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Anger, random outburts...

(32 Posts)
CostaRicanBananas Mon 09-Nov-15 11:09:13

For the past three weeks, DH has been very angry and short-tempered but he refuses to acknowledge it or share whatever the problem is. Whereas he was still his loving, attentive self, he also growls over totally inconsequential things and it’s become impossible to simply have a conversation with him. His reaction is totally disproportional to the subject in hand – this weekend, for example, I mentioned us deciding whether to keep a wall board which has been sitting on kitchen floor since we moved homes. I wasn’t nagging, I was checking that he too didn’t think that we are likely to use it. His initial suggestion was to just leave it where it’s been and when I explained that there was no point holding on to something if it isn’t going to be used, he totally lost it – the volume went up and he suddenly growling at me. This was over an Ikea chalkboard, which probably cost no more than £20 when I bought it more than 8 years ago (long before DH and I got together). I went to have a shower, calm down and then tried to talk to him, but his response was totally non-committal and ‘I don’t want to know’, followed by “if you are not happy, tell me and I leave”.

DH has always been amazingly good at looking after me, and you can see the care and thought that goes into his day-to-day actions: he really looks after me and there is plenty to evidence how much he thinks about me throughout the day. However, his inability to talk through things, have a normal conversation or even control his reaction creates a highly unstable environment; and to some extent it taints all the wonderful things that he does. Up to the point when we felt out over an old chalkboard (???), we were having the most wonderful weekend and there was no pressure whatsoever to get things done – all the chores were done, we had been congratulating ourselves on how lovely the house was looking (we’ve had a lot on recently so it’s taking us ages to get the house in order since we moved) and had spent the whole day showering each other with love and affection. What baffles me the most is how DH can be so blind to all the those wonderful things, and the importance of preserving harmony, for the sake of having a good, old argument over something totally inconsequential.

Anyway, I see his over-reaction as a sign that, deep down, his misplaced pride and his need to ‘win’ conflict at any cost, is much more important that a healthy and harmonious relationship. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be so quick to throw it all out of the window at every opportunity. His reactions tell me that he doesn’t care how much damage he does to our relationship or the fact that instead of making the most of the time to talk about positive things and our plans, we’ve just spent two days pretty much ignoring each other. Therefore, our relationship can’t matter that much to him, regardless of whether he packs my gym kit and makes my lunch for me every day or goes out of his way to sort out my mobile phone problems – and just to be clear, not a day goes by when I don’t thank him or point out that I would never take those things for granted.

So following on for his remark, I said that then he should leave. We are married, we made vows and we committed ourselves to each other. Talk about ‘leaving’ shouldn’t just casually pop into conversation and we’ve talked about this before – how do you build solid foundations if one person is so quick to throw an ‘exit’ into the equation??? So he did his usual and went to sleep on the sofa – he’s done that a lot recently – and I just left him to it. Yesterday, I went to church in the morning and came back home to find that he had taken all our pictures together down. This was a double-blow as not only had we been talking about how we were finally getting our home to look how we wanted, but he hasn’t even given us a chance to have a conversation. I asked him about it and his response was just defensive and unkind. I asked him why the nastiness and lack of compassion but he couldn’t find a single kind word to say. In the evening, he seemed ready to ‘resume normal life’ but still no conversation. We all had dinner together and he started grabbing me in a playful as we were clearing up but although I didn’t quite reject him, I didn’t know what to make of it either. Bedtime came and he came into our bedroom but when I look at him in surprise, he immediately became defensive. I did explain that I was surprised as he had given me no indication of what is going on. Off he went back to the living room. Again, what he is telling me is that we are not worth a conversation, not even along the lines of “this is not working out…” and that our marriage is not worth working on.

We don’t bicker over house chores or mundane things but we seem incapable of communicating like team players. I know it’s easy to blame everything on the other person but what I am not seeing in DH is that understanding that we are both supposed to be on the same side and that we are supposed to be working on good, positive things together.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 09-Nov-15 11:24:19

How long have you been married?.

Did anything specific happen three weeks ago?.

Look at his parents OP; do they behave really in a similar manner?.

How do you feel about him now?.

What is he like towards family and friends in the outside world; does he come across as the very life and soul to them, he cannot do enough for them either?.

