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Arguing with dh

(33 Posts)
Lavenderhoney Tue 01-Jan-13 13:56:52

When you argue with your dh ( assuming you do) what happens? We don't argue unless dh pushes some buttons, until I am furious and I shout( if I am calm he goes on and on until I react) then he tells me I am mad and need help as I get so angry. But he has to me deliberately wound me up and almost bullied me into losing my temper!

Then we don't speak for an hour, he apologises and it's as if nothing happened. He never gets angry and shouts. He is super calm.
I never see anyone else arguing and my parents werent a good example ( alcoholic father and dm was in care when young as orphaned) so how do people argue? And what is normal?

Snusmumriken Tue 01-Jan-13 14:22:15

I am sure it varies, but I do not think that it is ever OK to shout, and it is not OK to bully either.

It sounds like you guys need some help figuring out how to resolve problems.

I can't link but if you google 'aha parenting' you might find some tips that could help. The site is specifically about parenting but offer advice on how to interact effectively with loved ones.

Good luck!

Lueji Tue 01-Jan-13 14:43:18

Do you ever tell him to stop pushing those buttons?

tribpot Tue 01-Jan-13 14:46:09

What you're describing doesn't really sound like arguing. It does sound more like him winding you up for his gratification. Have you tried to address his behaviour and your reaction to it when you're both calm again?

HollyBerryBush Tue 01-Jan-13 14:58:11

You can't blame someone for your reactions.

If your post were written about a woman winding a man up until he hit her - no one would be telling the woman to stop pushing the buttons that cause a bloke to physically lash out.

Same thing applies to you, you need to learn to manage your buttons that make you flare up.

However I don't believe those on this board who profess to sail through life having never raised a voice, never had a row etc.

I dont think it sounds like arguing. Both of you need to work on your communication.

DP and I have silly little rows maybe once a week. A proper row only happens maybe once every few months.

He talks over me in the big ones which frustrates me to the point that I refuse to discuss it any further. I leave the room and we both calm down and then readdress the original issue more calmly.

It very rarely ends up with shouting.

RubyrooUK Tue 01-Jan-13 15:37:19

Well DH and I do like to shout. We are both very secure in the relationship and find that a shout gets any bad feeling out of our systems.

I never feel scared when DH shouts not vice versa. Often we actually laugh at our ridiculous shouting and it breaks the tension.

Since having DS, we don't like to shout in front of him. So instead we end up muttering when highly annoyed and get a bit moody, which I actually find less useful as I hate any sort of grudge holding. (I should say we don't really fight that much anyway in case it sounds like we hate each other!)

My mum was always a "quick shout, big hug, no grudge"' type so I find this least stressful in an argument. My real dad was a massive moody grudge holder, which I find the most difficult behaviour.

I think the most important thing is that you and your DH both have to feel ok with how you argue. Which you clearly don't.

My DH and I can live with our technique but if I hate shouting or he hated me shouting, we'd have to address it.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 01-Jan-13 15:37:40

What is it you argue about and what are the 'buttons' that he pushes? The main disagreements I and my current b/f have are fairly academic ones.... for an intelligent man some of his opinions are eye-wateringly crass! Never descends into shouting and I think arguments that do usually get that way because one or other person has lost the argument and is resorting to pushing their point through intimidation rather than reason.

If you think he's deliberately provoking you into a rage then consciously do the opposite, stay calm, walk away and come back when you're thinking clearly.

Lavenderhoney Wed 02-Jan-13 00:55:06

It's normally when out and we always have the dc with us.can you tell me how you would have reacted and what I did wrong?

recently, we were out with the dc and they were quite tired and moany which he doesn't handle very well. He had been getting crosser and crosser with their behaviour and really quite grumpy with me. He hadn't wanted to come out with us anyway but felt he should but of course wanted to go home the whole time, trying to cut the afternoon short and generally being unpleasant which was annoying me a lot. He muttered under his breath to himslf " what a great family afternoon this is " and it made me so cross - i fekt so angry with him. I just hissed " well try to help and make it more fun" he made me feel responsible for the dc and his happiness - he had done nothing to help with them, I wished I had gone alone, it would have been much more fun.

