Posted by: Ize | 2013-01-07

Negative Attitude

Hi dr,

I''m struggling with dealing with my husband''s negativity at the moment. Both of us has always tried to remain positive and focus on the solution rather than the problem, recently however it''s as if he just can''t get himself to think positive. There is however a lot of thinkg playing into this.

1. He had a very difficult year at work last year, which is now continuing into the new year. What it basically comes down to is that he is being victimised at word to such an extend that he''s union is now getting involved in the matter.

2. We received notice at the beginning of October that we had to move at the end of October from our home that we have been renting since we got married almost 4 years ago. Since the lady we rented from sold het home and decided that she wanted to move into the place that we were renting. Which is all fine but not so easy to find a place to stay within a month. In the end we ended up deciding to ask my parents to co-rent a house with us as we could not find a affordable place with enought outdoor space for our 14month old son. This was however my husband''s idea as we have a wonderful relationship with my parents. We lived in a room for a month as we could not find a place that would be available begin November and at the beginning of December we moved to our new house with my parents. My husband is however finding it very difficult to adjust to this new living arrangment.

3. We have always has a difficult relationship with my mother-in-law. When I met my husband he had a over-involved relationship with his mother. My parents-in-law does not have a very good relationship which ended up in my huband becoming the " man"  in my mother-in-law''s life. They shared everything - including every detail of his parents relationship problems. After receiving some counseling he realised that his relationship was unhealthy and started to withdraw from this relationship. The end result however is that I think my mother-in-law experience it has " I stole her son from her" . Ever now and again she phones and tells my husband she would like to speak to him alone and then she comes up with al the things we don''t do right in her eyes. Since we told them about our new living arrangement this has become even worse!

What can I do to make things easier for my husband? To help him to start focussing on the positive rather than the negative?

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Our expert says:
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OK, a set of discouraging events and circumstances which one could allow to become disheartening. Part of what your husband may be finding especially difficult isn't so much having to share with your parents ( and knowing that if this arrengement is less than perfct, it was, after all, his idea ) but the sense of coercion, of external circumstances having forced you all into such an arrangement, of not having been able to make a wholly free choice.
I hope the union, and maybe Dept of Labour and other such organizations geared to help sort out unfair treatment of workers, can help sort out his problems at work. However tempting it can be at times, he probably needs to avoid resigning, as that may stop the investigations and may make itharder for him to get fair treatment and confirmation in his job or a better placement.
It sounds as though there were already problems arising from his over-involvement in his mother's life, which can be a most unfair way in which an unhappy wife relies too much on her son and gets him too deeply involved in matters which she ought to sort out herself.
The counselling was a wise idea, as was his decision to withdraw from her excessive dependency on him, and he needs to make it clear to her that this was done for the sake of his own health and on the advice of his own therapist, and not your doing at all.
Maybe encourage her to see a counsellor fopr her own problems rather than piling them all on him ( or on you ). Ideally, if it can be provided through his work medical aid or otherwise, counselling specifically of the CBT, Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy format is especially good at helping one to realistically re-evaluate one's habits of though and find more positive or functional and useful ways of facing one's problems.

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