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What do you think about this reaction? Especially if you hate confrontations

(86 Posts)
FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 13:13:10

What would you do in a scenario such as the one below?

Something happens that has upset your partner/husband/wife very much. So much that he/she decides to just get out of the house for some fresh air and doesn't come back for a good 45 minutes. On his/her return, said partner looks upset/hurt/like he/she has been crying.

What would you do on her return?

What would you do if you know that asking what's going on will mean he/she is likely to tell you what is wrong and it is likely to have something to do with you?

LittleEdie Sun 03-Mar-13 13:19:33

I take it the person leaving for 45 mins was you, and your DP/DH didn't react as you'd hoped they would?

BumpingFuglies Sun 03-Mar-13 13:19:50

Just ask smile

It'll come out anyway

BertieBotts Sun 03-Mar-13 13:22:03

I would ask if they are okay but I'd have a horrible knotty nervous feeling that the following conversation would be really hard and not nice at all.

I'd hope there were no children/relatives around or that we had plans but if necessary I'd bring it up anyway (have in the past).

Branleuse Sun 03-Mar-13 13:24:36

id of course ask.

I also think though that if it was you, and you really want to talk, then you should talk, and not wait to be asked whats wrong, as thats playing silly games. Just say "WE NEED TO TAlk about this"

Chottie Sun 03-Mar-13 13:25:22

I would stick the kettle on and say, let's talk and then let the person speak (with no interruptions from me!) and listen to what is said.

I get the impression that something has happened to really upset you, I hope you get things sorted << unMN like hug >>

LittleEdie Sun 03-Mar-13 13:26:30

Yes, it's difficult to say. To be fair, I could imagine that leaving for 45 mins might seem like passive aggressive behaviour, or attention seeking, or manipulative, so I might choose not to respond in the way my DP might hope I would.

FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 13:27:37

Yes me.
I came back, he was having lunch with the dcs. Not a word from anyone to ask how I was.
I retreated to the bedroom still crying. DH didn't come to see me, choosing to do the washing up instead.
He has now left with the dcs to take them to an activity. Hasn't talked to me at all, not even to ask me if I wanted to come. No one bothered to say good bye.

So I am alone at home.

I know he thinks it's better to leave me alone. I know he just can't stand any sort of discussions that is just a bit emotional.
But it just f* hurt as it really feels like no one cares at all.

FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 13:30:02

Can't talk to him atm as I am way too emotional and he will shut down. I know by experience nothing good will come out of it.
Just me feeling even more shit than before.

Not that I don't want to tell him what's wrong. I can very easily do that with anyone else.

Today was the last straw that broke the camel's back.

LittleEdie Sun 03-Mar-13 13:32:23

Today was the last straw that broke the camel's back.

Then it's more likely that he's scared to hear it, rather than doesn't care. He's thinking if he sticks his head in the sand his problems will go away.

Numberlock Sun 03-Mar-13 13:33:20

You're going to have to be more specific about what he's done - both with us and him...

youfhearted Sun 03-Mar-13 13:37:59

his reaction to me sounds like you behave like this often, are you a bit of a drama queen, was it really so awful you had to leave the house for 45 minutes.
why dont you just tell him about it

LittleEdie Sun 03-Mar-13 13:42:36

I suspect you came on here hoping for the 'soothing' that you wanted and didn't get from your DP.

Can you tell us what happened?

RatPants Sun 03-Mar-13 13:45:18

Perhaps he didn't want to get into it in front of the children and was giving you the space you needed to calm down? What is the background here?

buildingmycorestrength Sun 03-Mar-13 13:45:32

My husband also shuts down and hates emotional confrontation. If he had taken kids out like that it would be out of a sense oh 'she obviously needs to be on her own right now, no good rowing in front of the kids'.

It has taken many, many conversations to convince him to just come and have a quick chat, even if just to say, sorry, have a cuppa, let's talk later.

But this is not because he doesn't care, its because we expect different things. I think my husband is a fundamentally good, straightforward man who is at sea in my world (of complex emotional and hormonal problems).

I don't know about yours.

FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 13:46:19

What really annoyed me today? Just that.

<<And a lot of small things that have accumulated over the last 2 weeks (from DH bad mood because he was ill has man flu, to the fact his car is dangerous to drive but he refuses to take it to a garage. Or that I really need his dates for the hols to book something for the summer but 4 weeks on he still hasn't given me any ...)>>

But today was really about not answering to questions (or a very delayed reactions). It can be as silly as 'can you pass me the bread?' which is met by a blank. And then when I (or the dcs) repeat the question, there is 'I am going to give it you!' in an annoyed voice.
Or much more serious such as not saying anything when we have to discuss things (Hence the fact I know that I really have to find the right time and the right words/tone of voice to get to him). Anything from parenting to budget. From a small issue to a big one.

