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Is my husband controlling, or am I childish and passive aggressive?

(49 Posts)
HecateHarshPants Sun 30-Sep-12 08:32:16

please be honest, (but not too mean, eh? wink )


He decides to stop drinking tea and coffee. Feels great. Decides that I would feel wonderful if I stopped drinking tea and coffee. Goes on about it so much that I say oh FINE! ok. I'll stop drinking tea and coffee. I then just drink it behind his back and pretend I've stopped.

When we met, I was a smoker. We've been together 14 years and he thinks I stopped when we met. Cos he hated it. Nope. blush Apart from when I was pregnant, bf and the odd gaps of a year or two here and there, I puff on them. I can go days or weeks and then when I want to, I'll buy a pack and smoke the lot. I keep strong mouthwash and body spray in the car.

He goes through vitamin fads. He decides that we all must have this vitamin or that mineral, because it will be so good for us. Currently it's calcium. I don't see the benefit of taking all these suppliments and I've told him, but he goes on and on so I say oh FINE! ok then, if you'll shut up. Then I put them under my tongue and throw them in the bin.

He thinks he knows what's best for me all the time and he goes on and on and on until I give in because I just want him to shut the hell up. BUT. These are always things that he is convinced will help me to be happier/healthier and he's really enthusiastic about how much good they'll do me.

I can and do say I'm not interested. I'm not afraid of him. But I can't stand him in my face and it's easier to pretend to go along with it because he just won't shut up.

I could just actually go along with it. But I am so pissed off because I cannot tolerate what I feel is being told what to do, that I spit out pills, drink coffee on the sly, etc, like a secret two fingers up.

So. What's your view?

Criticism fine, personal abuse will probably make me cry grin

HecateHarshPants Sun 30-Sep-12 08:36:39

I've just read it back.

It's clearly me. blush

WaitingForMe Sun 30-Sep-12 08:36:44

He sounds like he gets a bit over excited and evangelical to me. My MIL gets bit like this about her reiki and crystals and I react similarly to you. I'd struggle to live with someone like that and have to do it all the time though.

Homebird8 Sun 30-Sep-12 08:37:42

Not sure if you're doing anyone any harm by your course of action. However, isn't going to be wearing to keep it up long term and is it such a biggy to say "I'm pleased you're feeling better, I'll think about it for a while" or "thank you for caring, I'm not sure it's me"?

You could also keep a record of the latest fads as they arrive with dates and when they fade. That might show you how often the ideas change.

Nici177 Sun 30-Sep-12 08:37:56

From what you've written I don't think I would say he's controlling, maybe more obsessive? Once he's latched onto something he seems to become consumed by it, but it sounds like all things that are kind of healthy? I can be a bit obsessive about things too, and I know it bugs by DH when I keep going on and on. Perhaps he thinks he's been successful in his previous attempts to suggest something and this is why he keeps going on when the next fad rolls around.

WinklyFriedChicken Sun 30-Sep-12 08:40:51

It sounds like he cares about you and wants you to feel healthy and well

BitchyHen Sun 30-Sep-12 08:43:59

The thing that concerns me is that although you tell him you are not interested, he "goes on and on" and gets in your face.

It seems like he doesn't value your opinion or perhaps thinks that his opinion overrides yours and that worries me.

Brycie Sun 30-Sep-12 08:48:35

I don't see why you can't keep it up forever really! Isn't this one of those things where you are both different but love each other so this is how you rub along to make it work? I know some people say a relationship dies without complete honesty but I think some relationships wouldn't survive it. My husband knows I'm hide things, to keep him happy, works for us. I would just say nod and smile then do what you want. It's only coffee and the odd cigarette, not a massive debt or an affair or something.

Brycie Sun 30-Sep-12 08:49:19

Maybe he goes on about it, not because he's controlling but because he's just an irritating know it all.

BalloonSlayer Sun 30-Sep-12 08:49:32

There is probably a bit of subterfuge going on on his part too. If you are smoking a pack of cigarettes at a time he must be able to smell it - no mouthwash or body spray can camouflage it.

I had a bf years ago who smoked. I didn't like him to smoke round me. So he "gave up." I didn't ask him to give up, I had just made it clear I'd rather he didn't smoke fags while we were on dates (to clarify, I was very young and probably didn't understand that this was selfish of me). A friend told me he hadn't actually given up, and I mentioned it, not that I was bothered about the smoking, as I said I didn't care if he smoked while I wasn't around, I was bothered about the lie. He got annoyed with my friend for telling me and started smoking in front of me again.

What I am saying is that your DH might not give a shit if you smoke as long as you are not blowing it in his face. I wonder if like my ex you might think that his desire for you to not smoke round him equates to him expecting you to give up.

Bilbobagginstummy Sun 30-Sep-12 08:52:12

You should be more honest with him, he should listen.

Faults on both sides I would say but yours are worse (sorry).

HecateHarshPants Sun 30-Sep-12 08:58:31


Thank you. A bit of MN perspective needed and received. (and nicely. phew. grin )

It's odd how writing it down, posting it and reading it back can make you see it differently. hmm

His heart is in the right place. He is a bit of a know it all, that's true. The old 'when I married Mr Right, I didn't know his first name was Always' joke grin

but I have a big win/lose thing going on. Everything to me is about winning or losing. And I have to win blush (goes back to a childhood of being horribly horribly bullied to the point I tried to off myself) and I have to be in control.

But, he's not coming up with all this in order to make me worse off grin he just gets tunnel vision. He's like this in work too. obsessive about a single thing and can't do anything else.

So, yeah. I am a bit childish and he's a bit obsessive. grin

sugarice Sun 30-Sep-12 09:00:23

I would be very pissed off at being told what to do. I'm usually placid but at some point this constant 'but it's good for you, go on try it' attitude would make me lose my rag.

