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"We'll talk tonight"

(56 Posts)
PurplePlant Thu 13-Sep-12 12:56:04

DP and I don't have the best relationship, usually it trundles along, and I start thinking it's not too bad. Then something will happen and I berate myself for starting to think it can be ok.

DP and I have agreed to "talk" tonight. This usually involves him listing all my faults, me zoning out, him getting frustrated, repeating all that has already been said, me withdrawing even further, him getting cross, me finally snapping and walking out of the room.
(If I defend myself or answer back this adds fuel to his fire, and we end up shouting at each other.)
He will then follow me to the next room and continue criticising me, usually interspersed by "Can't you see it?" "I don't think I'm being unreasonable" "So you think that's ok do you?" etc etc
It's always the same pattern until I say something like yes dear, you are of course right. I am totally <insert latest fault> and go to bed.

Apparently I am the sole cause of his anger due to my "nagging" him to help with housework and "expecting him to jump when I issue an demand"

How can I keep the discussion short? Unless I whole-heartedly agree with the charges laid out before me, then he remonstrates for hours.
I'm so sick of it, it's always me in the wrong. He repeats over and over his points as though I'm that stupid that I don't understand. I don't know why he does this. I like him to just air his grievance once, allow me to respond then try to find a solution.

I have said in the past that I think he likes confrontation, but he strongly denies that.

Any suggestions please?

I will not be able to check back in that often, so please don't think I'm being rude by not responding.

mummytime Thu 13-Sep-12 13:17:15

You can't sort this out. It sounds a bit like emotional abuse (of you), but if you want your relationship to work I would book a session of couples counselling as there doesn't seem to be anyway you can exchange opinions at present. He just lists your faults and will only allow you to agree.
I would be inclined to arrange to go out (anywhere this evening), give him the date for your couples counselling and then go out, as you don't seem to be able to discuss properly. He is your husband not your father, and you are an adult not a small child.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 13-Sep-12 13:18:27

What do you get out of this relationship now?. Why are you still together?.

Do you have children together?. What has kept you within this up till now?.
It is abusive isn't it.

Presumably as well he's the life and soul/jovial to those outside the home; abusers are often very plausible to those in the outside world. It is only behind closed doors that their true nature emerges.

I would also suggest you read "Should I stay or should I go?" written by Lundy Bancroft. I would also be making plans to separate as of now from this particular individual before he emotionally harms you any further.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 13-Sep-12 13:21:14

An absolute and resounding NO to couples counselling; it is not helpful at all when abuse within a relationship is present and it is not going to work. Such men even if they attended a session (which is unlikely because they do not think they have done nothing wrong in the first place) will dominate the session (much like your talk tonight) and make it out to be all the victim's fault.

Counselling for yourself only Plant will be helpful as such men can take years to recover from. I would also look into doing Womens Aid's Freedom Programme as this will be helpful to you.

StillSquiffy Thu 13-Sep-12 13:22:52

Is he your husband or your headmaster?

I'd spend the time between now and tonight writing a list of what he will say on the one side and all his faults on the other side (starting with emotionally abusive twunt at the top). Then I'd tick off (in front of him) all the stuff he mentions about you, then give him the list of all his faults and tell him to fuck right off and return when he's an adult. Then I think you should discuss whether counselling might be a step forward.

People cant be bullies anymore when there aren't any victims left.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 13-Sep-12 13:25:31

Couples counseling does NOT work where there is abuse in a relationship because it does not address the issue. Get your own individual, separate counseling to help deal with the abuse. If there is abuse, then abuse is the ONLY issue — not “communication” problems or any other type of mutual interaction problem, so couples counseling will not address this situation properly — and may in fact make it worse.

needsomeperspective Thu 13-Sep-12 13:28:01

I tend to have these discussions with my husband - but the other way round. He tends to ignore me, not take on baord any of my concerns, refuse to admit I have a point, or that he needs to change and eventually walks off. Fortunately after he has digested what I've said he tends to come back and we can have a proper discussion.

Why do you "zone out" and not actually listen to your husbands concerns? Does he have a point? Are his issues with you valid? You don't seem to care that he is trying to tell you he has problems with you and the marriage. In fact it sounds like you're utterly dismissive of him. Perhaps that's why he feels the need to repeat himself and follow you - because he doesn't feel listened to or that his concerns are taken on board. Maybe you need to actually not "zone out" and see if he has a point.

Inadeeptrance Thu 13-Sep-12 13:28:16

Agree, his behaviour sounds emotionally abusive. In a normal relationship he would listen to you and take what you say on board because he respects your feelings.

He has no respect for you or your feelings, hence the brainwashing that HE is more important than you and you should be subservient to him.

