Angry, abusive, suspicious

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My wife and i have been together for four years. She is 25 and I am 37. I grew up with both parents and they are still together today. My wife’s father left when she was very young. They have somewhat of a relationship but not much of one. She has made attempts to build a relationship with him, but he has hurt her several times in that regard. We welcomed our first child back in September. However since we have been togther it seems as though I have been paying for the mistakes her father made. I see myself as an extremely devoted father and husband. I work several jobs so she can work as much or as little as she would like. I have given up some of my favorite pastimes i.e. fishng to spend more time with my wife and son. I have supported her in everything she has decided to do. I have done all the things my dad did for my mom growing up. I treat my wife like a princess. However I can’t talk to her, the minute she hears something she doesn’t like she blows up. I am constantly being accused of lying or cheating or trying to take advantage of her. She is constantly putting me down with things such as “you’ll always be alone.” or “your a scumbag” there is constant complaining about everything. We moved into a new apartment a few months ago. Before we moved I asked her three seperate times if she was ok with where we were moving. She said yes. Since we have moved in all she has done is complain.

My question is do these behaviors resemble the behaviors of and adult who had an absent father? Are there any other symptoms?

I love my wife to death, I would lay my life down for her happiness. I jsut don’t know how long this can go on.

A: It’s possible that your wife is so sure that you are going to leave, just as her father did, that she is doing everything she can to “make the other shoe drop.” It may be that she can’t stand the tension of waiting for you to take off so she’s forcing the issue. That’s just a possibility.

Another possibility is that you are seeing symptoms of postpartum depression. If these behaviors started after the birth of your son, she needs to see a psychiatrist or an endocrinologist for evaluations and some practical help. There are also postpartum support groups. Ask your pediatrician for advice and information.

It’s also possible that there is something else going on. She’s young. Perhaps she isn’t happy with the choices she made so projects her unhappiness outward towards you.

I think some couples counseling is way overdue. You have a child now. He deserves to have parents who love and respect each other and who know how to work as a team. A counselor who meets the two of you can do the careful assessment that I can’t do on the basis of just a letter. A few sessions with a skilled counselor will help you and your wife understand her distress and will give you both some direction for what to do about it.

If your wife won’t go initially, go yourself. It may be that a counselor can help you learn some new ways to approach your wife. Further, having someone to talk to may also give you some much-needed support during this difficult time.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Jul 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Angry, abusive, suspicious. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/07/13/angry-abusive-suspicious/