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Co-dependent relationship with wife
#1
This is just a vent. 

I've always been shy and lonely, and I'm sure I would be diagnosed with depression if I went to a doctor, and probably some kind of anxiety. 

My wife and I have been married for a few years, and it's been intense, at times. She has emotional problems, borderline-personality disorder, probably depression. In the past she has been almost absurdly unreasonable and difficult, I don't like the cliche of Jekyll and Hyde, but it's entirely apt - she used to 'flip' at the most ridiculous things, and would regularly assault me, once bludgeoning me repeatedly until my arm swelled up to twice it's normal size. Her reason for doing so was so trivial it's almost embarrassing for me to mention (it involved me not telling her I had found her spare keys). 

She has been to a psych, and been prescribed medication. Surprisingly, she has (or had) improved quite a lot, the frequency and intensity of her 'rampages' eased up, and until a couple of weeks ago, she had gone approx 9 months without attacking me. 

I know it sounds strange to say, but it's not really the assaults so much, it's her attitude. She will very occasionally admit some wrong-doing, but usually maintains that she was more-or-less justified, we were both in the wrong etc. 

I've never hit her back, although I have defended myself sometimes (perhaps not as often as I should), usually by pushing her away or something. She tells me that a lot of our problems are because I don't 'communicate effectively' when she upsets me, which is true, but I don't feel like I can, because chances are, Mr Hyde will replace Dr Jekyll, and it won't matter. 

When she's 'Mr Hyde', her attitude is that I am an awful, horrible sub-human being, but I'm not allowed to leave her, because she can't cope on her own, and ya know, I've adopted the puppy and signed the paperwork, so I have to suffer the consequences now. She has had big fallings-out with her best-friend, her mum, her sister, and I think 2 of her brothers as well, at various times. I don't know the details, but I'm assuming for similar reasons. 

Our sex life is non-existent. She says that's my decision, I think it's her's, although again, I don't say it, because it'll just cause an argument. She views sex as an opportunity to get her needs met, and my needs? Well, I'm a man, so she'll just go on the internet and find a forum of women saying they're sexually generous and their husbands are selfish, and that's case closed, she's entitled to what she wants and in return she'll rant to me about how men are pigs (even though she has herself admitted that I am - or was - generous to her sexually, this doesn't make a difference). She grasps a lot of these quasi-feminist theories from the internet to rationalise to herself why she should always get her own way, and men are always automatically in the wrong (and can be kicked, punched etc with impunity - and she does even try and argue this sometimes). 

Really, this could be the story of our whole relationship. I try to tell her that she has to respect me, and she counters that that's not the problem, the problem is that I don't communicate. I say there's no point in communicating, because if I communicate that she has upset me, all bets are off and fists start flying. She says that wouldn't happen if I communicated effectively, I say I shouldn't need to tell someone that punching me and treating me like s**t is wrong. Thing is, she does have a point, I AM a terrible communicator, but I can't bear confrontation (child of divorce), and I'd rather just give in to her when she sulks or whatever. 

Honestly, I don't know how much is her 'condition' (which is genuine, and requires sympathy), and how much is her........well, frankly, seeing how much she can get away with, she's grifting and I'm the chump (she "can't" do things she doesn't want to do, can do things she does - I think we'd all like that condition.)

I would just leave her, but I do love her and feel responsible for her, and I know it's pathetic, but we could have such a nice relationship (90% of the time, we do), if she would just respect the fact that I don't always have to agree with her, I'm allowed my own life, wants/needs etc. 

TL;DR Co-dependent relationship, I'm sick of being an enabler. 

Vent over. Thanks.
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#2
Wow. Your relationship sounds intense, but it’s clear you obviously love this woman. Have you ever been to a marital counsellor together? Or even alone? Or to a counsellor? Learning some effective communication skills would definitely be a good idea on your part (and hers too).

I have more to say, but I’m pressed for time right now. Just thought I’d mention the above for now. Cheers!
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#3
Well everybody has problems. When two people come together they have more then double the problems. It sounds like you just need to slow the train down somehow. Maybe you can slip her some tranquilizers or something somehow when she gets in one of her mood swings. I'm not joking. Maybe it's something you two can talk to her doctor about. I'm guessing she doesn't like being on the rampages. Maybe she'll even start to see things from your point of view.

I've been happily single and self isolating for about a decade now. This Corona thing is nothing for me. I've learned that it's too much trouble to deal with other people's problems besides my own. Maybe some of the unhappy single people feeling lonely will take notice of your story and realize the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Being alone can be a great thing.
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#4
I really don't know what to say; but, I've been in a relationship like that. I made a choice to stay, because I loved her, and couldn't face life with out her. I was weak, and am still weak.

