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David Akiva
David Akiva, BA, MA,
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 166
Experience:  Counselor; Behavioral Consultant
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The ability to communicate between my wife and I is deteriorating

Resolved Question:

The ability to communicate between my wife and I is deteriorating rapidly. We have been, (what I consider to be), happily married for 11 years now and have 4 children ages 11, 8, 5 & 2. I have spoken with my 2 oldest, (girls), and they agree that there is a lot of negativity from mom. When I try to discuss any of the multiple issues we are experiencing with her, she immediately gets defensive, gets an attitude and a fight erupts. "Always" blaming everyone else. She does not talk with the kids, she talks AT them, and usually with an attitude she subsequently yells at them for exhibiting. I can expand on the list of issues if you wish or find it helpful. I don't want our children growing up in a negative environment, and Mom is exhibiting behavior and attitude that is impacting us negatively and I can't address it. For the first time I am beginning to wonder if we will make it. ANY help is extremely appreciated! Thank you!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  David Akiva replied 2 years ago.

DuddyH :

Welcome, I'm a professional counselor and behavioral-consultant. I'd like to chat with you for a few moments to better understand your question.

DuddyH :

I'm just reading over your question...a few moments please...

Customer:

Thank you

DuddyH :

No problem, and I am very sorry to hear that you and your family are going through this right now....

Customer:

Its been a slowly growing issue...

DuddyH :

If this were a case presented to me in my private practice I would want to talk to your wife, conduct a lengthy clinical interview and client screening. We are not permitted on JustAnswer to provide any clinical assessment or therapy etc, and in my view that's not possible online anyway.....

DuddyH :

Can you tell me more about your wife's "attitude" and the kind of problems and fighting that most often take place? What is a simple, objective play by play example of the kind of problem you are seeing with your wife and the way you argue?

Customer:

I'll list...

Customer:

In no particular order...

DuddyH :

Thank you very much.

Customer:

Never comes to bed at a normal hour (prior to 12am) but will fall asleep on couch most often.

Customer:

Has problems waking in the morning impacting our kids ability to get to school on time. I now wake everyone up. I need to leave for work around 6:30am - about the time she needs to get up. If I am not there the kids are late for the school bus often. The 1st quarter of school their report card averaged 11 late arrivals.

Customer:

Uses the bathroom as a closet and generally leaves things laying around after using them - BUT will yell at the kids for the same thing, (what I am considering to be a learned behavior from her).

Customer:

She has lied to me about smoking. Admitted it initially when I found her smokes a few years ago, but never once since then - yet the car smells like smoke, I find clipings in cans and her purse with a lighter - body spray and Lysol deoderiser - yet she yells at me denying she is smoking.

Customer:

I spoke with the kids a few days ago about sitting down together with her to let her know it's not just me and we are all being impacted by this, yet I have reservations as I don't want my kids in the line of fire.

Customer:

The kids have let me know its not me...

DuddyH :

Thank you for that....

DuddyH :

How do the kids do at school behaviorally and academically?

Customer:

Wonderfully!

DuddyH :

Thank goodness. Ok. And what would you wife say is this top problem or 2 in your family right now?

Customer:

Top of the class and in 90 percentile in country. My 5 y/o boy is on Pre-school but doing well.

Customer:

Me

Customer:

My attitude and negativity

DuddyH :

What typical examples would she give?

Customer:

One of her main phrases is - "Nobody listens to mommy...." and "I'm tired of everyone's attitude in this house"

DuddyH :

Ok. And are there more specific issues or problems she would identify?

Customer:

I stress from work but even if you ask my kids, when I stress, I get quiet - I don't run around the house smashing things or arbitrarily yelling at people for no reason.

DuddyH :

May I ask what kind of work you do?

Customer:

She just sites me, my negative attitude and the above nobody listens - attitude atc....

Customer:

I'm a project manager for a sign company

DuddyH :

Thank you.

Customer:

I work from home Tues & Fridays and pick up my kids from scholl on these days. I'm never late - my wife is usually always late according to my kids.

DuddyH :

Has your wife's sleep pattern changed recently? Is that going to bed late/falling asleep on the couch something recent?

Customer:

not at all.

Customer:

She just doesn't want to go to bed and doesn't want to get out of bed.

DuddyH :

When did that start?

Customer:

On weekends - she will sleep to 11am constantly

Customer:

years ago

Customer:

she feels she has no "down time", which is why she would rather fall asleep on the couch watching TV than come to bed.

