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More of a WWYD - DH's misguided attempts to help

(27 Posts)
tigercub50 Tue 23-May-17 19:06:32

This is really tricky to explain. My marriage hasn't been an easy one but as I have posted before, things are a lot better in many respects & we are becoming a generally happy family. My DH is trying really hard to show us that he's changing. It won't happen overnight & we have had setbacks which we deal with mostly in a healthier way than before & communication is usually calmer. However, it sometimes seems that he is deliberately trying to pick a fight & then he excuses it by saying he was trying to help. Last night, for example, I had given DD a bath & brought her downstairs. She wasn't meant to wash her hair but she'd laid in the bath & it got wet so I told her to pat it dry ( it tends to get tangled if you rub it). DH suddenly started criticising, saying it was bedtime & she wouldn't get her hair dry in 5 minutes. He then said she had rubbed it when he took her swimming & it was ok. DD & I had been chilled out up until then, with lavender bubbles & calming music, but DH got us all tensed up. He just seemed to be making a thing of it when there wasn't a thing & as DD had wrapped her hair in the towel, he thought she was messing about. As I said, it's so hard to get across how he was but the whole mood changed. I sprang to DDs defence ( she does get very silly near bedtime but on this occasion she wasn't doing anything wrong) & DH said sorry to both of us but in a bit of a sarky way. I asked him where he was coming from & he said he was only trying to help. It seemed like he couldn't relax about things taking a bit longer & it was as if everything had to be done by 7.30 which is her bedtime. In the end, he was trying to get out of whatever it was he had started & went upstairs. DD talked about it all a bit & said (quite happily) " Well I'm not sure what I did but I'm sorry just in case", bless her heart! DH apologised again when he came down, although he reckoned however he said it before didn't matter because as far as he was concerned he meant it. It was then he told me he was trying to help & I had misconstrued it. I told him it was impossible to misconstrue! Really after advice how to deal with this. It used to happen quite a bit & came across as a bit controlling but he nipped it in the bud this time & told me it was one of those times where he was cursing himself & wondering why on earth he had said anything.

Snap8TheCat Tue 23-May-17 19:11:06

Honestly I think you were equally a bit picky. Sometimes it's best to say nothing and let it go. You don't have to find fault. He apologised and you should have just accepted.

RhiWrites Tue 23-May-17 19:14:59

So he said "she rubbed her hair earlier and it didn't get tangled" and that made the mood tense? I don't get it, sorry.

tigercub50 Tue 23-May-17 19:17:18

Rhiwrites, there was more to it than that. He was having a go & making out that DD was messing about. It was how he said it all too

RhiWrites Tue 23-May-17 19:23:20

Sometimes when you're not happy with someone little things can get magnified. But from what you report it sounds as though you may have misconstrued what he said.

Are you giving him the benefit of the doubt? Or jumping to your daughter's defence rather than responding calmly? I know it's hard when things are tough. But it sounds asthough you need to be kind to each other.

Snap8TheCat Tue 23-May-17 19:26:51

DH and I also have a rule that if we disagree with the others approach to parenting a situation, we discuss it when we are alone. In front of the children we are a united front.

tigercub50 Tue 23-May-17 19:36:08

I agree that I did get a bit defensive but it came completely out of the blue & DH isn't the most tactful shall we say. We have got tons better on being a united front. I felt what he was saying was completely unjustified, especially as it wasn't even quite bedtime & at other times we don't fuss about a few minutes either way.