This comment of yours was frankly troubling:-
" DH has always been amazingly good at looking after me, and you can see the care and thought that goes into his day-to-day actions: he really looks after me and there is plenty to evidence how much he thinks about me throughout the day"

How does he look after you exactly?. I am wondering whether he is infact wanting to control your every move and engineers spurious arguments to keep you off guard. Has he really made you feel incapable of handling problems without his assistance?. Why does he make your lunch, sort out your mobile phone issues or pack your gym kit; do you not do any of those things yourself?. What does he say when you reciprocate?.

When you said to him that he should leave what was his response?. He seems to have mentioned leaving before now too; that is also to keep you unbalanced. Its working and he is doing this because he can.

And as for grabbing you well that is awful behaviour on his part.

pocketsaviour Mon 09-Nov-15 11:31:05

he packs my gym kit and makes my lunch for me every day

You're still at school??

Sudden personality change over weeks... Has he started phone guarding or added a password to his phone /laptop etc? Started working different hours?

FredaMayor Mon 09-Nov-15 11:39:48

It seems to me that you are describing a man who is preparing to issue an ultimatum but is lacking the courage. Take the initiative and try to steer your interactions the way you want them, OP, I don't believe you have anything to lose now.

TPel Mon 09-Nov-15 11:46:56

I feel something has happened in his life. Not necessarily an OW.
Has he had issues at work?
Money problems/gambling?
He appears to be sabotaging your relationship which doesn't just happen.

misscph1973 Mon 09-Nov-15 11:54:41

Is your DH stressed at work, are you having financial trouble?

It sounds to me like it's something else, and that he is having trouble communicating what is happening. maybe there is something he is not telling you because he want to protect you?

I'm the type who looks after everybody, but if I try to shield my family too much, I end up over burdened and stressed, and I end up letting it out on my DH.

CostaRicanBananas Mon 09-Nov-15 11:55:54

We have only been married for a few months and we’ve been together for just over 3 years.

The only thing that happened was that I was away for work for just over a week. I work in travel so although it was an exceedingly tiring trip, it was also absolutely amazing. DH seemed pleased for me but I can’t say he’s taken much interest – I don’t want to be too harsh here but it’s not like we popped open a bottle of wine and spent an evening having a really good chat about the trip, which would have been nice either way. He’s due to go away for 5 days at the end of this month and I would like to hear the stories etc when he gets back – I’ve always believed that it’s important to bring your own individual contribution into the relationship, so that you’ve got different things to exchange and talk about!

Anyway, towards his family…I suppose it’s very similar in terms of being very quick to dismiss people?!

I barely know his parents as, just like my family, they live a very long way from the UK. I’ve heard stories about his mum having a very quick temper, and very vocal. Maybe that’s where he learned that the absence of self-control is ok. To him, it doesn’t seem to matter that we’ve spoiled what was a truly lovely weekend, as there will be other weekends. My view is different. That time won’t come back, I’ve had two bad nights’ sleep and I am all over the place at the moment. Not to mention, posting here while unable to focus on my work!

There is an element of needing to have everything under control, which is a general trait. Reality is that DH is really good at anticipating my needs and maybe to some extent, he needs to feel needed, more than wanting to control me. He does seem to take it personally if I want something different for my lunch, as though what he’s doing isn’t good enough. Actually, I made a joke the other day about him not being as ‘on the ball’ with our meals (the way chores are split, DH takes care of grocery shopping) – it was just banter as he’s always five steps ahead of me on that, but I could see him getting annoyed like I had just criticised him. He doesn’t say anything or he jokes “if you only you loved me, you just think you do…” but I don’t actually take that seriously.

Yes, he has mentioned leaving before but he always puts the ball on my court by saying that if you want me to leave… What I’ve said in the past is that that sort of remark should not be made on a whim. You may be on to something with about him wanting to keep me unbalanced. As naïve as it may sound, why would you create this sort of animosity and friction in your home environment, and towards somebody you are supposed to love? He tells me time and time again that I have no idea how much I mean to him and how much he loves me.

ange08 Mon 09-Nov-15 12:00:37

Can anyone help me with my 6 year old who has anger outbursts violent outbursts constantly argumentative never does as her told very demanding very challenging but is an angel at school what can I do please help??

