1st Time Parents/All-The-Time Bickerers

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-31-2005
1st Time Parents/All-The-Time Bickerers
31
Fri, 01-01-2010 - 8:33pm
My husband and I have been married almost 3 years. We have a son who will be 2 in a week. When we are getting along, it's really great, but when we're not, it's the beginnings to yet "another divorce talk." The divorce talk is of MY doing. I don't want to argue in front of our son, EVER. I don't think it's good for him. I grew up in a really chaotic, verbally abusive household and I have been paying for it all my life by being afraid of everything, carrying around horrible non-justified guilty feelings, and no self-worth. I don't want that for my son. I want my husband and I to separate. We do not know how to NOT argue in front of our child. And when we argue, it's loud and nasty and hurtful. We have been doing this now for almost a year. I'm tired and would rather be alone than do this in front of our little angel. My husband does not agree and is worse at raising his voice than I am, but does not want to separate. We do not know how to argue nicely, nor do we know how NOT to get on each others last nerve. I don't know how else to put it. I need advice. There is no "try stopping the fight until he's not around" because we are either too stupid, too stubborn or too selfish to stop fighting while our child is around. About a month ago I told my husband we needed to separate and then I was talked out of it by my fellow group therapy attendees. We are back at the constant fighting and it's just ridiculous. We need to take a break, right? For our son's sake, yes? We have tried therapy FOR YEARS and well, here we are.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-27-2004
Fri, 01-01-2010 - 8:43pm

Are you attending group therapy to help with your feelings of guilt, fear, and lack of self-esteem? How long have you been going to group? What reasons did the other members of the group offer that persuaded you not to separate from your husband? If you can answer these questions (and possibly a few more) I may have some ideas for you.

If it takes awhile for you to get some responses, don't lose heart. This is a holiday weekend, and many of our regular posters will be away from their computers.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 01-01-2010 - 8:45pm
Welcome to the board, Terbear1967 ~

A couple questions first so that we have a good understanding of your situation:

* You say the two of you have been going to therapy for years, but also say you've been fighting for the last year. What are the two of you going to therapy for?
* Since you say the two of you have been going for years, and you've been married for almost three years, that means therapy began for the two of you before marriage, yes?
* What does your therapist say about the fighting problem?
* You also mentioned that you're going to group therapy. I assume that's in addition to the therapy you and your husband attend? What is the group therapy for?
* Do I understand correctly that your husband doesn't agree that dirty fighting (name calling, etc.) in front of your son is bad? Do I understand that he's not in agreement that fighting in front of him should stop?
* I understand that he doesn't agree with separating, but since he knows you're dissatisfied with the situation as it is, what does he suggest doing to resolve the problem?

Thanks in advance for your answers, they'll help us give you advice that is more competent and can be more helpful.










"Ignoring the facts
does not change the facts"

~ Author unknown


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"Ignoring the facts
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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-31-2005
Fri, 01-01-2010 - 8:52pm
Are you attending group therapy to help with your feelings of guilt, fear, and lack of self-esteem? I'm attending group therapy for depression, anxiety, guilt, very low self-worth, etc., etc.
How long have you been going to group? Only a few months.
What reasons did the other members of the group offer that persuaded you not to separate from your husband? The reason was didn't I owe it to our son to try to make our marriage work. And yes, at guess that night, I felt I did.
If you can answer these questions (and possibly a few more) I may have some ideas for you. Thank you. You are wonderful to want to help.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-31-2005
Fri, 01-01-2010 - 9:02pm
cl-2nd life...
* You say the two of you have been going to therapy for years, but also say you've been fighting for the last year. What are the two of you going to therapy for? We started therapy as pre-marital counseling as well as assistance for my (now husband's) sexual issues. He was affectionate, but never wanted to have sex. Never initiated, etc. We are still in that same boat after all these years and all of that therapy, doctor's visits, etc.,etc.
* Since you say the two of you have been going for years, and you've been married for almost three years, that means therapy began for the two of you before marriage, yes? Yes, that's correct.
* What does your therapist say about the fighting problem? I haven't talked to my therapist about it personally and for that I am considering canceling any future appts. group or otherwise with this facility, and finding someone else, or going back to my therapist I used with my husband.
* You also mentioned that you're going to group therapy. I assume that's in addition to the therapy you and your husband attend? What is the group therapy for? No, my husband and I do not go to therapy any longer. It's been a lost cause for months. The group is for me as I have been medically classified as "depressed, anxious" and I can't remember what else at this moment.
* Do I understand correctly that your husband doesn't agree that dirty fighting (name calling, etc.) in front of your son is bad? Do I understand that he's not in agreement that fighting in front of him should stop? He doesn't like our fighting. I think I finally got through to him that fighting in front of our son is terrible. He and I just now talked about a phrase to use before our fights begin in front of Luke. Now, we just have to make it work until our vacation in two weeks. Make it through that and then come back and figure out what to do.
* I understand that he doesn't agree with separating, but since he knows you're dissatisfied with the situation as it is, what does he suggest doing to resolve the problem? He suggests EVERYTHING. Talking, counseling, reading our vows, etc., etc. He is a wonderful person and I love him, but that doesn't mean we are supposed to be together. He doesn't get it.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2008
Fri, 01-01-2010 - 9:03pm

Can you tell us more about your therapy experience? I am not really sure why you have to separate - it is possible to learn how to communicate better in front of your child and behind closed doors. Is your only attempt so far to avoid fighting in front of him - as in fight later? Or have you actually tried to change the way you argue? Why group therapy? Is your dh in the group? What type of training/degree does the therapist have? Has anything improved during the years you have been in therapy? You might not be seeking the right kind of therapy or therapy with the right therapist.

