Woman Wildly Happy She Got Divorced (Dear Abby Column)

Woman Wildly Happy She Got Divorced (Dear Abby Column)

There’s no point in being married if the guy you are married to is inept, self-absorbed, selfish, and/or abusive. Here’s another example of that:

Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY: I am writing to share a positive experience I hope will help others. It’s what a relief divorce can be.

I was miserable married to my husband. I used to hear people on the radio talk about their beloved husband or wife, and my heart would twist with regret that I never felt that way.

I spent years almost numb because I was lying to myself about my marriage. I spent years reading books on how to improve our relationship, years going to workshops.

Continue reading “Woman Wildly Happy She Got Divorced (Dear Abby Column)”

Alpha Females Part 4 – From Psychiatrists and Counselors: How and Why Being a Beta Female is Harmful and Damaging to Women

Alpha Females Part 4 – From Psychiatrists and Counselors: How and Why Being a Beta Female is Harmful and Damaging to Women

This commentary will be divided up among a few posts. Here is part 4.

(This post may be edited in the future to re-word things, polish things, add new thoughts or links / For Twitter: #TheAlphaFemalesGuide )

From this series:

Visit Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Part 3B: Response to Venker: Re: Personal Experience

Introduction.

For those new to my blog:

I am a right winger. I was a Republican until recently. I am now a conservative Independent.

I was a conservative Christian for many years (I am no longer sure about what my religious views are), and I (Link): Am A Former Gender Complementarian (someone who believed in and lived out traditional gender roles (what Venker would describe as “feminine” or “beta”), views which are based in large measure on incorrect interpretations and applications about gender in the Bible).

I sometimes agree with secular left wing feminists on some topics, but not always. At times, I disagree with secular and religious left wing feminists and have written several blog posts critiquing some of their views.

This series of blog posts is addressing the dating and relationship advice of author Suzanne Venker, who wrote a book called “The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men & Marriage” which she has lately been marketing online and on TV news shows.

Here is one article by Venker about her relationship views:

(Link, off site):  Society is creating a new crop of alpha women who are unable to love by S. Venker


As many books and articles on the subjects of boundaries, codependency, and even domestic violence explain, when or if a woman exhibits codependent behaviors or attitudes (such as being passive, having an unwillingness to say no to others, doesn’t put her own needs first), she will tend to attract abusive, selfish, or exploitative individuals.

Unfortunately, many of these same codependent traits are considered “feminine” by many conservatives and by Christians (under the teaching of gender complementarianism). Author Venker touts such traits under the heading of “Beta” or “being nice” or as “being feminine” or “being soft.”

While I myself do not agree with every last facet of secular (or even Christian) feminism, they are at least correct in fighting against expecting such behavior from girls and women, because they realize it leaves females open to being exploited, or treated unfairly at jobs or in relationships.

As this Christian-authored piece explains, feminism (not even secular feminism) is entirely bad, wrong, or off-base:

(Link): Perhaps Feminism is Not The Enemy

I also explained in (Link): Part 2 how many conservatives (and Venker herself) misunderstand, wrongly explain, or misunderstand feminism.

As I explained in (Link): Part 3 of this series, I was a “Beta” myself for many years (as was my mother), which is what Venker says women should be, if they hope to marry or have a happy, stress-free, marriage once they marry.

However, being “Beta” does not guarantee that a woman will attract more men, get more dates, or have a happy marriage – again, as I already explained in Part 3.

WHAT THE EXPERTS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT WOMEN BEING BETA

Psychiatrists and therapists have written books and articles explaining how and why taking advice such as Venker’s can lead to problems for women, including in the area of dating and marriage.

Below, I will excerpt content from the books The Disease to Please by psychiatrists Harriet B. Braiker, PhD, and counselor Beverly Engel from the book The Nice Girl Syndrome.