I have said so many times, that not answering is just plain rude. And so is just leaving the room when someone is talking to you.

Now the dcs are behaving exactly the same way and it's dragging me down.
And dc1 has learnt that any confrontation of any type is bad and that the best way to deal with it is to leave. Not saying that you don't like X or Y. No. Just leaving.
He even did it at my parents when we were all having lunch sad.

I don't want my dcs to learn this is an OK behaviour. I want them to know that when someone is clearly upset, you should ask them how they are. Even if it's not 'what the problem?' but at least 'Are you OK?'. At least acknowledging their presence.

badinage Sun 03-Mar-13 13:49:38

Who hates confrontations - you, him or both of you?

Tbh, I despair of people who create drama and like to have their upset prised out of them and if they do that a lot, then I won't give them the attention they seek. I'm thinking of my mother here, incidentally. I couldn't bear to be in a relationship with someone like that.

If there's something wrong, just deal with it.

badinage Sun 03-Mar-13 13:51:12

But hang on. Didn't you leave rather than air your grievances?

So you're both teaching your DCs bad lessons here about conflict management.

FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 13:52:08

Btw I have never ever gone out of the house like this. This is so unlike me and my normal behaviour (very calm and levelled headed actually).

I didn't go out to get a reaction. I went out because I had enough and was going to be in an awful mood, would have told him exactly what I think in a very emotional way and he wouldn't have listened. More likely I would have ended up feeling like the 'bad' guy to be so emotional and clearly out of my mind).
This is very unusual. I normally either tell me in a calm way what is going on. Or I wait that I have calmed down and tell him. Today I was so furious that anyone, incl the dcs, would have bear the runt of it and I didnd't want them to 'pay' for something they haven't done iyswim.

LittleEdie Sun 03-Mar-13 13:53:31

And dc1 has learnt that any confrontation of any type is bad and that the best way to deal with it is to leave.

Am I missing something here, are you saying they've learned that from you?

Him not responding to your question meant that you had to leave the house for 45 mins? I thought you were going to say he'd been having an affair or something.

FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 13:59:39

Thanks for the input....

I am not sure how to explain better what is going on.
As I have said before this reaction was a*ONE OFF* and NOT a normal reaction from my part.
But DH NOT answering questions and leaving the room IS the norm.

Just as stonewalling has once being his way of dealing with anything that looked unappealing to him.

Next time, I shall do as you all say and just let rip at all my issue at him....
And deal with all his sulking and his bad moods (for days) an try to go in between him and the dcs so that they don't get too much 'telling off' from him because he is in a bad mood.

What I really needed just now was some support. I have clearly gone to the wrong place for that sadsad.
I should have known.

I cannot see his behaviour being about hating confrontations (although I suspect that maybe he has told you that this is why he behaves the way he does?). Because if someone truly hates confrontation, then the work hard to not provoke any. Your example - "It can be as silly as 'can you pass me the bread?' which is met by a blank. And then when I (or the dcs) repeat the question, there is 'I am going to give it you!' in an annoyed voice." demonstrates that his actions actually manufacture a confrontation that needn't have existed.

Sorry, but this man does not hate confrontation, whatever he might say. He thrives on them, and uses them as a stick to beat you with.

LittleEdie Sun 03-Mar-13 14:02:24

You've gone to the right place, but gone about it the wrong way.

Sorry LittleEdie, can you explain the "gone about it the wrong way", I'm not following you.

FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 14:06:15

Btw, I though that shouting or screaming at someone is NOT the right way to act. I went out to cool down because that is exactly what I would have done.
I did what I am telling my own dcs to do. That when you are so angry that you are ready to hurt someone with hands or words, you go away to calm down. And then you can deal with the situation.

This is what I did. How is that wrong???

I am not asking you to tell me what to do re the issue, nor to understand it tbh. because you can't wo knowing all the ins and outs and what has happened in the last 10 years.
What I wanted to know is. When someone you love is doing something out of character such as walking away and they come back cl;early upset. Would you talk to them and ask them if they re OK or would you just ignore them for a full hour before leaving wo saying good bye?
Really would you? Would you be happy to give the silent treatment to someone that you love and is clearly upset???

I was distressed when I first posted now I feel angry. And let down.

FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 14:07:14


badinage Sun 03-Mar-13 14:09:44

Letting rip with all of your issues wouldn't be appropriate in front of the children would it? While I don't think it does kids any favours never to see their parents argue or resolve conflict, there's a time and a place if exchanges are going to be angry and emotions are running high.

What I don't understand is why you wanted any of them to come to see you when you came in if your motive was purely to get some space before you exploded or became tearful. No conversation at that point was going to be productive was it?

FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 14:11:52

I would have expected a 'hello' or a 'how are you'. I was expecting a 'what's going on?' as I knew it wasn't going to happen anyway.

FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 14:12:49

And a good bye when leaving.

isn't that normal politeness?

I don't know what is normal anymore.

It doesn't really matter what anyone on here would do, there are a variety of ways to handle conflict. DP's natural reaction was to leave the room/house, now he has learned that we can talk things through and most of the time we resolve things without it ever getting to that stage. I tend to get defensive and tearful. Neither of these help, but we never lose sight of the fact that we are each other's most important person and the relationship strengthens each time we resolve an issue and agree a way forward. I have two divorces behind me, so I've learned to get better at dealing with things too!

What matters here is what's important to you. Your DH seems to have little respect for you and little interest in you. Maybe he is also feeling frustrated and has taken DC out to avoid a row in their presence. Maybe he hopes that some time and space will allow you both to calm down so that you can talk later? Or maybe he doesn't care enough about you and your marriage to do that, what do you think?

Numberlock Sun 03-Mar-13 14:17:11

It sounds draining for all concerned.

Time2Nap Sun 03-Mar-13 14:20:10

I know exactly how you feel!

My OH does the same thing, and I honestly think its because they dont know how to deal with the situation. My OH says it seems I want space so waits for me to come to OH.

It also drives me up the wall when it seem OH is ignoring me but I think OH just isnt as observant as me and has tunnel vision when doing something so doesnt hear anything. I find it frustrating as assume everyone can hear /see what I can.

Is this the case with your DP, is it just he doesnt hear or know how to handle or do you think he is avoiding you hoping it will go away?

LittleEdie Sun 03-Mar-13 14:20:24


I shouldn't have posted that. I can't reply to you without criticising the OP and that's clearly not appropriate.

Branleuse Sun 03-Mar-13 14:22:49

have you considered asking HIM what's wrong?

Time2Nap Sun 03-Mar-13 14:23:38

oh and is your DP's family like it, maybe it is their personality. My OH mother is like it too and in the begining of our relationship I thought they were just being bloody rude ignoring me speaking but actually they just couldnt hear / didnt realise I was speaking to them. Seems strange to me but we are all different, I kind of wish I had the same fault rather then hearing too much, wearing me out lol

FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 14:25:10

Maybe he hopes that some time and space will allow you both to calm down so that you can talk later? Yes I think he decided to take them to that (planned!) activity to give me space but he is NOT going to raise the issue later.

Or maybe he doesn't care enough about you and your marriage to do that, what do you think? I think he cares about the marriage but that it feels to me like he doesn't. Hence the fact I got really emotional about the fact no one talked to me.
This feeling being taken for granted isn't new. I told DH many many times. At best he looks slightly horrified. At worst, he gets annoyed/angry (but never ever raises his voice with me hmm).

weheryouleftit raises a good point. If he can't cope with confrontations, then why is it OK for him to make sarcastic comments, be in a foul mood and have a go at the dcs and then it's not acceptable for anyone else in the house to do so?
I think I need to go back to the drawing board there.

snowshapes Sun 03-Mar-13 14:25:54

Oh dear, I think this sounds exhausting. He doesn't communicate properly, even to respond to small every day requests, and not to big things like budget and holiday dates either? How do you get anything done? I have to say I would find that terribly difficult.

It kind of sounds to me that you are ground down by this, and reacted out of frustration, and he is ignoring that too, hence your on-going distress. STBXH would also ignore me crying at times, not because I was constantly crying, but because then I felt emotionally all over the place, while he remained calm and collected and doing exactly what he wanted, and it is a tactic which undermines you. As is ignoring requests.

I don't really want to say more than that, because you have given a snapshot of your relationship here, and I wouldn't want to make any further judgements because anything I say is coloured by my own experience. But you know the bigger picture, and I think postmanpat'scat has some sensible suggestions to think about context.

snowshapes Sun 03-Mar-13 14:28:42

>>why is it OK for him to make sarcastic comments, be in a foul mood and have a go at the dcs and then it's not acceptable for anyone else in the house to do so? <<

Okay, this is a bit more information. It doesn't sound like a good atmosphere to live in. Have you spoken to him about this? Or tried to?

snowshapes Sun 03-Mar-13 14:30:25

By the way, I hate confrontations too, because I grew up in a dysfuntional family and my parents were always rowing. It made me a people pleaser, always trying to keep people happy and having no boundaries. It didn't make me into someone who provoked dischord.

