Originally Posted by Vibrissa
Wife is on couch giving me silent treatment. Very hard to deal with. Not sure what to do when she does this. Very, very common.

I'll tell you why: she is protecting herself. Her Taker is coming out to protect her. When she withdraws from you it is because she cannot trust that you will keep her safe and so her Taker does what it needs to protect her.

Is it fair? Is it right? Maybe not.

Is it possible that some of her suffering is self inflicted? Probably.

But this is your wife, the mother of your children, the woman you love. And she is hurting. Maybe her silent-treatment has an element of punishment in it, a basis in a desire to hurt you... now why would she want to do that?

Because she feels you hurt her.

How does this cycle usually work for you guys? She does the silent treatment, you feel punished so you reciprocate, punishing her, confirming to her that she was right in withdrawing from and punishing you. And that process has landed you here.

So what if you chose a different cycle? What if you chose to act from love and compassion for your wife.

See when your wife's Taker comes out it is a GOOD thing, now what that Taker does may be hurtful and harmful, but the Taker is looking out for your wife's best interest... shouldn't that be your job? If her Taker is coming out then that means there is something your Giver should be doing.

Does it mean you give in to her abusive behavior? No. But that doesn't mean you can't act from love and compassion. Apologizing never hurt anyone. Approaching her and asking if she would share with you why she has shut down and actively listening from a place of compassion will definitely break the negative cycle you are in. Validating her feelings (not her actions in withdrawing, but her feelings that caused that action) will likely draw her out of withdrawal if practiced over time.

Half of your problem right now isn't your wife. It isn't what she is doing or not doing it isn't her DJs or silent treatment.

Half of your problem right now is: YOU. Your attitude.

Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
Not this time, you can go approach her. She can play the game all she wants,

I can ASSURE you she isn't playing a game. It isn't silly to her. She is in protect mode and that is dead serious. What is she protecting herself from? YOU. By saying this you show your morally superior attitude towards your wife: you're serious about fixing your marriage but she's just 'playing games'. You're the wrongfully injured party here and she's 'playing games'.

You both have a lot of work to do. Sounds like you both fell short today, but until you value your wife's efforts as equal to your own you will never be able to value HER equally to yourself... and a marriage cannot thrive unless it is one of equals.

she hurts me, quite literally 50% of the things she says are DJ's.

Yeah and I'm sure you're all flowers and rainbows. You BOTH have dug this hole you're in. Pointing fingers at her ain't gonna get you out... only digging will.

No man on earth could take that.

See, what you are doing here is making it ok for you to abuse and love-bust your wife and then not have to apologize for it. Somehow her actions are so horrible that your response is justified.

It isn't.

If it's that horrible, leave. If not, then man up and accept that there are no excuses for the way you are treating her. NONE.

She hurts you. That doesn't make it ok for you to hurt her. That doesn't mean you are somehow absolved of the obligation to apologize... unless of course you want an angry, withdrawn wife to share the rest of your life with.

What's more important to you: being right; being self-justified; playing the martyred victim of your wife's vicious, malicious ways? Or having a loving, caring, romantic relationship with your wife?

Because your attitude is gonna get you one of those two. Your refusal to go to her build the wall between you even higher - apologizing and going to her tears it down.

Yeah it feels safer right now with that wall a little higher... but it's lonely over there isn't it?

She has done silent treatment, then denied it. She told me she only hurts me and makes me feel bad, then "only a little bit."

Gonna pair that with:

We did this about a month ago. We did it with little notes. It was 8-0 Grace(her DJs to me) by 10am, my wife got pissed about it and we never did it again.

What you and your wife are doing is HARD. I think one of the hardest moments in my marriage was the day I realized how much I was DJing my husband and the toll it was taking on my marriage. A big old mirror was held up to my face and I saw the ugliness within myself.

It doesn't make it easy to go to bed at night.

Part of you wants to smash that mirror and say it isn't true. Part of you wants to run away rather than acknowledge how much pain and suffering you have caused.

It's embarrassing, humiliating, and painful when you see how badly you are messing up... what's even harder is when you realize how ingrained the habits are within yourself. You feel like it's hopeless. This is the way you think, the way you are... it seems impossible to change. Every little mistake you make you feel like a failure - you feel like you will never be able to change. You feel like you are doomed to a misery of your own making because you can't seem to make any progress.

