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Question
Posted by: Lost son | 2020/08/16

Marriage needs urgent help

Hi Please advise me. I'm a 43 year old male, married for just over 3 years, wife is 44. Both our 2nd marriages. Her 16 year old son is under our care. We have a beautiful 2 year old miracle baby daughter. I'm the only breadwinner, my salary is pathetic but I'm trying my best to manage and I'm constantly looking out for ways to improve. This marriage is in serious trouble. I'm always at the receiving end of everything that's trouble. I'm forever doing / not doing / saying / not saying something that turns into a helluva fight, I'm always the bad guy. When I want to address a obvious concern, then I'm either attacking them or I'm being a "horrible person". I can't repeat the exact words. She's lazy, she lays in bed all day, when I get home, there's no food (prepared or otherwise), the place is a mess, and I get ordered around till late at night. Her son is supposedly high-functioning autistic, but only when it suits him (yes, I've been to see the professionals). He refuses to do anything, literally. And always attacking me in some way or another. I'm expected to "step up" my "fathering" but every single thing I try gets shot down. I'm always wrong and the way in which they retaliate is embarrassing and gives us as family a bad image. My baby girl is a nervous wreck around her mother and brother. Everyone I know says that she's the calmest and best when she's with me. I love my wife, but I am at my end. Counseling? Only if it's for me, and because I need it... We've tried, but never get further than session 1. We've been turned away at least twice. Common sense says I must leave, get out. But my daughter? I will be doing her a worse evil if she stays with them. What do I do? I'm beyond broken

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink
- 2020/08/18

Sorry to hear about this sad and frustrating situation. Though the obvious thing would be to recommend couples or family counselling ; but where one's partner clearly refuses to sincerely join in that process, or to be prepared to change their own assumptions and behaviors in ways that would benefit all of you, that will not work.  Maybe you wife has adopted some reactions to having an autistic child ( assuming the diagnosis has been properly made and properly helpful therapy tried ) that sees any criticism of anything to do with her or him as an attack, such that she may have become one of those people whose defenses damage her. She may concentrate on defending her son, who she may assume if much more helpless than he is or could be,  and may not be focusing on the needs of your little girl, inaccurately assuming that she needs less attention and consideration than she does.
It may be more useful for you to see a personal counsellor,  to work out what will be best for you and your daughter, and how to get there from here.  You may love your wife, but it might not necessarily be the best thing for her, to remain in a situation such as you describe, which sounds miserable and unwholesome for all of you.

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