Wideboy Sun 03-Mar-13 14:41:03

Bit of male perspective. By the way, we've been married a long time and the difficult issues are now largely behind us - I mean bringing up the children, paying the mortgage, keeping the peace with difficult parents etc. In the time when there was conflict, my wife would often go out for half an hour or so. I presumed to cool down, but as it seemed to be a way of making a point I just used to refuse to acknowledge it as it felt like pandering to her. I don't recall how it progressed from there but it would probably be discussed later when the making-up took place.

On the subject of not speaking when there's a problem, I'm interested to note that this is interpreted as controlling, passive aggressive etc. In my case, it was simply that my wife could not take criticism from me, so it was easier to say nothing. She could take criticism from others, but never from me.

FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 14:46:51

Yes I have in the past asked HIM what's wrong. I never got any answer at all. To give you an idea, I once told him we were going to separate if things didn't change/improve. I asked him to stop putting down the dcs constantly. I asked him what he wanted me to change. His answer was 'When you go in the garage to pick some stuff in the freezer, could you close the door? The kitchen is getting cold otherwise.'.... He has never ever told me what is annoying him. I had to guess from his grumpiness what was an issue.

And the worst bit is that I also know he isn't been abusive or anything like that, even when the lack of communication can be such that 'it's as hurtful as abuse' (Words from the counsellor I saw at the time I was thinking about divorce)

FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 14:53:21


Wideboy can I ask how you knew it was a tactic? And what sort of make up you had?

Because in this house, 'amking up' just means 'going back to what we were doing before as if nothing had happened'. Not discussing things.

snow I know what you mean. This how it feels to me. But then I also know deep down this is more about his own insecurities and a complete lack of 'knowing how to react' than down to emotionally abusive behaviour. I have gone down that route before (Hence the counsellor). The result is just as hurtful.

FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 14:55:30

DH back now.

He came to see me, vaguely talked about what the dcs have being doing and ... has no gone to the computer wo saying a word.
If anyone is going to raise the issue (even on a what's going on there? way) it will have to be me again.

AThingInYourLife Sun 03-Mar-13 15:01:59

If DH got so upset about something that he went out for 45 minutes to walk it off I would want to talk about it as soon as he came back.

In fact, I would insist.

I think your DH's refusal to discuss any issues is deeply unpleasant and unfair.

buildingmycorestrength Sun 03-Mar-13 15:08:05

The 'not knowing how to react' will only get him so far, iyswim. He has to be willing to retrain himself. My dh is struggling with it but I do think he is trying.

snowshapes Sun 03-Mar-13 15:17:14

>>The result is just as hurtful. <<

I think in your position, the question I would be asking is what he is doing to address his 'not knowing how to react'. Communication is a two-way process, otherwise you are on a hiding to nothing. Both parties have to be willing to work to sort out issues.

badinage Sun 03-Mar-13 16:44:18

OP are you genuinely saying that you've never done anything like this before? Not just left the house. Never retired to bed, or left a room, or got moody and withdrawn and expected everyone to prise out of you what's wrong?

If you are being truthful about that, then it does seem strange that even the children didn't say hello/goodbye or asked you what was wrong. Your husband though might have decided that it wasn't the time or the place especially as he had to take the kids somewhere and obviously they are up and around right now too. I'd expect him to raise it when they'd gone to bed though.

If he ignores it and that's symptomatic of how he usually deals with conflict, then you're going to have to say something aren't you? The alternative is sulking until someone breaks first, which isn't healthy. But this doesn't sound like a healthy relationship anyway and it's worrying to think what lessons your DCs are learning from all this tension and drama.

WobblyHalo Sun 03-Mar-13 17:51:15

Op, I was you 11 years ago. I cried on a 7 hour bus journey and then a 12 hour flight to the other side of the world, all the while sitting next to my husband who flat out ignored me. I suspect he also thought it was a 'tactict' Wideboy upthread mentioned.

The reality was that I suffered terrible depression, but did not recognise it or could articulate what was wrong with me. Unrealistically and unfairly, I wanted my husband to see something was wrong and take action. Possibly save me.

The fact that he could blank out my upset made it much worse. But in reality, I think he also just had no clue as to what to do and in typically male fashion stuck his head in the sand.

The good news is that we have now been married for 12 years and are really happy. I got diagnosed with pnd after my first child and we went to Relate. The councelling saved us. It tought us how to communicate and how to value each others' feelings.

This could work for you, but I worry thta your DH's passive aggressiveness will derail it. That is something that needs to be looked at.

Not sure how much help I am, but I wanted you to know that I 'get' how you feel. It's shit, and I hope you find a way out. xx

FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 18:34:35

badinage just as anyone else I do sometimes get moody and withdrawn. But no, I never retired to bed or left a room in a sulk hoping that someone will 'prise out of me what's wrong' because in 15 years DH has never asked me what was wrong. Ever. (Not when I was upset nor when I have not being upset but struggling with work or whatever)

The children are just doing what their dad does. Saying hello and goodbye isn't automatic for him so the dcs do the same.
Leaving the room and staying silent is certainly his way to dealing with things. That's what the dcs see. So I came back, I looked upset (ie there was some 'tension') kaboom, dcs stay silent too...

