Hi, I believe I can be of help with this issue. Trying to deal with someone who is very rigid in their opinions and beliefs, is extremely negative, dominating, and very opinionated is a tremendous challenge. When this is a husband, the situation can be very difficult for you emotionally. The problem here is that you are dealing with a feature of a personality disorder. What are personality disorders? They are disorders that are the MOST difficult to treat and the most difficult for the person to change. Why is that? Because of the nature of our personalities. We don't change our personality easily. It is who we are in so many ways. Now, I'm not trying to tell you that your husband has a personality disorder. I am saying, however, that you are getting more and more troubled and frustrated as the marriage goes on. And this is because the behavior is not just an irritating behavior but is a FEATURE of who your husband is, a feature of what in its extreme case is a personality disorder.
Therefore, for you to be able to not get increasingly upset and frustrated and alienated as the years go on, you need to treat this problem he has as if it is LIKE a personality problem, a personality disorder. So what can you do? Well, I am going to give you the program that has had success in my practice for loved ones of people with personality disorders. You must accept that you cannot change him. This is the heart of the matter: what you see is what you are going to get for a long time (see step 2) if not for the rest of his life. Your job and your goal is to learn how to accept him the way he is and not be affected negatively by it. Yes, this is a tough, big job. But you cannot be his therapist; you have to accept that this is how he deals with the world and that your job is to be there for him and with him without you getting too hurt by his personality difficulties. The personality disorder that your husband has features of is narcissism. Narcissists are the last people to seek help for themselves. Why? Because they never see the problem as being with THEM. They always see problems as being caused by the OTHER people in their lives. This is something I have seen in my practice all the way from when I was an intern! Again, I don't know and am not saying your husband has this disorder. But the rigidity and the constant criticism are features of it. So, I'm going to prescribe a couple of excellent books you can get on how to live with a narcissist. Because you are not going to change him. What I wrote to you above is even more what you must stick with. But these books WILL help you as they have been tried and I've seen them have good effect if you follow the suggestions of the authors: 1. The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship by Eleanor Payson. This is a great book that will help you with the lack of self-esteem that living with a narcissist or someone who is like a narcissist will do to you. Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Wizard-Oz-Other-Narcissists-Relationship/dp/0972072837/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284329075&sr=8-2 2. The Object of My Affection is in My Reflection: Coping with Narcissists by Rokelle Lerner. This book is newer but is extremely clear and insightful and has helped people since it came out 2 years ago. Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Object-My-Affection-Reflection-Narcissists/dp/075730768X/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284329075&sr=8-5 So, that is your situation. Treating your situation as if it is similar to living with someone who is narcissistic will help you with some resources for how to not get increasingly frustrated in your marriage.
I wish you the very best!
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