First, here are the relevant portions from Venker’s article on Fox News:

(Link):  Society is creating a new crop of alpha women who are unable to love by S. Venker – on the Fox News site

Today they abound. There are several reasons why, but it’s in large part due to women having been groomed to be leaders rather than to be wives. Simply put, women have become too much like men. They’re too competitive. Too masculine. Too alpha.

That may get them ahead at work. But when it comes to love, it will land them in a ditch.

Every relationship requires a masculine and a feminine energy to thrive. If women want to find peace with men, they must find their feminine…

In essence, being feminine means being nice. It means being soft instead of hard…

…What men want most of all is respect, companionship and sex. If you supply these basics, your husband will do anything for you…

—(end excerpt)—

There, Venker is telling women to deny who they truly are and downplay their personalities, desires, and so on (don’t come on “too strong”), because if they stay as-is, they will repel men, but if they change themselves to make a man happy, they can attract men, or the man they have won’t want to divorce them.

Let’s see what Dr. Braiker has to say about that type of reasoning (spoiler alert: Braiker totally disagrees with Venker).

From the book The Disease to Please:

Page 95:

…If you are the people-pleaser [people-pleaser = Venker’s Beta, Nice, or Feminine] in an unbalanced relationship… you will be forced to deny or suppress your own needs. Inevitably, even the nicest people will become frustrated and angry when their emotional and sexual needs are denied indefinitely.

Healthy relationships that endure are balanced and interdependent. Balanced interdependence means that both partners are aware of and sensitive and responsive to the needs of the other.

—(end excerpt)—

From pages 93-94:

Many people-pleasers [people-pleaser = Beta, Codependent, Nice, or Feminine women] who have used this approach [making a man dependent upon them by doing nice things for him all the time, stifling your own needs, etc., and  using other approaches Venker recommends] sadly discover that manipulating a man into an excessively dependent position – no matter how nice and well-intended your motives – may actually push him into doing the thing you most fear: abandoning you.

—(end excerpt)—

From pages 94 to 95, Braiker gives a case study of a patient of hers named Jennifer who utilized Venker-type methods to hold on to her husband [she always was available to him sexually, she sacrificed her needs to meet his at all times, and sought to “spoil” him].

The result? Jennifer’s husband Ron began having an affair on her with another woman, and later, Jennifer came home one day to find a note of good-bye from her husband, Ron, where he said he was divorcing her for the other woman.

A little later in this same chapter, starting on page 95, Braiker discusses how many career women are what Venker would refer to as ‘Alpha’ in the workplace (confident, competent, assertive, and so forth) but think that to attract or retain a man in their romantic life, that they must behave in what Venker would refer to as a “Beta.”

Braiker explains in this book that this is not so – that acting “Beta” (or “nice” or “feminine” – all which amounts to the same thing, regardless of the terminology used: being a codependent with bad boundaries in practice), causes such women to attract abusive or selfish men. Braiker then spends the rest of the chapter cautioning women from being passive in their romantic life to avoid users, abusers, and narcissists.

Here are a few excerpts, by Braiker (pages 95, 96):

… I have treated many highly successful career women who have entrapped themselves in bad relationships with men by their self-imposed people-pleasing [people-pleasing = being Beta, Nice, Feminine, Codependent] subservience.

A large number of these women who are now at the pinnacle of their professions grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, in an era when femininity and sexual attractiveness still carried with them certain gender stereotypes such as submissiveness, dependency, passivity, and sensitivity.

Today, many of these women, and even a significant number of younger women too, fear that the very traits that account for their success in the workplace – assertiveness, mental toughness, aggressiveness, competitive-ness – become liabilities in their romantic relationships with men.

[Here Braiker inserts the case study of one woman patient who is a CEO]

Many women like my [C.E.O.] patient, harbor misgivings about whether their achievements might boomerang when it comes to relationships with men and come back to haunt them.

…. As a consequence of this dangerous combination [fear of success combined with people-pleasing], they may engage in a range of self-defeating behaviors that can sabotage either their careers or their personal relationships, and often both.

… Some people-pleasing women attempt to resolve the dilemma by splitting their personality traits into two discrete “sides.” They may display their competitive, assertive, and aggressive side at work.

