My wife is angry all the time - I need some advice
I need some advice. My wife and I have now been married for about a year. We met 4 years ago. So, the total time of our relationship spans just over 4 years but it is not a conventional relationship by any stretch of the imagination. We met about 6 months after I got divorced (a very, very humiliating and horrible time for me) and while she was in the process of an incredibly hostile and abusive divorce on her side. We fell in love immediately and in the beginning we were a team, we were convinced that we were put together by God as soulmates, pillars of support to help each other carry on our burdens of the past. I loved the way she looked at me and she made me feel like there was no other man on earth. As time passes though, we are less of a team. My wife is extremely highly strung, so much in fact that there is almost no breathing room around her anymore and the slightest thing will set her off. When she gets angry, and this is often, she will treat me with the utmost disrespect and to such a point where we will go days without speaking when we had the slightest disagreement – and I mean we will go silent about the silliest little things. She is constantly unhappy about something and the problem is that she cannot verbalize her unhappiness. She just gets nasty about something, something so insignificantly small that it is almost laughable, and then it just explodes. Our fights last days, as in 3 – 5 days of absolute silence because of something simple and insignificant. It got so bad that a few months ago I finally managed to get her to agree that this was not normal and she ended up seeking medical help, which has made a massive difference, but still the hostility continues, just on a lesser level.
I must admit; I am at wits end and I am starting to think that I made a very big mistake. You see, my wife also makes it very clear that I irritate her and is very vocal about it. I irritate her when I eat and she will comment on it. It is at a point where I am self-conscious about how I eat to such an extent that I don’t enjoy eating anymore. I irritate her when I have conference calls (we are both working from home now during the COVID-19 lockdown) but at the same time refuses to put earphones or earplugs in her ears. I understand I speak loudly, it is something that has always been there, but there is no give and take on this. She will get upset and move herself into the kitchen/dining room and does this incredibly aggressively – proper temper tantrum style with the whole stomping away thing going on.
She is never happy with how I do something and will inevitably redo it at some stage. It does not matter what it is, making the bed, packing the dishwasher or the 50 other things that I do around the house. It makes me feel so inferior. When I do other things, like fixing the electric fence, sorting out the rats in the roof, fixing a leak, cleaning the veranda, building something in the garage (I built us the most beautiful desks for our home office), then she will be quick to dismiss this as me actually just messing around and not actually adding any value. You see, in her eyes, these are not important things. She will be very quick to point out that I’m not really doing anything but heaven protect us when the pool is not clean and bright blue, then there will be constant comments about it…
She is completely obsessed with a clean house. Don’t misunderstand me, I like a clean house as much as everyone else but this is on a totally different scale. As a man, I am very neat. I very seldom let things lie around and in fact have my own level of OCD that I have to deal with. I help in all ways that are possible but still this is not good enough. She does a spring clean session every week with mini cleaning sessions almost daily and expects the entire household to follow suit. I personally think this is incredibly selfish; so, just because she has this obsessive need to clean the whole time, and I mean the WHOLE time - and our house is not dirty, it looks like a museum- the kids and I need to jump, IMMEDIATELY. If we don’t and tackle this with the same amount of passion and completely immerse ourselves into the cleaning activity, the onslaught ensues.
