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to think being called a bitch is not on?

(21 Posts)
BlingLovin Wed 10-Sep-08 09:29:51

Oooh, first AIBU thread for me. Sorry - bit long so that I can give detail!

<<disclaimer - DP is a wonderful, considerate and thoughtful man 99% of time>>

last night DP was putting up some cheap and cheerful shelves from Argos. Needless to say it wasn't going brilliantly because they are CHEAP. He was feeling frustrated and I think a little guilty as he'd talked me into these super cheap ones vs a slightly more expensive cupboard thing. Towards the end, he made a mistake while doing it and got very very frustrated and started punching the frame of the shelves. This is something I hate. In a split second my mind thinks 1. he's going to hurt himself 2 he's destroying property WE bought 3. what if he does this when we have children? He'll traumatise them for life. And I get mad. I told him to stop and he didn't so eventually I screamed at him to stop.

At that point, I was mildly irritated, so was he but I kind of thought we should just move on. We agreed I'd leave him to it and I went off to get ready for bed.

But then... he started muttering and saying I sounded like his high school english teacher who was a complete bitch. I told him not to call me a bitch and he said, "well that's what you sound like".

Now, for me, I think no matter how much you're fighting or how angry you are, there are lines you shouldn't cross with anyone, but especially your partner. And for me, being called a bitch is one of them. I think you need a baseline of respect, no matter how angry you are. Because once you cross that line and get away with it, it becomes easier and easier and it's a slippery slope from there. What does everyone else think? I don't think I'm going to change my opinion, but I am very interested to see if I am over reacting slightly.

Incidentally, he has apologised and we've made up so this is more about research on the topic than to solve this specific problem.

Sunshinetoast Wed 10-Sep-08 09:36:30

I'd agree, but I think everyone has a different line. I will swear and shout in an argument and accept it back (based on not doing it very often, I'd worry if it was all the time) but there are words and insults I wouldn't use or accept. But I know other people who seem to manage happily who have very different rules.

I think you are right about a baseline of respect. I know my DH and I can get angry with each other, but also that no matter how angry we still respect each other. Same applies to children.

Janni Wed 10-Sep-08 09:45:40

To be properly pedantic about this, he did not call you a bitch and he was muttering. I think you should let it go given that he is pretty good most of the time.

(Been with DH 21 years so have had some time to think about these things BTW grin)

trumpetgirl Wed 10-Sep-08 09:50:39

I think this will be interesting in the future...
it is quite possible that he didn't realise how much that word would upset you.
Question now is will he refrain from using it again, out of respect for you... or will he use it even more when he's in a bad mood to really get under your skin.
I think that may be the issue, really!

Miaou Wed 10-Sep-08 09:54:09

This is going to sound so pedantic but to man it's a whole different world of meaning - he said you sounded like someone who he thought of as a bitch. He did not actually call you one.

In the scheme of things this is not bad at all IMO. He has apologised. And he didn't actually call you a bitch, he took a step back from that at the crucial moment, despite being very angry. A lot of blokes do this (particularly if they are in the wrong in the first place grin).

Sounds like you both handled it fine smile

solidgoldbrass Wed 10-Sep-08 09:56:54

I think you should get over yourself. It's very tiresome living with a partner who gets all flouncy over a word uttered (not even directly at you) in a moment of irritation.
There is a big difference between sustained verbal abuse and the odd expletive when someone is annoyed: for one thing sustained verbal abuse is generally part of a pattern of undesirabel demoralising behaviour and you say your DH is great most of the time.
But a partner who cries and stamps his/her feet and sulks and demands endless apologies over the tiniest slight to his/her ickle feelings is hell to live with.

BlingLovin Wed 10-Sep-08 10:25:04

Solidgoldbrass: Just to be 100% clear, I haven't demanded endless apologies or sulked or any of those things. He apologised, I accepted it, we've both moved on and had a nice cuddle this morning. And my point was that by letting it go without comment in the first place, would I have been opening the way to future verbal abuse - which is a question you didn't answer.

Miaou and Janni - interesting. That's what he says : that he didn't call me one, that he said I sounded like one. He'll be thrilled he's not the only one who sees the distinction! grin.

Okay, sounds like I was a little over sensitive to the word, but at the same time, my general feeling on mutual respect etc is considered a good thing. Good, I'm glad. In previous relationships, he's had no-holds-barred-yell-like-banshees arguments with his exes and I feel that might be at least partly why those relationships didn't work - lack of care and respect for each other. Good for me obviously as now I have him! wink

Bumpsadaisie Wed 10-Sep-08 10:32:38

Sorry that it's probably not what you want to hear, but I think most of my sympathies lie with your DP to be honest.

