Talk

Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

How can I consistently improve my tone of voice?

(37 Posts)
Hetts1965 Mon 08-Jun-15 12:42:31

I talk to my fiancee as though he was one of my children. My tone of voice is, to be honest, completely vile and unpleasant. I am very stressed but I don't think that is a good enough excuse. he told me today that he refuses to have a relationship with someone who belittles him and talks to him like a child with a very aggressive tone of voice. he is doing everything he can to work incredibly hard to pay for practically everything regarding the house at the moment as I have been unable to work as hard due to looking after my mother and moving into his house with my 13 year old daughter in the last few months, he's even building bedrooms for my older children, and I'm helping when I can but not enough. I do everything around the house as well as trying to run my own business but nothing he ever does is good enough. I ruined my last marriage with my tone of voice and now I'm going to do it again if I carry on like this. I have tried so many different things to sort this out over the years, meditation, mindfulness, hypnotherapy, exercise, but don't seem to be able to do anything consistently and I'm not sure why. My daughter has even started saying to me that my tone of voice is horrible and that's why she speaks to me like she does. I love him to pieces and am so scared I am going to ruin everything all over again.
Please can anyone help me?

JugglingLife Mon 08-Jun-15 12:46:05

Hetts, have you tried just giving yourself a few seconds before you respond? Mentally check your tone before you speak. You'd need to be consistent because you are trying to break a habit here.

QuiteLikely5 Mon 08-Jun-15 12:47:06

Tone of voice? I think you are getting off rather lightly here.

Perhaps you are abusive, perhaps a little impatient and a tad over reactive............

You owe it to your child to mend your ways but if you have had countless types of therapy and they have all failed maybe you need to consider visiting the Dr to see if you can be prescribed something that can calm you down, y'know so you're not so hot headed and reactive........this behaviour will leave others walking on eggshells afraid of your next explosion.......

Keep seeking help

JugglingLife Mon 08-Jun-15 12:54:10

Quite, in the nicest of ways that comes over as a little harsh, the OP has posted in relationships for help, she is not underplaying her actions, she wants to change it. It's a bit early and unfair to be using terms like 'abusive'. Hetts, quite may have a fair point about the doctors though, have you tried medication to help with the stress?

colafrosties Mon 08-Jun-15 12:54:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Meerka Mon 08-Jun-15 12:56:38

what's behind the tone of voice?

either you simply have a rather unfortunate voice (it can happen), or your voice is reflecting how you are feeling.

So if you can identify how you are feeling when you speak to someone badly, that's a first step.

The second step is working out why, for instance, you are thinking of him as a child (and hence speaking to him like that).

The third step is working on your thought patterns.

Those often come from assumptions, for example that they ought to be doing things a certain way, everyone knows that, why aren't they? Once you realise the assumptions, you can step back and look at yourself.

Also, at the same time practise asking in a nicer voice by (as a previous poster said) taking a few seconds to stop and then consciously trying to ask them more nicely.

Ask your fiancé to tell you when you are speaking to him badly, every single time. It sounds like he loves you and wants the 'nicer' you, and you want to be a nicer you. So, he may well be willing to help you.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Mon 08-Jun-15 13:34:36

I may be a bit naive or a little too simplistic, but would you like people to talk to you in your manner of speaking? Do unto others...

Nothing he ever does is good enough...
This jumped out at me and may be more of an issue than the tone of your voice. Why isn't it good enough? Does everything have to be done your way? You need to understand that your fiancee has his own brain, he is an adult, and his choices are respectable and he is respectable. Let him exist. Let him participate in his own life, or as per your previous experience, he will go live his life elsewhere. Same goes for your daughter, btw.

"How to listen so kids will talk, and how to talk so kids will listen" is a parenting book that I think you should consider reading. With regards to your relationship, it will provide a strategy of communication that is founded on respect.

Well done on having the self awareness that the issue lies with you. That can be really hard to acknowledge. flowers

AndTheBandPlayedOn Mon 08-Jun-15 13:41:06

I don't mean you dd will up a run off. But when she is an adult, she will have a choice as to how much time she will want to spend with you.

