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Ask TherapistMaryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5809
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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Hi Kate, I thought this would be easy, but the break

Resolved Question:

Hi Kate,
I thought this would be easy, but the break I am giving the marriage is making the unhealthy part of it that much more evident. it hurts and I must cry at times. He tries to be nice at times, but still does solo single man activities. Today he told me he felt the tension.
I said "why bother telling you, your only going to deny it.". He told me I was holding things inside, and that is what is wrong with me. when I got angry and told him to leave me alone, he called me sick and I yell "leave me alone and must leave the scene when he becomes judgmental. That's when he called me sick.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 4 years ago.
Hi Dee,

It sounds like you are in a lot of pain. I agree, backing away has probably brought out a lot of the issues in the marriage that need dealt with. However, it seems that instead of helping the situation he is trying to blame you for taking the break and saying emotionally cruel things to hurt you.

It is common for emotionally abusive people to blame others for the dysfunction they cause in a relationship. They have a difficult time seeing that it is their own behavior that is the issue. Instead, they lash out and become upset at the person they are hurting. A lot of it has to do with a lack of insight, which allows the person to hurt others but not deal with the consequences of the pain they cause.

What can help is to focus on your own feelings and to try to not interact with your husband unless you have to and keep your comments to things that are logical and unemotional. That will provide an emotional break from his comments and the hurt and pain from your interactions with him. Instead, write out your feelings in a journal or on paper, letting all of your feelings out, even if you are uncomfortable with them. That way, you can express what you feel and not keep it bottled up inside.

Also, try to connect with others in your life that are more healthy emotionally. If there is anyone who can provide positive feedback to you or who is kindhearted, try seeing that person more often. You want to take out the negative and put in the positive. By doing that, you can heal.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I will continue trying to do the things you've mentioned,
in fact, I've been connecting with my friends and are out and about more often. (within my limits of illness)
I just have moments which are very difficult because he is home this week.
Ok I will remember logical and unemotional.

I'm afraid instead of an end result of improved marriage due to the break, he will continue on his path of occasionally tossing me a bone, but mostly going about his own business. What I mean is this destructive path would be easier for him to maintain than it would be for me, and he will settle for it because he does not know what else to do.

That leads me to wonder if because of his lack of insight he will simply give up trying. am I wrong? If I occasionally respond to his minor attempts, should that give him more hope for the future rather than give up, or is it better to continue with the 2 month break I told myself about.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The goal was to take a break from the unhealthy aspect of it and regain my autonomy and dignity (in between episodes of grief)
Yet, I am not sure this break will make him uncomfortable enough to make a positive change, rather he would give up and settle for status quo. That is what scares me, by giving him no positive reinforcement
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I think it may come down to the cost to benefit ratio? Putting up with a lot and getting little, not sure.
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 4 years ago.
It is not easy to maintain your distance and not worry about the consequences of what you are trying to do with the break. It may help to keep in mind that you are trying to change a long term pattern with his behavior towards you and your response to it. It takes time to change patterns that have been around a long time.

For now,, he may seem like he will continue on the same path. He probably does not know what to do instead. His need to attack you emotionally shows that he may not know another way to address the issues between you. But you make a good point- by responding to the occasional efforts he makes at being nice to you, you are reinforcing what path he should take instead of being mean to you and showing him how you want to be treated by him. If you can keep doing that, you may have success in getting him to change. Along with building your own self esteem and continuing to develop your own social circle and interests, should help him see that change is needed. He would not continue to engage with you, even in a negative way, if he was not interested in some way in the relationship.

TherapistMaryAnn and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks for help and being there for me.
I hope you have a happy and healthy new year.
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 4 years ago.
You're welcome, Dee and thank you :) Hang in there. You are doing the right thing.

Happy New Year to you too!


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