Of Two Minds - continue or end? - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 12:16 AM Thread Starter
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Of Two Minds - continue or end?

Hello there,

I'm struggling with a decision that I need some perspective on - perhaps you all can help me step back and think about my situation clearly... I'll try to paint the picture and ask for some advice.

I'm married almost 12 years, with a 10-year old son. We have been through a lot in our relationship - nasty and manipulative in-laws (my parents), financial hardship, dealing with a twice-exceptional child's needs, moving to another country, health issues to name but a few. Unfortunately I think this has taken too much of a toll on my wife. It feels like I am living with two people - the woman I dearly love, and this other monster that takes over her body increasingly often. I put up with the nasty side because the wonderful woman I love is also in there.

Here's life with the nasty side of her:

She's been using threats of leaving for years to get her way, but have always just been a tool in her argument toolbox. Speaking of which, she also brings back the past of when I was dumb enough to not take care of her needs well enough when our son was a baby. It automatically wins her any argument even 10 years later as I was indeed an ass back then and she really did have the most arduous birth experience I have come across.

I guess the short-and-long of it is that she accuses me of not caring for her, of not thinking of her needs, not doing the things she wants me to do. However I am at my wits end on how I could possibly do more. Here's a typical day/week in my life:
Wake up, make breakfast for the family, make sure lunches are packed and take out the garbage (I am known to forget the garbage about 1 out of 10 times), then take our son to school. I work relatively long hours, as is normal for my profession and responsibility level. After work, I pick up my son from swimming (mom took him there) or get him from home to take him to Judo. Dinner (she usually makes it since she wants to eat early) usually after that. I clean up the table, kitchen (a deal we made with her cooking dinner and me cleaning up) and house after that. I then help with homework and get my son into bed. After that I either help my wife with cleaning, sorting, E-mails, phone-calls, laundry, paperwork. I'd say 90% of the time I am busy with these tasks until bedtime or beyond. I'll play a game on my mobile phone for 10 minutes before bedtime to try and unwind. I'll have a couple of hours free maybe 1 day a week if I'm lucky. Week-ends are similar. I make breakfast, help with left-over homework, music practise, lessons, chores in & around the house. I'll maybe get a few hours "relaxation" to play with my son.

Is this normal? Do other people also only have 2-3 hours of free time per week? Am I not doing enough?

One thing that I think is an issue is that I do things in a different sequence or order of priority than her, and it drives her crazy. She'll expect me to do things the same way she would. Without her telling me which order. Apparently a good husband would know this automatically. When I ask, I'm being difficult. When I say I'm getting to it when she tries to remind me to do something she feels I should already have done first, I'm accused of talking back at her - something that a good husband should not do either. She's allowed to tell me how bad a person I am and I have to be quiet, no arguing.

Now I know what you think by now - she sounds horrible! But there is the wonderful side of her too... When the nasty woman is asleep:

She is fantastic at anticipating my needs and will be extremely thoughtful and prep things for me so that things are ready for me. She works like super-woman on helping our very difficult son with learning about school and life. Believe me, he can be extremely tiring - most people think he's great the first 30 minutes, OK after an hour and can't stand him for a minute longer after 2-3 hours, yet she takes him on day-in, day-out. She works (from home) for 4-6 hours per day, cooks a great, balanced meal in the evenings and drives my son from school, to his therapy sessions and swimming lessons. She'll provide emotional support to the family and make suggestions when other people are out of ideas. She'll deal with contractors for fixing things I don't have the time for, and navigates the medical bureaucracy for getting more help for our son. Warm hugs, really a kind-hearted and very caring person over-all.

We are in our mid-forties now and as we age and have less energy, more aches & pains (especially her since she has poor general health), we have less tolerance and she seems to be the nasty woman more often. I'm worried about menopause - and she's been more ferocious every thiem the nasty one takes over. What to do?

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-24-2017, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
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Question Re: Of Two Minds - continue or end?

OK - so I got interrupted before I could finish my original post... Here goes with the last bit:

She's been threatening to leave (leaving our son with me and leaving the country) a few times. She's done it in a way where she says she can and will leave whenever she feels like we (we being me & my son) don't make her feel welcome anymore. No timeline, just, "I can leave any time I like, and you can't say anything because it's your fault." A few days ago this has gone a bit further where she asked me to do the paperwork for a separation agreement.

