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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5417
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My wife and I have been married for 7 years. We both are going

Customer Question

My wife and I have been married for 7 years. We both are going to seek Anger Management and Marital Counseling and we both agreed to this. For 7 years, we both have been physically, mentally and verbally abusive. I do believe we both regret this and doing this to each other. To make it worse, we have a 4 year old son. For the past 4 months she has physically, mentally and verbally abused me and sometimes in the presence of our child. I have even looked at a call log that she has been speaking to her ex-boyfriend she had 12 years ago on the phone. I have not done anything to her in the past 4 months trying to do anything and everything to work things out. She did not like the paint in our home, so I painted some of the home myself... She did not like this and that about the house, so I changed everything I could. I am in great fear of losing my family and believe that anger management and marital counseling for the first time in 7 years of marraige might do some help. I am 100% for making this marraige work. However, on her side she keeps threatening divorce all the time. My question is this marriage something that can be saved?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

You both have been through a lot of pain with each other. As a result, you may have lost the ability to trust each other and to communicate in healthy ways. But the fact that you both realize that you need to work this through and seek help in counseling is a very positive sign. It means that you see what is happening and want to commit to making your marriage a better one.

You mentioned that you are already making an effort in your marriage to bond with your wife. You are trying to make her feel better by doing things that please her. And you are working on your behavior towards her. But it sounds like your wife is still angry and upset and is continuing to try to hurt you. That means that she may not be as ready to let go of her past behaviors. Letting go requires that a person take a risk and step out of old patterns in favor of new ones, behaviors that make them feel vulnerable and open. Your wife may fear making herself vulnerable by trying to connect with you and treating you with respect and love. So she continues to lash out in order to protect herself.

It is very common for people to bring past issues into a marriage. Many of the problems that occur in a marriage come from unresolved hurts from childhood neglect, abuse or trauma. That may be what occurred between you and your wife. Because of that, your ability to come together and heal your marriage may occur at different rates for each of you. For example, your wife may have a history where trust is non existent. So she may take longer to learn to trust you and to let herself feel vulnerable. That is not to excuse her behavior, but maybe to help you see why she might still be resistant to opening up.

Anytime both people in a marriage can agree that counseling is worth a try, there is hope for the relationship. It is when the couple refuses to see that there are problems and won't reach out that the marriage will most likely fail. It may not be a smooth road, but continuing to seek help and being committed to working out the hurt and trust between you both means that you are most likely going to be successful.

I hope this has helped you,
Kate
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5417
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Her constant threats of divorce scares me so much. We had recently had a dispute where my parents have been the mediators between both of us. Unfortunately and sadly, she lost her parents both to cancer in 2001. My parents have become like her own parents and helped take care of her, been there for her and we see them every weekend. We are very close. She has two sisters. One of which I am good with. The other hates my guts. I could come up with the cure for AIDS or cancer and she will still harbor so much hatred for me. My wife has recently become very close to her sister. Ever since she has become very secretive. Constantly texting her in the same room and going into corners of different room constantly having the phone and texting. She does not deny that she is saying bad things to me. Because I want to give her freedom and space, I try not to let it bother me. However, she has become a very different person. She is disinterested in the marraige and more interested in hanging out with friends, girls night outs, etc.


 


She has diabetes and has admitted on numerous occasions to being severely depressed. She has also admitted to physically and verbally abusing me to my parents. I felt for a long time I could take it as a man and let her vent out all her rage she has for me. Instead it has gotten worse. I was completely foolish thinking that this would help let her vent and let go of the past.


 


She constantly brings up the past 7 years and I don't know how to get her to look forward to the present working things out and the future goal of becoming a happy family and marriage. We have a beautiful son and house and always recieving compliments from everyone of how such a great couple we are. However, it is very different. We have build so much together and she seems like she does not care at all.


 


I feel it is morally and ethically wrong to constantly wave this divorce bell or threaten to take away our son and run off to her sister's house everytime I do or say something she does not agree with. I don't feel this is right and I do believe this is mentally and emotionally abusive. I am not sure. Am I wrong? Or is this a correct assesment.


