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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I'm a recovering "nice guy", trying to figure out the best way to deal with my wife's moods. We've been married for 5 years and have always fought a lot, always over very minor things. Even she admits we don't really have any real problems. However, when I do something that annoys her (especially when she is in a mood, is tired, or has other things bottled up), she goes from 0 to 100 in seconds and nothing do can calm her down. She would say a lot of hurtful things about me as a father and husband, stop doing anything that she was supposed to do (class, preplanned trips, meet-ups with our friends, cook, etc) and lock herself in the room. Trying to talk to her, no matter how calmly, only makes her even more incensed.

I used to acquiesce and apologize (even if I didn't do anything wrong), and beg her to move on, but that would just agitate her even more, and she ends up threatening not to talk to me even longer. We had previously gone for counseling where we were given the routine advice for solving squabbles - give each other space+time (20 mins to 1-2 hours), and reconvene to discuss later on. However, anytime I make her mad, she does this for the rest of the day (sometimes the whole weekend) - effectively putting everything on hold while she sulks, and manipulating me to give her her way every time if I want things to be normal.

Since reading No More Mr Nice Guy, I have been trying to stand my ground, be more assertive and not let her affect me. However, it doesn't seem to change anything. She gets even more mad at me for telling her off, and actually ends up giving me the cold shoulder longer than if before. I would be much more able to deal with her immaturity if we didn't have a kid to care for. Right now, if I want my kid to have a family day together on a Saturday, I need to make sure I don't say or do anything to piss off the wife on a Friday. I would be perfectly happy to let her sulk all weekend, if not for the thought of my daughter wanting to spend time with us together.

Outside of these moods, she is a fantastic mother and loving wife. I can keep the peace if I give her what she wants, but every relationship advice I read says that I should not be letting her walk all over me. Counseling did not work and she refuses to do more of it. I know that if I gave her any kind of ultimatum, she would go with the one that ruins the family. I don't think our problems are big enough for divorce, especially with a kid in the picture.

I know this is a lot, but I was hoping to get some advice on the following questions:
  • Does anyone have experience dealing with a partner like this? How do you respond to their behavior?
  • How can I prioritize myself and my needs, while also prioritizing my family and my daughter's needs?
  • Has anybody ignored the conventional wisdom of standing up for oneself, and just bending backwards for their partner for the sake of their family? Did the gains outweigh the losses long-term?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Hi all,

I'm a recovering "nice guy", trying to figure out the best way to deal with my wife's moods. We've been married for 5 years and have always fought a lot, always over very minor things. Even she admits we don't really have any real problems. However, when I do something that annoys her (especially when she is in a mood, is tired, or has other things bottled up), she goes from 0 to 100 in seconds and nothing do can calm her down. She would say a lot of hurtful things about me as a father and husband, stop doing anything that she was supposed to do (class, preplanned trips, meet-ups with our friends, cook, etc) and lock herself in the room. Trying to talk to her, no matter how calmly, only makes her even more incensed.

I used to acquiesce and apologize (even if I didn't do anything wrong), and beg her to move on, but that would just agitate her even more, and she ends up threatening not to talk to me even longer. We had previously gone for counseling where we were given the routine advice for solving squabbles - give each other space+time (20 mins to 1-2 hours), and reconvene to discuss later on. However, anytime I make her mad, she does this for the rest of the day (sometimes the whole weekend) - effectively putting everything on hold while she sulks, and manipulating me to give her her way every time if I want things to be normal.

Since reading No More Mr Nice Guy, I have been trying to stand my ground, be more assertive and not let her affect me. However, it doesn't seem to change anything. She gets even more mad at me for telling her off, and actually ends up giving me the cold shoulder longer than if before. I would be much more able to deal with her immaturity if we didn't have a kid to care for. Right now, if I want my kid to have a family day together on a Saturday, I need to make sure I don't say or do anything to piss off the wife on a Friday. I would be perfectly happy to let her sulk all weekend, if not for the thought of my daughter wanting to spend time with us together.

Outside of these moods, she is a fantastic mother and loving wife. I can keep the peace if I give her what she wants, but every relationship advice I read says that I should not be letting her walk all over me. Counseling did not work and she refuses to do more of it. I know that if I gave her any kind of ultimatum, she would go with the one that ruins the family. I don't think our problems are big enough for divorce, especially with a kid in the picture.

