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Question
Posted by: Craig | 2012/08/17

Mood swings

My wife have this issue where she goes quiet for weeks at a time. Recent occurance happened because she cmplained to me that a friend of her makes her feel inferior for no specific reason, I then questioned whether the friend had done or said anything wrong to make her feel this way. My wife replied no, and stated that she does not like the friend. I then did not enquire anything further. Within minutes thereafter I could see my wife becoming quiet again. Its now been 3 days of silence. I asked my wife why she is quiet. She then said that I did not comfort her enough when she complained about the bad feelings her friend gives her! Is it fair of my wife to go into these ''sulking'' sessions?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Though the way you describe having responded to your wife's voiced concerns was sympathetic and could have been helpful, clearly this is not how she experienced it, and apparently she was simply wanting some supportive overy sympathy rather than encouragement to analyze it.
If this is a general and typical way in which she responds to others close to her, it may be worth gently suggesting that she might find it helpful to discuss this with a counsellor to enhance her repertoire of ways of responding to such situations. If its more specific to this particular person, then maybe just encourage her to stop being friendly with someone she doesn't enjoy contact with.
Fairness doesn't come into it, she's not trying to be fair to you, she feels somehow that by not responding in the way she wanted, you were unfair to her. In such set-ups, it can be useful to respond "That must have been really upsetting ! How can I help you feel better ? "

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/08/18

Though the way you describe having responded to your wife's voiced concerns was sympathetic and could have been helpful, clearly this is not how she experienced it, and apparently she was simply wanting some supportive overy sympathy rather than encouragement to analyze it.
If this is a general and typical way in which she responds to others close to her, it may be worth gently suggesting that she might find it helpful to discuss this with a counsellor to enhance her repertoire of ways of responding to such situations. If its more specific to this particular person, then maybe just encourage her to stop being friendly with someone she doesn't enjoy contact with.
Fairness doesn't come into it, she's not trying to be fair to you, she feels somehow that by not responding in the way she wanted, you were unfair to her. In such set-ups, it can be useful to respond "That must have been really upsetting ! How can I help you feel better ? "

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