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Old 08-04-2014, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Exclamation husband angry at my success

what?! have any of you ever experienced this?

i have recently turned over a new leaf, gotten more disciplined, in better shape, finished a novel i'd been putting off finishing for years, and now i'm starting my own business. this weekend i finished a step of my project and wanted to celebrate my small victory to keep myself motivated.

suddenly my husband ERUPTED with all these mixed emotions he'd been bottling up over these years, saying he's been trying to get me to make these changes for years and now he's having a hard time being happy for me. that he's happy for me, but also disgusted.

i can see that he's trying really hard to be supportive but also that he's genuinely struggling. he likened it to an alcoholic who suddenly stops drinking, and then the spouse has to deal with all the "but i changed my whole life for you! i stopped living, for you!" to which of course i was thinking, "why would you do that?!" why stop living? why change so that both of us were miserable?

i'm partly just needing to vent to other moms, hoping for a little understanding/support, but also genuinely wondering if anyone else has experienced this???

thanks so much!
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Old 08-04-2014, 07:15 PM
 
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I'm a little confused, so I mostly have questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blissdetective View Post
that he's happy for me, but also disgusted.
What is he disgusted about? How were your behaviors in the past impacting him?

Quote:
. he likened it to an alcoholic who suddenly stops drinking, and then the spouse has to deal with all the "but i changed my whole life for you! i stopped living, for you!" to which of course i was thinking, "why would you do that?!" why stop living? why change so that both of us were miserable?
He is saying that he stopped living for you?

People change in relationships in response to the other person -- it's really hard not to. In a lot of marriages, one partner is "sucking it up" because of the other person's dysfunction (small or large dysfunctions). Rather than blame him for getting caught up in your previous unhealthy cycle, may be he needs to feel truly heard about how your previous behavior impacted him.

What you are describing doesn't sound like being angry at your success, but rather being angry about what came before that he couldn't express at the time. But I'm not sure that I understand what you are saying.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 08-04-2014, 08:24 PM
 
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It sounds like it's possible that, prior to your changes, you may have been abusive towards him. I bring this up mostly because he likened you to an alcoholic and it was a clearly very unhealthy relationship dynamic. You aren't saying enough about your relationship to say for sure either way. If that's the case, I can understand why he'd be having a lot of conflicting emotions. That would be a very odd feeling- to suddenly get the relationship you always hoped for, only to realize just how damaging your relationship had been in the past.

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Old 08-06-2014, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
I'm a little confused, so I mostly have questions.



What is he disgusted about? How were your behaviors in the past impacting him?



He is saying that he stopped living for you?

People change in relationships in response to the other person -- it's really hard not to. In a lot of marriages, one partner is "sucking it up" because of the other person's dysfunction (small or large dysfunctions). Rather than blame him for getting caught up in your previous unhealthy cycle, may be he needs to feel truly heard about how your previous behavior impacted him.

What you are describing doesn't sound like being angry at your success, but rather being angry about what came before that he couldn't express at the time. But I'm not sure that I understand what you are saying.
you're right, i'm sure my husband does need to feel heard about all the previous stuff. he was basically just disgusted that i couldn't seem to get it together. i went through several bouts of depression and overwhelm, and i haven't had a job or brought in any income in years, despite really really wanting to. i just couldn't make myself change or get healthy. and he was always trying to coach me into changing, which i HATED because it always felt like conditional love, like i was never good enough. and then after he lost his job he started using me as an excuse for not looking for work--"i'm scared that if i go back to work, you'll get depressed again and the kids will be neglected." which i also hated, because part of why i was depressed is that we had no money, and he wouldn't go to work to make more. i think basically we are both very codependent and ridiculous.

i basically just put this post out there because i was hoping to hear from any other moms who have had the same experience, and also hoping to offer the camaraderie or warning (don't be shocked if this happens) to other moms who might be in a similar situation.

i may just be incapable of seeing my side of it and putting up a fog bank to defend myself, but i honestly don't THINk i was abusive to him in the past. i just wanted him to stop focusing on me & my problems, and start living his own life. "fixing wifey" is not a gainful occupation, AND it just made me feel that much more broken. we recently read in a business article about the unemployed that it's a really normal thing to start micromanaging other aspects of your life, like diet or nutrition. or in this case, your wife.

thanks for your input!
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Old 08-07-2014, 01:34 PM
 
