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I don't know where to start, so I will just put it simply. To preface this, I have never experienced this with anyone in life before. I've never heard of others going through something similar so it may sound bizarre. Whenever something is bothering me, no matter the emotion, if it isn't positive--I can't share it with my husband or he gets ANGRY. I can approach him with my feelings in the least problematic way, and generally try to. But it doesn't matter. For example, today I have felt down and I try to bring it up to him by asking "did I do something wrong? I'm feeling pretty lonely and sad and you seem distant." He got angry, yelling at me that nothing traumatic happened to me, so I shouldn't be sad. I told him I just needed a friend and companionship and he yelled saying we spend too much time together as is and that it isn't normal. He says I'm projecting my negative emotions onto him, and that if I feel like I am sad or lonely then I need to get a friend because he can't deal with being around someone who's bringing him down. Now he is angry with me and is giving me the silent treatment. Reading it back, it seems like I'm leaving out details but that's literally how it went. From 0 to 100 because I voiced being upset. Another example is from when my Dad died a couple of months ago. After about four days, he accused me of sulking and told me I need to get over it because I wasn't close enough to him to be so upset. We had a complicated relationship but the loss was still painful and I've since felt like I have to grieve in silence. I feel completely alone sometimes. He tells me that it's unfair to attack him with emotions when I'm feeling depressed, and that I need a therapist. I don't understand where his anger is coming from. I don't know what I can do differently. If I ask, he will tell me to give it a rest and that I'm draining him. This response is what I'm met with any time I try to bring up any emotions when I'm feeling anything less than happy or good. I've been forced into silence and I catch myself faking good moods to avoid the anger. 

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I'm really sorry he was so uncaring about your father and I am sorry he passed. I had a complicated relationship with mine and he passed 5 years ago.  I oddly find myself thinking about him more than I would have expected. Emotions are funny that way!

So I think your husband is being harsh and I'll also say it depends how you express emotions.  For example if you use I statements like "I am feeling so blah today - like everything is in shades of gray" vs. "You seem so distant today and it's making me feel even more blah than I already do."  I don't think you actually meant "did I do something wrong" -I think that was a way to get his attention. You didn't really think so did you?  And he knew that so he reacted with annoyance. 

I will sometimes ask my husband "everything ok?" - especially if he seems intense about something work-related.  But that's not from a perspective of neediness -I'm reaching out to check in, to see if I can help (whether he needs to vent or otherwise).

But it sounds like you express your emotions in a needy way.  You feel alone, you experience him as distant, you ask him to fix it.  He feels burdened and irritated with your clinginess.  That's expressing neediness (in addition to emotions).  Also do many of your conversations focus on you expressing how you are feeling at the moment? That can be a drag.  I try to show resilience when I can -if I am feeling stressed, I angry clean, if I am feeling blah, I call a friend or some other thing that lifts my spirits.  I don't reflexively look to my husband to be the lifter of spirits.  

Also why you do you have to fake feeling good? Why can't you just "be" -why can't you simply try to be neutral so you're not exuding negative/debbie downer energy and if you can't, maybe take some space so he's not subjected to it. Why do you feel the need to share your emotions to the extent you do?

I still think what he said about your father was out of line.  Just suggesting what might be going on.  I'm sorry you feel alone.

Edited by Batya33
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Thank you for your perspective on this. I can definitely see how my phrasing can come off as needy. I wonder if he thinks I expect him to fix things when I'm feeling low. That would be really draining. Sometimes it isn't about fixing or even talking about it, you just want to find "rest" in the people you love. Spending quality time together. Watch a movie together. Share a meal. etc. Today, for instance, he spent 7+ hours playing video games and not interacting with me. I spent the day feeling lonely and sad, which is what prompted me to bring up my feeling to him in the first place. I guess I hoped he'd get off the game and spend time with me instead. I should have said exactly that, looking back at it now. I don't know how to talk to him about this without him thinking I'm trying to fight. 
And the reason I feel like have to fake a good mood sometimes is because if he senses that I'm not feeling positive or happy (even if I truly am in a neutral state) it will automatically put him in a bad mood.

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1 hour ago, AnonAccount7 said:

Sometimes it isn't about fixing or even talking about it, you just want to find "rest" in the people you love. Spending quality time together. Watch a movie together. Share a meal. etc. Today, for instance, he spent 7+ hours playing video games and not interacting with me. I spent the day feeling lonely and sad, which is what prompted me to bring up my feeling to him in the first place. I guess I hoped he'd get off the game and spend time with me instead. I should have said exactly that, looking back at it now. I don't know how to talk to him about this without him thinking I'm trying to fight. 
And the reason I feel like have to fake a good mood sometimes is because if he senses that I'm not feeling positive or happy (even if I truly am in a neutral state) it will automatically put him in a bad mood.