I understand what you are saying about not wanting to repeat the mistakes from your childhood. But is divorcing going to make your son's childhood much, much better than it is now? If you divorce with a child, you STILL need to communicate, and bickering, fighting, poor communication can be just as destructive to a child post-divorce as it can during a marriage, sometimes. It may seem like now the fighiing will be "out of sight" if you are not living together, but think about it - you have a disagreement over custody, child support, school, transitions, bedtimes, other SOs meeting your son, any number of things and when will you fight? Only by email? There won't be pickup/drop offs where you will go at it because "you just can't wait" to have the argument, or there won't be a phone call where your son is in the house and hears the fight on the phone? Separating is not necessarily going to fix the problem you have presented to us.

If you can learn to fight better, your son will see destructiveness turn to constructiveness, anger turn to cooperation, dysfunction turn to function, and you might actually end up NOT repeating the mistakes of your childhood for real. Then if you do need to divorce for whatever reason, it just can't last, then you can have a low-conflict divorce. Low-conflict divorces are the one's where children tend to do well, high-conflict couples whether married or divorced, tend to pass those conflict problems on to their children. So you are right that conflict is a problem for your son, you are not necessarily accurate in thinking divorce fixes it. I say "not necessarily" because in some cases divorce is a solution, in those cases one individual is not capable of change, and in that situation divorce may be better for the child IF the person capable of change gets primary custody. So if you do divorce, you are gong to have a lot of work on your hands to keep the conflict to a minimum, which can be just as challenging as trying to fix communication within marriage.

One thing you can start to do right away is accentuate the positive. If you find good things about each other to talk about, you'll have less room for the negative. You said you do have times you get along and things are really great. What is different about those times? What is happening when you are getting along? What is it like when it's really great?

"The last of human freedoms - the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances. " - Viktor Frankl.



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"The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding."
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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2008
Fri, 01-01-2010 - 9:12pm
What are your fights like? How do they start, what comes right before they occur, how long do they last, how do they progress and end, and what do you typically fight about? Also, how does your depression/anxiety fit in with the cycles of fighting? You said there are times you get along - what is the depression/anxiety like then, and what is it like or how does it change when you are not getting along?

"The last of human freedoms - the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances. " - Viktor Frankl.



Photobucket



Ten Rules for Being Human
"The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding."
Malcolm Gladwell Blink

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 01-02-2010 - 4:06am
Thanks so much for your answers, Terbear1967, but I'm not at all sure I understand. What I'm getting is that you two are working in a treatment facility that deals with the problem your husband has? I'm assuming this as you mentioned going to an individual therapist at the place you and your husband attended therapy at. I get that the group you're in deals with your specific issues, not those in your marriage. I'm not at all sure whether you and your husband are currently in therapy or not; you've mentioned having not gone for some time with him? And when I asked what the therapist you two saw thought about the fighting, you indicated that you were seeing a therapist on your own, not with your husband. Sorry, I'm having a hard time getting this straight. In regard to your husband's problem, I'm assuming since the two of you have been in therapy together to deal with that this is an emotional problem rather than a physical one? I'm also not sure I got what the guy in group said, he felt that you don't owe it to your son to try to make your marriage work? I'd say you do, or at least you have the responsibility to raise your child in a healthy environment. Screaming, yelling and threats isn't a healthy environment. In that regard, I'll defer to something Dr. Phil says, "It's better to be from a broken home than in one".

It sounds like your husband is very willing to seek counseling to work on your communication. That sounds like an excellent place to start ~ the place that's best to go to. Are you not willing to consider that?











"Ignoring the facts
does not change the facts"

~ Author unknown


Photobucket











"Ignoring the facts
does not change the facts"
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 01-02-2010 - 4:59am
I forgot a question. You said, "now if I can just make it work until our vacation in 2 weeks", what will change in your vacation that will make this a lot better?

You're right that just because you love someone doesn't mean that staying together is the right thing, but if he's amenable to doing work to resolve this problem, I'd say it's certainly worth sticking it out to see if you can't resolve it. Or, are you feeling that this, along with the other problems just adds up to too much?












"Ignoring the facts
does not change the facts"

~ Author unknown


Photobucket











"Ignoring the facts
does not change the facts"
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-29-2002
Sat, 01-02-2010 - 11:19am

cl-2nd_life


I think she meant once the vacation was done, they could then focus on the fighting issue and finding a different therapist.


terbear1967,


What do you 2 fight about mostly?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-31-2005
Sat, 01-02-2010 - 11:40am
We fight mostly over Luke issues. We fight about everything. We are, as we found out in marriage counseling, polar opposites; and we truly are. Also, my husband is for whatever reason always in competition with me. I could say the sun is yellow, and he would say it's canary yellow. It's so sad. (sigh) But, like I said, we were are getting along, it's a very healthy household. Since the age of 22 I've been going to therapy, and have been on antidepressants, anti-anxiety/panic attack medication. For the last 3 weeks I've been on bipolar meds. The antidepressant was not working anyway. Plus, I had been told about 9 months ago that I probably have Fibromyalgia, and I believe a new cycle is on it's way. :o( I've been in group therapy about 9 weeks; going weekly. Thanks to all of you too for your wonderful questions. F.Y.I. This morning I talked to my group therapist and he also does marriage therapy. We've got an appointment set up for the 27th, a few days after we return from vacation. I am hopeful that a fresh therapist will be able to help us become better parents for Luke and a better couple for ourselves. In the meantime, my husband and I are just going to keep our conversation "light." We have also come up with a phrase to use when one of us starts feeling like we could end up in an argument "I need a drink of water." lol

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