In their personal relationships with men, they may adopt an exaggerated “femininity,” displaying passivity, submissiveness, and compliance. This masquerade, of course, is no solution at all. Rather, it is a recipe for inner conflict, anxiety, identity confusion, and lowered self-esteem.

—(end excerpt)—

Braiker then next, on pages 96-97, offers up the case study of one of her women patients, Helene, who was a successful business woman who was living out what Venker suggests in her book for women to do: be assertive at the job, but be the passive, sweet, sex kitten at home with her mate.

The result of this for Helene? Lots of abuse.

…behind closed doors when they are alone, Bob [Helene’s boyfriend] treats Helene abusively. [Helene has a far more successful career than Bob does, which Bob is aware of.]

Helene defends Bob’s behavior by “understanding” how difficult it is for a man to stand in her shadow.

…Helene realized [via therapy] that she needed to correct some of her own gender stereotypes. Helene believed that by demonstrating her people-pleasing [Beta, nice, feminine] behavior in her personal relationships with men, she was being more feminine and, therefore, more sexually attractive.

[At her place of employment, where she was CEO, Helene tolerated no sexual harassment for herself or for any woman]. However, because of her Disease to Please [being codependent, Beta, nice, and feminine], Helene was actually rewarding a man for treating her abusively behind close doors.

—(end excerpt)—

From page 97:

It is imperative that you recognize how dangerous and self-sabotaging your people-pleasing tendencies with men can become so that you can change the unhealthy dynamic of your relationships. Otherwise, the Disease to Please [being codependent, Beta, nice, and feminine] will serve as a veritable mating call to men who have a perverse need and desire to control nearly every aspect of your behavior. Worse yet, you will allow them to do so.

—(end excerpt)—

Page 98:

Unless you repair the damage by curing the Disease to Please [being codependent, Beta, nice, and feminine]  that produced it, you will limp away from the relationship with the brand of “damaged goods” on your ego. [Then the cycle will repeat itself as you attract yet another abusive, selfish, or jerk boyfriend who mistreats you all over again.]

—(end excerpt)—

As you can see from those excerpts (and there are plenty more in the book), Dr. Braiker strongly warns and advises women against the very traits and attitudes that Venker is telling women in articles, books, and TV appearances that she thinks they should have!

While there are plenty of selfish or abusive men who would enjoy being able to thoroughly control a woman, and a woman who, per Venker’s teaching, willingly goes along with it, a lot of men soon tire of this extreme “feminine” type of woman and dump her.

In her book, starting on page 100, Dr. Braiker discusses a male patient she had once who admitted that he loved to date the sort of women Venker advises women to be, because they were so easy to control. But, the guy soon got tired of dating these passive, wimpy, Beta women.

Here’s what he said:

“…One day, I realized I’m sitting in the boat [of life] all alone. I don’t want the kind of woman who will do anything to please me anymore. It’s boring and lonely. I want a partner who can sit on the boat next to me and keep me company. I want us to please each other without losing all boundaries or identity.”

Another male patient said (page 101):

“I do like to be in control, but I really want someone who will push back. I like steak because it gives me something to chew on. I don’t want to eat pre-chewed baby food. That’s how I wind up feeling about a woman who will give up her own substance just because she’s trying to please me. There’s nothing to chew on; there’s no challenge there at all. I just get bored.”

As Dr. Braiker so succinctly puts it (from page 106):

-There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make a man you love happy or wanting to please him. Just be sure that you’re not pleasing him by hurting yourself in the process.

-Any man who is threatened or feels diminished by your intelligence, achievements, success, or talent is NOT someone with whom you are likely to have a gratifying relationship with anyway. Look elsewhere.

—(end excerpt)—

Earlier in the book starting around page 49, Dr. Braiker discusses a single woman patient she had named Miranda who wants badly to get married. Miranda cannot figure out why she can’t seem to hold on to a man.