How specifically does he sense it? Do you mope around or sigh etc? If he is spending 7 hours playing video games don't be around - spend an hour working out -meaning get your workout clothes on, get your water bottle - then if you don't have a gym or equipment get a DVD or use youtube (I like Leslie Sansome Walk at Home) or power walk for at least 30 minutes outside.  Or run.  Then come back, take a long soothing shower and that's at least an hour plus of you doing you -you being your own company.  

Spend an hour reading - a novel, nonfiction, a magazine - not on a screen.  

Call a friend or if you can meet in person -another hour or two . I'm not sure why you need him not to feel alone? Yes if every single day he's on games for 7 hours straight that's kinda excessive I agree.

Does he like watching movies or eating together? Would he go for a walk with you? Do you work? Does he? How does he have 7 hours to play a video game? 

Also find volunteer opportunities.  No he doesn't have to be your sole form of entertainment or "rest".

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Posted (edited)

I get that. I do. I know I need to establish more of an identity outside of our marriage and being a mom. And yes, every day is like that. Unless he has to work. He will still play the game as much as he can up until the time he goes in (1-4 hours depending on the shift he has to work. He will take breaks to eat, but will watch Youtube or TV and doesn't like me talking during those. The problem with me going to the gym is that I don't have anyone to watch the kids. I'm a stay at home mom to 4 little ones. It can be exhausting. No friends or family really. I'm sure this is probably why I feel so alone at times. Not fair to put that on him though

Edited by AnonAccount7
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I'm sorry about your dad and everything else you're going through.

Has your husband always been like this? How many hours does he work per week? Taking care of the kids is his responsibility too! Being a mother is an unpaid full-time job, but it's full-time. Dealing with four takes up even more responsibility. Does he appreciate the dedication and work you put into being a full-time mother who is raising four children?

Would you be able to afford a nanny for two hours a week, so you get to do what Batya suggested? Or how about finding a play-date group in nearby parks? It'd be a great way to meet other mums. My friend does this. Although, I have no idea how feasible it'd be with four children.

Also, how about joining an online support group?

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2 hours ago, AnonAccount7 said:

It's been like this for awhile now. Devision of workload is something we argue about a lot.

Sorry to hear that. I'd add online marital counseling / therapy to the mix, but I'm unsure if he'd be willing to participate. In any case, joining a support group will certainly help you.

 

2 hours ago, AnonAccount7 said:

Those are great ideas. I will look into them and see what's available in my area.

I hope you find something suitable soon. 🙂

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8 hours ago, AnonAccount7 said:

 I catch myself faking good moods to avoid the anger. 

Sorry this is happening. It's not unique or bizarre at all. He's abusive.

See a physician for an evaluation of your physical and mental health. Ask for a referral to a qualified therapist for ongoing support.

You can talk to a qualified therapist privately and confidentiality in a nonjudgmental setting and get helpful professional feedback.

Do not tell your husband. In fact talking to abusers about your feelings is like loading the gun they'll use on you.

Stop talking at him about all your problems. Talk to a therapist.

Read up on abusive relationships.

He's not going to change. You're never going to fix or change him.

He enjoys it. Like a shark that attacks when it senses blood.

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2 hours ago, Wiseman2 said:

Sorry this is happening. It's not unique or bizarre at all. He's abusive.

See a physician for an evaluation of your physical and mental health. Ask for a referral to a qualified therapist for ongoing support.

You can talk to a qualified therapist privately and confidentiality in a nonjudgmental setting and get helpful professional feedback.

Do not tell your husband. In fact talking to abusers about your feelings is like loading the gun they'll use on you.

Stop talking at him about all your problems. Talk to a therapist.

Read up on abusive relationships.

He's not going to change. You're never going to fix or change him.

He enjoys it. Like a shark that attacks when it senses blood.

Not sure if I would call this abuse. Sounds more like negligence to me. My sister is in a similar situation with her husband, although they only have 2 kids together. 

He doesn’t really help with the kids or house work and is very controlling when it comes to making financial decisions. Sometimes I wonder if she would be better off without him, but also who is going to raise those kids and provide for her.

Im not sure if he knew what he signed up for when he decided to have kids with her, but I guess we can’t really know until we get into the situation. I’m sure he probably wanted someone who was more submissive and domesticated.

