Did you ever realize you were not happy?


#1

I am not happy with the way I treat my wife and I am not proud of it and I do not know how to break the cycle. By that I mean that it is as if everytime she says something my defenses go up and I get on the defensive right away and get an attitude in my voice and it causes us to have disagreements and fights for no reason. It ruins the entire day as she gets mad at me for this and starts arguing and the day is a constant battle to get back up hill. I apologize, but still the hurt is still there. I do not want to make her mad, I do not want to fight, but it is as if I have no control over this. (If anyone has read any of my other posts you know that my wife stays at home with our 3 children - 1 in school - and that I work 2 jobs) I know that both of us are stressed, but I do not want to use that as a crutch. Stressed or not, that stress should be left at the door and I should treasure every moment that I have with my wife and children, but I let my mood, my being tired affect how I am at home. It is as if when it rains it pours. Nothing is going in the right direction. I cannot get this ship going straight, it as if I want to not be defensive, but once the situation comes up, I cannot avoid it. I try to joke around, but my mannerisms are such that it does not come off this way. It is as if I cannot even joke around and others will know that I am. Am I depressed? I am so full of despair, just wondering when everyone is going to have enough of me and my moods. Does anyone have any suggestions (specific suggestions) that I can do to break this cycle?

Thanks!!


#2

Acknowledging that you need to change and resolving to change are the first steps. The cheapest way is to do it yourself–with the assistance of a good book, a lot of prayer, better communication with your wife, Penance, and/or a Catholic Marriage Encounter weekend. For a Catholic book on marriage, you might try Gregory Popchak’s book example “For Better…Forever: A Catholic Guide to Lifelong Marriage”. Considered a classic but not Catholic is “Why Marriages Succed or Fail And How You Can Make Yours Last” by J. Gottman. Keep working at it. None of us will never get to perfection, but we can make great improvements. (Of course, there is always marriage counseling and there is no shame in that either.)


#3

Penance, Marriage Encounter Week-end and reading and studying Theology of the Body.


#4

Hey, that is great if you realize that. Maybe you can let your wife know that you are recognizing this and ask her to help you break this cycle. Maybe if you let her know that you are feeling defensive and have a tendency to develop an “attitude”, she can know not to follow that up with an argument. Maybe both of you can talk about what your trigger points are and acknowledge how your own responses create this viscious cycle. If she is aware that you don’t want to go down that path, and she doesn’t want to go down that, then one of you could just say, " We’re going down that path. Let’s not go there", take a time out, pray, do something nice for eachother, and maybe you can avoid the whole familiar cycle. If you both don’t like the status quo, then there is no reason to stick with it.

Not that I am the best person to offer marital advice or anything…


#5

You very well could be depressed. See your family doctor, he or she may prescribe you some medication. Just talking to them may help out too. Sometimes it helps to have someone other than your spouse to talk to about your troubles. You mentioned being stressed so you might want to read God Help Me! Finding Balance through God’s Grace by Gregory Popcak. Prayers are with you, God bless.


#6

I stumbled across this post and thought it was ironic because I just confessed something to my husband that I had been holding back for quite some time. I’m not cheating or anything but I basically lied to him for a year and finally told him the truth. He was mad, of course, with every right to be.
The reason it’s such a big deal is because I never lie to him about ANYTHING and we both are honest with each other. I broke that tradition. :frowning:


#7

Dear MirrorMirror: God Bless You for even writing! Know you are an awesome man for allowing your wife to be a stay at home mom for your 3 kids and for working 2 jobs! WOW–that’s so high on my list, I can’t even tell you. God Loves You Friend, just know you are being a Godly Man and doing your part. This is normal what you are going thru for sure—as life is hard, stressful, etc. Do you have any time for some outside interests? I would suggest perhaps you do something such as biking, swimming, golf to relax, and you can do it with your family too. Do you have a YMCA nearby? If so, join today. This has been our families’ saving grace to do some excercising together, and separately. I go during the day, H goes whenever, he takes the kids to play Basketball, and exercise sounds like just what you need. If you’re really pressed for time with 2 jobs, maybe get a treadmill to keep in your family room, and when kids are all in bed, do it for 1/2 hr. in front of your favorite TV show. Exercise works wonders on the psyche. It will for you too! Just know, sounds like you’re a fabulous dad and hubby. “As thy day is, so shall thy strength be”. Remember this verse, and may God Bless~~


#8

[quote=Mirror Mirror] Am I depressed? I am so full of despair, just wondering when everyone is going to have enough of me and my moods. Does anyone have any suggestions (specific suggestions) that I can do to break this cycle?

