Question: Dear Luise: I am aware that I mother my husband. I always have. I’m overprotective and in some ways patronizing. I do things for him that he should do for himself and I don’t ask enough of him. I’ve always been that way and if he doesn’t like it, he doesn’t really complain very often. I am feeling disgusted with myself, to tell you the truth, but I can’t stop. Lena
Answer: Dear Lena: This is one you are going to need help with. There are probably reasons you do this that you are unaware of and reasons your husband tolerates it that he’s unaware of.
Your first step is to get this out in the open between you. You need to know if your husband even wants to tackle these dynamics. If you address them alone, have you thought about how that might affect him?
Talk to him about your behavior and how helpless you feel regarding trying to change it. Ask him how it feels to him. Is it comforting, aggravating or both? Neither?
It may look insurmountable to both of you but it’s not an issue a good marriage counselor hasn’t seen before and can’t help you with, once you agree on that course of action. Be aware that some marriages don’t survive this process but it can save others. There’s always risk when you stir things up and risk when you don’t.
In a perfect world we would all grow into healthy adults. In reality, most of us bring childhood battle scars of one kind and another with us to marriage.
If one of you or both of you don’t want to pursue it, then that’s another situation, entirely. You may agree to leave well enough alone and adjust or to part company.
Your initial concern needs to be mutual compassion regarding how this all came about and how each of you feels about taking a closer look at it. Then go from there. Blessings, Luise