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DH’s Low Self Esteem

(13 Posts)
BrandyandBabycham Mon 25-May-20 23:44:29

DH has always been hard on himself & it can cause problems in our relationship eg he will say he sometimes feels “ ganged up on” by me and/or DD & as if he can’t get anything right. I try really hard not to criticise but it works both ways that it one person thinks the other could do something better they say so ( preferably in a kind loving way). DH can dish it out but he can’t take it, although give him his due he doesn’t dish it out anywhere near as much as he used to. If we argue he often says stuff like “ I can’t get anything right” or “ I hold my hands up, it’s all my fault” even if I’ve admitted my part in it. I feel a mixture of sympathy & frustration! It can come across as manipulative. He will also say things like “ It makes me feel this big”. I don’t know whether I need to help him boost his self esteem or work on my own reactions to what could be manipulation, whether it’s conscious or not. My self esteem isn’t brilliant either & DD’s is really low too. We are having family therapy but so far we haven’t really had any pointers to help with how we feel about ourselves

OP’s posts: |
Lampan Mon 25-May-20 23:47:03

It is manipulative.
To be honest I don’t think it sounds like self-esteem is the main issue here. It sounds like he wants an excuse to avoid responsibility and/or confrontation.

BrandyandBabycham Tue 26-May-20 10:05:30

Anyone out there?

OP’s posts: |
billy1966 Tue 26-May-20 10:33:08

Sorry OP,

It sounds very manipulative to me too.

The whole "poor me" schtick is very unattractive in a man.

By making a big deal of poor me, he turns the conversation away from where it was and things don't get resolved.

Also you say he's able to dish it but not take it...again that doesn't sound like low self esteem to me.

Are you being played?.

Perhaps you need to deal with why he is so manipulative in couples therapy or the next time he does it, ask him why he does that.

Why does he manipulate the conversation away from the issue to a "poor me" moan.

You know he is doing it.

Ask him why he is doing it.

Its time to let him know, that you know.


roarfeckingroar Tue 26-May-20 10:46:52

That would drive me nuts. It's so very passive aggressive and manipulative.

BrandyandBabycham Tue 26-May-20 11:59:35

To give him his due, it doesn’t happen straight away. He will sometimes ask for space if an argument is escalating & I have a bad habit of following him rather than giving him that space. Not always I have to say but I am so fired up, I feel as if I need to get things off my chest immediately. I wonder if he starts saying the “poor me “ stuff because he’s getting defensive. I definitely agree with a pp that he doesn’t like confrontation. He is a hell of a lot better at apologising sincerely than he used to be but perhaps if I try to give him the space he asks for, he wouldn’t feel the need to play the manipulative card & then would come downstairs to discuss it. We did talk about last night’s argument this morning (really unfortunate as it was our wedding anniversary) & he did say sorry. Our fall outs tend to be about misunderstandings so we could work on our communication. Also, DH hates it when I “ tell him off” in front of DD & I know I should take him to one side if I believe he could handle things better with her. He tends to jump in with both feet & then realise afterwards that he’s been too hasty & maybe misjudged the situation. DD is very challenging at times & I guess we need to pull together as much as we can - the therapy ( organised through the Adoption Unit) is helping with that. I’m tempted to raise the subject of DH’s “ poor me” attitude. It doesn’t help that DD blames him for loads of stuff, even when he’s not in the room, so he feels “ got at” by her. It’s gone on for years.

OP’s posts: |
roarfeckingroar Tue 26-May-20 12:50:35

He sounds very weak and I would really struggle to respect someone who can not address an argument without getting all "woe is me"

Cambionome Tue 26-May-20 13:37:48

My exh used to do something similar. If we had an argument he would immediately start with the "Oh yes, I'm an idiot, I can't do anything right!" So frustrating - it means you can never properly resolve anything and very passive aggressive.

KingaRoo Tue 26-May-20 13:47:17

Do you think your DD is blaming him for things as she's copying you? We make it a rule never to undermine each other in front of the children. If you don't agree with how he's handled something you can discuss it away from your DD and then, if relevant he can apologise to your DD and explain how he should have handled it. I think it's really important to model to children that we can make mistakes and handle things badly but the important thing is to apologise and explain how it should be handled. It doesn't sound as if you are much of a team with regard to parenting?

pog100 Tue 26-May-20 13:51:47

It is manipulative, very, but it does sound like you are both trying hard and communicating, so that bodes well. He obviously needs to see things from your point of view and your need to resolve an argument but it does sound like you could also do with cutting him some slack and not chasing him down. Your daughter's attitude needs to be resolved by you both acting in tandem, it definitely does feel shit for one parent of there's a feeling of solidarity with the other parent.

Apple222 Tue 26-May-20 13:56:14

I agree with previous posters. The ‘low self esteem’ excuse stops others challenging them, reduces conflict and enables them to avoid any demands. It is used to make you feel bad because you are putting pressure on someone who feels bad.

It has the added benefit of making other people feel sorry for them and invites sympathy and nurturing.

I am on the receiving end of this too and it is painful to experience as you can’t say anything without it being interpreted as an attack.

You have my sympathy OP.

billy1966 Tue 26-May-20 13:57:15

Well OP,

If he asks for space, you should give it.
I think its very wrong to follow someone who has asked for space.

Secondly, I don't think you should be correcting your husband in front of your daughter.

You should ask him to step into another space.

OP, your daughter blames him for stuff even when he is not there...really.

It sounds like a very stressful house and as if you are contributing factor.

I think you should sit down and talk to him about introducing the concept of respect into your relationship.

Perhaps separate therapy.

Is adoption therapy the best place for bringing this up.
Might he feel ambushed?

Do you want your marriage to continue?

I think you have lots to think about.

Apple222 Tue 26-May-20 14:01:53

And yes, space is vital. Sounds as though he needs time to digest whatever has happened and approach you when he is ready to discuss it.

Sounds as though he feels “got at” more than the average person (ditto situation here). Hard to tiptoe round people like this because it means you can’t be authentic or respond to them in your usual way. Yes of course, it’s always important to consider how things might best be delivered but with individuals like this there is no way to deliver feedback or criticism or challenge because it will always be interpreted as a personal attack. Exhausting.

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