Emotional Starvation: When it is Exhausting to be Married to Your
Written by: Ingela Edwards, MS, LPC-Intern, National Certified
Counselor, McKinney, TX.Supervised by: Debra Dian Larsen, MS,LPC-S
Marriage is“supposed” to be this wonderful union of two people who support, cherish and love each other. Well, you may not have received the fairy tale marriage that you once had hoped and dreamed about. Maybe it is quite contrary and you often find yourself feeling drained by your spouse? Do you sometimes feel like it is exhausting to be married to your spouse?
If you are in a marriage where you constantly have to defend your
feelings, then you are probably exhausted. Maybe you have the spouse who tells you how you should feel, or how you should NOT be feeling. This is the spouse who has little regard for your boundaries and does not accept that you can have feelings that may be different from theirs. This type of spouse will demand an explanation of why you are feeling sad, glad, mad or whatever feeling you are experiencing. When you have attempted to explain why you are having these feelings, then you are probably told that you are wrong for having these feelings or that you have overreacted.
Feelings are feelings. There is no right or wrong feeling at a certain time. You feel what you feel. The exhausting spouse not only demands that you feel what they feel, and tells you are wrong for feeling the way you do; they will even turn up the intensity by their crafty tools of denial and rationalization. These tools are used on you when you may be addressing something that you are unhappy about in your marriage, behaviors that are harmful or the lack of intimacy.
You may be feeling that the new gaming system has taken priority in your marriage or your spouse now has a closer relationship with their iPhone than with you. You go to your spouse and tell them that you are feeling sad and hurt because you feel like you are not important to your spouse. Your spouse then tells you that your feelings are wrong and then they rationalize their own behavior by fabulous denial strategies.
Your intent was to create emotional closeness in the marriage by trying to communicate what you are experiencing and feeling. Your intent was then met by ramblings of how you are wrong to feel and experience things in thatmanner. Eventually you become completely exhausted, shut down or move out.
What could be happening here is Intimacy Anorexia or the protection of an addiction. Addicts will protect their addiction until the bottom falls out, and they decide to do something different. Intimacy anorexics want to appear “good” at all times, therefore; they will spend much energy and effort at being “right” at all cost. Whatever may be happening in your marriage, you may want to take a look and think about what you are willing to accept. Most likely, things will not change until you turn up the heat and decide to change the pattern.
Ingela Edwards, MS, LPC-Intern, NCC, therapist at McKinney
Counseling and Recovery, specializes in helping individuals and couples heal from sex addiction, infidelity, intimacy anorexia, and intimacy deprivation. McKinney Counseling & Recovery serves the McKinney, Plano, Allen, Frisco, Dallas and Sherman area.
Ingela Edwards, LPC, NCC, SRT, CCPS is an individual and marriage therapist