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Question
My husband took a job out-of-state making the same amount of money that he made near home. I took a night shift job that was a promotion and more money before I knew he was planning this. In the meantime, our teen-age son took advantage of the situation and is now dating a pot-smoking loser 3 years older than him. I have had to drive around and find him at undesirable places, losing sleep, becoming depressed and having a very hard time. We also have a younger son at home. I am now a single parent working night shift. This is a bid position and no other dayshift bids are open right now. My husband is working for a production co.  He tells me he wishes he could come home "right now" and help me but he "signed a contract".  In the same breath he talks about "another season" with this production co.  What should I do? I feel so angry toward him and feel he deserted me. He keeps saying he might get rich doing this and we wouldn't have to work again. He keeps saying he is doing this for "our family".

Answer
Hi Lori - I can understand your frustration. I suspect you mates have several simultaneous problems. Each can be resolved if you both commit to making some changes.

1] One or both of you may be a "Grown Wounded Child" [GWC]. Iff true, this is probably contributing to your older son's attitides and bnehaviors. See these:

http://sfhelp.org/gwc/gwc.htm

http://sfhelp.org/gwc/means.htm

http://sfhelp.org/gwc/1_traits.htm

http://sfhelp.org/cycle.htm

If you feel you are a "GWC," study and discuss this free online "Lesson"

http://sfhelp.org/gwc/guide1.htm

If you feel your husband is a GWC, apply this: http://sfhelp.org/relate/gwc.htm

2] You mates have a major values conflict over your priorities. It sounds like he values wealth more than marriage and parenting. See these:

http://sfhelp.org/relate/mates/priority.htm

http://sfhelp.org/relate/vc.htm

3] Apparently you and he are unable to do effective win-win problem-solving together about a group of marital and parental concerns. Implication: your sons may not be learning this priceless relationship skill. See and discuss these:

http://sfhelp.org/cx/qa.htm

http://sfhelp.org/cx/improve.htm

http://sfhelp.org/cx/skills/skills.htm

http://sfhelp.org/cx/skills/ps.htm

For all your sakes - specially your sons - I encourage you adults to study this free online lesson on effective communication

http://sfhelp.org/cx/guide2.htm

This is a LOT to absorb, so take your time, Lori. Note that you have some powerful options - you need not be a victim! If these resources bring up questions, please ask!

Compassionately, Pete  

Marriage

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Peter Gerlach, MSW

Expertise

I can answer questions about choosing a mate wisely, marital communications and problem solving, affairs, same-gender relationships, trust, respect, bonding and intimicy, values differences, boundary problems, grieving, dealing with ex mates, parents, and in-laws, remarriage, separation, divorce, abuse, feeling unloved, codependence, psychological wounds, money disputes, balancing kids, careers, and marital primacy, etc. I cannot answer legal or medical questions

Experience

I've been a professional family-systems therapist in private practice for 33 years. I have specialized in helping people avoid and adapt to divorce, and manage remarriage ans stepfamilies, since 1979. I've studied and taught classes in interpersonal communication for over 40 years, and have presented over 200 seminars on a wide range of human-relationswhip topics to Chicago-area churches, schools, menyal-health agencies, and businesses, and have been featured on Chicago and national radio and TV. I have been married and divorced. I now believe all marital and family problems are caused by five little-known factors - see http://sfhelp.org/hazatrds. This forms the basis of my work as therapist and educator.

Organizations
I now answer "AllExpert.com" questions on stepparenting, communication, and counseling. I belong to "SelfGrowth.com, "Death with Dignity," "Compassion and Choices," and to the online Adverse Childhood Experience Study (ACES) at http://acestudy.org/

Publications
I've published over 200 free Internet articles on childhood-trauma recovery and wholistic health, communication skills, healthy grieving, human relationships (including marriage and divorce), family health, effective parenting, and managing a stepfamily). These articles are in the form of seven free self-improvement lessons (http://sfhelp.org). These articles are augmented by 168 YouTube videos ("gercacn" channel); I've published a book on childhood-trauma recovery ("Who's *REALLY Running Your Life?"), and other books on interpersonal communicactioin skills ("Satisfactions"), remarriage ("The Remarriage Book"), "Stepfamily Courtship", and "Stepfamily Co-parenting" All published by Xlibris.com.

Education/Credentials
Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) from Stanford University (1959); Masters degree in Social Work (MSW) from George Williams college (1981); hundreds of hours of post-grad trainng from Northwestern U. the University of Chicago, et. al. in a wide range of human-relationship topics.

Awards and Honors
The state of Illinois licensed me to practice clinical social work in 1981. I was selected twice to serve on the board of the Stepfamily Association of America (SAA), and am currently on the Stepfamily-expert panel at Auburn University; I was the Board chairman at a major public mental-health agency in suburban chicago, and was the chairman of the Parent Relations Council for a major suburban High School. I currently have over 500 subscibers on YouTube since I began uploading educational videos in May, 2011.

Past/Present Clients
I've worked with over 1,000 men; women; dating, merried, remarried, divorcing, and redivorcing couples; and whole families. I'm currently 74, semi-retired, and disabled, and I do therapy with people and couples by phone and Internet (Skype).

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