It amazes me how quick we can go from everything seems fine

It amazes me how quick we can go from everything seems fine to she wants me to move out...but don't leave me.

All my stories are from my perspective so maybe I am just the problem and seeing things wrong. I spend so much time trying to understand and do better for her but she says I do nothing.

Yesterday was fine. We were flirting, having fun, it was a good day. Then one of our kids were sick and could not go out on a family event we planned. So I took the kids and she stayed home with the sick one. Even while gone my wife and I had nice texts a couple times.

Then when we got home later we settled in to eat some take out. We were talking and my wife was saying she tried something new from this place and I asked if she liked it.

Then, from my perspective we were still ok, but my wife started saying I was rude by not asking her what she got on her food. I asked if she liked it but she also said she created her own and I did not ask what she got on it. She told me she said this twice and I never responded. Now we were also sitting there with the kids that went on the event and were also talking about that so I was not aware I missed something. I said I was sorry and then asked what she got...but now silence. She is upset.

This spirals into a conversation about how I am not engaged and not involved and do not pay attention. All of this is in the same tone, my opinion, as if I was sitting on the phone and ignoring the room. I said I was trying to do better but her response was "you do ir you do not there is no trying". Right but...I mean we fight about my being engaged all the time and this time I was and must have missed something.

This issue went on for about four hours. It was an intense conversation about how I defer too much and I do not take responsibility for my mistakes. If I apologize and say she is right I am defering and have nothing to add to the conversation. If I say something like "maybe, possibility, the issues could have been you reacted a little strong" then I am belittling and not validating and saying she cannot have feelings.

This conversation is a whirlwind and I am called manipulative, an emotional bully, uncaring and selfish. She also says multiple times she wants a divorce. I never resorted to saying anything attacking lile she did other than sometimes she can be a little sensitive. I also stick with saying I did not want a divorce.

At the end of the night, like 2AM or so, she still wants a divorce. Says I always make her miserable. Says if I stay with her then I care nothing about her happiness. If I agree then it will be "I knew it, why don't you fight for me!"

Needless to say I am exhausted. It is almost like a tantruming child that just feels bad and does not know why but is lashing out.

I am not sure how much more of this I can take. We have twenty years of marriage and kids but this women is killing me on the inside. I keep weathering the storm hoping she figured out what she really wants. I know she really does not want a divorce nor do I but this is so hard.

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I think if you want to stay with this abusive person you will need help. Have you sought out a therapist for yourself? You need to set boundaries with her. You are trapped in this cycle that is so familiar. Instead of being your authentic self in your responses to her, you are trying to solve the puzzle. What can I say to make her happy or STFU. That is not authenticity. And 4 hours? Good grief. So yes, You are trying to put a square peg in a round hole at this point. And you have kids which also makes it hard. Things will not change unless you change in how you deal with her, and even then, she sounds nuts. I would take your power back and don’t let her call the shots. Seek a councelor who understands personality disorders. And try not to get sucked into the insanity. Walk away from crazy circular conversations. I’m really sorry you are going through this. We’ve all been there. It truly is a miserable way to iive. Reach out for help so that you don’t feel so alone.

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@BiskiT12 - Thanks. Yea, I have tried my own therapist a few times. We have also been to many marriage counselors. It is really hard to keep it going for many reasons. We often fight more.

Oh…and 4 hours actually felt short for one of these. Lucky for me she was tired. We have had these types of circular talks for 10-12 hours easy. I used to just blow up which always ended it but then got me in more trouble because then after I blow I “am truly the problem…look how I screamed and swore or hit myself in frustration”. I have gotten that all under control and detach myself and go numb to deal.

I wish I could walk away from a conversation. She has ripped countless shirts of mine when I tried to leave a conversation. Now those of course were at the point I was not just leaving anymore I was trying to run away (literally) but she never lets me leave a conversation. I tried to bring this up and she always argues it away with how it is my fault for trying to leave so abrupt and rude or I am being rude because I will not stay in the conversation and avoid too much. Either way it is always my fault to her.


I see two things happening there. Been exposed to a very similar situation. The first is that her insecurities are super pronounced and she is expressing her REALITY of the situation. The second is that you accepting that reality as truth. I have had to step away from that situation as I was not equipped to handle the situation correctly. Take responsibility where it is due.

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@TreborH - Yea I struggle with the accepting part. I go in confident I did nothing wrong and come out questioning everything. It can take days for me to sort out our conflicts.

She is testing your level of commitment to her.

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@daisy182 - I get this type of interaction a few times a month. Sometimes we go a couple weeks without but it always comes back. Even when things are wonderful it comes back.