Either way, it seems like maybe you just need some emotional support outside of your husband. My parents sort of provide a buffer for her in that respect. She’s taking some time apart from him, hoping that his behavior will change.

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10 hours ago, AnonAccount7 said:

I get that. I do. I know I need to establish more of an identity outside of our marriage and being a mom. And yes, every day is like that. Unless he has to work. He will still play the game as much as he can up until the time he goes in (1-4 hours depending on the shift he has to work. He will take breaks to eat, but will watch Youtube or TV and doesn't like me talking during those. The problem with me going to the gym is that I don't have anyone to watch the kids. I'm a stay at home mom to 4 little ones. It can be exhausting. No friends or family really. I'm sure this is probably why I feel so alone at times. Not fair to put that on him though

Oh it's not that fancy. I'm a mom too (one child husband works more than full time, travels constantly pre covid and it's starting again. Not that fancy as "identity".  No need to go to a gym.  I never went to one when my son was young (and now I go downstairs to my building's fitness room before he's up -I go at 5).  Take the kids with you and while they play you exercise - even five ten minute cardio bursts -I used to do that or I'd power walk with my son in the stroller -did that for a couple of years, mornings mostly.  Do a DVD at home. Maybe they will do it with you . My son did sometimes.  I bribed him when my husband traveled so I could get in my 30-35 sweat it out work to the bone workout.  We have no family here.  Some gyms have daycare.  Or hire a mother's helper.  

I moved to a new city after 43 years in another one 800 miles away as a newlywed and new mom.  I didn't make a ton of friends but I made friends- not just moms.  Do you take your kids to playgrounds? Do you act in a friendly and approachable way to the other parents? We also went to the playroom at our local museum -met other people that way. Your husband can watch the kids too and you can go out and volunteer somewhere.  Or look for a Facebook group for moms and maybe organize or join a zoom book group.  No excuses.

Your husband is tired of you "expressing emotions" that basically are how alone/lonely/need to feel loved you feel.  Do you express emotions of excitement, laughter, sharing anecdotes?  We laugh and giggle pretty regularly around here and get silly and watch game shows and do Wordle and have a hundred or more inside jokes and comments -either as a family or between my husband and me (our son is 13, we are in our mid 50s).

I made myself continue to be up on current events and well read when my son was small so I had lots of things to talk about with my husband.  I'd avoid all the fancy terms of "identity" because then it feels overwhelming.  Take small steps.

I get that your husband needs to zone during work breaks -what about at other times?

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2 hours ago, junebug123 said:

Not sure if I would call this abuse. Sounds more like negligence to me.

People often "sweep it under the rug" unless its a violence involved. But him getting angry, even giving her silent treatment, its definitely abuse. It sometimes happens that the other person raises the voice. Or even silent tratments. However, she reports continuous happenings of that. So she is in abusive relationship. 

Op if you want this is a pretty good read on it

https://www.healthline.com/health/signs-of-mental-abuse

Also, OP, the feeling you feel, being alone, perhaps even isolated from the world and having nobody to share, its also a sign of abusive relationship. It suggests that he isolated you in marriage. Nowhere to go, nobody to talk through, all signs of that. Dunno if that is the case(about isolation), but I suggest you take a good read on that and take necessery steps to get out of it. Because all signs point at that.

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5 minutes ago, Kwothe28 said:

People often "sweep it under the rug" unless its a violence involved. But him getting angry, even giving her silent treatment, its definitely abuse. It sometimes happens that the other person raises the voice. Or even silent tratments. However, she reports continuous happenings of that. So she is in abusive relationship. 

Op if you want this is a pretty good read on it

https://www.healthline.com/health/signs-of-mental-abuse

Also, OP, the feeling you feel, being alone, perhaps even isolated from the world and having nobody to share, its also a sign of abusive relationship. It suggests that he isolated you in marriage. Nowhere to go, nobody to talk through, all signs of that. Dunno if that is the case(about isolation), but I suggest you take a good read on that and take necessery steps to get out of it. Because all signs point at that.

I'm not sure it's silent treatment or him taking space so he doesn't have to deal with the frustration of being bombarded with her negativity-it's past his limit so he retreats so he is not triggered.  How he treated her about her father, RIP, was awful - I'm talking about the rest.  I think she is isolating herself to a large extent -he has begged her to talk to friends, seek therapy -which someone who is trying to isolate someone would not want his partner to do -but I'm just a layperson. 

She talks about expressing emotions but in her case most of those emotions are negative, her examples as she also sees is asking him to help her feel better, to pay attention to her. 