The second was in the car. He got lost coming home from supermarket ( busy road, junctions, wouldn't listen to my directions or the sat nav)
Told me I was useless as I hardly knew my right from my left, so I said that wasn't true and maybe he could find his own way back to the main road. He got more and more lost. I suggested he take a turn, but he just went the other way. He finally goton the right road. He said it was my fault we took the wrong turn and it was taking so long. I pointed out I did the journey every week and didn't get lost.
He replied "yes lavender you are always right." I said I wasn't but it wasn't fair to blame me for getting lost. He just repeats " yes lavender, yes lavender" and it drives me crazy. I honestly wanted to hit him. I said " stop just saying " yes lavender, it feel like bullying" and he just says " yes lavender" And laughs.
I ended in tears and i just feel so trapped and then he says I look a right misery and I need help as he doesn't lose his temper like that. I have never seen him lose his temper.

I do try not to shout but sometimes he won't answer and just ignores me, say my ds is being difficult and I want him to step in ( dh on computer, ds in same room teasing sister or shouting no at me" dh will just ignore it all like a stranger at the next table. By the time I said " can you help me" and he says " just a second" I am already really pissed off. If I don't intervene with the dc he will just ignore til dd is hysterical with tears then he overreacts - and it all can be avoided with a gentle " ds, calm down" at the start. They do it to get his attention but he won't change and give them any and it's bloody exhausting me.

juniperdewdrop Wed 02-Jan-13 01:02:19

He sounds hideous and needs to grow up.

Dp and I rarely argue. We may disagree over little things and can snipe but it lasts all of a few minutes and happens once in a blue moon. We get on well though and try to act maturely. Although I do fail at this at times blush I want us to be good role models for dcs so try to act like a grown up.

How old is your dh?

TurnipCake Wed 02-Jan-13 01:02:28

http://www.laviniahouse.net/the-father.php

My ex was like this shudder

juniperdewdrop Wed 02-Jan-13 01:03:26

And saying 'you need help' is atrocious. How disrespectful.

juniperdewdrop Wed 02-Jan-13 01:04:55
TurnipCake Wed 02-Jan-13 01:06:20

Thank you, I'm just figuring out how to link things properly blush

juniperdewdrop Wed 02-Jan-13 01:11:56

That's ok I just read it very interesting wink

To do a link you just paste as you did and put [[ at the front where it says then at the end put .php you can put a word before the last ]] so you'd put word or title here

juniperdewdrop Wed 02-Jan-13 01:12:55

oh that didn't work right my [[ disappeared. So did the ]]? Wonder if they go again? Just made them into links.

CuddlyBlanket Wed 02-Jan-13 01:29:35

You sound like you may benefit from councelling to manage your anger and see if you want to remain in a relationship with this Man. It sounds like you are a single parent with a zombie computer geek hanging around like a anoying bad smell.

Lavenderhoney Wed 02-Jan-13 03:49:10

Well he works lots of hours and travels so in a way I am mostly a single parent. He is lovely when not doing this, and not when he is tired.
I have suggested counselling but he is totally against it and says we are adults and should sort our own issues. He did say I could go alone but its so expensive and we dont have the spare cash- and I would have to take dd so don't think it's an option.
I haven't any old friends here I can talk to- recently moved abroad and he was not like this the first few years of marriage- its since moving abroad. My old friends I have lost the intimacy for this kind of talk from moving abroad and don't want to burden them. They have their own lives and issues as I have discovered from occasional emails and Skype. New friends I feel uncomfortable with discussing these issues as they are more acquaintances I see at playgroup.

jessjessjess Wed 02-Jan-13 04:58:28

"I have suggested counselling but he is totally against it and says we are adults and should sort our own issues." Being an adult doesn't mean you can't, or shouldn't, go to counselling. I know two couples who have been, for example.

