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An effective punishment -- for my partner

(66 Posts)
TheMidnightHour Sun 06-Jan-13 22:34:39

Perhaps I'm being unreasonable (go ahead and say so if I am) or maybe he's unusually clumsy, but my partner seems to manage to break, damage or ruin a surprisingly large number of my precioussssssss things. Most things I'm fairly laid back about (he can smash all the glassware he likes), but there are a few things I'd like to keep nice (souvenir tea towel first ever use to wipe out half-washed fry-up pan). Or functioning (saved-for knitting needle set sat on and snapped). Or intact (my sanity, severely frayed by events I'm about to relate).

Today, ferinstance, I was blocking a lace shawl (for those who don't knit, this represents perhaps a hundred hours work and blocking is the very last stage of making it beautiful. Imagine a delicate cashemere sweater if that helps you wince properly in a minute) and asked for a little help. In a cock up of slapstick proportions, he managed to drag an angry cat across the lace.

So the shawl is in time out, as I'm not sure it can be fixed without undoing and redoing a quarter of it (so, 25 hours work to redo, plus the border, plus careful undoing of at least another couple hours) and I'm not going to bed as I'm still mad at him.

The thing that bugs me about this is that he screws up, says 'Oops, I'm sorry, it was an accident' and gets to wander off while I fix it. Honestly, I really want to throw it in his face (it's got about 50 dressmaker's pins in it at the moment, if I was feeling kinder I'd take those out first) and scream. And maybe smash a few of his preciousssssssssss things for a change.

But that doesn't seem very reasonable. Still, the idea of some sort of punishment is awfully tempting - I'd love to be able to drive home exactly how pissed off and upset I am without actually screaming loud enough to wake the rest of the household up. And ideally without resorting to the pettier thoughts going through my mind, like dragging an angry cat across him, to see how he likes it...

Any help??

Arithmeticulous Mon 07-Jan-13 08:10:21

I used to live with a bloke like this - constantly breaking stuff when he washed up, everytime he used the washing machine things turned out the wrong shape/colour even though he swore he'd done exactly what he was supposed to, we couldn't have bleach in the house because he'd pour it on something, he'd leave a hot tap running and then go away for 3 days - i'd come back to a steamy house, clanking boiler and no hot water. "My bad" was his usual response. It was worse than dealing with a child. He'd also sit on things.

I had to finish it in the end, I got so stressed at wondering what was going to go wrong next. And he had a high powered job and a scratchless car - so his 'forgetfulness' felt targeted ... he didn't dent his car or break things at work.

kiwigirl42 Mon 07-Jan-13 08:33:09

oh my fucking god! leave the bastard! I'm a knitter and are not sure I'd recover. in fact I'm surprised you didn' t assassinate DH and cat on the spot.

TheMidnightHour Mon 07-Jan-13 08:39:08

Thanks for cheering me up last night, I needed to be able to get a bit of distance because it is such a lot of work which has been ruined, and it was rather too late at night to phone a friend.

He is really sorry this time, I think he's realised that this one was a biggie, and can't be fixed easily.

I know it was an accident - I just find it frustrating how often these happen, and I wish there was some way to avoid them or for him to make amends in a reasonable way, as I don't trash his stuff (again, not with any great effort on my part, it just doesn't happen). I think it's like being automatically neat / seeing the dirt in the bathroom / hating sprouts / marmite etc - whichever side you're on, it's hard to understand the other.

I believe there are other ways to express being angry / upset / frustrated / happy / excited than by yelling - they just weren't modeled much in my house! (Very loving family, just loud.) So alternatives seem a little forced/fake to me as I have to reach for them. But I love him very much, and he loves me too and is a really good guy (yeah, I was ranting earlier, perhaps I should have made that explicit?) so try to keep things at a volume which doesn't make him twitch.

Cat was cross as she'd managed to sneak into spare room (where she isn't supposed to be) and sleep on the bed (not allowed) and got suddenly removed when spotted (decided to come see the knitting and all the shiny pins, am just glad I was there when she took a look, so many pins and she'll lick / rub against anything...). Her terrible punishment was to be put out half an hour early -- I think she'll be fine.

delilah88 Mon 07-Jan-13 09:51:43

Why don't you sew a 6th finger onto one of the gloves and then insist he wear them every day not to hurt your feelings? After the winter you can tell him that the sixth finger was his cross to bear for ruining your knitting.

PurplePidjin Mon 07-Jan-13 10:02:27

Ah, see I'm a firm, quiet fury person - but trashing something like your shawl would provoke a rare (years between them) screaming fit tbh!

fiventhree Mon 07-Jan-13 10:56:01

My h used to do this really annoying thing, where he would lose something we needed, and if I asked what had happened to/where was ...., he would just shrug and deny all knowledge.

I put up with this rather crossly for a long time. Finally I had a tantrum and pointed out that I understood quite clearly that it just meant "I've lost it; you find it", I'm too important ". It would often be a school letter or a bill or something we really needed to find.

He does it far less now, and when he does I leave the issue with him more often . Those sorts of examples are just about refusing to take responsibility. Breaking lots if stuff might mean the same eg I can't be bothered to worry about your time/things/effort.

MissingInAct Mon 07-Jan-13 11:07:01

My experience with a DH who can't cope with shouting at all.

You learn. You just learn to express yourself in a different way, wo shouting. It feels wrong to start with, I felt like a fraud and I was convinced DH couldn't get how important it was when I am speaking like this.
Turns out he actually listen more when I manage to stay calm.

