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How do you deal with a partner who is always so defensive and plays the victim in certain situations where they need to do something/change?

(18 Posts)
OnionSoup Tue 08-Sep-09 08:28:20

have namechanged for this (took ages to find a name that wasn't in use!)

Dh and I have a good relationship.

However, at the moment, I have an issue with his snoring at night. It is so disruptive, that I am a walking zombie. I have started to get anxiety about going to sleep because I know how many times I'm going to be woken up and how hard it will be for me to go back to sleep.

I begged him a few weeks ago to go and see the doctor but he hasn't. He said he would. This morning he asked how I was and I said totally knackered. So he said 'so I suppose you're going to ask me to see the doctor then' (in a really sarcastic voice) and I said 'yes, that would be great' but it's all huffing and puffing and rolling eyes as if I'm the one making the huge fuss!

I just can't get this behaviour and I'm not sure how to deal with it. He does this in other situations too - mainly ones where he knows he's in the wrong and won't admit it or doesn't want to admit it.

How do I deal with behaviour like this without losing my temper (as this is what happens at the moment - I then flip out and start screeching about it not being my fault etc. etc.) because it always ends up with me being the one that feels like I've done something wrong when I know I haven't!

BecauseImWorthIt Tue 08-Sep-09 08:31:57

God I sympathise with you! Both on the snoring front and on the 'failure to apologise' front.

The only way to deal with the latter is to not get angry (very much easier to say that than to do it!), and to talk about it, e.g. "Darling (and don't say this bit between clenched teeth), you obviously have a snoring problem and you know it's causing me problems, but you still haven't seen the doctor. Is there any reason why?" Then you can discuss his reasons why and deal with those. Of course, there won't be any real reasons ...!

OnionSoup Tue 08-Sep-09 08:44:52


I know you are right! But I'm finding it so hard. I want to grab him by the balls and tell him to sort it aaaarrtt!

BecauseImWorthIt Tue 08-Sep-09 08:49:44

Or you could just say "I have to ring the GP to make an appointment for me (make something gynae up that can't be challenged!); when shall I make your appointment for? Would Tuesday at 8.30 be OK?"

Then he can hardly refuse!

smackapacka Tue 08-Sep-09 08:53:54

Oh it's horrible isn't it? My DH and I have thankfully moved house where seperate rooms can be used if needed. (We both snore occasionally).

It should be fairly treatable, but I can see he needs to actually DO it.

What about a different direction... 'I fell asleep at the wheel today as I'm so knackered...'? Bit dramatic but might make him think?

OnionSoup Tue 08-Sep-09 09:18:25

well I am so tired that I am struggling at work tbh. I was thinking of finding a 1 star motel at lunch time today, just so I can put my head down for an hour!

I booked him an appointment last time (but did do it with gritted teeth and did tell him it made me feel like his mother lol) and he didn't discuss his snoring with the doctor at all arrghhh!

I think he is worried they will tell him to lose weight. He's not hugely overweight but could probably do with losing a stone or so and when he does lose weight, his snoring is marginally better. He has started doing loads of exercise but he doesn't lose weight easily (he is in his late 40s so it does get harder) but that is because he drinks a fair amount and eats rubbish hmm. Perhaps I need to practise my patient, kind face a bit more. I have been quite tolerant of this for a while - I'm not a witch - but I'm starting to feel and sound very witchy about the whole thing!

WhenwillIfeelnormal Tue 08-Sep-09 09:42:49

Hmmmm...I don't think this is about snoring though. The real problem is about him making you think that him doing something wrong is your fault, isn't it?

I'm also puzzled why you would name-change for a problem like this. Is there some other history to this, or some other behaviour you've been worrying about?

ABetaDad Tue 08-Sep-09 10:06:18

OnionSoup - his weight and his diet are the problem here. You are very sleep deprived and he really needs to deal with this issue for the sake of yoru relationship.

If at all possible, sit down and talk to him calmly and rationally and explain how it is affecting your work. I gained 1.5 stone when ill and DW said I snored a lot. Now I have lost the weight she has not mentioned it for ages. Drinking alcohol or eating at night makes it much worse.

