Talk About Marriage banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All,

I'm so glad I found this site. I'm a new member and looking for some advice. The advice I am looking for is how to communicate to my husband when he is being emotionally immature without triggering him flying off the handle and ways I can help him mature emotionally.

To provide a little history if it helps:
This is my third marriage. I have two children with my first husband. We married out of high school and were together for 13 years. We divorced amicably. The marriage counselor described our relationship as moving from a partner:partner relationship to a parent:child relationship.

Of note: in looking back, I know that during my first marriage I was the one that was emotionally immature.

My second marriage was a mistake. He was an abusive alcoholic that I didn't see until it was too late. When I left him, he took his own life.

On the first date with my now husband, I explained my history and that I came with baggage (to say the least).

I'm a remission PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder, type A personality.

Anyway, I love my husband very much. We now have a child together. After my second husband passed, I was in intensive therapy for quite some time and while I was broken and still bear those scars, I'm a much stronger woman for the gauntlet I ran. I am proud to say I'm much more emotionally mature.

The problem is, it's easy for me to see when my current husband is being emotionally immature. I know how to cope with it when it's aimed toward me... BUT, my first two children are teenage girls. My older daughter was abused by my second husband as well, and she suffered a sexual assault at a party. My younger daughter has aspergers and considers herself transgender. She wants to be male and is seeing a therapist for her gender dysphoria.

When my husband gets angry he behaves much like a teenager. As an example, last night after bowling, he chose to stay outside and shovel the driveway from snow. I was getting the baby ready for bed, taking a bath and getting a migraine (joy). My older daughter was at work. My younger daughter was watching a cartoon.

He comes in and tells her she has to stop watching tv. She says it's almost over. He says if there is 10 minutes left she can finish it. She says there is 30 minutes. He says, sorry, too long. I'm ok with ALL of that. She needed to head to bed and really 30 minutes is not "almost over".

The issue then comes with her being a 15 year old and getting a little snarky with her tone. The next thing I know he's yelling about how he just finished shoveling the drive way by himself. She's yelling he didn't ask. He's yelling he shouldn't have to. She's yelling that she didn't even know he was home (we came home in separate cars and he didn't really come inside when he got home).

By now, he's mad and yelling, she's starting to cry. She tells him he's being rude to her. He closes with a "if you want to be treated like a boy, you need to act like a boy."

At which point she is sobbing and runs to me.

He was adopted at birth. His sister is 1 week older than him. They were both adopted at the same time and raised, fundamentally, as twins. His parents were much older and had lived through the depression. When I've tried explaining the differences in parenting between those parents of the depression and today's, he gets mad and tells me that doesn't matter.

When I've told him he is behaving childishly and being emotionally immature, he flips out.

My younger daughter now wants to go live with her father.

My older daughter tolerates my husband. They have issues because he has a "parking space" in the driveway and if she parks in his spot or blocks his spot in anyway, he starts calling and texting all of us and comes into the house pissed off because she was in, "his spot".

oy... I am concerned about our baby. I know I have issues. I know sometimes in an argument my tone becomes condescending. I am not perfect. I always tell him I love him, even in the heat of an argument, I tell him that it's because I love him and want to make things right that we are arguing.

When he gets mad at me, he just walks away and sulks and pouts in the computer room.

I've mentioned counseling before just for healthy marriage communications. He hasn't bitten.

I've taken him with me to my daughter's therapist for some family discussions. But that's not therapy helping him learn coping techniques.

I've told him that it's important to recognize how you are feeling, address it, and then let it go. He tells me he can't do what I do. *sigh*

I'm starting to get tired and frustrated. How can I get him to understand that if he were to behave like the 40 year old man he is and not drop to the level of a 14 year old boy.... the children would respect him and behave much better?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,869 Posts
How long were you two together before you married? How was he introduced in as a step-dad? How was he towards them before marriage?

There is always going to be some tension with blended families, you two need to sit down and come up with house rules with the kids so you are both on the same page.

Try not to parent him or therapy him. Telling him stuff like he's being "emotionally immature" or that he should "recognize how you are feeling, address it, and then let it go" is not likely to be productive. Not that it's not true but it's the way it's said, like you said, condescending. It will instantly turn into defensiveness.

Specifically, what about the exchange with your younger child bothered you? The comment about being treated like a boy is out of line, the therapist dealing with that aspect of things should be able to help you guys with that.

The rest just seems like typical teenager/parent crap. Stuff like being in his parking space, you should also be telling her to not do it and be on his side.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,247 Posts
The rest just seems like typical teenager/parent crap. Stuff like being in his parking space, you should also be telling her to not do it and be on his side.
AGREE!

When it comes to marriage PLUS teenage daughters in the house, I do not think there is such a thing as emotional maturity.

