Thank you to everyone who caught the show live last night and to our callers. We apologize for not being able to get through all the calls. We just ran out of time.
Paul Elam of AVoiceforMen and I attempted to answer the following questions:
Where do princesses come from?
Why aren’t princesses good relationship material?
How do you spot covert princesses?
Why shouldn’t men treat women like princesses?
We were able to address most of these questions during the program.
We’ll announce the topic for next week’s show on Monday, April 2, 2012 at 9pm EST. Meanwhile, here’s the embed of Why Men Should Not Treat Women Like Princesses:
Shrink4Men Coaching and Consulting Services:
Dr Tara J. Palmatier provides confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. Her practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Shrink4Men Services page for professional inquiries.
I’m listening to this program. Right now, Jeff, the guy with congestive heart failure and sleep apnea, is sharing his story.
Jeff, if I missed the part where you said you were getting mental health help for yourself, I apologize for not listening carefully. If that part doesn’t exist (or if it’s still upcoming), please consider finding a therapist. It will help.
Personally, I’m struggling with what it sounds like Jeff is struggling with right now. I “get it” academically, but I am fiercely resistant to getting myself out of the relationship and saving myself. I, too, ask myself — every day — why I put up with this stuff. But I still get up every morning and put up with it again. Today, I awoke and found my wife frantically waking up from the couch (she regularly falls asleep there and never comes to bed anymore), upset because she had overslept and had to be out the door in 5 minutes in order to make an appointment she had. She didn’t make it out the door on time, and apparently didn’t make her appointment at all. By the time I was dressed and on my way out the door, she had drawn the conclusion that her inability to simply set an alarm was an indication of “how bad our relationship has gotten.”
(In the past, she has blamed me outright for her tendency to sleep in. I called her on that, so now she won’t do that. But apparently, now, her inability to do something that the rest of us do is a relationship issue.)
This is ridiculous, and I know it. And I have LOTS of other examples. But my feelings still draw me to her.
But I’m getting help with that, and it’s working. Paul and Dr. T — thanks for airing things like this. I can only imagine that this is what I sound like. I don’t like it. This helps. I’m going to check to see if there is a clown in the mirror when I get home tonight.
Separating from these women who do not treat us well is a process. It took me quite awhile but I eventually did it. The fact that you have awareness of the situation is an important step, I think.
LT Greenwald says
TI85, it’s like jumping into a swimming pool. It sucks at first, and then you get used to it… Then getting out of the pool is really hard, too… I’m trying to find my way out.
I’m on Day 30 and I’m feeling weak… She’s trying to suck me back in. Being mean, cold, distant, then being nice. All over email.
I know I can’t go back. I “get it” intellectually, too, it’s the emotional intelligence that needs work. She’s uBPD and so was my mom. (I’ve got a ton of whacky stories.)
Anyway, bottom line is that I’m proud of myself for getting away. It’s awesome not having to listen to her scream at me every night. And I will figure out a way forward. Gotta have faith, brother! 🙂
Be strong. “Being mean, cold, distant, then being nice.” This sounds like emotional manipulation to me. She’s just playing games again. Don’t fall for it.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
It could also be different variations of Hoovering. All Hoovers aren’t sweet and sexy. They’ll try whatever they have to in order to get you to re-engage — conflict, sex, guilt, etc.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Hi LT Greenwald,
Sounds like the ex is rapid cycling button pushing. In other words, she knows your buttons and is feverishly pushing them in order to get a reaction out of you. However, you are working on disconnecting the wiring of your buttons. Good for you, not so good for her.
When people like your stbx do this, it’s kind of like when the TV remote battery is running down. Instead of replacing the battery, many people push the buttons harder and faster, shake the remote, tap on and rotate the old batteries. She’s pushing your buttons and it’s not working. Just ignore her and let your attorney deal with her.
LT Greenwald says
Thanks Dr. T!
I know she’ll try anything to get me back, and she probably still believes I will come back. I just go back to my old journal entries to remind myself that I can’t go back. I can only be stuck or go forward. When I’m depressed, I feel stuck and her hoovering has its strongest effects. When I’m happy, I can socialize and plan for the future. I’m working on doing the things that make me happy and content — socializing, exercise, tutoring, doing well at work.
