Julie, the therapist, said that he is supposed to spend fifteen minutes every evening telling me about four emotions he had that day.

Last night, he told me that he felt apprehensive when I asked him why we were married.  (See post.)

I asked him, why.

He said that he thought it was more of a rhetorical question on my part and that he felt like no matter what he said, it wouldn’t be the right answer.

You know, this listening to him telling me about his emotions is kind of hard. 

Don’t get me wrong – it’s really good for him to do this.  Last night, I gave him a list of different emotions and he said that he had no idea that there were so many emotions.  He does really need help in this area.

The thing is, once again, I am like the mommy.  It’s kind of like listening to my daughters.  I’m a pretty good listener so this is what I do, but with him, I don’t feel like we are two adults sharing.  Part of it is because I am only supposed to listen.  I’m not supposed to share my side of it.  I’m only encouraging him in his sharing.  Which is how it is when I am talking with children.

When I’ve listened to my daughters in their troubles and tried to help them, then I feel drained from giving of myself.  I don’t mind giving of myself.  It’s just that then I wish that I had someone – another adult – to share with, to help fill me again.  I hope this is making sense!  But he has never been there for that.  Usually when I’ve finished talking with my daughters, then he has his own demands.

So now, I’m listening to him like I have listened to my daughters, and I feel drained from giving and not receiving, too.

The other thing, sometimes the things that he says to me about the way he feels are unjust.  Yes, his feelings are real and that is fine.  But given Julie’s assignment, it doesn’t allow me to try to work things out.  I guess things never really work out anyway, so maybe it doesn’t matter.

Last night after he shared his emotions, he asked if he could kiss me good night.  I said, okay.

And he did.  It was longer than the usual peck, but it was still hard and reserved.  Not really loving.

Then he said that he married me because he liked kissing me.

This entry was posted in covert abuse, emotional abuse, marriage, passive aggressive, passive aggressive behavior, relationships and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to listening

  1. Sofia Leo says:

    What are YOU supposed to get out of these therapy sessions? How much more of his crap are you supposed to swallow before YOU get something in return?

    These emotion exercises are helpful for him, I’m sure, but if you have to “treat him like a child” and listen passively with no resolution, what’s the point? I don’t get it. I understand letting him have space to express himself with no threat of reprisal, but maybe he should be telling someone else, not torturing you every day.

    I dunno. I admit that I’ve never had therapy, so maybe I’m missing something here…

    • I’m wondering, too, how much more I have to take before I get something in return! I am so with you! Yeah, you have a point that maybe it should be someone else listening to him and not me. Well, he’s sitting right in front of me now, so I’d better go! More later…

  2. rougedmount says:

    it is not your job to try and teach your spouse to communicate effectively or to recognize his own emotions. by definition, sharing means reciprocity. what you are doing is NOT sharing, its a practice in “active listening”. my other observation is that the assignment is for 15 minutes. if you are so emotionally drained after such a short period of time, you are not following the the intent of the assignment.. which i see as to simply be a sounding board for your spouse. you are not supposed to be working anything out…nor are you supposed to be “encouraging”, simply receptive. you should sit and look at him, and make non verbal sounds of acknowledgement or simple statements of “go on” or “and then what”. then thank him for sharing and continue your day.
    i would assume she has a plan in place so that you can verbalize how doing this makes you feel and how it will benefit you in the long run, but i would have thought she would have shared the plan with you before starting on it. otherwise the exercise is just a way of creating more frustration for you by highlighting how much of a parent child relationship you have.

    • I feel emotionally drained after listening to him because deep down inside I want a shared, connected conversation with an adult. I do listen and I respond in a positive way. It’s the longing inside of me that makes me feel drained. Also, I feel like my emotional tank is empty from living with him for so many years. So, maybe it’s not so much that listening to him drains me, but wanting it to be a two-way give and take and share drains me. Even while she was outlining the assignment, inside I was crying out, what about me? What about me? I am not sure she completely recognizes the parent child relationship that goes on here. I am hoping that our next session will show her a little more of that.

  3. Tish says:

    I just want to applaud you for all of your work with your H. But…

    The “mommy-ing” thing has got to stop. Seriously. I hope I don’t read rude or inappropriate, but that’s what he (and other PA-h’s) want and EXPECT. When I grew tired of sweeping my issues, dreams, career et al. under the rug for him, he had the audacity tell me that “he missed me being ‘chipper and bubbly’ and that he ‘needs me to be happy again’.” Talk about textbook PA: my happiness is only an tool to make him happy, and he has NO RESPONSIBILITY to recipricate.