Sort of ironic. Her fear of me leaving her will probably cause me to leave her. Not sure she will ever understand this until it happens.

This sounds similar to my husband. I try to remember he is sick and not to get wrapped up into his circular arguments, but like you mentioned, there is often not an "out." I usually just stop talking or put on headphones. Luckily my spouse is not violent and has never put his hands on me and his over reaction to my words is often to just leave and act like he is punishing me by him not being in my presence.

We are going through a rough patch now where we had a similar, short argument recently - I told him I was happy to see him and he took that as me being "sarcastic and disrespectful" and he attempted to bait me into an argument.

I'm trying to make sure to keep it in my mind that he is sick/ill. Unfortunately mine will not admit he is sick - but I remind myself that that is actually the main symptom of his illness. I do think eventually I will divorce him, but like you I have children and I don't want him to have any sort of unsupervised visitation schedule with our children, especially our youngest child as he has, in the past, thrown these wild accusations at them too and I'd rather he focus the accusations on me versus the children.

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@SpringFever - That is really too bad you see him do it with the kids enough you would be worried about unsupervised visits. I am sorry you are going through that. :confused:

On my end I am more worried about the initial transition. I fear that in her mode of being very upset she will say things to the kids to try to hurt me. Or she will say things to me that is more than I want the kids to hear. As an example a couple years ago when she was trying to physically restrain me I pushed he down on the bed. I was careful to put her on the bed and not toss her on the ground or something.

It left bruises on her arms the next day. She then proceeded to label me a “wife beater” and kept saying it like she was trying to make the kids hear to hurt me. I believe if I tried to leave she would bring them into our argument and dump all sorts of one sided stories on them and I will not play that game and do the same.

Wondering if your wife has been diagnosed with anything in particular or in treatment. My husband I believe has paranoid personality disorder. He fits nearly every criteria except he is not "into" accusing me of cheating or anything like that, but he does exactly what you mentioned your wife does in him believing I should say what he thinks I should say about random, minor things (like asking about food). He often tells me what I "should have said."

A goal of mine for next year is to try to convince him to get some help but I don't have confidence that he will. A major goal for the next few months, into next year is just to be more separate from him and his issues - going to make a habit of getting in some regular exercise and going to the gym and doing things I enjoy along with remembering he is ill and not to take the things he says seriously.

I'm also going to go back to our marriage counselor for some individual therapy to see about how to cope with my husband's illness. As I noted, I really don't feel comfortable divorcing him because of our youngest child - the oldest is almost through with high school but my youngest, I don't want around her father when he has what I call one of his "episodes" and I worry he will do these circular arguments with her (she is a 4th grader) if I'm not around. I don't want that for her. I mostly am going to go into therapy because it is sad to me that I feel like I have to sacrifice my own mental health in a way to deal with his. I take marriage seriously and feel bad about having these feelings - selfish feelings really that I don't want to deal with his illness. We've been together nearly 20 years and I feel my patience for him has gone away. Your description of that argument is similar to what I've gone through for 20 years with my husband, the majority of my adult life really.

What you mention about the tantrum - that is exactly what my husband does. I'll note that I have created some strategies in dealing with his tantrums. I realized a while ago that he is very insecure and paranoid. So when I don't say things he thinks I "should say" like what your wife did, I'll usually not respond. He will respond with silence, like your wife did and I honestly just let him be quiet.

If he wants to say anything to me about it, I send him a text or email. Since our marriage counselor mentioned this disorder and me understanding that he has this anxiety and insecurity that leads him to question everything (paranoia) I really do try to empathize with it. I used to think like you expressed - that maybe I'm not doing something or maybe it was my fault, but now I realize it is him. Just realizing that brought me some relief and helps me to deal with him.

Luckily he is not that bad with these accusations and he seems more rational than your wife by your example. He has listened to my texts/emails especially as I'm VERY focused on the fact that he is inferring thoughts on me for that particular incident/situation. I don't let him go to anything else about what I "never" or "always" do during the written exchange. I ignore it and I empathize with his insecurity/worry and reiterate I love and care for him and want him to be happy/satisfied/feel respected. Since taking this sort of mind view and letting him leave when he is upset or remain silent, we've gotten along better.

Also, I wonder if your wife is on any sorts of medication that cause an increase in worry/anxiety or depression. The issues I'm currently going through with my husband, I believe are related to a high blood pressure medication that I've recently discovered a "rare side effect" is anxiety/depression and worry. My husband was taken off that med but it takes a while to get out of his system but since he's been on it, he's been more and more insecure and paranoid than he's ever been. I'm hoping it is not a permanent thing.

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@SpringFever - Lots of common thoughts going on here.

