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Controlling my temper and not feeling listened to

(25 Posts)
SteamWisher Sun 01-Dec-13 10:47:25

I've had yet another argument with DH in front of the dc about something silly. I end up raising my voice at him because he makes comments under his breath and I have to drag it out of him what he means.

I then refuse to apologise because I know, on past experience, that he just will forget about it. So I'm left feeling as if the original reason for me getting upset and angry are not dealt with.

I know it's not healthy, I know that I should at the very least not raise my voice and if I do, I should quickly apologise.

But a small part of me cannot bring myself to say sorry because it feels as if somehow I'm conceding that he was right and I'm left to feel like I was completely in the wrong. I know the times when I am, but sometimes DH has to share some of the blame. He's admitted in the past that he only apologises if he thinks it's "deserved" which strikes me as wrong somehow ie not apologising if someone is upset only apologising if he thinks he shouldn't be.

For context I should add that we've got two small ones, that we're tired and stressed with work but it just feels like we're escalating and I'm tired of it. We go in cycles of talking about it, but ultimately we end up back to fighting over stupid stuff.

Can anyone relate to this and give me words of advice?

CailinDana Sun 01-Dec-13 10:52:53

What was the fight about?

What do you get out of this relationship now?.

When has this man ever apologised to you sincerely?. I would think that one or both of his parents behave similarly.

What do you want to teach your children about relationships here?.

This is all about power and control at its heart. Sounds like he rules the roost here and that you are bit part players in the play that is really all about him and what he wants. He does not give a fig for any of you really.

I would discuss your relationship with a counsellor and also without him present.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 01-Dec-13 10:58:51

I don't know what the 'something silly' are but it's important they get resolved rather than become the trigger for what sounds like a corrosive pattern of blame/apology behaviour i.e. him muttering and you getting annoyed. What happens if you talk about it calmly after the event rather than when you're tired, stressed etc.? What are the main triggers?

SteamWisher Sun 01-Dec-13 11:02:20

blush

I asked him if he'd rinsed something (I wanted to know before I did some washing without having to check myself). He muttered something along the lines of "you dont know how it is". I got cross as in my mind he was referring to something else. He wouldn't say at first, but finally said I was criticising. Which I wasn't - I was checking. I tried to explain but he said he disagreed.

Basically it was a stupid argument but reflects our general pattern. He makes a sarky comment, I get angry, raise my voice when he won't elaborate, he retreats and I feel like a shit <sigh>

Lweji Sun 01-Dec-13 11:05:33

Can you ignore his under the breath comments, or pretend not to hear, so that he has to speak up or be clear if he wants them to have an effect?

You could continue in an adult rational conversation and ignore the childish little asides, as you'd do with a tantruming child.

Or confront him and ask him if he wants to have an adult conversation or be like a child, and stop talking about it until he rises himself to an adult.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 01-Dec-13 11:07:47

The answer to 'have you rinsed the XYZ?' is not 'you don't know how it is'. confused Is English his first language?

SteamWisher Sun 01-Dec-13 11:07:53

He has apologised in the past and will do so, I just hold that comment against him when he doesn't apologise or he expects an apology. Atilla, I get plenty out of our relationship - DH is generally supportive particularly when work is crap or when I struggle with the dc. You're right about his parents though. DH has admitted this.

Cogito - if we talk about it calmly, we are very adult about it. The triggers I suspect are the muttering, me shouting - because we both handle conflict in very different ways. I really need to be listened to whereas DH wants to go away and hide for a bit. That creates clashes especially if I try and walk away, I'm brooding and DH acts as if nothing has happened. I'm then left feeling things are unresolved whereas DH is happy we've stopped arguing. I hate that.

Lweji Sun 01-Dec-13 11:13:45

Why not repeat the question and then add, yes or no? And keep asking yes or no.

A lot of conflict arises from perceived meanings. It looks like you are are both doing it.

But then you have to ask yourself if he's purposefully making those comments to cause these arguments. hmm
Can you tell him that if he continues, he'll lose you?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 01-Dec-13 11:15:05

But is rinsing or not rinsing something really a conflict? If tired and stressed is at the root of this, could you both gain more from getting more rest and finding ways to be calm?

SteamWisher Sun 01-Dec-13 11:16:33

We are both doing it, yes. When we're tired and stressed its incredibly difficult to do the "right" thing and we end up reverting to bad habits.

I'll have to speak to DH - we both know that it isn't right but my personality is such that I convince myself that DH thinks I'm the lesser person i.e I'm worse than him for shouting and creating these arguments in the first place.

Lazyjaney Sun 01-Dec-13 11:21:42

Are you someone who sweats the small stuff OP - that often breeds a lot of "silly" arguments IME.

MyBachisworsethanmybite Sun 01-Dec-13 11:22:20

Er, he's being immensely irritating (presumably deliberately) but it's all your fault you lose your temper?

