Feeling He’s Responsible When He’s Not

The other side of Feeling Responsible When You’re Not is feeling your husband is responsible for something when he is not.

I could go many ways with this, but I want to address one I have seen cripple or kill a number of marriages. Your husband is not responsible for your mother being too controlling, your sister being mean, or your step-father abusing you. Neither is he responsible for being teased about your size (of any body part, large or small) when you were in school or the college professor who had it out for you.

Of course, we all know and agree with this, but I often see people who seem to expect their spouse to fix some past injury or pay the price for the injury. This is unfair and because the spouse can’t fix it the issue continues to hurt both of them.

Yes, there are some caveats to this. I was not responsible for the fact my wife suffered sexual abuse as a child or rape in college. However, my love for her required me to be understanding while she worked on getting healed. Had she been unwilling to work on healing, things would have been different and not ended as well.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I’m glad my wife was so dedicated to dealing with her stuff!

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10 Comments on “Feeling He’s Responsible When He’s Not

  1. About a husband’s obligation to support his wife as she deals with issues from her past–Chris Taylor, of Forgiven Wife, said it best in our Colloquy from two years ago:

    “A husband should learn to support his wife in her healing–but not in her complacency”

    • Can you expound upon that? Or point me to the original post? I’m genuinely interested.

    • Read the first two parts, and there’s a lot of great stuff in there, especially about communication styles.

      However, I feel it is another resource aimed at the lower drive wife. Which is fine, I mean, I get it that more relationships are slanted that way than my case, where I, the wife, has the higher drive.

      So most of it doesn’t apply to me.

      I was thinking the “complacency” comment might apply to me, as far as being held hostage by lots of crap from the past, but I’m seeing that’s more for a normal wife who struggles with refusing her husband sexually as opposed to a higher drive wife who constantly feels she cannot measure up.

      You know what’s funny? I totally agree that CSA could give someone a lot of issues. I had a crappy experience at 15. So I wouldn’t really call it CSA. More like poor decision making. I won’t use the “r” word, because there was very little violence. This is going to sound incredibly stupid, but it’s like, even though I was taken advantage of, it wasn’t done the “textbook” way, and so I’ve no right to complain. What happened to me would be considered very wrong by today’s standards, but 25 years ago it was more “boys will be boys”. I shouldn’t have put myself in a precarious situation. But I did, and oh well.

      Anyhow, it sucked but it wasn’t CSA. Again, I was 15. I should’ve known better. And to be honest, I don’t dwell on it. I don’t often even think about it. Sometimes I totally forget it ever happened. But alas, even so, shouldn’t that have decreased my sex drive? Why, as a married woman, do I have a higher drive than my husband? It’s almost like I’m not even good enough or smart enough to do the screwed up parts of my life the “right” way, or to have the “right” responses.

      And to the original theme of this post, no, it isn’t my husbands fault. I dont blame him for my past issues at all. But I guess he is the one who has to deal with the baggage, and that’s not fair. I will try harder to just be happy and smile. (The one thing that stinks and is kind of unfair though, is he can see right through me. It’s hard to be fake happy when your spouse is intuitive.)

      Thank you for sharing the links to the convo, though. It is quite interesting.

      • @B “I was 15. I should’ve known better”

        Really? How? We don’t tell girls about the sexual reality of boys, and we did so even less in the past. Most teenage girls are sheep among wolves!

        I’m glad you have not gotten hung up on it. As to how it affected you, it may not have. Or it might have caused an increase in your sexual awareness and thus your sex drive. An increase in drive can come from early sexual activity, especially if it was not traumatic.
        Paul Byerly recently posted…Friday Flashback: I’m Overwhelmed, Too Bad For YouMy Profile

  2. B, I can’t point you to the post, but I think I can at least expound on that, and hope he does point you to the post. I’m a survivor of sexual abuse when I was a teenager, and rape in my early 20’s. My husband did need to learn to support me as I worked through the healing of that. Sought counseling, talked to him about it as I needed to, and support me as I worked through the impact my past had on our sexual relationship. We were able to do it because I actively worked on healing, and sought his help in the process. Indeed, as the damage had surrounded sex, only he could help me heal in that same arena. But a lot of survivors I’ve met, (and I’ve met a ton of them), don’t do this. The reasons are different. Some believe they simply never can heal from such horrible things in their past, so why even bother trying? Some are too scared to try because they know trying will mean confronting and facing what happened, and that’s frightening. Easier in their minds to leave it alone, not face the pain and the fear. Meanwhile it has a negative impact on that woman’s relationship with her husband, the sexual aspect and every other one. He gets blamed for not being supportive of her when he doesn’t just accept things as they are. He’s expected to understand why she never wants sex, why she treats him the way she does…even though she’s not doing any of the work on herself that could help move her past this. That’s not fair to either party. It keeps the woman trapped in her past, and the man bearing the consequences for something another person did. Yes, some men do need to learn what being supportive during healing does and does not mean…………………………….. But support doesn’t mean just standing by and accepting her not working on an issue that damages her and the marriage on a daily basis. Does that make any sense?

    • @Alicia – I think you put that beautifully – you have the balance so many miss.
      It is NOT loving to let someone sit in something that is hurting them and others. In addition to the harm it does both spouses and the marriage, it can do a real number on the children. I would not allow my wife to ignore a wounded leg while it got infected and slowly killed her or her leg just because she complained about the pain of healing it. I don’t see this as any different. The tricky part is the reality that her healing gets me what I want, which clouds my judgment. A wise third party can really help there.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…She’s Not Responsible for ThatMy Profile

  3. One of the hardest parts of being supportive is having Patience with the healing process.

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