If he will not go to the GP I suggest he should be wlling to change his eating instead. I suggest a very light meal in the evening and no drinking at night for a month will do wonders. Also get him to take Wellman vitamins as he may be eating a lot because he is short vitamins in his diet and get him to drink more water as being thirsty makes people eat more. Cut out the rubbish snacks and eat fruit, smoothees, nuts as a snack instead. Cut right down on bread, cakes and biscuits.

I lost 1.5 stone in 3 months by doing this and without trying or really feeling hungry.

OnionSoup Tue 08-Sep-09 10:26:52

thanks abetadad

I know this might sound strange but he is really vociferous about not changing his diet. He has been very unhappy about his work, I suspect even minorly depressed. However, both of us are in stressful jobs and I tend not to bring the stress home whereas he is exactly the sort of person who does. So I try and keep happy and unstressed at home for the sake of the children and everyone else (and me tbh!) - I don't always succeed but I try. If he has a bad day, he comes home and he sulks and is extremely miserable. He will also eat a whole slab of chocolate at night and drink every night (not excessively but every night none the less). When I point this out to him (being the reason why he isn't losing weight), he gets very upset and says that these are things he enjoys and he can't see why he should stop them. If he's had a bad day, he likes his comfort food and a drink!

So we sat down this holiday, and we have worked out a plan where he can give up his job and do some freelance type work which will put some strain on our finances and will mean that I have to continue working full time. I am happy to do this as it will make my life easier for work (not always rushing back for the nanny) and should make his life a lot happier as we could not continue the way we were.

He is very lazy but he is a loving and kind man and we do have a good relationship. He is also fabulous with the children. BUT he is very very VERY set in his ways. Do you know what I mean? Getting him to change anything, and I mean anything, is a massive chore. He lived in the same house his whole life, has always worked in the same industry - that's how he likes to feel secure and I think he feels the problems at work and the fact that he is getting older/fatter and now causing me problems by not sleeping mean that he is failing in some way.

What I dont' want to happen is that I start getting resentful that I am the one having to make all the compromises! I just want him to take responsibility for himself! But at the moment, he just wants to do exactly what he wants to do all the time. It may sound like he is depressed but I know what depression is like and he certainly isn't properly depressed - I think work is making him miserable but he's still happily seeing his mates and doing all the things he loves and going out loads.

I would love to suggest the no chocolate, no alcohol thing for a month but tbh, I am at a loss to know even how to broach this without him accusing me of trying to make him enjoy life less or accusing him of being fat.

If you think of our relationship, the best way is to think of me like the man and him like the woman - he is incredibly sensitive about his appearance and the way he is so broaching his weight never goes down well!

whenwill, no there's no sinister reason for name changing at all! Just haven't done it for a while and don't like talking about personal issues on here under my 'real' name.

lucky1979 Tue 08-Sep-09 10:36:50

I had the same problem with an ex of mine who snored and once we finally discussed it properly (rather than shouting in the middle of the night/next morning) the reason he'd been so resistant to talking about it was because he felt that he couldn't help it, and me "nagging" him and complaining about it made him defensive because he wasn't doing it on purpose, it was totally involuntary so he felt guilty and got at for something that wasn't his fault.

So many people struggle really hard to hear anything about their diet, and if he already worries about his weight but doesn't feel he can do anything about it then he might take the critisism of his snoring as another thing he "does wrong" without feeling able to do anything about.

It sounds like all these problems are wrapped up together, including possibly depression and maybe it would be better to tackle them as a whole rather than individually?

OnionSoup Tue 08-Sep-09 10:46:22

yes I think so lucky. And I was hoping that the new plan about his work would help all of those things but what it has done is made him a bit nervous about what changes might be ahead.

I feel for him because he does feel exactly how you have explained - that none of this is actively his fault and I daren't mention his weight at the moment because I can tell he is feeling got at (by me!) but I have gone to lengths and lengths to explain that I am not haivng at go at him (the person) but just the situation we find ourselves in! This morning he made a huge effort and stayed at home an hour later than he needed to to help sort out a childcare issue and I can tell he is doing this because he is feeling bad about disturbing my sleep and he wants to feel he is doing something helpful!

