Have Mental Health Questions? Ask a Psychiatrist Online
Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).
I am sorry to know about this frustrating situation, which is obviously not comfortable but very frustrating for both of you.
You have been married for several years, and the issues she has listed come from the past 36 years, which is very concerning since it would show these are chronic concerns affecting your marriage, and apparently they have never truly been addressed. In your message you say she has this list with all these words from past events that you cannot remember at all because of how long ago they happened, but if they have been going on to the present, i assume you do remember the most recent ones, don't you' and based on that you should be able to better assess how abusive you may have been verbally and emotionally without being much aware of it for this long.
You said that maybe you have said these things, but that you really do not know and that's what leads you to feel this frustrated, since your wife feels frustrated that new incidents would happen and it would be all over again without any real solution.
My suggestion here would be for each of you to consider a more proactive approach, where you take full responsibility for your past and present actions (words and feelings included), and from there consistently work on being more mindful about what you say, do and the way you react to each other, and specially not delaying, avoiding or denying any issue that may arise, Instead, you would immediately address it, learn from it, in order for problems and uncomfo.rtable situations not to become bigger issues, fueled by past chronic issues, which could only undermine your communication, mutual trust and respect
then it is not only about watching what you say, but being truly mindful, what would allow you to stop yourself before you may hurt your wife verbally or emotionally, redirecting your feelings and actions towards healthy, acceptable, empathic and more constructive ways of venting, sharing and coping with painful or stressful situations.
Does it make sense?
This list would never continue growing if each of you choose to start addressing things as soon as they arise, when they are still fresh to your memory, sensitivity and reality, that way you could learn from them, make immediate changes, and avoid perpetuating the same pattern for even longer.
The last argument is over the fact that my wife and her friend were going to look at a house and she said she would be 30 min she left at 530 and came home at 745 I pointed at my watch and said do you know what time it is. We have been fighting for three days and this has made her very emotional. I new as soon as I pointed at my watch I was in trouble I should not have said it but it was to late my mistake.
Did you happen to ask her before pointing at your watch, how was it, if everything went fine, giving her the chance to explain and share?
No I didnt but I do see your point . I understand what you are saying and will watch what I say from now on and I will work at it but sometime it isnt even a word that sets this off sometime it can be just a look on my part and she breaks down. Thank you for your advice I will work at it
A core issue here is how a simple thing could take this much from your harmony and mental-emotional health this fast. I believe it could be this way because of having been avoiding working on past issues for too long, and now you just react and try to make some damage control but it doesn't work, since each of you are already too susceptible or afraid-defensive.
I support you, since taking full responsibility for everything that depends on you is the most assertive and effective way to work on real changes and improvements. You have no power to control the way she feels and reacts, but you can and should be careful and totally accountable for your words, feelings, actions and reactions, modeling the very behaviors you need and want her to develop.
Because I cant remember the past issues how can I go back and resolve them she is almost insisting we do
Marriage counseling could be an ideal source of support facilitating this dialogue with an effective structure, objectivity and concrete tools for you to work on making changes in proactive ways. Whenever it is about chronic or serious marital issues, I recommend it.
Then seriously consider counseling, it would allow her to vent without getting trapped into the past, but healing and learning from it, the same for you. It could the the best way to work on it, without falling into the illusion of blaming, resentment, or any other destructive feeling that could never help, but only hurt both spouses and their relationship.
We have had counseling in the past and our counseler has suggested that my wife is a little to emotional over some things but that I need to be more atuned to these emosions
Thank You for your help and I will try to be more open to her emotions and feelings
Marital issues arise from unresolved personal problems and differences that trigger or get triggered by each other, thus the way to approach marital conflict should always begin by working on personal issues, making changes at that level, then the spouses team work would become realistic and flow, since each of you would take full responsibility for what depends on each of you, ending any blaming, punishing, or hurting each other in any direct or indirect way. Individual counseling is the way to go for that.Thank you for your trust.
I hope you a productive and healing process. Take gentle care.
Thank you for your help