Copyright © 2008-2016 Martha Trowbridge. All Rights Reserved.
Look high. Look low. But don’t be surprised. If you’re married to a Crazy-Maker, in your marriage there’s no ‘Us’ in sight!
For many wives, it’s the most maddening aspect of life with The Crazy-Making Husband. Why no ‘Us’ in his lexicon? He is simply unable — and unwilling — to view your marital relationship as anything but a power struggle. In his head, marriage = him v. you. In every situation, he either wins, or he loses. Period.
And wife, beware: The Crazy-Making Husband does not tolerate losses.
Nor does he ever forget them!
The reasons are many, and the pathways diverse, yet invariably, The Crazy-Making Husband’s quest for marital power stems from the fact that, in your marital relationship, he feels you wield the power. So, winning in everyday interactions with you is vitally important.
Pause a moment, inspect his psyche. You’ll see that it’s downright dangerous for The Crazy-Making Husband to employ any frame but ‘I v. You’. Shifting to ‘Us’ would not only intensify his fear of powerlessness, it would rock his foundation: he’s built his life so that the Universe revolves around him alone.
There’s more. A shift in his primary allegiance from his Royal Self to ‘the greater good of you both’ means adding to your wellbeing. Which isn’t going to happen. In your marriage, in his head, his competitive posture is heavily laced with envy. Envy, you wonder? Yes. He may not show he notices things, but he does. He notices your hopes. Your vision. Your interests, and engagements. Your close friendships. Your achievements.
He especially notices when you’re happy. Enthused. Excited.
Trapped in the deadness of his impoverished inner life, he just can’t stand to see you happy. Your happiness is a ‘win’ for you. Meaning: a loss for him.
How well The Crazy-Making Husband keeps score! How vigorously he attends to the wounds of his ‘losses’, faithfully fanning his anger-flame to keep them fresh and hurting.
‘Giving in’ means ‘giving up’ to The Crazy-Making Husband. It’s losing, it’s loss. Since he has so little within him, he really can’t afford this, can he? Hence, his muleheadedness, ridiculous resistance, refusal to discuss things, and, of course, his anger.
Acknowledged or not, the chronic power struggle with your Crazy-Making Husband is exhausting. One of the first clues to my own husband’s crazy-making was the awareness that every single day and night, in every interaction, I felt exhausted, like I’d been body-wrestling. Why, I’d wonder. “Why?” I’d ask him. “Why, in every conversation, do I feel like I’m wrestling with a gorilla?” Crazy-Maker that he is, always, he’d reply: “You’re crazy.”
Next time you present a decision that needs to be made, or a plan you have for the two of you, or even something simple like a change in your mealtime schedule, assess your husband’s reaction. If his answer revolves around ‘I’, ask him why he responded the way he did.
And please, don’t waste your precious energy looking for ‘Us’ in his explanation.