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Anyone here? Just had argument with DH :(

(43 Posts)
Reastie Mon 02-Sep-13 21:03:51

I really don't know if I'm blowing things out of proportion here and just need a friendly ear.

Bit of background. IMO DH has (or has had) anger issues (never physical but tends to react to stressful incidents rarely by getting cross and letting ff steam as his way of coping. He is completely fine afterwards but it upsets me and he thinks it's my issue that I get upset).

He finally admitted he had a problem (possibly because we debated it alot on my insistence (he wants to put his head in the sand about it). He bought an anger management book, did some exercises and seemed to have different strategies to help me.

Just now we were both in the kitchen. He couldn't find a piece of paper I had tidied away earlier, when I told him where I had put it I could feel him getting annoyed I had moved it when he needed (didn't say anything, just a vibe) and as he shut the tupperware (gosh this sounds pathetic) he did it in a forceful way like he was irritated. So I questioned him about it and he spoke in an aggressive tone to me about how he needed it which is why he left it out and it was important. Me replying if it was so important why was it under bits and pieces of junk. I could tell he was angry about it, he had a cross look and he started huffing a bit. He then started telling me I was provoking him and he wasn't angry until I started talking and going on and on (speaking in aggressive tone) and that he was fine but he knew that I'd be upset by our conversation so why do I always go on about things (I try to talk about things/make DH realise the effect his behaviour has on me and DH isn't interested). We ended out having a full on row. Him not taking me seriously at all and saying he's fine thank you very much he's got it out of his system but it's all my fault that I get upset by this and I have the issue and I should just leave it alone and everyone would be fine. Me then trying to explain that his behaviour has an effect on me and if I'm not important enough to him that he's not bothered that his behaviour upsets me to the point of wanting to do something about it then something is wrong.

We left it at that. He seems not bothered at all that I'm upset. He sees it as all being my issue.

A side issue but one I've been thinking alot about recently. His DM was abused as a child, she has a needy personality and FIL seems from what I gather to have a temper and anger on him. I think DH is the same in this respect as FIL. MIL just accepts this and so I think DH has learnt this behaviour is normal so me challenging it is difficult as he doesn't see there as being an issue and it's very hard to make him realise IMO there is. But that's by the by.

Anyway, I realise this reinactment of our argument is very dull reading to anyone out there, so thanks if you did read it. I am questioning whether to post it but I think it useful to have an outside perspective on this (and bear in mind you don't get DHs side and I am one hormonal and tearful lady so maybe I'm just making a big thing of nothing, but it helps to get a bit of perspective).

This issue comes up in our relationship every few months confused

colafrosties Tue 03-Sep-13 21:16:33

As you already have a therapist I think it would be good to speak to him/her about this incident and what you refer to above as the wider context of DHs aggression/tone of speech/anger in the long term.

Having a partner who frequently uses aggression on you must be horrible, and must be wearing you down. Why should you have to work to get over being upset?? If he was playing fairly in the first place it would never come to that.

Reastie Tue 03-Sep-13 17:05:21

Hello all,

Sorry for being quiet, have been at work today.

Having had time to mull it over I think the issue is wider than the isolated argument last night (well remembered attila). I isolation this OP does indeed make me look very much like I could be unreasonable/provoking/making a fuss of nothing but there is a wider context of DHs aggression/tone of speech/anger in the long term (although reading those of you who are more fiery I wonder maybe if we're just incompatible in the way we react confused ).

Even if I can't make DH understand how he upsets me and this should be important enough for him to care about his behaviour, hopefully he might realise it's important enough to check I'm Ok afterwards to bring an end to whatever happened so there is closure to it (don't I sound all American?!) and I'm not left sobbing to sleep again . He is not a people person, he is not good with things like this. I dont' think he knows what to do or say so maybe I need to try to point him in the right direction.

On the other hand, I have a CBT therapist I've been seeing about other issues, I'm wondering if it would be useful to talk to her about it and see what she thinks I could do/whether we have an issue here to deal with together or how I can work to get over myself being upset (if that's appropriate in the context) hmm

My last post was in response to MorrisZapp.

