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Starting fights for the past 9 years


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Old 10th February 2019, 9:42 PM   #1
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Starting fights for the past 9 years

I'm sure where to start.

My husband and I have been together close to 15 years and later this years makes 9 years married. He's my first and only relationship. I come from parents that had an unhealthy relationship and didn't always treat me in a kind way. The way they show and express love is through fighting.

Over the years in our relationship and especially in the past 9 years, I have a bad habit of starting fights. I shut down, I stop communicating to him, I do not do my self-care/journaling, I don't keep my promises that I make for change. Any promises I make I usually stop after 3 to 6 months. Over the years, my husband has been will to work with me, go to therapy. I have been told exactly what I am doing and how it is destructive. My problem is I start fights, like it's addictive.

About a week ago, I intentionally started a fight between my husband and I. I felt this fight coming on. I have been having more stress with my job and I return to school last year for my masters and am under a higher amount of stress this semester due to the work load I have. My husband was trying to alert me prior to the fight what I was doing and what I wasn't doing. He told me to get it together or this could be a fight. Last Friday night was suppose to be a us/date night. When I got home, he started in with we need to do the following for our taxes. I had been gone all day with work and need to relax. I have a higher stress job as a social worker. Instead of saying I needed 10mins I jumped right in. The night proceeded where we watched tv. I noticed we were close to either and it bothered me. As the night went on, I didn't say anything that it bothered me and I started the fight. I don't recall how I instigated it at this point. I remember he was trying to tell me something that he was upset at me about. He gave me a chance to not here it because he said that I wouldn't like it and wouldn't respond to it well. I pushed him to tell me. He warned me that I needed to brace myself but instead yelled at him and told him he was wrong. I also dismissed him by saying whatever. It was then I realized the fight I started and where I was wrong but it was too late at this point.

I've been in therapy myself but I seem to become lazy and stop doing I need to do to prevent this. Our fights happen on a 3 to 6 month cycle. He made it clear to me after our last fight in 8/2018 that he was done fighting me and that he would emotionally withdrawal should another fight happen.

He's indifferent if we come to a resolution at this time. If it happens, great he said. I went back to our marriage therapy we saw for support and guidance. We had been seeing her for the past 2 years on again and off again. He is not willing to go to them at this time. This wasn't our first marriage therapist. We started seeing one 8 years ago as well and saw her on and off again for 2-3 years. We are not sleeping in the same room. He doesn't want to really interact with me either. When we do speak, he tells me he is done with my BS. He tells me to no lie to him and be direct. When I try to present a resolution, he says that I've said that he before or I present him options that are modified from what I did the last time, so it seems like nothing really new.

I'm not sure how to hold myself accountable and start changing. I do not have good self-esteem and have speak negative to myself. I do not know what to do or if I do, I'm scared I'll fail at this. I have been struggling how to approach this issue different then the last time. I'm so afraid that I cannot change this. Any advice? If you want more information, I can provide it.
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Old 10th February 2019, 10:10 PM   #2
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My friend, we've all been there at some point - but the crucial thing here is that a marriage hinges on both parties checking their ego at the door.

If fighting is an addiction to you like a fat boy likes cake, can you transfer your addiction into something else? Like exercise maybe? Have you taken the addiction treatment path with your fighting?

Have you pledged to understand how you feel validated and what your love languages are? Have you pledged to understand the same about your husband? He's totally justified in being exhausted from all the fighting.

And I bet your self esteem is a bit rough because you've had tough role models in your life... Have you heard Nick Vujicic speak? He has no limbs whatsoever and he still managed to overcome. Maybe you need a little emotional kick from a guy like that.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6P2nPI6CTlc

In the end, fighting an addiction takes determination and discipline. Maybe you could benefit from a close girlfriend to hold you accountable.
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Old 10th February 2019, 11:06 PM   #3
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Thanks for you reply.

When you say addiction treatment path, can you elaborate? Do you mean like a 12-step model? I only realized in 8/2018 that fighting was an addiction for me. I started to realize then that my self-care kept me feeling overall better and therefore prevented me from fighting with him. I explained this addiction feeling to the marriage therapist and she is going to help me start addressing the issue from that standpoint.

