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How to deal with angry sulking

(47 Posts)
whydoesthisfeelhorrid Mon 10-Feb-14 22:38:19

First post but am a regular lurker!

Am looking for a bit of distraction!! On Saturday me and dh had a massive row ending with us both shouting and eventually he left the house to cool down.

Returned about five hours later, suspect he had been to carry out his hobby, but still very cross and angry.

Has now been sulking for two days. Atmosphere is very frosty and not enjoying it. Would go and stay with family but have no transport and need to be at work in the morning.

Neither of us particularly at fault, just escalated into something completely out of proportion after I made a comment that I thought was funny.

So lovely ladies, how would you deal with this situation? He is sleeping in the spare bed and from past history will do for a few days before he thaws out.

Been together ten years, about to start ttc soon. Have both had a stressful year with him loosing his father and me dealing with redundancy and other issues.

Any advice welcome, but would like positive ways to try and deal with this if possible.

whydoesthisfeelhorrid Mon 10-Feb-14 22:40:08

Reading it back not sure if it was clear he is the sulker not me!!!

Anniegetyourgun Mon 10-Feb-14 22:43:23

I find a swift frying pan to the back of the head wonderfully positive in these situations. (Not that I advocate domestic violence, of course.)

Being a little more serious, I don't think ttc with a person who sulks like a teenager themselves is a very good idea.

whydoesthisfeelhorrid Mon 10-Feb-14 22:48:24

Thanks for the reply Annie. I did consider something drastic like that but decided against it!

Yes agree it might not be the best plan, need to have a serious think about it, and am hoping for some strategies to try and stop the cycle. It's not very often, this is the fourth time since we have been together, but it's not pleasant and I don't like him very much right now!

Only1scoop Mon 10-Feb-14 22:49:36

Op is he normally a sulker....
Or is this unusual for him?

whydoesthisfeelhorrid Mon 10-Feb-14 22:51:07

He does dwell on things longer than I do, but not normally
For this long. Has happened three other times in ten years.

Anniegetyourgun Mon 10-Feb-14 23:23:33

Thing is, XH was given to the occasional frosty sulk over something I said or he believed I had said; I can be quite tactless at times so early on I could quite believe it was me, but the misunderstandings gradually got a bit more tenuous until I stopped feeling guilty and started getting exasperated. Funnily enough, getting irritated with the sulking usually brought him round a bit quicker than coaxing and explaining. Now, in hindsight, I am fairly sure that most if not all of those episodes were nothing to do with what I really said or could be thought to have said. I think they were about him wanting to put me on the back foot for some other reason entirely. He clearly got off on the power trip of a strong, argumentative woman in tears because she hadn't meant to cause offence and was so, so sorry. One of the reasons I get The Rage even thinking about XH these days is that I am so embarrassed about having fallen for it.

Maybe your H isn't like this, but I wouldn't want to lay bets.

whydoesthisfeelhorrid Mon 10-Feb-14 23:29:59

That's quite interesting Annie. Sorry to hear about your past situation. I am not afraid of confrontation, but do find it is usually me that tries to end the sulk by cajoling. Am thinking that this time I might just ignore it completely and then when he is ready to talk I may not be ready myself, but don't want to play games.

It did upset me the first time and I was really distressed but that doesn't happen now.

I wonder why he chose to be with someone like me, who is strong and not afraid to argue back if it is so important to him to get attention by sulking. I find I am much more likely to give him my time if he is just his normal self.

ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight Mon 10-Feb-14 23:41:27

Sulking or silent treatment is emotional abuse (EA)
There are plenty of threads here on it.
Some will say LTB

My p does this and I used to cajole him out of it.
Now I out-silence him. Maybe that makes ME ea, but sod it.
All cooking, laundry and other things I do for him also stop.
Funny how his strops don't last as long these days as when I was placating him wink

Beamur Mon 10-Feb-14 23:46:07

My DP used to sulk, etc and I at first tried to cajole and reason with him. But I decided enough was enough, totally ignored it and refused to engage with him until he was normal again.
He can still be a bit childish, but we have talked about this at length and he has pretty much stopped this behaviour.
I think he and his ex wife used to sulk at each other a lot, but I'm not a sulker - I'm a full blown stropper, have a row get it out, over with and move on type.
We argue rarely though.

Anniegetyourgun Mon 10-Feb-14 23:50:21

There is a school of thought that says a certain kind of abuser is drawn to strong women because it is more of a challenge to break them down. I don't think this was the case with XH; it seemed more that he didn't know how to relate to a partner in a healthy way so he had to play mind games instead.

Sometimes, as well, I think they are a bit ashamed of how they feel about something, or know it wouldn't go down well, so they blow up over something else as a joint distraction technique and safety valve. I remember my dad picking a furious row with my sister over nothing at all one time, and then refusing to go out with us because we were so horribly annoying. We had to drive ourselves there (iirc I was about 19 and had only recently passed my test). We tried to explain to our relative why he hadn't come and she said well of course it was hard for him, she was our late mother's closest relative and we had always visited as a family; to go as a recent widower would have been unbearably painful for him. That made a lot of sense. But why couldn't the stupid man have just said "look I can't face this, you go" without all the ranting and throwing and accusing? Because he would rather be seen as an asshole than as weak, that was why.

whydoesthisfeelhorrid Mon 10-Feb-14 23:52:26

Thanks both. It's good to know that my plan of ignoring it might work. I refuse to cajole this time! And I except a meaningful apology as well.

