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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Thanks to a lot of your posts, I'm getting a lot more clear on what's wrong in my relationship. I've spent a month of (practically) not confronting him when I'm hurt, and observing his behavior. The emotional distance has helped me see his behavior better. I think he's just irritable and controlling, but then blames me afterwards for... his own irritation, even when it has nothing to do with me.

Last night can serve as an example. He comes home, and I'm making dinner. He sits at the kitchen table doing something on computer as I cook. A while later I start to make green beans for the dinner. He sees me start, and I guess doesn't like the method I'm using. So he jumps up and says (in a rather irritated voice), "No! Don't do that. Give it to me!" He grabs the beans and starts doing them a different way. I let him and go ahead and finish the other dishes I was working on. But he's banging around in the kitchen now, clearly irritated. Finally I say, "why are you grumpy?" and he snaps back, "Because I come home from work and I have to make dinner." At this point, I said, "Hey, nobody made you make dinner. I was making dinner all by myself and you made the decision to come help, so that's on you." And nothing more was said. How did I do?

We had peace for a while. Then bedtime came. I go to bed earlier, and am playing around on the laptop. He comes to bed an hour later and is playing around on his phone (with his headphones on). Then he gets irritated at me again because the language test I was doing on the laptop has a short 2-3 sentence dialogue every 3 minutes or so. The first one that happens, he says irritably "Can't you turn that down?" It was not a nice tone. I say "yes, and I'm going to, but I'm taking a test and now I just missed the dialogue." I turn it down to the very bare minimum sound and continue with the test.

There's not another dialogue for a while, and he doesn't react when the next one comes up. Eventually, I'm almost done and there is one more dialogue. He gets mad again and snaps "If you are going to continue to do that, you need to go get your headphones!" The dialogue ends while he's talking, and I don't answer him (it was the last one, and I'm trying to remember it so I can get the test questions right). He says "Are you going to get your headphones??" Finally I answer "No, I'm not going to listen to it any more." I finish the test & put the laptop away.

Afterwards I tap him on the shoulder (he's still listening to his headphones) and tell him I would like him to speak to me in a less bossy tone when he wants me to do something. This pretty much sets him off. He snaps "Why don't you be more thoughtful. It should be obvious that it's rude to listen to that when I'm in the room." I ignored the fact that I was doing it before he came to the room, and simply said "No, it wasn't obvious... you listen to your language tapes all the time when I'm around. I don't mind it."

He snaps "It was bothering me and I asked you to stop!" I said "Yes, I don't have any problem with you asking me. I have a problem with your tone. You ask me in a very rude manner, very disrespectful and bossy. I would like you to treat me like an equal, not like a child or some servant."

He snapped "I didn't hit you! I asked you!" (He has never hit me, but once before in a fight he pointed out that he has never hit me. I don't understand it.) I said, "But I'm happy to do what you want, I would just like the requests to be made in a more polite manner."

Then he snapped "I had to ask you twice. #$*@ you!" (His emotion here is way beyond what seems reasonable). I responded, "That's not true. The first time you asked me to turn it down, which I did. The second time you asked me to get headphones. That's not asking me twice."

He continues to say "You were disturbing me, aren't you going to apologize for that?" (I was tempted to apologize, because that's how I've been brought up, but I thought I better not. I know from past experience that he won't apologize back. If I apologize, he "wins" and the fact that I was trying to bring up something about his behavior goes out the window) I say "I don't want to disturb you. Can we get back to the point I'm trying to talk about now?"

He sits angrily a minute, then says "Then talk!" So I calmly reiterate my point, "I would like you to find more respectful ways to talk to me." he angrily spits out "Yes." (I'm not really sure that's a response that makes sense, but I figure I better take it - it's as much as an admission as I'm going to get.) I lay down and go to sleep. So does he. How did I do?

I'm hoping you all will help me figure out if I did good or bad, and if there are better responses. But I am starting to feel that little of this has anything to do with me. The beans incident is a dead giveaway that this is all in (and on) him. He got his own self mad - I did nothing to provoke that. I was not perfect in the bed incident, I admit it. But ultimately the fact that he got so irritated in the bean incident makes me question whether the bed incident really had ANYTHING to do with me or my language test.

Caro
 

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You did a lot better than I would have. I wanted to take his head off just reading it! I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this. Keep your head up! You're doing nothing wrong; it is all on HIM!!!
 

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You did make a big mistake... you avoided telling him the most important bit of info. You were taking a test is a room by yourself; he entered the room and proceeded to interrupt your test.

Many problems like this can be avoided. Find a place in the home where you can take them that he is not likely to want to be, like a spare room not a bedroom you share if at all possible. Tell him ahead of time when you will be taking the test and for how long. Then have a sign you put on the door that says .. “Test in progress, 8pm-9pm” A good thing to use for this is a small white board and red marker.

On the cooking… before you walk away. Ask him “Do you want me to take is from here or are you going to finish?” If he lets you take it from there, good. If he continues cooking , then say in a very cheerful voice: “Since you are doing a great job at that, I’ll get the dishes caught up.”

With creative thinking you can probably stop a lot of these incidents from even starting.
 

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Just curious.. .what were you doing to those poor string beans that was so wrong?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
EleGirl: I was going to chop them up and include them in the risotto. He wanted them steamed and by the side. I know... it's really silly when you lay out the little details like that. :)
 

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I think you did fine standing up for yourself in a calm way. So kudos to you for managing to do that.

However, I question WHY you want to put up with someone who can't be civil with you. This can't possibly be how you want to live your life - do you really want to try to tiptoe around his explosive anger forever or until he hits you, which he keeps bringing up?

To me, every time he says, "but at least I didn't hit you!!!" only means hitting you came to mind and he thinks anything short of hitting you is a-ok. It also means, one day, he might not be able to control himself when hitting you comes to mind during a fit of rage.

IMO, he is emotionally abusive with you already. And one day might make it physically abusive as well. Are you prepared for that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
He hits me once and he's out of here. I am clear on that. Maybe the next time he says "I didn't hit you" I should make that line in the sand clear to him.

In the mean time, you're asking the questions I'm asking myself. Given that he can be so irritable and controlling, should I stay in this or not? There are good times, too.

We have a vacation coming up, and he's a lot better when he's not working (I think the work stress amps him up). I'm hoping to sit down and have a conversation about his irritability and controlling nature once we're a bit more relaxed.

I'd love advice on how to have that conversation!
 

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The string bean issue… my husbands (both) did stuff like that. Used to drive me nuts. So I did what I suggested. They took over they can cook.

It sounds like your husband has trouble handing his own stress. There’s a good book called “The Dance of Anger”. I learned some good things from that one.

Does he yell a lot at you can get in your face? Or is it more like the two examples he gave?
 

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not beans in the risotto how dare you!

sounds pretty good.
 

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You cannot win an argument with people like your husband. They only see their side. You can scream until you are blue in the face and they won't care.

Distancing yourself emotionally is the right thing to do as well as watching his behavior. You will start to see patterns and triggers. But even if you get a PHD on his bad behavior, he will still catch you off guard with nasty comments when you least expect it.

Sure, he has never hit you, but words hurt more, they leave deeper wounds. I guess it's time to ask yourself whether you want to live the rest of your life walking on eggshells. It's not easy to just leave someone but you do have your own life to think about. We get so little time, why bother with other people's neurosis?
 
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