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Constant negativity is driving me away....


Dewboy

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Ok, so here it goes. Wife and I have been married a little over 2 years and we dated for about a year prior to getting married. We had a lot of issues through dating and into marriage that I do not think really got resolved. We went to pre-marital counseling, read countless books, had many discussions to try and reach resolution and I even went to a few counseling sessions by myself to see if I was the issue. Somehow through all of this pre and post marital drama we have still managed to stay together but it’s a constant struggle/battle.

 

Her main issue with me is that I do not initiate affection enough and tells me that she needs me to step up and flirt with her, hold hands, cuddle, initiate sex, etc. I do this but she tells me it’s too infrequent and not enough. I get where she is coming from and I will admit that I am not very good so to speak in that department but I am and do try. However there is a huge barrier that prevents me from being successful in this…actually a couple. Let me explain. She is miserable unhappy and sick all the time….and I mean all the time. Ever since I first met her she has complained about her job, the people at her job, the unfairness. She also constantly complains about everything under the sun on a daily basis. The waiter was rude, the dr. office receptionist was rude, the kids were on the worst behavior today (she’s a teacher), I didn’t get any help today, I didn’t get any sleep last night, etc. This is all coupled with her medical issue complaints….I’m nauseous, I’m dizzy, my stomach hurts, my ear hurts, etc. At least 3 days out of the week she will come home and go to bed about 7pm because she is so over tired. With her neurotic behavior, constant complaining and chronic illnesses, I find it very hard, if not impossible to be romantic or initiate anything. It has the exact opposite effect. It makes me withdraw and not want to be around her…it’s depressing.

 

Now to her credit she does have various medical issues and I fully understand that she cannot control that portion of her life but at some point she needs to do her best to deal with these issues and move forward. She literally brings up her ailments and “bad day” issues every 30 minutes it feels like. This naturally places her in a grumpy mood daily and she bites my head off and her daughter’s heads off for the smallest infractions because she is ill and only slept for 2hrs last night. She makes sure she lets us know that she has only slept for 2hrs on the hour every hour.

 

It seems to be getting worse and worse and I am getting more and more resentful with each passing day. I have told her in the past various times that her constant negativity is depressing me and stressing me out. I literally will leave work laughing with my co-workers and when I step out of my truck there she is standing in the garage “you are never going to believe this…worst day ever!” It seems every year trumps the previous year as worst year of her life and its driving me bananas. When I have confronted her about this in the past she has said that I am her husband and she should be able to tell me these things. I agreed but told her she should not be having “bad days” 6 out of the 7 days of the week. I honestly cannot recall a time when she told me she had a good day….ever! I have even suggested that she try a new occupation or go on a girl’s night out. She accused me of trying to get her to quit doing what she loves and she doesn’t have girlfriends that I know of so that’s out the window.

She has told me in the past that she is just “telling” me about her day and not venting or complaining but I disagree. She told me in the past to just tell her that she is being negative when she starts doing this because she doesn’t know that it bothers me. So here we are. She has been fussing/complaining nonstop for about 3 weeks straight and I finally told her that her negativity is bothering me and now she is defensive and not talking to me. She told me that if she can’t talk to me about work then there’s nothing to talk about. She even said we are not right for each other and that I should cancel the cruise we have scheduled in January. So now she is giving me the cold shoulder and only answering with “yes” or “no” when I ask her a question….so childish. I am at my wits end with this. Suggestions?

 

On a side note I am sure some of you will say “maybe she is clinically depressed” or “maybe she needs individual counseling”. This may be but I have brought that up in the past and she just feels like I don’t like who she is and I am unable to deal with her personality so ultimately the blame comes back around to me.

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wow..this just about word for word duplicates my situation with me and my wife. I have battled this very same issue and taken the same steps as you and here I am almost 11 years into a marriage I am considering ending. Its sad and depressing and I nothing I can say or do ever seems to help. I am always the bad guy that cant except the way God created my wife. I what point to my feelings and my needs need to be excepted. Best of luck to you brother. I hope it works out for you. If it doesn't then I hope you are able to do whatever it is that makes you happy. Contrary to what everyone else says, husbands need to be loved back too.

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One mistake people make is thinking their spouse ought to be their own personal 'toxic emotional waste dump'. It is not your job to be a lightning rod for her stress or negativity. It is expected that a spouse will provide support on occasion when there is true reason to be unhappy, but if it is a constant and every day emotional dump session then that is not fair to you since you are not a therapist, and it can and will wreck a relationship as you are discovering.

