Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Announcements

Please take some time to click through these links to find out more about our community.

What is a Trigger and When to Trigger a Post
How and Why to Report a Post
Visit our Crisis Assistance Link for resources. For immediate help, call 911 or get to the ER.


Confused
avatar
spdc201 posted:
I am 29. I have a wife and a 2 year old daughter. I am middle class America. We own a house, have 2 cars, and 2 pets. We live in a nice, quiet neighborhood with lots of kids. As an acquaintence of mine said, "All you are missing is the white picket fence." However, there is a lot missing.

I have a job that requires changing shifts frequently, and sometimes without much notice. About a year ago, my wife got a promotion of sorts, which included a salary bonus. She has been in her current profession for 4 years. I have been in mine for 7 years. In my 7 years, I have moved nowhere. I have gotten pay raises and cost of living raises, but other than that, I am there 40 hrs a week, most of the time more than that. I feel empty. I feel uselss. I feel like I chose the wrong profession. I have put in for promotions and advancements several times, but still nothing. I have solid evaluations and get nominated for good deeds often. I would like to think that I am good at my current position and that is the reason for the lack of advancement, but I know better. It is too late at this point to change jobs. I have checked and no one can match my current salary.

My frustation has led to anger and it has spread to the home. I am withdrawing from social events. My wife goes to a lot of events by herself. My co-workers continuously invite me out, but I withdraw. I don't want to be around my family. I want to be left alone. My wife has obviously noted my mood and doesn't want to be around me. She takes our daughter and leaves me to myself. I feel numb most of the time. I am punching a clock at work and at home. I know that it should not be that way at all. I know it is wrong. It is all wrong.

I should be happy. We have jobs. We pay the bills on time and we fought through the economy sucking. Every parent says this, but my daughter is bright and exciting to watch. My daughter loves when I sneak home early from work to see her. The look on her face is fantastic. Yet, there is something missing.

I posted this because my wife, who is sick of my poor attitude, suggested I seek professional help. Im hardheaded so I thought I would try this to see if I could find some answers in this writing.

I don't have a lot of hobbies. I exercise regularly and am a novice mechanic with our cars. But other than that, I do nothing. I wonder if the lack of extra-curricular has left a void with me and I have no way to fill it yet. I am looking for some insight from anyone, either professional or someone who has been where I am now.

I look forward to hearing from anyone.
Reply
 
avatar
susiemargaret responded:
hello, S --

i am so sorry that i didn't see your post until now, and i hope you are still following this thread.

you are hardheaded, so you thought maybe writing about your situation would help. well, did it?

i have several comments, but let me start with the fact that your post doesn't give any explanation of what "frustrated" means in terms of your work, other than not "advancing." (and by the way, i don't see anything "wrong" with not liking your work. if you don't like it, you don't like it; just because you don't like your work doesn't mean you are a bad person, it just means you don't like your work.)

what is it about your work that frustrates you, specifically? the duties are repetitive, tedious? the tasks never differ? your colleagues are boring? the shift changes wreck your internal clock so that you can't sleep most of the time? what does "advancing" consist of? is there some particular "better" job you are aspiring to? why do you think that if you "advanced" at your same employer, you would be any less frustrated than you are now?

i know you said that you've looked around and can't find anything that will match your current salary, but so what? how much is the salary difference between your current job and one you would really like to do? is it really worth the increment if you also have to put up with such work-connected unhappiness? finally, assuming that money was not a consideration, do you even know what you would really like to do as far as work?

here is the main thing that struck me about your post, however -- before you even mention your frustration with your work, you mention the fact that within the past year, your wife has received a promotion and a salary bonus. this makes me wonder if the source of your frustration is not your work itself (or not solely your work itself) but a self-evaluation that you are somehow inferior to your wife. does she make more money than you do?

frankly, i think that before you can figure out whether you need a hobby or some other job or something else in your life, you need to explore this issue of your wife's work situation versus yours and how that influences your perception of your circumstances. i think that if you can sort that out, you will be much farther along the way to deciding where you want to go from here and how you might get there.

so, yes, i think you would benefit from some counseling sessions. for one thing, they will give you an emotionally safe place to talk about your day-to-day problems. for another, tho, they will give you a source for objective feedback about how you might change your life or your perspective in a way that will make things easier for you.

before i close, i want to make two additional points. the first is that i'm not making the statement that -- if your wife's situation is indeed what you consider "superior" to yours -- it is a bad thing for you to resent it; all i'm saying is that i think there is a possibility that the genesis of your unhappiness lies in that issue and that if so, it will help you to know that. the second is that these are my opinions; they might be completely off-base, and that is a judgment for you to make.

it is exhausting to be unhappy, i know that very well, and i hate that for you. please consider some counseling, and please keep us posted on how you are doing.

-- susie margaret
what good is gold, or silver too, if your heart's not good and true -- hank williams, sr.
 
avatar
spdc201 replied to susiemargaret's response:
Susie-

Thank you. To answer some of your questions, my wife's job advancement does not frustrate me at all. I did not mean for it to come across that way. I am very proud of my wife and all that she has accomplished. I sort of enjoy being "Mr. Mom" from time to time. I see alot of parents, mostly mothers, taking kids to things and I am the only dad. I feel sort of proud of that.