I know this is a lot, but I was hoping to get some advice on the following questions:
  • Does anyone have experience dealing with a partner like this? How do you respond to their behavior?
  • How can I prioritize myself and my needs, while also prioritizing my family and my daughter's needs?
  • Has anybody ignored the conventional wisdom of standing up for oneself, and just bending backwards for their partner for the sake of their family? Did the gains outweigh the losses long-term?

Thanks in advance!
Ah I am so sorry you have to deal with this!

My ex husband use to be like this. I always apologized even though I wasn’t wrong because I wanted to keep the peace in the house and I didn’t want to be in an endless fight with him, which it would of been.

I have no answers for you. When I started to stand my ground it was the beginning of the end of our marriage.

How does one draw boundaries on someone who is willing to remove themselves from your life? It’s impossible.

Can you be married to her as she is now? If not, then you have to fight like hell to get her to change and be willing to walk away if she doesn’t. If you can stay married to her as she is… then there is nothing you can do. I’m sorry.
 

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I may be wrong but it seems like the issues come up before a social activity or where she needs to do something for you or with you? Does this happen when it’s an outing that is something she’s planned?

In terms of how to deal with it, you don’t come looking for her, don’t go after her or ask her what’s wrong. (Unless you’ve reasonably done something wrong and she’s clearly stated what that is. That’s when you both talk, resolve and move on pronto).

So don’t engage until she’s ready to talk, don’t chase after her. If there’s a social event and she’s leaving you at the last minute, you go by yourself. If people ask why she’s not there, change the topic, don’t lie for her. If she was supposed to cook and throws a wobbly, you simply go out for takeaway or dinner. Just leave and carry on.

Look my husband can drive me crazy and I drive him crazy. But a simple, ‘Hey I’m angry that you did this, don’t do it again!’ Goes a long way.

Your daughter is probably better off not spending the weekend ‘together’ if she’s like this. And I can also see that you’ve tried to not engage and she’s getting angrier - that’s pretty common. So you simply remove yourself, have a good time with your daughter and if you know Friday is the day before Saturday, don’t tiptoe around her. You simply go out together. Don’t call to check on her and don’t answer her calls if she rings. If this keeps up you’ll eventually stop celebrating birthdays, socialising, etc.
 

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Your problem could be as simple as learning her love language (The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman) or as complicated as divorce. Whatever you do, commit to not living through the life of hell that she is dragging you through.
 

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The answer is you do not deal with it. You be DONE with it.
The only chance in hell that you have is you become stronger and more fearless than she is..... never back down. You aren’t this way by nature so it will be extremely difficult.
It’s not easy... but you have to determine how miserable you are willing to be before cutting her loose for good.
Have you tried some bat ****e crazy sex when she is acting up? Might be just what she needs. At this point anything is worth a try.
 

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As @Mr.Married said above, you don’t deal with it. You don’t put up with it, you don’t tolerate it.

That doesn’t mean get in fights with her, it doesn’t mean yell back at her, it doesn’t mean you name call, it doesn’t mean be insulting or tell her off, it just means you don’t tolerate it and when she’s behaving badly you remove your time and attention.

Treat her like you would a bratty misbehaving child. You don’t get upset or offended or hurt that an eight-year-old calls you a poopy head and throws a tantrum. You don’t get in a debate or an argument with the child. You just deal with the child non-reactively, and in some cases dismissively as to the bad behavior. Since your wife is an adult, you can’t spank her (actually maybe that would help...) or put her in timeout but you can remove your time, attention, validation and investment.

Never pander to her moods and never walk on eggshells around her. It destroys your own dignity, further decays the relationship and further reduces her respect for you.

If she’s acting badly and you need to remove yourself from the situation, take the kid out for ice cream/dinner/whatever. She’s not invited unless/until she’s able to control herself and be a pleasant adult again.
If you’re planning a family day, carry out your family day. If your wife throws a tantrum and chooses to act badly or in ways that threaten to spoil the day, take the kids and go without her.
 