 

So your first move should be INSISTING that she go to marriage counseling with you, with the express purpose of talking about her constant negativity and complaining and for the therapist to evaluate her and come up with some strategies to teach her how to become more positive and deal with stress without using you as a constant dumping ground. And if she won't agree to go, then I think your choice is clear that you can't live your whole life under this cloud, and you will probably have to make the hard choice to leave if she won't agree to try to fix her own negativity.

 

One must teach children not to whine, or they become adults who whine, and for a good relationship and happy marriage/home, you need it to be a relatively 'whine-free' zone most of the time. She needs to learn the difference between immature whining and appropriate emotional sharing with a spouse/child.

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Thanks all. I have a feeling she will not be too receptive to the post marital counseling sessions but I see no other options besides checking out. I'm sure this will somehow be turned back around on me and she will play the "if you would just show me more affection...maybe i would be a happier person!" card. Thanks again for the feedback/suggestions.

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When someone is clearly wrong (as she is if she's constantly dumping on you), then you can't be sensitive to her criticism, i.e., don't let it get to you if she tries to turn it back around on you. You don't have to accept that criticism from her, because it is not your job to 'fix' her feelings, she must learn to fix her own.

 

My ex-husband was like this, and when we went to marriage counseling the counselor point blank told him that he needed to learn to manage his own emotions and negativity, because that attitude is a form of mental abuse when constantly directed at a spouse... so your wife bullies you into compliance and catering to her via constantly wounding you with her negativity, and that just isn't fair to you at all. She may love to play the martyr and try to make managing her emotions your responsibility, but it just isn't.

 

In my case I eventually got divorced because my ex just didn't really want to improve and wanted to be pampered like a baby 24x7, and he could be as petulant and whiny as one too. I got sick of it and eventually left and was immediately relieved to be out from under that black cloud of his. But you should give her the opportunity to fix this in marriage counseling, but if she won't fix it and won't even try, then I think that is your clue to move on unless you want to live a life of doom and gloom and constantly twisting yourself into a pretzel to try to get her to be in a better mood.

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At the end of the day, we each own how we choose to act. Let her know that when she blames you.

 

This saying has a really good message behind it. We can't control how things make us feel but we can control how we react to it. I was actually able to use this with her last night......it did not resonate with her as it did with me.....

 

Her: You know, i cant control how often I'm sick and the things that happen to me daily.

Me: You are right and I agree that you cannot control those things but you can control how you react to the things out of your control.

Her: .......yeah so i guess my only options are to just not be married or just keep my mouth shut

 

She is still being very short with me and acting very depressed. I come home and try to make small talk or tell her about something funny i saw or heard and she just looks at me with this deer in the headlights look and answers with either a yes or no. She did tell me about yet another negative situation at her job but was quick to say "I'm not complaining...just telling you whats going on in my life".

 

Her outlook at the moment is ...if i cant talk about all the stuff that bothers me daily with my husband, then there is nothing to talk about.

 

I did tell her last night that for the record I never said that you could not talk to me about "bad days" and things that bother you but when your bad days are 6 out 7 days a week...thats not healthy for either of us. Once again she replied with "thats why I just need to keep my mouth shut".

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Honestly, if you were to say to her "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" how long do you think it would be before she had something?

 

Some people just like to be miserable, and choose to only see the miserable things. And after a while they're so trained to do this, it's almost impossible for them to see anything good, because it all goes through the misery filter.

 

If she wasn't ill, do you think she would be happy?

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Honestly, if you were to say to her "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" how long do you think it would be before she had something?

 

Some people just like to be miserable, and choose to only see the miserable things. And after a while they're so trained to do this, it's almost impossible for them to see anything good, because it all goes through the misery filter.

 

If she wasn't ill, do you think she would be happy?

 

That's just it. She ALWAYS has something to complain/vent about. If it's not her job its her part time job, if it's not her illnesses it's her lack of sleep, if all that is good it's the level of service the waitress is giving or being constantly interrupted by her daughters or how rude her own mother is to her.....sources for complaints are endless. I have never in my life met such a negative person.

 

To her credit she has been dealt a pretty crappy hand in life prior to me (serious back surgery, 2 prior abusive husbands and raising 2 kids with no child support. Medical problems just about every few months. I get it but at the same time you have to get it together and move forward and do the best with what you have. When I met her she was a single mother of two who was broke all the time, bad credit and had a car that was breaking down every two weeks. Flash forward to today.....brand new home we purchased together, new car and I am covering over half of all the household bills. You would think that she would be like "wow...life is so much better now but no she is miserable everyday and it's getting worse each year.

 

I am the complete opposite....I take things with a grain of salt and get over bad situations within the hour usually. I refuse to live under a rain cloud my entire life and it's depressing being around people who choose to do so. When I first met her the signs were there looking back on things but they were not as exposed as they are today. I guess in my mind I thought she would become a happier person in time as we started to establish our life together......I missed the mark on that one.

