Wife's Anger Has Deep Roots - Talk About Marriage
Physical & Mental Health Issues Marriage and relationships are difficult by themselves, but coping with physical or mental health problems can make things even more difficult.

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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-16-2016, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
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Wife's Anger Has Deep Roots

My wife and I have been together for 9.5 years and married for almost 7 of those years now...In August 2015 we welcomed our beautiful and amazing son into the world. He's about 10 months old now and growing up way too fast!

So we had a lot of time to spend together before having a child...Which I think factors into the "adjustment phase" of things...But there are underlying issues that have been present throughout our relationship.

I'll begin by admitting I'm not perfect and have my faults...But is it biased/unfair for me to say the majority of the issues stem from her behavior?

Her mother was an alcoholic growing up and still has occasional episodes to this day, so she had a lot of emotional abuse growing up with a mother who had dramatic outbursts and cheated openly on her father...A man who was in the position to remove them from harms way and never did a thing.

Over the years prior to us meeting, my wife developed some behavioral OCD tendencies - Checking doors repeatedly, tapping her chin and saying things three times, nothing extreme in terms of germs but everything must be clean beyond "normal" clean and very spatially resistant to change.

I love her dearly and she means everything to me - I feel guilty sharing these private things so openly - But I need some help/guidance. I feel like some of the things she used to love about me the most are now the things she hates the most - My rose-colored glasses, quiet demeanor, willingness to go along with things, and my reliance on humor/saracasam to diffuse situations

She has a short fused temper and directs a lot of her anger at other situations towards me on a regular basis - I tell her this and it's hit or miss - She'll either acknowledge it or use it against me.

She's never happy with anything we buy and always finds the flaws or the worst parts of things and uses that to fuel her tantrums...I do my best to listen and be supportive/understanding but when I don't agree with what she's saying or don't have anything else to offer besides "I'm sorry babe" it just worsens the situation.

I often times fall into an almost catatonic state when she fumes over things and it likely doesn't aide in my perception of being an active listener, but it happens to frequently now that it's like if I can just be quiet and let her vent maybe I can avoid an argument...Nothing I say ever seems to matter or change things anyways.

I've gotten to the point now where I tel her I have to step away and I tell her that I cannot talk to you when you're behaving this way.

70% of the time, after we both cool down, she agrees that she was being irrational and apologizes...My heart suddenly leaps back into a normal spot and I sigh in relief and we carry on our day like nothing happened - Her OCD often requires her to apologize multiple times throughout the day and I always let her know it's okay and that I was glad we were able to communicate and work things out calmly after the fact.

The other 30% of the time though it stretches out, and it ultimately gets added to the grudge list, which is pulled out in the beat of battle to remind me of all the times I've messed up...This boils my blood because I now how counterproductive this kind of behavior is to resolving our problems.

She changes her mind on every decision - Even after it's been made - Even after she fights with me vehemently because she thinks she's right, and then realizes maybe I had a good point after making the decision to go through with something, she wants to revert back and change course.

She tries to make jokes often times that end up being an insult to me and then gets upset that I didn't laugh along with her...

I recently had a health scare in my genital region...Epididymitis...Super painful, no fun. She was very supportive throughout but thanks to her overactive imagination and OCD Google searches of every possible medical condition and their symptoms and causes that creates yet more anxiety and fuels her paranoia, she assumes that the number one cause of Epididymitis on Web MD is how I got it...infedility and/or sexually transmitted infections...And she tried to joke about it but I knew she was serious...Always asking me who I was texting or why I stay so late at work. Suffice to say, I've never had the desire, interest, time, or energy to even consider cheating on my wife and I try to explain that to her as lovingly as I can but she just gets insulted and tells me she was only joking (even though I know she's serious).

I don't know if I've really covered it all here...There's so much wrong, but so much right too. We can go weeks without arguing and even though her OCD behaviors continue, I've learned to adapt to that.

Primary concerns are:

1) I don't want my son to develop OCD behaviors

2) I want her to try and acknowledge her anger issues more and maybe take a class - I'll go too if she needs the support. I don't see that happening though when we have 10 month old

3) I can't even fathom the possibility of divorce/separation...It's just not on the table for me as an option, period

And most importantly...

4) I love her so much...I've spent all this time telling you all the terrible things and not a minute on how amazing she is. The bad is bad, and the good is great...I just want the best for her. Which is 99% of the reason why I could never separate/divorce her...I would spend my days worried sick over her, and I honestly have concerns over how she would cope...She's a fierce and strong-willed woman, but I think I've given her a lot of support and stability over the years and I think I've really helped her with reducing her OCD behaviors - I just know that she would sink into a massive hole without me by her side. And that's ultimately where I always want to be...

