The Teetter-Totter Syndrome


Ah marriage. Sometimes it feels like a meat grinder and other days like a taste of heavenly bliss. Sometimes the wife is in turmoil, other periods the husband is depressed. When one partner is down, the other pops up, balancing their relationship.

This this a true life example. At first glance, the relationship between Louie and Victoria looks bleak. Victoria, with low self-esteem and a victim complex, is in an emotionally abusive relationship. Louie, her husband does love her but he is a miserable man, struggling with cancer and  M.S. In an attempt to dull the effects of depression, Louie drinks. In addition, he resorts to verbal abuse, venting his pain on poor Victoria.

Yep, Louie looks like the bad guy sitting on the low-end of the teeter-totter and Victoria is good, suffering saint, running the household and holding everything together.

But then the teeter-totter shifts. Victoria injures her knee and suddenly, bam, she is now on the low-end of the teeter-totter. She does not like it one bit. She does not want to accept this shift in power. Frantically, this good little wife tries to stay in charge of her realm by hobbling around her house to do all the chores. of course Victoria finally breaks down in tears and asks her husband for help.

Louie responds to her requests! At first Victoria only asks if she is desperate but soon, without being asked, Louie is the one to pick up the morning paper at the corner, make his wife a cup of coffee and even cook dinner. Victoria bemoans the fact that her reign has crumbled and struggles to accept help. Yet, as she does, Louie continues to rise even higher on the teeter-totter. The balance of power has shifted.

Biggest surprise of all is that Louie drinks less and less everyday. Without his wife’s constant nagging or silent disapproval, Louie is free to change.

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14 thoughts on “The Teetter-Totter Syndrome

  1. Our life is not this dramatic…but our marriage can be compared to this. My husband and I are both choleric/melancholic personalities and we often have to be understanding of feelings even though these feelings are not always “reasonable.” My husband struggles with temporary depression every few months but I believe that it is his way of handling the great responsibility God had given him. I have had to learn that my happiness is in the Lord, and not in my husband 🙂

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  2. After a lengthy whine session with the Lord about changing my husband, He pointed out that I didn’t really want what I was asking for. His “bad” behavior made my own look pretty good. If hubby was to “straighten up” my rotten attitudes would stick out like a sore thumb! I hated to admit that He was right. I got off his back – began to work on my own stuff – and voila! A better marriage began to grow!

    Great case study. Thanks for sharing it on LBH.
    \o/

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