Vindictive and Angry Wife
DYNACII's Life Coach
January 24, 2012
Vindictive and Angry Wife

Dear Life Coach,

I am a married man with 3 children and a wife whom I love dearly. I was laid off from a construction company a year ago, due to downsizing. Initially, I made daily job applications and checked everyone I knew, but gave up after 6 months without success. Now, I spend most days at home, sleeping or watching TV. My wife is a teacher and the only income earner. I find housework tedious and the thought of doing it makes me want to sleep even more. I have always maintained a jogging regime in the evenings and have continued to do so when my family is at home. Now, my wife complains that I am always out when they are in, and that the children do not get to be with me.{{more}} In recent times, my wife has also been vindictive; when I return from jogging there is sometimes no dinner left for me on the basis that the food was not enough. This, I know is untrue. She has also refused to be intimate with me. I have lost my job and now I feel as if I am losing my wife, and if I do I will be losing my mind. I am desperate for your help.

Concerned Husband (CH)

Dear CH,

I am sorry to know that you have been caught in the recession.

Your Situation:

A number of factors are at work here; unemployment, learned helplessness, role reversal, lack of adaptability, frustration, and inflexibility among others. These I will address briefly.

1. Unemployment and Learned Helplessness

By being unable to find a job after hot pursuit for six months, you have learned that you are not going to find one, and you have given up and become depressed.

2. Role Reversal, Lack of Adaptability, and Frustration

You are accustomed to being a bread winner and you see working outside the home as your main role. Your wife on the other hand, is both a bread winner and a home maker. Losing your income is hard for you (and for most men) and reversing your role (doing housework) is a no, no for you. However, your wife still has to juggle both roles and supervise the children while you do nothing. This has caused her to become frustrated and resentful at your unwillingness to adjustment and share the responsibilities at home. You are also frustrated by your inability to earn.

3. Inflexibility

When you were employed, your wife was willing to waive your responsibility for supervising the children to allow you time for recreation. However, despite your unemployment, you have remained inflexible in your recreation and have given no consideration to the load that she bears.

What to Do:

1. As adults, our self-image is often wrapped up in our work. Know that your job does not define who you are.

2. Since you are unable to get a job in the construction field, you could seek employment in another area of interest eg. sales. So try something new.

3. Sitting in front of the TV all day, sleeping or doing nothing shows that you have given up. Make a conscious effort to keep trying, eg. sending out at least one application every week instead of every day. Volunteer your services to some needy cause. By this means, you will stay active and meet people who may be potential employers. Being useful will also boost your mood and your self-esteem. Your wife will also see your interest and effort. You could also sign up with an employment agency or advertise for a job in the newspaper.

4. Share the work load at home. Increasingly men are sharing the responsibility of housework (with men losing their jobs and wives still being employed during this recession). Identify one or two house hold chores and do them, eg. washing dishes or cooking. Many women appreciate their husbands more when they assist with chores.

5. Spend time with your children. This is crucial to their healthy development. As husband and father you are the head of the household and your family is dependent on you for guidance. Children are happier when fathers are present and show interest in what they are doing. Spend time alone with your wife also. This is important for the health of your marriage.

6. Talk to your wife about the struggles you are facing. Men tend to share less about feelings than women, because often they want to appear strong, or they may not be able to readily access their feelings. The strongest relationships however, are those in which couples can talk heart to heart and share their feelings without feeling judged by each other.

CH, I hope you will find employment soon.

Life Coach,