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Steven Olsen
Steven Olsen, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1765
Experience:  More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education
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I have been a positive and very cheerful person and my husband

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I have been a positive and very cheerful person and my husband is very negative. We have been married for 32 years and it is either getting worse or it is wearing me down. I don't know if I'm depressed or if he is. Maybe both. He talks bad about almost everyone, I used to feel lucky that he even liked me, but now I feel like he doesn't or just puts up with me. He seems to get frustrated with everything I do and it's never right. He makes me feel like I don't do anything right and he thinks he's always right. He will compliment me in front of friends to look like the honorable husband, but makes fun of me with our kids almost like he wants to seem better than me. No one would ever think he is ornery at home because he has a constant joking personality in public unless he doesn't know them. I don't want competition, which is how he was raised, I just want respect. I'm so discouraged now I want to leave. He doesn't like to talk much. My back problems have made it so I can't do as much physical activities as him but I can do some. He complains that I'm not the person he married. He's really nice when he wants sex and it's usually the more extreme the better, but then won't talk to me for days. We did go to marriage counseling for a while and it helped but now it's mostly forgotten and I don't want to be accused of being the uncaring wife all over again. What is going on here? I'm so confused. We are 52 and 53 and our last child of 5, is leaving home in 6 weeks. That is killing him. He's having a hard time with this aging process. I have a hard time babying him through all of this because that's what his mom has always done and still does at 84, and he makes fun of her and is very impatient and unfeeling of her. I can see why people leave their marriage when their children are raised but it would still hurt them so much. His example has already rubbed off on some of them in different ways. I don't want them to treat their wives this way. Am I over sensitive and just need to appreciate the good things he does. Please give me any advice or thoughts you have on my situation that might guide me to some kind of peace. Thank you so much.

I read your question carefully. No, I do not think that you are being emotionally oversensitive. Rather, I see that your husband has much unfinished business in his life, especially concerning women.


He is angry, possibly not even all that conscious of it...and it is being projected and displaced onto you. His frustration about his life, his aging process and his future have made their way into your life as bitterness and emotional abuse.


Yes, he is emotionally abusive, as this type of behavior is not rooted simply in depression, frustration or difficulty. This is a long standing pattern in his life than probably began long ago with his own family. And, based on how he is with his mother, probably starting there. He strikes me as someone who was controlled, and that as a result his life was filled with feelings of vulnerability and being out of control.


Now, as an adult, he is truly out of touch with himself, is operating in a self centered manner, and is self destructive toward your relationship,


There is hope, but it will begin with you, understanding your role in all of this as he is using you to push out his feelings and you are being victimized. To help: I would like you to consider obtaining a resource: It is: The Emotionally Abused Woman : Overcoming Destructive Patterns and Reclaiming Yourself by Beverly Engel


This book will give you insight into what is happening with you and your husband as well as ways for you to minimize his destructive behavior. It will also give you ways to talk with him about the abuse and to encourage him to reconsider his behavior.


I also would, if you can, encourage you to see a professional for support as you are the victim in all of this. True, he needs to change and right now he is in denial. But, you too need support and unbiased attention and a caring professional would be very helpful to you. Steven

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