MissionItsPossible Tue 23-May-17 20:35:10

He said something you didn't like, you reacted to it (overreacted IMO) he apologised to you twice for it and then went on to say that he had been cursing himself and wondering why he said anything in the first place. How is this even a WWYD situation

SisterhoodisPowerful Tue 23-May-17 20:45:59

Can I ask what the issues in your marriage were? It's just that you've suggested there is issues in controlling behaviour, that you feel like your tense, and that you are on eggshells. As a one off, an apology should suffice. If this is part of a pattern, then his behaviour is quite concerning.

tigercub50 Tue 23-May-17 21:00:19

It used to be part of a pattern but is happening a lot less, which is good. The issues were that my DH had a tendency to be controlling/manipulative. And we never really argued, because he had difficulty taking any responsibility & would blame shift. In other posts, I have written about how it could be really awful but since the beginning of this year it is getting a lot better. I think now I am probably hyper sensitive & expecting what used to happen so that when on occasion it does, I might overreact. I wouldn't say I'm on eggshells now. Gradually trusting my DH again & if there are setbacks, we are learning to deal with them & things don't escalate like they used to

tigercub50 Tue 23-May-17 21:58:17

Maybe next time, DD & I could just leave him to be a grump?

Snap8TheCat Wed 24-May-17 07:13:58

You're very much trying to make a 'him and us' situation, aren't you? Why are you putting your DD in the middle of your marital issues? I think you sound like you want him to fuck up tbh so you and Dd can be left to it.

tigercub50 Wed 24-May-17 07:41:11

Is that really how it comes across Snap8TheCat? ( I don't know how to put your name in bold). I'm certainly not intending it to be like that. It is really difficult to explain how DH can be sometimes. As I said, it all came out of nowhere & it was the way he said it too. Immediately changed the mood. Quite accusing & as I said, it wasn't even quite bedtime & there was no problem until he made one. He often thinks DD is messing about when she's just being a kid. He can be a great Dad. I just wanted advice on how to deal with stuff like this that comes out of nowhere. And I agree with someone else that parenting shouldn't be discussed in front of DD

GoodyGoodyGumdrops Wed 24-May-17 07:45:21

The issues were that my DH had a tendency to be controlling/manipulative. And we never really argued, because he had difficulty taking any responsibility & would blame shift.

That's exactly what happened with the bath, Sorry, but I don't think he's trying to help. It doesn't sound like he has really changed at all.

Snap8TheCat Wed 24-May-17 07:49:57

It does yes.

I do see it from your DH's on this occasion. You don't say how old your DD is but I'm guessing around 4?

She wasn't supposed to get her hair wet and yet did. If my DH had taken one of our dc up for a bath and got hair wet right before bed I would say something. Get the hairdryer and got on with it however but I would have mentioned it to DH (actually Dd because she's 6 and old enough to understand not to get her hair wet).

Also you say he often thinks she's mucking around but you say she's just being a kid. Are you excusing her bad behaviour? Just because you have different view points of her behaviour doesn't make him wrong and you right. Again it depends on her age.

tigercub50 Wed 24-May-17 08:08:06

DD is 8. She can be very challenging ( not just because of what's happened in our marriage) but DH just doesn't seem to be very tolerant sometimes. We have talked about it & as I said, generally the atmosphere in the house is a lot calmer. We have been " on the same page" a lot more so this incident upset me more than it normally would because it felt like we'd taken a step backwards

TheVeryHungryDieter Wed 24-May-17 08:45:47

@GoodyGoodyGumdrops I think this is exactly right.

OP, it's definitely blame-shifting once again. "Only trying to help" means "how dare you make me the bad guy when I'm doing something that YOU should have done!"

After all, who's he trying to "help"? You, presumably. Because he thinks it's your job. So if his help doesn't work, it's your fault. Don't accept "only trying to help" as an answer. He shouldn't be helping, he should be doing his share.

tigercub50 Wed 24-May-17 08:50:12

The daft thing was, I was perfectly happy to do it all as DH hadn't long been in from work. I hadn't asked him to help & I hadn't tried to make him feel guilty for not helping! That's why I couldn't understand where what he said came from. Maybe on some level he was feeling guilty but it was only a bath. He works fulltime & I don't work.

tigercub50 Wed 24-May-17 09:36:32

He wasn't blame shifting, he was for some reason finding fault when everything was actually ok ( or it would be when DDs hair got dried). He was right that her hair wouldn't get dried by 7.30 but he didn't need to say that because I was aware of the time. He also seemed to think he could tell DD off for wrapping her hair in the towel - she wasn't messing around, just doing what she had seen other people do. It was all completely unnecessary & I was wanting advice as to how to deal with it if it happens again.

justmatureenough2bdad Wed 24-May-17 09:59:08

lavender bubbles and calming music for an 8yo bath?
you "sprang" to her defense
he says "messing around" you say "being a kid" (and your opinion is the right one)

I think he's the one walking on eggshells in this relationship....

