My marriage: I feel mistreated & manipulated

sad-depressed-woman-marriage-mormonQuestion: “I’m having some very personal deeply emotional issues in my marriage. For 12 years I feel I have worked and suffered and fought for my marriage. I really do love this man and want to stay married forever. I feel mistreated, manipulated and lost at times. I always take the blame for every argument and then hate myself for it. He won’t go to counseling and makes me regret ever mentioning the idea. I have problems with addiction to technology and social media because it is an escape from my problems temporarily but really it’s contributing to the problem. I have anxiety problems to the point I feel t there cannot be a solution that will fix me. Us. I’m desperate and need help. I don’t feel I can cope much longer.”

Answer: Thank you for reaching out and asking for help. It takes courage and strength to talk about your pain and struggle. I now that marriage can be a context of some of our greatest joys as well as some of the greatest heartaches individuals ever face. Relationships are where we find meaning, wholeness, and connection. It appears from the question you asked that you are feeling disconnected and otherwise alone in the marriage. In this lonlineness, you have gone to social media in an attempt to cope and reach out and connect with others to fill your emotional void that needs to be met by your husband and the marriage bond. This experience is not uncommon albeit unhealthy, that you like many others before have found a ‘solution’ that ends up not really helping but becoming part of the problem.

You mentioned taking the blame after debate and argument, is that because he manipulates you into it or do you acquiesce in an attempt it will diffuse the tension and conflict? I’d recommend not caving in or tolerating his unhealthy treatment of you. Anytime you put up with his behavior and possibly even engage you unconsciously tell him that he can treat you that way … you teach others how to treat you by what you tolerate. Reading up and getting familiar with how to assert yourself will go a long way to you standing up for yourself and  thus your allowing yourself to feel and stand in your own space and power. You can also reach how to assert yourself in this book or in the assertiveness workbook here.

The marriage relationship is clearly struggling and likely has been on many fronts. I’d recommend going to counseling yourself to get a better and clearer view of the patterns in the marriage as well as how to begin asserting yourself and working through your pain. Your husband is clearly in denial to your hurt and possibly to the patterns and problems that are plaguing your marriage.

I’d recommend reading an article about emotional abuse and neglect that my help you gain a better handle on this topic. You are welcome to email me if you’d like recommendations on therapists and counselors that might help you. Hang in there, I realize you are hurting, there is hope and you will and can find peace. Here is the article, it’s called Invisible Heartbreakers.