But my love for her and the place it came from, was, strong.
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard inner battle.
Namu Amida Butsu.

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#5
(04-08-2020, 04:34 AM)ringwood Wrote:
Wow. Your relationship sounds intense, but it’s clear you obviously love this woman. Have you ever been to a marital counsellor together? Or even alone? Or to a counsellor? Learning some effective communication skills would definitely be a good idea on your part (and hers too). 

I have more to say, but I’m pressed for time right now. Just thought I’d mention the above for now. Cheers!


We have been to counselling, and she has been alone (as have I, a couple of times). I don't wish to be uncharitable (but I'm mad at her at the moment) - my wife goes to a therapist, and she likes the initial bit, when they see how sweet she is and how troubled, and she gets lots of nice sympathy..........and then she quits after the therapist comes to understand that maybe the problem is not with me or someone else, but  that it might be wife who needs to change her behaviour and control her anger, etc. Idk, I might be being quite unfair, the reason my wife gives is probably equally valid, that she finds it exhausting and difficult. But she has been to 5 or 6 different mental heath professionals while I've known her. 


(04-08-2020, 10:37 AM)Finished Wrote: Well everybody has problems. When two people come together they have more then double the problems. It sounds like you just need to slow the train down somehow. Maybe you can slip her some tranquilizers or something somehow when she gets in one of her mood swings. I'm not joking. Maybe it's something you two can talk to her doctor about. I'm guessing she doesn't like being on the rampages. Maybe she'll even start to see things from your point of view.

I've been happily single and self isolating for about a decade now. This Corona thing is nothing for me. I've learned that it's too much trouble to deal with other people's problems besides my own. Maybe some of the unhappy single people feeling lonely will take notice of your story and realize the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Being alone can be a great thing.

It was her pscyh that suggested that I keep a diary of her behaviour, and I'm quite glad that he suggested that, because it allows me to maintain my sanity when she claims everything is my fault, she's always the innocent victim etc. Because I have it there in black and white (and black and blue, for the photos of my bruises). But idk about slipping her pills, lol, not sure I could do that in good conscience. 

But no, she doesn't like being on the rampages, although I can't escape the feeling that she is indulging herself when she does - she doesn't behave this way towards anyone else, it is difficult for me (and again, perhaps uncharitable) to escape the idea that she does it to me because she 'knows she can get away with it', and often she takes it out on me because she's mad about politics, or something else that is literally nothing to do with me. 

Tbh what really bothers me is that she clearly has the idea, either consciously or unconsciously, that the way to get what she wants and have a nice relationship is to berate, sulk and pummel me into submission. When of course it should be blindingly obvious that the way to have a nice relationship is for her to respect my feelings. 

I used to be on my own all the time, and 'self-isolating' (still do now). I hope you are ok.
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#6
Since you said this is a vent - I'm not going to offer any advice (besides, you've already been given some already so I'd just be repeating them).

Instead - I hope it helps that you've got this place as a friendly ear and shoulder to cry on. Consider this a virtual hug along with the hopes that things improve for you.

Take care.
I'm an Optimistic Pessimist. I'm absolutely POSITIVE that it's all going to go horribly wrong...

Marge: I'm not afraid
Grampa: Then you're not paying close enough attention
(from episode entitled 'Strong Arms of the Ma')
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#7
If it was me, the next time she hits me, I leave, it really is as simple as that. No human being should have to put up with that shit.

Sigh.

You love her.

As the old saying goes 'If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got'.

I think you've done enough for her, shown your love many times, but she won't change. She needs to continue with her programmes and see them through to the end, not bail out when the going gets tough. I can't see while you are there as her safety net that this will ever happen. It seems a well established routine for her.

If I was you I think I'd prepare for the day when she assaults you again. Build up some savings somewhere, have a place to go etc, have a plan. Hopefully the assault won't be too bad for you.
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#8
(04-09-2020, 01:13 AM)Livebreathesmile Wrote: If it was me, the next time she hits me, I leave, it really is as simple as that.  No human being should have to put up with that shit.

Sigh.

You love her.  

As the old saying goes 'If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got'.

I think you've done enough for her, shown your love many times, but she won't change. She needs to continue with her programmes and see them through to the end, not bail out when the going gets tough. I can't see while you are there as her safety net that this will ever happen.  It seems a well established routine for her.

