Words vs. Actions

So, last night our couples therapist laid out some "alternative" medical theories, including how not following doctor's advice about ovarian cancer had worked so well for her.  (I brought up the counter example of Bob Marely, who turned to alternative medicine for skin cancer on his foot and wound up dead.)  A lot of this was director toward my needing to stop focussing on negative things and to look for positive things.  

I explained that it was hard to be positive when I can't depend on anyone and I am constantly afraid that something is going to blow up in my face.  I compared it to a recent bus trip I had (the after a bad therapy session) in which the bus got stuck in traffic and then two other busses crashed right in front of us.  I was trying to be responsible and get to the work-related event on time, but something completely out my control happened and screwed me over.  It felt like a metaphor for my life.  It is hard to look for the positive when a tornado can erupt in our home with no warning.  A few days ago, my wife kept telling me she wanted to have sex.  That night, she got into a throw down fight with our 10 year-old daughter.  Our daughter had a tantrum on our bed and said she would not leave until we listend to her.  I said I was listening.  Oh, but Mom isn't listening.  I asked my wife to listen.  She would then say things that basically amounted to "OK, I will listen to her tell lies."  Our daughter then responded that she would not say her side of the things because her mother was refusing to listen.  Yes, I did not expect her to be honest.  But I thought that listening would help deescalate the situation.  My wife is all about escalating.  Result--no sex.

The words vs. actions is this.  I have said that I feel unimportant that that the dog is the only member of the family who respects me.  My wife seems to think that saying "Of course we respect you" is the same thing as actually respecting me.  I need to SEE respect in their ACTIONS.

When I was a teenager, my father (severe ADHD and OCD, BTW), would often lavish praise on how smart I was.  But he treated me like an idiot.  I would tell him over and over again that my car stalled, for example.  Then my sister's friend borrowed the car.  "Oh, he said the car stalls.  Did you notice that?"  Or when he bought this devise to convert a dial tv to remote control.  The channel number did not change when you pressed the remote.  He cleaned the coax cables with alcohol.  I told him that the channel number still did not change.  Well, I must have been wrong because he cleaned the coax connections with alcohol!  I explained that if the coax connections between the remote control box and the tv were the problem, then the channel number would change and the problem would be with the TV, not the converter.  Oh, no, it must not be problem because he cleaned the connections.  I was brilliant in the abstract, but I was an idiot in practice.  All of his telling me how proud he was of my intelligence meant nothing because he treated me like a moron.  My wife telling me that she and the kids respect me and believe that I am important does not mean anything if I am ignored and trested with disrespect.

The therapsist said that of course our kids think I am important because they look sad when I say something negative.  My wife brought up how our son is so upset because I say "Oh, God" when I get stressed (nstead of yelling and scream like she does.)  BTW, our son said "Oh God" in relation to something our daughter was doing last night.