If I was engaged in a difficult and frustrating task such as putting up shelves (I've done this on two occasions and it is bloody frustrating work!) and then lost my temper, only to be lectured at by my DP who was getting things slightly out of proportion by saying that my venting my frustration by hitting the shelving would be deeply traumatising for our as yet unborn children!), not to mention leaving all the DIY to me, I'd probably lose my cool and snap too!!

Sorry, but I think YAB a bit U.

MoChan Wed 10-Sep-08 10:37:02

I think men often lose it around inanimate objects that aren't doing what they want them to. I would get a handyman in next time or do it yourself.

I would also not take this personally. If he actually called you a bitch that would be very rude and unacceptable, but saying you sounded like someone who he considers a bitch is not quite so bad. He's just saying he doesn't like your tone.

BlingLovin Wed 10-Sep-08 10:38:14

Lol: When you put it that way.... wink

solidgoldbrass Wed 10-Sep-08 12:27:59

Blinglovin: Actually I think that by trying to insist that your DH never expresses any frustration (he thumped the shelf, not you, and this wasn't the kind of hitting-inanimate-objects-as-intimidation that is a feature of abusive relationships) you are actually paving the way to bigger problems.

Oh and sorry, I was using a generic 'you' over the crying and foot-stamping and it wasn;t clear.

KristinaM Wed 10-Sep-08 12:31:32

i agree with janni. its annoying but none of us are perfect...let it go

CissyCharlton Wed 10-Sep-08 12:33:25

In our house it's me who has to put those damn shelves together.
I don't want to trivialise your experience but in all honesty, there is nothing more frustrating than trying to follow those instructions and not doing it correctly. I can't tell you how many times I've screamed, shouted and told DH to f* off when I've messed up. Nothing but nothing could provoke a normally mild mannered person to explode with rage like assembling cheap furniture. FACT.

BlingLovin Wed 10-Sep-08 13:23:42

Yup, I think I was a bit oversensitive. I just hate those displays of rage and they do have consequences - he's broken a phone before. But you're right, if you can't scream and yell and punch something when you're putting up a shelf, when can you!? smile

He's far more emotional than I am. He tends to react to things and shout and scream. I tend to be far more logical and controlled and think consequences through etc. Mostly, this difference is good for both of us in that he encourages me to allow myself to feel more emotions which leads to a more honest life and I help him to be less emotional and therefore not to overeact and burn bridges. Just every now and again we both revert very highly to type and it freaks us both out. Me because I can't understand how he can punch a wooden door frame without thinking of consequences to his hand (he's a musician) or the item involved and him because he doesn't understand how I can remain calm when something as frustrating as this is involved.

OrmIrian Wed 10-Sep-08 13:27:39

As others have said he didn't call you a bitch. And DIY of even the most minor sort is a problem for some people - men assume they have to be good at it, and they often aren't. Personally I'd have left him to it at the point he started to get cross and make a cup of tea. Being cross with someone who is cross is rarely constructive I find.

BlingLovin Wed 10-Sep-08 13:41:15

I made him supper, washed up, did a load of washing and hung it out, made him a cup of tea and even brought to him with a biscuit! All of this before the explosion! grin

Just getting my halo-wearing, perfect partner pitch in. Hahaha.

I texted him earlier to say thanks for the apology but think I was a bit oversensitive and I'm sorry. I still think his response is inappropriate last night, I just am starting to think that's my issue rather than his!

OrmIrian Wed 10-Sep-08 13:45:33

FWIW I'd be a bit upset at being called that. But I have learned that DH has his flashpoints, as do I grin

BlingLovin Wed 10-Sep-08 13:47:07

Yes, maybe next time I'll reserve the right to refuse to engage with him but resist urge to demand apology! grin

Aah, I'm learning and growing all the time.

purpleduck Wed 10-Sep-08 14:02:30

OK, I have learned this in ten years of marriage:


Leave the the a friend for coffee...

I like dh MUCH MUCH better when he regales me with how hard it all was, but how he Figured It Out in the end.

He gets some lovely wifely praise, and I get my new shelves/ door/ whatever.

Crisis averted!


MmeLindt Wed 10-Sep-08 14:14:06

Purpleduck is a very wise woman.

I had an argument with DH recently and was very very annoyed with him and in my rage I called him an asshole. I don't think that I have ever seen him so angry, he just walked away. The moment I said it I wished it back. I have never ever said anything like that to anyone before and I felt terrible. I apologised several times and we made up but it hung ín the air for a few days.

Using a word like that as a one of is not something to get worked up about. It is the learning from it that is important. Your DH now knows that you would not accept that kind of language so he will not use it again.

BlingLovin Wed 10-Sep-08 15:18:57

I know, I know - my killer mistake was that I went in to be supportive. I should have maintained my strong supportive silence and continued to ferry cups of tea and long distance kisses and left it at that! grin

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