My Husband Is Overly Attached to His Children!

by Dee
(Canada)

Visitor's submission:

My husband is unnaturally attached to his children.

He seemed normal when I met him although his parents are definitely narcissistic! I met him while working at his dad's barber shop.

His dad really liked me but as soon as he found out his son and I were dating, he refused to speak to me. So for six months I kept working, but because of the extreme tension at work, I finally quit.

He seemed like he broke away from his parents expectations. His dad refused to speak to him and if we went to any occasion where his parents were, his dad would not even acknowledge him.

His mother puts a lot of pressure on him too!

Anyway, the pressure got to him and 5 days before we were going to get married, he broke up with me due to so much pressure from his parents.

We were broken up for 8 months with him keeping in touch with me and kept asking to get back together but couldn't fully commit. I told him to take his time to think about what he wanted and I would not pressure him. His parents were being good to him again as soon as they knew we broke up.

Anyway, long story short, he decided he really did want to marry me so he showed up to my work with tickets to Vegas and we eloped and got married!

I have two kids that were from a previous marriage and he was really good with them in the earlier part of our relationship, but when we decided to have our own child something changed in my husband.

For one thing, his parents decided to come back into our lives and I just felt like he was so over protective and unnaturally attached.

He kept pressuring me for another child, so I gave in and we had twins! I thought that maybe he would get better with more kids because we can be a bit over protective and stuff with our first child, but no, and he started pushing my kids away as time has gone on.

I am starting to become angry and so frustrated at how controlling he is and the pressure it puts on our kids. I'm angry that he pushes my older children away and hovers over his kids to try and block out any "outsiders". HELP ME!!!

Positive Parenting Ally's comment:

Dear Dee,

I can understand why you are frustrated and angry, it seems like a difficult situation that has left everybody in some level of pain.

Very often when a person becomes controlling, it's because of fear and personal insecurity. They may be afraid of losing what they have (or what they believe they have) and they believe that by holding on to people, they will be given what they think they need (love, attention, being heard, being seen etc.).

This fear and neediness results in a belief that the tighter they hold on to something, the less likelihood there is of losing it.

Very often they can feel that the controlling situation is not optimal, but they don't know what else to do. They feel that if they let go, they might lose everything which can be terrifying. And the more scared they become, the tighter their control. It's a painful circle of increasing fear for everybody involved.

From what you write, I'm not sure the extent to which you have had a good, deep conversation with your husband. If that hasn't been tried yet, that would be my first step.

What I would do, would be to gently talk to my husband (without blaming, without criticizing, which I know can be very difficult under the circumstances) and somehow see if I could find out why he might be scared; what it might be that makes him behave the way he does.

I might ask something along the lines of; 'It's seems that you are holding our children tight and using a lot energy in trying to protect them from the world, I would really like to understand you, could you please tell how you feel. Maybe there is something I can do to help you?'

This may seem like an odd strategy, but the point is to:

1) Understand what is going on inside him: True understanding can be a huge relief for everybody.

2) Having an actual conversation: Being kind and non-aggressive, non-judgmental and non-blaming increases the chance of an actual conversation rather than an argument that ends in verbal warfare.

3) See if there is something you can do to help him without compromizing yourself or your children. As mentioned, controlling people are in pain and have problems that maybe - or maybe not - you can help them with.

That would be my first step.

You may be wondering why I'm not encouraging you to tell him more about how you feel. That is definitely an option too, but given the state he seems to be in, I suspect there might be a high risk that he will see your expression of your concerns and as an attack.

If I decided to be very open and honest about my feelings, I would choose my words carefully and refrain from blaming and criticism.

But this is your call, I can't tell you what is right for you in your situation. You know better than me there.

If this isn't what you feel like, or you have tried it with no success, I would seek professional help.

If I was in so much pain and my children were suffering too, and I felt helpless, alone and desperate, I would reach out for a therapist, psychologist or counselor.

This is a big thing to feel caught up in all alone, plus there are children involved. There are many very skilled professionals out there who have a lot of experience with issues such as yours and they are more than willing to help you. Helping is what they do for a living.

I wish you and your family the very best,
Birgitte

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Jan 01, 2017
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Change Starts with Ourselves
by: Birgitte, Positive Parenting Ally

Dear Dee,

I'm glad it feels good for you to get it all out or 'rant' as you call it. Being honest with yourself and allowing yourself to express how you feel can be healing in itself.

I'm also happy to hear that you care so much about yourself that you have decided to seek help in terms of counseling.

If we want things to change, the best place to start is always with ourselves. How would we know where to go, if we haven't examined ourselves first? How else would we know what it is we really want or that would be good for us if we haven't looked inside first?

Also by starting with ourselves when we want change, we also get to have the best say in the direction of the change we want. We may not know exact destination of where we're going, but we know that we're moving away from something that has caused us pain. That is valuable in itself. That is taking care of ourselves. That is self love.

Take care, Dee, I wish the very best for you and your family,
Birgitte, Positive Parenting Ally

Dec 23, 2016
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Defeated mom/wife
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your answer, we have had many talks and fights about this... He is a closed book when it comes to feelings and if I try too say anything he gets super defensive. I worst part is that he seems to feel most threatened by my two older kids so this of course hurts me so deeply, and It hinders my children bonding with their older siblings... He absolutely refuses to get therapy he thinks he's fine and "it's all in my head". I will look into couseling for myself and see if they can help me deal with this situation before it continues into my children. I know he has a fear of abandonment and possibly a need of approval or maybe attention even though he's not really one to want the spotlight but he does need a lot of praise from me...
One of the hardest things is that everyone sees him as such a great dad, but I feel like he is a good dad but he is not allowing them to be themselves and I have absolutely no say in anything without it becoming a fight or he puts a dark cloud over anything that is not what he wants for them. He's only controlling over them, not me. I feel like I'm only here to be sure that the house is clean and meals are cooked for him and his children.. he calls me several times through the day to see how they are and has no life outside of his children. It's so unbalanced not to mention hard on our relationship as a couple I feel like I'm not a priority and I feel like my children are just an inconvenience to him and his parents. It's so hurtful!!! Anyway sorry for the rant! Feel better already tho!!
Dee

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