There are some parts of her argument that I sadly am starting to agree with, and other parts that I don't.
- Yes, I might just not be a good match for her, and we've taken this long to figure it out - also sticking together for the sake of our son.
- She says openly (to him as well) that she does not have any feeling of love anymore to our son. They fight viciously almost every day. She's told him that she is leaving at some unknown time too. This is not good for any child.
- Every time we have a big spat, a bit of me who loves her dies. So much of that has happened now that I have to admit I don't feel as much for her as in the past, and it shows in my actions to her.
On the other hand,
- I promised I will take care of her, no matter what. Call me old-fashioned, but I feel that's important. At least the wonderful woman I love deserves that dedication.
- She has poor general health and will need some-one to take care of her. Her ability to earn income is limited and I'm afraid she'll learn that leaving was a mistake too late - and her pride will prevent her from coming back.
- She has shown some efforts in dealing with anger management and other possible issues, and with the right support could feel better, which will make us all feel better.

Do I go ahead and do the paperwork she asked for, thereby putting almost the final nail in the coffin?
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-24-2017, 03:31 PM
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Re: Of Two Minds - continue or end?

She sounds pretty entitled. Even if you were an ass 10 years ago. Seems like she will forever hold that over your head. That and the leaving comments are obviously manipulation tactics that have worked for a long time. She sounds like my W.

Its more then time for you to take a stand and shut down the manipulation.

One way to do that is to give her what she wants. My guess, from what very little ive read, is that she doesnt think you will do it. And the moment you fill those papers out and hand them to her the tune may change, or may not. Rest assured though... you WILL be blamed because YOU filled the papers out.

Are you ready to walk? If you filled those papers out and she smiled and said OK are you willing to accept that? Are you ready for the final nail? If you are then do it. I would.

If you are doing more then 50% then no its not normal. Its also not normal to hear threats like that alllll the time. Its not normal for her to tell your boy shes leaving either. Not normal or Adult behavior.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-24-2017, 03:48 PM
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Re: Of Two Minds - continue or end?

Sir, I would not put up with the constant threat to leave and then ask to fill out paperwork to do so. It is manipulative to the 100 degree. Next time your W threatens have a copy of separation papers ready in hand. Let her know you will not live under her thumb of leaving when she wants.

You are being emotionally manipulated with the threats. It is wrong and your W needs to understand that.

“You're painfully alive in a drugged and dying culture.”
― Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-24-2017, 08:29 PM
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Re: Of Two Minds - continue or end?

Next time she threatens to leave.

Hand her a suitcase

Holes burn deep in your chest,
Raked by machine gun fire.
Screaming soul sent out to die,
Living mandatory suicide.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-24-2017, 08:41 PM
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Re: Of Two Minds - continue or end?

Sounds like a date night out for the two of you might do wonders. Once a week
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-24-2017, 09:15 PM
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Re: Of Two Minds - continue or end?

You wife is struggling (for whatever reason) and is taking it out on you.
You have to stand up to her and become a strong man who will be loving and supportive but will not tolerate abuse or abuse of your son.
Sit her down and tell her you have had enough, you have to be prepared to lose this marriage to save it. As it stands she does not respect you. Show her that you have your limits too.
Tell her there will be no going back once the papers are done. Also tell her if she wants a seperation paper, she can do it herself! I is bizarre that you are doing it, sounds like you are a beta male who has put up with her manipulation for a long time.
Perhaps you need to read NMMNG and grow a pair.

Start doing the 180 on her. If she threatens you again, tell her to do whatever she wants you are not giving into her threats and demands anymore. She needs therapy, hormone replacement therapy or something but enough is enough.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 12:11 AM
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Re: Of Two Minds - continue or end?

I am wondering, but why is your wife struggling so hard? Is is that she's not living the life that she imagined? Does she wish for something else and innately blames you and your child?

Clearly, there must be some mental health and biological issues going on with her and a dissatisfaction that has been building up for quite some time. She is stuck in the house working and caring for the family's needs and your son.

Maybe try one of the other poster's ideas of weekly dating and hiring a strong baby sitter to care for your son with needs. Then you two can focus on each other. If possible, even a get away weekend for the two of you each month along with weekly date nights once a week. Both of you are in your 40s and I understand that you are getting tired and bodies are changing and having such a busy lifestyle is starting to take its toll. Since your wife's health is generally not strong, then maybe she needs more support and caring as well.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 12:22 AM
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Re: Of Two Minds - continue or end?

What is twice-exceptional, and since he does swimming and judo, I presume it doesn't mean autistic or any sort of mental incapabilities?
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 10:31 AM
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Re: Of Two Minds - continue or end?

@Uptown... thoughts here?

Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 11:29 AM
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Re: Of Two Minds - continue or end?

