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What do you think about this reaction? Especially if you hate confrontations

(86 Posts)
FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 13:13:10

What would you do in a scenario such as the one below?

Something happens that has upset your partner/husband/wife very much. So much that he/she decides to just get out of the house for some fresh air and doesn't come back for a good 45 minutes. On his/her return, said partner looks upset/hurt/like he/she has been crying.

What would you do on her return?

What would you do if you know that asking what's going on will mean he/she is likely to tell you what is wrong and it is likely to have something to do with you?

FeelsSad Tue 05-Mar-13 09:38:11

TheSenior may I point out that
1- the rules you have agreed with your DH are your rules and might not fit everyone else
2- Even if you have agreed to these rules, they might need some time to time to be bend according to circumstances

I would agree with you that someone who * repeatedly* storms out in a mood might be a drama queen. It might be that it was your DH (or yours) way to reacting and was not appropriate to a good relationship.

However this is a very different ball game when this is an extremely rare incident and out of character. This would be the sign that something really wrong with the person going away and that person has been deeply hurt (whatever the reason, even it looks deeply inoffensive to you!). Hence it would require a different type of reaction than ignoring.

I would also argue that both people in a couple should be treated (and react) as adults. So one person acting as the 'parent' (ie I am not going to speak to you until you behave properly and stop being childish) isn't much more appropriate than one acting in a child like manner (eg by being a drama queen).
But even in that case, as we are all humans, with strong emotions, allowing for the occasional lapse in 'behaving like an adult' I think is OK too....

You see that's the problem here. the same I have with my dcs. having rules is good... until you follow them so rigidly they actually become an issue.

FeelsSad Tue 05-Mar-13 08:30:58

Wow didn't think that I would cause so much controversy!

Not sure what to say tbh....

To whoever said I was still clearly upset when I posted initially, yes that's right. I was extremely upset. Hence not making much sense. I hope I can be forgiven for that and not made up to be a crazy woman for a one off time where I lost my calm (as it can happen to anyone else). I would also hope that my posts from yesterday would have shown that too.

To people who think it's just an issue of not answering to 'Can you pass me the bread?' well actually you have it all wrong. It's much much more than that. It's an accumulation of things, all perhaps small in some ways but draining in the long run. Beside, I am sure few people would accept to get no answers again and again to their 'simple' questions because that would be just plain rude tbh.

Louge and Mini thank you for your kind responses. The more I think about it, the more I realized that this weekend was about my reactions to the dcs behaviour and how can I handle the impact of DH on the dcs. I might pop to the SN board about that.

TheSeniorWrangler Mon 04-Mar-13 19:21:42

I'm not making up rules, we agreed in our own councelling to communicate.

Him storming off and then sulking until i ask whats wrong is not communicating, its giving him the opening to go on the offensive and putting me on the back foot of having to defend myself against whatever he feels i've done wrong.

MiniTheMinx Mon 04-Mar-13 18:43:52

Living with someone with aspergers is both fascinating and frustrating. Dp is very caring and works in a role where he needs quite a lot of empathy. Something he has actively worked on and been trained in is counselling and something called DBT, so lack of empathy and inability to read emotions is not always beyond the realms of possibility. Learned as a skill and not perfect by any means.

He will forget that I have seen the doctor, fallen over or been to a funeral whilst being able to recount the entire script for the Life of Brian. If I tell him "I've been to a funeral" this then elicits his learned response liberally and generously applied. Some times it is hard to remember not to confuse this with disingenuous posturing. The very funny things that happen, the very odd way of seeing things and the humour make up for it though.

Good luck OP, DX or not maybe you need to find a way to speak very directly and he needs to acknowledge your needs....if need be, literally give him the operating manual, " I say this.......you say that" it works because knowing explicitly what is expected often helps people with AS to cope.

AThingInYourLife Mon 04-Mar-13 18:32:50

"but if its over a spat/argument/fallout, then i expect it to be dealt with like adults and for us to be proactive and to communicate to fix it."

Adults are kind.

They see other adults they love are upset and they try to find out what is wrong.

They don't expect everyone to abide by strict rules of "adulthood" set by themselves that suit their way of thinking.

Adults accept that some people deal with arguments differently and that being kind and forgiving and open to dialogue avoids big arguments as well as fixing them where they can't be avoided.