Miranda wrongly assumes the way to “catch” a man is to take the sort of advice Venker gives in her relationship book – she tries to be very pleasing and agreeable with every man she dates, she molds herself into whatever type of woman she assumes her current boyfriend of the month likes, and so on.

The result is that all these men eventually become bored with Miranda – and break up with her.

As Braiker describes it in the book (page 50), Miranda puts on the “beta” routine that Venker advises:

So, as soon as Miranda finds herself attracted and interested in a man, she puts herself in a subservient, submissive, position. She lavishes men with attention, adoration, and praise. Miranda believes that to be worthy of a man’s love, she must prove she will always put his needs first.

…The truth is that she [Miranda] cannot offer the one thing a healthy man wants and needs the most: the ability to truly share herself because she knows and values who she is.

—(end excerpt)—

Notice that Miranda’s assumptions on how to attract a man are similar to the tactics Venker puts forward in her Fox news article. And, as Braiker goes on to explain, Miranda was her patient because her “beta” femininity was driving men away, and she could not figure out that it was her very beta-femininity-ness that was at fault.

EXCHANGING AGENCY AND INDEPENDENCE FOR BEING OVER-RELIANT ON A MAN

Continuing with my critique of Venker’s views; more from her article at Fox news:

(Link):  Society is creating a new crop of alpha women who are unable to love by S. Venker – on the Fox News site:

And because I had zero interest in my husband adopting a more feminine role, I set about to become the feminine creature our culture insists women not be.

And here’s what I learned: It’s liberating to be a beta!

I’m an alpha all day long, and it gets tiresome. I concede that I thrive on it; but at the end of the day, I’m spent. Self-reliance is exhausting. Making all the decisions is exhausting. Driving the car, literally or figuratively, is exhausting.

—(end excerpt)—

So, Venker is apparently fine ceding normal adult and personal responsibility to her husband because it makes her life easier. What she’s also sacrificing is her independence, dignity, and agency by doing so.

I take it that Venker is a right winger or conservative: right wingers and conservatives support personal responsibility; they don’t recommend that adults neglect it.

As I explain in an older post, I am a FORMER gender complementarian. Sometimes people on other sites have asked me, “Why do you suppose so many Christian women willingly endure the sexism known as complementarianism?”

One of several reasons so many Christian women remain “stuck” in complementarianism and go along with it is precisely to ride the coat-tails of a husband, because it’s easier going through life with someone taking care of you than it is for you to take care of yourself, by getting a job, taking care of your own car, and so forth.

Christian women are willing to trade off their autonomy, dreams, goals in life, and independence in exchange for male-provided financial stability and having a husband who is like a “father figure” who they can rely on.

In the book of Genesis of the Bible, God, by the way, actually predicted this would happen as a result of sin, when He told Adam and Eve that the woman would desire her husband and turn to the husband – rather than to God.

Ever since, yes, many women have indeed traded off God-reliance (or self-reliance) to depend on a husband for emotional and financial stability. And women like Venker (along with hordes of Christian gender complementarians) are prodding women to keep this up. It’s so sick, and rather tragic.

Women depending on men to this degree – and giving up their identity, needs, and self-hood in the process – is a RESULT of the Fall, a RESULT of sin entering humanity – but Venker and complementarians and other conservatives think this is awesome, healthy, or great for marriages and dating. Sick, sick, sick.

Secular feminism seeks to correct this type of sin that impacts women so strongly (and so this is one aspect of feminism that is good!), ironically.

Secular feminists are trying to free women from this very sin God predicted back in Genesis (and secular feminists – and a smaller number of Christian gender egalitarians – see how damaging it is), but many Christians and conservatives keep trying to cram women back into this same “sin box” and tell them it is “good” for them and for their relationships.

So, Venker finds being responsible and making decisions all day tiring. Well, yes, most people do. But the solution is not to hand over all or most of your personal responsibility to another adult.

Counselor Beverly Engels warns women against this very temptation in her book (Link): The Nice Girl Syndrome.

