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This throwaway conversation defines my relationship

(37 Posts)
fannyanddick Sat 07-Oct-17 10:34:10

Just had a conversation with dh. That went 'I've been reading a book about banishing clutter. The toys are getting crazy I think we both need to get a bit more ruthless. We need to start getting rid of things even if it is possible that at some point they could be used again.' His response was 'you need to stop buying soft toys and you will never through any out and they pile up'.

It seems such a benign conversation. It is a very lighthearted and short lived example. He is probably making a fairly valid point. Though I did start the conversation by saying I want to get more ruthless and I will and have got rid of soft toys before. (Just not some).

But it just feels constant criticism. Taking comments I make as an attack on him and going on the offensive. What could have been a productive conversation just ends up as a blame game.

Am I being sensitive. Is this what everyone would have said.

Thingvellir Sat 07-Oct-17 10:40:29

I don’t see the criticism - isn’t he agreeing with you about a clear out of toys being needed and using soft toys as an example?

I’d take that comment as agreement to the plan and start working out together how/when you will tackle it. My advice based on bitter experience is to make sure the kids are out the way when you do it

FritzDonovan Sat 07-Oct-17 10:40:49

This didn't read as an example of the blame game to me, if you do actually buy a lot of soft toys. Other toys are usually used more, so maybe he sees soft toys as contributing to clutter more than other stuff.
Any more examples? This is a bit irrelevant.

RandomMess Sat 07-Oct-17 10:43:50

It wasn't a kind or helpful response was it and he saying it's all your fault now I've reread it sad

Can you tell him that it was hurtful and you wanted to work as a team on it?

fannyanddick Sat 07-Oct-17 10:45:37

Interesting. I do think that because he does criticise a lot I now get defensive in normal conversations or see snipes that weren't there. I probably need to look at my own behaviour too.

fannyanddick Sat 07-Oct-17 10:46:40

Just re read. Throw not through!

QuiteLikely5 Sat 07-Oct-17 10:46:57

yoy are being sensitive

I couldn't get het up over this comment at all!

Is he right? If so he's stated his view quite appropriately

RebelRogue Sat 07-Oct-17 10:47:34

Me: we have too much shit!!
Me: I'm getting rid of loads!!

Also me two days later: Buy all the things!!!

OH just indulged me now. Even the eye roll is gone. He's not allowed to criticise anymore though after he bought DD a frikking fishing tent thinking it was a kids one. grin

RandomMess Sat 07-Oct-17 10:49:16

What tone did he say it in?

Clearly no-one else ever buys the DC anything if it's all your fault?

fannyanddick Sat 07-Oct-17 10:50:13

So he is right to an extent. We are both hoarders a bit. But he is worse imo and he won't discuss it as it stresses him. He will not get rid of a single book he has ever bought. We just had a load of new ones delivered from his 18yo book case. All went on the shelves. And he buys a lot of books.

fannyanddick Sat 07-Oct-17 10:51:57

Also this was his first response. Not a Comment in the middle of a conversation about de-cluttering.

AlternativeTentacle Sat 07-Oct-17 10:52:59

How many soft toys do you buy exactly?

Popchyk Sat 07-Oct-17 10:53:37

The OP said "...we both need to get a bit more ruthless. We need to start getting rid of things even if it is possible that at some point they could be used again.'

His response was "you need to stop buying soft toys and you will never throw anything out".

So very much the blame game. He is taking zero responsibility for the clutter and blaming the OP for it happening in the first place.

What could have been a nice team approach (which the OP was suggesting with the we) to getting on top of things becomes a negative blame game (her husband with the you).

fannyanddick Sat 07-Oct-17 10:56:16

Well we do have quite a few but it's not like I'm buying them all the time. They get a few at birthdays etc and then sometimes at things like theme park days out. We have quite a few of mine from when I was little. I don't think soft toys are the issue, though we should clear out a few. It is everything. Also soft toys are one of the toys that my kids do play with and go to bed with every night.

Rednailsandnaeknickers Sat 07-Oct-17 10:58:15

I totally get it OP - my DH has periods of perfectionism related to long term depression and his default response in any conversation is to attack and criticise, even if there was no original “attack” intended by my comments. Everything is “you always do this” or “you never do that” - without ever being constructive or problem solving, just attacking me as a person for my perceived and sometimes conveniently invented faults.

