Posted in Mental Health, Separation / Divorce

Neediness

On the old blog I discussed the dependency issues of my wife and her mother. I felt then, and still feel, that this neediness between the two of them contributed in part to the breakdown of our marriage. My wife didn’t want to spend time with me because she couldn’t leave her mother alone – two rooms away. She also wanted to take her everywhere with us, including our honeymoon (she didn’t come with us in the end). At a time we should have been becoming closer – and perhaps dealing with our emotional and sexual problems – a third person became more important than the marriage.

I told my wife all if this a few weeks ago. She was horrified and hurt to think that I felt like a gooseberry in by own marriage. When she asked why I never said anything I pointed out that I had many times and that all the time we were together, any challenge to their (unhealthy) relationship was met with an angry response. I had learnt my place to be the bottom of the pile. I shouldn’t have accepted it I know but I didn’t know any different. This was my first relationship so I had nothing to compare it to.

She spent most of our time together trying to get me to be as dependent on her and her mother as she was on me. She got upset at me not showing HER MOTHER affection. I’m never been particularly affectionate, even with my own family and yet my wife wanted me to have a physical closeness with her mother. She also wanted me to double barrel my surname with hers as she did when we got married. When I refused, tantrums followed.

“He” entered her life about a year into our marriage but their affair would not start for about 4-5 months. He was a strange friend at first with some odd views and clear emotional problems. Her desire to always be in the same room as her mum meant that she spent all night every night on the internet, talking to him a lot, and it was on a messageboard that she met him. The rest is history and documented on my other blog.

My wife recognised this dependent behaviour while receiving treatment and has now accepted that it was destructive. Her mother on the other hand is getting more clingy and it is to me she is clinging. Apparently she needs me to sit in the same room as her while she watches the TV and ignores me (why she does not apply this same standard to her daughter I do not know). In the evenings I need to spend time applying for jobs out of the area and as I spend every other night talking to Miss X, I deserve privacy. Miss X and I discuss personal issues that are nobody else’s business. I complain at her about my situation and she confides in me when she is low.

I’m sure there are many very healthy mother-daughter relationships but I now feel if I met a potential partner who describes herself as being close to her mother, I’m going to run away so fast that Usain Bolt might struggle to keep up. I cannot be in this situation again, feeling cut off and abandoned and realising that other people had engineered the situation this way. I was 100 miles from friends and family with nobody to turn to being blamed for my wife having an affair.

I have always been relatively independent. I can easily make use of time on my own and can easily enjoy my own company – something my wife never really understood or in a roundabout way, permitted me to do. Looking back, I resisted their attempts to make me dependent and now I’m desperate to be free and truly spread my wings. I have itchy feet for travel and if I didn’t have lingering student debts I would walk out of my mundane job and go travelling. Come the end of the year when most of that will be gone, if I’m still living here, it could be an attractive proposition.

Dependency is unhealthy on many levels. It creates a sense of entitlement within a relationship. Entitlement becomes tantrums when the dependent party can’t get their own way. Tantrums are a method of control. Control could become bullying (I certainly felt bullied at my lowest and most vulnerable point last summer when I had nobody to turn to). Bullying is psychological abuse.

My mother-in-law will never accept that she is needy but she displays all the classic signs; but she is also a tad narcissistic and controlling. I’m not sure how a psychologist would classify that, I’m sure there’s a suitable personality disorder to cover it.

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Author:

I go by the name of Frank Speaking. My blog "In the Mind of Men" (former name Chin Up, Chest High) started out as a chronicle of my mental health recovery. Now it is a forum where I discuss issues related to male mental health.

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