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Old 08-30-2006, 04:27 PM   #1
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Guilt

My husband and I have had a lot of marital counseling. According to the counselors, because his parents always criticized him, he needs a lot of praise. This is hard for me. Just now he came home bringing me some shrimp since he knew we were having something for dinner which I don't like. I had already told him last night not to get them and I would find something else. So, when he came home all smiles, look what I brought you, I said I hope its not shrimp. Then I said I told you yesterday not to get them. He hung his head like a little boy and went in the bedroom and closed the door. I feel so bad and guilty. At our marriage counselor's he often told the story about how his mother yelled at him for hanging clothes wrong on the hangers when as a child he should have been praised for just trying. The counselors want me to praise him even when he does things wrong and I find that hard to do. He is no longer a child and I feel like I am his mother. Still, I feel so guilty when I make him feel bad like that. I feel like an awful person. Please help.

 
Old 08-30-2006, 04:34 PM   #2
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Re: Guilt

Husband just came and told me I used to be a nice person. I am just sitting here crying now.

 
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Old 08-30-2006, 05:47 PM   #3
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Re: Guilt

I think there is a difference between being nice and just not listening. I say, feel free to praise him all you want when he does things right, but you are right, he is NOT a child and he doesn't get a free ride for NOT LISTENING TO YOU, or doing things, you both know, are wrong. What about your need to be heard? I think many, not all but many, counselors are just apologists for peoples bad behavior. ANYBODY who tells you to praise someone for doing something both of you know is wrong, is just plain STUPID! You are going to have to sift through these ideas, and use only the ones you can see that make sense to you. This subject makes me particularly crazy. No one person has a right idea, every time they open their mouth. This counselor is no exception.

Last edited by eve40; 08-30-2006 at 05:48 PM.

 
Old 08-30-2006, 05:49 PM   #4
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Re: Guilt

Well, you were acting like his mother by your response regarding the shrimp. He went out of his way and bought you a gift - something you like. He wanted to make you happy and he did not. I can understand how he feels.

Instead, you should have said, "thanks hun, that is thoughtful of you...."

He didn't do anything "wrong" in the least. Really, he was wrong to bring you home shrimp????? He was trying to make you happy. To get upset over spilled milk (or shrimp) is not worth it in my book. You need to pick and choose your battles and this is not one of those.

The next step is to go to him and tell him you were wrong. How nice it was that he thought of you and how much you appreciate him.

 
Old 08-30-2006, 06:06 PM   #5
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Re: Guilt

You see, I just hate to have my words completely disregarded and that is exactly what he did. He made his own decision with no regard to the OP's wishes. Why should he be praised for that? And, now that the husband understands the root of his issues, why does our poster have to praise everything he does, with no regard for rightness or whether his actions suit her needs too? Why should anybody in this world get a free ride because their mommy was to critical? Honestly, he sounds like a little bit of a control freak. Was his mother a control freak?

Last edited by eve40; 08-30-2006 at 06:34 PM.

 
Old 08-30-2006, 06:49 PM   #6
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Re: Guilt

Thanks, everyone. Yes, Eve his mother was a control freak. I think a lot of this is that he is such a pleaser, that even when I continuously say "no" to something he will do it anyway to try and please me. Part of me understands - he was just trying to make me happy, but most of me understands "I said point-blank no!" This has caused such a huge argument that he is packing his things to move out. I tried to tell him that this happens a lot of times when I just don't mention it. I remember saying no to him about going to some event and he ignored me and spent $130.00 on tickets. Usually the thrifty person in me would go, but that time I just did not. Guilt really makes me feel bad about myself. My sister is a mean person and I always fear being like her. He knows that and I believe that's why he said the "You used to be a nice person" comment. I am emotionally distraught. My mother said I needed a tranquilizer. I have some, but instead had a glass of wine. I still feel horrible though.

 
Old 08-30-2006, 06:58 PM   #7
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Re: Guilt

Quote:
Just now he came home bringing me some shrimp since he knew we were having something for dinner which I don't like.
Hey there. What I don't understand is, why would you make something for dinner that you don't like? I mean, you're in charge of your own meals, right? So why bother to make something you don't want to eat?

I had a lot of issues with my mom as a kid and teenager. I used to think she was a demon there for awhile. But as you get older you're supposed to realize that your parents aren't perfect, and now you're an adult so you take over from there. Thank goodness his mom didn't have me for a child. My clothes don't even make it onto hangers. The floor serves the same purpose as a hanger, I always liked to say.

Honestly, I mean...I know some people are way more sensitive than others, and they can't always help that. But the way the counselor talks about your husband, he sounds like mentally retarded little boy. What are you supposed to praise him for? Washing his hands after he goes to the bathroom? Remembering to take the garbage out? That just sounds so strange.
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Old 08-31-2006, 02:53 AM   #8
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Re: Guilt

He loves meatloaf, I don't, but it is an easy meal that I can freeze, so I make a couple and can pull them out easily. I sometimes eat it otherwise, I'll just make a sandwich or something.

I do agree that a lot of people have issues with their parents growing up. I know I did. Mine were neglectful, so I tend to be clingy. His were very critical, so according to the counselors he just needs "a lot of praise." Those were their words and it was after a discussion of him never cutting the grass. I told them that I wanted to be his equal not above him and not his mother, but they just said some people have to take certain positions in relationships.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsyArcher
Hey there. What I don't understand is, why would you make something for dinner that you don't like? I mean, you're in charge of your own meals, right? So why bother to make something you don't want to eat?