Having read Attila's post, I am now wondering if there is more to this than can be read in this thread alone.

But he didn't 'have a go' at her. His initial response, before Reastie started questioning him, was to shut the tupperware in a forceful way.

You see, if that had been my husband, I would have preferred him to say 'oh bloody hell DG, what have you done with that bit of paper?' rather than snapping shut a tupperware box and giving off a vibe of being annoyed, but clearly, Reastie would find that upsetting.

My response? I would swear and shout, and within 2 minutes would have forgotten all about it. Hey, I know I am not everyone's cup of tea! grin

Reastie

I have read about your H before now, nothing has really changed here has it?.

He is still refusing to take any responsibility for his actions by making it all out to be your fault again and you are still castigating yourself for him being like this.

No amount of books etc will help him because he does not want your help and such types hate women, all women. You can only help your own self ultimately and you are currently choosing the path of least resistance.

You and your DD are still his emotional punchbags. What on earth is she learning from the two of you about relationships?.

MorrisZapp Tue 03-Sep-13 08:41:29

I don't agree, DumbledoresGirl. Anger and frustration are part of everyday life, and we do need to express our feelings, but not at the expense of our loved ones.

It's not ok to have a go at somebody over something small, then say 'Im over it, move on' once the storm is over.

I get frustrated/ pissed off with everyday annoyances like everybody else, but I don't turn it towards whoever's next to me.

In what way do you discharge your anger?

I'm with your husband here, sorry. Of course, we are all different, but I don't see anything wrong with your husband expressing his annoyance or anger. If it was initially contained to snapping shut a tupperware box, and you turned it into something more by constantly questioning him, I am not surprised it turned into a full scale argument.

As others have said before me, it is perfectly acceptable to express emotions, whatever they may be. I am a 'fiery' person as you would describe it. I express my anger at the drop of a hat, but, once expressed, it usually fizzles out immediately. I regard that ability to express my anger as my effective anger management. It sounds to me as though your husband is similar to me - his lack of interest in talking about it afterwards is not a sign that he is not willing to engage with you but a sign that he has moved on from whatever thing was annoying him. So, to my mind, he manages his anger very well.

I don't want to offend, and a situation is never all that clear when you just read one person's account of an event, but I actually wonder if it is you who needs to examine why you react so sensitively to his small displays of anger, rather than he who needs to work on his anger management.

MorrisZapp Tue 03-Sep-13 08:10:28

My DP is a bit like this. I read somewhere that most arguments between couples aren't about the initial disagreement, but about the way the other person is arguing.

I have now reached a point where DP no longer swears at me in anger, I have finally managed to make him see that I won't accept it. But huffing, puffing, slamming things, eye rolling etc are all ways that he shows his annoyance.

Drives me mad, but I don't cry about it any more. To be honest I just can't be arsed these days.

Merrylegs Tue 03-Sep-13 08:07:00

Were you perhaps already slightly stressed at the arrival of the PILs? When dh displays behaviours you 'recognise' from his parents you become extra tense because you don't like them very much so dh becomes 'one of them'. Honestly, the minute you let go of attributing or comparing his behaviour to his parents you will breathe easier. He is his own person.

And if he wants to put his piece of paper under the junk why not? If he snaps the tupperware lid so what? Leave him to it.

Do you feel like you always have to be in charge?

Reastie Tue 03-Sep-13 07:58:26

Tri he knows I think, I've said it before confused

tribpot Tue 03-Sep-13 07:43:43

I think the minimising / dismissing / wanting to forget it is the actual problem behaviour. The angry bit isn't pleasant but over quickly and genuinely not intended to cause long lasting upset. But the minimising is highly destructive.

Would he be surprised to discover you were questioning the future of your marriage because of this?

