Dear Dr. Love:I have been with my boyfriend for over two years and we have a one year old daughter. He had promised we would get married if I gave her his last name. He pouted and did’nt come to the hospital for two days until I signed the paperwork with his last name. I know your going to say get out of the relationship, like everyone else does! I do love him and I of course love my daughter very much but I don’t think he feels the same.He says’if I did’nt love you I would’nt be here’ which is true to an extent, how can you love someone and not sleep in the same bed, not hug them for months? He is an affectionate person, well at least with his ex he was. So I know he is capable of it, maybe just not with me? I am very miserable because I am alone all the time, he comes home for dinner and then to the couch and right to sleep! I don’t know if it is me doing something wrong, he always says’who wants to hug and cuddle a b****’. I don’t consider myself that but yes I can be, I feel it is a reaction to being treated like one!!!!! I really want things to change for the sake of my daughter and our family in general.
You are being so terribly mistreated and yet it sounds as though you think you have done something to deserve what you are receiving. I don’t care what you have said or done, you don’t deserve to be treated as you are. When I read the description of your married life, I obtained a glimpse of you in your first family. I see parents that deprived and emotionally abused you, and then told you it was your fault that they mistreated you. I’m afraid you have been programmed to take abuse and to believe that you are to blame for every mistreatment you suffer. Every abused child is programmed in this way. You’re not alone.Here’s the deal. Kids always think that everything that transpires is their fault. Mommy or daddy are angry at me, I must be bad. Mommy or daddy are divorcing, it must be my fault. This is normal thinking for a child (called the narcissim of childhood). In your case, I’m afraid your family added insult to injury and instead of helping you outgrow this thinking, they burned self-blame into your brain. I sense that you are still thinking as you did when you were young.When you are mistreated now, it sounds like you say to yourself, what did I do wrong. (Remember your letter said my husband was affectionate with his ex. and not with me. I had the impression you are thinking that you must be doing something to prevent him from being affectionate with you. ) Are you aware that when you blame yourself you are protecting the other person? If you stopped blaming yourself, I think you would realize that you are actually burning mad at your husband. Do you know this? Are these feelings acceptable to you? I suggest that you enter individual and group therapy right away and work on permitting yourself to own your anger rather than turn the blame back on yourself.At the same time, there is another issue you will need to address. I think you are operating under a mistaken belief (believing that if you admit that the problems are all your fault, and try to be better, you will finally get your husband to love you). All abuse survivors share this thinking, and they end up playing it out in their adult relationships. Keep in mind that you will never win your husband ‘s love by kissing his butt and putting the blame on yourself. If this pattern continues, he will keep abusing you and you will sink lower and lower.So, in your case, there is no easy answer on how to fix your marriage. You need to enter therapy and get stronger and more entitled to your feelings of outrage. Sticking with the self-blame and tolerating mistreatment will destroy you in the end. So, let’s save you and worry about the marriage next. By the way, the only hope for this or any other marriage of yours to survive is for you to become more entitled to your feelings, to stand your ground, to demand better treatment (to improve your self-esteem). Until you feel more deserving, you cannot expect to obtain better, more loving treatment from your husband. Please write me back to let me know how you’re doing.