You seem to be confusing adults with teenagers.

Who think that they are always right and that everyone else needs to learn to do things their way.

1charlie1 Mon 04-Mar-13 18:18:41

OP, I just reread my post, and I don't mean to suggest that you are a theatrical stormer! All I meant was: don't be too down on that simple, uncomplicated phrase. It has been a breath of fresh air to DH and I, so blessedly functional and eloquent!

ItsAFuckingVase Mon 04-Mar-13 18:15:07

I think there's probably a time and place to have such a conversation. I doubt that over lunch with the kids is either, tbh.

You both sound very childish - I really don't understand how somebody who claims to be so calm and level headed can get so worked up over your DH not speaking when you ask him to pass the bread. Your OP was laced with drama, so it's hardly surprising that your DH doesn't want to confront the issue.

FWIW, if I were your DH I'd have done exactly the same and carried on having lunch with the children. It isn't mind games, it's being an adult.

1charlie1 Mon 04-Mar-13 18:08:44

I think you would find counseling with your DH very helpful. My DH and I both have sets of DPs whose communication within their marriages are dysfunctional, swinging between PA, and explosive anger. Before we married, we had a lot of counseling about how to avoid repeating these patterns in our own relationship. But with the best will in the world (which he has), DH would not notice if I was upset without very clear evidence (tears). And even then, if I was in tears, but not communicating clearly why (i.e. if I was storming about, leaving the house etc.), he would likely not come within a mile of me. However, if I say 'I'm feeling upset about [X], can we have a chat?' he is so on board!
It is interesting that you find the 'When you do x, it makes me feel why' 'rigid and unnatural.' While it might not be the most passionate or dramatic way to express one's emotions, I lived with a DM whose theatrical expressions of displeasure caused huge domestic discord, and enormous anxiety to her DCs. I think the phrase 'when you do X, I feel why' is one of the fairest, clearest and most adult ways to communicate the consequences of anothers' behaviour, and to resolve conflict.

I wouldn't have said you were being a dick TheSeniorWrangler, but when I read your posts I thought you were seriously lacking in empathy. As were many of the other responses/responders.

When I read the OP, I read it as the posting of someone who was still very upset, and made allowances accordingly. Many didn't, and IMO seemed to be having a go at the OP.

TheSeniorWrangler Mon 04-Mar-13 16:36:31

I'm not being a dick about anything.

Walking out in a strop, then coming back while still upset and disappearing upstairs and expecting me to come and ask whats wrong is childish and passive aggressive.

I'm not going to do it.

If we have had an argument and something i have done/not done or said has upset him then i dont mind if he wants to walk away and calm down, but then i expect him to come back and say "When you did X it upset me" so we can address it like adults.

I cannot stand people who mope around with tear stained cheeks who wait for you to go "Aw.. sweetheart, whats the matter?" Either tell me what the matter is so we can help fix it or go cry somewhere else.

If its NOT to do with an argument or anything, then of course i will go and ask what the matter is and offer comfort and a hug and be solicitous..

but if its over a spat/argument/fallout, then i expect it to be dealt with like adults and for us to be proactive and to communicate to fix it.

Ipp3 Mon 04-Mar-13 15:55:11

I suppose I would try to do what I thought the person wanted, as long as I did not feel manipulated. (been in a friendship like that and never going back!)

Personally I like dh to leave me alone when I am upset. Has taken a long time for him to realise that pestering me to talk when I am still too emotional makes things worse. I prefer to be alone, rest and doing something to calm my mind before dealing with things.

lougle Mon 04-Mar-13 15:22:50

I think you know your DH isn't being deliberately hurtful and on a subconscious level you may have been testing it.

Be kind to yourself, but use the knowledge you have to help your DH be kind to you.

FeelsSad Mon 04-Mar-13 14:59:32

louge I've had that too when being ill. Incl being left on a cold bathroom floor, wet, cold and covered in sick.
And left at home on my own when I was struggling to breathe. I said I would be fine though...
So I taught DH that you never leave someone alone when they struggle to breathe and tat they get short of breath when talking, that's a red flag and they should be taken to hospital.
His answer 'Even when they say they are OK?' (I said I was didn't I??). Well yes even when they say so...

