Cold Service is the Revenge Dish of Vanity

Two more emails have I received after my last legitimate post and the comments it garnered. The second email (of the three total) didn’t reveal much except to say that the plaintive wife claims to have been twice sexually abused previous to her marriage. I responded that I am suspicious of the claims. While sexual misconduct absolutely fits in the puzzle of the wife, it is impossible to judge the actions from this distance of time and space.

But let me be frank: I do not believe it, and it doesn’t matter if it is true. The facts surrounding the sexual misconduct are largely irrelevant but for one reason: It is a powerful weapon to wield against investigation by family and friends; a sonic beam which knocks down all incoming questions, and scrambles all signals. It is statistically much more likely that sexual misconduct on her part interferes with her desire for her husband than abuse she suffered, and that she is now lying about the part she played.

The third email, however, is worth dissecting, and will sound very familiar to a lot of men. You’ll see shortly why I have waited so long to post. This’ll take forever. It is a list excerpted from an email from the wife to her husband; which she forwarded to the woman who emailed it to me.

Let me bring back to bear a couple points. In the first email the husband was characterized as a binge-drinking escapist, and a domineering-yet-disorganized provider who griped about petty costs while ignoring a budget. Yes, the numbers are in the original email sent to the husband.

1. I fear your blame for any bills.  I believe you will blame me for any bill that is high.

With good reason. We’ll see shortly confession after confession of money leaking like a sieve from this family.

2. In September I asked you for some of my settlement money.  This was to be sure there was enough to cover both the __________ check for the _________ ad and also your credit card.  I firmly believed you would blame me and then curse me.  I fear and hate the cursing, swearing and raised voice. The emailer wrote that: “Settlement money refers to an insurance settlement she received from a car accident. He wouldn’t give her any, but she did not tell him what it was for ’cause she was afraid.”

My interpretation is that she didn’t want to be accountable for what she decided to do with the money; some here, some there. That is: She didn’t want to be held to spending it only on the claimed items, and nothing else. This provides her the ability to blame him (in this list, or in another future argument) for “thwarting her noble actions”. All the better to paint his as a petty tyrant. It is an example of grossly unfair fighting. In response, he has figured out he can yell and curse to get her to shut up; which is what he has decided to settle for.

3. I believe that you see me as worthless because I do not earn money…or don’t earn very much money.

Probably projection mixed with some poorly-executed criticism from the husband. Women’s expectations have become so over-inflated that they have a hard time realizing that housework and homeschooling are honest and rewarding hard work for women. All signals are that she stinks at it, and mostly quits when (surprise, surprise!) her kids give her the same poor attitude and begrudging service she gives her husband. I’d bet dollars against doughnuts on that. Then he comes home and sighs or yells “What have you been doing all day? What is so hard? etc.” He’s saying that because he doesn’t want to do what he needs to do; which is step up the micro-managment. Men hate it, but this woman needs it. He ought to be performing surprise inspections in the middle of the day, or use his vacation days to spring a surprise day home with the family while he watched how they operate and correct them. Women are to be honored as the weaker vessel. Often that means recognizing that jobs husbands find simple are surprisingly difficult for wives. Sometimes you gotta lead the donkey along the way, and sometimes you gotta pull the donkey around.

4. I tend to eat when I’m stressed out.  Milkshakes, sweet food, fatty foods, etc. are the things I end up craving when I feel hopeless, helpless, depressed and lonely.  I long for companionship, but the next best thing is food.  That, in turn, ends up being another expense.

She wastes a lot of money on foods that make her fat and lazy. Everything else is an excuse meant to make her husband feel responsible for her choice to do things that make her fat and lazy, and the family poor and indebted. See how she equates pleasure with genuinely satisfying things like hope and companionship? That’s because her whole concept of good revolves around pleasure.

5. I am full of self-hatred.  I hate the way I feel, I hate the way I look.  I have finally learned to believe that I am a fucking bitch, a hateful witch and a Satanic whore.  It worked.

Self-esteem cannot be fooled, but it can be lied about. She does things that reflect poorly on herself, and then (essentially) blames her husband for not changing himself to make her poor decisions bear fruit, and for not sufficiently hiding his displeasure at her selfish and immature choices. She’s only three-quarters wrong here, though. This man’s wife is spiritually sick, and he can exert some serious influence over her. Again, calm and cheerful micro-management (AKA: walking with her) will have some good effect.