I recently told my daughter she needed to brush the tangles out of her hair after showering and not goto bed that way. YES, and I know when I was teenage boy I had long hair, and I actually know how to care for it as my daughter's hair is almost the same as mine was when I was a teenager. She will not listen to me! She rebels and tells me she likes her hair uncombed. Then she goes and texts all her friends that I told her she was ugly and that no one will ever love her (that is how she felt, when all I actually said was for her to brush her hair). Then I get fussed at by my wife to NEVER tell our daughter when she has to brush her hair because I do NOT understand how teenage girls feel about those things.

...anyway, like I say, I do not think it is possible to be emotionally mature when dealing with teenage kids.

Badsanta
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for your thoughts. And you are right. After being in intensive therapy, my vocabulary and approach to some statements sounds almost like my therapist sounded to me... I've learned not to use those phrases and terms anymore. Finally, sometimes I'm a block head. We were together for two years before we got married. The girls were tweens. He struggled and had moments of not knowing how to handle them. But he did ok. We have sat down and discussed house rules, but part of the problem is he will make a proclamation like, "you need to make the children do x,y,z" and then walk away. Then when I haven't made them do it, or they do not do it to his standards, he gets mad.

THe real issues didn't start until we were all living together in the same house. I'm not a housekeeper. My children are definitely not housekeepers. My daughter will leave a bowl on the couch. He will walk by and tell me to tell her to pick it up. I tell her. She forgets. He gets mad. He tells me to tell her to clean the litter box. I tell her. She forgets. He gets mad, he says he's going to go put the dirty litter box in her room. He tells me to tell them to load the dishwasher. I do, they do. He goes and checks it. Sees that they didn't load it the way he likes and gets mad.

The point is, it's not his point that I disagree with. Yes, the children need to pick up after themselves. Yes, they should load the dishwasher. Yes, they should contribute to the house. I have told my daughter that he has every right to claim a spot in the driveway and she can respect that and park in a variety of other places. I tell her if she parks in his spot, he will be unhappy about it. So she's slowly gotten the picture and just doesn't park there... but teenagers... ugh. Nothing is quick and easy.

Really, I appreciate his desire to have my children more involved. I guess where my issue is... is his methods. Last night, if he wanted help shoveling... why didn't he just come in and ask? Why get mad about it and then lash out at her? She had a point, she didn't know he was home, he didn't ask for help... why did she deserve the anger and tone? His tone becomes very harsh and abrasive. The kids misread it a lot.

If he had come inside and said, "hey kiddo, I'm tired and sore and I need to relax, so after I change, I'm going to take the tv from you." She would have said ok. If she had given him issue. I could have easily backed him up. BUT, when he starts making snide comments, yelling and saying hurtful things... really, I can't do much to back him up, because he's being rude.

He's right many times of what he's trying to get to happen... his communication methods are just horrible with the kids. If he could maintain his anger, speak calmly and not rudely, they would actually be more responsive. The second he starts talking with the foul mouth, they shut down and get super defensive. Both of my girls have their own emotional control issues so once the name-calling and yelling begins it is just a nightmare.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,247 Posts
He tells me to tell her to clean the litter box. I tell her. She forgets. He gets mad, he says he's going to go put the dirty litter box in her room.
Don't even get me started about this one. Our daughter begged us to allow her to adopt two kittens from her friend (we already had one) and we agreed, BUT SHE would have to be the one to feed them (we buy the food) and clean the litter box (we buy the litter).

Three kittens, one litter box, no matter how much we fuss, she will not empty it more than once a week. When she does she simply dumps everything in the trash and opens a new box of litter and dumps a whole new box into their litter to make it look clean.

She laughs because she knows it gets to where the kittens refuse to poop, and once it was clean she thinks it is hilarious that all the kittens run to it and start poopping nonstop!

Badsanta

PS: It is in the garage behind a kitty door, so we can't smell it on the house.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
609 Posts
Honestly, you sound unreasonable. I cant imagine that a mom needs another adult to tell her that a bowl on the couch should be picked up by the teen. Its the mom's job to follow through. Sounds like you dont want to parent your girls. You want to make your husband the bad guy. I really dont see any of his requests as unreasonable. Are you looking for an out on this marriage?
He is probably just at the end of his rope because he feels you are not doing anything to improve the situation. Cant say I blame him. I would develop anxiety if those issues were not dealt with. I wouldnt care how you do it but do it. Sounds like you arent doing anything to enforce the rules but are choosing to blame your husband for wanting some order.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Don't even get me started about this one. Our daughter begged us to allow her to adopt two kittens from her friend (we already had one) and we agreed, BUT SHE would have to be the one to feed them (we buy the food) and clean the litter box (we buy the litter).

Three kittens, one litter box, no matter how much we fuss, she will not empty it more than once a week. When she does she simply dumps everything in the trash and opens a new box of litter and dumps a whole new box into their litter to make it look clean.

She laughs because she knows it gets to where the kittens refuse to poop, and once it was clean she thinks it is hilarious that all the kittens run to it and start poopping nonstop!