I have seen them doing that so often. I can cope with DH quirky ways but it hurts me much more when the dcs act in that way sad

TheSeniorWrangler Sun 03-Mar-13 18:42:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FeelsSad Sun 03-Mar-13 19:43:13

TheSenior when your DH is coming back home, is he looking calmer or very upset, clearly having cried quite a bit?

I cannot fantom ignoring someone I love (because refusing to acknowledge someone who is coming back IS like ignoring in my books) when they come back clearly upset. I have never done anything like this nor would I want to do it.
Giving some space to that person if they are angry and need to calm down, Yes. Ignoring someone who is upset, No.

TheSeniorWrangler Sun 03-Mar-13 20:03:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sassy34264 Sun 03-Mar-13 20:48:23

I think if the op had phrased this differently, the responses would be so much different.

'My dh never communicates his feelings, deliberately doesn't answer me when i make small requests, and then acts like he was going to do it, but i didn't give him time, and when i reached the end of my tether and did something completely out of character, and was clearly upset, he didn't even acknowledge me, let alone comfort me....'

He sounds like he's deliberately trying to be a head fuck to me.

There is no way i would just ignore my dp if he was clearly distressed. And especially if i knew, i had caused it. It would upset me to know i had hurt him.

I would be especially concerned that your children are learning it was the norm to copy this sort of behaviour as well. Christ, my 2 year old twins give me compassion if they accidentally hurt me and i cry out. 'sorry mummy' is their response. It's not complicated - it's a basic response.

"He sounds like he's deliberately trying to be a head fuck to me."
I have to say that this is my reading of the OP's posts too. She is walking on eggshells, and their children are picking up some (IMO) very weird behaviour. I just cannot see it as a dislike of confrontation on his part - he is creating the confrontation then pointing the finger at the OP and claiming it's all her fault. ANd it's been happening for so long that the OP no longer knows what is normal.

lougle Sun 03-Mar-13 21:15:41

I don't know. Is his communication different with other people?

DH has much slower verbal processing speed than I do. I sometimes feel like I'm counting to 10 before he 'hears' what I've said. So, he often just stares at me when I say something, because inside, he's piecing together what I've said.

DD2 is the same. She literally looks with a blank face, then responds slooowly.

Could there be an issue of interpretation that's building to resentment? You think he's ignoring you, he thinks your nagging him?

lougle Sun 03-Mar-13 21:15:54


TheSeniorWrangler Sun 03-Mar-13 22:15:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cjel Sun 03-Mar-13 22:21:20

I haven't read all thread, but wonderd why you didn't think its normal for the person who went out to come back and say hello I'm just going to have a lie down a minute ,give me a shout when you go out? It does sound a bit as if today you wanted attention?

nailak Sun 03-Mar-13 22:35:05

if my husband walked away i would assume he didnt want to talk about it and i would wait until he approached me to talk about it

nailak Sun 03-Mar-13 22:37:08

if he came back and was still angry or upset then i would defo wait for him to calm down and carry on with kids as normal, then probably in the evening he would start talking.

MiniTheMinx Sun 03-Mar-13 22:56:07

How quirky is his behaviour normally?

I can relate to quite a lot of what you have said. DP can not cope with understanding the emotions of others. I would have to literally crumple into tears in front of him for him to notice. He avoids talking about issues saying he dislikes confrontation. If he is busy a simple request can be ignored, there is either no response or a long hesitation. He appears to forget to do things like write holiday dates in diary when asked. For years I thought it was his memory or that he was passive aggressive. It can be very hurtful and invalidating to be ignored.

How does he cope with the children if they are hurt, upset, tearful, can he read their emotions and respond in a way which is normal?

practicality Mon 04-Mar-13 07:32:04

Does he have Aspergers?

lougle Mon 04-Mar-13 08:05:07

I honestly think the blanking followed by the 'I was doing it!' isn't abusive, it's indicative of a communication issue.

DD2 does it because her 'theory of mind' is poor. That means that she doesn't realise that we don't know what she's thinking. So if she thinks 'ok, go and get my shoes on' she doesn't realise that we don't know that she has thought it.

We then say 'DD2! I asked you to get your shoes on.' This riles her because she knows we've asked her to do that and she is doing it, albeit slowly.

DH often doesn't respond if I ask him to do something. It doesn't occur to him that it needs a response because he's heard what I've asked him to do and he'll do it. I've tried to explain that if he acknowledges the request, I'll know he has heard, but he just can't do it on a day to day basis.