It’s exhausting and wearing. I stop bringing things up because it only ever ends up in a futile row, and then he attacks because I don’t talk to him enough! It feels like walking on egg shells a lot of the time. If you have never lived with someone like this, you really cannot understand how much this affects you and your self esteem. Even when you know it’s really his illness talking, it’s so destructive.

If he takes his meds’ properly he’s a lot better and he does have periods (months even) where he is much closer to the kind funny man I met. But when the criticism is constant, especially over minor daily things that really don’t matter, it does really get me down too.

I understand and I feel for you.
I’m sorry I don’t have any solutions.

WildRosesGrow Sat 07-Oct-17 10:59:47

His comment does sound a bit defeatist, e.g. you were trying to tackle the problem but he was saying there is no point because you won't change. Hopefully he said it in a light hearted way rather than critically.

I would show him that you can change, so acknowledge that maybe you have bought lots in the past but today you are going to fill 3 bags and take them to the charity shop. And next time you feel the urge to buy a cute soft toy, remember how you felt when you had too many!

YellowMakesMeSmile Sat 07-Oct-17 11:00:16

If it's possible they can be used again, why throw them out?

We've always let the children decide when they have outgrown an item. I cull anything broken occasionally but the rest they get to decide on what to keep or what to part with as they belong to them.

If there's too much stuff just stop buying anything else until they outgrow what they already have.

Olympiathequeen Sat 07-Oct-17 11:02:56

It does read to me that he is blaming you for the toy clutter, but it’s possible he is construing your comments as criticism of him?

AtrociousCircumstance Sat 07-Oct-17 11:04:58

I get it.

You said, we've got something we need to tackle and I've researched it and feel positive about moving forwards in this way.

He said, this is your fault, stop fucking up.

It's micro criticism and if it reflects the general tone of your relationship then there is a real problem.

Food for you for reading the book and making a positive plan, btw flowers

AtrociousCircumstance Sat 07-Oct-17 11:05:18


CocoaIsGone Sat 07-Oct-17 11:07:46

Agree with Popchyk

It was opened as a conversation relating to both parents, the next line focused on OP. The only thing you could have worded differently was ‘the toys are getting crazy’ because that put the focus on toys and easily allowed him to deflect away from the books.

So I don’t think you are being over-sensitive, but if you are wanting him to equally own issues and not lay it at your door, start consciously phrasing it neutrally ( we need to get rid of stuff, for example).

You know the other examples of criticism. I wonder if you are giving him an ‘in’ to deflect it back on you. Stop giving him an ‘in’ and see if the deflection still happens.

The discussion should have been about clutter, you mentioned toys, it suited him to make it about toys (not books), and half the replies on here have picked up about toys. Do you try to get him on board by criticising yourself first? If so, stop.

I am not saying it is your fault, but if you pay attention clearly to your framing of discussions (avoid self-blame), it will make it clearer what the dynamic is.

MinervaSaidThat Sat 07-Oct-17 11:07:47

It depends on who is buying most of the toys.

If you are the main buyer, then his comment was fair enough. If he buys them too and / or most of them have been given as gifts to your dc, then his comment was critical.

We need other examples of his critical behaviour, really.

Minidoghugs Sat 07-Oct-17 11:10:18

I think your comment could come across as a kind of criticism of him and he is getting defensive and trying to turn it round on you. Not very good but a common reaction to criticism.
I think it could have come across to him as being controlling. He didn't agree there was even a problem and you didn't ask his opinion but told him what he needs to do.
If you had said that you want to try decluttering after reading the book and if it goes well will he consider getting involved, or something along that line he may react better.

Popchyk Sat 07-Oct-17 11:10:39

Well, he can hardly criticise you for buying toys and not getting rid when he is worse with his books.

Maybe say "Fine. I'll tackle the toys. Goal is to get rid of 30% of them within a month. Your job is to do the same with your books. Or would you prefer to get rid of the toys and I'll get rid of the books?"

Gemini69 Sat 07-Oct-17 11:10:55

I think he was just making the point about Soft Toys.. personally I loathe them and was glad when my kids grew out them.. they have the odd 'special' one.. but the rest have been passed on..

Just declutter Lady.. don't ask his opinion.. DECLUTTER flowers

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