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At the end of my question I have included and e amil I sent to my husband and the response I got from him.
My husband and I are separated because I moved out. I felt like we got married
too quickly and needed to take a step back. I was miserable and we argued all
the time about the same things, namely him saying I did or said something that
upset him and I don't consult with him about decisions, "he has no control in
the relationship". He also had a pretty disruptive gambling problem which seemed
to resolve as soon as I moved out. It has been 7 months and we have still been
seeing each other trying to work out our problems. The arguing has become more
brief and less angry. With the space I have been feeling very peaceful and I
like living alone because there are no arguments. The arguing makes me feel SOOO
MISERABLE. The distance has also caused my view of him to change. I have been
getting the impression that my husband is a narcissist or sociopath. All of the
signs are there but I just CANNOT believe that he views me as an 'object'. Some
books I have read are 'Honoring the Self' by Nathaniel Branden and 'Loving the Self Absorbed' by Nina Brown. The last
time we spoke, it was an argument, pretty mild by our normal standards but some
things he said really seemed to hit me hard. He was telling me how he needed to
know that I loved him, he needed reassurance, I need to make him feel secure
etc... same as usual. I said, "All I need from you is for you to be happy with
yourself, and that will help both of us because you will feel more secure and I
won't have all the pressure that you are putting on me" His response was to
gently back away from me and laugh and say 'if I was happy with myself what
would I need you for?' I told him I want to SHARE my happiness with someone else who
wants to SHARE theirs, and he LAUGHED at me and said nobody does
I guess I feel like he is sucking the life out of me. My
question is mainly can you get an idea based on what I have told you if he only
views me as 'there to serve his purpose' Am I in denial, should I just go ahead
and let go? I think I have trouble understanding people and their motives but maybe I do understand and don't want to accept reality.
Is this confusion and frustration that I am feeling the 'confusion and frustration'
that everyone feels when dealing with self absorbed types of he one of
those??? Please help me understand...
I sent this e mail to him:;I am trying to understand what you mean when you say you need to be "needed" .
Some people constantly put others' needs before their own and in doing so forget to take care of themselves. This creates a sense that they are "needed". When they do stand up for themselves, they feel guilty .Codependent people are constantly in search of acceptance. Codependency does not refer to all caring behavior or feelings, but only those that are excessive to an unhealthy degree
I become resentful when others will not let me help them
I have to be "needed".
I am jealous of the relationships between others I would like to have as my own.
I am embarrassed to receive recognition and praise or gifts.
I do not ask others to meet my needs or desires.
I need to appear to be right in the eyes of others.
I am very sensitive to how others are feeling.
I judge everything I think, say or do harshly, as never "good enough."
I use blame and shame to control others
I perceive myself as completely unselfish and dedicated to the well-being of others.
I can take care of myself without any help from others.
I express negativity or aggression in indirect and passive ways.
I have difficulty making decisions.
I value others' approval of my thinking, feelings and behavior over my own.
I constantly seek recognition that I think I deserve.
I have difficulty admitting that I made a mistake.
I look to others to provide my sense of safety.
I value others' opinions and feelings more than my own.
I put aside my own interests and hobbies in order to do what others want.
I give up my truth to gain the approval of others or to avoid change.
:-[I guess a part of me is codependent , that is a miserable way to feel, for anyone, and I have worked a long time to get better. I will get better because I am all done being miserable. I hope that you can still love me and be with me if I am not emotionally messed up. Will me being well adjusted keep you from feeling needed?  I love you unconditionally, but LOVE is not self sacrifice. really it's not!  If you think the only way to love is by sacrificing yourself then I guess we disagree.
AND This is his emailed response to me :;
I'm very upset about this email.
Basically you're telling me that the only relationship I can Be in is one where the woman is messed up and now that you feel you're no longer that way you hope I can deal with it.
Why do you feel it important to diagnose me?
I can survive in a normal relationship just fine.
Let me diagnose myself for you:

I'm a man that works very hard at anything I put my mind to.

