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A Message from Michele
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Living with a workaholic spouse #74914
06/15/02 06:24 PM
06/15/02 06:24 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 166
2Learn Offline OP
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2Learn  Offline OP
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We are at the stage of dealing with "normal" marital stress but sometimes we relate to each other like in the bad old days.

Last night my H called in front of other people to tell me in a firm harsh tone that he would be late. We both think he is hurting himself by overworking but he doesn't see any other way. He is so preoccupied with work that he doesn't have a brain cell left for much else. Despite all this, I have no desire to stand between him and his work. It's not fun but it doesn't anger me that he works a huge number of hours. However, I do get furious when he acts like I am an obstacle to his work. Futhermore, when I get angry, my H very rarely has the resources to understand why. He just registers that I'm angry and reacts with shotgun defensiveness, acusations, and withdrawl. He is very stressed out, I understand that and tell him in great detail how I understand what he is going through. In this latest case, despite huge evidence to the contrary, he insists that this idea, that he is treating me like I'm an obstacle, is all in my head. I tend to believe him too much in all kinds of circumstances and when I believe him instead of something I am sure is going on, I get knocked off balance and start thinking maybe I really am a terrible, critical, demanding person.

So I am taking the bait to this negative dance that we do in at least three ways: 1. getting angry at being falsely accused 2. trusting him more than myself and getting confused (the sad truth is that after all this time, I still don't know what to trust in our relationship) and 3. berating myself.

The mess that results is very similar to the affair mess and I need to address it somehow. Anybody relate to this? Any ideas?

Determined 2L

Re: Living with a workaholic spouse #74915
06/15/02 06:36 PM
06/15/02 06:36 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 166
2Learn Offline OP
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2Learn  Offline OP
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PS
When we spend time together without his work being the focus, like on the vacation we just took, we get on the same wave link, enjoy each other, and have a sense of stability. Ideally, as Michele suggests, we would spend some quality time together all along but my H has been very clear that he will not do this at this time so I gotta find some other way.

I am looking into some changes of activities that might help.

Re: Living with a workaholic spouse #74916
06/15/02 06:53 PM
06/15/02 06:53 PM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,181
Is this Heaven? No, it's IOWA
Dulcie Offline
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Dulcie  Offline
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Is this Heaven? No, it's IOWA
I believe it was Mike Murdock who said it...

"Men will spend their health getting wealth; then, gladly pay all they have earned to get health back."

Sad, but very true in the case of a workaholic spouse. I was married to a workaholic who failed to understand the importance of balance. He focused only on moving to the top of the ladder only to find that he was not happy once he got there.

I do not know of anyone, when reaching the end of their life and expressing regrets, wishes that they had spent more time at work.

Does your husband have any healthy hobbies that you can encourage him to develop? I know it is very frustrating to try and reach a workaholic. Can you include relaxing weekend getaways in your schedule?

Best of luck to you....

Re: Living with a workaholic spouse #74917
06/15/02 07:10 PM
06/15/02 07:10 PM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 5,689
Melbourne,Australia
Mick Offline
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Mick  Offline
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Melbourne,Australia
I dont think any one has ever rose on their death bed and said, "Gee I wish I had spent more time at the office".

Futhermore, when I get angry, my H very rarely has the resources to understand why. He just registers that I'm angry and reacts with shotgun defensiveness, acusations, and withdrawl.


Have you tried not being angry when you tackle him on this matter..just a normal discussion at a nice relaxed time?...or

do you get angry when he comes home from work and just enterd through the door?...

When he is at work what do you do?..

What accusations does he make?.....

Roycer(MICK) [Smile]

Re: Living with a workaholic spouse #74918
06/15/02 07:32 PM
06/15/02 07:32 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 63
MI
Violet Offline
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Violet  Offline
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Posts: 63
MI
Hi:

You might want to check out www.marriagebuilders.com for some ideas. I've found this site particularly helpful.

Re: Living with a workaholic spouse #74919
06/16/02 02:28 AM
06/16/02 02:28 AM
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 1,993
firmly grounded
lily Offline
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lily  Offline
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firmly grounded
Hi!

