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Don't like the way DH communicates with me - how to change?

(29 Posts)
WonderWine Mon 28-Nov-16 11:23:23

DH seems to refuse to ever accept responsibility for anything. Even when he has obviously screwed up he will always try to blame someone, or something else. He seems unable to say 'I'm sorry, I made a mistake/ I was wrong" and then move on.

For a while I just let it go, but now I'm concerned about the example he sets for our sons and I've started calling him out on it more when it happens.

Here's the latest example. We were out with some friends at the weekend and DH was asked if he was free to see a (blokes) movie on Weds. He says no, as he's going to a live event with DS that evening. My ears prick up and I ask 'what event?' as it's the first I've heard about it.
The way we run our family calendar is that we send 'meeting/event calendar requests' to each other, and to whichever teen is involved. Then everyone has the info to hand on their phone and we can plan meals, lifts etc accordingly.
Anyway, I knew I hadn't seen anything and didn't have a calendar event, so said this, but DH kept saying 'Well I definitely sent it. Not my fault if you haven't put it in your calendar' and similar comments in front of our friends.
I'm wasn't going to argue in public, so didn't say much more, other than 'let's check later'.

Sure enough, when I check, it's not in my diary, so I just sent him an email saying it's not in my calendar, can you resend it.

Here's his response:

"I’ve sent it to you – looking at the PC rather than my phone it looks like you were missed off the original. I booked this months and months ago and [DS] definitely has it in his diary."

When I read this, I just see the following:
looking at the PC rather than my phone - 'it's the phone's fault for not displaying it all correctly'
it looks like you were missed off the original - something happened remotely which is not linked to the fact that I failed to add your name/email
I booked this months and months ago - therefore you should know about it by now. It's not my fault you're not telepathic.
[DS] definitely has it in his diary - therefore he should probably have told you. I managed to tell one person - do I get a gold star?!

I feel like replying
Did you actually mean to say “I’m sorry, my mistake, it looks as if I did miss you off, although I swore blind, in front of our friends, that it was you who was at fault here”

CockacidalManiac Mon 28-Nov-16 11:34:39

There was a very similar thread recently; it might help you to read it. I'll try and find it.

iremembericod Mon 28-Nov-16 11:37:13

You send emails to each other ?

I get enough of that at work. If I had to block out my calendar to spend time with my own children I'm not sure I'd communicate very well either

CockacidalManiac Mon 28-Nov-16 11:37:42

Here you go;

iremembericod Mon 28-Nov-16 11:38:05

Does it even matter it's not in your calendar?
Like actually matter?

Foldedtshirt Mon 28-Nov-16 11:39:33

Your reply is excellent!

DidILeaveTheGasOn Mon 28-Nov-16 11:39:57

It's interesting that you present this as a communication issue. I am not entirely sure that covers it. To put you down in public like that is a bit shit, it's embarrassing.

Longdistance Mon 28-Nov-16 11:48:25

We have a family calendar in our kitchen, as soon as an event crops up that's important and we're going to, it goes on the calendar.

Nothing better than the old fashioned way wink

But, yes, it's obviously his fault for not adding you. Pissy of him to be like that in front of your friends. He does need to apologise.

ravenmum Mon 28-Nov-16 11:50:28

Ignoring the technicalities of this particular example, what you are saying is that if you point out something he has forgotten, in front of friends, he tries to make out that it must actually be your fault. That is indeed quite shitty. On the other hand, it didn't put you out in any way that he'd forgotten, so you didn't really even need to mention his forgetfulness. Do you think he might feel like you make him look stupid?

MorrisZapp Mon 28-Nov-16 11:51:25

Look at the linked thread. Bet you identify with it.

WonderWine Mon 28-Nov-16 11:53:19

CockacidalManiac - thanks, I'll take a look!

iremembericod - this isn't really what this thread is about, but yes, we use a digital shared calendar for the family. It's a system which normally works well for us. DSs are required to use Office 365 at school for events, so it all meshes together well. No post-its on the fridge or calendar with tiny boxes!
Whether this particular event matters or not is irrelevant - it's just an example of many, and the way DH tends to respond.
(Actually, it does matter a bit, as I am always out on Wednesday evening and DS2 needs to be picked up, which DH normally does, but won't be this Weds. So I need to beg a favour from another parent...)

DidILeaveTheGasOn - yes, I thought so too... sad

iremembericod Mon 28-Nov-16 12:10:00

But you picked him up on it first in front of people?

It may be a pattern but from the example you've given, I'd be pissy at having being told off in front of friends for (accidentally?) not putting something in the diary.

hellsbellsmelons Mon 28-Nov-16 12:14:11

That response looks perfect.
Send it!

And me and OH have electronic calendar invites.
In fact, I've just sent him an invite now from my outlook to his.
He adds it straight into his own calendar by 'accepting'
Then gets alerts 2 weeks beforehand that it's an event we are going to.
Why wouldn't you do that?

DidILeaveTheGasOn Mon 28-Nov-16 12:20:59

What would he make of your assessment of his email, as you've written here? Would he be able to acknowledge the truth of it (perhaps not immediately, but after some reflection)?

Scarydinosaurs Mon 28-Nov-16 12:32:14

I have the same system with my DH and we don't even have teenagers.

