Originally Posted by hopping
My partner and I have Have recently had a daughter and have moved in together.
Congrats on your new daughter!
Normally everything is great between us but there is one issue driving a massive wedge between us. He swears at me when mad, he says this is the way he talks to everyone so I shouldn't be offended but I am. I find it really disrespectful and hurtful. He usually apologizes but then goes right back to doing it a few days later. What do I do?
My DH and I both have had this issue. We are both kinda evil and sarcastic, which is great for fun and laughs when it is about nothing in particular. It is incredibly aggravating though when we doing it to each other in anger.
We've gotten a lot better in general. If he is being disrespectful now, I let him know and disengage if needed:
"I do not like the way you are talking to me right now. I find it VERY disrespectful. I am willing to discuss the issue but only if we discuss it respectfully."
If it continues, which is very rare, I've said something like "OK, I cannot focus on the issue at hand, I am getting too angry at the way you are speaking to me. We can pick this up later but I am not going to discuss it further at this time." At this point I walk.
The trick to enforcing a boundary is to take the focus off the other person and to instead to focus on yourself. If you can basically observe the other person but keep evaluating yourself- basically deciding at all times if you are OK with tolerating other's behavior- you will do pretty well.
Also, if you keep the focus on you and what you will/will not tolerate, it should help keep your own behavior above-board. This is critical, because it does not work if you aren't demonstrating the behavior you will accept from the other person.
I still struggle sometimes with avoiding my own outburst: You are being such a [expletive]! I will NOT talk to you when you are being such a !!#. You !@##.
Then I have to apologize for cussing and being a b!tch. I did this many, many times before I managed to get myself under control, and even now I still end up apologizing sometimes.
However, usually we both can keep it under control and have productive discussions rather than outright fights.
I have thought about when he swears at me not speaking to him for the rest of the day but is this any different to using the silent treatment? I know from past experience how hurtful that is so donít want to do it to my partner.
I think you're better off not speaking to him when he swears at you. Set your boundary as, "I will not speak with you when you are swearing at me."
When he is speaking to you appropriately, it is fine to talk with him.
The issue is further complicated by him raising his voice to me in arguments and calling me nasty names when I bring this to his attention he seems to think I am behaving in the same way (I am not) or he thinks what I did to annoy/ upset him justify his actions.
Rinse and repeat: "I will not speak with you when you are swearing at me. I love you, make no mistake. But, for myself, I will not engage with a person who is swearing at me. Not you or anyone else. "
He often gets upset by me telling him what to do. For instance I tell him it is irresponsible to stay up until 4am on his laptop when we have a 5 month old baby. He says if it doesn't stop him waking up at 9am and being a good parent then I shouldn't try and stop him. He thinks I am being patronizing...
I tend to agree with your partner that you have no business telling him what to do, unless he asked for your help or instruction.
Saying, "I think it irresponsible to stay up on one's laptop until 4 am when one has a young baby" is simply presenting an opinion.
Your partner doesn't share that opinion, and furthermore, feels that you were being disrespectful to him, saying that he is irresponsible. He feels he is able to complete his responsibilities even staying up.
This was not effective communication. You have an issue but didn't present it as such.
If it bothers you that he is up until 4 AM, it is better to say so plainly: "It bothers me that you are staying up until 4 AM."
Then give the reason why next:
"I worry that you will be too tired to adequately parent and I have to pick up the slack."
"I sleep better when you are next to me and I miss cuddling with you."
"It concerns me that you are on-line all night. I feel like I am missing out on a big part of your life."
Etc. Whatever the reason is, identify it and express it.
None of those statements are judgments on him; they are all "I" statements that describe why you are unhappy or why you are concerned. These are problems that he can help you with, or not.
Maybe if I stop being so naggy about this and other issues it will help?
It is common for a person to just stop providing important info (complaints) to avoid the conflict; conflict-avoidance is a relationship-killer.
I think it is better to learn to improve communication, so that complaints and problems are presented openly, respectfully, and in a way that invites solutions.
Conflicts are inevitable, but fights are not. I learned conflict-management from the book Love Busters by Dr Harley, it is often recommended on this forum (along with His Needs, Her Needs.) In general Dr Harley's work has greatly helped my marriage.
You guys have two big stressors: you are only now living together, and you have a newborn. Both of these are very stressful alone, and you two are undergoing a double-whammy!
Hang in there!