I am really confused by some things, and could really use some objective advice. My husband is a very sweet man over all, he is warm and generous and responsible, etc. However, there is another side to him that I am apparently not coping well with.
Weíve been married for a year, and in that time weíve had some stressful things happen such as miscarriage, family illnesses and deployments, a death, the purchase of a house, etc. Anyway, I donít even think those are the issues. The thing is, we both tend to get very irritable with one another, over little things mostly like cleaning dishes and the like. I take responsibility for the fact that I can be very passive-aggressive sometimes, I get rather condescending toward him by rolling my eyes and things. I admit that. However, I have never once called him a name, or attacked his character personally. In fact I take great pains to avoid doing that. I argue only about the issue, and I always protect his feelings.
On the other hand, he will resort to calling me names and really trying to hurt my feelings. He calls me a "*****" and he makes fun of things I like to do. He has told me to go away before, to leave him alone, etcetera. I cannot tell you how much this hurts my feelings. From the very beginning, I told him that name-calling was absolutely off-limits, that he has to stop attacking me as a person. He sort of did stop, but instead heíll say "youíre acting like such a *****" as though thatís any different! I am so hurt by this, and I am losing trust in him all the time and I donít know what to do. And I havenít left! So are rules even possible in a marriage because he broke my rule repeatedly and Iíve done nothing about it! Because what am I supposed to do? Move out because he called me a name?
Perhaps the fault is partly mine. I look back and I see that prior to getting married, I always got my way in every relationship I had. If he disrespected me or did something I didnít like, I simply left and didnít look back. And inevitably, I either got what I wanted or found someone else. I realize now that I have no other way of coping with conflict but to turn up my nose and leave. And I am extremely sensitive to attacks on my dignity. For instance, if he says that he doesnít want me around, I would rather sleep under a bridge than be where Iím not wanted.
The other thing is, I donít know if it is worth mentioning because he doesnít have a physically abusive bone in his body Ė but his father disturbs me. His parents have been divorced for a long time, and Iím very close with his mom and learned of the control and intermittent physical abuse that led to the end of their marriage. I see in his father this extreme intensity and terribly competitive spirit Ė he has terrible road rage for instance, and he acts very authoratative around his current wife. He was also asked not to attend his childrensí sporting events if he couldnít keep his cool. I see these things in my husband, heís always looking for someone else to blame for things Ė always. He acts like a child and canít take responsibility for his own anger and shortcomings.
Now my husband was raised just as much by his mom, who is a wonderful, gentle person. I donít even know if itís worth mentioning all this, itís just that I see the same impulsive, childlike behavior in my husband that I do in his father. If things donít go his way, he gets very pushy. For instance, my husband will get annoyed by something, and Iíll just be trying to stay out of his way, and then heíll bark at me "why are you in such a bad mood? Whatís wrong with you?" and if I say "Iím not in a bad mood, you are" then he gets really really mad at me! And says "well youíre all down in the mouth, walking around like you just lost your best friend and Iím trying to enjoy my book" or something. And Iím so confused by this! How do I respond? Because maybe I am looking gloomy because Iím sensitive to how tense things are and I donít really want to talk to him! Does anyone else cope with this kind of thing?
This is probably making no sense at all, and I thank you if youíve read this far. I really just donít know where to turn. He wonít go to counseling, and honestly I donít know if I want to. He will NOT listen to any comparisons I make between him and his father, that really upsets him, and it seems like "talking it out" gets us nowhere. I just want to know Ė what am I doing wrong? Is his behavior normal in a marriage? Is mine?
Thank you so much for any input, Iím sorry this is so long.
I came from an abusive father so PLEASE don't compare him to his father!!!! It is a very mean and hurtful comparison. What he is doing can be called abuse if you feel hurt by it.
My wife and I had a similar problem so we both sat down and had a talk about what we were doing that hurt the other person and what we can do to help each other (like doing dishes and laundry). It is not easy to hear what the other person doesn't like about you but getting it in the open allows both of you to deal with it and try to make changes. We have stopped alot of the yelling and nagging and it has made our home a more happy and comfortable home. I don't like counciling because I don't always believe a third party should be involved in my life.
My opinion is that that is verbal abuse calling you the B word or even saying your being a B.I know how ya feel my hubby said both those to one time but it ended after that one time.It started out with "you are always itching" (B)
I told him I wouldnt put up with it that it hurts my feelings etc.
If I were you id demand this to stop now I cannot say hed go further but who knows.If he can get away with that how much further will he go he also makes fun of things you do? That is hurtful stuff he shouldnt be intentionaly hurting his wife.We all get upset sometimes and say things we do not mean,but this doesnt sound that way he has done this numerous times and you have told him not to.He hasnt apologized for it so I guess he doesnt even feel remorseful for it.
I would demand it stop and tell him to get counseling,I know you said he will not go but I wouldnt give him the option of not going.Sounds like he grew up with this kind of behavoir and doesnt realize fully how damaging and wrong it is maybe.The thing is if you let this go it may progress to worse.Obviously it bothers you a great deal as you have posted here.I dont think id compare him to his dad especialy if it makes him angry of course if he takes counseling the counselor will ask about his dad but maybe he wouldnt lose it on him/her.
He has pain im sure from all he heard and saw with his dad.This not something that you can fix he has to get help.
Last edited by tnmomofive; 01-19-2006 at 04:07 PM.