Engel discusses in the book (pages 212 – 214) that during her early 30s, on a month long trip to Europe, she met a European guy named Jacob. By the time she met this guy, she had been in Europe for a few weeks, was exhausted.

She ends up going to his place, they had sex a time or two, though the second time she didn’t really want to. The guy wasn’t exactly overtly abusive, but she felt she “owed” him sex to be nice to him, since he was now taking care of her. He was making her breakfasts, letting her stay at his home, etc.

For a period of time, due to exhaustion, Engel says she let this Jacob man control her, she was tired of making decisions for herself, she was tired of all the responsibility on this trip, so she was willing to turn the steering wheel over to Jacob – as Venker is asking women to do in their own relationships.

Engel says that is a bad move, and she has regret over her interactions with Jacob to this day. Even though she kept turning the guy down sexually, so long as she stayed at his home, he kept repeatedly bugging her for sex and for more sex. He was super persistent.

Venker’s advice to women boils down to that they infantilize themselves to be more attractive to men. This is bad and dangerous advice.

From page 131 by Engel:

You can’t expect anyone else to take responsibility for your welfare. You are the only one who can take care of you.

The price you pay for looking to someone else to take care of you is dependency, the loss of self, and, ultimately, the inability to control your life.

YOU DON’T WANT TO DATE OR MARRY THE SORT OF MEN VENKER’S ADVICE WILL ATTRACT

From page 45 of Engel’s book:

It used to be that the payoff for being sweet and nice was that one was taken care of and protected by the men and authority figures in one’s life.

Girls and women were perceived as weaker and in need of protection from the “big, bad world,” and boys and men took on the responsibility of making sure that nothing bad happened to them. But those days are gone, along with chivalry and manners.

Most boys and men today do not feel responsible for protecting girls; in fact, many view girls and women as objects to be exploited.

…This doesn’t mean that there aren’t men who like taking on the role of provider and protector. But these men are not necessarily throwbacks to an earlier time – unfortunately, they often take on this role as a way of dominating women. In fact, these men often look for women who are passive, who appear naive and innocent, because such women are easier to control.

–(end excerpt)–

Yes, as you can see, Venker’s advice, if followed, will open you up to appearing very attractive to abusive, selfish, cruel, or self-absorbed men who only want to use you, not care for you or about your needs.

The sorts of men you will attract if you follow Venker’s advice are not the sorts of men you want to date or marry. You want to avoid these guys, not marry them.

I also find this, from Engel’s book, highly pertinent (from page 126), where Engle is discussing a patient she had named Nina:

Nina was painting a picture of a storybook family life – the dutiful wife, the hardworking husband, the kids who were seen but not heard. Or was it? Nina was a young woman who was raised in the 1980s – not the fifties. Something just wasn’t adding up.

After several more sessions and some gentle prodding on my part, Nina finally opened up more about how it really was in her family. As it turned out, it wasn’t so perfect after all.

Yes, her mother was a dutiful wife, but her father was quite demanding. He expected his wife to wait on him hand and foot when he was home, and he was extremely hard to please.

There were many nights when he refused to eat what she [his wife, who was Nina’s mother] had cooked and insisted that she cook something else entirely. He complained if the house wasn’t immaculate and the kids weren’t bathed and dressed up when he got home.

As we continued to explore Nina’s childhood, Nina admitted that it really wasn’t by choice that her mother didn’t have any friends or didn’t go out much. It was at her father’s insistence that Nina’s mother not associate with anyone outside the family.

–(end excerpt)–

If you go by Venker’s marital advice, you may find yourself with a similar dynamic in your marriage that Nina’s mother was in. How many of you married women out there want that sort of loveless, emotionally abusive marriage?

Exchanging your decision-making abilities or duties for a life of ease and simplicity, all so more stress and responsibility falls on your husband, is a lazy, stupid, immature, potentially dangerous thing to do, and it’s actually unfair to your husband. I am dumb-founded that a conservative author any where would recommend that other women do this, or that she does this herself.