Badsanta

PS: It is in the garage behind a kitty door, so we can't smell it on the house.
I know. Our cat likes to pee on stuff when she feels her needs aren't being attended to. Her litter box is in the mud room area next to the garage. My daughter has recently actually gotten much better about it. She's working at an assisted living facility and she's been cleaning the litter almost daily. It only took 10 years, but she finally getting it down!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Honestly, you sound unreasonable. I cant imagine that a mom needs another adult to tell her that a bowl on the couch should be picked up by the teen. Its the mom's job to follow through. Sounds like you dont want to parent your girls. You want to make your husband the bad guy. I really dont see any of his requests as unreasonable. Are you looking for an out on this marriage?
He is probably just at the end of his rope because he feels you are not doing anything to improve the situation. Cant say I blame him. I would develop anxiety if those issues were not dealt with. I wouldnt care how you do it but do it. Sounds like you arent doing anything to enforce the rules but are choosing to blame your husband for wanting some order.
Ooo, that's a spicy meatball right there. Actually, I don't need my husband to instruct me on instructing my children. They are 15 and 18. If I had a penny for every time I said:
"Empty the trash of your tampons, the dog eats them."
"You need to take a shower because your head smells bad." (my 15 year old).
"Please put your dishes in the dishwasher."
"You need to do some laundry, you are old enough that I shouldn't have to do it for you."
"You need to pick up your shoes."

Good grief, with a husband, three kids and a dog I'm always telling someone to do something. However, my husband has very narrow vision. Even if he just heard me tell the kids to do something, he makes sure to tell me to tell them or remind them. It's just a bit of his nature. Because I love him, I just nod at him.

Honestly, it's something I've been hoping he will work on and that we've talked about. It's rather that when he thinks of something, he tells me to tell the kids instead of him communicating to the children. So, if he's home with them and I'm at work and he wants something done. He'll contact me at work to have me tell them to do something. I won't even be there.

I don't really have to defend myself, my parenting skills or the little examples I share to provide a sample of context. It's not really worth the effort. I'll just say that I have great kids and a great husband. They are just on either ends of the teeter totter and I'm the balance in the middle.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
20,411 Posts
Hello All,

I'm so glad I found this site. I'm a new member and looking for some advice. The advice I am looking for is how to communicate to my husband when he is being emotionally immature without triggering him flying off the handle and ways I can help him mature emotionally.

To provide a little history if it helps:
This is my third marriage. I have two children with my first husband. We married out of high school and were together for 13 years. We divorced amicably. The marriage counselor described our relationship as moving from a partner:partner relationship to a parent:child relationship.

Of note: in looking back, I know that during my first marriage I was the one that was emotionally immature.

My second marriage was a mistake. He was an abusive alcoholic that I didn't see until it was too late. When I left him, he took his own life.

On the first date with my now husband, I explained my history and that I came with baggage (to say the least).

I'm a remission PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder, type A personality.

Anyway, I love my husband very much. We now have a child together. After my second husband passed, I was in intensive therapy for quite some time and while I was broken and still bear those scars, I'm a much stronger woman for the gauntlet I ran. I am proud to say I'm much more emotionally mature.

The problem is, it's easy for me to see when my current husband is being emotionally immature. I know how to cope with it when it's aimed toward me... Could you give some examples? BUT, my first two children are teenage girls. My older daughter was abused by my second husband as well, and she suffered a sexual assault at a party. My younger daughter has aspergers and considers herself transgender. She wants to be male and is seeing a therapist for her gender dysphoria. Glad to hear she is getting support for that.

When my husband gets angry he behaves much like a teenager. As an example, last night after bowling, he chose to stay outside and shovel the driveway from snow. I was getting the baby ready for bed, taking a bath and getting a migraine (joy). My older daughter was at work. My younger daughter was watching a cartoon.

He comes in and tells her she has to stop watching tv. She says it's almost over. He says if there is 10 minutes left she can finish it. She says there is 30 minutes. He says, sorry, too long. I'm ok with ALL of that. She needed to head to bed and really 30 minutes is not "almost over".

The issue then comes with her being a 15 year old and getting a little snarky with her tone. The next thing I know he's yelling about how he just finished shoveling the drive way by himself. She's yelling he didn't ask. He's yelling he shouldn't have to. She's yelling that she didn't even know he was home (we came home in separate cars and he didn't really come inside when he got home).

By now, he's mad and yelling, she's starting to cry. She tells him he's being rude to her. He closes with a "if you want to be treated like a boy, you need to act like a boy."

At which point she is sobbing and runs to me. I think it is actually good she stood up for herself. But her tears later on reveal her hurt.

He was adopted at birth. His sister is 1 week older than him. They were both adopted at the same time and raised, fundamentally, as twins. His parents were much older and had lived through the depression. When I've tried explaining the differences in parenting between those parents of the depression and today's, he gets mad and tells me that doesn't matter. How do you respond to that?

When I've told him he is behaving childishly and being emotionally immature, he flips out. He does not receive your influence very well.