I've been refreshing what I read in the fall about MLC. Does your H fit into that catagory?

Our C says that my H is dealing w a MLC factor.

Also anger conflict.

Stages are: denial; anger; replay; depression; withdrawal; acceptance.

I havn't been able to identify the denial phase in my H but in '97 he started getting angery w me a lot; his replay involved one more woman one more time; the end of that R put him into depression. Right now we're dealing w withdrawal and glimpses of acceptance (I hope).

About the depression. He was really stressed by the ending of that R. He was grumpy and tired (lot of sleep) and ate a lot also. I noticed that he talked about wanting to be at work. His work was 'his life'. The sourse I was reading said that sometimes the guy experiences this sort of 'active depression'.

It was a secret pleasure to hear him talk less and less of work and now hear him start talking about things that need doing around home.

The trick for you to handle this is to not focus on the job preoccuping him. How do you handle it now? Let's brainstorm and come up w some ideas.

Our C said recently that she thinks the affair was a manifestation of depression. Go figure.

Re: Living with a workaholic spouse #74920
06/16/02 03:55 PM
06/16/02 03:55 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 166
2Learn Offline OP
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2Learn  Offline OP
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I wrote a long piece last night but got bumped off-line before it was finished. Lost it all. So now I'm writing on my WP and pasting! Your questions, my lost writing (you know, now I realize, it really was only half-baked stuff!) and all Iíve learned resulted in coming up with a plan that I followed up on this am.

The Realization.

The essential, primary responsibility I have is to take care of myself especially when I start to feel down on me. If I don't do this I'm worthless to do anything else constructive. When I start to feel down on me I have to do something even if itís not pretty. Hopefully I will get more and more graceful and mature about this over time but right now #1 is to do something. Furthermore, this needs to be done in a way that has absolutely no dependence on my hís reaction. Actually--BIG PAT ON MY BACK [Big Grin] a lot of the time I can do this pretty damn well!!! I can express love and understanding for my h but also sets a rock solid boundary for myself. He can think anything he wants to about me but I donít have to buy into it. Sometimes in this struggle to hold my ground I might need to verbalize all this. One of those times was today. This involves me stating my position and simply holding it. He can react or not react any way he wants.

The Follow-through.

So this morning I:
1. offered honest compliments (he deserves plenty of compliments! and he tells me that it really helps when I verbalize them),

2. made appreciative statements (I am appreciative and I understand that his priorities at this time donít allow him to think much about usóit is very impressive that he has learned as much as he has about being a loving husband over these last three years), AND

3. IMHO pretty darned skillfully interspersed some strong statements of boundaries that I really needed to state.

The Midstream Confidence Booster.

I can do this because: 1. I was a divorced parent since my daughter was 1, my h and I married 10 years ago when she was 18. I know how to live without a mate. 2. I am blessed with many people who love me and a husband who looks to me like he is doing the best catch-up job he can figure. 3. By the Grace that is, I have been allowed to learn. 4. I love people and I love myself.

The Result.

My h gave me that, all too familiar, ďI am the bad little boy and you are the big MEAN parentĒ look BUT I DIDNíT BUY IT!!! If he is still trapped in confusing me with his abusive father it sure isnít going to help either one of us for me to fall into that trap too!

The Lesson.

I can be compassionate, I can realize that he isnít choosing this point of viewóheís just stuck at the moment. Furthermore, I can realize that I get stuck in blind spots also and do my best to recognize them and to not hurt anyone with them. Blind spots are just part of the human conditionógetting out of them even for a moment is Grace.

Here and Now.

So here I go with a new day, a new victory, a new humility, a new appreciation and Iíll do my best to hold on and calm down with it all and use it!!!

PS
Notes about our situation.

