Trying To Surrender - Advice Needed

Sorry for the length of this post. Appreciate anyone who can read and give me suggestions.

I have been married for 5 years. We have 2 young children. I work part time (3 days a week), my husband works full time. We've been together for a total of 8 years. I have always been a very controlling person. I believe its a way for me to control my anxieties. Over the past 18 months, we've had a lot on our plate as a family. We struggled with my sister who was living an abusive lifestyle (fortunately she has very much turned herself around), 4 months ago and I lost my father to cancer. These factors led to a signficant amount of stress. When stressed and overwhelmed, I go into "control" mode and as a result, am able to function fairly well (at least on the outside). My husband on the other hand does not handle stress well. In fact, he's always tired, always complaining about how stressed he is. When I ask "how was your day?" or "how ya doing?" his typicl response on a daily basis is "I've never been so tired in my entire life." He's actually been this way as long as I've known him. However, this really gets under my skin because I feel like we have so much to be thankful for - 2 happy healthy children, a home, jobs, etc. And overall, I'm a very optimistic person - so his negativity has really bothered me (but that's a separate issue).

Over the past year, and especially over the past 4 months (shortly after my father passed away), my husband became very short tempured, what I consider to be lazy, and verbally aggressive. 95% of this agression is towards me. He snaps at me constantly, puts me down, critisizes things I do. His "nastyness" is also starting to come out towards the kids. Where he's always been a very involved Dad, he's now become more lazy and contributes less around the house and with the kids. He almost acts entitled. He's still great with our kids a majority of the time. But whereas he used to be playing with them, he now just turns on the TV to entertain them. And he is becoming "snappy" with them as well. For example, our 18 month old son gets up during the night still - which my husband blames me for because for the first 12 months of his life, I nursed him and he co-slept with us (something my husband disagreed with). And when our son wakes up during the night crying, my husband will say things like "our life would be so much more simple without him" or "I've never been so miserable since he was born." This of course breaks my heart and if I say anything like "how can you say that?" he snaps backwith "dont be so emotional." I just can't believe that my husband would say these types of things. He has never been this way. He always wanted kids and out of the two of us, he wanted to have them right away. And wanted to have them very close in age. So its not like I pushed him to have kids unwillingly. And I know he loves them very much. But these past 4 months...have me really concerned.

He has been mostly critical and verbally agressive with me. I always feel like he is annoyed with me and that everything I do is wrong, (you're spending too much money, you're ruining our marraige, etc). A majority of the time, I feel like he doesnt even look me in the eyes. And these critisisms seem to be said in a "baiting" way - as if he's trying to start a fight. We're see a marraige counselor and have for a few years to support ongoing differences and/or struggles we have. I've asked why he is acting like this for the past 4 months, and his response is "for 5 years of being married to you, you have controlled everything and I've hit a wall." I acknowledge to myself and to him that I've been controlling. And I've committed to working hard on this. I accept that throughout a majority of our relationship, I've taken care of most things and made most "big" decisions because of my natural controll issues and because of course, it takes him too damn long to get anything done, and I like things done a certain way (I'm a poster child for Laura Doyle's book). So I read Surrendered Wife (3 weeks ago) and am working hard at implementing Doyle's suggested approaches.

I've asked him what he means when he says he's "hit a wall" - does he want out of the marraige? And his response is "no." I've asked if he's met someone else or is having an affair. His response: "no." Yet, he continues to be very confrontational, passive aggressive, and mean to me. I have confronted him about this many times over the past 4 months. This results in him only becoming more verbally agressive, blaming his behaivor on me, or telling me I'm being emotional. I consider myself a strong woman. However, I'm in such shock by his behaivor and the fact that I lost my Dad four months ago - I have to admit that I'm not feeling all that strong right now.

And frankly, he is being so irrational, that any time I try to address his cruelty, he ends up turning things around and blaming me. I feel like if anyone else was in the room and could hear what he is saying to me - they would also feel that he is being 100% irrational and hurtful. But he apparently does not see things this way.

Friends and family are noticing his behaivor. My best friend said the other day "is everything okay, he is being very passive agressive towards you?" My sister (who I've been speaking with about this) said he's acting like he's doing everything possible to try and get me to leave him. I've spoken with his parents about this as well because they too notice his behaivor and I had to consult with them because I honeslty dont know how to handle him and its impacting our overall household, our kids, my career, and my overall health and stress level.

He still says he loves me such as: "good night, love you" or when getting off the phone "love you, bye" - but in a very non-emotional way. And he rarely is hugging me or showing any physical affection.

I have tried following the advice in Surrendered Wife. When he says something hurtful, I say "ouch" and walk away. I try saying "its up to you" when he asks my opinion. Its only been about 3 weeks that I've been taking this approach. And honestly, he continues to be this way.

I just dont know what to do. I'm trying to approach this in a way that builds our marraige instead of having to throw a tantrum to wake him up. But honestly...I just dont know. Like my sister said, its like someone needs to shake him to wake him up.

I would really appreciate any advice you can provide.

Thank you very much.
Katielsummer Katielsummer
31-35, F
3 Responses Sep 10, 2012

I think your husband may be suffering from a personality disorder known as Borderline Personality Disorder.
His behavior is unacceptable. He is abusing you period. Please seek the help of a qualified therapist.

I totally agree with Michelle and what she has explained to you, except that I doubt, that your husband is a Taken in Hand candidate right at this point of time. The way you describe him and the fact that he is always so tired, might suggest, that you both should consider a well deserved holiday to recover from your recent strenuous 4 months! It might also enable you to put things in a perspective... Good luck!

Hi Michelle001, thank you for your response. Its hard to hear, but deep down, I know that my husband's current behaivor is a result of my controlling behaivor. He has pulled away. I've disrespected him and treated him like a child in so many ways. Deep in my heart, I know that I need to change. I am working on it - surrendering control, leaving decisions up to him, etc. But then I still find myself trying to control things in subtle ways - which is still controlling. Its going to take a lot of discipline, but its something I need and want to commit to. <br />
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Any other suggestions aside from Laura Doyle's book. Her book has been very helpful and I'm referring back to it regularly. But any other readings or Websites that could help would be appreciated. <br />
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Again, thank you.

Why on earth do you blame yourself for his behavior????
It is not okay for him to treat you this way, it is not okay for HIM to be controlling either!
Men shouldnt be controlling nags either, they shouldn't be critical either!
Controlling, critical, nagging behavior is wrong when either the husband or wife does it!