My wife (37F) and I(40M) got married 12 years ago and she has been my rock and our marriage was really good. Or use to really good before we went to therapy. My friend was suffering from a lot of mental health issues and we were worried from him. He did about 2 years in therapy and is doing a lot better.
My wife suffered from anxiety and depression and she is a vet which is a very high stress job. I recommended she try therapy too and she agreed. She went to therapy for 6 months and said she likes it and wants me to go with her. I personally find it a little hippy dippy but it couldn’t hurt so I agreed.
First 2 therapy appointment went well, the therapist(not her personal one) nailed down one thing about my wife, she is extremely distrusting of other humans. She didn’t have a good family growing up and her father sold her dog which she said was her only friend and she suffered from an eating disorder and almost ended it in her teens. But as an adult she is relatively well adjusted and she is a great mom to our 2 kids.
He asked us as homework to do the big 5 personality test. It was a long questionnaire and we shared it with him. My trust of others was a 34 and hers was a 8 which is very low. He asked her to tell him what makes her distrust people. She said people were very two faced and only do what benefited them and she felt like she has a disadvantage in life because of her morals.
She is very kind to people which is weird because she doesn’t trust them at all. She helps people a lot and one of her friend even said she’s the one they go to for advice because they know she wants the best for them and can keep a secret.
She does a lot of unpaid work to help stray animals and is often depressed if an animal passes away. But she says she does it because she feels extreme guilt if she doesn’t help others but she feels people don’t feel guilt hurting her which is why she prefers animals to humans.
Then the topic of our marriage and trust came up and she was super tight lipped about it at first but then admitted she didn’t trust me all that much. She said she actually married me because I was honest in being kind of “in it for myself." She said she can’t stand people who appear kind and compassionate and then lie and backstab people and prefers an honest person.
I was shocked because I feel like I’m an honest but also kind and generous person. But in her eyes I’m not but she says it’s fine because I’m honest about it. She also admitted she took out the “in sickness and in health” part of our nuptials because she felt like I would divorce her if she got cancer but she was ok with that because it would kill her to expect it and then be disappointed but she felt like she knew where she stood with me.
I have been thinking about her words and it bothers me so much. I asked her out of therapy why she even married me and she said she knew I was hard working and honest and most people are not kind but that they fake kindness to get ahead. She liked that I didn’t and she felt like she really understood me so she felt safe with me.
I told her if she didn’t think I was a good person but just an honest one we should just divorce and she got mad and told me our marriage was good, we are working together well and raising our kids and there wasn’t anything serious. To me I just realized my wife didn’t think I was a good person and I feel like our marriage has been a lie.
Some of you are asking if she loves me and I love her. I definitely love her but in therapy she said she thinks she loves me but also admitted she doesn’t know if she can love humans as “humans are generally selfish and destructive and will take advantage of people weaker than themselves." I’m really worried if she loves our kids. She acts like she does but it’s hard to tell because she goes above and beyond for people she worries are going to backstab her.
I think you might need to get your own therapist independent of your wife. She has a very skewed version of reality, and I think her definitions of love, trust, goodness, and honesty are not in line with most peoples and these things hold different values for her than they do others.
She may think that being a good person isn’t valuable since it’s not something achievable by most people. At any rate, find someone to help you translate her version of reality to yours.
Your wife seems to have a very distorted view of people borne out of a trauma response. This in itself is incredibly hard to navigate, particularly in relationships. I don't envy her, but I do understand some of her mistrust.
If all of your formative experiences in life reinforce a certain negative view, it is very difficult to shift that idea, it becomes cannon in your mind. But it isn't impossible. By our nature, we look for things that confirm what we already know, it provides us reassurance and comfort.
She will be subconsciously looking for proof to her theory that people aren't trust worthy and this is her "safe space". She knows what to expect from this. It's probably become her default state of mind. She knows how to act, think and behave with this mindset, because she's lived it. She has a way of being in that world, of protecting herself and maintaining her boundaries.
She may be able to work on her idea of mistrusting others and actually take a chance that what she's confirmed in her mind isn't necessarily the case. But it takes work. It sounds like she's engaging in safety behaviours that limit the things she cannot tolerate or that may lead to yet more negative experiences.
Her reasons for marrying you may have partially been that you fit into this safe space and she isn't consciously acknowledging your other attributes. But that doesn't mean they aren't there and she doesn't appreciate them.
She may not even feel worthy of them or have even dared to expect that much from a relationship. It sounds like your wife maybe has some deep rooted self esteem issues. It's hard to come from childhood trauma and without some kind of disturbance in your sense of self. This is not her fault.
I'd definitely sit down and have a longer discussion with her about your relationship and how she views you. In therapy might be a better environment so you can work through both of your emotions without it flaring up into a heated argument.
You have every right to have certain expectations from your relationship. Feeling loved for the person you are, is a reasonable expectation. Her understanding this is also as important as you understanding her emotional point of view.
I don't think it's that your wife doesn't think you're a good person. I think it's that your wife doesn't think there are ANY good people, but thinks that you're better than most. Given your wife's view of humanity, that seems to be a compliment.
I definitely see where you’re coming from. However, the whole point of therapy is to fix issues like this, so I’d stick with it for now.
I feel OP is in a catch 22. I’d personally be extremely hurt if this is how my spouse viewed me. It might be marriage destroying because it would kill my trust in my spouse. So, it might be something therapy would never fix and if OP left his wife would become a self fulfilling prophecy.
The only caveat is that OP should ask himself if her view of him is right? Would be leave her if she became sick? Because if she is correct I her assessment of him and he doesn’t like it then he owes it to both of them to improve himself.
Has she ever said that you aren’t a good person. Cause what I’m understanding you’re wife isn’t questioning your morals. She’s just saying you aren’t a fake person and aren’t afraid to admit when you’re “in it for yourself."