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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:25 am
by michaelcw
Please bear with me. I have to give the complete background of our relationship in order to give perspective.

My wife and I have been together for 14 years, married for almost 11 years. We have 3 daughters aged 13, 10 and 5. I am 35, my wife is 32. I am an architectural designer and she is a nurse. She is the bread winner. We have had many ups and downs throughout our marriage.
In the beginning of our relationship, we were in lust. We spent every moment together. I knew she was the one and wanted to be with her forever.
Alas, we were only together for a few months when she became pregnant. She was 18 and in her first semester out of high school, going to junior college and still living at home. I was 21, living on my own and working full time/going to junior college. We decided not to get married because of the baby. I moved in with her and her parents while we both went to school and worked. It was a very difficult time and we broke up after 1.5 years. I moved out and got my own place. I visited my daughter daily and it killed me not having them in my life 24/7. We started talking again after a couple of months and I ended up getting her pregnant again. I was about to graduate from junior college and had a job lined up, so we decided to get married later that year. It was a "shotgun" wedding and afterwards we lived with her parents for another year to save money and be able to get out on our own. After that year, we got out on our own and she was going to school for nursing. It was a hard time for both of us. She finished school and got her job as a nurse. So now we have a dual income and get our first house. Soon after, I was laid off at my job and we decided that I would go back to school for my bachelor's degree. After 2 years of which i went to school full-time and I worked almost full time as well, I graduated and found a full time job. She was still the bread winner, but I had a much better job than I had before. It was around this time that we had our third daughter. This is when we started to have fights about money and me doing more around the house. Once our third daughter got older, our middle child began to act out. She was/is very emotional, loud and seems to always fight with our other two daughters. This along with me not making more money and not doing enough around the house has caused a huge rift between my wife and I. I admit I am not perfect, but I found the best job I could considering where we live. As far as the housework goes, I do almost all of the yard work and I do work around the house. I regularly wash dishes, laundry, vacuum etc... In our last big blowup, she told me I need to do more around the house, take over more responsibilties and get a higher paying or 2nd job. She feels I have ruined her life and said she hates me and would leave me if we weren't stuck in our situation. I wrote her a letter vowing to do more around the house and look for either a second job or a better job.
This was over a month ago. I have made the personal changes and things are better between my wife and I. Now my wife has stated that she doesn't want our middle daugher anymore. She hates her attitude and feels she is ripping our family apart. She is saying this in front of our daughter. I realize that our daughter is difficult and has emotional problems and needs more attention. But I chalk it up to being the middle child and going through tough times that most children experience. She makes very good grades and makes friends very easily. I don't see her as being as much of a problem as my wife does. My wife said that she doesn't want her living with us anymore. That coupled with her feelings about me, have me very distraught. I asked my wife if she wants to leave or wants me to leave with our middle daughter. She said "No. That would mean she has broken up our family. I just want her to live with someone else and cannot hold in my feelings around her"
I really do not know what to do. I grew up in a broken home and do not want this for my children. Is there anyone out there with advice or has experienced something similar? I feel that therapy and counseling are not an option for either of us. I see us as going through normal problems that all families experience in these times. Any helpful advice or thoughts are appreciated.

PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:15 pm
by ThunderHorse
Have you trained your middle daughter on how to handle verbal abuse?

Search Suzette Elgin, Verbal Abuse.

Why can't you go to counseling yourself?

If you are lazy, do you procrstinate? Do you have a hyper-focus mode? Do you know how to manage your hyper-focus mode?

What exercizes do you do, to overcome your laziness?

Do you feel that you are handling your wife's verbal abuse properly?


PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 5:35 pm
by socialdistortion
Dear MichaelCW,

Thank you for sharing your story. It was very interesting. The one thing that really stuck out for me was the conflict with your wife and daughter. It sounds like your daughter is entering the preteens. This can be a very difficult time for daughter. It is very important that you are both aware of what she is going through from a Cognitive Developmental perspective. As your daughter leaves late childhood and enters adolescents the way in which she perceives others and processes information changes dramatically. Your daughter is experiencing more advanced operational thought which can lead to changes in her everyday behavior. No longer does it make perfect sense and provide comfort to follow all the rules without question. She is now starting to question all rules and authority figures with her new sense of logic and thought. Preteens become argumentative for the sake of being argumentative. They enter an egocentric period of development in which they feel highly critical of parents, become unwilling to accept criticism and are quick to find fault in others. Her self esteem becomes very fragile. These changes can be very difficult for the entire family.

This can be especially difficult for your wife who sounds like she in a difficult emotional place right now. It doesn’t seem abnormal for her to act out on you in this complicated time. I would imagine she was in a very emotional state when she said she did not want her daughter to live with you anymore. I am sure this was hard for you to hear this. It does seem that you are aware that all families go through difficult times with their children during these years, but your wife might be taking this more personally. I would advise you to pay a lot of attention to your wife’s needs right now and do exactly what you are doing.

Your letter was beautiful, your effort is commendable and your attitude is admirable. Making your wife happy is obviously your top priority, as it should be. I think you both should really discuss the changes in your daughter and come to an agreement on discipline. My spouse often catches our ten year old son sounding a bit disrespectful to me (even when I did not even notice). When it is brought to our preteen’s attention I feel respected and comforted by my spouse and feel more like a parental team. Our son's responds better when one parent is pointing out inappropriate behavior toward the other parent. It makes a stronger team than when the parents become divided by the disruptive behavior.

It is typical that parents of teenage children try desperately to connect with their children during this time and try to spend more time with them. This must make the children cringe. I am not saying to pull away from your daughter in any way, but this is definitely not a time to try to suddenly get closer. Try to spend time with her on her interest. My advice would be to offer your child the essential support, assistance, advice and direction she needs right now and not to suddenly go excessively stern or excessively easy on the discipline.

While you are both in a difficult place right now it doesn’t sound like she wants you to leave but rather is expressing personal regrets aggregated by the conflict with your daughter. Your story shows you have such a history together, keep it going. Perhaps you can ask her what she expects from you and how you can make her feel better about you, your daughter and your relationship.

Social Distortion