My younger daughter now wants to go live with her father. Is this a reasonable idea? Would she be happy there?

My older daughter tolerates my husband. They have issues because he has a "parking space" in the driveway and if she parks in his spot or blocks his spot in anyway, he starts calling and texting all of us and comes into the house pissed off because she was in, "his spot". Have they discussed this?

oy... I am concerned about our baby. I know I have issues. I know sometimes in an argument my tone becomes condescending. I am not perfect. I always tell him I love him, even in the heat of an argument, I tell him that it's because I love him and want to make things right that we are arguing. You probably do not feel much respect for him when he behaves immaturely. It is normal that your tone would reflect that.

When he gets mad at me, he just walks away and sulks and pouts in the computer room. Which reinforces your lack of respect for him.

I've mentioned counseling before just for healthy marriage communications. He hasn't bitten. Does he say why?

I've taken him with me to my daughter's therapist for some family discussions. But that's not therapy helping him learn coping techniques.

I've told him that it's important to recognize how you are feeling, address it, and then let it go. He tells me he can't do what I do. *sigh* He does not sound motivated.

I'm starting to get tired and frustrated. How can I get him to understand that if he were to behave like the 40 year old man he is and not drop to the level of a 14 year old boy.... the children would respect him and behave much better? I agree.
He may not feel motivated to improve because 1) You tolerate his behavior, and 2) Your older kids are not his.

You seem like a very nice person, MG. And I think your daughters are pretty normal teens. I am especially glad that you are so understanding of your younger daughter. It must be hard to be transgender.

Imo, your husband's immaturity is definitely the problem. It does not sound like he is willing to work on it.

If you can learn active listening, that might help. Basically you reflect his feelings back to him by repeating his words to him or paraphrasing what he has said. Once he feels understood, he should calm down, and then you can help him understand what you think the heart of the issue was.

You have said you love him very much. Would you like to elaborate on that? What qualities drew you to him?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39,577 Posts
The problem is, it's easy for me to see when my current husband is being emotionally immature.

When my husband gets angry he behaves much like a teenager. As an example, last night after bowling, he chose to stay outside and shovel the driveway from snow.

The next thing I know he's yelling about how he just finished shoveling the drive way by himself. She's yelling he didn't ask. He's yelling he shouldn't have to. She's yelling that she didn't even know he was home (we came home in separate cars and he didn't really come inside when he got home).
Yeah, welcome to MY life. For 35 years, I jumped to help him in all his oh-so-important projects. Like he'd decide all the cars need to be washed, so he'd start washing them, expecting me to just drop everything and go help him. Because what HE decides is important is the only important thing. But after years of therapy, I've tried to stop being that crutch for him. And now it creates chaos and drama because, in HIS mind, I should still be jumping to help him. And our DD25 should, too.

So what IC taught me is to logically, unemotionally say to him "If you won't say out loud that you need help, I will consider you not needing help." It's really hard, but it is essential for the health of the marriage (and all other relationships, like his and your daughter's). And this comes from a professional. So it's time for you to go to him and say 'this is how it has to be from now on; it's the only healthy way for this marriage to survive.'

And then you teach it to the kids, help them implement it, and practice holding firm yourself. Teach yourself to stop getting tangled up in HIS feelings. Stop taking his crap personally. It's HIS choice to get all bent out of shape. He can choose to learn and change.

What my IC said was "you can continue to prop him up by making life easy for him at the expense of your own feelings, in which case YOU stay miserable and HE never learns and grows. OR...you can stand up to it, refuse to buy into his tantrums, let him pout, let him be left out, so that he can learn. You are a third leg to his stool, and you need to remove your third leg; stop supporting him in dysfunction. Once you do that, he's going to have two choices: ignore that you're done at which point he'll fall flat on his face and suffer, or accept that you're done supporting his dysfunction, fall, but then pick himself up and LEARN how to be a fully functioning, healthy partner who takes care of himself and is happy."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39,577 Posts
Honestly, you sound unreasonable. I cant imagine that a mom needs another adult to tell her that a bowl on the couch should be picked up by the teen. Its the mom's job to follow through. Sounds like you dont want to parent your girls. You want to make your husband the bad guy. I really dont see any of his requests as unreasonable. Are you looking for an out on this marriage?
He is probably just at the end of his rope because he feels you are not doing anything to improve the situation. Cant say I blame him. I would develop anxiety if those issues were not dealt with. I wouldnt care how you do it but do it. Sounds like you arent doing anything to enforce the rules but are choosing to blame your husband for wanting some order.
I also agree with this. You brought a LOT of change into his life and, honestly, it sounds like you and your kids are slobs. I DEAL with a slob - my H as WELL as my DD25. And I argue with them all the time about just CARING about picking up after themselves. And 95% of the time, it's ME picking up EVERYTHING because they SAY they will do it - and don't.

So I either become a nag they can gripe and laugh about, or I do it all myself. I'm surprised he's being THIS nice.