Rubbish. It's 50:50 at best, and probably 80:20 to him. People who deliberately goad others to lose their temper and then make out that the temper-loser is at fault and entirely to blame are thoroughly nasty individuals, in my opinion.

He needs to behave like a decent person, not a 10-year-old.

And yes, you could probably do with learning to count to 10 or something, but don't let him make you think it's entirely your problem and blame.

SteamWisher Sun 01-Dec-13 11:23:21

It is a conflict because DH thinks I'm criticising him, which is a sore point between us (he's critical as am I)

Lweji Sun 01-Dec-13 11:24:51

Not saying that he is, but abusers often know how to push the buttons so that their victims end up looking the unreasonable ones. They can be very calm but still drive the other person to madness and desperation.

I'd guess that for some reason he didn't want to tell you he hadn't rinsed. Perhaps he felt he might be criticised. So, instead of saying he didn't, he just threw in a mind fucking comment that he knew would make you angry and would pass the bad light into you instead of him.

That is why I think you should work on yourself to detach a bit and see these comments for what they are and instead of responding, just keep asking the question and insist in a simple straight answer instead of dissecting the comments. You can even say that whatever he means by that you just need to know xxxx (if it's rinsed or not).

It also helps if you don't ask in a personal form (did he rinse) but in a general form (are xxx rinsed), so that you only ask for a fact and not risk imply a judgement on him.

If he makes such a comment, explain to him that it's ok if he didn't you just want to know.

If you manage to keep raising above it and not making it personal, then you have to evaluate if he still keeps pushing your buttons, because if he does, then you may well have an emotional abuser in your hands.

SteamWisher Sun 01-Dec-13 11:35:33

I think the suggestion about not making this personal is the right one.

I don't think DH is emotionally abusive. He remains calm because that's how he is - he doesn't display emotions to anyone - it's not a deliberate tactic iyswim.

SteamWisher Sun 01-Dec-13 11:36:58

MyBach I find it irritating too and think we're both to blame. We've apologised now but I still don't think we've got to the bottom of it.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 01-Dec-13 11:38:35

Sounds to me like a big sense of humour failure all round. What do you do as a couple to de-stress, recharge and reconnect? What brought you together in the first place? How can you recreate that?

Lweji Sun 01-Dec-13 11:40:48

Again, not saying that he is, but abusers don't necessarily abuse as tactics or on purpose. They may not realise they are doing it, but it's still abuse.

This is why you have to call him out on it, but preferably in a non-confrontational way. Particularly, in a non-blaming way. If he is a good guy he will be concerned about the effect those comments have on you and will also do his best to try and just respond to you factually as you'll try to ask factually.
If you have a chance of keeping this relationship long term it will have to be a joint effort.

SteamWisher Sun 01-Dec-13 11:46:00

Yes Cogito, you're right. We've just had a laugh about it now as apparently ds was looking at DH in a stern face as if to say "you've been naughty" and DH was trying not to laugh at him.

When we make the effort to go out (rare) we always have a lovely time so need to make more time.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 01-Dec-13 11:53:37

Maybe that's the way to tackle this then? Instead of locking horns... again... over the usual domestic drudgery tetchy behaviour pattern, approach it as finding more time for each other, making each other feel special, finding ways to relax & rediscover a sense of humour? That's a much nicer conversation to have.

arsenaltilidie Sun 01-Dec-13 13:56:58

You say your DH doesnt listen, but you seem like you don't either. You both as bad as each other.
Your DH feels criticised.

You are about to do the washing, Why would you need to ask someone if something has been rinsed or not. If you are not sure you rinse it yourself.

That's the kind of questions you ask a child to make sure they have done it properly. I can imagine it being irritating to someone who feels criticised.

As for the shouting imagine the roles where reversed, my wife has said she feels criticised but I ask my wife if she has rinsed something and she mutters something.
I raise my voice at her because she makes comments under her breath and I have to drag it out of her hmm

MyBachisworsethanmybite Sun 01-Dec-13 19:59:03

"If you are not sure you rinse it yourself."

Presumably the OP had better things to do than to repeat something already done.

arsenaltilidie, are you the husband?

SteamWisher Sun 01-Dec-13 20:39:28

Yes we are as bad as each other which is why I was asking for help. I'm not laying the blame soley at DH. If you read my OP properly arsenal you'd see that I realise my shouting is wrong hence posting this thread.

<sigh>

garlictrivia Sun 01-Dec-13 22:35:31

I would advise learning not to shout (make it wait while you take a slow breath) and neutrally asking him to repeat his mad comments. As in: [general] "Have you already rinsed the gubbins, H?"
[mumble] "The weight of the world rests heavy on my weary shoulders."
[pleasant] "I didn't catch that, what did you say?"

He will have to answer you properly, make himself look like a whining toddler by saying he feels criticised, or repeat his unexpected remark - which could lead to an interesting conversation, at least!

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