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So is he basically a stay at home dad now? That's basically our situation now. I was a SAHM for ten years. Then when he lost his job shortly after the subprime mortgage crisis, and wasn't really able to find anything with similar pay even after the economy started improving (he's 56 now, and also has major health issues; I'm 50 but pretty healthy), I ended up finding a really good job working from home that I love. At first our plans were for me to only work about 20 hours a week to supplement his income because he was still drawing unemployment and hoping to find a job of some sort, and he actually did find a full time job working from home during opposite hours to mine, but it was a lot more stressful for him than my job is for me, and he ended up having a mini-stroke, then when he tried to resume working after he came home from the hospital, he kept getting such bad headaches that I said I'd expand my hours so that he could quit.

I honestly thought he'd quit being so stressed if he didn't have to work and could get more rest, because I remembered that my own high-stress dad calmed down a lot after retirement, but of course I wasn't thinking about the fact that my parents were in a much more financially secure position than we are, so we just kind of exchanged one kind of stress for another.

I'm more the type who just figures that so long as we're doing the best we can to handle our lives, we can rest assured that everything will work out -- but he's not like that. And he doesn't really take pride in being a SAHD. The other day, he referred to the things he does around the house as "his b____-work," and when I asked him, "So back when I was doing it, did you see me as your b____?" And he said no, but that he felt like I shouldn't have to work at all. I stressed that we're a team and I really do value everything he does, but he's still just really not happy with himself or his life.

I was happy as a SAHM, and I'm also happy now as a WAHM. I feel like I have a pretty good life, and I'd love for him to feel good about his life, too. But I guess there's only so much we can do to make someone else happy, even if they're very close to us. Maybe when you still hadn't got it together, he was able to focus in on fixing you rather than seeing what he needed to work on, and now that you're moving forward, he's feeling really un-centered and uncomfortable with himself.

I used to be friends with a woman who was married to an addict, and I remember one time when he seemed to be doing really well and making some major changes in a rehab program, she actually said something like, "I know what's about to happen. He's going to take one look at me and realize he can do a whole lot better." If your husband really is a codependent, he could be feeling similar things. Maybe he felt like you were only staying with him because he brought in an income, or because you were out-of-shape and wouldn't have felt so comfortable reentering the dating market. Sometimes I'm freaked out by how my own husband evaluates his worth. I really don't set conditions that people have to fulfill before I'll love them, so it surprises me when I realize he can't love himself unconditionally.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).

Last edited by mammal_mama; 08-07-2014 at 01:57 PM.
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Old 08-08-2014, 01:59 PM
 
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Blissdetective, I think I can relate. Being micromanaged is no fun, and doesn't work in the way that DH hopes it will.
I'm not sure what stage of motherhood you are at, but right now I'm at the stage of frequently feeling overwhelmed, tired and occasionally mildly depressed. There are projects I'd like to get back into, but can't because my l.o.'s are still too young and I don't have the time available.
But, I have noticed that whenever I do some small amount of activity that is related to my "career" (making art), my DH will comment in a way that sounds to me like he's feeling resentful. It won't come immediately, but perhaps a day later he "mentions" how other people get to play and have fun, while he's got to do nothing but work (which isn't true, of course). I try to let it slide off my back and carry on, but it irks me. I hope this sort of thing won't morph into something worse as the years progress.
I'm not sure what's going on here psychologically. Others in this forum are better at analyzing these situations. Maybe it's hard for some people to accept that they can't "fix" other people, and there's also the element of a person wanting to have some credit for their partner's success. And, perhaps it is indeed helpful if that person does receive acknowledgement (gratitude) for the support they did provide. Your husband was probably not up to anything malicious, with his "coaching", but was just trying to help in the only way he knew how.
Congrats on your recent successes. I know the motivation for these things must come from within.
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Old 08-11-2014, 03:03 PM
 
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There could be a bunch of things bothering him.

One is that he could be feeling resentful for the years where he felt like he was holding it together to support you, but only feels like he could voice it now.

One is that he could have built his identity around trying to save you, and now that you don't need him anymore (as he sees it) he doesn't know what to do with himself.

One is that he could be jealous. He built his self-worth on having it more together than you, and now he is not better than you anymore.

One is that he was using you as an excuse to not be pro-active and take risks. He would pretend that he couldn't move on a new career because you were such a drain, but now that you're not, he no longer has an excuse.

None of these things are super healthy. Um, counselling?
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