Perhaps approaching him in a positive way with an idea like, let's watch Amazing Race together or let's have lunch today outside somewhere - instead of approaching with "I feel alone, did I do something, just tell me" is an approach that triggers him.  Doesn't make him perfect.  But also doesn't make him an abuser.

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A father/parent of four who spends seven hours playing video games in one day, leaving the bulk of child rearing to his wife would be enough to push anyone into a deep depression. I agree also that the way he speaks to you aggressively and crassly is emotional abuse as is any stonewalling or neglect. 

I strongly suggest you make a few suggestions in your marriage and voice your concerns clearly. If he can’t or won’t listen to you this is no longer a marriage. You may want to look at your options.

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3 minutes ago, Rose Mosse said:

A father/parent of four who spends seven hours playing video games in one day, leaving the bulk of child rearing to his wife would be enough to push anyone into a deep depression. I agree also that the way he speaks to you aggressively and crassly is emotional abuse as is any stonewalling or neglect. 

I strongly suggest you make a few suggestions in your marriage and voice your concerns clearly. If he can’t or won’t listen to you this is no longer a marriage. You may want to look at your options.

I don't agree from what she wrote.  Many parents have this arrangement -but of course she should hire someone and of course when he is not working he should help or pay for her to hire people.  I am not sure if she works outside the home -that's also a factor potentially.  Not helping to the right extent is not necessarily abuse at all.  I agree he acts like a jerk at times. I think her expectations of him to be there when she feels like expressing negative emotions as often as she does might be a bit unrealistic.

I think she should tell him what she needs calmly and practically - leave the venting and please love me/please comfort me aside and have a calm discussion of what she needs him to do more of around the home and with the children.  Maybe with a marriage counselor there.

Edited by Batya33
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1 minute ago, Batya33 said:

I don't agree from what she wrote.  Many parents have this arrangement -but of course she should hire someone and of course when he is not working he should help or pay for her to hire people.  Not helping to the right extent is not necessarily abuse at all.  I agree he acts like a jerk at times. I think her expectations of him to be there when she feels like expressing negative emotions as often as she does might be a bit unrealistic.

Yes, I’ve already read your response to Kwothe but I’m not here to debate with you my opinion. My opinion stands and you are free to think what you wish.

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26 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I'm not sure it's silent treatment or him taking space so he doesn't have to deal with the frustration of being bombarded with her negativity-it's past his limit so he retreats so he is not triggered.  How he treated her about her father, RIP, was awful - I'm talking about the rest.  I think she is isolating herself to a large extent -he has begged her to talk to friends, seek therapy -which someone who is trying to isolate someone would not want his partner to do -but I'm just a layperson. 

 

Again, what she is feeling, the isolation, is a direct response of this relationship. She doesnt have friends and family, perhaps even a job aside of taking care of kids, she only has him. Who plays video games 1-4 hours a day, and probably doesnt help much around kids or home. And yells at her and directly blames her for when he is in a bad mood. To the point she learned to pretend to be in a good mood not to "trigger him". Deliberately or not, he isolated her to the point she doesnt have nowhere to go and nobody to talk to. And when she tries to talk to him, she gets angry responses and fight. To me its a pretty clear cut case of very bad and even abusive relationship. 

For example, would he allow her to have friends? Or even see shrink or does he just says that in deragotary way like "You are crazy, go see shrink"? She mentioned no time for gym, but if he would maybe cut his game time and watch over kids and house she would have time. But I have a feeling he wouldnt really like that. Because, again, to him she is just a slave of the house. That should take care of the kids and home and smile. It might seem a bit harsh, but its a very clear cut case of that from what she said about it. 

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I would need more information on what you wrote, from the OP to have any opinion on whether she is choosing not to do what it takes to be out there (as I did -took on that responsibility as a newlywed/new mom/new city/no family/knew no one) or whether he is not allowing her to get out there with the kids and meet people.  

I don't read that he thinks she is a slave. I don't read it as that one sided.  I personally need more information from the OP.

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"I feel alone" was what stuck out to me.  It sucks to be alone in a marriage.

I remember my ex-husband, whenever I'd try to talk to him about anything, would say "that's YOUR problem."   Notice I said EX husband.  One of the hundreds of reasons why I divorced him.  If I was going to basically be alone (single) then I wanted all the benefits of being single.

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10 hours ago, waffle said:

"I feel alone" was what stuck out to me.  It sucks to be alone in a marriage.