[/quote]

You could be depressed but it could be the entire family dynamic. You and your wife sound like me and my husband several years ago. You might want to make sure you wife is fulfilled and happy. Does she have social groups and friends? I am a stay at home mom but I work a couple days a month just to get out of the house and recharge my batteries. I adore my children but I also need to feel loved and wanted as a woman not just a Mom.

My husband and I were both struggling with issues and were not talking about them but were constantly lashing out at each other. I tried to get him to change jobs but he didn’t want to because he felt like he was safe where he was. He was afraid to take a risk and would not listen to any of my suggestions. He would complain about his job but do nothing to change it. Things finally changed after he was forced to resign his position due to looking at inappropriate stuff on the computer at work. (He is a sex addict and could not stop looking at porn.) This had a negative impact on us in more ways than I will ever be able share.

Of course, this was a huge secret that he kept from me for the first 5 years of our marriage. You and your wife have to be totally honest with each other on all levels and seek some kind of help. I wish we had saught counseling or something.

We were both trying to be the perfect spouse and parent and in the process forgot who we were as individuals. Now, we make it a point to go on a date once a month. We went to engaged encounter when we were preparing to get married. We kept all that stuff and we pull it out and review it from time to time to remember and reflect. If you and your wife have anything like that, you could do the same. We find it very refreshing. It helps put things in perspective.


#9

You bet I have realized in the past that I am not happy…and my experience has been that my lack of happiness is always because of me.I hate when that happens.


#10

Please don’t be offended, but do you think some of the defensiveness might be left over from childhood? I know someone who didn’t have the happiest of childhoods and it left her defensive, which is so sad because she is really a great person, and so much like you always helping and doing above and beyond what most people expect. One thing she told me that helps her is to remember our eyes face forward for a reason. I think if you admit to yourself you do a lot for your family and you love them enough to care if you hurt them, then you are a wonderful person. God gives us a new morning everyday as a new opportunity. Good luck, and really if you are still having trouble, try talking to your priest. God Bless.


#11

Does anyone have any suggestions (specific suggestions) that I can do to break this cycle?
Thanks!!

I think you’re very tired and in a rut and I suggest that you send the kids to stay with Grandma or whomever you trust and then you and your wife need to just BE together. Don’t even talk. Just be.

I remember reading the suggestion somewhere long ago that spending the weekend in bed can work wonders. Waking up when you’re ready, having breakfast in bed, reading, etc. Just for the day, be a slouch. You’ll feel better the next day. Really. :thumbsup:


#12

Mirror,

You have already taken a big step. You’ve identified the problem. You are reacting defensively to what she is saying.

Can you stand one more book recommendation? Fighting for Your Marriage by Howard J. Markman (and others). What you are describing sounds as if Markman used you as an example.
Reacting defensively is a problem. One thing I would suggest is sharing with your wife exactly what you said here. Tell her you recognize you are reacting defensively. Ask her to help.

She probably doesn’t realize her words are being interpretted. Maybe she will recognize she can choose her words differently. It will take both of you.

The fact that you realize what is going on is a huge step in fixing it. God bless.


#13

[quote=ReginaNova]Acknowledging that you need to change and resolving to change are the first steps. The cheapest way is to do it yourself–with the assistance of a good book, a lot of prayer, better communication with your wife, Penance, and/or a Catholic Marriage Encounter weekend. For a Catholic book on marriage, you might try Gregory Popchak’s book example “For Better…Forever: A Catholic Guide to Lifelong Marriage”. Considered a classic but not Catholic is “Why Marriages Succed or Fail And How You Can Make Yours Last” by J. Gottman. Keep working at it. None of us will never get to perfection, but we can make great improvements. (Of course, there is always marriage counseling and there is no shame in that either.)
[/quote]

Thanks for the advice and the book suggestion. Hopefully soon I can find the book and the time to read it. Thanks for the reminder that I need to get to confession.