I am trying so hard not to make him feel bad about himself but even just sitting down and talking about the snoring/weight/eating has him in a spiral of 'well fine then I won't drink, won't eat anything I like and will just fuck off then!' (and off he storms to go and sulk!).

I wonder if I should go to the doctor and tip them off. Perhaps if he heard it from a medical professional, it would be better and he would feel he was doing something proactive?

nje3006 Tue 08-Sep-09 11:29:26

Hi OS, doesn't sound like a hugely mature response from him lol! I wonder what his resistance is to trying to find a solution to a problem. If there is a solution, why not try it...? Sounds like it's a deeper thing about control and not wanting to be told what to do. Problem is he's not doing his part and being proactive in his own life...Very hard to solve...

Roomfor2 Tue 08-Sep-09 11:33:20

Sounds like a typical man!

Have you tried those nasal strips? That would avoid a trip to the docs if they work (which might be what he would like to avoid?)

hanaflowerhatestheDM Tue 08-Sep-09 11:36:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ABetaDad Tue 08-Sep-09 12:07:30

Onionsoup - yes he does sound slightly depressed. Sort of more in a 'lost' sort of way. Career perhaps has peaked, he sounds like the kind of bloke who likes to look good (hence his gym going activity) and he senses he is losing that too? He sounds unhappy and hence the comfort eating?

Changing working patterns is a good idea if someone is in a rut. How about also subtley changing the way the family eats, no alcohol in the house, fresher foods and no salty snacks and biscuits and cakes avalable in the cupboards. Reserve those treats for only at the weekend?

DW and me have to be careful as we work at home and it is easy to sit eating and drinking so we tend to make a special day to go out together and have a no holds barred, guilt free, full fat, alcohol laden lunch. Switch phones off and just talk at length - it makes eating special and we get issues talked through. Maybe an idea for you?

TBH, I feel far better now I have lost weight and the thing that made me keep going was DW noticed and she gave me little admiring compliments on the way. I like her to like the way I look in my body and how I dress. Makes me feel good. Maybe your DH is really secretly very worried you do not fancy him anymore because he is fatter and that is really the reason he reacts so sharply. Maybe he needs some reassurace there too?

He has to want to help himself (and you) though - even if it is only going to the GP.

Blokes, we really are all the same! hmm grin

OnionSoup Tue 08-Sep-09 12:51:48

yes, that's a good idea re the no holes barred lunch!

I think he does worry that I don't fancy him any more. I went off sex for a while after my last child and I also go off sex completely when I'm tired. So I think he is feeding a vicious circle whereby I get tired from him snoring = I don't want sex = making him feel worse iyswim. The dcs have also been teasing him about his weight. Not in a nasty way but he will slap his tummy and go 'fat daddy' and they will go 'yes daddy you have got fat!' (in the way only children can do!).

toomanystuffedbears Tue 08-Sep-09 13:47:36

I'm a long term resident of Zombietown.
Dh can't hear himself snore, therefore, he isn't...hmm Btw, he is also 20 pounds (at least) overweight and exhausted/stressed by work, so I try not to wake him. I am a sahm and can sometimes catch a nap with lo in the day.

My teenager laid down on the driveway and closed his eyes and snored loudly. My 18 mo toddler shouted "Daddy!! Daddy!" grin grin DH finally understood I wasn't making it up.

Ocasionally, when I become angry zombie, he uses a product called "Snore Stop Extinguisher" and it looks like a little 2 inch tall fire extinguisher. It is a couple of squirts under tongue/in throat and works pretty good.

Bail out to another room-you need your sleep! But if your dh is like mine-another house would be needed- god, dh can blow the roof off of ours. Teenagers bought hearing protection for when the baby was born, but keep it on hand now for dh's snoring.

Good luck, I feel your pain.

MorrisZapp Tue 08-Sep-09 14:33:10

Could you do an experiment with the alcohol? ie come up with a reason for him not to drink a drop for a couple of days and see if it improves?

Reason I ask is that my DP only snores when he's drunk.

DP says I only snore when I've taken my temazepam ie am in drug induced sleep.

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