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I think the problem is that you're treating her like a guy. Guys talk about problems when there are solutions to be had and they need help. Girls talk about problems to get sympathy and get their feelings validated.

 

She's not trying to be negative, she's just trying to have you say how concerned you are about her. So she tries something small, and gets nothing from you. Then she tries something bigger, like this:

“you are never going to believe this…worst day ever!”

And instead of sympathy, she gets a response that lets her know how an awful negative person she is.

 

You could try watching this 42second video:

link removed

 

Now it's to the point you've told her that she shouldn't even try to get sympathy from you, so she's giving you the cold shoulder.

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I think the problem is that you're treating her like a guy. Guys talk about problems when there are solutions to be had and they need help. Girls talk about problems to get sympathy and get their feelings validated.

 

She's not trying to be negative, she's just trying to have you say how concerned you are about her. So she tries something small, and gets nothing from you. Then she tries something bigger, like this:

“you are never going to believe this…worst day ever!”

And instead of sympathy, she gets a response that lets her know how an awful negative person she is.

 

You could try watching this 42second video:

link removed

 

Now it's to the point you've told her that she shouldn't even try to get sympathy from you, so she's giving you the cold shoulder.

 

I appreciate your insight but i disagree. i never said i have never empathized with her. i just said that she never has anything to talk about but negative scenarios. I have listened to these same complaints for a couple of years now. I have listened and responded back with understanding and acknowledgment. Saying things like "I understand" or "I'm sorry that happened to you" or "wow that stinks" Most people after getting things off of thier chest move on. she constantly brings the same issues forth day after day after day.

 

Are you telling me i should validate her feelings on the same issues everyday of the week? i would think that would wear down almost anyone...

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I know what you're saying, and as a guy it seems totally insane. I've dealt with this too, day after day, it's either unsolvable problems or problems we just solved yesterday and didn't need to solve again, or a string of unrelated problems that have nothing to do with each other, or even a long list of unnecessary details that have nothing to do with the problem. And just when you start solving one, another one is brought up that has nothing to do with the last one. So then I started reading this book after she recommended it to me:

 

link removed

 

Apparently this is normal for women. It's not even about the problem, or about solving it, or about the fact that it was solved five minutes ago. I just stood there, agreed on how it was a problem and how I felt bad for her. The problem was still there, but she walked off so happy like it got solved. If I ever did this to a guy he would never share another problem with me again. But with women, that's usually what they're looking for. For us, the equivalent is we play or watch something to get our mind off of our problems. Women talk about them, which is stressful to us, but it somehow "solves" it for them.

 

I recommend reading the book, cause I did something else here. I said you didn't do something and you gave an example of a time that you did. As a guy, I totally agree that you did and would say the same myself. But to a girl, it's about the state you're in now, it's about you doing it regularly, and not just a couple of times in the past.

 

In short the answer to your question:

"Are you telling me i should validate her feelings on the same issues everyday of the week? i would think that would wear down almost anyone... "

 

Is yes, that's what they do for each other, every day. Good luck. The other suggestion I was going to give was "Depression and Crazy 8's" but you didn't say she gets angry a lot.

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No it's not. It's really, really not.

 

Really? It really isn't? Do you feel most women aren't like that?

 

The info I pointed out is listed here too:

link removed

 

" One example is men's complaint that if they offer solutions to problems that women bring up in conversation, the women are not necessarily interested in solving those problems, but want mainly to talk about them."

 

Do you feel that most women talk about their problems cause they seek solutions? I'm highly interested in your ideas and why you think they're true.

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Because I am a woman and I know women. Some people you talk to for support, some for advice, some for both. That goes for men and women both.

 

 

 

I'd be more interested in whyu you think a wiki link to a book someone is trying to sell would carry more weight than first hand advice.

 

That book is well... kind of a joke.

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Have you ever read about the link removed? It might help you both learn how to make the other feel more loved, as each of us has our own language that demonstrates that. I always considered myself a fairly good partner, but this was a real eye-opener for me, as I hadn't realized when I wasn't getting/giving what was needed to feel *really* loved, and how much that impacted both parties world view (positive vs. negative). Cheesy as it sounds, it makes a huge difference.

 

It sounds like you are both committed to your relationship, and have put a lot of work into it.

 

Some people are chronic complainers - and have something of a victim mentality. Instead of viewing themselves as part of the world, it's the world vs. them. Unfortunately, they are the only ones who can change that mindset, but sometimes pointing out that they have the mindset will open their mind to doing so. I know a lot of super negative people who don't realize they are super negative...and gentle positives have helped make a difference with them. Not sure if it would for your wife, but might be worth a try.

