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My Husband (or wife) Never Wants to Talk 🙁

Talk to me. Smiling happy lovely couple having a warm conversation while drinking coffee and spending morning together.

Updated August 8th, 2019

Companionship: a Two Way Street

“They never talk to me”, is the most common complaint I hear from codependents about their marriage partner.

I find this especially sad, because this person rarely sees the depth of this wound or the truly tragic consequences it has had on their life.

So sad, I can hardly bear writing about its origins. My early years in this type of parental relationship is certainly a dark chapter I am glad to have moved past in my life…

The Codependent’s Gap With Conversation Skills

Codependency begins with a child taking care of a self centred (and usually drug addicted or alcoholic) parent.

Their mum (or dad) may have sat home drinking (or taking other drugs), feeling rejected or abandoned by their spouse, while the child was used as little more than a dumping ground for this parent’s most selfish mind states and self indulgent monologues.

Many times the parent may have accused the child of not talking to them (in the same way they blamed their absent spouse), when really it was the parent who was leaving no room for conversation.

This child was probably told how ‘special’ and important they were. For being themselves? No, you guessed it…  they were special for listening and taking care of their parent.

The bad conversation habits a codependent learns  from this experience:

  • To look for people they can dump their problems on.
  • To expect focused and uninterrupted attention from others for their worst mind states and self pity.
  • That blaming and complaining is normal conversation.
  • That it requires being drunk, stoned, or otherwise intoxicated to really ‘open-up’ to someone.

It amazes me the amount of time and money people will spend on their appearance, while never considering what comes out of their mouth is really what gives their relationships life and depth.

If you wish your partner talked to you more, I wonder if there are skills you are lacking that could help?

Narcs are experts at dodging!

Narcissistic individuals have often learned poor conversation skills too, but usually in the realm of knowing how to lie to get away from this same type of emotionally demanding parent. “Yeah sure mum, I cleaned my room . . .  you are the best, I will see you later.”

This, while their codependent sister or brother sat home ‘taking care’ of mum (or dad) because dad (or mum) isn’t home (again) or has left permanently.

Do you begin to see how this pattern plays out?

In my better conversations series, I tackle the gap left in the lives of people who grew up in these type of dysfunctional homes.

How many hours each week do you spend on your appearance? Do you work out at the gym? Visit the hairdressers? Buy new clothes you don’t really need? Put creams and potions on your face, nails and lashes?

I wonder if there is just one of these routines you might swap out the time you spend on them, for working on having better conversation skills?

I personally have a wound in this area and so addressing this gap in myself took courage. My conversation skills are still a work in progress, but together I know we can all help each other stay on track.

As always I have collected the best research and information I can find on this subject. Today I want to leave you with these challenges to get started.

You can access my better conversations series by becoming a full member at The Love Safety Net:

Intro Special

Or paying a one off access fee of $8.95 here:

For fifteen years, the Coopers have offered themselves as humble guides and mentors, helping families avoid cynicism and chaos. Leading the way as peer support specialists whose own family has traversed love's dangerous terrain.
Taking you to that place inside yourself that you can't go by yourself. Helping you get back in touch with the power of love within you to restore the sanity in your marriage whether you stay or leave.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Thank you for the work you do. I’m sure you reach a lot of people, many whom may not acknowledge it, perhaps a little tangled in what they are doing, and slowly unknotting their lives. Trust that you are making a difference!

  2. Thank you – I appreciate the bullet points about what children/people learn from these experiences – especially “that blaming and complaining are normal conversation,” and “to expect uninterrupted attention for negative mind states and self pity.” This is really common even where no drugs or alcohol are involved.

  3. Thank you for this insight, Kim. I do notice ways in which uninterrupted attention for negative mind states and self pity are a part of my expectations. It is surprising to me how blaming and complaining are still considered normal conversation in my family (of origin) relationships.

  4. Thank you so VERY MUCH Kim and Steve for sharing your knowledge and wealth of info. You are reaching people touched by the challenging task of untangling unhealthy thinking and behavior’s. It’s truly lovely to see the other comments left by people. Many blessings to everyone here and may comfort be felt to those in moments of despair.

  5. Hello, I have been married to a narc for 22 years and just realized it. As you may guess I am exhausted. I read about it some time ago but brushed it off because the article said they cant change and I dont want to believe that. I always feel alone. I could be crying and nobody comes to my rescue. I think Im a very caring and loving person and I never got why I always felt abandoned. Thanks for giving me hope that things can get better…

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