6. I feel worthless because I can’t cook the way you want me to.  No matter what my day has been like, I’m worthless to you, and I’m becoming worthless to my children.  So I buy M&Ms and a milkshake and eat them.  I don’t need a lecture on how I can cook better.  I don’t have time for this anymore.  I’m bushed, beat and zoned.  I need you to accept what I can give and love me.  I need a warm, kind look and a real hug.  I need a loving backrub, not the slap-slap-slap on the back like you’re whapping a dog.  I’ve got kids to teach.  Sometimes it takes all day.

What do I mean by calm and cheerful micro-management?

“You’re exhausted, but you aren’t getting things done are you? You’re spinning your wheels, and no one is happy. We’re going to start by getting the kids into bed earlier. Then we’re going to get into bed earlier. (Be prepared to physically take electronics out of her hands, as one would a disobedient child.) Tomorrow, we’ll go through your day together and see where we can make improvements.” What he’ll find is that they start on, say, spelling, but the kids drag their feet until the wife begins to give up and ignore them. (It doesn’t take long.) That’s when he says, “Why are you letting this drag on, woman? Children, why are you being disobedient to my wife? Do you need me to inspire you?” The idea here is to be positive, and positively on her ass about her responsibilities. Wives HATE this in the moment, but a husband cannot be deterred by a wife’s immaturity and carnality.

7. I buy wine coolers to self-medicate when I am desperately longing for love and affection.  I believe if I come and ask, you’ll roll your eyes and slap me on the back like I’m a dog, or you’ll give me a quick side hug – or you’ll give me nothing and just ignore me.  So I go buy sweets and wine coolers (they taste better than regular wine).  Or I take myself out to lunch or dinner.  Then I feel better.  With the wine coolers, I feel numb and happy.  Then I don’t bug you and don’t incite your anger.

The alcohol problem in the family is really her problem, but she projects it on her husband. She is drinking on a regular basis, and now we also know that she is regularly spending the family treasures eating out; which can be incredibly expensive even at lower-middleclass eateries. “I take myself out to lunch or dinner.” Haha! How selfish and foolish is that? She phrases it as if she’s being kind…to herself! The farmer needs to get this cow out of the wheat field before she eats them out of house and home.

8. I get therapy when a holiday comes around because I am afraid of what happened in the past.  I know nothing but fear when it comes to a holiday.  I’ve been horribly punished for not doing a good enough job for Christmas Eve dinner, and for the leg of lamb being done before the vegetables at Easter dinner.  I’ll plunk $100 down to a therapist rather than go through a holiday without support and a backup plan in case you decide to punish me for something.

She gets therapy because it makes her feel special; which triggers her pleasure centers. This is more money burnt up for her pleasure.

9. I don’t want to end up in the State Hospital.  I remember when we would go to the punishment Mass (that was when the FSSP was at _________ in the afternoon) when I was in trouble for not getting everybody ready fast enough in the mornings.  Our route drove right by the State Hospital.  I was sure one day I’d end up in there and wouldn’t be able to get out.  My whole life would be up in smoke.

This guy really needs to get more involved in his wife’s business. It is sometimes as necessary and silly as following her around while she follows the kids around. I also recommend A LOT of slapping her on the ass.

Make no mistake: Unless she’s been hospitalized against her will before, she’s now straight-up fantasizing about resisting her husband as he tries to have her committed to an insane asylum.

10. I’ll never end up at the State Hospital, nor am I going to end up terrorized every holiday.  I deserve better.  I also deserve to be able to talk to my husband like a human being about making our budget, not crushed like a worm.  I have the right to have my wants and needs considered and given some credibility.

The saga continues. Not only will our heroine fight against The Men in White Jackets, but she has some wants and needs that are going to be addressed, or else the family funds get it! The idea that she has been actually restrained from anything is ludicrous. She chooses when and where she eats out; against his wishes. She buys herself junk food and alcohol; against his wishes. She procures and pays for “therapy”; against his wishes. Has this woman ever heard a hard “No” in her entire marriage?

11. Our kids are good kids.  They are awesome kids.   They are not bad and they are not behind.  I am a decent human being and I have talents.  I have something worthwhile to pass on to them.

Pure posturing. A shameless attempt to steal her children’s beauty for herself. A previous email stated that there were some issues getting one of their children to read before age eight; with no explanation for the trouble. Bearing in mind that she is their teacher, she has some responsibility for that. She doesn’t like that.

12. I can’t help it if I talk indirectly.  I need to know I’m safe.  If I’m not safe, I tend to test the waters until I know I am.  I am not a man.  Please don’t try to turn me into one.