There's no changing a man who sees things like that, sadly. There are, however lots of lovely men out there who would treat you as an equal. Don't settle for this!

PurplePlant Thu 13-Sep-12 17:51:13

Thank you for your replies, I'll be brief because I'm not sure what time he'll be home.
Background: Two DC's. History of negativity in relationship. I'm a SAHM.
I like the list idea! I'll do that soon, whether or not I'll be brave enough to use it is another matter!
Need I zone out as a coping mechanism. It helps me not to get too upset in front of him. The words hurt, the anger hurts, the resentment hurts and I need a way of protecting myself during these sessions.
His concerns are always the same. I have heard them a million times before. I ask that if he has something new to say then I will listen. Going over the same old ground over and over is not helpful to either of us.
He feels that I ask/expect too much of him. Eg: Please don't take the decent towels.
gotta go.

PurplePlant Thu 13-Sep-12 19:25:17

swimming, please use the older ones. Don't then leave them hanging around in different places. (landing, cupbaord under stairs, garage etc) please either use it again at pool or put in laundry basket.
He see these type of requests as nagging and demanding that he does what I TELL him.
I see it as a way of preserving the life of the better towels and asking him to tidy up after himself. He will take another clean towel the next day when he goes swimming, and the next and the next etc.
He sees it as me trying to control him and tell him what to do.

Conflugenglugen Thu 13-Sep-12 19:33:37

Sounds like my last marriage, Purple. I am now divorced. Wanting him to change is a road to nowhere, imo.

ArtVandelay Thu 13-Sep-12 21:05:26

I think what he's doing to you is out of order. I'm not surprised you switch off. Noone wants to hear that.

Can I just point out though that your towel example is a bit ridiculous though. You are basically putting "the life of the towel" over your quality of life. Its just not worth it, and I say this as someone who in the past could have got quite excitable over towel misuse. Use them, enjoy them, wreck them, buy new ones. They are just towels.

I maintain that you shouldn't have to listen to a barrage of criticism though.

spookytoo Thu 13-Sep-12 21:09:44

I spose you have asked why he wants to stay in a relationship with you when you have so many faults.

AnyFucker Thu 13-Sep-12 21:09:56

I would not hang around while someone lectured me over and over

I wouldn't do it to someone else

you want suggestions as to what to do ?

tell him to fuck off out of it if you are so shit, and mean it

UnlikelyAmazonian Thu 13-Sep-12 21:26:02

I know this sounds controversial, but, it sounds to me like you are stonewalling him. Being stonewalled is bloody awful. You say you 'trundle along' (why do that if you aren't happy with circs - you can address things with him too you know) and then that you 'zone out and finally snap and walk out.

Sorry and i am willing to be corrected, but when my ex-h stonewalled me in the same way it drove me crackers.

And it was deliberate behaviour on his part.

Don't trundle. on. If you don'y like him and don't want to be married to him then either talk to him (or row, whatever) and stop zoning out. That's a cop out.

AnyFucker Thu 13-Sep-12 21:41:56

it's a fair point, UA

it certainly sounds like communication has veered into nonexistent territory and they are both getting fuck-all out of this relationship atm

B1ueberry Thu 13-Sep-12 22:05:40

wrt stonewalling, that depends, nobody should have to listen to their husband repeatedly criticise them. So, OP, ARE you being unreasonable???? what is it that you do that drives him to feel such anger hmm

Is there anything you do that justifies his constant criticism of your 'behaviour', which makes you sound like a bold child.

I think it sounds like he's the boss and you're the employee. He treats you like an incompetent employee. You don't perform to his precise specifications and he gets annoyed! Is HE exactly what you would hope? I doubt it! He could be less critical, more easy-going, he could value you more highly... he could find a new coping mechanism for his stresses.... having a go at you is probably a real valve for him

B1ueberry Thu 13-Sep-12 22:07:06

I agree with UA about not trundling on though.

Wait until he's finished criticising you and then tell him what it is about his behaviour that you can't live with. Never be afraid to leave a relationship that makes you miserable.

UnlikelyAmazonian Thu 13-Sep-12 23:10:46

This in the op:
It's always the same pattern until I say something like yes dear, you are of course right. I am totally <insert latest fault> and go to bed

The above sounds horrible.

Why the 'yes dear' ? You don't have any respect for him and maybe for good reason, maybe not, but the 'Yes Dear' attitude is demeaning to both sexes.

You clearly don't like him.

You show no desire to do much about it apart from seek sympathy.

Split up then both of you can find some happiness.

LaurieFairyCake Thu 13-Sep-12 23:27:27

The towel example is you telling him what to
do - why is it you who gets to decide the towel usage??? Theyre equally his, right?