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-16-2016, 09:38 PM
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Stop the sarcasm immediately.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-16-2016, 09:38 PM
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Re: Wife's Anger Has Deep Roots

Aw, I feel for your wife and for you, too. The good news is...she can get help for this, there are a lot of great therapists out there to help with OCD, and other behavioral issues. It doesn't sound like she is personality disordered, but rather certain things trigger these ''outbursts.'' I'd discuss getting her some help, because the marriage will suffer if she remains like this, and you continue walking on egg shells, which you shouldn't have to do, either. Hope it works out.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-16-2016, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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I try to be as mindful as possible of my sarcasm in the moment as possible - It's just something we used to be able to laugh together about but I certainly would rather drop it than trigger an outburst.

Thanks so much Diedre! I'm hopeful she's receptive to it - I think timing is everything and I have to a) not do it during/after an argument and b) phrase it in such a way that it's as supportive as possible
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-16-2016, 11:24 PM
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Re: Wife's Anger Has Deep Roots

Guess what my doc says can cause Epididymitis? Not getting your "pipes" emptied out often enough. The natural outward flushing keeps bacteria from building up. Seriously, ya need to either rub one out at least once a week, or better yet, your wife & you should be working on it together!
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-16-2016, 11:52 PM
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Re: Wife's Anger Has Deep Roots

She needs therapy.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-17-2016, 08:35 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Wife's Anger Has Deep Roots

That's an interesting theory...I could see the logic behind that. I don't think that was the cause in my particular case though. Apart from abstaining for a few weeks while I recovered, our sex life has never really been an issue luckily.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-17-2016, 08:59 AM
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Re: Wife's Anger Has Deep Roots

I will apologize in advance if this sounds harsh.....

Your W does not sound like a lovable person from what you describe. She sounds like an abusive, horrible, controlling witch.

Your W has serious mental health problems. I don't doubt that she has OCD but OCD doesn't make you vent constantly about how much your H sucks.

I would bet borderline personality disorder. Or maybe she's just plain mean.

You will learn this the hard way; I can tell from your posts that you are very defensive about this situation and I understand. I was in a similar situation a few years ago. You will learn that no matter how perfect you are, no matter how considerate, no matter how tactful, NONE OF IT WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE because you are not the problem, your W's mental illness is the problem. And you cannot control, cure, or fix that. Only she can do it. Your "help" will make things worse.

Also, the way you speak about her, as though you cannot live without her, is an indicator that you also have issues. Codependency. Low self-esteem. Lack of confidence. All reasons why people put up with abuse.

If my life has taught me anything it's that there is always another fish in the sea. I once loved someone with all of my being. I never thought I could love another the way I did her. In the end she left and I am now remarried. I love my W more than loved my ex. And my new relationship - while imperfect - is infinitely better than the one with ex. Yes, the same person I put on a pedestal and proclaimed to be my one and only forever and ever.

Nobody should have to deal with inappropriate, out of control, constant anger in a marriage. Yes, people get angry with each other. But it shouldn't be chronic, longstanding and so intense that it brings you to this message board.

I encourage you to start with IC to explore why you feel this woman is perfect when it is obvious to any objective observer that she is a witch.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-17-2016, 09:14 AM
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Re: Wife's Anger Has Deep Roots

With her family of origin issues it isn't altogether unusual to develop personality disorders or PTSD.

I'd recommend some intensive IC.

How would she feel about that?
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-17-2016, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Wife's Anger Has Deep Roots

IC = Independent Counseling?

She's sought counseling in the past and I think she would be understanding of me going on my own...I think some couples counseling wouldn't be out of line either...I think she'd be willing but I'm not sure how open she would be to make any lasting/permanent changes. Thanks Tron...You're right, it's a familial inheritance. Her mother and even her maternal grandparents all had similar traits.

I appreciate your insight Nix2...I don't know how I feel other than very defensive at the moment and rather than flame the boards, I'll take your advice and file it for now...I have no doubt of my co-dependence and have often wondered if I'm just making things worse...But like I said, there are a litany of incredible qualities and times we still have together, especially with my son and her incredible/natural abilities as a mother that I've witnessed these past ten months, I just have no connection to the rest of your observations. You may be right, but I hope you're wrong and I'll leave it at that for now.