OP, could you try to talk to your old friends? I know if a friend I'd sort of lost touch with wanted to confide about something like this, I'd absolutely listen and be there for them, so isn't it worth a try?

In response to your posts, I think you both have a few issues. It's not right for him to say you are mad and need help; but I also find it worrying that you view him as deliberately winding you up and bullying you into losing your temper - because losing your temper is about you losing control, and not something you can just blame on someone else.

I have no idea what is normal, but DH and I have tried to avoid replicating behaviour we've seen elsewhere (my parents argued a lot, and his are divorced). We do argue, but we do not do the following:
- insult each other personally
- go to bed without resolving it
- get passive-aggressive e.g. the hissing under the breath

My DH is so laidback it's near-impossible to argue with him anyway. But we both recognise that the relationship as a whole is bigger than one argument, and sometimes it's best to just agree to disagree and drop it - one person doesn't have to "win".

The thing that bothered me most about your post was him saying "Yes Lavender, yes Lavender," over and over, because that's mean and does sound like bullying. I would be devastated if either I or my DH treated the other with that little respect, if I'm honest.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 02-Jan-13 09:11:48

I can't work out if he's just childish, selfish and bad-tempered or if it's something more sinister. Grumbling about a day out with the family is very immature, pointless and seemed principally engineered to make you feel upset -that's bullying. Getting lost in the car and resorting to sarcastic taunts - that's also bullying. Very odd/selfish behaviour with the DCs. It's almost like he doesn't want to be part of the family at all.

Everyone's 'lovely' when they're not being an arsehole... that's no recommendation. I also worry that he's only 'lovely' when he's getting his own way. Bullies usually are.

Sorry but I don't think this man likes you very much.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 02-Jan-13 09:13:24

You might find this article worth a read.

Lavenderhoney Wed 02-Jan-13 09:47:03

Cognito, I have read the article thankssmile but that doesn't sound like my dh, however rather unfortunately I think recognise myself in small ways which I didn't realise I was doing.
I also thought he didn't like me much- I have asked him in the past few months and he gets quite upset, but I think I as I resent quite a bit living abroad - which we have discussed and are planning to change this year- and have a whole sack of baggge from growing up in a dysfunctional family I could be as much to blame for our behaviour under stress.

It's been helpful to know that other people do argue, and interesting to know its not all about who can yell loudest. Perhaps it's his reaction to my loss of temper and shouting- he doesn't know how to handle it as his family manage to disagree and argue without a load of shouting and stamping about.

I think I need to look at my behaviour a bit closer and see if I trigger anything- I do get very emotional and I do think if it wasn't for the dc I would go, but that reaction to some small things seems very teenage in retrospect. I was not allowed to behave in another way than quiet when growing up and my dm was violent towards me. I wonder if I am replicating her behaviour. I am worried to think about that as its very sad if so. I thought by leaving at 16 I would have escaped too much influence.

Well that was very honest of me, I feel a bit crap now.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 02-Jan-13 09:57:12

I think you should stop blaming yourself. Even the calmest most placid person would lose their temper with someone being deliberately sarcastic on a car journey or grumbling on a day out like a petulant child.

Look at it this way. Let's say you decide to say nothing at all next time he tries to wind you up. Swallow your annoyance and remain eerily calm. Smile perhaps. Wouldn't that simply be replicating your childhood where someone else's aggression (and passive aggression is still aggression) is 'not allowing you to behave in another way than quiet'?

The way all emotional abuse works is that the victim thinks that if only they behaved better, they would have a good relationship with their abuser. The abuser, meanwhile, keeps setting up the victim to fail.... in your case with deliberately provocative behaviour. You're falling into exactly that trap

Fairenuff Wed 02-Jan-13 11:25:48

There is no point in shouting in an argument. It's not helpful. It doesn't put your point across, it's counter-productive because the other person will either become more defensive or just stop listening.