DillyDilly Wed 24-May-17 10:20:09

Reading this it sounds like it being a case of your way or no way. 'He seemed to think he could tell DD off" - do you think it's only you can tell her off?

I can't see he did anything wrong. If sounds like you made the situation tense.

RhiWrites Wed 24-May-17 10:26:45

I still don't understand what it is you think has happened. I'm going to try writing it out like a play and you can correct me.

DD (comes into room lavender scented with wet hair wrapped in towel)
DH: you've got your hair wet and its nearby bedtime, hurry up and dry it instead of wearing the towel like a turban.
OP: no, don't rub your hair it'll get tangled, just pat it dry.
DH: she rubbed it dry after swimming and she was fine
OP: what is your problem, you're spoiling our tranquil mood
DH: (affronted) well sorry! I was only trying to help. (Goes upstairs)

It sounds to me as though you don't think he can have an opinion on bedtime, hair drying technique or anything really. But maybe I've got it all wrong. Can you explain what happened?

tigercub50 Wed 24-May-17 11:25:15

I can see where everyone is coming from. The lavender bubble bath & the music is to help DD wind down before bed. She has been having a lot of problems ( as I said before not all connected to past marital issues) & we are trying to help her with some separation anxiety at bedtime. I am not really sure why I took her downstairs tbh but she was calm & everything was going ok. It was about 5 minutes before her usual bedtime ( 7.30 seems early but DD is a child that needs a fair amount of sleep plus she reads & chills out with the V Tech music/lamp thing). She hadn't got the towel round her head when she came down. My husband started to " have a go" at me first. It isn't a case of me being in charge & not allowing him a say. It was that he didn't need to point out the time or certainly not in the almost aggressive tone he was using. I am sensitive anyway but in the past he has tended to be very critical & this was another example, even though there wasn't anything to criticise. Another time, he wouldn't bother about her having to be ready exactly by 7.30. DDs hair does get very tangled when it's rubbed hard so that's why I asked her to pat it & again DH was saying indirectly that this wasn't right. I'm not saying that only I am supposed to tell her off but I did defend her because she wrapped the towel around her hair to dry it & wasn't being silly. It is really hard to explain the situation. The way DH sometimes apologises is not good either & we have talked about it. Why say sorry when you're obviously not? He seems to start something out of nothing then when I say something, he retorts " Well I wasn't trying to start an argument ". It isn't an argument, it's me protesting about how he stirs up trouble when there's nothing even there! It messes with my head 😞

DillyDilly Wed 24-May-17 11:59:34

Gosh, from reading the last part of your last post, I think it might be you messing with his head.

Sounds like you're a sole operator and want your DH to stay silent or else just always agree with you.

Do you always demand an apology whether it's warranted or not ??

tigercub50 Wed 24-May-17 12:09:51

I didn't demand an apology but he said sorry in a sarcastic way, which apart from anything else isn't a good example for DD. I don't demand an apology from him . It used to be that if he upset me, I would try to explain that he'd hurt my feelings & then that would be where the blame shifting would come in . Lots of stuff would be unresolved because my feelings weren't validated. I basically suffered emotional & verbal abuse for quite a few years, which is always difficult to explain. I realised that I wasn't blameless in our problems though. One of the things I do now is to step back & actually now my DH will come to me & apologise sincerely rather than in the way he did before which was basically to get me off his back. Perhaps it is a bit me & DD against DH but that's habit because I was trying to protect us both from his behaviour. I probably should have left but actually I'm glad I didn't now because it reached crisis point in January & has improved so so much since then. I am not trying to put all the blame on DH but "incidents" like this are tricky & I guess throw me off balance because of what I got used to. Hope this makes sense. Maybe I just need to walk away sometimes

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