My wife has not ever been diagnosed with anything. Other than acknowledging she may have “some insecurities”, “possibly come anxiety”, and a “little codependence” it gets glossed over as not being worth treating but just how many people are and that is ok. We have been into therapy several times as couples and individuals. I cannot even explain how good at controlling things she is in therapy. If a therapist challenges her too much…they are out pretty quick. They need to validate her…a lot…and even then it is a fine line from “good therapist” to “terrible therapist” from her perspective.

When we went to therapy together and if I said too much the car ride home was terrible. She was in my ear the whole time talking about how I did not talk enough about how wrong I am. It got to the point where when we went to therapy I sat there and waited to be engaged instead of saying much. The therapist noticed I “looked depressed” and then that was the source of our marriage problems…I am depressed. I could not say things like how our fights turned physical, or how they last for hours and hours, or how they are circular and constantly put me on a bad spot. I was only allowed to say things like “well we are not communicating well”.

Needless to say my wife has never been diagnosed but has diagnosed me several times. She gives me all sorts of labels to what is wrong with me. To the point I have spent a lot of time learning and trying to figure out what is wrong with me.

In my research I started leaning toward my wife being undiagnosed BPD. I am NOT a professional so I do not know I can just talk about my experiences. I have had lots of conversations with others that have it or are in relationships with those that have it and there are commonalities. If I am right this will not get better unless she can accept this is the problem and is open to help. Currently even the mention of BPD triggers her to attack me. She is a smart girl (several degrees including a PhD) and knows a lot and can tell if I use academic words that point things to her. Honestly her intelligence is a detriment in these cases. When she is triggered she is so good at arguing her point that her perspective of things becomes an obvious reality.

Maybe a bad example but it is like the people of the Westboro Baptist Church. The way they think is crazy to most people and we cannot understand why they think that way. To them, however, we are the crazy ones for not thinking like them…“because it is obvious” they say…“just read the bible and you will see” they say. They spend their lifetime studying the bible and concluding a reality that is way beyond most people in the country but they just cannot see it any other way. Many have tried to challenge their beliefs but this just strengthens their beliefs. I learned that the originator of WBC, Fred Phelps, was a lawyer…a LAWYER!? So yea…arguing intelligently was his job making it even harder to change his beliefs of the bible.

I am so sorry you are going through this. What would she do if you told her that you dont want to fight with her.

@Doesitmatter01 - I have tried that route. I used to say my biggest problem is that we seem to fight too much. Not even placing blame, but I have tried that too, just “we fight too much”.

Then she goes into how “I have a conflict avoiding disorder”. She will explain how it is healthy for couples to have fights and not fighting is actually unhealthy. Marriage professionals all over the country will tell you communication is best and you cannot communicate without fighting once in a while. then the new problem is how I am the problem for trying to just avoid fights.

Of course this is just my experience. If she was here to defend herself I am sure she would have LOTS more to say about my reality of things and how I see things so messed up.

@heath_minusly its like I'm reading pages from my own biography when I read your posts. I'm very sorry. I just joined this group today and yours was the first post I read. I am in a different situation where I'm married to my 2nd wife and we have no children. Nor will we have children. I love her very much but its Dr Jekyl/Mr Hyde at least weekly if not more. I, too, leave marathon fights/arguments questioning my original view of "reality"... that it might actually all be my fault. And then I spend days or weeks trying to make adjustments so that I can make her happy.. or just keep the peace. I don't know if I should stay in this marriage. I hate to leave her but as I read once .. one of the hardest things to do is realize that you cant work with someone you care so much about..

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@CKH5268 - Thanks for sharing. I started sharing my experiences to try to keep my sanity. I just need help and have nowhere else to go. Feels very lonely.

It is really hard when you love someone. Loving them means staying through good and bad but at what point is it too much? When do you owe it to yourself to take your life back?

I keep thinking I will somehow get boundaries. If we had some boundaries I would actually be a happy man. I sometimes wish I could meet my wife again for the first time. Boundaries and roles are much easier to set early on…once you are in deep it is hard to change…especially with someone that has anxiety over change as my wife does. Things not being as expected really trigger her but if I could have a do over I could set expectations.

Sometimes I think my only course is to force a breaking point. If I leave, it would have to be without warning, and tell her I want to come back if she gets help first. Then I can do nothing but leave it up to her. Maybe she will find a new life and that would make me sad but maybe she would reflect on how she has treated me over the years and actually work on herself some.

Good luck on your future and I hope you find happiness!

Like most narcs, she sounds extremely insecure. I needed boundaries in my marriage too, you're right, it's very hard to set them after so many years together.

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Please go to and search gray rock techniques. here is an example.
good luck to you!

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