And you wonder why your wife lashes out?

She's bailing with all her might, and you just keep pointing out every new leak as it appears.

See what you described yourself as doing is NOT what was suggested. Sounds like you gave her a little note every time you heard a DJ. What was suggested was that you wait until the end of the week when you've gained some emotional distance from the DJs and review them. This way you can look at the big picture, this way you can measure success in quantifiable ways by comparison to previous weeks. This way you can provide encouragement and loving support to your wife as she works to overcome this habit.

That isn't what you did.

Your wife was bailing out her boat, and while you pointed out each new leak she had to bail out, while she felt the water creeping up and the frustration sitting in, you were over sitting in your pristine little boat with your nice little score of 0. Your wife was drowning, but you were patting yourself on the back over how much lower your score was than hers.

And you wonder why she never wanted to do it again?

She has a problem. She needs your help and support - not your ridicule and self-righteousness.

Something is wrong here,

Yes, it is... but it isn't what you think it is.

I'm not so stubborn that I'm willing to prove a point when the consequences are divorce.

From where I am sitting, that is EXACTLY what it is you are doing. You've just put a nice, self-righteous, martyrs window dressing over it so you don't have to feel so bad about it, so you don't have to acknowledge it.

I'll tell you what, my dear wife is man.

This is so blatantly disrespectful and outrageous I want to just shake you.

Your wife is a woman who is TRYING. She is a woman who is hurting.

And this is how you think of her?

Could you be any more invalidating if you tried?

My wife abuses me so much that I can hardly breathe.

I am almost positive your wife feels the EXACT SAME WAY.

Think about that.

What you are feeling, your wife is too - and YOU are the cause.

So remind me again why you aren't making different choices? Because the attitude you're displaying here is EXACTLY what has created this atmosphere of mutual abuse... and you seem pretty comfortable with your current mindset.

Deny, deny, deny no matter what.

Easier to deny then work at what seems a hopeless effort for someone you don't really like much.

Her denial is self-protection. Remove from her the need for self-protection and you will likely never see the denial again.

Her reply to an "I would appreciate statement" is a DJ.

She sounds like she's tapped out. Her Taker is out in full force. Why is that?

The only thing I can do is not speak to the woman because she can look at me with a straight face, deny everything, and commit a DJ while doing so!

Yeah - its a habit she has developed to protect herself. It isn't a good one, but if you take the time to understand where she is coming from maybe you can see a way to keep her from having to resort to these tactics constantly.

I appreciate all that you are doing, but I need to speak with Steve, no offense.

Yeah, you do.

This is quite possibly the greatest heart felt post I've ever read. Since I don't know how to respond to each and every comment you make let me do my usual non-grammatical run-on posts I usually make. I'd say I love you but I don't know you but this is so meaningful to me I thought I'd say it anyways!

I want to protect her so much. I'm so incapable of controlling my emotions and not lashing back out at her. She hurts me. She hurts me so much. YES, you understand me. I react to her treatment with punishment and it is wrong. I hate that about me. Why do I do it? I just don't know, but I will try to stop it forever.

Do I value my wife's effort equal to that of my own? No I don't right or wrong, ok so i know it is wrong.

I'm not free of fault at all. My wife does speak in DJs however, that is not in my imagination. I'm awful at bringing it out the right way. In fact I'll probably offend you but I feel as if my wife can't speak to me unless it is rude and disrespectful. I can't stop feeling that, it is real, but I am wrong for responding with equal DJs.

Honestly? I'm considering leaving. Do you think it is because I'm safe? I don't think it is but again I could be full of emotions and wrong. Yes something is very wrong. Did I cause it? I guess it doesn't matter, I need to fix it.

I have a hard time with the YOU in this. Am I taking it wrong?

When do I protect myself? Am I allowed? I feel wronged and want to make sure I'm not hurt again. When I give, give, give, and don't hurt or DJ, I get scared after a few days because she hurts me back anyways. I don't want to be hurt anymore. Thanks for this post, it was amazing and insightful.

Married 15 years
12 y/o DD
10 y/o DS
6 y/o DD