PS: bkyln, please use apostrophes! lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39,577 Posts
Ooo, that's a spicy meatball right there. Actually, I don't need my husband to instruct me on instructing my children. They are 15 and 18. If I had a penny for every time I said:
"Empty the trash of your tampons, the dog eats them."
"You need to take a shower because your head smells bad." (my 15 year old).
"Please put your dishes in the dishwasher."
"You need to do some laundry, you are old enough that I shouldn't have to do it for you."
"You need to pick up your shoes."

Good grief, with a husband, three kids and a dog I'm always telling someone to do something. However, my husband has very narrow vision. Even if he just heard me tell the kids to do something, he makes sure to tell me to tell them or remind them. It's just a bit of his nature. Because I love him, I just nod at him.
Do they do the stuff you tell them to do?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
First, thank you all for your feedback, I really do appreciate it! @jld


The problem is, it's easy for me to see when my current husband is being emotionally immature. I know how to cope with it when it's aimed toward me... Could you give some examples?


Yes, of course, let's see. I honestly try not to carry these words with me because I believe in focusing on positive energy.

* One scenario, I was laying in bed and he was in the bathroom brushing his teeth. I asked him that when he came to bed he bring me the chapstick on the counter. He said there was no chapstick. I said there was because I had just seen it and used it regularly. He said there was no chapstick. I said, can you look, it's yellow, maybe it rolled under something. He said, well, there's a burt's bees here, but it's not chapstick. Chapstick is a brand name and you don't have a chapstick here. (Note: He was not being funny, silly or trying to be humorous. He was dead serious.)

I said that regardless of the brand, my lips were dry and could he please bring it to me. I then said that commonly people might refer to an object with a name that has become so common that it now is just used. Like klenex. It ended up in a mild argument. Chapstick is chapstick. Burt's bee's is not chapstick. Both are lip balm, I should have said lip balm. Before it escalated, I just realized that in his frame of mind, he was being rigid about it and I needed to let it go.

* Two scenario, We were at my mother's house. Every time there was a discussion about something, he would interject always starting with a, 'no' and proceeding to correct all statements. He has a bad habit of listening to something I say, then saying, 'no, xyz' and he's actually repeating exactly what I said. I try and let him know when he does it and he'll acknowledge that he uses no like a crutch. Anyway, my mom, my kids and myself were kind of getting tired of all the nos and corrections. So, I calmly stated, honey, you are kind of doing that thing where it sounds like you are correcting all of us over and over. He got mad at me. There were a few comments between us, then he stood up, said, "Shut IT!" and walked out the door. I gave him about 15 minutes or so to cool off, then I went to talk to him. I told him that we can disagree, but I didn't mean or intend to hurt his feelings or make him feel threatened, I was just trying to bring to his awareness the way he was communicating and the responses he was starting to get. I also told him that telling me, his wife, to Shut It, in front of my mother and children was incredibly disrespectful.


He was adopted at birth. His sister is 1 week older than him. They were both adopted at the same time and raised, fundamentally, as twins. His parents were much older and had lived through the depression. When I've tried explaining the differences in parenting between those parents of the depression and today's, he gets mad and tells me that doesn't matter. How do you respond to that?

* At first, it bothered me, I do believe that parenting is part environmental and social standards. What is/was ok 70 years ago, is definitely not what is ok or common today. However, I don't want him to feel I am belittling him or devalue'ing his contributions. THe last time we argued and he said it didn't matter and he didn't want that thrown in his face. I said that I would respect that as long as he would acknowledge there are differences. We agreed to leave that alone and since then I've not referred to his upbringing. I do think that being raised as a twin by older parents has affected his abilities for emotional bonding. It is not something he is comfortable discussing.

My younger daughter now wants to go live with her father. Is this a reasonable idea? Would she be happy there?

* She'd be happy for a while. Now that she's older she will probably get along with her father more. He has difficulties coping when she reaches her emotional threshold and breaks down. Her maturity drops a good 10 years and it's difficult to know how to communicate with her. But,, she's also asked for a break from her sister. They are of the age where they intentionally pick at each other and my 15 year old doesn't deal well with conflict. My x and I believe strongly in allowing the children to say if they want to stay with the other parent, and support it if the reasons are valid. We do have conditions, like they have to finish the school year or semester. They can't get into an argument with a parent and immediately want to move, etc. Grades have to be maintained, etc.

My older daughter tolerates my husband. They have issues because he has a "parking space" in the driveway and if she parks in his spot or blocks his spot in anyway, he starts calling and texting all of us and comes into the house pissed off because she was in, "his spot". Have they discussed this?

* Ugh, well, they don't really discuss. He pretty much says, "That's my spot, don't park there." She rolls her eyes and says fine and inevitably she will park there. She'll run in the house and wouldn't you know it, he drives up. He texts with, "Tell her to move her car." She runs down the stairs and says, I'm on my way to work I just wanted to be near the house! He's so petty! THen she moves her car, he comes in mad. And proceeds to lecture me that she can't park in her spot. It was rough at first. I told her, listen, he's in a house full of women, we take up a lot of space. He wants to have one place in the driveway that is for his car. Let him have it. If you don't park there, he won't get upset about you parking there and it's not going to be an issue. She has been pretty good about it now, but it took probably 5 or 6 "episodes" for it to sink in.