Originally Posted by Elrin View Post

I guess the short-and-long of it is that she accuses me of not caring for her, of not thinking of her needs, not doing the things she wants me to do. However I am at my wits end on how I could possibly do more.
I can relate to this on so many levels. Ive heard this for so long, and for so long I tried harder and harder yet still get accused of the same not caring. Frustration builds resentment and boom - now you cant stand your wife and here you are. I soo get this

Whats happening here are covert contracts. Same with me. If goes something like this. If you try this little bit harder or do this 1 more thing she will see you care. If you give up all your time and do everything she will see you care. Well covert contracts create resentment within yourself when you dont get the reaction you want. When you get told again and again that you dont care you get pissed because..well.. "look at all the stuff ive done". In essence you are trying to control her. You cant control her. The only solution is to stop making the contracts.

does this ring true for you? This is exactly what ive done and my wife has literally said those exact same things to me.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 01:51 PM
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Re: Of Two Minds - continue or end?

@3Xnocharm, thanks for the callout.

Originally Posted by Elrin View Post
She sounds horrible! But there is the wonderful side of her too.... a kind-hearted and very caring person over-all. It feels like I am living with two people - the woman I dearly love, and this other monster that takes over her body increasingly often.
No, Elrin, not horrible. Rather, she sounds emotionally unstable. The behaviors you describe -- i.e., irrational anger, controlling behavior, easily triggered temper tantrums, vicious fights with her own son, lack of impulse control, and blaming you for every misfortune -- are some of the classic warning signs for BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). Importantly, I'm not suggesting your W has full-blown BPD but, rather, that she may exhibit moderate to strong traits of it.

I caution that BPD is not something -- like chickenpox -- that a person either "has" or "doesn't have." Instead, it is a spectrum disorder, which means every adult on the planet occasionally exhibits all BPD traits to some degree (albeit at a low level if the person is healthy). At issue, then, is not whether your W exhibits BPD traits. Of course she does. We all do.

Rather, at issue is whether she exhibits those traits at a strong and persistent level (i.e., is on the upper end of the BPD spectrum). Not having met her, I cannot answer that question.

I nonetheless believe you can spot any strong BPD warning signs that are present if you take a little time to learn which behaviors are on the list. They are not difficult to spot because there is nothing subtle about behaviors such as always being "The Victim," lack of impulse control, and temper tantrums.

We are in our mid-forties... and she seems to be the nasty woman more often. I'm worried about menopause.
Elrin, the most common cause of strong BPD behavior is not the lifetime disorder itself but, rather, a temporary strong hormone change -- as occurs, e.g., during puberty. Indeed, such a large share of teenagers exhibit a strong flareup of BPD traits for several years that psychologists are very reluctant to diagnose a lifetime BPD issue until a person is at least 18 years old.

Similarly, it is common for women to exhibit strong BPD trait flareups during pregnancy, postpartum, PMS, and perimenopause -- due to the strong hormone changes occurring at those times. Hence, given that your W is in her mid-forties, the most likely explanation for a flareup of BPD symptoms is perimenopause -- i.e., the transitional period of hormone fluctuation that leads up to menopause. Although perimenopause typically lasts 3 or 4 years, it can be much shorter or longer than that.

What to do?
I suggest that you urge your W to have her hormone levels checked by her OB/GYN doctor. If she is going through perimenopause, the BPD behaviors of instability and irrational anger likely are temporary flareups of the BPD traits that all healthy people have.

Yet, because hormones can fluctuate frequently during perimenopause, it can be difficult for a doctor to find evidence of the change in a single blood test. Several tests may be necessary. Hence, if documentation proves difficult or perimenopause is not indicated, I would suggest that she consult with a psychiatrist -- who can evaluate her based on her behaviors, not her blood tests.

In contrast, when a person is diagnosed by a therapist as "having BPD," the therapist is not referring to a temporary flareup of BPD traits but, rather, to a lifetime condition that typically is fully entrenched by the age of five. When that occurs, the BPD traits usually start showing very strongly in the early teens and -- absent years of treatment -- remain strong throughout the person's lifetime.

The only exception is that the permanent BPD traits typically disappear during courtship because the person's infatuation holds her fears at bay -- with the result that her new partner will not start triggering those fears until her infatuation over him starts to evaporate.

As a precaution, I suggest that you take a quick look at my list of 18 BPD Warning Signs. If most of those signs sound very familiar and started occurring early in your 12-year marriage -- not just in the past 2 or 3 years -- I would suggest you read my more detailed description of them at my posts in Maybe's Thread. If that description rings any bells, I would be glad to join 3X and the other respondents in discussing them with you. Take care, Elrin.
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