That is a non-apology. Send your message.

WonderWine Mon 28-Nov-16 12:32:44

DidILeaveTheGasOn - I think he would interpret my assessment as 'me having a go at him (again)'
I'd dearly love to send it to him, but I really don't think he'd 'see' it.

I've tried to explain that I've not 'suddenly' started having a go at him, but rather that I've now decided that I can't let these things pass without comment. I've heard the DSs trying to pass the buck for all sorts of things and it's depressing. I'm sure it's learned behaviour.

I just don't know how to raise it/tackle it - directly? With humour?

iremembericod - I didn't pick him up on it in public - just said 'oh what's this? It isn't in my diary' He was way more aggressive in his response.

WonderWine Mon 28-Nov-16 12:36:53

Crikey - that other thread is all about the same thing!!

(iremembericod - interesting name.. are you <ahem> 'related' ?)
I remember icod well too - I was here in the beginning....<wistful sigh>

SandyY2K Mon 28-Nov-16 12:51:18

I think your response will just escalate things. Not because you aren't right, but my DH could do the same.

I'd just say in person, could he please double check the senders list next time.
Sometimes you have to pick your battles.

My DH hates being wrong and loosing an argument. My DC have come to realise this abs we just shake our heads and let it go after pulling him up on it.

An example would be something like. ... me saying something like the tsunami happened in 1980 in Egypt. He says no it wasn't was definetly later than that .. at least 1995.

Then I go to good old Google and prove him wrong. His response : I know something definetly happened in 1995. Then he says "look there was an earthquake in Chilli ... in 1995. That's what I was talking about"

Never once, does he say .. you were right .. and I was wrong. I just laugh about it now. My DC say "Daddy, you're just wrong and strong"

doji Mon 28-Nov-16 12:51:26

I'd just reply asking what arrangements he's made for ds2 to be picked up. I certainly wouldn't be running round sorting that out given his attitude so far.

Hillfarmer Mon 28-Nov-16 13:13:12

Yes, presumably as he''s been planning this for 'months and months' , he''s had plenty of time to make arrangements for ds2.

You need to consider,OP, whether his continually projecting blame onto you is part of a pattern of disrespect and undermining behaviour. If you are ''holding off' pulling him up on this then you are altering your behaviour because you are wary/afraid that he will escalate his reaction and take it out on you disproportionately. This easily slides into the proverbial 'walking on eggshells'.... which is more worrying.

I started off thinking that me and XH had a communication problem. That wasn't the case. Took me a while and some horrendous sessions at Relate that made me realise our marriage actually had an abuse problem. Just a thought, it may not be the same for you but his attitude towards you and the 'perceived threat' of punishment concerns me.

WonderWine Mon 28-Nov-16 14:03:45

Hillfarmer - thanks. Your comments do touch on something I've begun to consider more and more. I'm not afraid of him, but I do recognise controlling behaviour and I'm still working out how to address it. And if it will make any difference.
Of course, the problem is that because he doesn't recognise or accept that there is an issue, he does not accept any responsibility for it.
I really don't know how to begin to discuss this with him.

DidILeaveTheGasOn Mon 28-Nov-16 14:19:09

He may recognise there is an issue. This is not necessarily your issue to fix. You cannot unpick another person and put them back together in a way that means they will henceforth be able to communicate in a warm, respectful, mature fashion while thinking about what you and the family need, as well as themselves. I think you have to be realistic. As is often said here, when people tell you the truth about themselves, listen.

I have had to talk to dh about the way he speaks to me and he has improved considerably, actually we both have. We apologise readily to each other if we have been snappy or whatever (two kids under 4, not much sleep in this house since 2012!) and we try to be kind. We wouldn't show each other up in public or at home. What's the point of it if your other half would rather set you on fire (at least in conversation) than offer you a hand?

DidILeaveTheGasOn Mon 28-Nov-16 14:20:59

That's not to say I've got it all worked out, that sounded unbearably smug reading back.

WonderWine Mon 28-Nov-16 14:33:28

No, don't worry, not smug at all. Was actually quite heartening to hear that you're working through it.

Our whole family is going through a bad patch and this is probably both cause and effect.We have one teen who is always negative/ glass half full/ looking to blame. I am so worried he is modelling us. I am trying to be a good role model, but everything seems to spiral downwards and since I am the only female in the house it just feels like I am being taken advantage of if I don't 'fight my corner'.
How and when do you go about initiating a conversation about behaviour like this?

DidILeaveTheGasOn Mon 28-Nov-16 14:44:18

Difficult with teens. I wait for evenings when both kids are in bed, or car journeys when they're asleep in the back and we can just drive and talk. Sometimes we do it via email. I try not to stack issues up, if I did that i would be left quietly seething and resentful and he would feel under attack. I raise an issue not too long after it happened. Like you would discuss behaviour with a kid, I think. Proportionate and related to the incident, no sweeping brush strokes, but straightforward. When you said x, I didn't feel good hearing it because I felt (small? Embarrassed?).

I think it helps to talk often, if there are often problems, until things start to change. If they do, draw a line and move on from the past and let everything get better. It's easier to hang on to old hurt than it is to let it go.

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