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How do I deal with a DH who overreacts?

(6 Posts)
ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Thu 09-Jul-09 11:21:18

Small things stress him out majorly. I'm sure there must have been something in his childhood to cause this lack of stress regulation but it's really hard to deal with. For example, today I took him to the market he sometimes does, but early as I had to get back to look after friend's DS. I told him we had to set up the stall now if he wanted my help as I had to go. He was thinking about which spot to put it in because it's windy. So...he flies off the handle and says I'm stressing him out by rushing him and I don't care that he has lots of hard work to do setting up (he does, I do care) and tells me to just go. I called him an hour later to see whether he needed me to bring him anything later and he was still cross. I apologised for stressing him out but said I didn't intend to rush him, but he was still stressed out about it.
I know sometimes I say and do things without thinking it through - but last week we had two massive rows about the fact that I had gone to pick some stuff up when he was supposed to do it, and it was in skanky damp boxes which apparently he would have emptied before putting in the van. Fair enough but i was trying to save him the trip but by his reaction you would have thought I intentionally put rubbish in his van to annoy him.
He knows he overreacts later, but he literally doesn't have the capability to put things in perspective at the time and react proportionately. It's like he gets flooded with stress and cannot regulate it.
Ironically he's actually very good in a genuine crisis. It is causing us problems as it creates resentment in me that I have to walk on eggshells, especially in the morning (he's terrible when he's just got up, like a bear with a sore head) in case he blows a fuse about something I consider to be innocuous. The answer is maybe to avoid speaking to him until he's been awake for at least 2 hours - but that's not really practical!

I'm hoping things will get better when i go back to work as we won't be under each others' feet so much and he'll have three days a week to chill out with DS without me but right now I need practical tips to defuse his stress and deal with it.

bubblagirl Thu 09-Jul-09 11:35:30

sounds like were with the same man i have to switch off now and refuse to keep apologising for his short fuse

i now say if you cant talk to me nicely im off and i walk away as i try so hard not to fight back as it escalates and turns into something it needn't have

dp is always right as well thats hard to deal with has to have last word thinks its a competition he doesnt want to be the one in the wrong its draining

but now ive started reacting and putting my foot down his got better he still does it but i walk away and say talk to me when you can be nice

worse thing for me if i so much as raise my voice im this bad person dont you dare speak to me like that etc but he can rant swear and thats ok so i remind him of this oh so you can swear at me i raise my voice slightly and thats unacceptable and then tell him how its unacceptable for him to speak to me in that way and he needs top find other ways with dealing with his temper as if he does it to me again then he can leave

it worked

he can control it if he has too as doesnt react like this with others just me and the old saying goes people only do to you what you allow thats why now i put my foot down and no longer apologise as its reinforcing his behaviour was correct and he was in fact right

cestlavielife Thu 09-Jul-09 12:04:43

it is understandable to get cross in a moment and say whatever; but it isnt ok to harbour the grudge an hour later...

there is some good advice on sites about borderline personality disorder - not saying he is BPD but you can follow some of the tips - ie you cannot change his behaviour but you can change YOUR reaction to it.

(and in doing that - he may decide to make a move to change his behaviour ...)

or have him read something like this:
When someone says they feel like they are walking on egg shells, what is that telling you? It's telling you :

that they can no longer be themselves in your presence.
that they fear your reaction whenever they speak.
that they are stuck, that they cannot move in either direction, for fear of upsetting you.
It is also telling you that they need to stop this feeling that is tearing them apart.
Many of us are guilty for causing these prison bars that surround our loved ones.

BPD - walking on eggshells..
So, how do you avoid walking on eggshells?

First, let go of the fear of raging. If you can’t let go of the fear, it is an indication that you are really not safe. If you are in real danger, the only solution is a geographical one. Make a safety plan and get out.

Understand that you can’t control the raging. It’s not a response to what you do. It’s part of the disorder.

Speak clearly, calmly and slowly.

Maintain YOUR version of reality, while being as validating as possible.

Lower your expectations that the person is going to act rationally. It isn’t going to happen. At least not overnight.

You aren’t perfect. Recognize this. From time to time you will make a real mistake. When you do make a mistake own it. Don’t own the raging response, that isn’t yours.

Be gentle with yourself and forgive yourself.

LoveMyGirls Thu 09-Jul-09 12:19:07

My dp is a bit like this, over reacts and is extremely sensitive. If I don't ask him to do things politely enough or I snap because I'm tired/ stressed/ have PMT he will sulk with me for hours because his feelings are hurt and I obviously don't love him or I wouldn't talk to him like that etc it goes round in circles and is very tiring tbh.

We're getting married in a couple of months and I love him loads and I know I have faults too and I just think we have to accept each other for how we are. I'm hot headed and he's sensitive. Together though majority of the time we are a brilliant couple, we both work hard and have a nice life so I can't complain really.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Thu 09-Jul-09 15:33:47

Thanks folks. I never fel scared of him or his moods it's just a pita, but the techniques sound very helpful.
I might just have to accept it's how he is hmm and I know I have plenty of annoying characteristics!

Jux Thu 09-Jul-09 16:00:08

I don't know if this is a sensible suggestion as it requires a huge amount from you, but have you tried responding to his tantrums with humour? You know, like exaggerate to the nth degree and turn the whole thing into something so unrealistic that he cannot fail to see he is behaving in a childish way. We do it with older kids don't we? Oh no, you have a small bruise on your knee - we'll have to cut your leg off etc.

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