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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5804
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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for Kate only... Thanks..

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for Kate only... Thanks...We spoke before about how my husband is using avoidance behaviors regarding my illness. He read your answer and said their is some truth to it. He continues avoiding the relationship because he got mad and told me he felt pressure when I asked him to spend time with me this weekend. At one point he admitted it's not what he wants to do. He kept derailing the conversation. He has plans to go somewhere with kids again. "didn't I spend time w you two weeks ago?". yeah at my request and he didn't want to go. I've heard "You don't like anything about me, we are different people, the conversation is too long,". He said our son has depression. I said, "Yes, and I am sick too and need time also. ". He also accused me of not caring about our son. By changing the subject many times and seemingly making it more difficult to talk rather than look for a meeting of the minds, I got hurt more. I feel he is playing games.
I am very filled with anger and it's affecting my health.
If he admits their was some truth to his avoidance behaviors, then why isn't he making steps toward changing it? I need to minimize the effect due to my serious health issues. Also, if you know how I can lower my anger in the meantime before we try to meet with a therapist? Doesn't it seem like he is highly resisting change? Are their any tips you can give me to emotionally detach? It's too painful to live like this as it makes me feel less than human.:( Thanks again...
(I am too sick to leave)



Your husband may not be willing to change his behaviors for a few reasons. One, he may not know how. When someone is used to handling a problem the same way, they may not know how to change what they are thinking and feeling so they can do it differently, even if they are aware that how they are handling it isn't working. That is why therapy is so helpful (if the therapist is supportive of changing the behaviors). It helps the person recognize how their current behavior is not working and helps them find better ways to think about the problem. By changing their thinking they can approach the problem differently.


Your husband could also not want to change. He may see your issues as something he simply does not want to deal with. Some people are more inclined to think of themselves first and may not see a need to put others first. It can be a personality issue, such as narcissism, or just a personal choice. Some people do not feel they need to be burdened with someone else's problems.


Lastly, your husband could have an issue with your illness. Sometimes people are fearful of being too close to someone who is ill. They may fear being ill themselves, they are afraid of vulnerability or they don't cope well with someone who needs help.


You can two different steps in viewing your husband's behavior. One, seeing him as being self centered and emotionally detaching from him. That means becoming more independent of him. Stop asking him to spend time with you (you will not need to cope with the rejection anymore), stop doing for him and stop interacting unless it is necessary. Giving less to him will help you focus more on your own needs. This is not ideal if you want to heal your relationship, but for the time being it helps you protect yourself emotionally.


Two, you can try to view your husband's behavior as his fault, not yours. There is something going on with him causing him to react this way. It may be his fault, but it may not be. He may just feel lost and not know how to handle it. Back off from asking him to be with you and give it all a break. Occupy yourself as much as you can. If you cannot go out, have others in. Throw a party or just have some social time. Spend more time with your kids. Start a new hobby. Chat on line in a support group or as part of a hobby group. By occupying yourself, you take away the time spend trying to cope with your husband's behavior.


Also, you may want to write things down in preparation for your therapy. This is a good time to sort out your thoughts and write down your concerns. It will help you when you get there to address how you feel without having to remember it all.



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