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Dennis - she has ground you down to a husk of your former self. She is simply taking advantage of your good nature and kindness. Basically you have to get yourself sorted out and THEN tackle the family issue. For that reason, I have two recommendations for you.
First, I’d like you to use this tool:
This Bill of Rights was one of the tools used by Virginia Satir, a well-known family therapist. Containing some really basic psychological rights belonging to every person, it really helps to identify and deal with areas in which we have problems.
Read the statements. Note down any immediate thoughts or feelings that come to you and discuss with your therapist.
Look at yourself in a mirror and read it out loud to yourself. Listen to your voice grow in strength and volume so that you can really start to feel it inside. In the beginning, you may feel silly or embarrassed. You may hear the inner voice say, "That's not the truth". Just hang in there and keep doing it - you'll notice the change within six weeks, if you do it regularly.
1. I do not have to feel guilty just because someone else does not like what I
do, say, think or feel.
2. It is OK for me to feel angry and to express it in responsible ways.
3. I do not have to assume full responsibility for making decisions, particularly where others share responsibility for making the decisions.
4. I have the right to say "I don't understand" without feeling stupid or guilty.
5. I have the right to say NO.
6. I have the right to say No without feeling guilty.
7. I do not have to apologize or give reasons when I say NO.
8. I have the right to refuse requests which others make of me.
9. I have the right to tell others when I think they are manipulating, conning, or treating me unfairly.
10. I have the right to refuse additional responsibilities without feeling guilty.
11. I have a right to tell others when their behaviour annoys me.
12. I do not have to compromise my personal integrity.
13. I have a right to make mistakes and be responsible for them. I have a right to be wrong.
14. I do not have to be liked, admired, or respected by everyone for everything I do.
Secondly, I’m going to suggest that you would benefit from some Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Not because there is anything wrong with you, but so that you can approach the family issues from a position of strength and as objectively as possible.
CBT is based on the fact that what we think in any given situation generates beliefs about, and reactions to that situation, and also causes 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:
If you cannot afford to see a therapist, there are good free CBT based self-help resources here:
Also, there is a book called ”Feeling good - the new mood therapy” by Dr. David Burns. It has a hand book which gives you practical exercises to work through and further instructions on how to better use CBT. I really do recommend it.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook for Dummies By Rhena Branch, Rob Willson is also pretty good.
Finally, and once you are feeling stronger, you can tackle the family issues.
I think it is time for parenting in reverse!
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, your wife is going to have to learn to accept boundaries, and you have to give her reason to change. If she is not given a reason to change – that is, that life will become very uncomfortable indeed – she will NOT change. Why should she – she has it all her way right now.
Here is the clue to sorting things out. When you are faced with non-co-operation – give her choices, and make sure she understands the consequences of her choice – and always follow through. These must include talking to you decently, controlling her temper and no threats of violence. Make it VERY clear to her that if there is the slightest threat of violence, the police will be involve immediately.
I would start by immediately taking control of the money – that gives you a bargaining tool. Cash to spend depends on civility!
It is then up to her – if she understands how strongly you feel about things, if she chooses to overstep the mark, then she has the responsibility for the consequences.
She needs to be confronted with unacceptability of her behavior, and made to understand while you care for her, her behaviour towards you is unacceptable and has to change. Make that very clear to her.
She also needs to understand that any continuation of offensive or dismissive behavior will have unpleasant consequences. They need to be spelled out to her very clearly, with clear emphasis on the fact that they will apply immediately. In other words, she either shapes up or the relationship is over, and she is out.
This may sound harsh, but unless she is given a reason to change, she will not. By being soft, you are just encouraging her behaviour, and not helping her at all.
Stay calm, remain objective and avoid drama, but stick to your guns.
Norman,I have tried a bit but it is seemingly getting worse. She now refuses to eat sometimes (mostly during the weekends) saying, "I won't eat fo you're here. If I go to kleave than her and our daughter say oh see he just want sto leave to go be with his whore. Norman I have never been ubnfaithful and this hurts to the quick.This weekend afterr another Saturday of the same thing and yelling about why my brothers aren't married and there aren't any nephews and nieces, she was an only child and how she hates my mother no then loves my mother at about 10:30 PM, funny how it seems to get even worse at night, she was beating on the doors and the walls and screaming and kept turning on the light in the bedroonm that I was terying to sleep in. I sucumbed to her level and screamed back to shut up. She goit into my face and told our daughter see he can yell at us but he can't yell at his mother or WAyne ( a boy down the raod who had harassed our daughrter some ten years ago when she was still in public school. I pushed her to et her out of the door, I know thios was very very bad and she fell down. My dauighter threw a picture frame at me and it hit the follr and busted with glass all over and then made another hole in a door. I know I should never have pushed her and actually had thought befor ethis happened that maybe I should be calling 911. They immediatl;e y said oh we have you now as wee can lcall the police and you will be in bigger trouble. I feel so very depressed over this. My job load has increased so very much and with this it seems there just isn no real life . Oh that's stupid statemnt but it is how I feel.Anyway Why can't I leave???????????????? I actually packed a grip on Sundaty as this continued into the waking hours of Sunday but didn't leave. I don't know where to go as I don't want to get my family involved as I don't want to trouble them with this. I think she might also come after me and do more harm to my family and me. maybe that is why I stay as well. You know several months ago I finished work early on a Saturday in early Auguist, most people would want to go home, but I took the long way sans the freeway and discovered that the first place I ever had after moveing out of my folks house, an apartment, is empty anmd available. I happened as no particular part of the route homwe that day drive by the old neighborhood. Not sure what condition the place is in still looks nice from the outside. Maybe the Lord or someone is trying to tell me sonmething....you think? I do believe in God and pray often and ask for help but I must say that it seems to me espically during the weekend episodes that whenver I prsay it gets markedly worse.Recall I am an electrcial engineer and think mostly in the box, input / output / power and you can fix most things.....except this does not work with people including examining myself as to why I think they would end up living in the gutter. And what would happen to the pets? they don't know how to put salt in the softner or change the furnace filter or... Maybe I should move out but inidicate I will keep paying the house note as we only have 22 monrths or so to go unitl it is paid off. I am scared that would bring a wealtjh of new energy directed at me. I can't imagine retirement though I would like to. Sometimes I think there is no way out, "I am going to pee and poop in your food." doesn't endear you to this person you wanted to spend yopur life with????Please advise what I should do?Dennis
Optional Information: Gender: Male Age: 58 Already Tried: I have been in contact with Norman and had gone for counseling several years ago for a couople of years.
Dennis - get out and also I suggest that you would benefit
from some Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
You need to be able to talk to someone about this.