He used to work in a management company and a deadline was looming. All around him was stress and his manager said 'This deadline is coming up fast, we must have everything ready.' He said 'Ok'. It didn't cross his mind that he needed to show a sense of urgency. His manager eventually asked him to 'at least fake a panic'.

DH would also ignore me walking out for 45 minutes. He'd either assume that I needed to cool down, or find it simply too overwhelming to try and 'fix the problem' because he doesn't understand that someone can have 'feelings' that can be acknowledged without trying to 'fix' the problem.

Similarly with things that are quite important to me, say important dates. He simply cannot retain them.

Now that we've realised that he isn't being lazy, rude and ignorant (we suspect aspergers) we are taking steps to manage the issues it raises.

DH keeps a calendar, for example, so that he can remember all the things he needs to do. It's fascinating that if something is embedded in his routine it will be done without fail. If something is one-off or irregular, it will invariably be forgotten.

buildingmycorestrength Mon 04-Mar-13 09:15:24

I also suspected Aspergers from what you said, OP....does it feel like we are wide of the mark?

I strongly suspect my DH (and DS) have it. It is not easy to live with, but it does make a difference if it means you know it is not intentional or lack of caring, but a neurological difference in the way the brain processes language, emotion, etc. My DH has also found it a relief to have an explanation for himself, if that makes any difference.

Obviously I don't want to try to 'diagnose' over the internet, especially since I am by no means a health professional... and maybe you know all about it already.

TheSeniorWrangler Mon 04-Mar-13 09:17:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nailak Mon 04-Mar-13 09:45:54

And he is not mind reader which is why he needs to know you have heard and understood him!

lougle Mon 04-Mar-13 09:54:09

nailak the trouble is that for most people with ASD, they fundamentally don't have the concept that people don't know what they know. So if they are thinking 'it's cold in here', the assumption is that everyone around them knows it's cold.

DH will often start conversations half-way through - he's been thinking about something, and forgets that I don't know what he's been thinking about. I have to either rapidly catch up and piece it all together, or say 'Wait a minute...start from the beginning..who's so and so, where were they...?'

FeelsSad Mon 04-Mar-13 12:37:08

Thank you very much for all your input.
I found it fascinating to see how different the responses were. From the is a b* and is paying with your mind to your are PA and a drama Queen.

I am obviously much calmer today so hopefully I will also be clearer in my answers (Someone said I hadn't gone about it the right way. That was probably true. Trying to post an OP whilst crying and sobbing just isn't helping in writing something that makes sense lol).

re DH being quirky... He doesn't have any dx of asperger but one of our dcs is currently being assessed for AS and to me he seems to be ticking quite a few boxes.
A lot of what louge ring true. I have been nodding my head as I read along.

Re being PA... I would hope that I am not, especially because this was so out of character for me. But the fact some of you thought about PA made me think and I will have a closer look. I also want to check that, in the middle of trying to find a way to communicate within our family unit, I haven't developed some unhealthy habits.

FeelsSad Mon 04-Mar-13 12:44:24

TheSenior interesting pov.
I would say DH knows something is wrong but is too frightened to ask anything. In part thanks to years of bullying at school that has taught him that the best thing to do is to keep your mouth shut.
Also because he knows he is likely to say/guess the wrong thing.

If I hadn't been so emotional, I would have realized yesterday that actually DH has been reacting exactly the same way than he normally does when things aren't quite right. He shuts down. Think rabbit caught up in the headlights and a blank stare.
But, yesterday, after having quite a lot on my plate in the last 2 weeks, I have reverted to my default mode. That is to think that most people would react as I would. And I would always always go and help/support someone I love that is struggling/being upset.

I have to say it is an eye opener to see how many people seem to expect other to play mind games. I have never done it and have never expected anyone to do so. I am probably much too naive...

practicality Mon 04-Mar-13 12:54:10

Interesting point about him failing to get on with his peers.

I think you need to raise the possibility that he is on the spectrum.

If that is the case and your child has the same condition you will understand that it's not you and then understand how to build strategies in order to ease communication.

I think the depersonalisation would help enormously.

Asking someone to emotionally read a situation with ASD is like asking someone with no eyes to see.

They can't. They can only view things from their own perspective.

AThingInYourLife Mon 04-Mar-13 13:27:21

"But im still not going to ask him what the matter is if he's moping around looking upset and attention seeking.. if he has an issue with something i've done, i am not a mind reader, be straight and tell me!"

You can't blame your unkindness on Asperger's.

If you know someone is upset and deliberately ignore them to teach them a lesson, you are being a dick.

Making up bullshit rules about how "adults" must behave and refusing to acknowledge someone until they conform is cruel.

