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Help me have this conversation

(10 Posts)
Confrontationavoider Wed 02-Jan-13 09:44:28

Have NC and as name suggests I am a massive confrontation avoider, but really need to have a conversation with DH about his changing behaviour, just not sure how to first approach it and need some help...I know you'll probably all say just tell him but its not so easy for me to hard because I am literally so afraid of confrontation, of any sort with anyone.

Over the last year he has started developing traits which are just rude and obnoxious and horrid. He is belligerent and moody and has started acting like a dick in front of family and friends. Most of the time when he does off on one he later apologises to me but never apologises to others which goes on to carry on making him seem like an arsehole. I know my family are actually starting to actively dislike him because of these once in while moments of dickery. Right now i don't even want to be around him let alone with him long term because of the embarrassment and shame he causes me.

It's not anything massive as one off but as it becomes more frequent it is obvious its a side of his personality developing that unless I think I alert him to it will lose him (us) friends. I know I just need to have it out with him but when it's in the moment he will just get defensive(fairly understandably as I think if anyone gets attacked when they're already in a strop they'll behave like this) but then I don't want to bring it up when things are good in case it spoils good times. I know he'll initially say I always take other peoples sides and not his, but he doesn't know how much I apologise for his behaviour, excuse it, stick up for him etc behind his back, and that it's ME that doesn't like the way he acts, the only time anyone has actively said they don't like him to me is my brother and a friend who has now admitted she only wants to see me and DC, never DH again.

We've recently moved so only have relatively new friends in our area, was wondering if I could suggest couple's counselling as a way of making sure we have support, billing it as preventative as opposed because there is a massive issue we need to work through then bring it up then? I don't know what I'm afraid of, he's not violent, is occasionally aggressive like anyone in the heat of the comment, but I'm not afraid of him in any way. I think this is a me problem, have never liked to argue and I literally get a racing heart, blush, it's horrid, if I end up in any kind of confrontation (not debates etc).

Maybe I offer an amnesty day? We can say whatever's on our minds and the other person has to hear it, but then while I'm happy to hear any home truths he might have to tells me, I don't want him to start just trying to attack me rather than listening to what I have to say.

Where would you start, how do you have these conversations with your partner when something bugs you?

Ugh, I sound like a loon

Anniegetyourgun Wed 02-Jan-13 11:00:31

Ooh, nobody's answered you yet. Let me at least bump your thread before it disappears off the bottom of the page.

There are two issues here, really. One is your husband's escalating unpleasant behaviour and the other is your fear of confrontation. You're not a loon, there's a lot of it about! Is it just you, or did your early life predispose you to avoid argument? You might want to consider some assertiveness training. This book is a good start.

Re the bad behaviour, I don't know, has he been drinking more than usual lately?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 02-Jan-13 11:46:36

There will never be a good time to start this conversation because your DH - like all bullies - doesn't think he has a problem. He prefers to blame others, accuse you of disloyalty ... anything it seems rather than face up to his own failings and do something about it. Even worse, you seem to think it's a 'me problem' (so you're blaming yourself) and that it's your responsibility to change his behaviour (it isn't). You say you're not afraid of him but you are frightened to say something in case it spoils his good mood. You're even going around apologising on his behalf and making excuses.... why would you do that?

If you find this kind of thing difficult I would recommend you get back-up in the form of your brother or your friend. Have them elsewhere in the house, start the conversation 'we need to talk', tell him you don't want to be around him any more and don't back down or take any criticism in return, no matter how nasty or defensive he gets.

Confrontationavoider Wed 02-Jan-13 13:12:27

Thank you both for replying, I know it's not a massive issue compared to some on here.

I do honestly think it's me who doesn't like confrontation generally rather than it being him putting the blame on me. He doesn't for example blame me for his behaviour, just part of it is sometimes he retaliates by saying I always side with others.

I make excuses on his behalf and apologise for his behaviour probably out of a sense of loyalty, ironically. I want people to like me, and by extension want people to like him. I want our families to get on, I generally like everyone getting on! We are married with DC so the intention is he is a part of my family for life, I don't want our lives to be overshadowed by people not liking each other.

He's not been drinking more but in the last year we have had our second child and made a major move. I think the behaviour is a development of him generally becoming more selfish since becoming a father, or maybe he was always quite selfish but it's not heightened asbive been forced to become less selfish.

I know everyone says this but he is still lovely and brilliant in many ways, has other faults I can live with as he can with mine, but this particular behaviour that occasionally rears his head, I feel if it isn't nipped in the bud it will escalate to happening more often and in a few years I just won't want to be with him at all.

Confrontationavoider Wed 02-Jan-13 13:15:26

Asbive? I mean as I've

gillyglops Wed 02-Jan-13 13:16:22

If it was me, I'd write it all down in a letter and ask him to read it, and don't be there when he reads it. That way he's got no choice but to take it in without irrationally reacting to it, and he can read it a few times and let your words sink in before talking to you about it.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 02-Jan-13 13:24:16

"he retaliates by saying I always side with others."

That's blaming you for not supporting him, even when he's being unreasonable. Do you see how wrong that is? Expecting you defend the indefensible just because you happen to be his wife? And your desire to be liked and for him to be liked and for everyone to get along.... that also puts you in a very weak and vulnerable position. When your own family & friends are starting to ban this man from their homes you have to take notice & stop making excuses. Eventually they'll start to ban you and then you'll be isolated.

Some of us who have escaped relationships with emotional bullies like your husband got the reaction from friends and family.... 'so glad you got shot because we never liked him but didn't want to offend you by saying so'. How bad does he have to be if people are saying it to your face rather than sparing your feelings? They are telling you something and you have to start listening.

You have no chance of nipping this in the bud because it is not a bud... it is a full-blown flower now.

Confrontationavoider Wed 02-Jan-13 13:50:27

I do hear what you're saying cognito and have read enough if your posts on this board to know you give amazing advice and are worth listening to. But I think I'm painting a picture of a man who isn't my DH. I have in the past questioned if he is EA but come to the conclusion he absolutely isn't. He is Gerry generous in other areas, doesn't stop me doing things, actively encourages and supports me. He's a bit shit at housework etc (the bad things I can live with, just) but its these episodes which I think happen more frequently in front of other people than they do when we're alone, that I want to deal with.

I have thought about emailing him, he's travelling for work for the next two weeks. Maybe based on his response once I do have this conversation I can come back and get help to decide if there's something more sinister going on....

Who'd sending an email be ridiculous?

Confrontationavoider Wed 02-Jan-13 13:50:46

Sorry for annoying predictive text mistakes

gillyglops Wed 02-Jan-13 18:41:14

I don't think sending an email is ridiculous at all, it's a sensible thing to do if your partner won't enter into a reasonable discussion with you.

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