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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4427
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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Im married to my husband for 7 years, known him for 8 years.

Resolved Question:

I'm married to my husband for 7 years, known him for 8 years. I feel we've been falling apart lately. I started shutting him out of my emotional life since 2-3 years ago. He is 20 years older than me. In the beginning of our relationship, I noticed he was a neat freak and it sometimes felt abnormal to stay with him in his apartment. One experience was when he found ants in his apartment, he spent 4-5 hours cleaning out his apartment, also dumping the spices I brought over to his place to cook dinner, leaving only beer and lettuce in the fridge, and cancelling our date night.
With our first child, he was the most amazing father, very caring husband. Only we fought over the dishwasher as he wouldn't let me load it as I didn't do it right. Well, things progressively got worse over the years. He criticises me over the tiniest things. The reason why I'm writing this now is that he just criticised me for not paying the mechanic when he came over to the house to charge the car battery. I had to explain to him more than thrice that I had planned to go out this evening and planned to pay him when I was out with the kids.
I am a medical doctor who sacrificed her career for our family. He's been very good enough that he looked after our kids, 2 years when I was finishing medical school and 7 months for a short period of work. I've helped him look after his mom, who sadly passed away this year. And she had been more than a handful for us. She would have taken up a lot of his time for me and the kids. But I feel that every person should look after their parents and I only see it that he would do the same for me when it will be me looking after mine.
I only felt let down when he looked after his mom at the time our premature son was born and he was almost never there at the ICU with me to see our son. I felt like a single mom.
He would (most of the time) make decisions without me but pretend we decided together. If something is bothering him, I would know because he'll be in a foul mood. Recently he's coming home at later times around 8-9pm and he'll make comments like I don't think enough about him to have dinner ready. I'm struggling with 4 kids by myself and I've already told him if he comes home at totally unpredictable times I can't have his dinner warm on a plate just as he is coming in through the door.
He hardly ever helps me with the baby. And it's been a progressive decline in help with each subsequent child. He tells me that it must be very tiring for me to scratch my ass all day. He says he's joking but it feels very insensitive. When I had pains after birth, he would rub his two fingers together and say ' you see this, this is the world's smallest violin playing just for you'.
My main problems are that he doesn't listen to me, I feel he constantly puts me down and criticises me, it used to be at home, now it's starting to be public when we dine out with friends. I know something is wrong when I feel like I'm getting depressed, feeling like I never do anything right, I'm too stupid to make decisions, and I'm not good enough to be a mother. It makes me very sad but I feel like I have to go back to work just to escape my life at home. I was always a very optimistic person who was very focused and ambitious. Now I feel like a tree getting battered by strong winds.
I know my husband already has OCD type traits but I sometimes wonder if I am an emotionally abused person. I know his mom was very depressed and his father was condescending and incredibly stubborn. If my husband does emotionally abuse me, it might have been because he saw it as a child and nobody ever told him that it is wrong to treat your wife that way. My husband is very stubborn, and he would never listen to me.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 8 months ago.

Dr. Z :

Hello

Dr. Z :

I believe I can help you with your concern

Dr. Z :

Please give me a couple minutes to read through your question carefully, so that I can better assist you

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry to hear about how your husband treats you, I can understand why this would distress you.

Dr. Z :

This is definitely emotional abuse, and actually it appears that you husband may also have traits of a personality disorder called Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) as well, which is very severe and can explain how he is controlling, puts you down emotionally, does not take responsibility for his own actions, and his insensitivity to you

Customer:

I've talked to friends about it and I feel guilty about talking about him behind his back but if I tried to talk to him it feels like my words are bouncing off a wall.

Dr. Z :

I understand that you feel guilty, but your husband should not be treating you this way and you do deserve to be treated with respect and care. This has been emotionally exhausting for you and that is not fair to you

Customer:

I don't know if he is narcissistic. I wouldn't describe him that way. He can be very caring if he wants to be and not when he wants something from me.

Dr. Z :

That is why I think he has only traits of the disorder and not the entire disorder

Dr. Z :

Individuals with OCD are not typically this emotionally abusive or insensitive/uncaring, so that is why I believe there are some personality disorder elements there.

Customer:

Is it possible to have a blend of personality disorders? I never thought of NPD but I felt he had OCPD.

Dr. Z :

OCPD and OCD are very closely related so I definitely see elements of those there based on what you stated earlier.

Customer:

In your opinion, is there some way I can help our relationship? I feel that the quality of our relationship is very poor with almost no communication. I don't want our kids to grow up in a dysfunctional relationship and continue the vicious cycle.

Customer:

We live in Southern Europe where I believe they don't really take relationship problems as seriously as they would in North America.

Dr. Z :

I think the best way to repair your relationship is to seek couple's therapy. A therapist can help your husband understand how his communication style and emotional abuse is hurting you and the family as a whole and hopefully this will lead to a better and mutually respective communication style between you two that will help your relationship.

Dr. Z :

That is possible that they may not take relationship problems as seriously, but you two are a team and that means both of you must work towards repairing the relationship. One person cannot do all the work and expect results. He must also be motivated and dedicated to fix the relationship as much as you do

Customer:

My husband is very very VERY stubborn. He'll say that I'm the one with the problems and hormonal. He blamed it on my periods the last time I was angry at him for criticising me for accidentally spilling the wine.

Customer:

I will have to really threaten divorce for him to take me seriously of seeing a couple therapist.

Dr. Z :

Well you can start going to therapy by yourself as you can reap the benefits from individual sessions and many times spouses will join in later as they see a change in your behavior, but also want to know what you are talking about as well, this happens more often when you have a controlling spouse, which is why I think you husband would ask to join in on a session at one point

Customer:

Yes. I can see that happening with him. He is controlling.

Customer:

Thank you very much Dr. Z. It is a relief to finally talk to a professional and not having to burden my friends with my problems even though they've been very good to me.

Dr. Z :

Anytime, I am always happy to help. Is there anything else I can do for you?

Customer:

My husband is a good person. I just wished he had a normal childhood where his parents treated each other equally. I feel a lot of his behaviour originated from there. His brother also behaved the same way with his ex wife where he would always rubbished her opinion. I am a passive person coming from a culture where the wife would do as the husband says so it doesn't help. But in my case, even if we have huge arguments over his behaviour or my behaviour, it would not help. I don't want the kids to see us arguing like small children.

Dr. Z :

I understand this difficulty and it is not fair to you to suffer from this control and emotional abuse. Hopefully through therapy your husband will be able to understand the error in his ways and how his brother's marriage failed because of how his brother treated his wife and that if he truly cared for you, he would work on his behavior to show that he loves and cares for you. This will take time and I truly do hope that he can change his ways

Dr. Z :

You deserve better than this and you deserve a husband that will not exhibit this level of control and emotional abuse to you.

Customer:

Thank you. This conversation has been very good to me. I really felt today that I should pack my bags and leave with the kids.

Customer:

Had felt.

Dr. Z :

I understand that feeling you have and I do not disagree with it, but I can sense that you do care for your husband a lot and that is why I think therapy can help both of you, but if he is not committed to changing his behavior and putting more effort to listening and respecting your feelings, than you may one day have to leave him for him to truly understand that he has been wrong with the way he has been treating you.

Customer:

Thank you for listening.

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4427
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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