For things that are important to you, put them away. As you are normally tidy, it should be easy for you. Make it clear what is important to you (eg this tea towel but not the others). Don't mix important and unimportant stuff (eg tea towel again).
Oh and let him sort out the problem he has created (Ok not feasible for your knitting) but you see what I mean.
A needle has been broken. He is going to buy a new one.
Tea towel really dirty, he is the one to clean it.
etc...

Lueji Mon 07-Jan-13 11:19:32

I agree with Missing.

Ideally, we would all deal with eachother without shouting anyway.

And some accidents can be avoided by us being a bit careful with our things as well (eg. knitting needles on sofa).

Regarding the knitting, why were you dealing with it within reach of the cat, if it was that precious?

delilah88 Mon 07-Jan-13 11:20:23

Also try using analogy. Your knitting may seem small to him but explain that it is like if he'd just painted the whole outside of your house and then you threw a bloody mary out of the attic window.

HilaryClinton Mon 07-Jan-13 11:50:02

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

ouryve Mon 07-Jan-13 11:51:08

I was about to ask wh the hell you'd want to punish your partner, until I read what he did shock

He owes you bigtime.

Lueji Mon 07-Jan-13 12:02:14

Actually, what did he do? hmm

There was an angry cat around a precious shawl (why???) and, apparently, while trying to protect said shawl, H managed to make it worse.

I usually put the cat away in "his" room when I have to deal with potential disasters (recent examples: sofa being delivered, and cat loving to be around people's legs, or sofa being treated and cat loving to sit on it).

Did your H pick up the cat and drop it on your shawl, or did he scare the cat?

And why on earth would you ask an accident prone person to help you with delicate and precious stuff?

Thumbwitch Mon 07-Jan-13 12:03:14

No need for that, Hilary shock

PurplePidjin Mon 07-Jan-13 12:09:41

Delilah, more like he restored a classic car and she spilled paintstripper on it!

I like analogies...

He trained for a marathon, she lost his running shoes the night before the event.

He saved for a year to buy an iPad, she spent the money buying cocktails for strangers on a girl's night out

Then shrugged, said "Oops, sorry" and expected to carry on as usual

Lueji Mon 07-Jan-13 12:12:28

We need the full story from the OP before deciding whose fault it actually was.
I'm not convinced it was 100% the husband...

fuckadoodlepoopoo Mon 07-Jan-13 12:14:34

You might be need to accept that he's clumsy. I have a couple of clumsy people in my family and it drives me crazy. I have since learnt that the carelessness can be a sign of an attention deficit problem which is something i already suspected those in my family to have. So they can't pay attention to everything at once so things get trod on, forks get swept into the bin along with the food off a plate, they walk in the road without looking, cant seem to see things right under their nose, can't do stuff in an ordered way etc etc etc.

Drives me nuts.

mistlethrush Mon 07-Jan-13 12:18:05

I was also thinking 6th finger on gloves.... grin

As a terrible clumsy oaf myself op, I do have some sympathy for your dh and am a little surprised that knowing him as you do you let him anywhere near your laceworkshock

Dh probably thinks I am too laissez faire about my many misshaps but what can I do? I hate the fact that I have broken his Liverpool mug and I dropped the digital camera in the sea and spilt coffee on his keyboard (in the last year) and countless other things over the yearsblush blush blush blush blush But when you do these things and it is NOT on purpose the embarrassment turns inward and you have to put a brave face on it or never get out of bed again for fear of the next disaster. This is purely my experience and obv your dh may be an utter arse and all that but being a clumsy twat is a curse I tells you, I certainly don't feel good about it,sad

RabidCarrot Mon 07-Jan-13 13:09:24

Personally I would get the think he loves most and ruin it, say "oops sorry it was an accident" and walk away, repeat until he learns some respect or stops being such a clumsy moron

HellonHeels Mon 07-Jan-13 13:32:38

I am really shocked by some of the posts on this thread - revenge; deliberately damaging a partner's things of value; "bitch"; "moron"

shock

HellonHeels Mon 07-Jan-13 13:34:46

Bigmouth are you really laissez faire about the mishaps and stuff you've broken of DP's? What did you do when you broke them? Apologise and replace or just shrug it off?

How much of your own stuff do you damage?

fuckadoodlepoopoo Mon 07-Jan-13 13:48:45

Someone who is naturally very clumsy (like my relations i mentioned up ^ there) can't just learn not to be! And punishing them isn't going to help them learn to be either!

HilaryClinton Mon 07-Jan-13 13:51:45

I don't buy stuff that is likely to get broken or be upsetting if it gets ruined. So I don't have (unlike DH) hand wash only clothes; an iPhone; expensive electronics etc etc. I just don't do that. And I never ever leave my knitting in front of the kids - that would be setting them up for disaster

helen I don't think I am - he rants, I cry apologise, try to make ammends but also try not to let it ruin the holiday. As far as replacing things I am the non earning partner so he is in effect paying for replacements. I never set out to break things and am as careful as I can be. When I am pre menstrual it is really bad, I have difficulty walking in a straight line and drop things, I don't want to be lije this but I am and shouting at me doesn't help, breaking my stuff in revenge would be stoopid and pointless.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Mon 07-Jan-13 16:44:16

Ah Midnight your initial post has made my day!

How on earth did he drag an angry cat across your lace accidentally?

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