If I was you I think I'd prepare for the day when she assaults you again. Build up some savings somewhere, have a place to go etc, have a plan. Hopefully the assault won't be too bad for you.


Yeah, I know. And I have said this to myself too, that I will leave her if she does, and I should, and I actually have done a couple of times. She has made a lot of improvement, but I don't know that to me the damage can ever be undone. 

It's desperately frustrating to me, because the solution is so simple and obvious: she just respects my feelings, and that mine are worth just as much as her's. You wouldn't believe how difficult it is to get her to even acknowledge this, let alone act like it (when's she in 'Mr Hyde' mode).
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#9
Do NOT slip her pills. That is wrong on so many levels.
Now that said, I guess the think you need to realize is that abuse is not acceptable for any reason. I would say (and this is only my opinion) that whether it is her illness or just her would depend on how much she is trying to get help. Is she seeing a doctor, is she trying pills, is she doing everything she can to try to stop doing what she is doing? If she's not, I'd say she's not that interested in controlling it. The fact that she tries to place the blame entirely on you is a good indication that it's not all her illness, though. She would eventually switch and realize it was her fault too.

Leaving the next time she hits you is a good option. Don't leave forever, just tell her to call when she calms down and leave. When she calls and you can tell she's calm, you can return. You need to let her know that you aren't going to tolerate it and she needs to get help so you aren't in danger anymore. Sometimes, leaving is the only way to get the point across.
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#10
(04-10-2020, 01:44 AM)TheRealCallie Wrote: Do NOT slip her pills.  That is wrong on so many levels.  
Now that said, I guess the think you need to realize is that abuse is not acceptable for any reason. I would say (and this is only my opinion) that whether it is her illness or just her would depend on how much she is trying to get help. Is she seeing a doctor, is she trying pills, is she doing everything she can to try to stop doing what she is doing?  If she's not, I'd say she's not that interested in controlling it.   The fact that she tries to place the blame entirely on you is a good indication that it's not all her illness, though.  She would eventually switch and realize it was her fault too.  

Leaving the next time she hits you is a good option.  Don't leave forever, just tell her to call when she calms down and leave.  When she calls and you can tell she's calm, you can return.  You need to let her know that you aren't going to tolerate it and she needs to get help so you aren't in danger anymore.  Sometimes, leaving is the only way to get the point across.

Don't worry, I won't be slipping her pills, crumbs. I wouldn't even know how that would work - "Yes, please stop hitting me for a moment dear and take this unsuspicious concoction I've just decided to mix for you for some reason......"

It's difficult to explain (I know everybody says this), but when she is abusive and saying I deserve to be hit, that she’s the victim and I’m evil etc, she is very convincing because she is completely convinced. She's not lying, she genuinely believes it at the time. 

She will acknowledge that abuse is not acceptable for any reason......ish.......but she usually tries to mitigate this by saying her emotional hurt is worse, or somesuch. She always tries to turn it around on me, and there’s no arguing or reasoning with her, she will argue that the moon is the sun rather than concede that her behaviour might be the problem. 

Whether it's her illness or not, is the sticky wicket. When she's 'Dr Jekyll', she will say that she's "crazy" and acknowledge that it's difficult for me to put up with her (of course she never thinks this when it would actually be useful, when she's Mr Hyde). She has improved a great deal in the last couple of years, and she has been taking medication. She does have a point that I'm a terrible communicator, and the last time she had a temper tantrum, I did escalate it - she started a big angry sulk because I didn't do what she wanted, I provoked her repeatedly because I'm sick of it and really couldn't be bothered dealing with a 3 day pout and wanted it resolved immediately, and it all kicked off. That's another problem - my tolerance for this kind of behaviour (sulking, unreasonableness) from her is now absolute zero. 

I don't want to be the d-bag who leaves his mentally ill wife just when she's improving and needs me the most. I also don't want to be the chump who does everything for his spouse, forfeits his entire life (I do nothing for myself, everything both of us do in our relationship is about her) and in return gets nothing except intermittent abuse for 30 years. 

One of the major problems is that she holds me to an absolutely insane standard. And I feel like I always have to be in a state of cat-like readiness, otherwise she has a temper tantrum, quite often when I have literally said nothing (this is not good enough, how dare I say nothing even though she was saying nothing, I should be comforting her, I know she is upset, etc etc etc). 


It's exhausting, upsetting, and a deeply unfair position to be placed in. She's not just asking me to resent her, she's practically insisting on it. It's like living in North Korea.
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