I understand what you are going through. I am in the same situation. Talking to my husband does not work. I have tried and tried. We have been married 10.5 years and nothing ever changes for me. About two years ago I told him I was leaving and we talked and things got better a week or two. Then he was in a truck wreck and everything went back the same. Now he keeps telling me that he is afraid that I am going to leave him yet he won't change anything about himself. I know I am not helping you any I don't know what to do myself. At times I feel like i have wasted years of my life. I am not saying that all of them have been bad but most have not been good. this is my second marriage and maybe this is the way marriage is. But i know in my heart that I know it is not right. I have a hard time talking to him about this because he has said a few things about what he might do if I leave him. I know this is not my concern but it affects me. Try to talk to him and see if you can make some headway with him. Sorry that I haven't been much help except that I know what your going through and I am sorry.
Also, you might try making the change yourself. You said that you are very passive aggressive in your interactions. I have been this way for years. My husband finally said that he didn't even want to talk to me anymore. He said that I dismissed all his feelings with the eye rolling and childish behavior. Why would he want to try to work things out with me when, if I heard something I didn't like, I rolled my eyes and dismissed his opinion? So, I have stopped. Guess what? He's a much calmer, nicer person knowing that I will listen to him without him having to yell or name call to get my real attention. I don't know if it would work for you, but you might give it a try. Good luck!
Thank you all so much for your thoughts, it is extremely helpful to get your perspective. Rubato, when you decided to stop rolling your eyes and being childish, what do you do instead? I guess what I mean is that if he says something rude, what do you do? Smile at him? Ignore him?
Things got worse last night. I had a project in the kitchen that needed completing (because he had asked me to do it and I wanted to make him happy) so I was doing that, and he said very rudely that he wanted me to watch a show with him. So I said "well do you want me to watch the show or do this?" Was that wrong? I was not being sarcastic at all, I swear! But he got really mad "what's wrong with you? You have such an attitude problem!" he says. So I said "no I don't, YOU have the attitude problem. Why did you talk to me that way?" And he walked away from me. I followed him and said "what are we going to do about this? I don't know how to talk to you. We need to go to counseling and learn how to talk because all we do is either start yelling or we are silent and won't speak at all" and then you all he hurt me so much I cannot even tell you. He said "just get away from me. leave me alone. I CAN'T STAND YOU." I slept in the guest room.
Is this my life? Am I this pathetic that I will stick around with someone who can't stand me? What do my marriage vows mean when things like that are said? When we said 'for better or for worse' - did that include this? I love him, but I love my pride more. I don't want to lose him, but I don't want to turn into a doormat either and wind up with him having no respect for me and cheating on me and me being someone who is just in his way. Confused, I'm so sorry you are going through the same thing, and for 10 years! I just don't know. Does it seem like your husband is content with the way things are? Why don't men want to talk things out and solve problems?
Yes he is content with everything. I do everything for him and I know that it is my fault. I like to do things for people but I am getting taken advantage of and it is getting old. He says that it is all my problems because he doen't have any. He can't see things my way at all. I see things from his point of view and most of the time I don't agree. I have kept quite so long that it almost doesn't matter any more. I just keep thinking that life is to short not to be happy. I took vows to but when is enough enough? I love him but he loves himself and his family more than me. Or he would care enough to changes some of the things that are wrong. I have worked on my problems and have gotten better but he has not. so when do you say I have tried so long and it is not working and be done with it.
I'm sorry to say this, but yes it does sound like abuse, and it also sounds like he may have BPD, borderline personality disorder. He reminds me of my ex boyfriend. Please check out some of the threads on the personality disorder board and see if it sounds like your situation.
And p.s. I don't agree with the poster who thinks all you have to do is stop rolling your eyes. Don't take the blame for your husbands bad behavior.
I agree with Art....your husband IS NOT his father and shouldn't be compared. It DOES sound as if he is dealing with some personal issues within that are being projected onto you......I am in no way advocating such behavior but trying to interpret it for you.
Why does he do this....most likely it is due to some sort of insecurity within himself which NEEDS to be worked through.
If I amy suggest one thing.....it would be to not react in a similar fashion with snide remarks....rather, tell him that you do not deserve to be addressed in such a deragatory way and then tell him that if he continues to do so, you will leave the room. Giving him a clear response of what you intend to do in response to his negative behavior will show him that if he wants to have your company (eg: to watch a TV program with him) then he will have to entise you in a positive way such as commenting on how nice it is to see you working on the kitchen and luring you away with a hug and comment on how you need a break and he would love your company. He needs to see that positive will get positive & negative will get negative. Try this for a period of time and see what happens. Sometimes a little change in our behavior will generate the same in another.
If this does not work or seems to worsten things, then I agree with Rosequartz that perhaps there are other issues involved that need looking into.
Remember....you deserve love & respect and so do all those that you interact with in life.
Giving him a clear response of what you intend to do in response to his negative behavior will show him that if he wants to have your company (eg: to watch a TV program with him) then he will have to entise you in a positive way such as commenting on how nice it is to see you working on the kitchen and luring you away with a hug and comment on how you need a break and he would love your company. He needs to see that positive will get positive & negative will get negative. Try this for a period of time and see what happens. Sometimes a little change in our behavior will generate the same in another.
Goody isn't it funny that you sometimes have to train men like you would train a dog? LOL and yes I AM rolling my eyes