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Discussion Starter #1
:(I've been married 20 years to my husband. There is no substance abuse, no infidelity, no physical or verbal abuse...nothing terrible. But, communication is horrible. Right now I've come to my office on a saturday because I was so uncomfortable at home. I was getting the silent treatment because yesterday in the car while he was talking I interjected something related to what he was talking about. (He was saying that someone he knows has a Phd so he's a doctor, I said, "all PhD's are doctors") When I said that he threw up his hands in a huff and I could tell he was mad at me. I said, "go on, I'm listening". He said, "I'm done". That began the silent treatment that continued today. This happens now and then and when it does I feel devastated. As I drove away I was sobbing. Before I left he said, "Don't ever talk to me like that again". I honestly didn't think I had said anything bad or used an attitude. He said it was just like me telling him to shut up. He said I never want to listen to him talk. I can't defend myself because I think its easier at this point to just say "I'm sorry, thats now how it was intended".
When I've tried to tell him before how I feel I have to watch what I say he comes back with how I'm always saying its all his fault and he's a ogre and I end up feeling guilty and resentful at the same time. He will not go to a therapist, he's afraid to open up like that. I'm willing, but I can't do it alone.
I feel like he takes everthing so personally (his own mother used to complain about that).
Times like today I want to literally run away from home. I've thought about divorce, but I don't want to hurt him and aside from this issue he's a good man. He supports my interests and he isn't controlling or jealous. I just feel like I'm in this state of vigilence about saying the wrong thing. I'm always anxious unless I'm alone. Some of this I know is my tendency to be anxious anyway, but this worry about saying the wrong this is breaking me down. Right at this moment I just feel sad and alone and wanted to reach out to someone. Thanks for listening.
 

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I believe it's impossible in talk to some magically "right" way. When relationships develop these arguments, it's because of each person's internal dialogue. You could have been completely silent and he could just as easily have gotten angry that you didn't act like you were listening. His reaction is based on HIS thoughts, not your words. His thoughts are resentful of you for some reason.

I think a lot of this comes back to a principle found in John Gottman's books. I think I read this one in The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Anyway, he highlights that the ratio of positive exchanges to negative ones is about 5:1 for successful marriages. He gets in depth about what constitutes a positive exchange, because it is more than just compliments... But if you guys have been married for 20 years, you've had that ratio in your lives before and could benefit from getting it back.
 

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This seems like a minor thing to blow up about. So I'm not sure why he reacted that way. It sounds like he felt disrespected. Perhaps this is the straw that broke the camels back. Do you think he feels disrespected about other things? Is he kind of powerless in life? Are you more successful than him?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Workingonme....I really don't think I'm more successful than he is. He might feel powerless or disrespected for some reason. I certainly don't mean to be disrespectful to him, but there could be some inner reason he took it that way. When I have the guts I will ask him about that. For some reason this particular episode really shook me up badly and I can't seem to stop shaking and starting to cry. Last weekend was SO good! This weekend SO bad. A good day goes to hell in one second flat. Maybe the straw broke both our camel's backs. Its so frustrating.
 

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Of course the disrespect I was speculating about might have nothing to do with you. Could be a boss. His mother. Your father. Anyone.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I understand and I agree. My own issues don't help either of course. Too bad we can't all be perfect, like dogs!
 

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Do you feel like you're going crazy because you feel like you're talking in a normal human being way and he makes it seem like you're a barbarian or an idiot?

Read up a little bit about personality disorders: borderline, narcissism, antisocial, etc.

Opened up a whole new world for me...Was very relieving to know I wasn't crazy.

If you want to add a book to your list, read "emotional vampires" and if the first 10 pages clicks with you you might have your answer.
 

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My husband and I have been having a very similar problem for the last few months. I feel like I have to choose the right word for a convernsation otherwise it'd become an arguement, which it often does. I'm starting to see the pattern and have addressed it to him, and he admits that he can be impatient and cranky when he's sleep deprived, at the same time tells me that it's my hormonal change that is making me hyper sensitive.

mam665, so I know how you feel. I hope your husband listens to you without getting defensive when you approach him on the issue.
 

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I can't really speak to your situation directly because I don't know your husbands background. But, I am somewhat like your husband, I think.

When I was a child, I was taught and yes repramanded for speaking up when someone else was talking. Not that my parents listened to what I wanted to say anyway.

My wife is bad about interrupting when someone is talking. Not just me. She has very little listening skills. If I start to tell her something about work, for instance, right after I introduce the topic, she will cut me off with something she knows about the subject or someone she knows.

At that point, I'm done. Whatever I was going to say is dropped forever. I won't bring it up again, unless it is real important that she hears it. Just as a side fact, at that point, I tune her out. If I'm not important enough for her to pay attention, then neither is she.

Dr. Phil said it the other day. "If you are planning what you are going to say, you are not hearing what I am saying"
 
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