I feel weak now, but I know I can’t go back… because there is nothing “there” to go back to…
Cousin Dave says
LT, this would be a good moment to do something for yourself. Pick out something that you always wanted to do, but couldn’t do while you were with her, or maybe even before that. Like maybe a taking a vacation somewhere you always wanted to go. It doesn’t have to be a huge thing.
LT Greenwald says
Beat you to it Cousin Dave! I started doing things by myself recently and have really enjoyed it. I went to a basketball game last night and had a great time. I met some good people and enjoyed the game. The other day I went to the beach and took some pictures, then had a beer at the bar. I ended up sitting next to a German Army officer who was a total character — great conversation and a really great time. Soon I’m going to get my courage up to go to a movie by myself!
I think doing things for myself and by myself will be important in the coming months. 🙂
Thanks for the note!
Cousin Dave says
Good for you! Hang in there.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
You’re welcome, T185. It looks like your wife has made you the scapegoat for all that is wrong in her life and everything she doesn’t like about herself. That rarely ends well. What are you gaining from remaining in the relationship? Do you dread being alone? Do you worry that you won’t find anyone else and/or find someone even worse? Do you feel it is your responsibility to fix/save her? Were you the emotional/physical caregiver (parentified) for one or both of your parents or siblings?
Yes, she puts a lot on me. Though, to be honest, it feels like she is being more reflexive than active. There are good reasons for this, but they are not reasons that I was fully aware of when we were married. And I’m quickly losing hope of ever being able to interact with the real person buried beneath the layers and layers of protection and self-defense (be it her unflappable, super-nice and congenial public face, or her various, less-pleasant and generally angry, faces she only shares at home).
To answer your questions:
— I was actually thinking of that very issue earlier today while I was walking down the street. Succinctly, right now I’m focused upon how my marriage makes my life measurably more difficult (more housework, less sleep, less pocket change, etc.). I’m slowly realizing that my marriage probably never really gained me anything. Unless you count the level of personal pain that caused me to wake up about my own faults. That’s a good thing, and I don’t know if I’d have arrived at this place w/o my wife. I did a pretty good job of avoiding for many, many years.
— I dread being alone, but to a limited extent. I quickly identified this as one of my enduring issues, but the resources here and at some of your linked sites, as well as my own therapy, are moving me through dealing with that. But, yes, this is a major area of focus.
— I don’t worry that I won’t find someone else. But I don’t really think about it at this point. Right now, I just realize how much nicer things are when my wife is not around. Or when I sent boundaries (not that her behavior changes for the better — it actually gets worse — but because I can ignore it more easily). I never worry that I’ll find someone worse — not because there could not be anyone worse (there could), but the thought just never crossed my mind.
— I feel some guilt about not being there when and if she can save herself. But I seriously wonder when that will be, and if I want to sacrifice my life for that. Golden years won’t be very golden if there is nothing but patient waiting to reflect upon. I identify with the white-knight syndrome, but it was more apparent to me when I was younger. I can’t say that I’ve ever thought of my wife as needing saving. She’s actually quite accomplished professionally and is very adept socially. She hides her pain extremely well, and is very focused upon doing just that (so much so that, when we were first married, she refused to acknowledge to people outside the marriage that we even had disagreements). I didn’t see it until after we were married.
— Yes, I was a little parentified for one of my parents. Maybe both. It’s a gray area. I’m still working on figuring that out.
Thanks for this exercise.
Good luck, everyone else!
I liked the English accent Dr T, i thought it was a real Englishwoman
Well it was better than Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, anyway, Chim-Chimerney
I can so relate to your above answers to Dr. T’s questions, with exception to the “dread being alone” all else is right on. I have gotten to a point that I hate marriage and all that it entails, I know that marriage is supposed to be a good thing, but the last thing on my mind is to leave this relationship and go out to get involved in another, NOT! My wife constantly accuses me of having an affair, and my thought is, I have enough troubles keeping up with this BPD, why in the F-bomb woudl I want to have to keep up with a second woman!
It doesn’t stop! AND it’s so complicated to get out, I tried once and didn’t think before I jumped and that only made matter worse. I can envision a peaceful life and being able to do all those things that I can’t now because they are “stupid” or read books that you don’t get critizied for because don’t agree with her line of thinking, then there are friends I’d like to hang out with that aren’t bad at all, yet she doesn’t like them because they dont’ agree with her every whim.
Weathering the storm!