As far as my job goes, an advancement would mean regular hours (8-5, M-F). If I was granted an advancement, I feel that I could be home more often for my family and be more involved. I could be home for the dinners, outings, and events. The job does frustrate me in the sense that the tasks never differ, and I repeat the same thing over and over again. I deal with the same clients day in and day out. An advancement would mean a complete change of responsibility and duties. I think anyone, after 7 years, would want somewhat of a change. I have had none. My co-workers are good people, but a little younger than I, so that can be akward at times.

My wife and I are seeking counseling. We start next week, together. I have never been to counseling for anything. My job demands confidence and outward strength. To go into counseling it is not going to be easy. I have to be open and vulnerable and that it going to be difficult. I know counselors try to make a safe and neutral place for everyone, but I have spoken to others where finger pointing is common place.

I have also applied for others jobs, internally at work and externally. Writing this did help. It has helped me get more focused on the problem at hand. I knew I was never angry about my wife's promotions, but now I definitely know.

Please post back. It is helping.
 
avatar
susiemargaret replied to spdc201's response:
hello, S --

i'm glad to hear that you and your wife are starting joint counseling; i think that will help with the day-to-day friction. if you begin to feel that it is dissolving into finger-pointing, i think you are well within your rights to say so and to say that you object to it. whether you get a helpful reaction or not, you will have brought that issue out in the open.

i also think that there is nothing in the world wrong with starting out by saying that you are very nervous about seeing a counselor and explaining why. the counselor will have heard this before, believe me, and it is a good place to begin, in my view. your approach is not that you object to counseling per se, it is rather that you are concerned about learning how to let down your guard when you have to be so resolute in the work phase of your life.

as far as advancing in your job, have you ever considered asking your supervisor directly whether there is anything you can do differently or additionally to make it more likely that you could change jobs internally? of course, with this suggestion, there is always the possibility that your supervisor would say, "no, nothing you could do will change things for you here," but that way at least you would know and could weigh your options from there.

i'm glad that posting here helps.

-- susie margaret
what good is gold, or silver too, if your heart's not good and true -- hank williams, sr.
 
avatar
vrydprsd responded:
spdc, i can so that for me counseling was a way for me to say what i actually felt without judgement or fighting. Its better to get it out of your head instead of it living in there going round and round making you crazy. My counselor actually had my husband come in periodically to help him understand what I was saying. It really helped him understand and it wasn't a fight or there weren't any hurt feelings. It was a way for him to hear me and i badly i was feeling and understand i wasn't blaming him or expecting him to fix anything. we got a long much better and he understood my depression much better.
 
avatar
spdc201 replied to vrydprsd's response:
Susie & Vrydprsd-

Thank you both for your responses. I am anxious about the counseling. Up until that time, it seems like everything is on "pause" here. My wife tells me she is indifferent whether we make it or not. She tells me that she is emotionally cut off from me. I have this dreadful feeling that we will not survive the counseling. I want it to work for so many reasons. Is that emotion common before starting counseling? Everything feels like its at a stalemate and we almost can't start anything until that first counselor meeting. I will keep posting because it helps me until that time I meet with the counselor. So, thanks for the help. Any other comments are well received.
 
avatar
susiemargaret replied to spdc201's response:
hello, S --

your apprehension about the counseling is entirely normal; i would be very surprised if you were not apprehensive.

try not to judge the likely outcome before you even go for your first appt; see how it goes for several appts before you start trying to make any predictions. and, remember, there is nothing wrong with expressing your fears -- "i'm afraid my wife has already made up her mind, i'm scared about exposing my emotional vulnerability when the result here may be a foregone conclusion," etc.

when is the counseling appt?

-- susie margaret
what good is gold, or silver too, if your heart's not good and true -- hank williams, sr.
 
avatar
spdc201 replied to susiemargaret's response:
Susie-

The appointment is set for Friday. I am trying to keep an open mind, but I am scared to death of losing everything. My wife admits to having a co-dependency issue (CODA coin and all) and I think it has indirectly led some of the problems. My poor behavior was tolerated for too long by her. I look back and if I acted like that to other women, I'm sure they would have said, "to hell with you" and left a long time ago. I don't know how I could have acted like that for so long. I almost don't blame her for being undecided about leaving. She tells me she loves be, but she is undecided about being in love with me. That really hurts to hear that from her. I hope that it does not go bad, because I wouldn't know how to start over.
 
avatar
susiemargaret replied to spdc201's response:
hello, S --

one of the things you absolutely must say on friday what you said in your post -- "she tells me she loves me, but she is undecided about leaving. that really hurts to hear that from her."

i know the friday appt is very scary, but it is better than not doing anything at all -- what you have been doing -- because not doing anything at all is obviously not helping. going to joint counseling is not a guarantee that things will work out the way you want them to, but it is a step toward trying to have that happen.

please keep us posted.