I hope this post of mine, with excerpts from books by a psychiatrist and a counselor, both of whom have treated many patients over the years (and hence have way more insight and experience in relationship dynamics than Venker does) clarifies just how terrible, sexist, and harmful relationship advice such as Venker’s is.

If you didn’t want to take my word for it, as (Link): based upon my experience and my mother’s, with how awful it was to utilize Venker-like advice in our own relationships, I hope the insights by professionals (one with a PhD) lends more credence.


I intend on writing a Part 5, if or when I get the time and/or inclination. And then, I think I may finally be done with this series. – Thankfully. This was not something I enjoyed writing all too much.


Related Posts:

(Link):  Alpha Females Part 1 – Nothing New Under the Sun. Conservative Women Keep Issuing Same Sexist, Unhelpful Dating And Marital Advice to Women

(Link):  Alpha Females Part 2 – Defining the Terms – How Anti-Feminists and Complementarians Misrepresent Concepts or Terms

(Link): A Response to Venker: Re: Personal Experience

Pat Robertson Says Wives Who Want Emotional Support from a Husband Are Immature and Should Not Expect Emotional Support

Christian TV Show Pat Robertson Says Wives Who Want Emotional Support from a Husband Are Immature and Should Not Expect Emotional Support

What did I just tell you a few days ago in this other blog post? Here’s a reminder: (Link): Women: Stop Asking Pat Robertson For Romantic Relationship Advice – Whether You Are Divorced or Single 

On today’s (August 15, 2016) episode of 700 Club, Pat Robertson answered a letter from a woman named Susie who said her husband does not give her emotional support, so she seeks out her parents for that. Susie wanted to know how she could get her spouse to support her more.

Robertson’s reply was not only unbiblical, but it was terribly insensitive.

Continue reading “Pat Robertson Says Wives Who Want Emotional Support from a Husband Are Immature and Should Not Expect Emotional Support”

Love-Sick Teenager Who Won’t Take No For an Answer is Finally Shut Down by his Ex-Girlfriend’s FATHER in an Epic Text Exchange – Men of All Ages Need To Learn to Handle Rejection and to Respect Other People’s Boundaries in Dating

Love-Sick Teenager Who Won’t Take No For an Answer is Finally Shut Down by his Ex-Girlfriend’s FATHER in an Epic Text Exchange – Men of All Ages Need To Learn to Handle Rejection and to Respect Other People’s Boundaries in Dating

If there are any MEN reading this – especially men over the age of 21 – you need to realize that some of you are just as bad in your online behavior, especially on dating sites and apps, as this 15 year old kid is.

See how obnoxiously persistent this teen kid is, how he keeps dragging this exchange on and on with the teen girl’s father? This is how 90% of you men over the age of 21 behave towards grown women online, especially on dating sites.

You men refuse to take “no” from women for an answer, or to choose to view a woman turning you down as the ultimate insult.

You men take rejection by women far too personally, and send negative, nasty, insulting comments to some women, all for merely politely turning you down on a site, for refusing to give you their number, or going on a date with you.

Women you don’t know (single women) don’t owe you squat in life – women don’t owe you a smile, flirtation, chit chat, their phone numbers, sex, emotional support, or dates.

You will be turned down as you go through life by various women you flirt with or ask on dates – it’s a reality. Get over it. Learn to let go, accept defeat graciously, and stop taking it so damn personally.

Learn to respect other people’s boundaries. If a woman or girl tells you “no” or “not interested,” just let it go. Don’t send the girl or woman nasty, insulting messages if or when she turns you down. Just move along.