I've mentioned counseling before just for healthy marriage communications. He hasn't bitten. Does he say why?

* Honestly, he doesn't. He developed some anxiety problems and ended up at the doctor and they sent him to a psychiatrist. She said he has that seasonal depression thing and that with step-children, pregnant wife, life stressors, he should be on something like wellbutrin (or something like that). She said that given our family dynamic, she would highly recommend counseling so that he could discuss his stressors and the therapist could empower him with some techniques to keep his cool. He never went. He told me we didn't have the money. Which is not true, but I didn't want to push him. He's particularly sensitive when it comes to finances and what he thinks is ok for our expenditures.

He may not feel motivated to improve because 1) You tolerate his behavior, and 2) Your older kids are not his.

* You are absolutely right here. I do tolerate his behavior. I own up to this very much so, I do not believe in trying to force someone to change just because I want them to change, I don't want resentment to develop and it's one of my love languages, if I share that I have an issue with something, I hope that the love is strong enough the person would choose self-improvement (naive, I know :) ) But, at the end of the day, when everyone is being decent to each other, his behavior is just fine. It's just when he gets mad that it tips the scales.

* You are also right about active listening. I have a hard time with that but it is something I could work on.

You have said you love him very much. Would you like to elaborate on that? What qualities drew you to him?

* We met online, after a horrible, horrible relationship (on my part). I'm a fairly dominant personality and I need a counter personality that is just as strong as mine so that I'm challenged. I need humor. I need stability and trust. My husband is funny. He loves me. He challenges me. He respects me. He wants to take care of me and make me happy and tries his best. He's not perfect. But I'm not either. Together, we are actually a very, very good pair. He's a linear, rational thinker. I'm more creative and abstract. We like the same games, books, tasty beverages, etc. We have similar sexual interests and needs. You get the idea.

@turnera, sounds like you had a great therapist!

And yes, me and my children are not tidy people. I fully own up to that and try my best. Of course, with a little one, I'm cleaning every day. Especially in places where he is. But, I've got a pile of clothes in my room, or stacks of bills in the office that haven't been filed. All our shoes by the door, etc.

Do they do the stuff you tell them to do?

* Sometimes, my 15 year old with asperger's has a problem with complex thinking meaning she can't always problem solve A to B to C. She gets stuck at A. So for her, if she gets distracted. If she "thinks" she did what she was told but didn't. With that said, it can't be a crutch for her. So with her, her directions tend to need to be very specific. And there are times when I can tell she's feeling overwhelmed and what I need to do is wait until it's passed so that she can focus on what I need her to do. Telling her to put the clean dishes in the dishwasher away is easy and she does that, I have to give her a time when it needs to be done by and 90% of the time it's done. Telling her to clean up the dog poop in the front yard... 100% of the time it gets done, but sometimes there's about an hour's battle before it gets done with tears and groans. Actually having a scheduled chore calendar for her, no. Doesn't work. We actually have to tell her what to do when it's time for her to do it.

* My 18 year old.... she seems to believe she never makes a mess and always cleans up after herself. But she's got a bad habit of leaving dishes around after her. I'd say 75% of the time she will pick it up when she's told. Part of the problem there is, she attends the local community college for her senior year of high school. She also works, a lot. She's starting a nursing program so she goes to school during the day and then works at an assisted living facility in the evenings, sometimes the over night shift. So the times that it appears to be the biggest issue is when we get home, there's a mess but she's not home. When I don't see her for 2 or 3 days... that's when it gets bad. In her mind, she'll get to that bowl when she isn't rushing. My husband thinks it needs to be done right that minute. Yes, she should have put it away when she was done, but by that time, it's in the past and I'm in the middle.

* Additionally, I'm a very "soft" mom. I'm not harsh. I'm not a good disciplinarian.

* I feel bad for my husband. I know it's not easy being a man just suddenly swarmed with crazy women. He cares for the children, but he doesn't know how to communicate with them. My girls are good girls. They are smart. They are caring. They love me, very, very much. They don't call me names. They talk to me openly about their concerns. *shudder* I mean, my 18 year old even went so far to complain about break-through bleeding while being frisky with her boyfriend. I told her I didn't need to really hear anything more on that topic, lol. I tell my husband that the girls are developing and maturing, their frontal lobes still haven't finished doing what they need to do and so their ability to monitor and control their emotions is still in flux. If we can demonstrate to them good emotional awareness and coping, it will help them, but it takes time and patience. I tell him that it is unfortunate for him, because he didn't know them when they were sweet, adorable little girls and see them grow and mature as they have. He came into the picture when it was pretty much the worse time possible for a new male influence to come into a young girl's life.

