I read the original post and it felt I was reading something I must have written but had somehow forgotten as it sums up most of what I've been going through the past 5 years or so. My wife and I were happily living together for over 5 years before the birth of our son. I could easily count the times we fought or argued over this time on one hand, and even then I would only consider them mostly minor disagreements. She was loving, attentive and compared to previous partners surprisingly forgiving of my hobbies and interests. Shortly after birth, perhaps 6 months to a year later I began to notice a change. My wife became colder and much more critical of any and all of my actions / behavior. Before my son came along I would get greeted on my way out the door with a kiss and welcomed warmly after a long day at work. This all came to an abrupt stop. Where she used to include heart emojis and little "love you" messages along with almost every text conversation, most if not all correspondence became unfeeling and transactional. "What are the plans for tomorrow?" "Did you remember the wipes?" "Coming home any time soon?"
A couple years later I backtracked through all my text messages with her and could narrow it down to almost and exact day. To someone unfamiliar with my wife, if they were only given this one record to form an opinion I'm sure most would assume all the messages received before this particular day were from a completely different person. The contrast was that stark.
Since this time she has become increasingly accusatory. Every question seems to start with "Why do you always..." Outside of general small talk nearly all conversations with her begin with putting me on the defensive. I feel as if I'm being attacked right out of the gate, so of course my gut reaction is going to be to try and defend myself. She feels she has a right to criticize any and all decisions I make but I better be ready for the hellfire if I dare question her behavior or motives.
Although she can be very affectionate toward our child, when it concerns myself, there is no room for empathy, flexibility or understanding. I often feel like an enemy in her eyes, despite doing my best to hold our family together. I'm often berated, get ordered to do things rather than being asked if I could, and weeks can go by where I'm essentially ignored. She talks past me to our son as if I'm not even in the room. I will even make our young son uncomfortable although she never seems to notice. Our sex life is essentially non-existent and when if I attempt an intimate gesture of any kind, even something as simple as patting her on the head, I receive a curt "Don't touch me!"
Like some of the other posters here, I'd say that the feeling of "walking on eggshells" really sums it up. That or perhaps the feeling of sitting on a powder keg. I feel as if I'm just going through the motions until the next big blow up, until my next big perceived "mistake." No matter how trivial any misstep on my part may actually be, it seems to conjure up any and all past grievances. To make matters worse I see the same intolerance and lack of empathy directed towards our son now that he is a bit older. She will yell at him for long stetches until he's broken and sobbing for minor issues such as not having all of his homework done that day before the time she was planning to go somewhere. The other day after she layed into him again he asked me, "Dad, why is Mom so scary? Why does she always get so angry?" He asked me if he could get a new mother, or suggested we should live separately like some of his school friends in divorced families, even though at the age of 6, the word "divorce" evaded him. A six year old asking his parents to divorce because Mom is too scary and he's afraid of her? This really hit me hard. I'm an adult and can take the abuse regardless of how unhappy it makes me, but I can't let this behavior go unchecked when it's directed at my son. If anything else I want to provide a happy, healthy life for my boy but I feel my wife and her anger issues are undermining everything. I don't want to break the family up, but us maintaining this marriage is going to have a greater negative effect on my child's well-being than if we split, then perhaps that's my only real choice.
I've been seeing a therapist for some time. I never felt the need until this change occurred in my wife and her constant berating began making me second guess myself. It was shortly after this that I was diagnosed with adult ADHD. I know this in and of itself could be a significant point of frustration for my wife, but then again I've always been this person. If anything I should have been more frustrating to her prior to my diagnosis, when I had no name to put to my shortcomings and had not developed the tools I have now to cope. I hoped perhaps she would be more understanding, but instead I felt her grow resentful, as if she thought I was trying leverage the diagnosis as an excuse. The peculiar thing is, she had no problem excepting the person I was when we got married and all the years before our child was born. Even now, I try my best to make her feel good about herself, tell her I love her, and take care of more than my equal share of household responsibilities, but I can't even remember that last time I was paid a compliment by her or even given a "thank you" for going out of my way. It's as if anything and everything I do for her is just expected, and everything is all my fault if anything doesn't go according to the way it was all planned out in her head.
I've tried suggesting she see someone or get help, but she refuses to believe that there is anything wrong with her. By seeing someone, she runs the potential risk of being told by a third party that her behavior isn't reasonable, or that she does need help. I don't think she'd ever agree to allow for that possibility and she backs this up by claiming that she's essentially perfect / superior to most people.
I really don't know where my loving, attentive wife went. Like many others here, my wife has no close friends to speak of. Sure she has a number of work acquaintances and such, but no one I would consider a real friend or anyone outside our relationship she spends time with or shares her feelings with. She will put on a mask and feign kindness in social situations or when my friends and family are around. I feel I'm stuck in a house with an abusive raging tyrant, who unfortunately also happens to have co-guardianship of my child. It's a nightmare situation, and causing me all kinds of constant anxiety, depression and sleeplessness. To be honest, its been going on now for about 6 years and I'm not sure how much longer I can continue like this.