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Norman M.
Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2536
Experience:  ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
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My 25 year marriage is not at all on the track of happiness.

Resolved Question:

My 25 year marriage is not at all on the track of happiness. Not for me anyway. My husband seems to think everything is OK as long as I don't bring the subject up. I feel he believes it is all about him and I'm just here for his convenience. What about me? How can I get the satisfaction out of the marriage that I need?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Norman M. replied 3 years ago.
Chat Conversation Started
NormanM :

Hello, I'm Norman. Are you ready to chat?

Customer :

yes I'm ready to talk about this

NormanM :

Great. Can you tell me where the major problem areas are?

Customer :

He doesn't seem to have any conscience. He doesn't care about my needs or issues. As long as his needs are met every thing is fine. I think he is very narcissistic. I have major depression. I have been mentally abused all of my life. He can offer no comfort. he just explodes when I need him emotionally

Customer :

There is no sex life any more and when there was it was like *@#*^$% a dead fish. I hated it so I just quit trying.

NormanM :

Can we get a bit more detailed about this? What needs, specifically, are we talking about here (apart from the sexual side, which I have noted) Also how old are you and your husband, and what have you tried to do about this so far?

Customer :

I have put up with it for 25 years because I have no self esteem. You know who would ever want me. Really damaged goods.

NormanM :

I'd aslo like to know if you are currently being treated for depression, and if so, how.

Customer :

I'm 54 and he is 62. I need some nurturing. I need to know he loves me and that I matter to him. As something more than a maid

Customer :

Yes I have always been treated for depression. Right now I'm taking Lexapro. and just started with probably my 7th counselor. I guess I've heard all there is to hear about the soultion but it doesn't seem to hit home or sink in

NormanM :

What kind of counseling are you having?

Customer :

It seem a divorce is the only solution but that is not what what I want.

Customer :

???? one on one psychological christian, second session is Thursday

NormanM :

It may not be the only solution - let's not go there just yet!

Customer :

How do you teach an OLD DOG new tricks?

NormanM :

It seems to me that there are basically three options here. Accept things as they are and look forward to what - another 30 years of this, try for change or get out. I'll get to the old dog in a moment!

NormanM :

Are you with me so far?

Customer :

I just want him to realize accept and respond to the fact that I'm not a machine and that I have emotional needs that need met. He is a very mentally strong and very hard working man. He works constantly. Even the hardest labor he considers mental hygiene.

Customer :

I've been acepting things for the way they are for 25 years and I'm still not happy about it.

NormanM :

Right. I have a couple of things I'd like to suggest, but it will take me 5 minutes or so to type them up. Can you stay online that long?

Customer :

I'm trying for a change. I know it's me that needs to change because obviously he is perfect.

Customer :

Sure long as you don't charge by the minute.

NormanM :

YOU do NOT need to change he does!

NormanM :

Can you stay online for five?

Customer :

I don't think thats gonna happen. you got a magie wand in there?

NormanM :

No- we don't charge by the minute. You don't pay at all until you get a satisfactory answer!

Customer :

magic

Customer :

ok TY

NormanM :

Magic wand coming up in five minute - well almost magic. Can you hold on?

NormanM :

Be back asap.

Customer :

Sure

Customer :

going down stairs after a glass of water. BRB

Customer :

back

NormanM :


Looking at his history, I rather suspect that there is a pattern of intolerance and self centredness in his dealings with other people.


 


We humans only indulge in behaviour that brings reward of some kind. Only when that reward (whatever it might be) disappears, or the consequences of our behaviour promise to be unpleasant do we consider changing what we do. Like a child, he is going to have to learn to accept boundaries.


Here is the clue to sorting things out. When you are faced with non-co-operation – give him choices, and make sure he understands the consequences of his choice – and always follow through.


Your husband needs to be confronted with unacceptability of his behavior, and made to understand while you care for him, his behaviour towards you is unacceptable and has to change.


 


He also needs to understand that any continuation of offensive or dismissive behavior will have unpleasant consequences. They need to be spelled out to him very clearly, with clear emphasis on the fact that they will apply immediately. Now these might be , for example, if you want us to stay together, we go to marriage counselling. If you don’t show me – not talk about it, but show me some affection and love, you can do your own washing and cooking. I’m not here just to look after you.”


.


 


Finally, I strongly suggest that you change to a form of therapy called Cognitive BehavioralTherapy. It is a form of therapy that addresses problems in a direct and targeted way and is brief compared with most other therapies.


 


It will help you begin to see how you can begin to assert yourself – even after all this time


 


CBT is based on the fact that what we think in any given situation generates beliefs about, and reactions to that situation, and also cause the behaviour and feelings which flow from those beliefs and reactions.


These ‘automatic thoughts’ are so fast that generally, we are unaware that we have even had them. We call them ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) for short.


If the pattern of thinking we use, or our beliefs about our situation are even slightly distorted,


the resulting emotions and actions that flow from them can be extremely negative and unhelpful. The object of CBT is to identify these ‘automatic thoughts’ then to re-adjust our thoughts and beliefs so that they are entirely realistic and correspond to the realities of our lives, and that therefore, the resulting emotions, feelings and actions we have will be more useful and helpful.