    When I stopped mommy-ing him, he turned into the most nasty, dispondant SOB on the planet.

    Be sure to take care of YOU thoughout this. You’re not alone.

    • Yeah, I realized the other night that he was thoroughly enjoying being the center of atttention. And it was about the attention, not about sharing who he is. And he sure doesn’t like it when I’m not catering after him. Of course, he denies that, but…. so PA!

  4. havenmaven says:

    This is such a sad way to live and really serves no purpose except to keep you from escaping with what is left of your self-esteem and protecting your children from this abuse. And it definitely is emotional abuse and it leaves scars.
    Last November, I had finally had enough and left my husband of five years. Since then, although he has sometimes stated that ‘it’s all his fault’, he has continued to exhibit passive aggressive behaviour by not responding to mediation attempts and/or requests for financial disclosure from my lawyers.
    I offered him a very fair and more than reasonable settlement (he owes me a large sum of money) but he is going to force me to take him to court and, as one article has warned, I can likely expect that he will not comply even if I ‘win’ (there are no winners in any divorce).
    These men are master manipulators and truly amoral as long as it suits their purposes. They just do not accept that the world’s ‘rules’ apply to them and are neither a good example to their children nor a good influence – if they are not emotionally abusing the children as well.
    In my part of Canada, there is currently much emphasis on the problem of bullying but nobody wants to talk about what makes bullies the way they are and what happens when they are out of the school system and move into mature relationships.
    Emotional abuse is grounds for divorce but I have been advised by two lawyers that it is very difficult to prove and hardly ever cited as grounds for that reason.
    I am going to see what I can do to change this. Anybody out there want to join me in this cause?

    • Emotional abuse really is tricky to prove – unfortunately!!! It is VERY real, though! Where I live, you just have to be separated for a year and then you can divorce. That’s it. And, yes, he really is a manipulator. I think even his willingness to go to therapy is manipulation. Me, I’m just killing time until I earn more money so I can leave.

  5. mixedemotions says:

    What you said :sometimes the things that he says to me about the way he feels are unjust” rings so true for me. I had to listen to mine twist my words into whatever he thinks he heard so many times that I don’t even want to respond to him sharing his emotions with me anymore because it turns into my fault anyways, I seem to always be the “target”… Therapy is good yes, I’m stil in this for the umpteenth time with the same PA. It’s had help a lot but I can’t let go of all the old hurts. Good luck to you with therapy but if you have a chance to get the Hell out – do it – get the courage and do it.

  6. Believe me ~ when I have a chance to get out, I will!!! This therapy is for HIM at this point! It’s the only way I could get him there. Last time we talked to Julie, the therapist, together, he only went two times and then wouldn’t go any more, so we’ll see what happens with therapy!

    • Tish says:

      I totally relate with the “when I have a chance to get out, I will” sentiment!! I have tried to explain to my parents that I NEED to be financially self-sufficient in order to leave to avoid the onslaught of drama that will occur simply because the court will make him pay alimony.

      They are convinced that if I have a good lawyer I’ll be fine. Yet, they fail to recognize that their “perfect doctor SIL” is a PA who will make every step of this process as miscerble as possible.

      I don’t want A RED DIME from him; but given our income disparity no lawyer will NOT ask for it. That’s the only sticking point, and I’m not emotionally nor financial prepared to deal with that right now.

      So I’m biding my time. Actively applying to jobs and PRAYING daily that something comes through. I’m also in therapy and really working to address some of the codependency issues. So, if I do not secure a job, I’m steeling myself emotionally best I can, because either way, I’m filing in Spring 2014.

      Hang in there.

  7. Cynthia Morio says:

    your tharapist probably won’t help and will just drive you guys crazy. I can’t wait to leave my passive aggressive jerk in the middle of his work day. He’s gonna come home to an empty house. No “Dear John” letter either! I invested 16 years and had a child with my panty waste of a husband. I’m so tired mentally that I can’t wait to be alone. I’m saving money and I take camping trips alone to get through this.

  8. Sue says:

    a conversation late one night…..Him, “I want to be happy like we were on vacation” Me “Everyone is happy on vacation and who said I was happy?” Him “You weren’t happy?” Me “Remember when I said years ago that we should go to a counselor and would ask you if we were happy? You would say that yes, you were happy but wouldn’t ever ask if I was happy” Him “I thought you were happy because I was happy” silence…..Him “I want us to be happy. I want to hold your hand in the car. I want to lay by you at night. I want you to sit with me and watch tv”….Me out loud “ok” Me in my head “go get a dog”.

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