DuddyH :

Sorry, I saw your chat status fluctuate between chat and typing. I wasn't sure if you were still typing....

Customer:

no worries

Customer:

I was going to mention sex 3-5 times a month at best but not sure it fits this discussion

DuddyH :

No, that's fine.Well as I said, we are not permitted to provide any kind of assessment, only answers to questions on this site. But I did want to get a clarification of the situation and problem you are describing; and you provided some excellent detail.....

DuddyH :

Now what is the best question I can answer for you today about what you have described?

Customer:

I guess its a 3 part question - Am I crazy? Do I sit down with her and our 2 oldest girls to attempt to discuss this? How can we discuss this without a blazing fight ensuing?

DuddyH :

Great 3 part question. I'll answer each part one at a time....

Customer:

I don't want her taking anytihng out on the kids because they are being honest and trying to communicate

DuddyH :

The experiences and feelings you are describing are perfectly normal given the level of conflict or problems....

DuddyH :

As far as sitting down together as a family to confront the issues described, I would not recommend it. Your kids are too young in my view. The best family counseling related research teaches us that kids are highly sensitive to their parent's emotional distress and that parental conflict (arguing, fighting etc) can really damage them developmentally and put them at risk for developing emotional, behavioral, social and academic problems....

DuddyH :

It's great to model effective communication and family problem solving as parents, but only when you are certain that you will both keep your emotions under full control....

Customer:

Difficult when Mom hits anger immediately

DuddyH :

I see you're typing again, I'll wait to respond.

DuddyH :

Are you able to get to marital counseling together? A properly trained marital therapist will also be ideally suited to screen for depression or any other issues that might be involved here.

Customer:

I would love to but I have 2 large obstacles - My wife will not be willing and we have no money for this. We are in the midst of declaring bankrupsy and are just trying to keep what we have in tact

DuddyH :

Wow, so you have some major life stress going on in addition to the marital distress.

Customer:

completely

DuddyH :

What kind of work does your wife do?

Customer:

assistant for owner of pharmasutical co - goes in on Tues & Fridays but on call always. Works at Target part time 1-2 shifts a week.

Customer:

sry baby crying - brb

DuddyH :

No problem. I'll wait.

Customer:

back - my apllogies

DuddyH :

Thats ok..

DuddyH :

Well to be honest with you there are to parts here. A medical and a couple-communication part....

Customer:

medical?

DuddyH :

By medical, I mean I would be concerned about the your wife's sleeping issues for example...

DuddyH :

In my private practice I have always kept an eye on potential medical and alternative sources of marital and family problems. In mild, reactive depression for example, which can sure be triggered by major life stressors like bankruptcy etc, sleep and irritability can be red flags....

DuddyH :

I'm not saying that's the case at all, I'm just saying that it's always a good thing to get to a family doctor to rule out any possible medical contributing factors. I've seen a number of relationship problems get resolved through addressing underling medical issues....

DuddyH :

The second area is the marital communication and problem solving part....

DuddyH :

Since you can't get to 7-10 sessions of evidence-based marital therapy, another suggestion would be to read a very good book or 2 with your wife in order to really focus in on your emotional connection and relationship needs right now....

DuddyH :

1 book that comes to mind is "Hold me Tight" by Dr. Sue Johnson. She's the therapist and researcher who developed the world leading evidence-based form of couples counseling called EFT or emotionally focused therapy for couples. The book actually guides the couple through a focused discussion that cuts to right to the heart of the matter emotionally. Let me get you a link that explains the therapy and book....back in a second...

Customer:

thank you very much! I appreciate your time!

DuddyH :

This is the book I strongly recommend: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrKME6y2ZOM

Customer:

I can't ask for more -

Customer:

Am I allowed to save this transcript and do you recommend me showing this to my wife?

DuddyH :

You can usually find the book in your local library because it is considered literally one of the best relationship self books of the last several decades by the world's leading relationship experts.

DuddyH :

Yes, once you "accept" my answer by pressing the green "accept" button at the bottom of your screen, you will be able to print out our save the answer. I believe there is a save transcript or copy of chat button.

DuddyH :

Have I answered your question ok today?

Customer:

As bet as I could hope for! I thank you very much! God Bless!

Customer:

As best...

DuddyH :

You are very welcome. I wish you and your family the very best.

Customer:

Thank you!

DuddyH :

You're welcome. Take care.

David Akiva, BA, MA,
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 166
Experience: Counselor; Behavioral Consultant
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