My wife and I have been married for over 10 years, and I have gradually come to realize that she often shows poor judgement based on personal feelings about a person rather than factual information. Here are some examples:
- A financial advisor hurt her feelings, so she often makes poor financial decisions such as not paying her credit cards every month and borrowing against her retirement.
- She had a cyberstalker that, rather than ignoring/reporting/blocking, she chose to engage and confront the person (making the situation more dangerous) because someone who gave her advice about the issue made her feel scared about what could happen.
- Repeatedly breaks phones/computers/appliances because she refuses to read the instructions and feels like anyone offering her help is "talking down to her."
- A mechanic criticized her for not taking care of her car properly, so she doubled down to the point of even running out of gas and getting stranded several times.
- Getting lost and robbed in a foreign country because she refused to follow the directions of a friend she got into an argument with.
The thing is that she is very well educated (2 Master's degrees) and successful (prestigious upper management position). She can even repeat sound advice to her friends and family, but when it comes time for her to follow the same advice, she seems to automatically associate the information with her feelings about the person who presented the advice and reacts in an emotional way, rather than based on the factual merit of said advice. If she has a negative view of the person giving the advice, she will ignore/do the opposite. If another person attempts to provide the same/similar advice, regardless of how it is presented, she will typically react based on her perceptions of the first person who presented the topic, rather than subsequent information.
I have tried to bring this topic up with her and point out that this behavior (which she recognizes as harmful after-the-fact) has led to her not only making life choices she ultimately regrets, but has also put herself or family members in physical danger. Unfortunately, this is ultimately counterproductive because then she is angry at me and typically this makes these behaviors worse.
How can I communicate the importance of being self-aware of this reaction and putting checks on it without making the situation worse?