 years after his wife divorced him and didn't let him have his visitations with his son so he left town and strained that relationship when his son was 4. I'm sure it was because he wasn't having it his way. His son is now almost 30 and he's paying child support.
I know counseling would help him and our marriage but how do you make someone be honest when and if you get them there? He'll say he'll do anything to save our marriage but then when it comes down to it there are only excuses and procrastination. thanks for your help.
Expert:  Sarah replied 4 years ago.
This has clearly been going on for years and it sounds as if you could do anything and he would hardly notice. I wasn't really meaning that the stuff was sentimental, I meant more that maybe this stuff represents something to him -like the girl who never felt loved by her parents bought clothes every day, the clothes representing her mothers love and therefore wouldn't part with the clothes and found satisfaction in buying more, even thought she never wore most of them.

To answer your question, it is impossible to make someone do most things, let alone go to a therapist and be honest with them. We can only be responsible for our own behaviour. It is possible that your husband cannot be bothered to save his marriage, does not want to be honest with himself or anyone else, cannot see the future. But I believe it is only fair of him to let you know if he is not going to do anything to change the situation, because it leaves you in the know so that you can make your own decisions for your own life. That is the only life that you can make decisions for. You can choose to stay how you are. You can choose to leave. You can explain how you feel (again) and go ahead with your decisions if the response isn't positive. As frustrating as it is, you cannot make your husband do anything. I am aware that this may not be what you want to hear, and i am truly sorry if you are disappointed, but I think you truly already know this in your heart and maybe you need to hear it from elsewhere. I wish I could be more positive about how you can change your husbands life and your own. Many of us make a sacrifice to be with the person that we have married. Are you prepared to sacrifice as much as you already do for the life that you lead? Or do you need to move on and receive heat you need elsewhere, leaving behind all that you will leave behind? I think if you really consider these questions and make a choice, you will feel more in control which ever you choose. Sometimes feeling out of control can make us feel low. Stay because you have chosen to, or leave because you have chosen to, or talk to him again because you have chosen to, asking him if he loves you, to explain to you how he envisages the future to be and your role in it. Try not to allow yourself to be managed by the situation as you will feel stuck.
Sarah, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 143
Experience: Chart'd Psych, 12 yrs exp. English prisons, Clinical Hypnotherapist, EMDR Therapist, BPS, HPC reg'd.
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