FeelsSad Mon 04-Mar-13 14:56:21

What I found help is to be very matter of fact about things.
'When you do x, it makes me feel Y'.
I have to say that it does feel rigid and unnatural but that's the only way |I can get through him.

That's really the reason why i did NOT want to talk to him yesterday. I was way too emotional, he would have taken it the wrong way round (very personal, getting frightened too and angry) and I wouldn't have been able to get my message across (I didn't managed to get it across here anyway!). The result would have been either a full waste of time or him getting stressed which makes everyday life much more difficult for everyone.

Doesn't solve my trigger issue though... The dcs are still acting as DH does, not answering questions or leaving the room. They do it to me but also to each other which causes masses of arguments between them....
But I can't tell them 'Don't do as daddy does' either....

lougle Mon 04-Mar-13 13:42:58

"Asking someone to emotionally read a situation with ASD is like asking someone with no eyes to see.

They can't. They can only view things from their own perspective."

True, but with love and patience, there are strategies that help.

For instance, I had a migraine last year (I get them a lot) which was so severe that I suddenly realised that I couldn't see and couldn't feel my arms...I managed to phone up to DH, who had gone to bed. I said 'Can you come down, I can't see.' Bearing in mind I had a migraine, I wasn't communicating very effectively.

DH came down and turned a light on...because I couldn't see. He helped me up when I asked and I managed to stumble up the stairs, but collapsed to the ground in the hallway.

I apparently mumbled something like 'I'll be fine, just get me a pillow.' So he did

I woke up in the night and found myself on the floor. I don't know what happened then, except that I woke up some time later in bed fully clothed.

DH didn't know that when I said 'I'll be fine, just get me a pillow' that I wasn't in fact fine - I'd told him I was fine.

Similarly, when he was helping the children brush their teeth, DD2 tripped and fell against the doorway and started bleeding. DH didn't respond and carried on brushing the children's teeth. Afterwards, he said that it didn't occur to him not to finish what he was already doing.

So, we've learned that DH needs quite explicit 'rules' that he follows. Now, he knows 'if something happens and someone is bleeding or unwell. STOP and deal with it.'

It sounds silly, written down, but it's helped enormously.

DD2 is also the same. I can't just tell her a rule, I have to tell her when she can break the rule. So I can't just say 'don't tell tales'. I have to say 'don't tell tales. BUT if someone is doing something very dangerous, they are really hurt or bleeding or it is very naughty, you must come and tell me. If I didn't add that, I think she would blindly follow the rule.

AThingInYourLife Mon 04-Mar-13 13:27:21

"But im still not going to ask him what the matter is if he's moping around looking upset and attention seeking.. if he has an issue with something i've done, i am not a mind reader, be straight and tell me!"

You can't blame your unkindness on Asperger's.

If you know someone is upset and deliberately ignore them to teach them a lesson, you are being a dick.

Making up bullshit rules about how "adults" must behave and refusing to acknowledge someone until they conform is cruel.

Adults are people. People get upset. If you know they are upset and you love them and want them not to be upset you try to address it.

practicality Mon 04-Mar-13 12:54:10

Interesting point about him failing to get on with his peers.

I think you need to raise the possibility that he is on the spectrum.

If that is the case and your child has the same condition you will understand that it's not you and then understand how to build strategies in order to ease communication.

I think the depersonalisation would help enormously.

Asking someone to emotionally read a situation with ASD is like asking someone with no eyes to see.

They can't. They can only view things from their own perspective.

FeelsSad Mon 04-Mar-13 12:44:24

TheSenior interesting pov.
I would say DH knows something is wrong but is too frightened to ask anything. In part thanks to years of bullying at school that has taught him that the best thing to do is to keep your mouth shut.
Also because he knows he is likely to say/guess the wrong thing.

If I hadn't been so emotional, I would have realized yesterday that actually DH has been reacting exactly the same way than he normally does when things aren't quite right. He shuts down. Think rabbit caught up in the headlights and a blank stare.
But, yesterday, after having quite a lot on my plate in the last 2 weeks, I have reverted to my default mode. That is to think that most people would react as I would. And I would always always go and help/support someone I love that is struggling/being upset.

I have to say it is an eye opener to see how many people seem to expect other to play mind games. I have never done it and have never expected anyone to do so. I am probably much too naive...