I see it is ironic that I recommended a parenting book when you are trying to not treat your fiancee like a child. But having read the book, I realized it was a valuable source for a good foundation for communication in general.

wol1968 Mon 08-Jun-15 13:42:25

This does sound a bit confused to me. I've heard it all now. Learning to talk nicer??? Having your 'tone of voice' criticised is a bit like having your body language and your body shape held up for analysis - it's intrusive, personal and controlling. And I'm not convinced voice training is the answer here.

The real issue here is that you're stressed and anxious and angry, and you need to work out why. You need to face up to whatever situations are contributing to the stress. It might be that you need to learn to assert your needs calmly. Or it might be that you are being systematically ignored when you do assert yourself calmly (which happens distressingly often on these boards) with the result that you end up having to scream to get heard. I suspect the latter may be the case, and that you know perfectly well how to talk in a level tone of voice (and have done since you were about 3). If you were listened to properly, you wouldn't be yelling. Am I right?

ItsRainingInBaltimore Mon 08-Jun-15 13:49:54

wol but some people are just naturally difficult to get along with and have a way of being perpetually irritable and talking down to others. A man was told that was his problem on here only yesterday when he asked why his wife constantly snapped at him and called him a patronising wanker etc. My husband and children will sometimes say to me 'Whoah! Calm it! Don't screech and go off on one at everybody!'

If more than one person is saying this to you, then perhaps it's time to listen. I think the OP is like me, she gets stressed, doesn't realise she's doing it until she's pissed everybody around her off. I don't think she is asking for 'voice training' as such, but more for tips on how to stay calmer and be less irritable with others, it's that mood, that feeling that your tone of voice or your pitch will reflect.

Hetts you are the same age as me by the looks of things. Are you by any chance going through the beginnings of the menopause? grin

Have you spoken to your GP and considered HRT to improve your mood swings and irritable reactions to things?

ItsRainingInBaltimore Mon 08-Jun-15 13:52:25

Although I do agree that being systematically ignored by people who have different priorities and don't seem to listen when you are trying to give them information they need, only to look blankly at you later when you say 'I told you that' is one of the typical triggers that will send me off into the stratososphere.

GoatsDoRoam Mon 08-Jun-15 13:55:12

Hetts - are these your fears, or his complaints?

It sounds to me like you are doing a lot for your family: doing everything in the house and running your own business. Each of those things is a full-time job in itself! I think you can be proud of yourself, instead of putting yourself down.

Do you truly think that nothing he does is good enough? Is that what you believe?

Or does he throw up his hands and say "Nothing I do is ever good enough for you!" when you come to him with a complaint?

badbaldingballerina123 Mon 08-Jun-15 14:17:37

Have other people commented on this ? Have you recorded yourself ?

GrumpleMe Mon 08-Jun-15 14:40:51

Do you speak to other people like that?

It's great that you have enough awareness to acknowledge you have a problem. That's the first step to fixing it.

Do you genuinely love and respect your DP?

MatildaTheCat Mon 08-Jun-15 14:42:19

Agree with learning to stop before you speak, each and every time, just for a second to check how the words are going to come out. My dm has a terrible habit of saying awful things which she doesn't really even mean. Can you identify anyone you would prefer to sound like and try to model their approach more? Lowering the tone of your voice is easier on the ear ( the reason many women get promoted on tv and radio as they get older apparently).

However, I also agree with seeing your GP and getting something to help you calm down. You say you've tried various self help type things but do you actually do them? Mindfulness etc are to be applied all the time not just when you go to the sessions. I would be even more worried about your daughter than you DP. She sounds scared of you.

Your DP knows and loves you enough to do all the things you list.mi suggest a very full and frank conversation and apology and the true desire to make changes. Perhaps he can also have a non verbal cue to you to say 'that's enough'.

goddessofsmallthings Mon 08-Jun-15 17:19:34

Voice coaching will help you to moderate and modulate your tone of voice. It will also teach you breathing exercises which will enable you to centre yourself before you speak.

But it seems to me that if nothing anyone does is good enough for you, you should address the underlying cause of your dissatisfaction through counselling.

How do you speak to strangers? Do you use the same tone of voice you use when speaking to your dp and dd? Do you speak to your older dc in the same manner?