I can see the women my daughters will become. Even if my 15 year old just ends up living in my basement forever, I'm proud of the women they will become. I encouraged him to read, "Get out of my life, but first can you take me and Cheryl to the mall." My therapist recommended it to me when I was working with her on parenting my girls with a blended family. I also gave him Tony Attwood's book on children with Asperger's. Unfortunately, he didn't read either.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
20,411 Posts
You are a great mom. I will be back later, but I want to stress that. Love is more important than anything, and you have that covered. :)

I actually think you discipline well, too, in the way you encourage and guide them. I am telling you, putting dirty dishes away immediately and the time the dog poop gets picked up are not the things that will matter in the long run. Their feeling safe and comfortable enough to come to you for counsel is something that will matter. :)
Posted via Mobile Device
Posted via Mobile Device
Posted via Mobile Device
 
  • Like
Reactions: FeministInPink

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,058 Posts
* I feel bad for my husband. I know it's not easy being a man just suddenly swarmed with crazy women. He cares for the children, but he doesn't know how to communicate with them. My girls are good girls. They are smart. They are caring. They love me, very, very much. They don't call me names. They talk to me openly about their concerns. *shudder* I mean, my 18 year old even went so far to complain about break-through bleeding while being frisky with her boyfriend. I told her I didn't need to really hear anything more on that topic, lol. I tell my husband that the girls are developing and maturing, their frontal lobes still haven't finished doing what they need to do and so their ability to monitor and control their emotions is still in flux. If we can demonstrate to them good emotional awareness and coping, it will help them, but it takes time and patience. I tell him that it is unfortunate for him, because he didn't know them when they were sweet, adorable little girls and see them grow and mature as they have. He came into the picture when it was pretty much the worse time possible for a new male influence to come into a young girl's life.

I can see the women my daughters will become. Even if my 15 year old just ends up living in my basement forever, I'm proud of the women they will become. I encouraged him to read, "Get out of my life, but first can you take me and Cheryl to the mall." My therapist recommended it to me when I was working with her on parenting my girls with a blended family. I also gave him Tony Attwood's book on children with Asperger's. Unfortunately, he didn't read either.
So, I don't have any kids and I don't know anything about parenting, but it sounds to me like you're doing a good job with these young ladies. I'm really impressed with your oldest spending her last year of high school taking college courses and working in the assisted living facility some evenings; she sounds like she has her head on her shoulders, is focused, and moreover, has a kind heart. And I could see how there would be tension; she's almost a grown women, but he's treating her like a child. With everything she's doing, she's bound to forget to wash a dish or two, especially if it would cause her to be late for work or class.

From what you write, he needs to put in some more effort here. I'm disappointed that he didn't read the book on children with Aspbergers, and it sounds like he 1) doesn't like other people in his space, and likes everything "just so;" and 2) doesn't know how to talk to your daughters without ordering them around. He also doesn't know much about teenagers, either. You're right about their brains still developing. I read an article recently about brain development in teenagers, and basically the article said that teenagers make stupid decisions and do dumb things (which includes typical infuriating teenage behavior) because their brains are still developing, and aren't fully mature until around the age 25. So I think maybe your husband needs to practice a little more patience.

Maybe when they get older, they'll be a little more tidy. Maybe not. Not all people are tidy, and that's OK.

Sorry that I don't have any real advice to offer, but I did want to tell you that you're doing a good job. Chin up :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So, I don't have any kids and I don't know anything about parenting, but it sounds to me like you're doing a good job with these young ladies. I'm really impressed with your oldest spending her last year of high school taking college courses and working in the assisted living facility some evenings; she sounds like she has her head on her shoulders, is focused, and moreover, has a kind heart. And I could see how there would be tension; she's almost a grown women, but he's treating her like a child. With everything she's doing, she's bound to forget to wash a dish or two, especially if it would cause her to be late for work or class.

From what you write, he needs to put in some more effort here. I'm disappointed that he didn't read the book on children with Aspbergers, and it sounds like he 1) doesn't like other people in his space, and likes everything "just so;" and 2) doesn't know how to talk to your daughters without ordering them around. He also doesn't know much about teenagers, either. You're right about their brains still developing. I read an article recently about brain development in teenagers, and basically the article said that teenagers make stupid decisions and do dumb things (which includes typical infuriating teenage behavior) because their brains are still developing, and aren't fully mature until around the age 25. So I think maybe your husband needs to practice a little more patience.

Maybe when they get older, they'll be a little more tidy. Maybe not. Not all people are tidy, and that's OK.

Sorry that I don't have any real advice to offer, but I did want to tell you that you're doing a good job. Chin up :)
Thank you for your kind words :) I appreciate it. Last night he was in his closet and said, "I'm missing hangers. I think A (my oldest daughter) took some because when she was doing laundry she said she needed more. I should go in her room and rifle through her closet and take back my hangers."

