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Posted by: Need perspective | 2010-07-18

RE: 1037 Unappreciated and husband doesn''t get it

Thank you cybershrink, you hit the nail on the head. I''ll try and get us to some counseling because he is a great husband otherwise, I just can''t live with all the negativity. It''s dragging me down along with him. I''m trying to help him see the good as well. It''s affecting his mood and work situation and I''ve run out of ideas. This was just one exercise I attempted to help him see some positives and it was quite shocking and hurtful for me to see how difficult it was for him.

Sue I think you misunderstood me. Certainly it is kind to say he appreciates me but that was the exact exercise question (What do you appreciate about me today?) It is to help him see positives, yes small things (such as taking the dog for a walk) but he has an honest inability to see things positively. Answering a question with the question subject matter is not an answer. " What do you appreciate about me? You."  Does that seem like an effective exercise to do daily?

However I do agree with your basis that I should be happy with his answers which I would be if there were any. I gave simple examples in order to try and help him give basic answers but he couldn''t even show appreciation for the most basic things. I will and do thank him whenever he does say something but it''s pointless to do the exercise if his answer daily is going to be " I appreciate you" . The point was to help him see specifics. It''s a generic answer for him, when asked why he appreciates me he can t elaborate at all, he''s very good however at pointing out every flaw. I hope I''m being more clear this time. I realize it can sound very mean and one-sided (I just want a pat on the back type of thing) but that is definitely not the case. Have you ever lived wth a person who costantly only points out your flaws? I''m hoestly trying to help him see the good in life too and not just what bothers him.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Its nice to be able to hit the occasional nail ! As you now show, although this persistently negative attitude on his side is unpleasant for you, it can't be much fun for him either, and as you saym, affects his work and presumably other relationships, too.
In your exercise, maybe "appreciate" is a difficult concept for him, but he apparently has no dificulty in recognizing things he DOESN'T appreciate, though that may not be how he conceives of them - what, to him, ARE his criticisms or negative statements about ? Things that could be done better ? ( then can he think of things that are done pretty well ? ) It could be useful to parse his vocabulary for such things, to clarify what his categories are, because whatever he thinks of them as, they're handy examples of the opposite of what you are seeking

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Our users say:
Posted by: Purple | 2010-07-19

I think you had such a nice idea for getting him to start by recognising the small things you do.

So many husbands and wives take each other for granted and a little thing like this can make a big difference.

My husband used to always complain that I did nothing around the house (he is hyperactive, which in some ways is a pleasure as although he never sits still, he scrubs our house from top to bottom when he''s bored, paints the outside if he is on leave and fixes things as they break). There is an old joke about a woman whose husband never appreciated her and he came home one day to find toys strewn everywhere, no supper made and so on and on asking his wife what happened, she said that " today I didn''t do the things you tell me I never do" .
I actually did this to my husband. I work and come home and play with my son, take him to sport, make lunch boxes, do half the weeks cooking (we take turns), bath my son, get his clothes ready for the next day and so on. So one day I did none of this and my husband came home to find my son unbathed watching TV and bouncing off the walls with unused energy and me doing a crossword. The dishwasher was full, no lunches were made. When he wlaked in the door I sauntered off to bath and told him he needed to bath our son.
He was quite upset, but even more so when he phoned me while I was driving to work and asked where my sons lunch was and I told him he still had to make it.
I do a lot around the house (he just can''t see it) and he has complained since then, and I just tell him that its OK, if it isn''t good enough I''ll stop doing it, and he remembers.

This wouldn''t work with all husbands, but mine has severe selective deafness and when I talk to him he just talks about something else in the middle of my sentence and then denies I was talking, so I have to show him things.

I sometimes wonder how he got through school and his tertiary education, but he did brilliantly, so clearly his ears worked then.

He also struggles to congratulate me for anything. I recently graduated from a tough degree that took a lot out of both of us and its now a year later and he has still not said well done, or even bought me chocolates and he didn''t show up at my graduation.

I hope your counselling goes well and that he starts to notice the nice things about you soon. Keep on reminding him about the good things that he does and that you appreciate, and don''t start to feel resentful about him, its hard to turn that around once you start to feel it.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: qwerty | 2010-07-19

I''ve just started reading a book called " The power of a Praying Wife" . It''s really a good read so far - it''s about how you can pray intensively for your husband to be released from negative forces in his life. In your case you could pray for him to be released from the negativity!

It also talks about how to change your husband by changing yourself. That doesn''t mean that you are the problem, but changing your attitude / reaction to the situation often works wonders in changing the situation. Give it a try, you''ve got nothing to lose.

Best of luck! :)

Reply to qwerty
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010-07-19

Its nice to be able to hit the occasional nail ! As you now show, although this persistently negative attitude on his side is unpleasant for you, it can't be much fun for him either, and as you saym, affects his work and presumably other relationships, too.
In your exercise, maybe "appreciate" is a difficult concept for him, but he apparently has no dificulty in recognizing things he DOESN'T appreciate, though that may not be how he conceives of them - what, to him, ARE his criticisms or negative statements about ? Things that could be done better ? ( then can he think of things that are done pretty well ? ) It could be useful to parse his vocabulary for such things, to clarify what his categories are, because whatever he thinks of them as, they're handy examples of the opposite of what you are seeking

Reply to cybershrink

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