Reastie Tue 03-Sep-13 07:27:16

After last post I went into DH and said I didn't want to leave it like we did. He apologised for making me upset but only with alot of uncomfortable pausing first. He gets annoyed about being reminded of it and wants to forget it. I could really do with some ideas to behave/deal with these situs???

age not sure about the depression thing - he's always been like this! (as has FIL from what I gather) It does get worse when he's tired or stressed though

horry let me rephrase what I said. Its not that he doesn't care that I get upset by it, it's that he thinks I shouldn't get upset and so it's my reaction to his behaviour that's the issue, not his behaviour. i try so hard to explain to him why this is unacceptable and he just doesn't understand as it always comes back to my reaction being the issue not his behaviour. I think this is what I need to focus on - thinking of a way to explain this to him in a way he'll understand the implications of his behaviour and not be able to fob it off onto my reaction. I've tried the type of sentences you suggest in the past. Any ideas?

aur you sound like my DH grin . But I take your point. I guess this is in the wider context of aggressive behaviour in the past ... Oh, and it sounds like you are a firery character in life in general (that's not a bad thing btw at all) so your temper sort of fits with your personality IYWKIM....DH is quiet and placid so it's a big digression to see this behaviour from his normal self.

Smartie I think I could deal with this alot better if he came an apologised/hugged me afterwards as it would show he realises I'm upset and he regrets this, but he just pretends like nothing happened and then when I bring it up gets annoyed I'm making him angry again as he got it out of his system IYKWIM.

Well that's EXACTLY it! How do I do that?

Biscuit the slamming the tupperware etc, yes, I see that's normal. I just don't personally see it as normal to tell me in a very aggressive way why I shouldn't have put it away and how important it was, that doesn't need to be aggressive. I've found since being with DH there's been a bit more door slamming/feeling angry from me, which scares me as it's rubbing off on me and I don't want it to rub off on DD. Tbh I usually just count to ten or something.

Slang I tidies away his bit of paper in to HIS drawer that contains his things he needs to do. It was lying on the kitchen counter under screws, magnets and blu tac (ie junk that needs putting away). If he had left it on the kitchen table I would have known he needed it left out but this wasn't his 'leave it out i need it' place. I was cleaning the kitchen as PIL are coming today so I wanted it tidy for his blinking PIL! There was absolutely no malace meant in tidying it up I assure you. I had no idea he wanted it out. I don't generally tell him where I've put everything as he knows where these things should be and I'd be here all day explaining where I've put things away! I am very aware of my own imperfections, infact I take alot of blame for things in general (things must be my fault). As I say, this isn't an isolated incident. If it was, I completely take on board that yes, my behaviour made things worse, I know that. It's just there's a limit to how much you can ignore it and take it. I know I'm oversensitive and cry and get upset easily. I've toughened up alot since being with DH believe it or not!

SlangKing Tue 03-Sep-13 01:31:05

Bravo MsTP,, finally somebody mentioned the OP's passive aggression.

OP? You really need to acknowledge how your own behaviour exacerbated the situation you describe. Your tidying his bit of paper could be deemed a show of dominance. Was it really necessary? If so, after moving it could you not've told him immediately? In both instances you could've picked less provocational options and the huffy Tupperware snapping, your upset, his increased aggression might never have occurred. Then, you punish him for his behaviour and not apologising by crying (and making sure he knows about it). You want him to change but seem oblivious to your own imperfection(s).

He's probably reluctant to discuss his behaviour with you precisely because you see no fault in your own. Until you do, there can be no rational discussion that begins with the premise that it's all his fault, because it isn't. Did you apologise for moving his paper and not telling him.

You are part-responsible for the unfortunate situation you describe. If you recognize and change those aggressive/manipulative aspects of your own behaviour perhaps his'll diminish accordingly.

Good luck.

I am reading this the same way as a few other people on this thread. I come from a pretty demonstrative family. Being angry is OK. It is a normal, human emotion. Some of the associated behaviours are not OK. So, being angry and annoyed at not finding something would be fine, harrumphing to oneself, snapping Tupperware noisily, all fine.

Shouting at someone, talking meanly or belittling, throwing things, any kind of violence, all very much NOT OK.

I have to say that if I was pissed off, having tried to find something that DH put away and he questioned me about it, then we had an argument, I would think he had been petty. Also, unless he is exhibiting aggressive/violent behaviour you ending up in tears might seem a bit passive aggressive.