*sigh* I told him there were a box of hangers if he needed more. (She obviously didn't look for them and just snatched empty hangers). But he wanted to show her what it was like someone going into her closet and taking hangers...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,058 Posts
Don't even get me started about this one. Our daughter begged us to allow her to adopt two kittens from her friend (we already had one) and we agreed, BUT SHE would have to be the one to feed them (we buy the food) and clean the litter box (we buy the litter).

Three kittens, one litter box, no matter how much we fuss, she will not empty it more than once a week. When she does she simply dumps everything in the trash and opens a new box of litter and dumps a whole new box into their litter to make it look clean.

She laughs because she knows it gets to where the kittens refuse to poop, and once it was clean she thinks it is hilarious that all the kittens run to it and start poopping nonstop!

Badsanta

PS: It is in the garage behind a kitty door, so we can't smell it on the house.
This is really bad for the kittens and their intestinal health; they will develop elimination and defecation problems later if this continues. They might stop using the litter box altogether, and once that happens, it's almost impossible to correct that behavior. The kittens are in physical pain and a lot of stress when they have to hold it in. I think it's time for you to engage your daughter's sense of empathy and tell her it's NOT funny how much pain she is intentionally inflicting on those kittens. She's being a bit of a bully, actually. (Even if she doesn't realize it. Bullies typically don't have much empathy for their victims.)

It's not about her ignoring her parents when they tell her to do something; she's being cruel to those cats. Tell her to clean up her act, or you're going to find new homes for the kittens. Teach her there are consequences to bad behavior.

I'm not trying to tell you how to parent, but I hate to see animals mistreated.

/end threadjack
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,058 Posts
Thank you for your kind words :) I appreciate it. Last night he was in his closet and said, "I'm missing hangers. I think A (my oldest daughter) took some because when she was doing laundry she said she needed more. I should go in her room and rifle through her closet and take back my hangers."

*sigh* I told him there were a box of hangers if he needed more. (She obviously didn't look for them and just snatched empty hangers). But he wanted to show her what it was like someone going into her closet and taking hangers...
OMG, he's like a fvcking child. Sorry, not sorry. That is an incredibly immature response! Very passive aggressive: "Let's see how she likes it when I take her hangers." I mean, if he buys special expensive hangers, I can understand how he would be upset, but if not, hangers are just hangers. It's not like she stole money from him. And in any case, he should talk to her about it calmly, and explain why this behavior is inappropriate (invading his space, taking what doesn't belong to her, etc), and that she is not to do it again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,371 Posts
Your husband sounds like my ex-husband in lots of ways. He expected me to correct all the behaviors he didn't like in my kids. He had a certain way he liked things and we couldn't ever do it right. He had expectations in his head that he would get mad about without ever saying out loud that those were his expectations. In the end, our marriage therapist told me that he wasn't capable of relationship. But here's some things I would do differently and advise you on:

It sounds to me like he now has some resentment built up. I would guess that he feels that you are on the kids' side and not supporting him. If you are like me I know you'd bristle at that assessment. I felt trapped in the middle, trying to make everyone happy. But I think if he were able to express that resentment to you and you were empathetic, it would release some of the tension and his flying off the handle.

The standard of picking up after yourself should be an expectation that the family members all have of each other. You have a meeting or series of meetings in which you decide what behaviors are acceptable and not in your family. And do it in the broader context of everything you expect of each other. One of the things on the list will be "take dirty dishes to the dishwasher as soon as you're done using them." One of the things on the list will be "Wait until your anger has subsided before you try to deal with conflict," and "If someone is yelling at you, you can ask them to stop yelling and if they don't, you can walk away from the conversation." Each of you gets a chance to say whether you buy into it and you talk about what the consequences will be if any of you don't follow the rules. That way, he is empowered to ask the kids to take their dirty dishes to the dishwasher himself. And he can get that he is expected, like everyone, to make that request in a calm tone of voice.

From what you described, it sounds like you try to therapize him, and I'm sure he just takes that defensively. When you "reminded" him about that thing he does in front of everyone, it was humiliating. He shouldn't say "that's it" in public (or anywhere) and you should remind him of agreements in private, not in front of other people.

And...don't just nod and go along. You need to start using your "I" statements about what works for you and what doesn't. If he doesn't like the way you all load the dishwasher, then he can give you all a lesson in how he wants it done, and if you buy into it, he can gently remind you if you don't do it in the future. But you have to say that out loud - "I think you have a certain way you'd like the dishwasher loaded but we don't know what that looks like. Can you show us?" My ex would get mad every time he would see the dishwasher loaded the "wrong" way. I nodded as if I understood but continued to do it the "wrong" way so now he thought I was choosing to do it the "wrong" way and it created more tension.

Of course, all of this is dependent on whether or not your husband buys into the notion that you are all people who should have a say in how the family should run. If he's old school and thinks that his word and whims should be scripture, then I can only recommend couples / family therapy and if he won't go, IC for you to start. I don't know how families recover from that. Ours wasn't able to.
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top