CostaRicanBananas Mon 09-Nov-15 12:02:24

misscph1973 and TPel I do suspect that to be the case as when he had work issues a couple of years ago, he was also very defensive and ready to bite everyone's had off. But because I don't know for certain, I can only base myself on what I am seeing and how he's handling things between us.

Last Friday, he snapped at me again over nothing. I asked him what was wrong and he eventually let out that he was very tired. I could see that, it was all over his face, and I said that 'it was ok', that as long as I know what the problem is, I can try and help to address it in some way.

MatrixReloaded Mon 09-Nov-15 12:49:55

It's ok if he snaps at you as along as you know what the problem is ? That's not a healthy approach at all Op.

CostaRicanBananas Mon 09-Nov-15 12:59:45

Matrix what I meant is that occasionally we all snap or get grumpy for all sorts of reasons. It doesn't make it right and one needs to be aware / take responsibility for their own actions. However, if you let the people you love know "Sorry if I may seem a bit short or grumpy but I am very tired or I am worried / stressed about xyz..." then the people around you have a chance to try and help or give you a bit more space.

AnotherEmma Mon 09-Nov-15 13:02:41

He sounds awful. Short-tempered, terrible communicator, controlling. You, on the other hand, come across as very emotionally intelligent, you write well and seem to have a sensible way of looking at things. So I do wonder why you're with someone like this. You do seem to be making excuses for him which is worrying.

Have you considered Relate or other relationship counselling? He might not go, or he might go but not engage (I suspect he won't entertain any ideas that he's wrong and needs to change his behaviour) but it could be worth a try.

AnotherEmma Mon 09-Nov-15 13:08:37

"He tells me time and time again that I have no idea how much I mean to him and how much he loves me."

Given his behaviour this would really piss me off. I hate empty words.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 09-Nov-15 14:05:40

What do you get out of this relationship now?. What is keeping you there?.

I wondered what his parents are like; are they still together?. It sounds like he learnt a lot of damaging crap (the perfectionism and a need to control everything is a big problem) from his own mother, perhaps like mother like son. I am also wondering if his own mother spoke similarly to him as a child.

If you've only been married a few months and he is already talking of leaving this marriage is in serious trouble. He is also a terrible communicator and starts spurious rows as perhaps a means of asserting his own power and control.

I also think he does not want your help or support and he enjoys seeing your discomfort.

misscph1973 Mon 09-Nov-15 14:15:54

I think your DH is stressed. How is his health generally? Does he sleep well? I personally get very cranky if I haven't slept, and if I am stressed or PMS, I'm even worse.

Of course if would be wonderful if we were all civil and polite to each other at all times, but in reality very few of us are 100% nice all the time. But it does sound like your DH is not very nice at the moment. Would he at all be open to talking about what problems he might have, if he is happy or not? I sense that you really want to support him, but you are not sure how? Could you ask him if there is anything you could do? He might just need to talk about it, but many men are reluctant to talk about it.

AnotherEmma Mon 09-Nov-15 14:18:19


CostaRicanBananas Mon 09-Nov-15 23:20:59

I haven't had a chance to reply with answers to previous questions but this is how the evening went:
DH picked me up from work as he normally would (I wasn't expecting him to, in view of how things are atm). He had packed my gym kit and let me know that dinner was in the oven (he gets home at around 4.30, he likes to cook). We had a pleasant enough meal and one would have thought that we are good friends. On the way to the gym, he made a few remarks about me going back to my ex, who gave me a very expensive gift about 9 years ago (?!?!). Mind you, I firmly single and virtually date-free for 4 years before DH came along as I wanted time on my own - how is ex relevant here?!

So he's come up to our bedroom, brought me vitamin pills, grabbed his pillows and left. WTF? Is our marriage really over? Not a conversation, not an attempt to resolve or work on things? As each night goes by without us sleeping in the same bed and being affectionate towards each other, I Feel the damage to our relationship getting a step closer to beyond repair. Did I embark on a marriage that had no foundations? Or is DH feeling that insecure that he needs me to tell him that I do want us and need him? I suspect that he's going through a testing moment (but no idea what the problem is) but can he not see what he's doing to us?