I am often spoken to like a child and when I say something, it is often put down as me exaggerating or not speaking truthfully. An example, I replaced the oven and hob this week and unfortunately the new hob was a few millimetres bigger than the hole in the marble counter top. I did not have the right tools for the job and outsourced the work. The guys came in and 10 minutes later it was done but cutting the marble made dust… and a lot of it. Her first reaction was about the dust and not the brand new oven and hob that I put in. Trying to avoid the fight I promised that I would clean but explained that I would have to do it a few times over throughout the day between my zoom meetings, which I did. But guess what, it was not done to her satisfaction and she in fact accused me of not doing it at all… because she did not see me do it… So, if she did not see it, then it did not happen… and hell will freeze over before you convince her otherwise. So… right now, as I am typing this, we are back in ignore town and I guess it will be for a few days again…
For anyone reading this, it will be unreasonable for them to not think by themselves, yeah right, no one reacts this hostile to their husband without cause. There must be something… maybe he is abusive or a drunk or something but no one goes this full blown nasty just because. You would be right… so here are my flaws that I am acutely aware of. I am a noisy eater, I speak very loudly and have two left hands and feet in the kitchen. So when it comes to making dinner, I don’t help – and I am guilty as charged here. I helped with the washing in the beginning but she asked me to not help as I did it in a way that she did not like, so I don’t do that either. In all the other area’s I help as much as possible. I drive the kids around to their extra mural activities, made arrangements to work flexi-hours to accommodate her work routine and so that we can get the kids where we need to have them (I should mention here that both kids are not my kids and come from a previous marriage on her side). O… yes, I forget, one more thing… when she goes into one of her cleaning moods, I will not say that I jump immediately… you see, after 4 years, I’ve also gotten used to the fact that, irrespective of helping or not, there will inevitably be something that will upset her and thus justify the horrific filth that spews form her mouth.
Any case, I am now just blabbering but I must admit, it is becoming more and more and more exhausting being around her at even the best of times. You can imagine, intimacy essentially does not exist anymore unless I initiate it and even then I have a 1 out of 30 chance of success. The worst is, when we are finally intimate, I do all the work.
I know, it is crazy… I feel like I’m married to a housemate that I get along with occasionally and that humors me with a little bit of affection every now and then…
My heart is so sore right now as I am actually well aware of what our future holds. Having to once again, for the 2nd time, go through the divorce route, have to explain to my family that I am yet again single, have to deal with the financial strain of a divorce, have to look two kids in the eye that I love with all my heart, despite me not being their biological father, and explaining why they will be leaving…
I don’t know, perhaps I am asking for advice here with the hope that somewhere someone would be able to explain to me why and show me the path to rescue my marriage but as explained, I think I already know the answer.
Looking forward to some feedback,
I hope you are doing well in this pandemic. First, I am not specialized in any kind a mental health therapist, but I will do my very best to give you the best advice possible.
So I understand that both of you met in a very hard time for both of you and that you for a while supported each other until everything started falling apart. How was your relationships before this one? Where they also abusive in nature?
You know, noone is perfect. We tend to always try to achieve perfectionism but in fact everyone has something that isn't good at. And it should be understandable.
When you stop talking to someone it is considered abuse. It's something that should never be done to anyone. It's a kind of manipulation. It's very stressful for both parts and for the kids living with you too. She needs help. Like professional mental care. This kind of OCD, manipulation and abuse often hides something. She really needs to seek help for her well being and the children too. This is something that she should understand.
You are like we say in my country putting the cart ahead of the bulls. You both did your best and the past will be past. You seem like a good guy, and you are very fluent at expressing your thoughts. You deserve more.
Don't think about anything else now except your well-being and after that things will be solved in time.
You have two options as you know, at it all depends on how you feel about her. Do you love her? Do you feel that she deserves that chance? Will you endure abuse if she starts doing it again? Because abusive personas don't just stop. Some can get over it with proper care and help, and others don't. Is that what you truly want or you want to seek something else entirely? That is something that only you can answer. To be truthful I'm kinda expecting that you leave.
A lot of things can make you become micro agressive and ocd and if that truly matters to your knowledge, can be things like post partum depression, high function depression, vitamin deficiencies, trauma and other things but the most common one is stress.
When you are in the fase of development growing up as a kid, there is a time where you develop your personality. That is very linked to what you see in your environment. That can also be an answer to why some people are easily abused because they dont have the weapons needed to defend themselves or become abusers later in life. It's something also linked to your genetics.
If you can't even be intimate with her, do you think she simply doesnt want to be with you anymore? Maybe you are just giving to much energy and expecting it to get better to something that wont happen...