FeelsSad Mon 04-Mar-13 12:37:08

Thank you very much for all your input.
I found it fascinating to see how different the responses were. From the is a b* and is paying with your mind to your are PA and a drama Queen.

I am obviously much calmer today so hopefully I will also be clearer in my answers (Someone said I hadn't gone about it the right way. That was probably true. Trying to post an OP whilst crying and sobbing just isn't helping in writing something that makes sense lol).

re DH being quirky... He doesn't have any dx of asperger but one of our dcs is currently being assessed for AS and to me he seems to be ticking quite a few boxes.
A lot of what louge ring true. I have been nodding my head as I read along.

Re being PA... I would hope that I am not, especially because this was so out of character for me. But the fact some of you thought about PA made me think and I will have a closer look. I also want to check that, in the middle of trying to find a way to communicate within our family unit, I haven't developed some unhealthy habits.

lougle Mon 04-Mar-13 09:54:09

nailak the trouble is that for most people with ASD, they fundamentally don't have the concept that people don't know what they know. So if they are thinking 'it's cold in here', the assumption is that everyone around them knows it's cold.

DH will often start conversations half-way through - he's been thinking about something, and forgets that I don't know what he's been thinking about. I have to either rapidly catch up and piece it all together, or say 'Wait a minute...start from the beginning..who's so and so, where were they...?'

nailak Mon 04-Mar-13 09:45:54

And he is not mind reader which is why he needs to know you have heard and understood him!

TheSeniorWrangler Mon 04-Mar-13 09:17:13

I ought to perhaps mention that i'm on the spectrum myself.. a lot of what lougle has said about her DH is also how i work.. my own DH gets quite ratty when i don't respond in some proscribed/pre-determined manner thats apparently necessary.

I have learned to at least say "Ok" or "I'm on it" or some such palliative to stop him from feeling like i'm ignoring him.

But im still not going to ask him what the matter is if he's moping around looking upset and attention seeking.. if he has an issue with something i've done, i am not a mind reader, be straight and tell me!

buildingmycorestrength Mon 04-Mar-13 09:15:24

I also suspected Aspergers from what you said, OP....does it feel like we are wide of the mark?

I strongly suspect my DH (and DS) have it. It is not easy to live with, but it does make a difference if it means you know it is not intentional or lack of caring, but a neurological difference in the way the brain processes language, emotion, etc. My DH has also found it a relief to have an explanation for himself, if that makes any difference.

Obviously I don't want to try to 'diagnose' over the internet, especially since I am by no means a health professional... and maybe you know all about it already.

lougle Mon 04-Mar-13 08:05:07

I honestly think the blanking followed by the 'I was doing it!' isn't abusive, it's indicative of a communication issue.

DD2 does it because her 'theory of mind' is poor. That means that she doesn't realise that we don't know what she's thinking. So if she thinks 'ok, go and get my shoes on' she doesn't realise that we don't know that she has thought it.

We then say 'DD2! I asked you to get your shoes on.' This riles her because she knows we've asked her to do that and she is doing it, albeit slowly.

DH often doesn't respond if I ask him to do something. It doesn't occur to him that it needs a response because he's heard what I've asked him to do and he'll do it. I've tried to explain that if he acknowledges the request, I'll know he has heard, but he just can't do it on a day to day basis.

He used to work in a management company and a deadline was looming. All around him was stress and his manager said 'This deadline is coming up fast, we must have everything ready.' He said 'Ok'. It didn't cross his mind that he needed to show a sense of urgency. His manager eventually asked him to 'at least fake a panic'.

DH would also ignore me walking out for 45 minutes. He'd either assume that I needed to cool down, or find it simply too overwhelming to try and 'fix the problem' because he doesn't understand that someone can have 'feelings' that can be acknowledged without trying to 'fix' the problem.

Similarly with things that are quite important to me, say important dates. He simply cannot retain them.

Now that we've realised that he isn't being lazy, rude and ignorant (we suspect aspergers) we are taking steps to manage the issues it raises.

DH keeps a calendar, for example, so that he can remember all the things he needs to do. It's fascinating that if something is embedded in his routine it will be done without fail. If something is one-off or irregular, it will invariably be forgotten.

practicality Mon 04-Mar-13 07:32:04

Does he have Aspergers?

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