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Mari- I agree with your thought process but i do disagree that all women respond/behave this way. I have read when Mars and Venus collide (same author). I do believe that "most" women just want empathy and someone to listen to them but I am middel aged and have had a few relationships and can say without a doubt that not all women complain/vent to the same degree. I have never had this issue in the past with anyone I have been with no matter how long or short the realtionship was. She of course argues the opposite side of the coin and claims she has never been with anyone with my behaviors lol.I just find it incredibly difficult to believe that there are men out there that would tolerate/cater to this daily...it's maddening. I'm sure your suggestions would help ease some tensions but I cannot honestly sit here and say that this is something I could do for the rest of my life. Doesnt mean I do not love her...it's just incredibly draining...not to mention I am an introvert so its 10 fold.

 

 

Liraele- Yes I have read the 5 love languages but i do not feel like it addressed this particular issue. Thanks for the suggestion tho.

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When I initially read it I didn't think it was true. But for my small sample size it has worked and has been pretty accurate. I didn't think it would actually work, but it did and I was really confused as to why. As a guy, having another guy understand and sympathize with me does nothing. He better have a solution. So this whole, presenting problems for getting support thing never clicked with me until this book. I don't present problems unless I need a solution, I will talk about how it's difficult to be in my situation when I want sympathy.

 

But from your sample size I would say this isn't true. You aren't presenting problems to gain sympathy, only to get a solution.

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Were the other women you were with introverted as well and is this person different?

 

Some were some were not but no one compares to my current wife. she is different from anyone I have ever met. She is hyper sensitive and highly neurotic. I like to joke around and my humor is sarcastic. If I pick at her in fun she takes it as a personal attack and takes it to heart even if I tell her that I was only kidding or just "poking fun". She is like this with everyone tho, not just me. Example: I opened her car door one day and trash literally fell out on the ground. I jokingly said we should probably ask the trash pick up service to take care of her car the next trip around.....she got angry and then started crying, telling me that she does the best she can and she is busy and she doesn't like having a messy car but her life is so busy. I apologized but she continued pushing the issue by asking me over and over why I would make a joke at her expense.

 

She constantly tells me night after night that some part of her body hurts and that she is extremely tired. If I give empathy or sympathy it doesn't stop. She goes on repeating it to everyone in the house the remainder of the night. If her daughters give her attitude she then directs her anger on everyone in the house saying things like "look I have had no sleep for 3 nights in a row and I had the worst day of my life at work today so people need to cut me some slack!". Just the other night her 18 year old daughter left her shoes out so she looks at me and her 11yr old daughter and says "you know If I didn't have to pick up after everyone in the house I could actually do MY work".....and then walks off angrily.

 

It's getting worse each year and now her daughters are coming to me privately and is asking what her problem is. I cannot deal with this much longer.

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Maybe this sounds lame but there are some very very good books out there on how to combat negativity and I believe some deal with the marital context. If I didn't actively work on my tendency to be pessimistic/anxious/negative I could act like your wife -it's scary. One thing that works for me is to understand that even if I don't say a word, if I'm feeling negative that energy will permeate the house so I even work on my reactions to silly things like not being able to find what I need to make breakfast in a hurry, that sort of thing. It's a challenge but once you're aware and conscious of the unnecessary negativity it's much easier to put things in perspective. But here's the thing -your wife cannot hear this from you and won't listen to it from you. Is she willing to go back to counseling? Would she be willing to read a book on the subject? So many of her health issues would decrease/go away even if she could change her mindset. And certainly it's not fair for your children to grow up among such negativity.

 

Best of luck to you.

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This is exactly why people should NOT get married so soon! A year is way too little time to figure out if your compatable or not.. and you and your wife are not.

 

Im with my bf 5 years and i know know he is my life, the one, my everything, my best friend, my lover, the only person i trust completely.. he makes me soo happy but ive only known that for 100% sure around a year.. it took 4 years to know without a doubt hes the one

 

when it all happens too fast it ends in tears. I would say break up but marriage vows are serious! Maybe counselling first??

 

Sorry im not saying all this to make you feel bad. Just wish people didnt rush things

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I don't agree that a year is too little time. For some people it is, or if you're long distance it might be. Sure, if you're talking two months then maybe but again it depends on the individual couple. A year is a good amount of time because you at least get to see them through all the holidays/seasons/celebrations and it's more likely that life changing events happen over the course of a year (job loss, loss of a family member or illness, etc) rather than less than a year. I'm glad you spent the time you needed to be sure of course but I don't think you can generalize as you do. I also know of divorces that occur after the couple lived together for years prior.

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