It's very hard to know from your description.

colafrosties Mon 02-Sep-13 22:24:40

Reastie, you don't come across as selfish or me me me at all. It's not selfish to want to be spoken to with respect and not to have your emotions belittled sad

aurynne Mon 02-Sep-13 22:21:40

Hallelujah, I thought I was the only temperamental person who can't see anything wrong with showing some character from time to time! Buy hey, it may be just that I am Spanish. I actually find people who are always nice, calm and controlled highly irritating. Let your hair down and scream for once, I say! :P

Smartiepants79 Mon 02-Sep-13 22:18:35

Interesting bumply I do that too but only when I'm alone! Broke the front door once in a fit of temper! blush

Bumply Mon 02-Sep-13 22:15:17

I used to have behaviour where I'd deal with a frustrating situation (usually related to my inability to do something the way I wanted) by reacting on a volatile way: shouting at myself of flinging a book around.
My partner found this astounding as it wasn't something he was used to or willing to accept. I did modify my behaviour, but now we're separated I have gone back to it at times as for me it's a way of releasing tension and I'm then sorted and can quite often sit back and do the task.
I wouldn't automatically assume depression/anger management issues

BiscuitMillionaire Mon 02-Sep-13 22:04:40

It's hard to tell from your description whether his anger is out of proportion or out of control, but it struck me that there is a big difference between being aggressive towards someone and just being angry. It seems as if you don't allow him to be angry. If I can't find something it drives me crazy too, and I might slam something down in an angry way. I wouldn't take it out on my partner, though. Getting angry sometimes is a normal part of being human - do you ever get angry? How do you show it?

Wellwobbly Mon 02-Sep-13 22:03:47

Well, the reason he is nice and calm afterwards is that he has discharged all his emotions and you are now carrying them.

So your task is to learn to NOT take those on - good luck with that!

Smartiepants79 Mon 02-Sep-13 22:01:03

As an isolated incident the OP reads a little like you were picking for a fight. You knew he was frustrated and trying to keep his negative emotions in check and yet you pushed him into a confrontation about a very minor issue. Why?
However there is a bigger picture. Not dealing with his impact on your well being is not very mature. Even if he disagrees with how you react to his outbursts an apology and cuddle once he has calmed down is not a lot to ask.
My DH is similar in some ways. Has random outbursts (maybe 4 times a year) of verbal anger that often leave me in tears. It is not necessarily directed at me but I find I shocking and distressing. It is quite immature. Comments such as "i'll just leave then". But it never lasts very long and he forgets it within an hour. He hates my tears and always comes to apologise but the whole thing affects me for longer than him!

ageofgrandillusion Mon 02-Sep-13 22:00:15

Agree with aur a bit also if the example you gave is typical.

aurynne Mon 02-Sep-13 21:57:46

To be honest, I can't think of anything more irritating than a person going on and on about it when I am getting slightly annoyed at something (like not finding something I left somewhere). Reading about your incident with the piece of paper and the tupperware, it just sounds to me like you were making a mountain out of a molehill and he would have been fine if you had just told him where the piece of paper was, and ignore whether or not he was "closing the tupperware lid in a forceful way".

About "not engaging in his emotions", there are very, very few guys who are happy "engaging with their emotions". Sorry, but reading your posts does not give me the impression that he is "out of control" or anything such, just that perhaps he has a way of reacting to things that you don't like, and as a result you keep nagging at him about it, and it makes him cross in the end. To be honest, I would behave the same way if I had someone over-analysing every movement I make, or the way I shut a lid.

Cross posted but agree about depression or anxiety.

You're right, you don't deserve to be spoken to like that, and you shouldn't be afraid in your relationship.

If he doesn't apologise then he thinks you do deserve to be spoken to like that, and he doesn't care that you are unhappy or afraid. This is bad.

You've said that he will never tall to you about it calmly. Do you think he would read an email or letter if you set out briefly how his actions affect you?

Something along the lines of:

I hate it when we argue and when you are angry. I feel threatened and frightened and alone.

I want us to speak kindly and respectfully to one another. If we can't even do that then I am worried our marriage is over.

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