Have Mental Health Questions? Ask a Psychiatrist Online
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.
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Hi. As I mentioned, I am working with other customers. But I'm free now.
To start off with. I have to say that I am very sorry to hear that you are going through this right now. What you are describing would be terribly difficult for anyone! I'd like to start by clarifying your question. You've provided some excellent details about the problem, but I don't see a specific question....
What is your most important question right now about the problem you are describing?
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I'd like to chat with you to really help you shape and clarify a precise and hopefully very specific question. I notice that you haven't responded in almost 10 minutes to my last question. I'll check back shortly for your response.
Hi. Thank you so much for providing such a detailed response to my question! I'm just going to read and respond...
I've read what you posted. And you know, I've worked very successfully with hundreds of couples in my private practice who were very emotionally distressed. I've also studied and continue to study the best available marital therapy research....
Un-managed anger and arguing can be a real problem. If there's too much criticism and defense, it can actually predict divorce. Let me get you a short video that I'd really like you to watch and then tell me if you see any of these 4 patterns in your arguing please....
This is guy is one of the top marriage researcher and relationship scientists in the world. He can actually predict if couples will get divorced with more than 90% accuracy based on how a couple communicates on their "hot-button issues". Does any of this sound familiar to you? What sticks out in relation to how you guys are arguing?
Gottman Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbJPaQY_1dc
Please take your time. I'll check back shortly for your response.
I have some other great information for you. But I still need to refine my understanding of the relationship and communication needs behind your question. Thank you for being patient and taking the time to watch the video and respond!
Ok that is very helpful that you've identified these communication patterns. It makes providing you with a strong practical answer much easier too...
The best available marital therapy research and relationship science is clearly telling us that the number 1 source of this kind of problematic couple-communication is unmet relationship needs.
Most relationships are defined by some very common and normal needs. When those needs go unmet over a period of time it leads to feelings of hurt and sometimes even a sense of anxiety that the relationship is failing. Other common needs include the need to have help with chores or parenting. Others feel the need for support when there's conflict with the in-laws etc.
Another famous marital therapy researcher right now (the best in the world actually) is Dr. Sue Johnson. What she's discovered is that the most important relationship needs are actually emotional. Her therapy called EFT for couples, actually works better than any other couples therapy currently available. It does so by teaching couples how properly express the underling need for love and deep emotional connection....
I think your relationship with your husband needs 3 things:
1) I think you both have to figure out what you really need from each other relationship wise;
2) I think you might have to learn and practice some basic relationship communication strategies;
3) I think that learning to control anger may be very helpful too.
As far as anger management for couples goes, it's a very important part of many marriage therapy interventions. When couples get hurt, because their deep emotional needs are not being met, they can get angry fast. For example, we all need to feel loved and emotionally protected by our partners. If you're husband is making insults, it probably really hurts you at a deeper level and your stonewalling to protect yourself. I think you may be surprised to find out that your husband has frustrated emotional needs as well that are fueling his being critical and negative.
I often suggest that couples learn some basic anger control techniques. Here is a great link you can read about how it works:
http://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control.aspx It's short and really good.
One of the main strategies that are taught by counselors when there's anger is called relaxation training. The idea is you practice how to relax every day for 10-20 minutes and in 1-2 months you will be able to completely relax yourself anytime you get angry. That lets you stay calm so that you think and communicate properly. Relaxation is also an awesome parenting tool too, during high stress situations.
Here is a great link from the University of Arizona. It's not flashy but it's free and there are wonderful videos and audios that you can use to learn how to relax. Practicing at night is great for improving restful, recuperative sleep, and practicing anytime you find yourself getting angry or frustrated can really turn a negative into a positive fast too. People who practice for a couple of months can actually totally calm their mind and body in just a few seconds when they are very stressed. Here's the link:
Anger/Stress - Relaxation Training http://vcc.asu.edu/relax/index.shtml
Now as far as learning how to communicate effectively as a couple, I strongly, strongly recommend that you and your husband read the following book. It's called "Hold me Tight" by that world leading marriage therapist I mentioned earlier. John Gottman from the 4 horseman video above, called Sue Johnson the best therapist in the world in his review of this book.
Here is a short video that explains the book and the therapy approach that it's based on. I read this book with my wife and it is incredible. Easy to read with simple but powerful questions at the end of each chapter for you and your husband to discuss:
Hold me Tight - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrKME6y2ZOM
If you decide to get counseling together, I would recommend EFT couples therapy by a counselor who is trained by this author. Here are some links that describe the therapy and a find a therapist page if you want to find someone in your area:
What is EFT: http://www.iceeft.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=47:what-is-eft&catid=34&Itemid=79
How EFT works: http://www.iceeft.com/EFTResearch.pdf
Find a Therapist: http://www.iceeft.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=54
Finally, here's another great video by John Gottman on the Magic Relationship Formula about the importance of having 5 positive interactions for every negative or critical 1, in a healthy marriage:
I think once you start to communicate better, understand each others love-needs and meet those needs better, you will start to have far more positive vs negative interactions together. You'll also both feel deeply loved and connected.
Please read over my answer. Take your time because I know you are busy. Then let me know what you think. If you're satisfied with my answer. Please press the green "Accept Button" on your screen, so that I get paid for my time researching and developing this tailored answer for you. If you feel that I've missed something let me know please and I'll try to improve my answer for you.
You are very welcome. I hope the my answer is genuinely helpful to you and your husband.
Good morning! I thought I'd check back to see if you have decided to "Accept" my answer or if you needed it improved in anyway. I look forward to your response and feedback. Thank you.