Adults are people. People get upset. If you know they are upset and you love them and want them not to be upset you try to address it.

lougle Mon 04-Mar-13 13:42:58

"Asking someone to emotionally read a situation with ASD is like asking someone with no eyes to see.

They can't. They can only view things from their own perspective."

True, but with love and patience, there are strategies that help.

For instance, I had a migraine last year (I get them a lot) which was so severe that I suddenly realised that I couldn't see and couldn't feel my arms...I managed to phone up to DH, who had gone to bed. I said 'Can you come down, I can't see.' Bearing in mind I had a migraine, I wasn't communicating very effectively.

DH came down and turned a light on...because I couldn't see. He helped me up when I asked and I managed to stumble up the stairs, but collapsed to the ground in the hallway.

I apparently mumbled something like 'I'll be fine, just get me a pillow.' So he did

I woke up in the night and found myself on the floor. I don't know what happened then, except that I woke up some time later in bed fully clothed.

DH didn't know that when I said 'I'll be fine, just get me a pillow' that I wasn't in fact fine - I'd told him I was fine.

Similarly, when he was helping the children brush their teeth, DD2 tripped and fell against the doorway and started bleeding. DH didn't respond and carried on brushing the children's teeth. Afterwards, he said that it didn't occur to him not to finish what he was already doing.

So, we've learned that DH needs quite explicit 'rules' that he follows. Now, he knows 'if something happens and someone is bleeding or unwell. STOP and deal with it.'

It sounds silly, written down, but it's helped enormously.

DD2 is also the same. I can't just tell her a rule, I have to tell her when she can break the rule. So I can't just say 'don't tell tales'. I have to say 'don't tell tales. BUT if someone is doing something very dangerous, they are really hurt or bleeding or it is very naughty, you must come and tell me. If I didn't add that, I think she would blindly follow the rule.

FeelsSad Mon 04-Mar-13 14:56:21

What I found help is to be very matter of fact about things.
'When you do x, it makes me feel Y'.
I have to say that it does feel rigid and unnatural but that's the only way |I can get through him.

That's really the reason why i did NOT want to talk to him yesterday. I was way too emotional, he would have taken it the wrong way round (very personal, getting frightened too and angry) and I wouldn't have been able to get my message across (I didn't managed to get it across here anyway!). The result would have been either a full waste of time or him getting stressed which makes everyday life much more difficult for everyone.

Doesn't solve my trigger issue though... The dcs are still acting as DH does, not answering questions or leaving the room. They do it to me but also to each other which causes masses of arguments between them....
But I can't tell them 'Don't do as daddy does' either....

FeelsSad Mon 04-Mar-13 14:59:32

louge I've had that too when being ill. Incl being left on a cold bathroom floor, wet, cold and covered in sick.
And left at home on my own when I was struggling to breathe. I said I would be fine though...
So I taught DH that you never leave someone alone when they struggle to breathe and tat they get short of breath when talking, that's a red flag and they should be taken to hospital.
His answer 'Even when they say they are OK?' (I said I was didn't I??). Well yes even when they say so...

lougle Mon 04-Mar-13 15:22:50

I think you know your DH isn't being deliberately hurtful and on a subconscious level you may have been testing it.

Be kind to yourself, but use the knowledge you have to help your DH be kind to you.

Ipp3 Mon 04-Mar-13 15:55:11

I suppose I would try to do what I thought the person wanted, as long as I did not feel manipulated. (been in a friendship like that and never going back!)

Personally I like dh to leave me alone when I am upset. Has taken a long time for him to realise that pestering me to talk when I am still too emotional makes things worse. I prefer to be alone, rest and doing something to calm my mind before dealing with things.

TheSeniorWrangler Mon 04-Mar-13 16:36:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I wouldn't have said you were being a dick TheSeniorWrangler, but when I read your posts I thought you were seriously lacking in empathy. As were many of the other responses/responders.

When I read the OP, I read it as the posting of someone who was still very upset, and made allowances accordingly. Many didn't, and IMO seemed to be having a go at the OP.

1charlie1 Mon 04-Mar-13 18:08:44

I think you would find counseling with your DH very helpful. My DH and I both have sets of DPs whose communication within their marriages are dysfunctional, swinging between PA, and explosive anger. Before we married, we had a lot of counseling about how to avoid repeating these patterns in our own relationship. But with the best will in the world (which he has), DH would not notice if I was upset without very clear evidence (tears). And even then, if I was in tears, but not communicating clearly why (i.e. if I was storming about, leaving the house etc.), he would likely not come within a mile of me. However, if I say 'I'm feeling upset about [X], can we have a chat?' he is so on board!
It is interesting that you find the 'When you do x, it makes me feel why' 'rigid and unnatural.' While it might not be the most passionate or dramatic way to express one's emotions, I lived with a DM whose theatrical expressions of displeasure caused huge domestic discord, and enormous anxiety to her DCs. I think the phrase 'when you do X, I feel why' is one of the fairest, clearest and most adult ways to communicate the consequences of anothers' behaviour, and to resolve conflict.