It's been some time since I did the love languages. I know touch is very important. I did take this test and that came up as my #1. My husband, well he responds to action/change.

Shifting my addiction to fighting is what I am trying to learn. Determination and discipline isn't something I am currently good atm. I am open to suggestions on how to improve this. I'm not sure how to ask my friends to help me with this. I feel like this is my fault and I am worried that I am shifting the responsibility on them. Does this make sense?

I will go watch this video here soon. Any additional suggestions you could provide would be appreciated.
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Old 10th February 2019, 11:35 PM   #4
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Sure, I follow what you are thinking. I was thinking use a close girlfriend of yours who wouldn't mind your temper, to keep tabs on your fights? As in she will kick your arse if you start two fights this week instead of one?

I would also brainstorm the thousands of hobbies that are available, to see if you could get a high out of any of them. Maybe even something as simple as reaching for sex with the husband instead of needing to reach for rage?

I will look you in the proverbial eye and tell you straight, you will be out of a husband if you refuse to stop fighting because you have an urge to fight. Maybe even consider becoming a practitioner of Krav Maga, the martial arts of the Israeli Defense Forces? Lots of people have rage out there, but they learned to channel it into something nondestructive. Just one example of a hobby people use to channel their rage. When I was a rebellious graduate student, I took up Spanish guitar - to channel my rage into beautiful Flamenco guitar music. I still use it to keep my temper down.

Forgive yourself for being human and having rage.

The reward here is prolonging a great relationship - that's what you are trying to strive for.

Whichever system you try, make sure to stick with one if you feel it working - addiction is a tough thing for anybody to conquer alone. The reason why? You are going against the pleasure center of your brain. It's the same reason alcoholics can't get off alcohol and teenagers refuse to stop masturbating. It's hard to beat the dopamine and serotonin hits in your brain circuits. You are not alone here. Work through this like the addiction that it is.

Here's an example 12 step process for fighting a bad temper - recognize it will likely never fully go away but you can tame it -

1. We admitted we were powerless over our rage –that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God (or whatever religion you believe in) as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings
8. Made a list of persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11.Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
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Old 11th February 2019, 12:08 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by destructiveness View Post
The night proceeded where we watched tv. I noticed we were close to either and it bothered me. As the night went on, I didn't say anything that it bothered me and I started the fight. I don't recall how I instigated it at this point.
Totally confused as to what you're saying, reads like every other word has been left out.

What started the fight and what was it about?

Mr. Lucky
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Old 11th February 2019, 8:18 AM   #6
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My bad about that Mr. Lucky. So as night went on, we had our date night and watch tv. I didn't like that we were not sitting close to each other and it bothered me. I didn't say anything about this. From that point, I am not recalling how I started yelling at fighting with him. I may have been doing actions or behaviors that are bothersome to him.

The feelings that I recall before fighting was that I was feeling insecure and needed reassurance, annoyed for how the night was going, and still overwhelmed from my work week.

What leads to the fighting is feelings of overwhelmed, insecurities, and stopping my self care. 6 months ago, I realized that my self-care was like preventative medication for me. Taking time for myself helped me channel my thoughts and feelings. I would journal to keep me process my feelings. 2 weeks before this fight I stopped journaling because I was exhausted from my job and then coming home and spending another 3-5 hours a night doing homework.

Garcon- Thanks for elaborating. I appreciate your suggestions. Exercise hasn't been something I've enjoyed but I am trying to find pleasure in doing it. I've been pushing myself past my comfort and jogging in the morning for just a 1 mile to start to essentially check my attitude. I'm going to keep explore options until I find something that works.

I see what you were suggesting. So typically, I only start fights with my husband or my parents (mom mostly). I usually direct my frustrations to them. Essentially, I've got to find a way to channel this into something else.

I want to fight this 12 step model because it is hard to admit that I have a problem and that I am powerless. Growing up, I felt very powerless for how I was treated. At this point, what do I have to loose in trying this method. I know you are right Garcon, that should this continue, I won't have my husband.
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Old 11th February 2019, 10:46 AM   #7
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There are a bagillion exercises you can do, I would rotate through some of them.

