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Lies, irresponsibility and verbal abuse

Cris wrote:

We have a marriage in desperate trouble. I have lied repeatedly about two things: money, and school.

For years, I have covered up carrying credit card balances, personal loans, graduation dates... I make myself sick just
looking at it.

My wife has caught me in this jam twice, and I don't know how to fix things and earn her trust again. I can tell you that I've always been an easy-going person, handle criticism poorly, and have bad spending habits.

I am not grossly irresponsible financially; I have always met
obligations (mortgage, water bills, etc) on time, and have good retirement investments plus a few things for the kids. But I think in my careless ways, plus my desire to please my wife and keep her happy, I've put ourselves in this situation.

Now she has always been a control person, and sometimes verbally abusive over things that I never considered worth
arguing. So the fact that she can be this demeaning, belittling person has complicated things. I hid problems, hoping to fix them on my own, so I wouldn't face the grief.

She is so hurt by what I've done... and it is affecting our kids,
especially our 3-year old daughter. She notices that my wife and I are not affectionate with each other, and that Daddy has slept on the couch more than a few times.

My wife has also told her such things as, "I'd be living
in a much nicer home than this one, except I married your father". I've told my wife that demeaning me in the eyes of the kids is not healthy for them, but she just tells me it wouldn't be this way if I hadn't been such a lying, cheating a__hole.

So we wander day by day; she waits for me to be more responsible but still I do things that she cannot abide.

We tried counselling; it seemed to help at least make us a bit warmer to each other, but my wife is angrier than ever as I just make mistakes over and over.

I'm at a loss. I still love her, and I miss our family, and need to find a way to make it better. I'm open to anything, please.

Dear Cris

You've touched bottom, and you are on the way back already.

You've faced yourself with your failings, and you are well on the way to understanding the damage you have done.

You can win, but it ain't going to be easy, and you still have to live with the pain. Your wife has changed; remember how she was before you married? She may not be able to change back - - she may not want to. And you know you can't blame her.

Trouble is, you have actually given her total control - which may be what she wanted, but it is probably as bad for her as it is frustrating for you.

Her behaviour with the child is inexcusable, but I'm sure you can understand what's behind it; the more fuss you make, the more she'll do it.

There's going to be a tough time ahead, but if you can curb your excesses and stick to the truth, at least you'll have a place in the negotiations - but from what you are telling me, she is going to remain in command; so you must learn to accept it.

Don't even consider competing in front of the children - ultimately, they'll love you unconditionally; words don't ever replace love, for children. But you must make them feel secure.

As for the rest, it's a slow build from a rocky foundation.

Good Luck!

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