My H is working so hard so he can do the work he wants to do. He is a researcher who is being buried in other responsibilities because he hasnít gotten the grants that would relieve him of those other responsibilities. His ultimate goal is not wealth, it is to make some startling discovery in his field. I respect that this is pretty much his number one goal in life at this time and have always known that if it were between me and work, Iíd loose! I would love it if he chose a less stressful way to go about all this, and think weíd both be happier if he lowered his sites a bit, but that ainít happening. MLC is strongly at work here because my h expected to be much further along in his career than he is. To be honest, I feel alternating anger and compassion for why this is true. The anger we both feel for his missteps is reasonable but it sure isnít going to help anything. Gotta use that energy to do our best to make things better NOW.

We share a wide range of interests and hobbies and have a few separate ones as well. I have come to realize that if we are going to spend relaxing time together that is not connected with his business travel, I need to plan itÖso last night I looked into a stay in Oct at a B&B near an arts and music festival that we both love. He was delighted.

I have not worked professionally for about 5 years. The main reason I stopped my professional work was that I lost confidence in myself. After I stopped paid work, I spent my time taking care of every detail of life so that my h could do nothing but concentrate on work, I helped him with his work (mostly the boring clean up the mess parts and a little editing), did some volunteer work to keep a little connection with my profession, and MY FAVORITE, spent a lot of time baby sitting my granddaughter.

Time to go look for a house. Will write more later. Must be careful because in the last 3 years I have spent a huge amount of time writing, reading, obsessing, panicking, agonizing--you all know!!! Trying to get back to some semblance of balance, making progress, have a long way to go!

Thank you all so much for extending yourselves to me in thought and word. Boy, do I have strong well wishes for you all!

2L

Re: Living with a workaholic spouse #74921
06/16/02 07:34 PM
06/16/02 07:34 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 166
2Learn Offline OP
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2Learn  Offline OP
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Joined: May 2002
Posts: 166
OK. Now that I said my piece and got recentered, I can look at ways that I may be making life more difficult for my h than needs be. Now I feel calm and secure in myself and can put energy into being more understanding, loving, accepting, etc. Maybe give him a backrub the next time I see him, have a few stories to tell him that will make him laugh, cook him something (he loves that!). Probably the best idea would be to listen extra carefully to clues about his needs and try to meet them. Better yet, get to the point where nothing he does throws me off kilter so I don't feel like I need to SET boundaries--just need to have those boundaries THERE. YEAH, that's it! Am I expressing myself well enough so you all can tell what I'm trying to get at?

Re: Living with a workaholic spouse #74922
06/17/02 09:30 AM
06/17/02 09:30 AM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 166
2Learn Offline OP
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2Learn  Offline OP
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Posts: 166
On the other hand...I never suspected a thing during my H's lengthy affair. I don't think anything like that is going on now but how could anyone who has been through something like that not be concerned when their spouse works 30 hours over the two day weekend coming home at 2a? When I call him, he is usually there but he never missed one of my calls then either.

DB says concentrate on the relationship--forget any thought of an ow. I have plenty to work on with myself--I've gained weight, am not happy with my activities, am anxious a lot. I'm going to the gym regularly, looking into a potentially new career (my first love, art) and at the same time considering resumming my old career.

The gym calls.
2L

Re: Living with a workaholic spouse #74923
06/17/02 12:08 PM
06/17/02 12:08 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 2,694
ANS Offline
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ANS  Offline
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Hi 2L,

My father’s day wasn’t the greatest, but it wasn’t the worst. My expectations were perhaps a little high (but not overly so), I was hoping that the family would make a little more of it than they did, so when I had to continue my fatherly chores (taxiing kids around, etc.) without any appreciation being expressed, it wasn’t a big deal, but it could have been better.

Last week, I was speaking with W on the phone. I was feeling a little down because I’m having difficulties with certain aspects of my motorcycle course. W downplayed my feelings. I told her that it was important to me, and that’s how the conversation ended.

But, I knew that she wasn’t trying to invalidate my feelings. It just came out that way.

All of this made me realize something. It doesn’t matter if people – including my W – support me. What matters is that they (especially W) try.

You said:

quote:
Originally posted by 2Learn:

I am blessed with… and a husband who looks to me like he is doing the best catch-up job he can figure.

And that’s what counts!

Andy


Andy
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