Disappearing woman
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Old 07-04-2010, 04:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Disappearing woman

I have been married for 20+ years and feel I have disappeared. It seems I have been trying to please my husband and kids so long i don't remember what pleases me. I seem to do what they want, when they want, and don't know how to resurface.

Do any of you feel that you have as well?
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Old 07-04-2010, 04:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I can't say I feel like that as I have been married just a fraction of what you have. I do understand, though. Many times I feel that all I do and my actions revolve around making my family happy and many, many times I leave my wants and needs on the back burner. How old are your kids? Is there any possibility for you to take some time off (going to the movies, going for a manicure, pedicure...) alone? I know many women that have gotten so entangled in their family lives that have alienated friendships and you might think you have no one to do anything with. But I do enjoy going to the movies by myself and unwinding alone, you could try that and see how it works. You could join a book club and make friends. Just some examples. Since you have had this realization, I think you can, for once, think about you first sometimes and try and do something that makes YOU happy. Good luck!
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Old 07-04-2010, 04:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Disappearing woman

Actually I kinda do, mines a little different than yours in that my personal idenity was my kids, my job, and my wife. I actually enjoyed doing things with them and being with them. I have a few friends but saw them once in a while.

My kids grew up and left the nest, of course I still talk to them and do things with them. My wife left and totally blind sided me. So all I can say is start investing in yourself and nurturing intrests and friends.
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Old 07-04-2010, 04:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Disappearing woman

I had a really interesting conversation today with my husband.

He told me, he doesn't know what happened to the woman he thought he married, but he married someone with life, needs, wants, desire, someone who was fearless, took on the world and everyone in it (undoubtedly with a camel cigarette, mountain dew and some taco bell) and NOT some terrified shut in with no friends who can't handle doing anything for herself.

....and I'm only 23.

talk about reality check, because then in the next sentance I was explaining to him how I only wanted for him to be happy, and proud and feel accomplished, because I harbor guilt for changing his life.

um....what?! wait wait... when did that happen again? how did I miss that memo and where is my evil half, because she would slap the crap out of me right now.

looks like my schedule just cleared and its time for me this week, I need to go pick myself off the side of the road where I left me.
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Old 07-04-2010, 05:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Disappearing woman

Once my stress got so bad from being just like you that I couldn't turn my neck. I went to my doctor and he asked me what I did for fun. I thought for awhile, and said nothing. He was a little shocked, and he said, 'What WOULD you do, if you took time off for yourself?' I said read books, which I hadn't done in over 15 years, because my husband doesn't read, and he would pout if I sat with a book; all he wanted was for me to sit next to him on the couch and watch tv. So I gave up reading and did that for 15 years, until my body fought back.

Later, I went to a therapist, and she tried to get me to tell him that I was going to go do something - ANYTHING - on a Saturday afternoon. In 20 years of marriage, I had NEVER left on my own to do anything because if I did, he pouted, or griped, or belittled my choices, or made something 'happen' at home while I was gone (like falling off a ladder) so he could guilt me with it. I went to that therapist for 3 years and in that time, I could never get the nerve to face all that again. I never left.

It took me finally getting so fed up (and a couple suicide attempts) so that I was ready to leave, so that I no longer cared if he was happy or not or whether he thought poorly of me, to be able to try to get my life back.

Please don't let it get that bad.
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Old 07-05-2010, 08:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you for all the replies, it is nice to know I am not the only one who has fallen victim to this feeling.

I don't want you to get the impression that I don't have interests, I do. And I do enjoy my alone time- but when we are together, we don't do what makes me happy. I think in part it is because over the years my health has deteriorated, and I've had to adapt in order to do anything at all. The things I do are less "physical" and more artistic. But my husband easily bores with them, and I feel guilty subjecting him to them. So I do them alone. He really has no interest in art or being creative (or the skill). And when we do what "I want", he keeps yawning and looking completely board and disengaged, which in turn makes me feel guilty. He'll even say "I should have gone skiing" which hurts my feelings so much.

And he is so angry with me and so short tempered most the time. I don't blame him, I have fallen apart physically. I am not the active girl he met. But I miss her too- and all the activities I used to be able to do are long gone. I had to change my interests in order to keep engaged in life.

So we parallel play, and I am lonely. My son is 15 and he is very active like his dad, and the two share many activities. They love to boat and I go with them, but I am not as in love with boating, though I try.

Thanks for listening, that helps.

Abbey
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Old 07-05-2010, 08:42 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Disappearing woman

He probably acts that way because HE lost out on the life he wanted, too, and feels hurt or screwed over. Not justifying it, just trying to explain.

One thing I did that worked really well, was I used the marriagebuilders.com plan - I eliminated my Love Busters of him (what I did that he doesn't like), and tried to meet all his Emotional Needs, so that he feels like he matters. It did make a difference and he started feeling less resentful of me. Unfortunately, by then, I no longer really love him any more. Because I waited 30 years. Don't do that to your marriage, ok?
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Turnera- How do you do that without resenting him even more? I just feel that I am his partner, not his mother. He wants me to coddle him all the time. I know it is a guy thing, so many of my friends say the same thing, plus they want recognition for all they do. Can you imagine if we did? "Honey, did you notice I folded your underwear today?"

Honestly, I am aware of some of his needs, I just don't want to bend over backwards all the time. I just wish he were less serious and so damn controlling. If I say the sky is blue...you know the drill. Thanks again, that website was interesting, don't know if it is too late. If the though of trying to please him all the time makes me gag, do you think I waited too long?
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Old 07-05-2010, 11:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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It was really hard. In fact, I resisted doing it for 2 years! People at MB kept pushing me to try it, but I was so wrapped up in my self-created self-pity, that I didn't WANT to give him the benefit of the doubt. Why should I? He's a jerk!

