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Learning to diffuse(defuse?) partners anger, better communication

(34 Posts)
pablothepenguin Wed 02-Mar-16 15:43:09

(Relationship counselling by myself, second week...)

I need to learn techniques to defuse my husband's anger. Withdrawing because you feel upset and intimidated is not how a 40 year old woman behaves. I could have had that conversation with my husband for free.

Obviously that's my take on the conversation but I think it was the main gist.

It set me off reading about better communication this morning and I can see how to improve things, how i could do things differently. But I thought counselling was about reaching my own conclusions. It was a disastrous session. We clashed horribly (she could see why husband got angry!)

Maybe I am horrendously bad at examining my own behaviour but learning how not to trigger someone with an anger issue really annoys me. From what I've read online today though, the counsellor's advice is pretty textbook (probably sound?)Eg, me saying "I won't talk to you while you're angry" is critical and winding him up, I should rephrase as "I feel...."

Does anyone have any books they could recommend on better communication. I'm intrigued by the idea that my life could have been very different if I learnt how to say what I want rather than just give in. The session seemed to simplfy our issues to anger/compliance. It's not that simple. Theres so much more we didn't even discuss. I think I need to work out my own approach.

TheJiminyConjecture Wed 02-Mar-16 15:44:59

This probably isn't helpful but I think you need a new counsellor

Summerlovinf Wed 02-Mar-16 15:47:30

You feel that you are responsible for your husband's behaviour?

Thesmallthings Wed 02-Mar-16 15:48:47

Personally I think. "I can't talk to you when your angry like this"

Is perfectly fine.. Why isn't he working on controlling he's anger?

How about well talk once we've BOTH had ten minutes to think about things. That way its not attacking him but is a fair way to go.

How does he's anger show? I would point blank refuse to talk to any one who was shouting at me. Because that's not a conversation and isn't going to sort anything. . Imo your being used as a verbal Punching bag.

I would also find a new councling.

GingerCuddleMonsterThe2nd Wed 02-Mar-16 15:54:15

DP is on the forces, he has a temper. It's been made worse by deployments and just generally Army life. He gets angry sometimes, we've never raised our voices at each other however. We can feel the argument boiling up and one of us will say "this is getting too much right now, we will talk about it later"

Then when we are both calm one of us will ask .Shall we talk and a adult conversation happens.

My point is it's not solely you responsibility to diffuse, he needs to do so to. He's not a bomb you can't just cut a wire to diffuse, you both need to work together.

pocketsaviour Wed 02-Mar-16 15:55:53

I have to say my experience of relationship counsellors is that they haven't always had a lot of training and some of them fall into the idea that the counselling is designed to get whichever of you is less assertive to just do what's necessary to placate the other.

However there's quite a lot of bandwidth between what some people would describe as "angry". Everything from having a frown and talking slightly louder than usual, all the way up to shouting loudly, swearing at you and throwing things. (And I suppose beyond that to being violent.)

Where would you say your H falls on this scale? Do you feel physically intimidated when he becomes angry? What is the source of the anger - does he blame his emotions on you, or is it when he's stressed by someone or something at work?

pablothepenguin Wed 02-Mar-16 15:59:09

I agree it's not my responsibility. I refuse to manage it in this way. Shouting is going to be a no, no negotiation. I have had no bottom lines in our relationship. I am working on some.

But I would still like to learn/agree better ways to communicate. Finding books and reading feels proactive.

I haven't worked out whether the counsellor challenging me might be good. I don't feel like paying for a personality clash and being told how things are.

BertieBotts Wed 02-Mar-16 16:01:27

I agree you need a new counsellor.

I don't even know where to start. Why are you trying to "diffuse" his anger?

What form does his anger take? What help is he seeking for it?

MrsHathaway Wed 02-Mar-16 16:06:59

I need to learn techniques to defuse my husband's anger. Withdrawing because you feel upset and intimidated is not how a 40 year old woman behaves. I could have had that conversation with my husband for free.

Obviously that's my take on the conversation but I think it was the main gist.

Your counsellor is no good: either s/he believes this, or is rubbish at communicating with you.

It is not your responsibility to manage his anger. Full stop. If he can't manage it himself, he needs to look at personal anger management counselling.

If he can't or won't do that, he's saying that his convenience is more important than you are. And that's no foundation for a marriage.

You deserve better brewchocolate

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 02-Mar-16 16:11:44

I would now find another counsellor to work with particularly in the event you are using a Relate counsellor.

Abuse is not about a lack of understanding or difficulties in communication; it is about having power and control over the other person.
I would suggest you read "Why does he do that?" written by Lundy Bancroft if you have not already done so.

Why do you therefore think you need to learn techniques to diffuse your H's anger?.You are not responsible for him when all is said and done.

MatrixReloaded Wed 02-Mar-16 16:16:20

It's not your job to diffuse your husbands anger. Managing his anger is his responsibility. Your counsellor sounds awful.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 02-Mar-16 16:19:01

Does he get as angry with other people or is his anger solely directed at you?.

pablothepenguin Wed 02-Mar-16 16:21:10

OK. I thought it was pretty awful. I felt yet again like I was having to fight/bury what I know. I am not going back to the counselling.