I have a practical solution which I find works really well. Get an egg timer with 5 minutes on it. Set 5 minutes, sit back to back - only one person is allowed to talk in the 5 minutes. Then set 5 minutes and the other person is allowed to talk.

This does a few things:
1. It teaches boundaries and self control
2. It allows equal response time
3. You can't see the other person do their eye rolling, harrumphing, can't piss you off.

You have to carry on until the issue is resolved I'm exactly the way described. At any point someone is allowed (only in their time zone) to call a time out for their specified time / so, if theyre tired all night.

You can't call time out while someone is talking, you can only do it in ylur zone. The next discussion time can only take place after that period had passed (so whatever the person calls - 1hour, 2, all night etc)

LaurieFairyCake Thu 13-Sep-12 23:30:26

You can't interrupt, you can't storm off, you can only leave when it's your turn to speak and you can then call time out.

Most people are shit at arguing - they bully, talk over each other, fail to listen. The above technique prevents that - there's a few bits I've missed out I think though but that's the basics.

PurplePlant Fri 14-Sep-12 13:02:40

Ok, to answer some of your questions...

AV Yes, the towel thing is ridiculous (maybe) but I was raised to look after the things that you have. We don't have a household budget for replacement towels smile

Spooky Yes, I have asked. He stays because this is his home too and financially we would both be crippled trying to run two houses.

UA Over time I have learned not to say/do anything that will further ignite the situation. Yes, I can see how stone-walling can be frustrating, and I am honestly NOT doing that deliberately to wind him up. He feels passionately that he is a good person. The proof of that being that none of his friends/family/colleagues annoy him to the same extent that I do. Therefore that fault lies with me and me alone. He has said that it is not my place to criticise him, as no-one else finds fault with him.
I would love to talk to him and try to resolve the issues that we have, but they are now deep-seated (for both of us)
When I try to defend myself he railroads me, interrupts, tells me I'm wrong. It makes me sad. I go one of two ways. I either start shouting back in an effort to be heard, or withdraw.
I have been on the Relate waiting list for 6 months. He does not know this.
Yes, maybe I am here looking for sympathy or support. I am also trying to get some perspective on this. No-one in RL life knows. It's private and I am ashamed that my relationship is the way it is.
I don't actually say yes dear, this is what I think! I normally say, "Yes, you're right. I'm going to bed"

We are still together because we were irresponsible wrt contraception, and hope to raise our DC as a family unit under one roof. (They are infant school age btw)

Perhaps splitting up is a worse option than being together. I don't know.

PurplePlant Fri 14-Sep-12 13:05:08

Sorry Fairy Thankyou for that idea. It sounds strange, but might just work!
This is why I want to go to Relate. They hear this all the time and hopefully can offer some safe space where we can air our grievances, and hopefully find a solution.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 14-Sep-12 13:56:59

You have written about him before and nothing has changed with regards to him - or yourself. You have become inured and conditioned to accepting his abusive treatment of you at great cost to yourself (not least your children either).

Your family unit is broken already; what exactly are these children learning from the two of you about relationships here?. They are picking up on all this even if they are very young. Also they certainly will become far more aware as they get older that their Dad treats their Mum with absolute contempt and perhaps even treat you with contempt too.

Counselling for your own self on your own is a must - he likely won't attend any counselling sessions as he feels he is doing nothing wrong in the first place. Like many abusive men as well, he is probably very plausible to those in the outside world.

Your solution to this is to leave him and you have written previously that you are fearful of breaking up your family. Its broken already because of his actions towards you.

Fairenuff Fri 14-Sep-12 17:13:47

Get a pad and paper and sit down together.

Agree the ground rules for discussion and write them down (no shouting, swearing, interrupting, storming off - whatever). Both of you sign it.

Then ask him to state what he would like to discuss. Use the timer if you think it's necessary.

Write it down, like taking minutes of a meeting.

Clarify the problem - 'So, to re-cap, you think I am too controlling and that I nag you too much?

All the above shows that you have heard him and that you understand what he is saying. He does not need to repeat himself.

Discuss the problems. Take it one point at a time. Ask him to suggest a solution. If you can agree to resolve it, write it down. Both of you sign it.

If you can't agree you tell him 'I understand what you are saying but I don't agree with it'.

Decide what you are both going to do next. Make a plan to make a change. Write it down.

End the meeting.

If he tries to bring it all up again, refer him to the minutes. Say, 'we have discussed this already'.

All of this will take the control out of his hands and put it back into the shared relatoinship.

It might also highlight that, actually, you are never going to agree and it might be best to start thinking about where you go from there.

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