Cognitive therapists do not usually interpret or seek for unconscious motivations but bring cognitions and beliefs into the current focus of attention and through guided discovery encourage clients to gently re-evaluate their thinking.


Therapy is not seen as something “done to” the client. CBT is not about trying to prove a client wrong and the therapist right, or getting into unhelpful debates. Through collaboration, questioning and re-evaluating their views, clients come to see for themselves that there are alternatives and that they can change.


Clients try things out in between therapy sessions, putting what has been learned into practice, learning how therapy translates into real life improvement.


Please visit this website for much more detailed information on CBT:


http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinfoforall/treatments/cbt.aspx


If you cannot afford to see a therapist, there are good free CBT based self-help resources here:


http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/cbtstep1.htm


 


 


 

NormanM :

He really has to be told that unless he shapes up, you will ship out!

Customer :

I tried that approach for the last 2 weeks. he didn't seem to care at all. He did start calling me before coming home from work and letting me know when he was home so I gave in a little too and started letting him know when dinner was ready. We made a pact that we would not blow up at each other and i let him back in the bed just last night. I told him that I missed him and he had no response at all.

Customer :

I did the cognitive therapy 30 years ago and yes it helped a lot. I was able to confidently end my first marriage to a Vietnam Vet that was only interested in gambling, drinking and baseball. Jerk never did change. Now the 2 daughters that he didn't give a damn about are taking care of him..

Customer :

I will check out the sights. Yes money is of great concern. I lost my $70K job back in 2003 right after we got my 2 daughters through collage and built my dream home. It's been a real financial struggle since then.

NormanM :

It has been a rough ride, hasn't it?

Customer :

OMG you have no ideal.

Customer :

on top of that i have degenerative ostioarthritis in all major joints. Just had a Total knee replacement is May and get total right hip Sept 15 and left one hopefully by Nov.

NormanM :

The fact is you MUST, absolutely MUST stick to whatever boundaries you put in place. That's what will give hime reason to change, otherwise, why should he bother? As it is, it's great, it's comfortable, no effort needed on his part. Time to wake him up!

NormanM :

Knees and hips are easy - changing mindsets is MUCH harder, but if you stick to your guns, you WILL do it.

NormanM :

When for him, the pain exceeds the gain, he'll change. If it does not, he won't, in which case the choices become very stark indeed.

NormanM :

So make sure he really does understand what is at stake here, and really push the couples therap issue.

Customer :

So now that he made several steps forward how do I open the can of worms again and require emotional support? or else. He had quit bring beer home and drinking constantly. We both did that from the time he got home till we ate dinner. I quit smoking March 2009 and he has quit smoking in front of me and is trying to quit completely. He says his goal is New Years

Customer :

He has voweled that he will never go to therapy

NormanM :

GOOD for you both. Start to emphasise your need for emotional support. It seems as if he has some understanding of the need for change. Nurture that. Stick and carrot, I suppose you might call it

Customer :

I guess I just have to wait it out and see what happens. I've already tried all of that. It has helped some but there is still a long way to go.

NormanM :

Hre's a problem then - you must decide how far to push this. You might take the line of " We go to therapy or you're out" depending on how strongly you feel.

NormanM :

Ther is along way to go, but now you have the tools, I hope. Is there anything else I can help you with?

Customer :

Getting out is really hard. We have so much and can't get rid of any of it due to the economy. We've been trying. and we owe $100K more on the house than it's worth and have put probably $200k more in it that that.

NormanM :

Ouch! maybe you need to hangt on for an upturn!

Customer :

No Norman, You're solution is what I already am doing. Just need to keep it up and as you said stick with it. Just wanted to see if anyone wlse thought what I was doing was in the right direction

NormanM :

Remember no matter how bad this seems right now, doing a bit of pushing could change things around. You've had 25 years of it, so maybe you can take it a bit slower (given your circumstances) than you otherwise might.

Customer :

yea we've lost $100reds ot thousands of dollars in this economy down turn. That's another thing causing so much stress

NormanM :

I am so glad to have helped you. You need a break!

Customer :

the Obama Administration is going to have the highest divorce statics in history

NormanM :

The grim Economic Reaper is at all our heels!. Obama - not a patch on Tony Blair!

Customer :

Well as long as I can keep from having a depressive episode that would require his emotional support I'm getting a break. LOL

NormanM :

That's why I'm working on here! :)

NormanM :

Good luck with this. Stay strong - and if I have indeed helped you, please remember to accept

Customer :

It's the corporations that are our enemy. yet with out them there would be even less jobs than there are now

NormanM :

It could be worse - have you thought of moving to Rumania? 26 dollars a week fpr 60 hours!

NormanM :

If ther is nothing else, then, bets wishes!

Customer :

I can't afford to but I will. I appreciate your supporting my MO.

NormanM :

My pleasure!!!

Customer :

No I'll stay in America. Maybe 12.21.2012 will be the solution to all this mess.

NormanM :

I'm not even going to ask!

Customer :

The Myan Calander. I'm sure you've heard.

NormanM :

No. Don't even like chocolate!

NormanM :

Gotta work again. Good luck!

Customer :

Thanks

Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2536
Experience: ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
Norman M. and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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