Translation: I will say whatever I want to get whatever I can, and any effort to elicit the truth is foolish, you stupid man.

13. MY SAFETY AND MY CHILDREN’S SAFETY IS MY NUMBER ONE PRIORITY.  If I perceive myself to be unsafe and unloved, I will flee until I believe the environment is going to be safe for me.  Safety means no yelling, no anger, and no terror or intimidation.  I’ve been unsafe long enough.

More posturing and more stealing of her children’s glory. When first recognized, the shamelessness of piggybacking on one’s children is breathtaking. It’s like watching her eat them.

Anyways, this “safety” talk is coded warning of a coming separation; a testing of the divorce waters. “Unsafe and unloved” really should be heard as “unsafe OR unloved”. She already feels unloved, but he won’t make the mistake of actually being unsafe. In other words: Since he refuses to actually abuse her, she’s making dislike interchangeable with abuse. Later, she’ll just start calling it emotional abuse, and that will satisfy her sense of indignation. Indignation at what? At the fact that he dared to under-appreciate her choice to put herself before her kids and especially her husband.

14. I deserve to look beautiful and to be beloved by the people I’m close to.  If I can look beautiful, it makes it easier to be beautiful inside.  I can be more beautiful inside if people verbally affirm this.  I used to spend a lot of time trying to tell my students how much potential they had, how they were so wonderful inside.  I was able to do this with Boy and Girl for a little while, until I no longer had that ability.  I had been depleted and had no more left to give.

Nobody deserves these things. She told others lies, and and now she won’t recognize the truth. That’s how it works. Boy and Girl are their children. Notice how she admits she can’t be bothered with their kids. I thought she had lots to give the kids, and that she gave them their best during the reading crisis? Everything is just lies, lies, lies all the time. This woman has no interest in the truth whatsoever.

15. I can’t give anymore because I have nothing left to give away.  I don’t have the qualities anymore.  The qualities have been replaced by fear, loathing and depression.

The lie here is that she omits that she purposefully replaced them; that she chose to bring in fear, loathing, and depression because she was bored, and desperately afraid that she, herself, is boring and petty. Which it sounds like she is. Why? Because SHE thinks mothers are boring and petty. Teaching children in a school was real work to her, but she finds raising her own children lame. Her husband must confront that as he’s micro-managing her. He won’t be able to encourage her out of it either; at least not in the beginning. He’s going to have to get her to admit that she believes being a mother is lame; that she resents it. Only then will the poison come out.

16. I don’t need new appliances.  I don’t need anything that costs money.  I just need your love, your warmth, your affection and your understanding.  You’ll have given me the moon and the stars if you would be willing to give them.  If you’re not willing to give them, that’s OK because you should make that choice yourself.  But if you don’t give them, then I need the money for more therapy, because I owe it to myself and to my kids to be able to pull myself out of the mud pit and become whole again.

New appliances mean more matronly work; which she hates. She’s right that she needs love, but she will not like it. What she is trying to express is that she wants him to like indulging her rampant waste, fatness, laziness, and general disregard for anyone except herself.

All I know to do is self-medicate, curl up in fear and stay far away from you.  What is it you want me to do?

Having said all I have, this last question is key…key to the whole thing. The husband really needs to answer this honestly. For all her lies and ugly selfishness, she is still a woman, still his wife, and still wants to be pleasing to him. She wants his instruction even if she hates it, she cannot deny that she wants it.

I’m afraid.

She’s ramping up the drama for the sake of ramping up the drama. Watch out, husband, and if you love your family: Tell her what you want her to do; piece by piece, and moment by moment.

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Do Not Serve Cold

A female reader asks for advice.

There is a situation which has become so serious that a marriage is literally hanging by a thread.  It is a situation close to home, and one which I have been puzzling over for a number of days in hopes that there may be a way to address it.  After discussing it with family members, I thought it would be one which I would like to put forth to you and gentlemen on your blog, should you choose to share it.

This is a situation in which the husband and wife were well-prepared for marriage, so it seemed, and they apparently thought they were also.  Despite baggage on the part of the wife (severely low self-esteem), she was deeply religious, very modest and feminine in dress, did all the right things in preparing for marriage.  The husband was likewise, both of them devout and deeply committed to their Christian faith.

The husband, unknown to the wife, had struggled in the past with alcohol.  He had worked hard to overcome this defect, and thought he had done so.  They married.  They had difficulties from the beginning with certain aspects of their married life, which they partially attributed to the fact that they had had very high standards of chastity as single people, and they struggled with this.  They found they couldn’t talk about it, so they ignored it.

