“My relationship has turned into a nightmare”

Here’s an email I received from a client, and my response….

Hi Chris,

I’m having a really tough time in my relationship. My wife is giving me hell. It seems that no matter what I do she makes me wrong. There seems no reasoning with her. She always seems to be pointing her finger at me and telling me what’s wrong with me and what I need to do to change, but if I try to tell her that it’s not just me, we both need to work on this relationship she gets even more enraged. I’m at my wits end. What do you have to say?

David

Okay David. Thank you for getting in contact with me.

I have 2 things I want to say to start with…

1. This is the easy part: you’re right. I have a level of understanding of what you’re going through, and I can validate your perception. I could say more, but I want to go on to the second thing I want to say, which I think is, in a way, far more important to communicate…

And this may not be quite so easy for you to see, but here goes…

2. Your wife is right. What makes me think so? Well, I’ve been married for 13 years. My wife and I have had 2 children. I think I’ve been where you are. I remember being in a really tough place. My wife was being really hard on me. It simply didn’t seem justified. But she pushed and pushed and pushed me until I finally got it: she was right. And the moment I realised it, everything changed. She stopped pushing.

I think we as human beings want to be right. I can be self-righteous. And that self-righteousness creates blinkers so I don’t see what’s going on. It is *very* subtle David: sometimes when I feel I’m really not being self-righteous but humble and open, a little later I realise I was being self-righteous. This has been a real eye-opener for me.

David, you may be weighing up 2 different options…

1. Get the hell out of what you may consider to be a ‘toxic’ relationship while you can still ‘retain your sanity’.

2. Hang on in there and re-commit to your relationship.

You’ve asked for my advice, so here it is: Take option 2. I know it’s the toughest road. It may seem that it would be a lot easier to quit, but I’d advise that you didn’t.

Instead…

Study the material on this site, get one or 2 of my ebooks (with accompanying mp3 recordings) and do the exercises. Ask me further questions and do one or more coaching sessions with me, or another coach who is prepared to challenge you rather than say, as some coaches and friends may, “Oh David, how awful. Your wife isn’t acting rationally, blah, blah, blah.”

Here’s the thing… if you put the work in now, you will learn *so* much about yourself and will be in a far wiser position 1, 2 or 3 months down the line as a consequence of your efforts.

I’m not saying that this *will* ‘fix’ your relationship challenge, but in my experience, dealing with the clients I have, the most likely outcome is that you and your wife will reconnect at a deeper level and arrive at a new place of love and appreciation.

One thing I want to add right now: *don’t* try to get your wife on board to do the studying etc with you. There’s an element of self-righteousness likely here if you try this. If she’s eager to work with you then that’s great, but, really, only you need to put the energy into rebuilding the relationship for it to change, and for your wife to start behaving differently. But this won’t make any sense unless you start doing the exercises and seeing the subtle or gross changes on a day-to-day level.

I’d also like to add this… If, at the end of, say, 3 months, having done a lot of work on this relationship, and done things differently, you feel in your heart of hearts that it’s time to move on, then move on. But that time isn’t now, based on what I know about relationships. Because I believe it highly likely that, if you end the relationship now, and, over time, find a new partner, eventually you’ll get to the same place you are right now. How can I predict this? It’s based on my studying of relationship dynamics and the evidence fed back to me by my clients. The way to stop this repeating pattern is to nip it in the bud now, and do the work with your current relationship.

David, I am here for you. If you have any other questions, ask away.

If you, dear reader, have any comment or questions about the above, please use the comment boxes below.

What are your comments on this article? Let me know below… (I’ll also send you an exclusive ebook and mp3 that’s not on this site or available in any other way apart from submitting a message.)

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