Consider the following motto of the Israeli Defense Forces - "When the waves grow stronger, the strong men are revealed".

What program would you, in your minds eye, more likely follow? What sort of program suits your fancy? Have you informed your therapist of what you said here, that you need a specific kind of program to come down from the addiction you've been having?

And watch this New Zealand traditional marriage ceremony (the haka) - absorb the power, and the determination to keep a great relationship. The translation is below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUbx-AcDgXo&t=18s

_____________________
Tuuturu whakamaua kia tina! tina!

Haumi e! Hui e! Taiki e

Make it tangible, make it practical

! Amen!

Join! Gather! Unite!

Leader: Tika tonu!
Everyone: U - e!
Leader: Tika tonu!
Everyone: U... e!
Tika tonu atu ki a koe, e tama Hiki nei koe aku whakaaro, pakia!
He hiki aha to hiki?
He hiki roa to hiki?
I a ha hā!
E tama, te uaua ana
E tama, te mārō
Roa ina hoki ra
Te tohe o te uaua na
E tāu nei.
Āna! Āna! Āna! Aue... Hī!

Leader: (What is right is always right!)
Everyone: (In - deed! )
Leader: (What is right is always right!)
Everyone: (Ah... yes! )
(Be true to yourself, my son!)
(My concerns have been raised about you, so pay attention!....)
(What is this problem you are carrying?)
(How long have you been carrying it for?)
(Have you got that? Right, let's go on.)
(So son, although it may be difficult for you )
(and son, although it seems to be unyielding )
(no matter how long you reflect on it )
(the answer to the problem )
(is here inside you.)
(Indeed! Indeed! Indeed! Yes, indeed!)
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Old 11th February 2019, 1:14 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by destructiveness View Post
I usually direct my frustrations to them. Essentially, I've got to find a way to channel this into something else.
Or simply own your feelings and express them in a non-combative way.

"I like it when we sit close together"

"It frustrates me when you..."

If you express these things (within reason), you might find less tendency to internalize them and have the resulting resentments overwhelm you...

Mr. Lucky
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Old 12th February 2019, 5:28 AM   #9
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My mom’s family is like this & my mom used to be the same way when I was A child. First, you have to really want to change & it’s obvious you don’t. You haven’t gone to therapy, you admit you’re being lazy. Well you know it takes effort & you’re not giving it. So really no one can give you advice if you’re owning not really putting in effort.

This is a situation that is prime open for an affair...your husband is eventually going to get sick of it, no matter how much he loves you. So you have to make a conscious choices. Either you work on not being a jerk & or potentially either lose your marriage & or half a extremely damaged one.

You’re not a child anymore & you’re choosing to live this way & choosing to be emotionally abusive. So it’s betind “l pick fights” it’s really “I’m emotionally abusing my husband”. Call it what it is, abuse & you’re being an abuser.

You want to change...actually try to. Good luck
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Old 12th February 2019, 5:48 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by destructiveness View Post
I come from parents that had an unhealthy relationship and didn't always treat me in a kind way. The way they show and express love is through fighting.

I have a bad habit of starting fights. I shut down, I stop communicating to him, I do not do my self-care/journaling, I don't keep my promises that I make for change. Any promises I make I usually stop after 3 to 6 months. Over the years, my husband has been willing to work with me, go to therapy. I have been told exactly what I am doing and how it is destructive. My problem is I start fights, like it's addictive.

About a week ago, I intentionally started a fight between my husband and I. I felt this fight coming on.

We are not sleeping in the same room. He doesn't want to really interact with me either. When we do speak, he tells me he is done with my BS. He tells me to no lie to him and be direct. When I try to present a resolution, he says that I've said that he before or I present him options that are modified from what I did the last time, so it seems like nothing really new.

I'm not sure how to hold myself accountable and start changing. I do not have good self-esteem and have speak negative to myself. I do not know what to do or if I do, I'm scared I'll fail at this.

My ex-wife was like this. I know what it is. I know because I've studied and researched. This discord is basically limited to interactions with your husband, correct? With friends and people you work with you're pleasant and easy to get along with. They may notice that you're a little off sometimes, but you never show this side of yourself to anyone but him.