The wife one day found her husband to be drunk, and this shocked her.  She didn’t know what to make of it, so she blamed herself.  Her husband kept assuring her it was not her fault, but she didn’t believe him.  She internalized it and it has taken years for her to change her mindset and allow him to own his responsibility for his use of alcohol.

The wife was home with two small children and pregnant with a third when she received a phone call from a collection agency.  She was in collections for unpaid bills from the birth of their second child.  She told the husband, who said he would take care of it.  The calls continued to come, she continued to refer them to him.  He continued to drink, and finally the wife decided it was time to do something about the problems.  She arranged to pay the creditors, then, in preparation for the birth of the third child, read the medical insurance policy thoroughly, shopped around for a doctor and a hospital that would cost them the minimum out-of-pocket, and after the birth talked to the billing department personally to arrange a payment plan.  Prior to this, she had left everything to her husband, but now she took over.

The couple had debts on several credit cards.  She began writing the checks every month for all the bills, making minimum payments on all the bills, and then paying off a bill here and there with such things as tax refunds, etc.  Over several years, all debt in her husband’s name was paid off.  Meanwhile, she had accrued debt from a failed home business, plus they had made home improvements which she had carried on her credit card.  These bills she found hard to pay off, but she kept working at it.  They did not communicate about these much at all.  The husband continued to drink and he would frequently have a violent temper.  After several scenarios in which he had become very violent, she learned what she had to do in order to stay safe and keep him from exploding.

The husband was a conscientious provider.  Even during the Recession, he was among the lucky ones who was not laid off.  Frequently he worried about this, and this contributed in no small way to his anxiety and temper outbursts, as well as consumption of alcohol.

Occasionally the husband would ask how much debt they had.  On several occasions, the wife would show him the statements, only to have him become irate and blame her for leaching money from him.  Being overly sensitive, she would cry for hours sometimes over harsh words from him and remember it forever.  She finally started lying to him, saying that they were just fine; meanwhile, she would keep paying everything on the sly.

The truth came out when they refinanced their home and the credit report had to be verified.  The husband was enraged over his wife’s deception and became furious with her.  This put the finishing touches on what they have now.  Beginning with a lack of ability to communicate about intimacy, to lack of ability to communicate about various pressures, including children’s education and finances, it has now come to the marriage close to blowing apart.  Both are committed to their marriage vows and would not think of divorcing, but it is obvious that the marriage is holding together solely for the sake of the children.  The husband works copious amounts of overtime, the wife is deathly afraid of him, he spends most of his spare time brooding, surfing the Internet and reading, while she spends most of her spare time crying.

The husband informed her on one occasion that from that point on, he would handle all the bills.  She acquiesced.  It worked for a while, until one day a creditor called to report a missed payment on a bill.  She relayed the message to him, then a few days later she requested that they might purchase pizza for dinner, as she had had a very full day with the homeschooling of their children, and they had to attend church that night.  When they got home, he lectured her about her inability to prepare dinner, followed by a threat to reduce her allowance since she was spending his money on pizza.  Two weeks after that, he became furious with her because she had paid a piano teacher for the previous month’s lessons.  With explosions seeming to happen over and over, she decided she could not emotionally handle the yelling, and took over the bill paying once again, telling him why she was doing it and that she could not handle being yelled at and cursed at, nor did she want to receive phone calls saying that bills were late.

It is heartrending.  Having given you the bare bones of the entire thing, I would like to hear some of the manosphere/red pill take on this.  I realize you only have one side of the story, but the wife’s repeated requests that they get third party help have been refused.  He will not consider counseling with anybody, even though she said that she would be fine with him making the decision without her input so that the person would be somebody “on his side” so to speak.

This man is at the very core a good man.  He continues to be a devout Christian, and is a second-to-none father.  In fact, the wife says that when she is most discouraged with the situation, something will happen with the children that makes her realize what an excellent father they have.  Strict, but fair, he raises his children to settle for nothing less than excellence.  He is known for how well-behaved his children are and how strongly he guides them.  The other fathers all around have far fewer expectations for their children, and it shows.  Yet the marriage is crumbling.

I am assisting this lady inasmuch as I can — I do babysitting for her sometimes, and am the only person she really talks to about this, because we have known each other for years and can relate on certain issues.  If you present this to the general public, please leave all references to any particular person out of it, for obvious reasons.

Observations, takes, advice you could give the wife — all would be welcome.