I had a lot of issues with my mom as a kid and teenager. I used to think she was a demon there for awhile. But as you get older you're supposed to realize that your parents aren't perfect, and now you're an adult so you take over from there. Thank goodness his mom didn't have me for a child. My clothes don't even make it onto hangers. The floor serves the same purpose as a hanger, I always liked to say.

Honestly, I mean...I know some people are way more sensitive than others, and they can't always help that. But the way the counselor talks about your husband, he sounds like mentally retarded little boy. What are you supposed to praise him for? Washing his hands after he goes to the bathroom? Remembering to take the garbage out? That just sounds so strange.

 
Old 08-31-2006, 03:48 AM   #9
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Re: Guilt

I think Eve is right, you can't just praise him constantly even when he does things against your wishes. There has to be a line drawn somewhere!

I must admit I can see a bit of myself in your husband, because I like to make people happy and also like to be praised in return for doing nice things. However, I don't get overly sensitive about it if the praise I expected doesn't materialise - part of my satisfaction comes from just knowing I did something nice.

Another critical difference is that I would never disrespect my girlfriend by doing something if we'd talked about it and agreed not to. I think you need to sit down with your husband and have a talk, and agree that when he does something good you will make an effort give lots of praise (e.g. if he bought you flowers as a suprise), but that he needs to respect your wishes if you've said no to something, and shouldn't get upset if he chooses to ignore you and do it anyway.

 
Old 08-31-2006, 06:21 AM   #10
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Re: Guilt

I'm sorry, the guy is a grown man and he's acting like a grade schooler.
When he does something right, he gets praised.....
when he does something wrong, he does NOT get praised.....
it's pretty basic, you can even train a dog that way.
I don't understand why the therapist is suggesting praise for the wrong behavior. Even a dog would get confused.....you have to be consistant.
It's his issue......whatever the problem is, putting hangers the wrong way as a child....pffft....now he knows the root of it, HE CAN WORK ON IT!
There is no reason for you to reward bad behavior, and coddle him. That's his problem, he knows why, he can work on it, lets move on already......
You have much more patience than I would.........
he was already told not to get the shrimp and he went ahead and did it anyway.....blatant disrespect for her feelings, and when she says something he hangs his head and pouts? he's got more problems than needing a lot of praise......he's got some characteristics of a manipulator and a control freak.
and then he turns it around to make her feel guilty? Yes you definately have more patience than I do......I wouldn't play that game.

 
Old 09-01-2006, 08:57 AM   #11
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Re: Guilt

Someone said this before, but I believe that this is a case of choose your battles wisely! Even if you don't want the shrimp that night, say thanks, and throw them in the freezer for another time, and continue with the same meal plan. I realize that there are underlying problems here, but maybe you can make it so that you're only annoyed with your husband two times a week, rather than ten times per day.

 
Old 09-01-2006, 09:13 AM   #12
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Re: Guilt

I agree with the above poster that pointed out that the key is choosing your battles. Honestly, it's just shrimp. Would it be that wrong to just say thanks and move on? While I don't believe a grown man needs to be praised like a toddler, there also comes a point where something is just not worth getting upset over.

Have you considered another therapist for a second opinion? It sounds to me like the solution of praising him is just a band-aid instead of a real solution. Ideally, he should be learning to modify his behaviors and reactions, not relying on you to modify how you treat him.

 
Old 09-01-2006, 04:01 PM   #13
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Re: Guilt

Quote:
Originally Posted by hllspawn
Someone said this before, but I believe that this is a case of choose your battles wisely!
Thank goodness I am not the only one feeling that way.

I realize there are other issues at play here causing you to feel this way, but don't you think it would be more productive to get angry over those issues rather than the fact that he tried to do something nice, even if you didn't want him to?

 
Old 09-01-2006, 05:05 PM   #14
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Re: Guilt

This is such a minuscule issue to be fretting over...this is such a non-issue...it reminds me of my poor brother ... it didn't matter what he did for his EX wife to make her happy, she'd find fault in it and get all hacked off and go huff off into the bedroom and pull the covers over her head...did I mention she's his EX wife...
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Old 09-01-2006, 05:37 PM   #15
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Re: Guilt

I kinda have to weigh in on this topic, psychology is a hobby and interest of mine and this situation really sounds strange. As you raise children, you praise them for doing something right and you ignore the negative, and you disapline the blatant disrespect, stealing, ect.

Praising someone is common curtiousy. When someone gives you a gift, you say thank you. When someone does something nice you should appreciate it and respond appropriately. But to go out of your way to always praise everything is a little over the top. Hes a grown man and should have an inner ability to praise himself. I can understand being shot down for trying to do something nice. I have had my husband tell me no, and I did it anyway because of his reasons for saying no, it really meant a lot to him and I wanted him to have it, but he didn't think we should get it then, turned out we went to get it and hes been extremely happy since, I didn't do it because I was looking for praise, I did it because I wanted to make him happy.

It is not your job to make up for his mothers short comings, he should confront that issue with his mother and not use it as a weapon everytime he doesn't get his way. You should be partners, not mother figure and son. If he is looking for validation from a mother, he should discuss it with her.

As a summary, accept acts of kindness as such, pick your fights carefully, don't look for issues where there may not be any.

Good luck,
angeleyes

 
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