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Also, you mentioned that she’s not responding to your new more assertive/less supplicating way of being. That’s not unexpected. It will always get worse before it gets better (assuming it does get better, it’s not a guarantee).

She will continue to push you and probably double down on her passive aggressive behavior before she accepts that it won’t work anymore. She doesn’t believe you yet. She does not believe that you’ve actually changed (assuming that you have).

She still sees you as the same week, nice guy appeaser who is just trying a new approach. She will probably escalate her passive aggressive (or openly aggressive) behavior to try and beat you back into your place.
Stay strong and don’t allow It.
 

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Yes it will definitely escalate 3-6 months a rough guide, for new changes to have an impact. Be persistent. She will pull out the big guns, keep walking away. She should then slowly realise her own pattern of doing things is not working and get some help for her own issues there too.

Remember again, like with a child, don’t ignore her attempts to try new things too and respond happily to them if she is trying. No need to point it out or talk about it, but a gentle hug or whatever works for you two.

Above all, a loving smile from you works wonders too, even when she’s being the worst! Smile, walk away and don’t fall victim to her emotional blackmail. Actually you being happy shows her even more you’re not going to be affected. If she sees you seething or angry or sad, it’s still a reaction.
 

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When she gets like that take a deep breath and walk out. Take your child somewhere or go for a drive. Don't react to her just walk away. Sounds like she may have something medical going on and may need medication to calm her moods.

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk
 

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I don't want to give any unprofessional diagnoses, but your wife appears to have BPD (borderline personality disorder). Check out the symptoms in Google and you will find quite a lot of coincidences between her traits and the ones described. I have been exploring the topic extensively over the last few years simply because I have such a person at home - my husband. Unfortunately, there is no way out but a way out of the relationship, to which I am not ready yet because of the oldest reason in the world - I still love him. Poor us :)
 

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Has anybody ignored the conventional wisdom of standing up for oneself, and just bending backwards for their partner for the sake of their family? Did the gains outweigh the losses long-term?

Thanks in advance!
I had done exactly this for about...6 years. I actively tried to do things to prevent his unhappiness. And I ignored the bad things, passive aggressive behaviors and selfishness so on and on. I refused to fight because I didn’t want to anymore. I didn’t have the energy and didn’t think it was worth it.

So how did it work out for me? It literally ruined my life. He became the absolute most entitled selfish prick on Earth. Luckily, he went completely off the rails and had an affair. Yes, luckily. The worse thing would have been if he didn’t have an affair and I still lived as some stepford wife for all time. I shudder to think.

Probably the most destructive thing I’ve have ever done to myself in my life has been to become toxically passive. And no, I didn’t do my kids any favors either.
 

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Does she have anxiety or depression? Sounds like if she gets triggered she will shut down because she can't handle having a mismatch between reality and what she wanted. I'm sure you have already talked to her (not during her tantrum, but at scheduled later time) how her behavior is unacceptable. In hindsight, has she ever admitted she is wrong? If not, this would be the first step to recovery. Once she has realized this behavior is destructive, you can offer to help her heal. Such as explain what would be the consequences ie. you guys carry on plans without her. Later when she throws another tantrum, like others have said, just carry on your plans without her. And again later on, address this issue calmly. Hopefully you can speak from a place of love and truly show you want her to be a better version of herself. Unfortunately, this will repeat over and over again for some time. But don't cave, and be strong in being the one of guidance.

Might also be helpful during the calm chat to say, wish you would've came. We missed you. We can try again next time.

(This was my mom. It was hard growing up with her and her tantrums. Fast forward 10 years, she had improved so much. So there is hope. Lots of work for all parties, but so worth it.)
 

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Show her that you have value as a person. The next time she throws a tantrum, speak kindly and calmly and say I understand where you are coming from but there really is no need to escalate to this level and I will not be subjected to this level of disrespect, then simply walk away, let her be a spoilt toddler. Show her that you are not engaging in this anymore. If necessary to a hard 180 on her to show her life goes on without her, if she wants to engage respectfully then that is up to her but you will not be losing any sleep. It is all about boundaries.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Ah I am so sorry you have to deal with this!

My ex husband use to be like this. I always apologized even though I wasn’t wrong because I wanted to keep the peace in the house and I didn’t want to be in an endless fight with him, which it would of been.

