Archive for October 7th, 2011

A reader asked me to post the following for Mental Illness Awareness Week.

Mental Illness Awareness Week 2011 Infographic
Brought to you by MSW@USC Masters in Social Work

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PhotobucketIt took seemingly forever for me to sort through well over 200 emails for this blog. I receive an email for each comment posted, which was most of the emails. I noticed that I had a ton of comments on my marriage blog entry, so I thought I would give you an update.

Without going into too much detail, the source of friction for hub and me over the past two months has been me working nights and weekends for a job that I really enjoy. I had only committed to one 4-1/2 week class to see how things would go (and we had talked about the schedule ahead of time), and I had already conceded that two weeknights was too much in a week for our family. The weekend it all blew up, hub backed me into a corner where I felt I had no other choice but to discontinue teaching future classes. I was angry because I have taken care of our child for 10-1/2 years while he works, and he couldn’t support me for 4-1/2 weeks even though multiple friends had helped out. (Constant b@#$& about being inconvenienced is not “being supportive” to me.)

The morning after the argument, hub tried to “bring it in,” saying that he loves and values our son and me more than anything else in his life. I followed my therapist’s (T’s) advice and was honest. I replied, “I don’t believe you. Other than financially, in what ways do you show me that you love and value me?” This question really upset hub, and I felt like a real $#%& for saying it, but my therapist assured me that I needed to pull hub into emotions if things were ever going to change.

I saw my T the next day. He told me to bring a list of my minimum requirements for feeling loved, valued, and supported in a marriage. We used my list as a basis for a list of things hub can DO to show me that he loves, values, and supports me. The plan (which I have not done yet) is for me to show hub this list of things he can do to show me that he loves and values me and then focus on two at a time. Here is sample of things on the list:

  1. Show interest in things that matter to me (even if they are not interesting to you).
  2. Notice what I do as I frequently feel under-appreciated and taken for granted.
  3. I want to feel that you want to be with me – invite and arrange for a special dinner, initiate a date, etc.
  4. Tell me one thing that went well in your life each day.

I felt much better after talking with my T. I do believe that hub wants to please me but truly does not know how. In fairness to him, he grew up in a dysfunctional family and was not taught how to connect emotionally or express his emotions.

Meanwhile, hub has already been making an effort not to drain me with his negative energy. Not having to hear a constant stream of negativity out of his mouth combined with him caring enough to make an effort has made a HUGE positive difference.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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