 


She has recently gravitated to anyone or anything that is anti-me and talks to any friends that have openly said negative things about me to her. She also will believe any negative comments about me even though she has acknowledged that these people in our circles are depressed and jealous and gossip in their own lives.


 


For 7 years of marraige, her sister turned her back on her and never was there for her. She did not even come to our wedding. I do agree and believe my actions pushed her away and she went to her sister. I do acknowledge I need help and need to deal with it. However, me and my family feel so betrayed. I feel like she turned her back on me. She will not listen nor acknowledge an neutral statement and you should never turn your back on your husband. I have never turned my back on her.


 


My philosophy is that your wife comes first. And if someone does not like nor respect my wife, I walk away and go to another cirlce, friend, environment. How do I get her to feel the same way?


 


She spends so much energy fighting against me and bashing my name and insulting me to her sister (someone who has no interest in seeing our marraige work) that she does not spend that energy trying to stick up for me or talk good about me. She does not spend that same energy in trying to work things out.


 


Besides us going to anger management and marital counseling, how do i get her to reach the first steps in realizing all this?


 


We have filed legal injunctions both against each other which both have been granted by the judge. With both of our attorneys, we both agreed to drop the injunctions and go to marital and anger management counseling. I am not sure if she agreed to this because she found out I have a much stronger case against her and she is just going to ride the waves of this counseling and when it is completed, she has an attorney waiting in the wings for a divorce. Currently, we have a signed document on both our ends with our attorneys to have a seperation where she gets the house and the kid monday to the following monday and we alternate every week. Is it right to ask how long this will continue? Is that something the marital counselor can help us with?


 


What are the questions, statements I need to make in our counseling to find this out or what things she is up to?


 


I grew up in a very close, affectionate and honest family. We don't believe in divorce. Our religion/culture as many others, does not believe in divorce either. However, I am not sure with her.


 


I am just typing out whatever I can so you can please let me know your advise, thoughts, answers, etc. Please help.

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.

I wanted to let you know that I am working on your answer and will get back to you as soon as possible.

Kate

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Thank you. Please help. I need all the help I can get before I go to the counselor tonight with my wife.

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
It sounds like your wife has allied with her sister because she needs to have someone who will agree with her negative feelings about you and the marriage. The other sister might try to get your wife to see that there is a balance and your wife probably knows that and doesn't want to face it. Talking about you and the marriage may be something she does for now, but in the end, it runs it's course. No one can stay so upset for long without fuel for the fire. And you are not giving her any fuel anymore.

If she has admitted to your parents that she has been abusive and she is willing to see a counselor, then at least part of her sees that she is hurting you and the marriage through her actions. If she was totally closed off and refused to talk to anyone and refused help, then you might have cause for concern.

It is not helpful that she insists on threatening to leave every time she is unhappy. She may feel it is her only recourse and uses it to hurt you when she feels hurt, even if what you did was not intentional. She seems to be deeply hurt already, though by what is not clear (the past or a combination of the past and the marriage), and she sounds unable to cope with it. So she lashes out to protect herself. If she truly wanted to leave, she would have done it already.

You cannot make her feel the same towards you that you feel towards her. But you can control your actions towards her, which in the long run, may affect her feelings. Right now, she is probably in pain. Some of that may be the marriage issues but it sounds like there is more to it than just that. Her actions say that the pain she feels may be related to past unresolved feelings and it is being directed towards you. That may be why it continues even through you are changing your behavior. And her sister's anger also adds to the theory that there was something in their background that is fueling these feelings.

The counselor you see tonight can help you set goals and can give you a better idea of how long counseling should last. A lot depends on your wife's cooperation and how you both progress. If your wife is willing to work with you (which you can find out as you progress in therapy), then there are many resources to help your marriage become better and grow like Marriage Encounters, books and other resources. It might be helpful to wait to see what your counselor's assessment is first of your situation before you consider trying other things with your wife. At this point, she might be too resistant to consider anything else anyway. But counseling may help her so she is more open to things.

Kate

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