Continue reading “Love-Sick Teenager Who Won’t Take No For an Answer is Finally Shut Down by his Ex-Girlfriend’s FATHER in an Epic Text Exchange – Men of All Ages Need To Learn to Handle Rejection and to Respect Other People’s Boundaries in Dating”

Single Adult Christian Pressured Into Marriage by Her Church – And Regrets It

Single Adult Christian Pressured Into Marriage by Her Church – And Regrets It

A few excerpts by a single adult who was pressured to marry by her church but later regretted the marriage and divorced:

(Link): Singles ‘Need’ The Freedom To Choose by All Thinx Christian

  • I would never have thought the church would be a place where people were compelled to be married, but I found out the hard way that it is.
  • …Despite my yieldedness  and commitment to the LORD and His people, I was somewhat marginalized and often treated badly (disrespected and short-changed whenever possible) by God’s people.
  • When I complained about and challenged this behavior in one of the pastors I highly regarded and who was my mentor at the time, he informed me the problem with giving me full leadership support and integrating me into the life of the church was due to unmarried state. He said to me “If you were married, it would be different.”
  • After about another year of this very painful treatment and believing that the only reason for it was because I was unmarried, one day I went before the LORD and said “If marriage is what it will take for me to be properly treated in the church, then send me somebody and I will marry him.”

Continue reading “Single Adult Christian Pressured Into Marriage by Her Church – And Regrets It”

When Your Secrets Are Used Against You (Hax Advice Column) – sounds like one of my family members

When Your Secrets Are Used Against You (Hax Advice Column) – sounds like one of my family members

I have written of my family member, who I dubbed “Shirley” in an older post. That (Link): older post was about an ex friend of mine. My sister Shirley is a lot like the ex friend, only 100 times worse.

I could probably write a billion blog pages about my problems with Shirley – what you see here in this letter to Hax from a married man is just one of the many problems I have with my sister.

My sister is emotionally abusive. Anything you tell her in confidence, no matter how emotionally painful or sensitive it is for you, my sister Shirley (not her real name) will use against you in the future.

She is one of those people who will get angry at you about “X,” but then proceed to not only bring up the thing you did – “Z” –  23 years ago and scream at you about that (she will also bring up Y, Q, and T too, things which happened 10 or 15 years ago), but she will also dredge up some painful tid bit you shared with her at a time you were depressed or scared and throw that in your face too and mock you about it or criticize you over it.

I have since learned to stop sharing any inner thoughts or pain with her. I stopped sharing meaningful stuff with her and kept conversations shallow. In recent months, though, I had to go even further and pretty much cut off most contact with her. Prior to cutting off contact, though, I had learned to stop confiding in her.

She will take anything personal, private, and painful you share with her and use it against you as a weapon, much like this man’s wife does to him.

Sometimes, when my sister Shirley is in one of her rage fits, you can sometimes tell by her facial expression that she is searching through the files in her memory, seeing what she can dredge up from 5, 10, or more years ago to throw in your face.

My sister and I currently live apart, so she screams at me in e-mails, social media, and the phone, but if we meet in person and she snaps, you can just see the cogs and wheels in her mind turning, searching for anything you have revealed to her in the past to use against you in her fit.

Shirley almost always attacks me in private, just me and her in the room. She never attacks me in front of other people, unless it’s another target of hers, like her ex boyfriend, Dan (not his real name).

This dude’s wife sounds exactly like my sister Shirley. Exactly.

Letter to Hax, October 2015:

  • Dear Carolyn:
  • My wife has been telling me as long as we’ve known each other (around 10 years now) that she wants nothing but openness and honesty from me. So when she asks me personal questions, especially questions that bring up things from my past or that I have deep personal connections to, such as sexual attractiveness and other very intimate subjects, I answer as honestly as I know how.
  • My problem is that she reacts in a way that undermines the trust and confidence I put in her, and she uses what I tell her against me when we fight.
  • Such as: “You can’t criticize me for that because you [insert incident from when I was 15 that I told her about],” or my favorite, the snide comment about some personal anecdote about my sexual history, which she likes to drag out when we haven’t had sex in a while.
  • I find myself confiding less and less in her, and sharing less and less, and in general just not offering information with her from the heart because I fear everything I say will be used against me at some point in the future.

Continue reading “When Your Secrets Are Used Against You (Hax Advice Column) – sounds like one of my family members”