AnotherEmma Mon 09-Nov-15 23:22:59

You might need to read "why does he do that" by Lundy Bancroft (not sure of title, hope that's it)

AnotherEmma Mon 09-Nov-15 23:25:44

But to answer your questions, he's playing a power game and waiting for you to apologise and/or put it all behind you, so the status quo can continue, and he can continue treating you like shit.

I'm sure Lundy Bancroft explains it in a more detailed way.

CostaRicanBananas Mon 09-Nov-15 23:33:14

DH looks exhausted and harassed, and I have no idea why. I had noticed before that he also seems to take less pride in how he dresses at the moment. He still works out religiously but he's not his normal, bouncy self... part of it is that he's that as a sportsman, he's having to finally close that chapter in his life. He's taking part in a tournament in a few weeks's time and I suspect that struggled to a place on a team, whereas in the past he used to have at least three offers to chose from. Over the last year and a half, this part of his life took a considerable set back, and as much he claims to like his local job, his income has reduced considerably and it is a very low profile role.

I am NOT trying to make excuses but I have no idea what it must feel like to be in his shoes.

Meanwhile, I've completed a new degree, changed careers and have had my share of success. Again, not trying to make excuses for his lack of conflict-resolution skills or his almost toddler-like outbursts but I sometimes wonder whether he fears that I don't think he's good enough. Or maybe I am just overanalising things and he's simply no longer interrested in us?

CostaRicanBananas Mon 09-Nov-15 23:37:44

So what you are saying our whole marriage is based on a power-game? That none of the caring, attentive things that he does matter as it's all about having the last word and being in control.

CostaRicanBananas Mon 09-Nov-15 23:39:52

And I don't mean that in a defensive way, just clarifying!

AnotherEmma Tue 10-Nov-15 00:07:58

Yes, it is what it sounds like. We don't know of course, we only have the info you gave us to go on. But it doesn't sound great.

If he is stressed and/or depressed, it could explain the short temper, but not the controlling behaviour I don't think. And it wouldn't completely explain the poor communication. The test I suppose is to see whether he accepts that his behaviour has changed and whether he's willing to do anything about it (see his GP about the stress/depression, go to Relate with you to improve communication). Being with a stressed/depressed person who takes it out on you and refuses to tackle the problem is just as bad as someone who's being an arsehole on purpose, without the mental health excuse, IMO. The effect on you is pretty much the same.

goddessofsmallthings Tue 10-Nov-15 01:30:14

It seems to me that he may be realising his limitations; struggling for a place on a team in the sport he loves and once excelled at has brought home the fact that he's being superceded by younger men and his low profile local job, with its lower income, gives him no opportunity to shine or stand out from the crowd.

You, on the other hand, have gone from strength to strength and there's no reason to suppose that your success will end anytime soon.

I suspect there's more than a tinge of jealousy in his outbursts and he's feeling insecure because his prospects have narrowed while yours have widended. The change in his circumstances may have caused him to fear he'll lose you because you won't find him as interesting or exciting as you once did.

The chalkboard incident may have been symbolic in that you talked about throwing away an item that was no longer useful. It may be that's how he's currently feeling about himself and his talk of 'leaving' is a way of testing whether you consider that he's no longer of any use to you, or that he's thinking of leaving before you decide he's of no use to you any more.

This situation won't resolve itself and you're best advised to book a few sessions of couples counselling to see whether the current impasse can be surmounted before the damage to your relationship is beyond repair.

To answer your other questions, after 3 months you're still in the process of laying the foundation stone, the bedrock, of your marriage and it's probable that your dh is feeling "so insecure" that he needs you to tell him you do "want us and need him".

It's also probable that he can see what he's doing, but his insecurity is such that he can't stop himself and when/if he destroys your feelings for him it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy for which he will blame you while knowing that he brought it on himself.

Atenco Tue 10-Nov-15 03:14:40

He doesn't sound controlling to me, though I'm no expert. He sounds like he is incapable of expressing his negative feelings in an intelligible way. Maybe while he was growing up he got terrible consequences from saying anything the least bit negative or whatever.

I don't know how you can teach him to communicate though.

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