My impression and general advice is all I can give as I don’t know these people. The reader has provided a lot of details but without being able to see the individual details–or even hear their delivery of them–it is difficult to know how to interpret them and determine the causes.

So, what is my impression? These people are really normal and need to deal with really normal problems. Deal with them they must, though. Frankly: They sound vain and undisciplined…very much like my wife and I can be. A slight by one is quickly greeted by hurt feelings in the other. She wants to be lead under her control, and he wants her to leave him alone and follow him. (stet)

You asked specifically for advice for the wife. Here it is:

  1. Stop crying. Is she in America? No one here but a man in arrears for child support goes to jail for debt. Her husband (according to the missive) is a conscientious provider (even if undisciplined) and will not let them starve or go homeless. Credit is a profoundly corrupting influence, and the loss of it is not worth crying about.
  2. If she must cry (and sometimes we must) then she absolutely should go cry to her husband, or make very sure that he is totally unaware. If she is too ashamed to cry to him directly, then she probably should not do it at all. Under other circumstances Crying within earshot or his knowledge him is a terrible idea, and is essentially passive-aggressive. It destroys trust within him if he is aware of the crying, and it destroys her ability to decide to trust him because she’s telling herself that she cannot; feeling sorry for herself. It sounds as if she has told herself that too many times already.
  3. She should ask him to make a budget for her to manage, and she should swear like a pagan on her favorite granny’s grave that she will hold to it come Hell or high water; that except that he tells her different she will do what he says, and that she will always welcome his guidance in this even if he gets angry. Has he hit her? Words can hurt, but it sounds as if she is too on-guard, and perhaps a bit precious to start with.  I know a lot of conservative/traditional people think that money or finance is the man’s domain, but I believe the responsibility should be held together: He makes it, and says where it is spent, and she takes it, and spends it the way he says…even if every fiber of her being tells her its wrong. Chances are, she’s not anymore right than him and doing it her “right way” only adds rebellion to the mix. Just like he must walk with her through her life, she must walk with him through his. It might be wise for her to never answer a creditor’s call again. No past-due bill is worth an unhappy home.
  4. When, as with the pizza incident, her husband goes on a rant about her shortcomings, she should say nothing except: “I will do what you tell me.” In all likelihood, it’s not about her dinner preparations (as I’m sure she acutely feels), but then the thing to do is push those feelings to the side and take a strong stance on what she knows are her duties; which is to obey her husband. If he is a good man, it will burn him like fire.
  5. She should pray for him, but she should NOT pray for him to improve! She should pray he has a blessed day; for him to have peace at work; that she would be pleasing to him. Women often praise themselves on their ability to intuit problems. She should put that to use here to intuit her husbands concerns, and pray specifically for those concerns to be removed, resolved, or blessed for him.
  6. She should never miss an opportunity to forget that she’s unhappy with him; to kiss him and thank him for providing food and shelter. There was no mention of issues with the hierarchy of the children, but she should make an effort to let him know that he comes before the children. Women can be bad about this, and kind or nice men (not the same thing) won’t know how to address it. It can make them angry though they don’t know why, and then angry at themselves for being angry about it. If he protests, it gives her an opportunity to say, “I like to serve you.” Prepare his plate before the children’s; without his asking bring him coffee at the times he likes coffee; announce the completion of tasks that he gave her; that sort of thing. Employees do this sort of thing for their bosses all the time (kissing notwithstanding). Those employees are favored.
  7. No yelling. Period.

We are told there is wisdom in the counsel of many, so I encourage my readers to offer their suggestions in the comments. Please do be respectful.

A Grace for Men

As I’ve maintained: I write this blog for present and future husbands and fathers. Today that sentiment will become more visible. From now on, comments from women will be deleted. My hope is that this will encourage a more brotherly atmosphere. It is doubted in my mind if there has ever been a time or place where men (even Christian men) could talk frankly–and hear earnestly–in the presence of audible women (even Christian women).

Women will probably still read here. They may continue to “Like” posts. They might be in my “Blogs I Read” list. I like women very much, and enough of them like me, but we are made in such a way that men will always react to a woman’s presence, and while it is easy for me to police that tendency in myself, I know it is not for others. This is a grace to them, for a change.

As this goes forward, I won’t be preemptively adding past female commenters to the “moderated” list. My method will be to unapprove them as I see them, and as I am able to discern the commenter is a woman. Some may dress themselves in men’s names and sneak through, but even as they do so they remove the impact of men reacting to a female presence. It would be a meaningless victory for the pretender. At some point I will add this to the tabbed pages, or the “About” tab.