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Ask TherapistMaryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5821
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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Kate, I hope you are well today. This I hope is quick.

Resolved Question:

I hope you are well today. This I hope is quick. Why do I push, and push? I am learning to be more assertive through therapy, but when he blocks, denies, and defends, I keep pushing. It's no good, because Although I'm letting my anger out, I'm keeping the dysfunction going by trying to communicate with someone who is unwilling or unable. I pushed him out of the house yesterday and today. Don't get me wrong, if he responded with care and respect, I would be such a pusher.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 4 years ago.
Hi Dee! I'm glad you wrote today.

When you deal with a relationship that is abusive, it often causes you to feel you have no control. At this point in your relationship, your husband has controlled everything- how much you feel loved, cared about, how you interact and to an extent, your life because your mobility is restricted. So in a way, your husband has a lot of control. And with how he treats you, he also can make you feel bad.

By pushing him emotionally, it may be your way of trying to gain some control over the situation. Anyone who pushes wants to communicate their needs to the other person. And because there is a limited amount you can do to get your husband's attention, pushing may seem the best way to get his attention. It can also be fueled by the amount of anger and fear you have about your relationship.

You may also want him to care about you. Since he treats you in ways that are hurtful and that make you feel unloved, pushing might seem like a way to get him to pay attention to your needs and maybe give you some hope that you could change him. Since communication between you is hurtful to you, this may be the only way to communicate with him about how you feel.

Eventually, as you work on how you feel in therapy and realize your own needs and how to meet them without your husband, you will be able to stop pushing as much. It might help you to see that pushing is an expression of need. Identify what you feel you need then find ways you want to address those needs that would make you feel better. While it seems logical to try to get your husband to change and meet those needs, it is unlikely he will be able to do that. So meeting them yourself through other relationships or your own self care is the next best way to heal.

TherapistMaryAnn and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you.
I've read your entry a couple of times, and it makes sense.
I thought I was pushing out of anger, fear of being controlled and grief, but you've mentioned need.
Angry about the lack of care, but when his care is given (mostly in a perfunctory way), I don't trust it.
I am still holding onto hope, even though I logically know it's not possible?
if so, that needs to change.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I'm taking my anger out on him for what he can't give me, but that means I am trying to extract care from him?
I thought it was just a path of coming to terms with it, I'm obviously confused.
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 4 years ago.
Yes, it is very possible to keep holding on to hope. Not only that he will change but that you might be able to change him. And that is very normal to feel. Who wants to face that the situation has no hope? That is very hard to do. So it makes sense to keep trying. But if you are being hurt then working on how you feel and finding new ways to move away from the relationship is healthier for you.

You can be both angry at him and still want to be loved and cared about. That is no unusual at all in a relationship. And because he hurts you and won't meet you needs, you have both feelings at the same time. That is partly why the marriage is dysfunctional. He doesn't allow your feelings and needs to be met.

TherapistMaryAnn and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Why is it I can't articulate it in such a way as you do? Very good Kate.
I suppose I am learning what is happening through you and through therapy. next, I get mad about it, and express it to him, only to get more of the same treatment and behavior. I've got to learn to express myself minimally, even if he becomes inflamatory, and move away from the fire. (In a way, I derived some pleasure from pushing him), but I've hurt myself in the process, and lowered my integrity in my own eyes. I wish I were not feeling foolish and shameful for wishing for something that is only bad for myself. I understand the reasons, I just wish I would move a little quicker on moving on instead of going backwards.
Thanks much again
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 4 years ago.
Thank you Dee :) That is nice to hear.

Your reaction to what is going on in your marriage is very normal. The anger you feel is a reaction to how much you have been hurt. Anger helps you cover the pain and to express your feelings. It also helps you feel more in control. And there is nothing wrong with that. It is normal to react with anger when you get hurt because it is a defense to the pain. It helps to keep others from hurting you more.

Expressing your feelings to him is also normal. But at this point, he is not going to respond how he needs to respond, which is with love and concern. Men who abuse rarely understand normal needs unfortunately. So finding ways to help yourself and get your needs met will help you feel less disappointment and pain.

I'm sorry you have to go through this Dee. This is not easy. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
That's interesting how you've mentioned anger helps cover the pain.

Your nonjudgmental, and you are one of the few who pick up situations with such clarity.

I hope you have a good rest of the weekend.

Thanks again.
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 4 years ago.
Thank you Dee!

I hope the rest of your weekend goes well too. Take care. Be good to yourself. You deserve it!