I remember my ex-husband, whenever I'd try to talk to him about anything, would say "that's YOUR problem."   Notice I said EX husband.  One of the hundreds of reasons why I divorced him.  If I was going to basically be alone (single) then I wanted all the benefits of being single.

Yes.  If every time she approaches him in an adult way -when he has time (i.e. not when working) and he rebuffs her then I think they should go to counseling.  They have kids so if he's willing to go to counseling I'd try that. If she only approaches him at really inconvenient times and her focus in approaching him is regularly negative/down/needy I'd look at things also from her way of interacting.  She also has chosen not to put in the effort to have friends, activities, etc and if he is preventing her from doing that I'd want to know that too.

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In a nutshell;

- he dismisses your feelings

- ignores your needs

- stonewalls you/gives you the silent treatment

- tells you you're a problem

- lashes out at you in anger disrespectfully for expressing yourself

- makes you feel guilty for expressing yourself

- doesn't share the workload as an equal life partner

- you are increasingly making yourself as small as possible and walk on egg shells around him.

And you wonder why you feel alone? Can you see that?

Of course you feel alone honey. I think you need shop around for a therapist and reconsider this relationship. IT IS abuse and is not supportive nor healthy. Your feelings ARE valid and you should be able to be yourself and share your feelings with your partner while feeling free and safe.

The longer you stay with him, the longer you will lose from your self esteem and get used to it. Don't.

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I don't know how old your kids are, if some go to school or if they are all pre-kindergarten. Just some ideas for some concrete changes you can make right now. I used to go to a Mommy and Me group to chat with other mothers when our kids played together. I would sit in my front yard on a beach chair in the front  yard and watch my kids play. A good way to meet other mothers watching their kids riding bikes, roller skating, etc. You can also sometimes divide the children between you and your husband when he's home. Each child should actually sometimes have individual time with each of you. Have a calendar showing the children which day is theirs so they can understand when you're taking just one for a special activity. Sometimes you could take two, and have your husband do the same for activities like:

Going to the library, out for pizza or ice-cream, going bowling, going to the roller rink.

If you can't afford a babysitter, you should still arrange for special date nights with your husband at home after the kids go to bed. Google articles for fun ideas.

I'd also suggest when all the kids are fully in school, that you consider going back to work or that you go back to school to gain skills for employment. You don't ever want to be in a position of being reliant on a man for your livelihood. Because when a man doesn't meet all of your main needs, you deserve better in life.

The best way to change someone else's behavior is to change your own. Start with you, first. Good luck.

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How you are feeling, and how he is talking to you is NOT your fault, it's because of him and how he treats this marriage. He is using gaming as an escape/avoidance...it would be no different than him going to the bar with his buddies every night. Sure you can go out and do things for yourself, volunteer, work, get a hobby, talk to a counselor, etc...but that won't ever change your situation with him. When you come home, he's just going to be there ignoring you, playing video games, and possibly criticizing you for been out.  Stonewalling, defensiveness, criticism, contempt......just having one of these says the relationship is doomed. already he is stonewalling you, being defensive, and criticizing you. He's the one that needs to change his behavior to change the situation at home am I right?

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10 hours ago, Andrina said:

You don't ever want to be in a position of being reliant on a man for your livelihood.

I agree with this and for many many years people got married young and therefore the woman usually had no $ of her own and often no marketable skills.  Marriage was the legal and financial commitment.  Mom's work was being home to raise the kids, plus very often keeping house, cooking, cleaning.  Marriage provided protection in the sense that if something happened to the husband or there was divorce, the wife was entitled to a certain amount of financial support.  There was never the notion of a married woman - especially a married mom - to have her own marketable skills/assets. Obviously times they are a changing and it was crucial to me -knowing I wanted my job to be raising our son for a number of years - to know for my own sake that I had marketable skills and savings/assets of my own .

But that was in part because I started saving my $ 11 years before I had my son and I was single.  I didn't marry or become a mom till I was 42.  I just knew if I wanted to be a SAHM for a couple of years I wanted to be able to provide $ to the family income if my husband didn't make enough to support the family. I wanted that sense of security. I'd seen (and still see) the consequences of not doing that. I felt like a contributor -even though my husband asked for no $ I insisted during the 7 years I was home of contributing financially to the family income.  And I was ready to return to working outside the home right around when he was 5 and went back when I found the right job -when he was 7.  

So I agree but I also think it's perfectly ok to have a traditional arrangement where the woman depends 100% on her husband for financially providing.  And, I'll add, when the woman is home (or the guy if that's the arrangement) the savings on daycare, house cleaning, etc is really significant.  

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