ItsAFuckingVase Mon 04-Mar-13 18:15:07

I think there's probably a time and place to have such a conversation. I doubt that over lunch with the kids is either, tbh.

You both sound very childish - I really don't understand how somebody who claims to be so calm and level headed can get so worked up over your DH not speaking when you ask him to pass the bread. Your OP was laced with drama, so it's hardly surprising that your DH doesn't want to confront the issue.

FWIW, if I were your DH I'd have done exactly the same and carried on having lunch with the children. It isn't mind games, it's being an adult.

1charlie1 Mon 04-Mar-13 18:18:41

OP, I just reread my post, and I don't mean to suggest that you are a theatrical stormer! All I meant was: don't be too down on that simple, uncomplicated phrase. It has been a breath of fresh air to DH and I, so blessedly functional and eloquent!

AThingInYourLife Mon 04-Mar-13 18:32:50

"but if its over a spat/argument/fallout, then i expect it to be dealt with like adults and for us to be proactive and to communicate to fix it."

Adults are kind.

They see other adults they love are upset and they try to find out what is wrong.

They don't expect everyone to abide by strict rules of "adulthood" set by themselves that suit their way of thinking.

Adults accept that some people deal with arguments differently and that being kind and forgiving and open to dialogue avoids big arguments as well as fixing them where they can't be avoided.

You seem to be confusing adults with teenagers.

Who think that they are always right and that everyone else needs to learn to do things their way.

MiniTheMinx Mon 04-Mar-13 18:43:52

Living with someone with aspergers is both fascinating and frustrating. Dp is very caring and works in a role where he needs quite a lot of empathy. Something he has actively worked on and been trained in is counselling and something called DBT, so lack of empathy and inability to read emotions is not always beyond the realms of possibility. Learned as a skill and not perfect by any means.

He will forget that I have seen the doctor, fallen over or been to a funeral whilst being able to recount the entire script for the Life of Brian. If I tell him "I've been to a funeral" this then elicits his learned response liberally and generously applied. Some times it is hard to remember not to confuse this with disingenuous posturing. The very funny things that happen, the very odd way of seeing things and the humour make up for it though.

Good luck OP, DX or not maybe you need to find a way to speak very directly and he needs to acknowledge your needs....if need be, literally give him the operating manual, " I say say that" it works because knowing explicitly what is expected often helps people with AS to cope.

TheSeniorWrangler Mon 04-Mar-13 19:21:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FeelsSad Tue 05-Mar-13 08:30:58

Wow didn't think that I would cause so much controversy!

Not sure what to say tbh....

To whoever said I was still clearly upset when I posted initially, yes that's right. I was extremely upset. Hence not making much sense. I hope I can be forgiven for that and not made up to be a crazy woman for a one off time where I lost my calm (as it can happen to anyone else). I would also hope that my posts from yesterday would have shown that too.

To people who think it's just an issue of not answering to 'Can you pass me the bread?' well actually you have it all wrong. It's much much more than that. It's an accumulation of things, all perhaps small in some ways but draining in the long run. Beside, I am sure few people would accept to get no answers again and again to their 'simple' questions because that would be just plain rude tbh.

Louge and Mini thank you for your kind responses. The more I think about it, the more I realized that this weekend was about my reactions to the dcs behaviour and how can I handle the impact of DH on the dcs. I might pop to the SN board about that.

FeelsSad Tue 05-Mar-13 09:38:11

TheSenior may I point out that
1- the rules you have agreed with your DH are your rules and might not fit everyone else
2- Even if you have agreed to these rules, they might need some time to time to be bend according to circumstances

I would agree with you that someone who * repeatedly* storms out in a mood might be a drama queen. It might be that it was your DH (or yours) way to reacting and was not appropriate to a good relationship.

However this is a very different ball game when this is an extremely rare incident and out of character. This would be the sign that something really wrong with the person going away and that person has been deeply hurt (whatever the reason, even it looks deeply inoffensive to you!). Hence it would require a different type of reaction than ignoring.

I would also argue that both people in a couple should be treated (and react) as adults. So one person acting as the 'parent' (ie I am not going to speak to you until you behave properly and stop being childish) isn't much more appropriate than one acting in a child like manner (eg by being a drama queen).
But even in that case, as we are all humans, with strong emotions, allowing for the occasional lapse in 'behaving like an adult' I think is OK too....

You see that's the problem here. the same I have with my dcs. having rules is good... until you follow them so rigidly they actually become an issue.

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