In a relationship I enjoy I have a tendency to shower the woman with affection and doing things for her makes me happy.

I don't however do well in relationships that are to one sided.  By that I mean I feel I'm doing all the affection and attention and she seems only concerned with her needs &wants,  (which is fine and good if we're not in a committed relationship.. IE.Friends  W/Benefits) causing me to feel all sorts of bad emotions. (jealously,  anger,  feelings that I'm inadequate.  All normal stuff if you care at all about the woman you are dedicating the rest of your life to.

I am a very upbeat and kind of crazy guy, my humor is odd and I am random which makes me unique,  I'm passionate and I try to let her know that she excites me. . Usually I'm too much for most women but I enjoy being intimate.

I admit I may be a little over the top in areas of jealously and trust but I'm working on it and considering what my life has been and the situation I find myself in today,  I feel I've handled it very well.

Trisha has taken me through so many emotions since meeting her that I think only tragedy.  Horror.  & disgust remain unfelt.   She has helped me mentally to understand so much of myself and I have grown because of it.  She has inspired me through her own challenges to better herself and I will never forget how proud I am of all she has accomplished and how I hope she reaches all her dreams in the future.   She is a beautiful woman and despite all the issues and fights we had  I could not have been happier to have her in my life.

I am getting used to living alone now (living in the apartment we shared I was living with shadows of memories ) and at times its a little lonely but I think over the next few months I will meet people and find my own happiness so not to depend on others to make that for me.

I still need to grow I guess as a person so even though what I thought was a unacceptable situation all these months will just make me stronger, healthier and happier.  .

Finally, I don't need a person who NEEDS ME in the way you describe.
I guess  its more like this:

I want someone who feels like a piece of them is missing when we are apart.

Someone who is excited to see me (ripping clothes off is an option but I like it)

Someone who knows the journey isn't going to always be smooth but will never give up because the bond we have is like No other.

Decisions are made together so we both can't blame.

We forgive and forget silly things.

When one of us leaves the other its only because of death or divorce.
We work it out,  by compromise not "or else"

We have life goals that we both want.

Her pain is mine and mine hers.  . We are as one.

One or both have issues we accept them or work together to correct.

Not every idea or plan is going to be good or work. . Its ok we just try again.

If I hurt you or you me, we say so and we also understand its not intentional because we love each other.

We are one but separate people and sometimes we need space, with emphasise on Sometimes.  .

Its ok for one of us to be a giver or a taker as long as we know that and we each work on making the other happy.

The word Dedication and loyalty has importance in relationship otherwise it would be FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS UNTIL SOMETHING ELSE COMES ALONG.

And Finally :

If one us changes so much that we can no longer be as one its ok.  .  Each one of us has our own direction in life & sometimes two people connect for a time to repair each other before moving on to other experiences. . Sometimes that's alone until the next connection happens but eventually we hope to arrive at our life destination and find the one that compliments our new changes. The lucky ones arrive before death greets them and spends the rest of their life Very Happy.   I thought you were my destination but now I realize.  . I am Not Yours. . And that is a bummer.
:+(          :+(          :-(          ;+(

Hello Tricia - from what you (and he) wrote, I suspect [1] you each have inherited psychological wounds from your (unaware) ancestors, and [2] you two lack knowledge of effective communication skills, so you fight instead of problem-solve. See these

I encoureage each of you to adopt a long-range outlook, and invest time and energy studying these free online "lessons." If you can do this as teammates, you may be able to rescue your relationship.

If either of you has questions about these resources, please ask!

Compassionately, Pete


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Peter Gerlach, MSW


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


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 This forms the basis of my work as therapist and educator.

I now answer "" questions on stepparenting, communication, and counseling. I belong to ", "Death with Dignity," "Compassion and Choices," and to the online Adverse Childhood Experience Study (ACES) at

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 ( 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

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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