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-17-2016, 03:57 PM
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Re: Wife's Anger Has Deep Roots

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IC = Independent Counseling?

She's sought counseling in the past and I think she would be understanding of me going on my own...I think some couples counseling wouldn't be out of line either...I think she'd be willing but I'm not sure how open she would be to make any lasting/permanent changes. Thanks Tron...You're right, it's a familial inheritance. Her mother and even her maternal grandparents all had similar traits.

I appreciate your insight Nix2...I don't know how I feel other than very defensive at the moment and rather than flame the boards, I'll take your advice and file it for now...I have no doubt of my co-dependence and have often wondered if I'm just making things worse...But like I said, there are a litany of incredible qualities and times we still have together, especially with my son and her incredible/natural abilities as a mother that I've witnessed these past ten months, I just have no connection to the rest of your observations. You may be right, but I hope you're wrong and I'll leave it at that for now.
Fair enough - I am glad you can take my comments in the spirit with which they are intended which is supportive of you. We will be here for you no matter what and I also hope that you are able to write back here with a happy ending eventually.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-17-2016, 04:25 PM
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Re: Wife's Anger Has Deep Roots

Read "Co-Dependent No More" by Melody Beattie.

It is a pretty quick read. You may even be able to find a free pdf somewhere.

See if it resonates with you.

Co-D is quite common in families with history of alcoholism, addictions, abuse, etc.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-21-2016, 07:48 AM
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Re: Wife's Anger Has Deep Roots

I understand how you must feel. I am currently going through the same things. Especially with past problems. Our arguments can never simply be about what started it and working to resolve it, everything that has ever gone wrong is brought in making it impossible to resolve anything.
My husband has gotten epidimytus 4 times in the almost 7 years we have been together and we used to argue and fight because he was always researching some symptom on the internet and while he never took any of his symptoms as a sign of infidelity, I would often have to research it myself to calm him down from the anxiety he had worked his way into. I often joke that if you enter a cold symptom into the WebMD search engine you'll be told you're dying. I'm not trying to make light of your frustration as I have been there, but that's how little I trust anything coming from that website.
I myself have come from an abusive upbringing and I can say from my own experience that growing up that way, you know as you grow older that how you were raised and what you endured wasn't normal, to put it lightly, but it was all you knew. So when you meet someone who loves and treats you the way an actual normal relationship should be, it's hard to accept. You want better, but once you get it, what do you do? What's the right way to be in this relationship when all you knew were the hard and hurtful ones.
Bottom line is, she needs help, and if she's willing to accept it than with your support as you love her so much, she can thrive from her past.

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-23-2016, 11:42 PM
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Re: Wife's Anger Has Deep Roots

LoveHurts, I agree with @Nix2 that the issues you describe seem to go far beyond OCD. I also agree with him that the behaviors you describe -- i.e., irrational jealousy, temper tantrums, verbal abuse, controlling behavior, rapid flips between Jekyll (adoring you) and Hyde (devaluing you), and always being "The Victim" -- are 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 -- together with moderate traits of OCD. I caution that BPD 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 very controlling behavior, always being "The Victim," and rapid event-triggered mood flips.

Significantly, learning to spot these warning signs will NOT enable you to diagnose your W's issues. The main reason for learning these red flags, then -- like learning warning signs for stroke and heart attack -- is to help you decide whether there is sufficient reason to promptly spend money seeking a professional opinion.

Quote:
Wife's Anger Has Deep Roots.... She has a short fused temper and directs a lot of her anger at other situations towards me on a regular basis.
People with OCD typically try to make themselves feel better by performing routines. In contrast, those with strong BPD traits try to make themselves feel better (when stressed) not with routines but, rather, by raging and devaluing others. That is, the BPDers project their hurtful feelings and bad thoughts onto their partners.

Significantly, the APA's diagnostic manual (DSM-5) does not mentioned anger in any of the 8 symptoms listed for defining OCD. Nor is it mentioned in the defining traits listed for OCPD. Anger is a defining trait, however, for BPD. Indeed, the terms "anger" or "rage" appear in 3 of the 9 defining symptoms for BPD.

Anger is one of the hallmarks for BPD because BPDers carry enormous anger and hurt deep inside from early childhood. You therefore don't have to do anything to CREATE the anger. Instead, you only have say or do some minor thing that TRIGGERS the anger that is already there. This is one reason why a BPDer can flip -- in only ten seconds -- from adoring you to hating (or devaluing) you.

