What sorts of things do we fight about? That could take a while. Ill give a few examples.
1. Parenting. We have the occasional disagreement with how to deal with a kid. For instance, if a kid is acting up and its near bedtime, we will agree to send the kid to bed early. I will tell the kid, the kid may act out even worse, and she over rules me, despite our previous agreement. Later, i will tell her that i feel it was wrong to over ride and undermine me. She ignores, invalidates, and if i try to push the issue, it becomes an unproductive shouting match.
2. Finances. An previous example was that recently, she made a big issue of the fact that i had spent about $200 playing golf over a month and a half. She told me i was being irresponsible. That day, she used my credit card to pay for a girls cruise.... (About a grand). Another instance was how recently we went on a nice anniversary trip. She immediately came back and planned two more trips.... One a girls trip, the other with her family. I was unable to get the time off from work. I really had nonissue with her taking the trips, but she is very quick to scrutinize anything i spend, while she spends as she wants.
Again, if i try to mention this to her and tell how i feel the double standard is disrespectful, it ends the same as the other fights.
3. Finally, i recently made a decision that i wanted to speak to her and try to work it out and find ways to improve our marriage. I had a narrative planned and wanted to ask her to go to marriage counseling. As soon as i started talking to her....
Attempt #1: this was near bedtime(bad timing), but we work odd schedules so i have to try when i can. I had just come off a week of night shifts, and she said she wasnt talking to me as i am too grouchy when i work nights. Totally brushed me off, but i chose to wait, said we didnt have to start the weekend off fighting.
Attempt #2: fast forward a few days past attempt 1. I told her i wanted to talk. I had gotten the kids in bed early, dinner, cleaned, etc. when i told her i wanted to speak, and why, she quickly said "what now" in a tone that made it clear she didnt want to hear me. I did take a little offense and when I reiterated what i wanted to say, she said "im not listening to your ****". We quickly had another useless shouting match, i left the bedroom and we didnt speak at all for a few days. Later, she acted like all was fine. I, on the other hand, felt like i was in the middle of a crowded room, shouting at the top of my lungs...,, but no one noticed. (Ok that was a bit overdramatic)
After all of this, it feels useless to try and that the only way to coexist is to never tell my wife how i feel, unless it is what she wants to hear.
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It sounds like your wife uses her anger as a way to keep you off balance so she doesn't have to deal with her own, inappropriate behavior. I disagree with those who say "pick your battles" because in her case, that's what she's counting on - that you will let it go to have peace, and she get's to do what she wants, how you feel about be damned.
I like the idea of writing her a letter. It will help you clarify your complaints, and she can sit and think with it whereas it sounds she is very defensive in any verbal confrontation.
I would also start complaining pleasantly and regularly, but with something she can't contradict. She says everything is fine because she's happy enough. But she is only half the equation. You do it like this:
I am not happy.
I am having a lot of constant, negative thoughts about our marriage.
I am not ok with things as they are.
This is not working for me.
I have been fantisizing about leaving you and it concerns me.
All statements about your feelings about the marriage. She may try to trivialize and dismiss them, but she can't say it's not true. If you're unhappy, you're unhappy. She can change or she may end up divorced, whether she thinks you have a right to be unhappy or not. When she avoids a fight by shouting you down, let her know "I'm not going to fight with you but it's important you understand that I am very unhappy and dissatisfied with our relationship."
This will take time. Don't expect an immediate turn around just keep at it.
read about Love Busters Love Busters
and the policy of joint agreement The Policy of Joint Agreement
(You'll probably have to start this without her which is frustrating but it will help you be better from your side which may help her feel safe enough to let her guard down to have more rational discussions with you. And it will help you be strong realizing she IS being unreasonable and you do not have to accept it.)
You are both doing "independant behavior" with your spending. Independent behavior is always infuriating to the spouse on the receiving end because you have no control over the situation and are tied to this person but not being considered. Neither of you should be golfing or planning trips without discussing it and using the policy of joint agreement to make sure it's OK first. Her little stunts with the kids at bedtime are also independent behavior and incredibly disrespectful to you. And neither of you should ever be shouting at the other. That's an angry outburst, also addressed in the love busters article.