From the U.S.: I have been married for almost 20 years. My wife constantly tells me I do not support her or validate her feelings, and in fact never have over the course of our marriage. This includes supporting her when she went back to school for several years with three children at home and I worked full time. I changed my work schedule to be home when she had class.
Her emotions and feelings are overwhelming. I find I simply cannot respond to them all. I have asked her to go to marriage therapy but she refuses. I try my best to give her what she states she needs, support and validation, but feel as though the bar is constantly raised higher and I will never meet her expectations.
I have at times thought about separation. I have felt emotionally abused. I have felt cut off from friends and family at times due to our relationship. She tells me she gives way more than she gets in our marriage, that my best is not good enough, that I must keep evolving. She tells me she feels unappreciated.
I know this is not me. No one else in my life — friends, family — says these things about me. I have a professional degree, and I am successful in my career. I just don’t have other personal or professional conflicts. Yet she does — she has been through many friendships, and complains that her friends don’t appreciate her. She has now started to say her family members don’t appreciate her. I simply don’t know what to do anymore I spend too many days upset. Please help. Thanks
Please take a look at the criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder and see if it fits. If so, the good news is that it can be treated. The less good news is that such people are a bottomless well of need. No matter how much you try to support and validate your wife, it won’t be enough. Understanding how afraid she is may help you feel less frustrated with her.
Since your wife refuses to go to therapy, start with yourself. I cannot advise you on how to approach your wife about engaging in treatment as I don’t know enough about her. An in-depth discussion with a therapist may help you disengage from the roller-coaster of your wife’s accusations and identify non-threatening ways to invite her into therapy.
I wish you well.