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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
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I am a fairly private person and hold sacred the vows (to Honor)

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I am a fairly private person and hold sacred the vows (to Honor) of Holy Matrimony, so the fact that this problem has been going on for our entire marriage and even beforehand during our courtship is causing much concern. My husband talks about me behind my back constantly to his daughter. She then will tell her preteen children and new husband what her dad told her about me. My "weaknesses" are usually brought up at family gatherings, where the grandchildren chime in with the comments. Most times I am absolutely stunned at the revelations. I am then left feeling hurt and betrayed. As a Catholic I know I should not care what others think of me and I really do not. The problem is how do I trust (love) my husband who does not understand the hurt it causes.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 1 year ago.

Hi! I'll be glad to be of help with this issue.

I can imagine how hurtful this situation must be for you. I am understanding here that he is also Catholic and religious as you are. If that is the case, then he is certainly not acting within the framework of what the Bible sets out as holy and proper behavior: Doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. Even if he would not care about such revelations, that is still not doing unto others. That Biblical injunction refers to not causing the type of hurt that he would not want to have others do to him. So even if this doesn't cause him pain, it causes you pain, he's causing you pain. And that pain he would not want to experience himself no matter what would cause him such pain. That is what the Bible is requiring: that we not cause pain to others we wouldn't want to experience ourselves. And this is clearly not therapeutic pain. He's not doing this to help you in any therapeutic sense.

And this is one of the possibilities: if he does think that he's helping you overcome these shortcomings by setting up this roundabout way of relating them to you, he's very wrong in his approach. The hurt cancels out any benefit as I wrote above.

So, if what I've written is something you two can openly discuss, then that may be helpful in getting him to see how destructive he is being. If not, then you may need to consider going together to get counseling from a clergyman or a Catholic therapist to help convey this requirement for sensitivity.

Another approach that may help you is to talk to his daughter since you say you two have a good working relationship. If you can talk to her casually, then try it. You want to just tell her that you've noticed this about her dad and ask her if she experiences this in her marriage, where her husband says critical things about her to others. Tell her this is a new experience for you; you haven't seen this in your friends or in previous relationships.

In other words, you're trying to get her to see the situation from your point of view without being directly critical of her or her dad. That's the objective. And if she can indeed see your point of view, then ask her what her opinion is about what would help. She may be able to talk to her dad as a person in the triangulated relationship in an effective way.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

He is a Lutheran and attends Bible study on most Sundays. It is of utmost importance that I handle this properly as I wish to be a good example to him and all I know.


 


However, now it has turned to bullying. The unfair attacks and half-truths are said within ear shot during social gatherings. I do not respond to such accusations unless asked about it later by friends or family members.


 


I have talked to him about and even told him that this cruel and unusual punishment was grounds for divorce, (even though that is not what I want). He says he cannot remember saying such things, or denies it, so his bullying continues.


 


Rarely, have I had an apology. He sees nothing hurtful in his speech or behavior. He once told me his ex-wife thought he was selfish and that she was jealous of their daughter. So, this is nothing new.


 


I will try to talk to the daughter, but am hesitant because she has learned from him how to gossip and bully. Now the granddaughters are showing the same behavior. Thank you for your help, you nailed it, but as you can see it goes a little deeper.

Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 1 year ago.
This situation is much more serious and even more hurtful from what you've shared with me now. I am so sorry that you're going through this.



That he is denying and excusing his behavior now takes this out of the realm of "normal" relationship issues. If you can indeed talk with his daughter, then this is still a good attempt to make.


However, I'm concerned that to not have you become more and more frustrated, hurt and dissatisfied with this marriage, professional intervention is needed. I really think from what you've stated about his stonewalling that the best chance of the anger and hurt not escalating between you two is to get to couples therapy.


One type of therapy is called Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. Why this type for you? Because it focuses on how there have been created emotional barriers and how to get through those barriers. Here is the web address for their therapist finder:



http://iceeft.com/findtherapist.php

On the website you'll also find excellent books by the founders, Sue Johnson and Leslie Greenberg. There are not that many therapist who work in these therapies and so I recommended EFT couples therapy knowing that often it's a way to orient you on the type of work you want the therapist you do choose to focus on.

There are a number of Christian therapy associations that have directories. He's Lutheran, so he might be comfortable with a Catholic therapist or with a Christian therapist from one of the Christian associations. As for Catholic therapists, the directory I'm familiar with is:


http://www.catholictherapists.com/

Here is the web address for Psychology Today's therapist directory. You can sort by zip codes and when you see someone who seems like they might be helpful (they show you a photo of the therapist!) look at the listing and see if they list couples therapy in their orientations. see if they list Catholic or other Christian orientation. Interview the therapist and make sure he/she shares your values and you each feel confident in him or her.


http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/

Again, I very much hope you two will be able to find a way to turn this heartbreaking situation into a part of a stronger marriage for the future. But I believe you need to take action to make that happen.

I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for finally putting a name on it. I will research this topic.


 


Please understand that I have talked to a few professionals during the course of our marriage. I go by myself and am left feeling worst than before.


 


He said that if he went with me he said he could "lie" to the therapist. He also said that it is just a waste of money.


 


Something is not normal with him. His daughter and grandchildren see this. I fear this will only come back to haunt me if I talk to her about it.


 


Tomorrow I have a meeting with a new Spiritual Director, so I will see if she is that right person to help with this problem. Also, my doctor said if my husband keeps this up, to bring him in, so he (the doctor) can talk to him.


 

Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 1 year ago.
Again, I am so sorry you're going through this. It sounds as though perhaps there is a problem, as you say you recognize and his kids seem to recognize, that takes him out of the range of normal. It sounds as though it may be the case.


And if so, then you need to recognize the limits of your ability to bring normalcy into the relationship when he's not "normal". Do you see what I mean?


It's not a workable situation to attempt to get normal results through normal means when the person you're dealing with may not be normal. And so turning to professionals may be the only way to seek help here and talking with her may be the wrong move as you suggest. I can see that and support you in that.


This is indeed a difficult situation you're in. And remember that you didn't create these problems and that you're doing your best to help make things better. Good for you.


I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5170
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
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Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships