When my wife and I were dating, she was going full-bore in her career. She was so committed to getting ahead that scheduling time together was a challenge. I loved her focus and our conversations about our careers. Then we got married and she went part time. Now she won’t work at all. She goes to the gym or watches TV, but doesn’t do much housework. Money isn’t the issue; she is listless and boring. I am less attracted to her and wonder what I got myself into. I haven’t talked to her about my feelings because I think it’s a hornets’ nest I’m not ready for. Suggestions?
Yes: Don’t fear your feelings. Think of emotions as energy your mind creates in response to a life experience. If you ignore that energy, it doesn’t dissipate; it hibernates.
Here’s how that plays out: Your wife tells you that she wants to work part time, and you are uncomfortable with the idea but withhold your surprise (“Don’t I get a say in this?”), your anger (“Hey, this isn’t what I signed up for!”), and your disappointment (“I miss our conversations about jostling for power and authority at work”). Those emotions remain attached to the thoughts about her career change, but go dormant because they have not been acknowledged or processed or expressed.
When your wife says she wants off the hamster wheel of work permanently, your difficult feelings are awakened and attached to the emotions created by the new information. Now you have a whole lot of drama going on internally because, by ignoring your feelings, you have created an arsenal of emotional energy that actively seeks release. That’s right: When too much energy builds up, batten down the hatches and activate the red alert. An explosion is imminent.
So why withhold the truth from someone you love? Sometimes people believe that doing so is kind. But it’s actually a form of dishonesty called a lie of omission.
So why lie? You may justify lying because you think your wife lied to you. You were attracted to her persona as a successful, career-focused woman. Then she removed her mask, and you realized that you have been infatuated with a facade, not a person. It’s status, image and power that you enjoy.
So what now? Well, introduce yourself to the woman you are actually married to, and get to know her intimately. Begin by taking off your mask and sharing your true feelings in a way they can be heard: “I realize that I resented the end of your employment because so much of what I enjoy revolves around our conversations about work. That was taken away from me, and I just shut down. I’m sorry.”
As you and your wife open up to one another, it may become obvious that she is depressed or has been wrestling with an emotional wound from childhood and needs counseling. If possible, go with her and learn how to share the truth of who you are together.
My brother can’t work or care for himself because of chronic alcohol abuse. He lived with my mother until her recent death. She left her home to me and her savings to my brother. I plan to sell the house, because my brother is a smoker and has, on numerous occasions, passed out drunk, setting sofas, mattresses, etc., on fire in the process. I am just trying to come to terms with evicting my brother. Please help.
Your brother’s lifestyle makes him a danger to himself and others. By moving him out of your mom’s home and finding him suitable new housing where he will be supervised, you protect him and the community. Don’t feel guilty for doing the right thing.