The cause of the low self-esteem (low sense of self) is that you did not receive the unconditional love you needed as a child at the point where your sense of self was developing, and instead you resorted to defense mechanisms for emotional survival. They didn't know how to give and receive love –– essentially the same problem you have. It's not coincidental. It gets passed from one generation to the next.

The low self-esteem manifests as a feeling of emptiness that's so intense that it has to come out, sometime as an explosion. You project responsibility for the way you feel onto your husband; you hold him accountable for the way you feel. You receive some validation through the fighting because the fact that he's willing to engage affirms a connection. He absorbs all you dish out and doesn't leave, so it affirms his commitment to you. It feels like this deficit in you is about him, he's enmeshed to such a degree you don't seem like separate people. How you feel internally is how you feel about him.

This has been the status quo for 9-15 years. The problem now is that he's disengaging and basically saying he's done with this dance (which is probably the best way for him). It's scary, because if he disengages and/or walks away who will be there to engage in this dance of dysfunction? Abandonment is your worst fear, correct? And it appears that he's at the end of his rope. So now you're feeling desperate to change something, but these feelings are so integral, and the fighting as a means of coping so habitual... but you feel it's about to fail.

What kind of therapy is you therapist working on with you? Have you been given a diagnosis? Are you doing DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy), or has your therapist suggested it? If not then you might want to switch to a therapist who specializes in it. It's all about coping skills and accepting responsibility for your feelings and behaviors. I'm anxious to hear if this sounds correct.
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Old 14th February 2019, 8:12 AM   #11
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Salparadise, you are right and you understand this due to your personal experience. I just learned about DBT. I do not believe this is what my marriage therapist was using. I went ahead and located a new personal therapist, one with experience in addiction and I will ask about DBT. My appointment is next Tuesday.

Whoknows30, at first when I read this and was hurt by your words, but I see the place this is coming from. It is not easy to look objectively at one's self.
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Old 14th February 2019, 8:21 AM   #12
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Update-

We have been talking. He talked about he is giving me a chance to put the fire out in this. He is asking for something to show him some form of love/that is marriage is worth it. He said he doesn't want me to just give him empty promises/words. I offered to make him one of his favorite dinners, but he said he didn't want that. I thought about today after my dentist appointment since it is near the house, I would bring him his regular order from Starbucks, just something small to make him feel like I care and pay attention to details about him. I've also asked him for Friday night to play video games together, which isn't something I grew up playing but want to make an effort to show interest in his hobbies, try something new, and practice my impulse and self-control-as in the past playing video games has made me frustrated.
Any suggestions or feedback you could give about something I could do more or different would be appreciated.
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Old 14th February 2019, 9:48 AM   #13
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I think the old chap Salparadise has it right on the money, this is going to be a pretty big demon to banish from your life, because it has been your norm since you were a child.

What you may also want to do is -
- brainstorm the previous ways you've started fights. Journal them. Then, instead of your lashing out, think about healthier ways to express the same thoughts, and rehearse how you would do them with your husband. Make it an actual routine and a new habit to not lash out every time you feel insecure. In that way, you have an actual healthy role model [your journal book] to draw from.

- journal the good things you've done. Journal the times when people have put you down, and contributed to your low self esteem. Then really think - put your journal thoughts here if necessary (or you feel comfortable) - then ask, was it really accurate what the others were saying? Were you actually bad at those things? Concentrate on the things you've done well at. Make a list of things you can legitimately pat yourself on the back for.

- and watch the videos I sent across, and inspire a new fire of determination in your mind like you never had before =)
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Old 15th February 2019, 4:26 AM   #14
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I actually think you're in a really good place to start repairing things because you have a really good grasp on the problem. I know that might seem difficult to believe, but I've been in your position.

Take it slow - start with communication. It doesn't have to be deep or profound - just start with something simple, and over time, things will start to normalize.

The other piece of the puzzle is self-esteem - you should recognize the value you bring to your relationship! I know you might feel displeased with yourself for your shortcomings, but surely there are positive things you bring to the marriage too right?

I recently completed this short marriage challenge - it helped me with communication and self-esteem. Check it out if you want: https://chezsullivan.com/relationshi...lenge-sign-up/
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