He is really up for changing. He is not physically violent or name calling even. Lower end of the shouting scale. But I hate it and he agrees to stop. More significant is that I feel I have had no say in many areas of my life. This reached a crisis point for me. I have since tried being more assertive and it seems to be changing. So I think it can change.

But I feel like we could work this out better ourselves. I want to acknowledge DHs concerns without becoming even more if a doormat (which is how the counselling felt). I think reducing it in this way does us both a disservice.

I feel like learning better communication can only be a good thing. But I want to engage my brain, not be told how to do it. Searching Amazon for some reading.

WinnieFosterTether Wed 02-Mar-16 16:32:15

Find a different counsellor.

Learning how to communicate is valuable but it won't solve your relationship issues. You need to understand what brought you to this point and how to identify healthy barriers before you can communicate them. For that reason, I think you should keep going to counselling just not with this counsellor.

When I went to counselling and wittered on about DH, the first thing the counsellor said was, 'Where are you in all of this? It's all about him and his wants and needs.' Your counsellor has done the opposite - they have put your DH front and centre. That's wrong.

Marchate Wed 02-Mar-16 16:45:16

Another sad tale of a useless counsellor taking the part of the wrong person

pablothepenguin Wed 02-Mar-16 19:28:15

I tried really really hard to ignore what I'd read on here Marchate and go with an open mind. But i felt awful and humiliated. It reinforced absolutely that I deserve to feel as bad as i have. I still feel shit tbh. Having thrown myself into self improvement reading all day to try and be positive and open to change, at the end of the day I feel crap.

Twgtwf Wed 02-Mar-16 19:35:40

Why are there so many really terrible counsellors out there, and why are they allowed to continue to practise?

She has made you feel crap, OP - push it right back.

goddessofsmallthings Wed 02-Mar-16 19:58:04

Haven't you got another thread on this same topic, pablo?

This twat counsellor is either completely unequipped to practice in the face of an obviously unequal relationship where one party is dominated and controlled by a manipulative and abusive spouse, or she is as abusive as your h and I seem to recall you have been advised to end these far worse than useless damaging Relate sessions.

Please don't give this outmoded institution another penny of your hard earned cash and seek individual counselling from a therapist who is recommended, if not endorsed, by your local branch of Women's Aid www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic-abuse-directory/ or, better still, talk to a dv worker who'll provide all the information you need to break free of the chains that are currently binding you to your untenable marriage.

goddessofsmallthings Wed 02-Mar-16 20:07:32

I deserve to feel as bad as i have

No you don't. Other than allowing yourself to be taken in and reduced to a shadow of your former self by an abusive and controlling piece of gobshite who isn't fit lick your boots, you have nothing WHATSOEVER to feel bad about and every reason to get goddam angry with yourself for continuing to tolerate his dominance of you.

Having thrown myself into self improvement

The only party to your marriage who needs to 'improve' themselves is your h and, as pigs will fly before that happens, you're best advised to file a petition to divorce and leave the fucker to his own devices.

pablothepenguin Wed 02-Mar-16 20:07:58

Yep sorry, I posted last week. Sorry, I didn't intend to rehash the same stuff when I started this. But it is the same old shit. And yes I've had lots of good advice. I literally have no one to talk to. I thought by going again i was facing up to things rather than backing off. But it was a mistake. And yes I need to stop posting and sort myself out. Apologies.

Twgtwf Wed 02-Mar-16 20:19:05

I don't think you should stop posting, Pablo. You're allowed to start as many threads as you like. Other women learn from threads like these - imagine all the other women who have seen counsellors who reinforced abuse. angry It helps to read your story. thanks

AnyFucker Wed 02-Mar-16 20:20:16

Don't stop posting

But ask yourself why you think it is your job to police your husband's bad behaviour

You are neither his mother nor his carer

What is he doing to rectify the situation, other than making easy promises that mean fuck all if they are dependent on you changing your behaviour to appease him ?

goddessofsmallthings Wed 02-Mar-16 20:24:24

No apologies are needed, pablo, and you need to KEEP POSTING so that those who are qualified, by dint of professional credentials or hard earned first hand experience of abusive relationships, can help you emerge from the 'fog'* of muddled thinking which is magnified and made worse by your isolation.

If you choose one of your two threads to post your random thoughts/musings/updates it will grow to be a progress chart of sorts which will not only enable you to offload and gain clarification/validation, but will also serve as a record of how far you've grown in self-knowlege as you move towards the portal marked 'exit', or the door that enables you to turn your marriage on its head and make it what YOU want it to be.

*Fear Obligation Guilt

arthriticfingers Wed 02-Mar-16 20:28:20

please don't stop posting.
have a look at the links and posts here

BertieBotts Wed 02-Mar-16 20:35:01

Yes. Please keep posting if only for yourself to be able to look back.

AF asks some pertinent questions too.

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