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Heidi LPC
Heidi LPC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 278
Experience:  Licensed Professional Counselor
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I have been married four years and we have two toddlers. My

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I have been married four years and we have two toddlers. My husband is kind but he is constantly distracted mostly with work. He owns his business and is constantly calling or texting so much that I can't have a complete conversation with him. I can be starting a sentence and he picks up his phone. He tells me "one second" all day long while he stares at his phone. It's not just that either; as soon as the kids are in bed he falls asleep on the couch-while I'm in mid-sentence! He can stay awake if he's talking to someone about work, but if it's me he's out as soon as I try to say something. It's not like I've been monologuing for 10 minutes-I mean he's asleep before I get my first sentence out. He will only stay alert if his phone rings. I have spoken to him about this for the last 3.5 years and he goes between denying he does this to saying sorry, but nothing has changed. There are other ways in which I feel dismissed by him as well but I can't list every example. I just feel he doesn't take me seriously. I should mention before we married I was a physician, but I gave up my career to raise our children and now I can't be taken seriously in my own home. My confidence is zero. I don't want my old career back, but I need a way to make my husband realize I am to be taken as seriously as his work. I should mention I don't bother trying to talk about as many things as I used to find interesting because I can't keep his focus for more than a few moments before the phone rings or he picks it up to text, or call someone, so I have learned to suppress my need to converse. This leaves me with not having any interesting conversation at home. I feel like a shell of the person I was. I really have tried to discuss this in a neutral tone so many times. Besides all the other ways I'm shown how I get the leftover time he has available thus is probably the most irritating.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Heidi LPC replied 5 years ago.
Heidi LPC :

Hi there! I am hoping to help you problem solve here this evening... it sounds like an extremely frustrating situation, no doubt... and you say you have continually asked him to stop interrupting you by taking calls, etc?

Heidi LPC :

I am wondering if you have also simply walked away when he ignores you, and what his response is to this?

Customer: I have. If I'm angry he notices why. Ifi don't show I'm angry he has no idea. When he realizes he says he just had to send this one text or email and the tells me a whole work story.
Heidi LPC :

This is my thought: you are an intelligent, motivated woman who has temporarily lost her power. Your career was a powerful one, and you temporarily shelved it to be a mom... and you feel powerless in your relationship, and probably as you say, a bit less than yourself as a "shell of a person". What we need to do here is take the focus off of him for a minute and shine a light on you... finding ways for you to get some power back in some way.

Heidi LPC :

His behavior is disrespectful... and you can no longer allow yourself to be a victim of disrespect.

Customer: I'm taking classes online for a new degree but I have to do my work around two toddlers who are very active. When he works from home he sits in his office with the door closed while I sit in the living room trying to study with two kids screaming. I really do feel powerless and have no idea what to do...
Customer: We have a babysitter but I can't afford more than a few hours per week and that's not enough to get all my work done and he comes home so late I have usually gotten the kids to bed on my own at that point.
Heidi LPC :

First, there needs to be a firm boundary put in place; you have to somehow lay down your concerns and state that you will no longer tolerate this disrespect. When he turns away, you will, as well. You will immediately call someone who loves you and chat... or go online and connect with a friend... or go out for a walk... or go to bed and read... the reaction has to be somewhat immediate and different, and a kind of a shock to him. Don't talk... he isn't responding to this. Act... withdraw... do something comforting for yourself as a response.

Heidi LPC :

Send the message non-verbally... you will have to of course tell him once that you are un-plugging from this relationship unless he takes you seriously.

Heidi LPC :

Second, you need to gain some power otherwise... are you taking good care of your body right now? With little ones, I know this is challenging... but are you a runner, or walker, etc...?

Customer: I am trying to do that lately but I still feel emotional about it. I have a hard time not crying and then he says sorry and it starts all over again. I'm afraid if I become unemotional about it I will not be able to come back into the marriage whole again...
Customer: I've started working out, I joined a gym and I bring them with me there is babysitting there.
Heidi LPC :

Don't worry.... you will. But, if you do all the work, it leaves nothing for him to do to take the relationship, and you, seriously. He has to face the fact that you are serious about expecting some respect. Although you are smart enough to know that you can't ever put your eggs totally in anyone else's basket, and you have to take ownership of your own feelings of insecurity or powerlessness, you still deserve to be treated as a valuable asset, and as his friend. He wouldn't treat a friend this way, and you are not just an expendable piece of paper... and he may have to discover this through a temporary disconnect in order to be made aware of your value to him.

Heidi LPC :

While in a disconnected period of time, you have to maybe just focus on you and the kids. I know it sounds a little intense, or scary, but it is temporary... it is "you" time.

Customer: I will try to find things to enjoy on my own and as you said "unplug" thank you
Heidi LPC :

And, I am glad to hear that you joined the gym, etc... this gives you power, physically and emotionally...

Heidi LPC :

Trust me; sometimes when we talk to our partners without acting, they see us as filled with idle threats. It takes action to make a point, for them to take us seriously... he sounds like as you said, a kind and nice enough man, but limits to behavior must be enforced! I know you can do it!! :-)

Customer: Thanks for your help.
Heidi LPC :

My pleasure! Let me know how it goes! This chat will remain in your "my questions" tab to access it again at any point, and find your power, girl!! :-)

Customer: :) thanks.
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