-- susie margaret
what good is gold, or silver too, if your heart's not good and true -- hank williams, sr.
 
avatar
spdc201 replied to susiemargaret's response:
Susie-

The appointment was yesterday. I do not think it went well. The counselor spoke to my wife and I seperately, but never together. My wife, rightfully so, got most of the time with the counselor. At the end of my session, the cousenlor referred me to someone else. The counselor is a female and she referred me to a male counselor. She says people who see counselors of the same sex feel more comfortable. She then adds that we will have a joint session with her every few weeks. wtf? It seems to me that to have marriage counseling, we would both need to be there. I understand splitting the session, but totally different counselors? What a mess.

My wife is very angry with me and very guarded on my attempts to save our marriage. Maybe because she has let me "fix it" so easily in the past. Every day feels like I am getting closer and closer to losing her. I think counseling will help us be better people, but not together anymore. I was a horrible person and deserve whatever happens.
 
avatar
susiemargaret replied to spdc201's response:
hello, S --

i think it is very common for two people in joint counseling to have separate therapists for indiv counseling at the same time. try to pursue this in good faith rather than focusing on how scared you are that your wife will leave. i know you are scared, but your fear is not the only -- or even primary -- concern that you and she need to work out. what you and she want to work out is how to rebuild the communication and trust between you.

plus, you are not a horrible person who deserves to have disastrous things happen to him. you get to be human, just like the rest of us, which means that you can make horrible mistakes in life. but that doesn't make you a horrible person, it just makes you a person who has made some horrible mistakes.

i send you caring thoughts tonight and hope that you can get some rest this weekend. call the other therapist on monday, and go from there.

-- susie margaret
what good is gold, or silver too, if your heart's not good and true -- hank williams, sr.
 
avatar
spdc201 replied to susiemargaret's response:
Susie-

I have scheduled an appointment with another doctor. He specializies in my high stress career field. He provided me with a packet about medical history, family history, etc.I took the time to be honest about it and saw something: Anger. I have been angry at something my entire life. Angry at this or that. Its ridiculous on my part. I cannot believe that I have spent a life in anger. My wife just says, "It is who you are and cannot change it." But I feel I can change it, with help. It will cost me my marriage if I don't. It may have already cost me my marriage, but it will not control me anymore. I cannot allow it. My wife reads other posts of wifes who have been with partners for 20 years that they are obviously not happy and stuck. She doesn't want to be that person. I don't want her to be that person, so it must change. It must. I feel like I am going to lose so much just because I was an idiot.
 
avatar
susiemargaret replied to spdc201's response:
hello, S --

you are not an idiot. you are a person who didn't see certain patterns in your life until now. OK, now you've seen them, which is a huge step. and you're acting to change them, which is also a huge step, believe me.

you actually sound more energetic and even optimistic in this latest post than you have sounded for a while, and i'm glad for that. anger uses up a lot of energy; turn some of it toward figuring out what to do next.

please keep us posted.

-- susie margaret
what good is gold, or silver too, if your heart's not good and true -- hank williams, sr.
 
avatar
spdc201 replied to susiemargaret's response:
Susie-

I have slowly let other people know my marriage is in trouble. Both of my parents know, who are divorced themselves. My mother said something to me the other day that I knew, but I didn't think it mattered until now. She said, "Well, you know, you're a perfectionist, right?" I knew the answer before she finished the question. I am. I want it all to be perfect for some damn reason. My father said that his dad (my grandfather) was a perfectionist too and would "blow a gasket if something went wrong." Of course, as a grandchild, I never saw that behavior. To me, it seems to be adding up quickly.

Let me try this on for size: Because I am a perfectionist, I get angry when things go awry. The anger is normally projected at my wife and daughter because they are the closest to me. And they are the ones who "complicate" my perfection. My wife throws monkeys into the wrench and anyone with a child knows life's imperfect. My wife, with her CODA, takes it and tries to fix it or absorb it. My "failings" turn into depression because "I can't ever do anything right." So, I don't try anymore. I don't go out. I don't dote on my wife (which she likes). I don't do anything elaborate because I want it to be perfect. Does this make sense? Of am i just whistling out of my butt? My wife always says, when things go wrong, "That's life." She is right. My wife told me recently she wants romance in her life. I was so damned scared of messing up the attempt that I never tried. I tried something yesterday. I bought her the first season of Glee. She seemed to like the gift. It has been a long time since I have seen her smile at me. It felt good. Today, I will dote on her again. I want to save us. I will beat this.

My wife has her second appointment tomorrow and I have my first next week. Even if I cannot save us, I will save myself. This behavior will kill me. No one would ever want to be with me if this continues. It has to stop here and now. There are no more excuses.

Susie, you have helped me focus more than I could have ever imagined. Thank you. Keep up with the replies. I will keep you updated.


Featuring Experts

Thomas L. Schwartz, MD, received his medical degree from and completed his residency in adult psychiatry at the State University of New York (SUNY) Up...More

Helpful Tips

What has helped me with my depression
I have always struggled with depression. After trying meds and therapy I have to say that I have finally found something that helps. This ... More
Was this Helpful?
1 of 1 found this helpful

Related News

There was an error with this newsfeed

Related Drug Reviews

  • Drug Name User Reviews

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.