Ask a Psychiatrist and Get Answers to Mental Health Questions ASAP
Hello! Please remember that my response is for information only, we are not establishing a therapeutic relationship.
Your wife is 18 years old? It sounds like perhaps a lack of maturity is a factor here, although that may not explain all of it. Here's a few ideas for how to talk to her about it when she is calm:
1. Use a lot of Empathy and Validation:
Empathyis where name the feelings you see that her feeling, validation is where yougive support to him for those feelings: "I know you were angry when ______," or "It was frustrating for you when you_____," or "It sounds like when you were______ you got lonely and bored." Validation:"I can understand how that would be stressful." or "I can seewhy you might feel _________ in that situation."
Empathybuild connection and trust . Empathy and validation do NOT mean that you support aparticularly behavior, nor does it mean you would feel the same way or engage inthe same behavior. It simply means that you can look beyond your own feelingsand understand what is behind her feelings.
2.Use "I feel __________, when you _________"statements. Some examples:
"I feel ______ when _____ happens, but when ______ happens youseem ______." Or another variation, "I worry that you are notinterested in trying to work out our relationship when you _____(insertbehavior)." OR "I feel neglected when you say __________ and then you do _______ instead."
The"I" part of the statement puts the responsibility on you (and henceis less likely to make her feel defensive), but the "when you" partidentifies the behavior that is confusing, hurting you, concerning you, etc.
It'smuch more likely to get an honest answer than a "why" question (Whydo you act this way?) which makes people naturally defensive.
3. Use Open Ended Questions: They tend to start withWhat, When, How, and Tell me: "What is going through your mind rightnow?" or "Please tell me what your current thoughts are about ourrelationship." Or "How can I be supportive of you as you figure outif we can work things out?"
Avoidclosed ended questions: "Don't you think you ought to do the dishes?"Open ended questions invite conversation, closed ended ones tend to shut itdown.
Now ---in the moment ---when she starts to fight or get out of hand, it seems like you're only choices are to stop the conversation. "I will talk to you when you are calm." and either leave or, if that's not possible, just stop talking. If she continues, just repeat yourself until she stops. Most people will only tantrum for so long and then stop if there's no one responding.
Ultimately, I agree with the other Expert that she needs some form of therapy --but she may not see it right now if she doesn't yet "get" how her behavior is affecting her marriage.
Please follow up if you need ----