CheersMedea Mon 08-Jun-15 18:45:31

Even if your tone of voice is part of it, it's pretty unlikely that's all it's about.

The content is likely to be a contributory factor as well. So it's probably you have too things to work on.

When you say "tone" what are you talking about exactly - do you mean volume/nearly shouting or do you mean emotional colour to your voice - sounding hostile and aggressive? Or the tone in the sense of content?

Eg. if you want to ask someone to empty the bins, you can say the same thing in a myriad of different ways:

* PLEASE COULD YOU EMPTY THE BINS (emphasising every word, nearly shouting)

* Please could YOU empty the bins.
(Please = emphasised with implication I've asked you a hundred times; you = implication of you being a pustule covered toad that has crawled out from under a rock).

* Please could you empty the bins (calm, moderate no emphasis - as if you've said "the cat sat on the mat).

* Please could you empty the bins (smiling, softly, gently as if you are asking for the greatest favour in the world.)

BUT tone ("don't talk to me in that tone of voice") can also refer to content:

* For f*ck's sake are you going to empty the bins.

* Empty the goddamn bins.

* Darling, it would be great help if you could empty the bins.

You need to be clear about what the issue is. As I said, it's VERY unlikely that the complaint is about pure tone in the sense of emotional intonation and is far more likely to be mixed tone and content.

Have you asked your daughter exactly what she means?

CheersMedea Mon 08-Jun-15 18:45:45

*two things

ALaughAMinute Mon 08-Jun-15 19:08:25

If your attitude changed then so would the tone of your voice. Do you feel irritated or angry? Whatever the problem is, you need to get to the root cause. Have you considered counselling?

You've also been under a lot of stress so perhaps it's no surprise that the tone of your voice is vile and unpleasant. It's not easy to be bright and breezy when you have problems and are under a lot of stress.

Look at the problem areas in your life and think what you can do to resolve them and take away some of the stress. You say you have been looking after your mother and that you do everything around the house as well as running your own business. This is a lot for anyone to take on - are you sure you're not being too hard on yourself? Could you get a cleaner or someone to help you? Could you get someone to help you with your mother?

You may also want to consider if you are really being vile and unpleasant. Could it be that your fiance is a bully and that you are not vile and unpleasant at all? Just a thought.

trackrBird Mon 08-Jun-15 19:13:11

your attitude is going to feed into your tone of voice. For example, if you believe others are adults (or near adults) doing their best, as you are, you are more likely to speak to them calmly, as an equal.

If you believe everyone needs to be chivvied along, or that others are not as good, or aware, or <fill in the blank> as you are, that will come through as well.

So attitude towards others is the first thing to look at. However, I would also ask if these protests are limited to your teenage daughter and partner. Has anyone else commented, or taken you aside about this? Can you ask anyone who has witnessed you speaking if they feel there is a problem?

People who care about you will usually say, kindly, if you're unwittingly being a pain.

mynewpassion Mon 08-Jun-15 19:20:19

I have an aunt like you. Everything that comes out of her mouth because of her tone seems to show her perpetually angry, patronizing and irritated, even when she wasn't. A couple of her children are starting to talk like her.

mommyof23kids Tue 09-Jun-15 13:33:30

I have bitchy resting face which means unless I'm smiling I look pissed off. It means I have to pay extra attention to how I am around my family so as not to make them think I am angry with them. Because I'm not I'm actually really happy most of the time.

Perhaps you have bitchy tone voice?

pocketsaviour Wed 10-Jun-15 12:47:31

Do you remember your mother or father talking to you like this when you were younger? I'm wondering if it's actually learned behaviour, which means it can be unlearned. This also includes if you are being overly critical, which the "nothing he does is good enough" would indicate.

Do you sometimes feel like you have to point out the flaws in things that other people do? Are you always looking for and commenting on the negatives instead of the positives? Again this tends to be learned behaviour.

CheersMedea Wed 10-Jun-15 15:46:41

I have bitchy resting face which means unless I'm smiling I look pissed off.

Ah! Bitchy resting face. Not heard that term for a while!

longlistofexlovers Wed 10-Jun-15 16:00:42

I'd go to the GP tbh. I'm not convinced it is just tone either.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now