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Question
Posted by: Lizz | 2010/09/13

Dealing with difficult husband/mother

My husband is very pessimistic about everything most of the time. Of course I would prefer him being more upbeat, but, although it sometimes gets me down, I feel I have accepted him the way he is. In social situations I feel very uncomfortable, though. Especially when we visit my parents, I continuously feel that my mum is judging him. I hate the sort of sympathetic glances she gives me, as if being married to him must be a huge burden to carry. Is this a reflection of my relationship with my husband, or is this about my relationship with my mom?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Has he always been pessimistic, as a characteristic way he looks at the world ? Or is this a recent development, in which case one would wonder whether he has been developing a Depression. You worry about how your mom thinks of him - have you calmly and quietly discussed this with her ? I'm sure this can be sorted out, and you need not be worrying about things she might not even be thinking ! It does sound to be a bit more about your relationship with your mom. WHy does it feel bad that she might feel a bit sorry for you having a Sad Sack around you ? Couldn't her sympathy ( if that's what it is ) be a comfort to you ?
I used to know someone like him, in a team I worked with in America. I officially named him our "Creative Problem Finder" and we re-framed what he habitually did, not as a miserable old grumble, but as a helpful indication of areas where we might encounter problems. At first it annoyed him, as he couldn't enjoy a good grumble without being thanked for being so helpful - it quite ruined his enjoyment of grumbling, but it encouraged him to use his capacity for noticing possible problems in a useful way, especially when we suggested we'd added to his job description that he should also suggest at least two possible solutions to whatever problems he identified.

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/09/13

Has he always been pessimistic, as a characteristic way he looks at the world ? Or is this a recent development, in which case one would wonder whether he has been developing a Depression. You worry about how your mom thinks of him - have you calmly and quietly discussed this with her ? I'm sure this can be sorted out, and you need not be worrying about things she might not even be thinking ! It does sound to be a bit more about your relationship with your mom. WHy does it feel bad that she might feel a bit sorry for you having a Sad Sack around you ? Couldn't her sympathy ( if that's what it is ) be a comfort to you ?
I used to know someone like him, in a team I worked with in America. I officially named him our "Creative Problem Finder" and we re-framed what he habitually did, not as a miserable old grumble, but as a helpful indication of areas where we might encounter problems. At first it annoyed him, as he couldn't enjoy a good grumble without being thanked for being so helpful - it quite ruined his enjoyment of grumbling, but it encouraged him to use his capacity for noticing possible problems in a useful way, especially when we suggested we'd added to his job description that he should also suggest at least two possible solutions to whatever problems he identified.

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