What you really need to do is talk. And not when you're angry. You need to agree that you will put aside some time to go over these issues rationally and find different ways to deal with them.

So, when you are out with the family and he is grumbling, you should tell him that there is a problem which you would like to discuss later with him when the dcs are in bed.

This is how adults resolve their differences. You should be able to come to an agreement that, for example, even if he feels grumpy he will express it differently so that it doesn't sound like he's complaining to you or, indeed, about you.

If you do this routinely, it will become natural. You can learn how by going to counselling.

I have suggested counselling but he is totally against it and says we are adults and should sort our own issues

This will only happen if both of you are prepared to talk and listen, compromise, find solutions, make changes and commit to them.

Otherwise the way you currently behave will continue for the rest of your relationship.

juniperdewdrop Wed 02-Jan-13 13:05:42

Lavender don't feel crap it's good that you're seeing things clearer.It's all part of the healing process and will help you move forward.

I know what it's like living with an aggressive parent. My father was and I worry I could be like him but I won't just as you won't. We're too aware.

Can you both go to Relate? I think that's just for a donation so wouldn't be too expensive? He needs to realise it's up to him to help with the situation and not put his head in the sand. It's like he's saying it's all you if he doesn't go along too.

Lavenderhoney Wed 02-Jan-13 14:48:08

Thank you all for being so supportive and not saying ltbsmile
Juniper, we can't go to relate as we have moved abroad, which is when the problems started. I can't actually believe I won't be living in the uk, which doesn't really help.
We are going to talk over the next few days as I want to have a think firstsmile I need to be sure I can manage anything I promise- I see red far too fast- never with the dc, just him.

dequoisagitil Wed 02-Jan-13 15:02:35

Lavender, anyone would get angry when faced with someone behaving like this. It sounds like he deliberately ruined the day out by acting the sulky man-child. Don't take on more responsibility for what happened than is properly yours.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 02-Jan-13 15:06:12

"I see red far too fast"

Those who know me will tell you I'm a very calm, measured person. But there is someone I meet through business who has me absolutely incandescent within about ten minutes of talking to him. He's condescending, stupid, obstructive, suspicious (I could go on) ... and the only reason I don't punch him on the nose is because it would be bad for business. Does that make me a person with an anger management problem? Or does it mean my customer is an arse?

I think you're with an arse....

juniperdewdrop Wed 02-Jan-13 17:07:02

Some Relate books here. Looks like they're sold on Amazon so would deliver abroad.

loopylou6 Wed 02-Jan-13 17:21:03

Lavender. Google 'Gas lighting'

Lavenderhoney Wed 02-Jan-13 18:44:11

Loupylou6, I have looked at it and dh doesnt fit any of those. I don't want to think he's a horrible person as I think I am as much to blame for my own inability to argue like an adult. This concerns me as I am supposed /we are to be role modelling for the dc! Dh says its not good for them when I lose my temper and he's right. I try not to, but for instance they were in the car when we got lost. My parents didn't care if I saw it all, and I don't want to be like that. I wish I could blank out all the early stuff and reload with something more fluffy.

I see in his ( very rare) behaviour my df which panics me somewhere deep down and I am raging against myself for seeing that. I would never want to be with any man like my df. And dh is very far from that, but he is human and makes mistakes.

I will look for some guidelines on how to argue -I get very defensive very quickly and friends have noticed this as well as dh. It's as though I get in first with the escalation.
I am going to talk to a friend I have made who went to counselling and it turned their marriage round- she will be sympathic I am sure of it. When I am clear I am behaving " normally" then I guess I shall see. We hardly ever argue tbh, normally we just compromise and try to be kind with each other.

FairyFi Wed 16-Jan-13 23:54:39

your last post on your self-beliefs and responsibilities seem to conflict quite considerably with the example events you described [of the afternoon outting and the getting lost in car] - like you describe events clearly and then interpret them altogether differently.

HE needs to learn. Tell him to cut the sarky, patronising 'yes, Lavender' bullshit and treat you like an equal for once angry

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