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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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My wife is an expert at blaming me for everything, she complains,

Resolved Question:

Part of her unhappiness is caused by our daughter of 31 who has chosen to be a massage therapist. She is a lovely girl but is very promiscous and has a problem with men and relationships. My wife to my horror calls her behind her back "a good for nothing whore, bitch, dope smoking addict and says she hates her" and yet when shes face to face with our daughter shes very accepting and nice to her

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 4 years ago.
Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue.


I'm sure you are aware that your wife has some fairly serious personality or 'character' flaws. The tip-off to this is your complaint that when problems arise, she externalizes blame for everything. I take this to mean that, whereas most people have the emotional maturity and 'ego strength' to be introspective, self-evaluating and then, accept the elements of personal fault and 'blame' for a problem, do things such apologize, explain what they will do differently to improve themselves, etc.-----you wife cannot do any of this, or does this only very rarely. So a tendency; to displace responsibility, an inability to be self-reflective etc. is a sign of a significant personality flaw; unfortunately, this flaw isn't likely to change. Second, she is ingenuine and insincere; it is doubtful that when individuals come to discover that she talks negatively about people behind their back but is kindly and nice "to their face', this style strikes them as ingenuine and they judge her to be untrustworthy. So in effect, your wife has a couple of serious behavioral patterns that really undermine her own ability to form and maintain intimate, quality relationships on a deep level, and which, once discovered cause others to esteem her less. Finally, individuals with personality disorder symptoms or character flaws tend to be generally more unhappy than happy. They are similar in some ways to Eyore (the donkey in Winnie-the-Pooh) in their outlook.

Now, I've generally commented and went off on some tangents about your wife, but I failed to ask whether you had a specific question you wanted me to address, as this is the purpose of this website.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

How does one approach or deal with a personality like this? i find that when i try to talk to her about the problem I get shouted down and receive an answer like" I'm just a f..... bitch of a maid that you don't care about and i wish I was dead"

 

I try to keep calm and as always remain silent more often than not. I never raise my voice but then "I ca'nt stand the way you look at me" is her response and I usually walk away until she eventually composes herself

Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 4 years ago.
She hasn't learned how to effectively communicate, share conversations, etc. What I would do is suggest to her that you believe your marriage is deteriorating because of your style of communicating together and that you want to ask a marriage therapist to help you learn to communicate differently together. Now, she is probably clinically depressed or has features of what we call a personality disorder, and these might be detected in therapy. A good therapist might then suggest some individual therapy for her if they detect that she has some serious, personal issues that are getting in the way of the marriage therapy.

If she resists the idea of marital therapy, you know she: 1) doesn't want the marriage to get better or has something to gain by living her life in the role of VICTIM---externalizing blame for her unhappiness onto everyone else: 2) is in fact, fearful that some responsibility for the marital problems will be placed on her and doesn't want to deal with that stress or the responsibility of change: or 3) is afraid she will be made out to be a 'bad' or 'mentally ill' person in therapy and fears that.

Another alternative is to try to suggest she see a clinical or counseling psychologist for herself. During the course of your interactions, she will not only direct her anger and unhappiness AT you, she will also complain about HER personal or emotional situation, the way 'you' are supposedly 'causing' her to feel, react, act etc. You can simply offer the suggestion, "You seem to be mad at me a lot and I've concluded you could be depressed because of the stress you experience in this marriage. Here are the names of a couple of experts that I know could help you deal with the ways that your relationship with me is causing you to be upset so often, help you figure out how to feel less angry". And you would have already looked up the names of a couple of clinical or counseling psychologists in your town, preferably women.

If she will have none of this--rejects all of these suggestions, then you have to accept the fact that you are living with someone who doesn't change. You can THEN, try to create a serious, emotional crisis for her by suggesting that you no longer want to stay with her and do anything to contribute to your communication problems because your interactions are becoming more and more toxic and constructive and that you want to experiment with a trial separation to 'figure out what to do next'. This threat to the existence of the relationship (she will infer that you may be moving to divorce her) can very often cause a spouse to agree to therapy. There aren't any good ways you, yourself can change the way you interact with her because it 'takes two' to make these changes and your wife has to agree to this basic concept and work with you.

I hope this information is helpful to you. Please click on the green Accept button at the bottom of the screen. Get back to me if I have overlooked any aspect of your original question. Thanks.
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