He seems well meaning but over the top. I couldn't keep up the pretence of going along with it.

ArtVandelay Sun 30-Sep-12 09:24:28

Your OP made me smile. It sounds like the sort of thing that goes on in our house. We are also quite competitive about being right or having good ideas or being 'in charge'. I don't feel our relationship is a negative one, quite the opposite. I bet your DCs find it (or will one day find it) pretty funny.

John Gottman reckons that these sort of tactics are healthy in a marriage. That if you fight about everything it sort of kills the love and that what you are doing is good because you don't have to get in conflict. Obviously this is not applicable to having affairs or getting in debt etc. - serious problems.

Brycie Sun 30-Sep-12 09:32:09

Hecate I'm so sorry, I don't mean to say your husband is irritating. What I meant was, there isn't one person in the world without faults,and we just try to rub along with them and make it work.

HecateHarshPants Sun 30-Sep-12 09:33:59

grin it's alright, brycie, he is a bit.

and so am I blush

Brycie Sun 30-Sep-12 09:34:00

Rub along with the faults I mean, not the other person. I'm getting very boring and confused! It sounds a bit like us too. I love my husband dearly but there's certainly an element of "yes dear" when he starts giving me "advice"

Brycie Sun 30-Sep-12 09:35:22


LizLemon007 Sun 30-Sep-12 09:39:01

I used to live with a controlling man, and unless you're leaving out a lot of stuff, this just sounds like he doesn't quite grasp that your experience to giving up smoking/taking up vitimins won't necessarily give you the same evangelism!!

If you are hungry when he is not hungry, does he acknowledge that you are hungry , or does he react like you are being a bit greedy?

Same with sleep, if you are sleepy when he feels energetic, does he respect that or does he react like you are lazy rather than sleepy. And vice versa, that if you have energy when he is tired you are hyper!?

Are all the major decisions his? Are all the sacrifices for family life yours? can you challenge an inequity and will he listen and consider your side?

Basically, is your voice heard? This thing with the vitimins it could just be vitamins, or it could be that it's the tip of the iceberg and you don't know where to start, and that some of the worse stuff will provoke too strong, too clear a response, and so you are starting with something less definitely controlling, guageing a response from a small example....

those are some of the important questions that will help you decide I think.

greenhill Sun 30-Sep-12 09:47:02

Not with my DH, but in general I murmur "is that so?", "do you think so?" which sounds like I'm agreeing and asking for more info, but I ignore what has been said. It is my way of avoiding confrontation.

HecateHarshPants Sun 30-Sep-12 09:47:22

nope, he doesn't care when I eat, as long as I eat

nope, but he will pack me off to bed if he decides I look tired, on the grounds that I will feel so much better if I have slept.

he does feel that he should have the last word on decisions - cos he's convinced he's always right! When we were first together he did assure me that he would always "take my opinion into consideration when making his decision" hmm he does come from a culture where women don't make the decisions and felt he was being really great by making this promise! BUT. If I put my foot down he will sometimes give in. If I make a good enough case. But I have to argue my case logically, citing examples.

He makes as many sacrifices as I do. More. He gave over his entire existence when I was ill, became my carer. Our children both have autism so he was sole carer for all three of us. He never complained and has never held it against me in any way.

My voice is heard, he just thinks he is always right and his way is the right way. He defaults to him being right and it is up to me to argue the case against.

The more I think it through and re read what I have put, the more I realise that controlling isn't the right word. And I hope I haven't upset/annoyed anyone who does have or has had to suffer a controlling relationship.

LizLemon007 Sun 30-Sep-12 09:58:18

It doesn't surprise me to hear that your children both have autism. My son has autism and although my x is not 'autistic' I believe that he has something that Sasha Baron-Cohen identifies as the Broader Autism Phenotype. Google it! I read it and thought holy moly, Broader Autism Phenotype! hello! this makes everything make sense!

Your dh doesn't sound like a bad guy, and he is OPEN to reason. It's just that his default assumption is that his reason is a little bit more reasoned than your reason???!!!

HecateHarshPants Sun 30-Sep-12 10:07:09

Funnily enough, it's me that's on the spectrum!

When we were going through all the assessments for the children, the team were quite clear on that grin and we've always believed that it is genetic, coming from my side of the family. With several members clearly on the spectrum.

Me and my husband were talking about his family members and several of the children were late talkers. One of them did have doctors suggest autism - big thing in kenya 30 years ago! My husband himself was developmentally delayed and kept back in school. It wouldn't surprise me at all to find he is on the spectrum, but he functions perfectly well, so there is no benefit to assessment.

However, he's so much better socially than me. He's the one who teaches me how to interact with people, what not to say (eg "I don't care" blush ) and points out when I'm stroking door handles again blush and when I've lost all my eye contact (when I am tired, ill or upset). He tells me when I am tired or poorly, because I can't tell [boggle]. He does my post interaction debriefs, that I need cos I get obsessive after I've met people and have to go over the whole thing, analysing it. His most annoying thing is his constant laughing. Hello. heeheehee, nice day isn't it hehehe. No idea of when you laugh and when you don't. Whereas I do.

hmm by working together, we come up with one fully functioning person between us grin

comixminx Sun 30-Sep-12 10:13:49

LizLemon, Sascha B-C is the comedian. I think the psychologist you're thinking of is probably Simon B-C? (Without looking up to check, might be wrong there.)

BerylStreep Sun 30-Sep-12 10:22:48

I can sort of understand his pov. Smoking would be a deal breaker for me, although I suppose he knew you smoked when you got together.

If you have been v ill in the past, I can understand his concern for your health.

Although I would, otoh, hate to be told what to do.

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