#14

[quote=dulcissima]Hey, that is great if you realize that. Maybe you can let your wife know that you are recognizing this and ask her to help you break this cycle. Maybe if you let her know that you are feeling defensive and have a tendency to develop an “attitude”, she can know not to follow that up with an argument. Maybe both of you can talk about what your trigger points are and acknowledge how your own responses create this viscious cycle. If she is aware that you don’t want to go down that path, and she doesn’t want to go down that, then one of you could just say, " We’re going down that path. Let’s not go there", take a time out, pray, do something nice for eachother, and maybe you can avoid the whole familiar cycle. If you both don’t like the status quo, then there is no reason to stick with it.

Not that I am the best person to offer marital advice or anything…
[/quote]

I appreciate the advice. I am taking your advice of doing something nice for her each day. We are not one to be “status quo” so we are good at “bucking the system.” I think that it was great advice. :thumbsup:


#15

[quote=Stac4Grace]You very well could be depressed. See your family doctor, he or she may prescribe you some medication. Just talking to them may help out too. Sometimes it helps to have someone other than your spouse to talk to about your troubles. You mentioned being stressed so you might want to read God Help Me! Finding Balance through God’s Grace by Gregory Popcak. Prayers are with you, God bless.
[/quote]

I listened to Gregory’s program for a while yesterday. I will have to tune in again.


#16

[quote=sparkle]Dear MirrorMirror: God Bless You for even writing! Know you are an awesome man for allowing your wife to be a stay at home mom for your 3 kids and for working 2 jobs! WOW–that’s so high on my list, I can’t even tell you. God Loves You Friend, just know you are being a Godly Man and doing your part.
[/quote]

Thank you for the encouraging words! They truly warm my heart.

[quote=sparkle]This is normal what you are going thru for sure—as life is hard, stressful, etc. Do you have any time for some outside interests? Exercise works wonders on the psyche. It will for you too! Just know, sounds like you’re a fabulous dad and hubby. “As thy day is, so shall thy strength be”. Remember this verse, and may God Bless~~
[/quote]

I do play basketball on Wednesday and Friday mornings (early) before work. It is nice to get the exercise. I like the verse and really appreciate the compliments! God bless you.

[quote=wacky&wonderful]I think you’re very tired and in a rut and I suggest that you send the kids to stay with Grandma or whomever you trust and then you and your wife need to just BE together. Don’t even talk. Just be.
[/quote]

I love this advice – JUST BE. That is great and I think that I will try to focus on that. Just be, that is wonderful!

[quote=ConcernCatholic]I am a stay at home mom but I work a couple days a month just to get out of the house and recharge my batteries. I adore my children but I also need to feel loved and wanted as a woman not just a Mom.
[/quote]

I sent you a PM to thank you for sharing and I know that she needs to be a woman and needs her time too. I will try harder to focus on that.

[quote=SemperJase]You have already taken a big step. You’ve identified the problem. You are reacting defensively to what she is saying.

The fact that you realize what is going on is a huge step in fixing
it. God bless.
[/quote]

Thanks for the encouragement and for the book suggestions. We are working on this, but I know that I need to focus on things for myself and I am trying to take baby steps to improve every day.


#17

MirrorMirror,

I’ve had periods similar to what you describe. Where anger comes out of my mouth, but then I wonder, “Whooaa! Where did that come from?”

With a little examination, I’ve often found that my wife would hit a trigger that was set from childhood. There would be something that say my mom, or a brother would do that would annoy me. Then when my wife would say something or do something in a similar way, I would blow up.

For example, so-called “subtle hints” were a bane of my childhood. If a family member would drop a subtle hint, but you didn’t take it and act on it you were apt to get derided for it later. So I became sensitive to “hints”. And then my poor wife who was not exposed to this background drops a hint and KABLOOOEY!!

Also, I can get grouchy when things are not going my way. So I might go to work, have a rough day. Then, by 5 pm my patience for anything is thin.

Best advice I ever got is prayer and fasting. One old priest said through prayer and fasting you will gain self-mastery. Then you will be calm when you’re supposed to be calm, and you can get angry when you’re supposed to be angry. And interestingly, I’ve noticed just that. I’ve noticed that I still blow up, but now it’s over things that I really should be mad about.


#18

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.