At the same time, I was too chicken (and broke) to leave him. So something had to change.

I swallowed my pride. I tried to pay attention - REAL attention to him, what he said, how he acted, how he was hurting...and address those issues. He felt unadmired. So I gave him admiration. He felt ignored. So I paid more attention to him.

The truth is, he was just as miserable as I was - neither of us knew how to deal with things. By my stepping up to the plate, not wanting to, I took a leap of faith.

And it make a HUGE difference, at least in the day to day anxiety and pressure. He DID respond.

In the long run, I DID wait too long. I think 30 years is too long, but it may be different for others. At this stage - and I would never admit this anywhere else - I wish that his plane would crash on his business trips. And I hate myself for thinking it. Because it is I who is too weak - too weak to tell him what I feel, too weak to leave, too weak to walk away when he LBs me - so instead, I just wish he was dead. I have sex because he wants it and because he makes life miserable if he doesn't get it. I have opportunities to tell him the truth, and I don't, because I don't have the energy to spend another 10 hours afterward of him blowing up at me.

That is a HORRIBLE place to be, Abbey, trust me. I hate myself every day for it.

Fix it now. TRY it now; see if it turns your marriage around.
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Old 07-06-2010, 12:49 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Disappearing woman

Quote:
Originally Posted by turnera View Post
Once my stress got so bad from being just like you that I couldn't turn my neck. I went to my doctor and he asked me what I did for fun. I thought for awhile, and said nothing. He was a little shocked, and he said, 'What WOULD you do, if you took time off for yourself?' I said read books, which I hadn't done in over 15 years, because my husband doesn't read, and he would pout if I sat with a book; all he wanted was for me to sit next to him on the couch and watch tv. So I gave up reading and did that for 15 years, until my body fought back.

Later, I went to a therapist, and she tried to get me to tell him that I was going to go do something - ANYTHING - on a Saturday afternoon. In 20 years of marriage, I had NEVER left on my own to do anything because if I did, he pouted, or griped, or belittled my choices, or made something 'happen' at home while I was gone (like falling off a ladder) so he could guilt me with it. I went to that therapist for 3 years and in that time, I could never get the nerve to face all that again. I never left.

It took me finally getting so fed up (and a couple suicide attempts) so that I was ready to leave, so that I no longer cared if he was happy or not or whether he thought poorly of me, to be able to try to get my life back.

Please don't let it get that bad.
That ridiculously weird!! I can't imagine living 1 year like that let alone 15..........doesn't sound like a happy, good, loving, respectful, and definitely not a fun marriage!!

Good luck!
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Old 07-06-2010, 04:24 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Disappearing woman

I've disappeared too over the last few years.. I've been so so busy keeping everyone else going- kids, H, elderly parents- that the 'me' part all but vanished.

Sadly its affected my marriage and I don't know if that's salvageable. I am at the point where I think not. My H's feelings have diminished towards me and he is contemplating leaving. I have tried to discuss saving the marriage with him but he is not interested. I am now working on the thing that I can change and influence, me.

Each day I am taking steps to find the person I am. And after a few weeks of working on it I can tell you she is still in here. I have made myself be more physically active, and eat better. Through all that I've lost 13lbs in 8 weeks, and got my WiiFit age down from 60 to 28 (I'm 44). I've started to do things I love, even simple stuff like playing music I love when I'm driving.

If you had told me 8 weeks ago that I would have made this much progress I would have wept with despair and told you it wasn't possible. And I have a long way to go and a probable separation looming large. But the girl I am inside can handle that. I just had to find her again.
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Old 07-06-2010, 02:16 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by turnera View Post
It was really hard. In fact, I resisted doing it for 2 years! People at MB kept pushing me to try it, but I was so wrapped up in my self-created self-pity, that I didn't WANT to give him the benefit of the doubt. Why should I? He's a jerk!

At the same time, I was too chicken (and broke) to leave him. So something had to change.

I swallowed my pride. I tried to pay attention - REAL attention to him, what he said, how he acted, how he was hurting...and address those issues. He felt unadmired. So I gave him admiration. He felt ignored. So I paid more attention to him.

The truth is, he was just as miserable as I was - neither of us knew how to deal with things. By my stepping up to the plate, not wanting to, I took a leap of faith.

And it make a HUGE difference, at least in the day to day anxiety and pressure. He DID respond.

In the long run, I DID wait too long. I think 30 years is too long, but it may be different for others. At this stage - and I would never admit this anywhere else - I wish that his plane would crash on his business trips. And I hate myself for thinking it. Because it is I who is too weak - too weak to tell him what I feel, too weak to leave, too weak to walk away when he LBs me - so instead, I just wish he was dead. I have sex because he wants it and because he makes life miserable if he doesn't get it. I have opportunities to tell him the truth, and I don't, because I don't have the energy to spend another 10 hours afterward of him blowing up at me.

That is a HORRIBLE place to be, Abbey, trust me. I hate myself every day for it.

Fix it now. TRY it now; see if it turns your marriage around.
Thanks for sharing all this Turnera - I admire your honesty and feel sure it will spur other on to do what needs to be done before too much times passes.
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Old 07-06-2010, 02:19 PM   #13 (permalink)
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If you had told me 8 weeks ago that I would have made this much progress I would have wept with despair and told you it wasn't possible. And I have a long way to go and a probable separation looming large. But the girl I am inside can handle that. I just had to find her again.
What an excellent start - very well done and hope things can work out for you the way you want them to.
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