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    Thread: Wife has no motivation or ambition

    1. #1

      Default Wife has no motivation or ambition

      My wife has no ambition to better herself nor any motivation to progress beyond her current state and I'm not sure what to do about it. I'm firmly convinced that if I went to sleep for 20 years and awakened, I'd find her in the same level of progress she's at currently with no change. I'm not sure if it's depression, anxiety, or what. She seems to require hand-holding for virtually anything she doesn't already know how to do. Here are some things:

      1. Any possible job/career suggestion is met with one of the following: "I'm not smart enough," "I'm not talented enough," "I'm not creative enough," "I don't know how to do that," etc. Pointing out past successes or a proclivity toward some job/career is typically met with self-deprecation or minimizing of the accomplishment. When told she's good with numbers, will minimize it with "All I do is balance the checkbook or do the budget." When told she must be smart because she graduated college, she responds with "I never studied." It almost seems as though she wants to be thought of as unintelligent or non-talented for no reason I can fathom.

      2. "I don't know" seems to be one of her most common answers to any question posed to her about what she wants to do with her life or when a question is posed to her about what she would do if such-and-such event happened, e.g., "What if I kicked the bucket tomorrow and you had to go out and get a job. What would you do?" Answer: "I don't know."

      Trouble is, her "I don't know" answers seem to be a terminal answer for her. It doesn't motivate her to seek out the answer that she lacks. It seems to be an end-point to her action. When she doesn't know something or know how to do something, her response appears to be to "do nothing."

      3. Tends to let opportunities pass until it's too late to do anything about them, even if given advance notice of the opportunity.

      4. Has a low self-esteem, yet resists efforts by others to boost it. Strangely, will respond with anger if a third-party implies she's stupid, yet will make the same remarks about herself.

      So, I'm not sure what to do. I want to help her break out of this dead-end mentality she's acquired, but not sure how. Will some sort of medication reignite the ambition or motivation?

    2. #2
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      Hi rick

      Some background info would help, like has she always been this way?, do u have children? if so were they born recently?

      It does sound like shehas low self esteem, its kind of a case where if u think the worst of urself then u never have to fail cause u have already set the bar as low as it can go!

      Have u tried talking to her about this? How does she react?

      Many factors can cause these soet of problema/reations just a bit more background information would help.

    3. #3
      Senior Member Foxjo's Avatar
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      Hi Rick,
      Welcome to the forum and im really glad you decided to ask the question here.
      It does sound as if your wife is suffering some sort of MH problem whether it be depression/anxiety or low self esteem.
      It this come on gradually or did it start from somewhere that you can pinpoint- loss of a job/ loss of friends/ family bereavement anything like that- if you ask her - i suspect the answer will be i dont know.
      but thats not her talking.
      I suffer from depression and my husband desperately trys to 'cheer me up' or motivate me. where do i want to go out at the weekend? my standard response is i dont know- because i truely dont. i have no motivation - my depression has zapped all of that away from me.
      i am getting better with medication - getting a bit more energy and with counselling im hoping to find my self esteem again.
      You need to get her to see her gp.
      write a list of her symptoms and go with her to the docs.
      Please be patient with her. if it is depression it is an awful illness - and theres not a quick fix. you need to be there for her and support her.
      If she wants to talk to someone on line here- tell her she can private message me anytime, no problem.
      Keep in touch
      What doesn't kill me makes me Stronger
      How i feel most days : (Oh and i'm the horse by the way!!)

    4. #4

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      Quote Originally Posted by sonia34 View Post
      Hi rick

      Some background info would help, like has she always been this way?, do u have children? if so were they born recently?

      It does sound like shehas low self esteem, its kind of a case where if u think the worst of urself then u never have to fail cause u have already set the bar as low as it can go!

      Have u tried talking to her about this? How does she react?

      Many factors can cause these soet of problema/reations just a bit more background information would help.
      I guess I'd say that she's always been this way. We first met in college and she didn't really have any motivation then, either. When I asked her then what her major was, she said she didn't know yet. Finally, she settled on one, but she told me it was because it was the one with the fewest requirements. She told me that the only reason she was in college was so she could stay on her parents health insurance. Basically she was told to go to college and only for this reason.

      At first, I presumed her lack of ambition was just one of those "early 20s, doesn't quite know what career she wants" kind of things that would work itself out once she tried a few majors and found one that clicked. I presumed that she'd find something she liked and be off and running. Instead, she finished her degree, essentially shelved it, and hasn't done a thing with it since. And this was the early 90s.

      We have two kids. They're 6 and 9. Wife is always claiming how she's a horrible parent, despite my pointing out that the things she experiences, many parents experience.

      I have tried talking to her about it and she agrees that she has no motivation or ambition. But when I ask, "Well what do you want to do about it?" The inevitable answer is "I don't know." And it stops there. It seems the not knowing what to do paralyzes her and she ends up doing nothing about it. Often, when I lay out a course of action in order to help her overcome it, such as tell her to call a shrink to set up an appointment to discuss the problem, I'll come home at the end of the day to find she made either no attempt to research area physicians, or a cursory attempt. She almost acts resentful that I push her to follow through on overcoming an "I don't know" situation, yet at the same time, will tell me that she needs to be pushed. It's all very frustrating.

      I'm wondering if it stems from a family history or mental issues. Her mother is extremely phobic about being alone, to the point of begging family members to sleep on the same floor as her, or even in the same bed. Wife's mother is very change averse, too, not liking any deviation from routine at all. Her mother is likewise unmotivated to try anything new or better her situation.

    5. #5

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      Quote Originally Posted by Foxjo View Post
      Hi Rick,
      Welcome to the forum and im really glad you decided to ask the question here.
      It does sound as if your wife is suffering some sort of MH problem whether it be depression/anxiety or low self esteem.
      It this come on gradually or did it start from somewhere that you can pinpoint- loss of a job/ loss of friends/ family bereavement anything like that- if you ask her - i suspect the answer will be i dont know.
      but thats not her talking.
      I suffer from depression and my husband desperately trys to 'cheer me up' or motivate me. where do i want to go out at the weekend? my standard response is i dont know- because i truely dont. i have no motivation - my depression has zapped all of that away from me.
      i am getting better with medication - getting a bit more energy and with counselling im hoping to find my self esteem again.
      You need to get her to see her gp.
      write a list of her symptoms and go with her to the docs.
      Please be patient with her. if it is depression it is an awful illness - and theres not a quick fix. you need to be there for her and support her.
      If she wants to talk to someone on line here- tell her she can private message me anytime, no problem.
      Keep in touch
      Good idea on making a list of symptoms and visiting a doc. That's something I'll plan on doing.

    6. #6

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      Idk how far she's come, but have you considered that she's just not a good fit for the corporate world? You married her for a reason, so what was is that you fell in love with? Some women thrive in nurturing and care taking (it is our natural talent!). Despite the feminism movement of today - not that I am against it - you can't expect all women to have career ambition. She isn't wired like you are. That being said, there are still career options for the nurturing type. She can become an Elementary Teacher, for example. Since she already has a degree, there are accelerated programs at many universities for teacher certification and the option of a Master's in Education as well. There's also Nursing - but that would take a lot of dedication and would be more costly, time consuming, and require a lot of school. There are other career choices, too; but my point is that she obviously isn't enthusiastic about the career options in the corporate world, and she should not be criticized for this.

      She's depressed because she feels inadequate, and she very well could be. But, thankfully, there are other jobs which are more emotionally rewarding.
      Talk to her about what she thinks would utilize her natural talents. Offer a career test, too, like Myers Briggs.

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