I have no answers for you. When I started to stand my ground it was the beginning of the end of our marriage.

How does one draw boundaries on someone who is willing to remove themselves from your life? It’s impossible.

Can you be married to her as she is now? If not, then you have to fight like hell to get her to change and be willing to walk away if she doesn’t. If you can stay married to her as she is… then there is nothing you can do. I’m sorry.
Considering how minor our squabbles are, I feel like I can make this marriage work if she just stops blowing everything up. Sometimes I wish we had more serious problems to fight about, she was a crappy mother, or something that would make it easier to walk away from.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I have some experience here, I may be wrong but it seems like the issues come up before a social activity or where she needs to do something for you or with you? Does this happen when it’s an outing that is something she’s planned?

In my case my mother was like this!

I remember asking my mother when we were older why there was always a drama when we had to go somewhere (like your wife, tantrums and then sitting down with arms crossed and refusing to leave the house, or refusing to get out of the car once we arrived. She would also be very rude too, other people would notice. And it seemed the more fun we had the worse she was.

She said she used to do this as a child to her parents and siblings too. Later during an argument, she screamed how she couldn’t stand all the attention my dad was getting because she was hopeless at talking and ‘why should I sit there and talk to people they’re so stupid with all their questions!’

So that was her lol, she was a mess. But it wasn’t really about my dad, if I took her shopping and had a nice conversation with a sales assistant she’d get all stroppy.

I have nothing to do with her now, haven’t had contact for about 5 years. we grew up like this, her own parents dealt with it and oh ‘You all have to accept me just as I am’. Except no thanks! It got much worse when she got older, instead of shutting herself in her room she’d actually leave for days and turn her phone off, that escalated into frequent threats of suicide etc. That was a long time ago, I drew the line when my kids were old enough to start worrying about her - hell no.

In terms of how to deal with it, you don’t come looking for her, don’t go after her or ask her what’s wrong. (Unless you’ve reasonably done something wrong and she’s clearly stated what that is. That’s when you both talk, resolve and move on pronto).

So don’t engage until she’s ready to talk, don’t chase after her. If there’s a social event and she’s leaving you at the last minute, you go by yourself. If people ask why she’s not there, change the topic, don’t lie for her. If she was supposed to cook and throws a wobbly, you simply go out for takeaway or dinner. Just leave and carry on.

When we tried this, that’s when things unfortunately escalated and she got much worse in terms of her tantrums - yes tantrums is what they are. A good therapist was able to say I was not to look after her anymore and to simply call her an ambulance if she was playing the suicide game. It’s emotional blackmail.

Look my husband can drive me crazy and I drive him crazy. But a simple, ‘Hey I’m angry that you did this, don’t do it again!’ Goes a long way.

Your daughter is probably better off not spending the weekend ‘together’ if she’s like this. And I can also see that you’ve tried to not engage and she’s getting angrier - that’s pretty common. So you simply remove yourself, have a good time with your daughter and if you know Friday is the day before Saturday, don’t tiptoe around her. You simply go out together. Don’t call to check on her and don’t answer her calls if she rings. If this keeps up you’ll eventually stop celebrating birthdays, socialising, etc.
Thanks for the advice!
This actually usually happens with things that I either planned or involves my family/friends. She does the same thing even when meeting her own friends too, though it is just less often because she is much more of an introvert.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Also, you mentioned that she’s not responding to your new more assertive/less supplicating way of being. That’s not unexpected. It will always get worse before it gets better (assuming it does get better, it’s not a guarantee).

She will continue to push you and probably double down on her passive aggressive behavior before she accepts that it won’t work anymore. She doesn’t believe you yet. She does not believe that you’ve actually changed (assuming that you have).

She still sees you as the same week, nice guy appeaser who is just trying a new approach. She will probably escalate her passive aggressive (or openly aggressive) behavior to try and beat you back into your place.
Stay strong and don’t allow It.
Thank you. This is a good point and a reassuring one at that. I have enabled this behavior since we got married, so I have a lot of damage to reverse. It's just so exhausting taking the high road every time while she is demeaning to me. Looks like I will just need to ride this one out.
 
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