Quote:
She's never happy with anything we buy and always finds the flaws or the worst parts of things and uses that to fuel her tantrums.
My BPDer exW (of 15 years) was that way too. If I gave her an expensive gift, she would absolutely love it for a week -- perhaps two weeks if it was really extravagant. Then she started perceiving of it as too big, too small, or the wrong color.

Quote:
She changes her mind on every decision - Even after it's been made - Even after she fights with me vehemently because she thinks she's right, and then realizes maybe I had a good point after making the decision to go through with something, she wants to revert back and change course.
The main hallmark of BPD is emotional instability. If your W has strong BPD traits, she is unstable because she is unable to regulate her own emotions. On top of that, a BPDer has a fragile, weak sense of who she is. The result is that a BPDer on her own is unable to maintain a certain course. She has no strong personality to guide her. This is why BPDers desperately need to be living with someone having a strong personality that will ground them and center them. Of course, when you do EXACTLY THAT, your contribution (i.e., the "self identity" she sorely needs) will not be appreciated. Instead, the BPDer will frequently complain that you are trying to control her.

Quote:
She had a lot of emotional abuse growing up with a mother who had dramatic outbursts and cheated openly on her father.
Most abused children grow up without developing strong and persistent BPD traits. Even so, childhood abuse greatly raises the child's risk for doing so. A recent study found that 70% of BPDers (i.e., those exhibiting strong and persistent traits) report that they had been abused or abandoned by a parent in childhood.

Quote:
Over the years prior to us meeting, my wife developed some behavioral OCD tendencies.
If your W has moderate to strong BPD symptoms, that does NOT rule out her also suffering from strong traits of an anxiety disorder such as OCD or a PD such as OCPD. A recent large-scale study found that 81% of female BPDers suffer from a co-occurring anxiety disorder such as OCD, panic disorder, PTSD, or generalized anxiety. Moreover, 24% of female BPDers also suffer from a second PD called OCPD (Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder). See Table 3 at 2008 Study in JCP.

Quote:
If I can just be quiet and let her vent maybe I can avoid an argument...Nothing I say ever seems to matter or change things anyways.
If she has strong BPD traits, that strategy will not work. The reason is that a BPDer's two great fears -- abandonment and engulfment -- lie at opposite ends of the very same spectrum. This means that, as you back away from one fear to avoid triggering it, you necessarily are starting to trigger the other fear. This is why, with BPDers, arguments will get very heated every few weeks, if not more often.

Quote:
The other 30% of the time though it stretches out, and it ultimately gets added to the grudge list, which is pulled out in the heat of battle to remind me of all the times I've messed up.
As you know, OCD sufferers like to keep lists. BPDers keep lists too. Because a BPDer is always convinced she is "The Victim," she will keep a mental list of every infraction (real or imagined) that you ever did to her. And she will pull out the entire list nearly every time you have a bad argument, no matter how petty the issue.

Quote:
Always asking me who I was texting or why I stay so late at work.
Irrational jealousy is a warning sign for BPD because abandonment is one of the BPDer's great fears. The other great fear is the engulfment she feels during intimacy. Granted, BPDers typically crave intimacy like nearly everyone else. They cannot tolerate it very long, however, because their self identity is so fragile (making their personal boundaries very low).

Quote:
There's so much wrong, but so much right too.... The bad is bad, and the good is great.
BPDers generally are NOT bad people. Their problem is not being BAD but, rather, being UNSTABLE. The vast majority of BPDers are compassionate and caring with their casual friends, business associates, and total strangers -- because none of those folks come close enough to trigger the two fears. Moreover, many of these high functioning BPDers exhibit a warmth and purity of expression that is very childlike, making them easy to fall in love with. Indeed, two of the world's most beloved women -- Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana -- both exhibited full-blown BPD if their biographers are correct.

Quote:
She's sought counseling in the past and I think she would be understanding of me going on my own.
Going to IC on your own is a great idea. I suggest that you see a clinical psychologist -- for a visit or two all by yourself -- to obtain a candid professional opinion on what it is you and your young son are dealing with. I also suggest that, while you're looking for a good psych, you read about BPD warning signs to see if they seem to apply.

An easy place to start reading is my list of red flags at 18 Warning Signs. If most sound very familiar, I would suggest you also read my more detailed description of these red flags at my posts in Maybe's Thread. If that description rings many bells, I would be glad to join Nix2 and the other respondents in discussing them with you. Take care, LoveHurts.
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