I don't like to argue, but if I do, then I get over it fairly quickly normally
In minutes so this sulking is not behaviour I understand at all!

Anniegetyourgun Mon 10-Feb-14 23:54:15

Btw if anyone quotes "Men are from Mars" and say he's just going into his man-cave, I shall bite them angry

whydoesthisfeelhorrid Tue 11-Feb-14 00:02:51

Thank goodness you said that Annie, I can't bear that book, had to throw it away after reading the first chapter. I really appreciate your advice.

Have also been waiting for someone to say ltb but seem to have avoided that so far....
I really hope he isn't playing mind games or trying to get the upper hand, wish he would just talk to me instead of blowing up if there is something wrong.

Thank you all for distracting me tonight, it was hard not to go and try and smooth things over but this has kept me busy so am feeling like I have slightly upper hand at the moment, was wavering after two days, but will keep strong. I may pop to the cinema or something after work just so that I am not in the atmosphere tomorrow too.

whydoesthisfeelhorrid Tue 11-Feb-14 00:06:13

On another note, have just come to bed and can hear him snoring away in the spare room. Seems he can sleep easy when I am worrying!!!

How bloody rude

Have you tried laughing at him? If he's still sulking in the morning, take the piss mercilessly - 'Oooh, diddums still having his tanty-wanty? What a cute ickle grumpy face!' Etc. But also, carry on cheerfully with your day.

If you don't want to to this because you are frightened of the consequences - ie you think he might attack you if you aren't 'respectful' then it's likely the relationship is abusive and you might want to think about dumping Sulkybollocks before he gets worse.

superstarheartbreaker Tue 11-Feb-14 06:35:48

I have dated a few of these. Next time I find a sulked I will dump. Horrid to live with.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 11-Feb-14 06:43:24

I agree with the PP that cajoling only feeds the behaviour and ignoring it works far better. Ignoring it and telling the miserable bugger to grow up or get out would be my preferred strategy.... smile Sulking is one of my 'deal-breaker' traits in a potential partner.

NaffOrf Tue 11-Feb-14 06:45:38

I won't say LTB.

But I will say Don't Have a Baby With This Man.

Sulking is just bad temper, that's all. Passive aggression is still aggression. He wants to hurt you, but he knows he shouldn't hit you.

Just think about it. Please.

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Tue 11-Feb-14 06:51:14

I would stand in front of him and tell him that sulking is petulant and manipulative behaviour and when he is ready to rejoin the adult population, you will be happy to talk about it but you expect an apology.

then ignore his sulking and get on with your day as normal.

I bloody hate sulkers.

it is learned in childhood when they have people around them who beg and plead for them to cheer up and probably gave them their own way too. So they learn sulking works.

KepekCrumbs Tue 11-Feb-14 07:13:07

I am an ex sulker and ashamed of it. It was for me the only weapon I had in conflict because of a domineering father. You are told to shut up -your opinion is irrelevantso you bloody well do. You shut down in fact.It is manipulative, childish, destructive and pathetic in decent relationships but it's a hard habit to unlearn.

I totally agree with no cajoling, no anxious trying to get him 'back' but better to talk about the impact and tell him you have no intention of bringing a child into a home where there is a major sulker so he has to change. If that means counselling (as I did) to reach thelevel of self awareness he needs then so be it.

Make an effort at the same time to listen to him properly so he can see talking in an adult way and reaching sensible compromises is a far better way of doing things - my ex was like my dad which didn't excuse my sulking but did enable it to be my only effective (as I saw it then) means of - ironically- having a voice.

My dp is brilliant at adult talking through but it was mainly the work I did on myself in the ten years between the end of my marriage and meeting him that enabled me to change and break a horrible sulking habit.

You feel so CROSS when you're sulking and you have no idea what to do with the emotion so you turn it in on yourself. It's a hideous place to be. I don't agree with the poster who said that it means automatically that he wants to hit you.

KepekCrumbs Tue 11-Feb-14 07:19:13

When I say listen to him, I don't mean about the immediate row - I asaume you already did that - I mean after, about what he was thinking and feeling to go into shutdown. Why does he do that? What does he want to acheive? Metacognate the issue. I wish somwone with somw emotional intelligence had done that for me as a child!

Having said that, it's his responsibility entirely not yoursto deal with this. But if you're not eeady to ltb for 3 sulks in 10 years then it might be worth a go.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 11-Feb-14 09:12:18

@Kepekcrumbs... she's not his therapist she's his partner. As you say, he is 100% responsible for dealing with his emotions and has a duty to treat the OP kindly at the same time. If he needs therapy he should get it from a professional

kentishgirl Tue 11-Feb-14 10:16:12

I used to have a sulker. Don't cajole, apologise, try to reason with them. I used to just ignore it completely without ignoring him - so talk to him normally, be bright and breezy, pretend his reactions are normal, and carry on around him so it has no impact on you - but it has an impact on him. It makes them see how stupid they are acting.

example
What shall we have for dinner tonight? Sausages or pasta? (make one of the options they don't really like). Then when he responds with a grunt or doesn't reply say breezily 'yes, ok, pasta it is (the one he doesn't like) and do it. Or if he snaps rudely 'sausages' mishear him on purpose and give him pasta anyway and if he complains say 'sorry I misheard you, I can't hear you too well when you speak like that'.

NaffOrf Tue 11-Feb-14 13:20:51

Fucking hell, who can be bothered with all that?

The best thing to do with a sulker is leave them to it and go and form a relationship with an adult, surely?

We don't have to rescue all these crap men, you know. We really don't.

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