How do I enforce boundaries? Please help
 Talk About Marriage
  The Marriage Advice and Relationship Help Forums
  right
Forums - For Therapists - Link to Us - Advertise  

    A Public Forum Provided by The Family & Marriage Counseling Directory
Register FAQ Community Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Navigation »Talk About Marriage »Talk About Family, Marriage and Relationships »General Relationship Discussion » How do I enforce boundaries? Please help

General Relationship Discussion Although anyone can post anywhere on Talk About Marriage, this section is for people interested in general relationship and marriage advice.

Like Tree11Likes

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 09-15-2013, 04:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 13
Default How do I enforce boundaries? Please help

My partner and I have Have recently had a daughter and have moved in together. 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?
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.

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.

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, so maybe if I stop being so naggy about this and other issues it will help?
hopping is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 09-15-2013, 08:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
Member
 
Boottothehead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Curled up on the couch
Posts: 113
Default Re: How do I enforce boundaries? Please help

Does he take care of the baby when he's up in the middle of the night? Or does that responsibility still fall to you?
Boottothehead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2013, 08:36 AM   #3 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 13
Default Re: How do I enforce boundaries? Please help

Our daughter sleeps 9pm-7am so no one gets up with her at night. My main concern is the swearing and name calling which happens when he feels I am trying to tell him what to do.
hopping is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2013, 08:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Alberta
Posts: 1,874
Default Re: How do I enforce boundaries? Please help

You may not intend to, but he's right in that he can do whatever he wants, as long as it's not affecting the family. (but it's a crappy attitude for him to have anyways)

On the flip side, you are perfectly in your rights to speak up!

Sometimes it is how it is said, and sometimes it is the follow up.

You might try:
-Making it clear (out of context, when both are calm) that you PREFER that he refrained from using foul language.

Name calling: make it clear that you find it unacceptable and you will not engage in conversations that go down that path.

Name calling -- you MUST be willing to end the conversation, leave the room. "We can continue talking about this later, I'm not comfortable with the name calling". It's not the same as the silent treatment, you continue to talk to him, but not about the subject at hand, unless things are calmer.

If he says "you do it too".... you might try:
"If I have done this in the past, I apologize. But, you are an adult and you can choose to behave anyway you want. So consider how you choose to act towards me, and I will do the same".

("You do it too" is terrible blameshifting!). However you word it... make it clear it's not YOUR fault he is being disrepectful.

You might also try Pia Mellody's writings. She has some good practical "rules" for following boundaries. Peace.
deejov is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2013, 11:09 AM   #5 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 283
Default Re: How do I enforce boundaries? Please help

Quote:
Originally Posted by hopping View Post
My partner and I have Have recently had a daughter and have moved in together.
Congrats on your new daughter!

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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. "

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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!
RoseAglow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2013, 11:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 13
Unhappy Re: How do I enforce boundaries? Please help

Quote:
Originally Posted by deejov View Post
Name calling: make it clear that you find it unacceptable and you will not engage in conversations that go down that path.

Name calling -- you MUST be willing to end the conversation, leave the room. "We can continue talking about this later, I'm not comfortable with the name calling". It's not the same as the silent treatment, you continue to talk to him, but not about the subject at hand, unless things are calmer.

If he says "you do it too".... you might try:
"If I have done this in the past, I apologize. But, you are an adult and you can choose to behave anyway you want. So consider how you choose to act towards me, and I will do the same". .
I have tried to do this but when we are arguing he follows me around the house.

For instance I can't stand disagreeing in front of our daughter, I feel like it will set up bad habits for when she is older so I say "lets talk about this later." "I won't talk about this in front of April" and I leave the room with her. He follows me and keeps making his point ignoring what I have just said.

He does blame shift a lot. He swears at me when he's mad but that's okay because I have done it in the past or it's okay because I have made him angry so deserve the insulting behavior. What's worse is sometimes he won't admit what he said after the argument or pretends I have said things I didn't. Earlier he called me "crazy" for not admitting to something I didn't say to get out of me being mad at him for what he did say.

I'm so lost and confused. I know I must seem stupid (hopefully I'm not) but I really don't know how to deal with this. We have been together a few years and normally everything is great and as soon as the argument is over we kiss and makeup and go back to normal but when we are arguing I feel like a child again not knowing what to do or what to say or were to turn.
hopping is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2013, 11:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
Member
 
bunny23's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 342
Default Re: How do I enforce boundaries? Please help

I would maybe add that you should have this conversation with him when you are not having a fight...

Tell him that you know that you used to swear at him too, and you realize this is wrong.
Tell him things need to change for the sake of your relationship and your daughter.

Explain that the way you BOTH are fighting is NOT good.

I think if this is getting to a point where you are being rational and calm, but he is not getting the picture.. maybe you should consider counselling to teach you both to communicate?

Sometimes another objective person can explain that the way he is fighting will only make the relationship fall apart.

BTW did this just start? Or did he swear at you before you had the baby?

Oh and regarding him following you around the house... Maybe you should make it clear that if he keeps following and you tell him to stop because it's not helping the argument, that you will leave the house and take a walk.
Or he needs to leave and take a walk.

How old is this guy?
bunny23 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2013, 12:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
Member
 
Boottothehead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Curled up on the couch
Posts: 113
Default Re: How do I enforce boundaries? Please help

It's good that you recognize the behavior in yourself as something you want to change. And that you don't want to argue in front of your daughter. Sometimes an actal physical barrier helps when he won't stop, and wants to escalate the situation. take a walk, like bunny23 suggested, or shut the door an d put some headphones on. Hang in there!
Boottothehead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2013, 12:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 2,704
Default Re: How do I enforce boundaries? Please help

You could try humor. My fiance has dne this a few times as well. Now, I say, "oh I guess Mr. Cranky has made a visit today." This has dissipated some of the tension and puts him in a better mood.
NextTimeAround is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2013, 12:18 PM   #10 (permalink)
Member
 
clipclop2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 2,775
Default Re: How do I enforce boundaries? Please help

Dumb, but effective illustrations:


* Label a jar for each of you
-"money I saved for April by swearing"
-"money I saved for April by not respecting my H's/wife's boundaries."
* two options for introducing the jars:

- he admits he does one or both. You thank him for admitting it and tell him you understand and really do believe he forgets. You admit that you sometimes forget your behaviour, too.

.to illustrate how often you both forget, you get to fine one another. The money is strictly for the baby. Decide what for up front. Decide what constitutes a hardship so if there is a financial crunch, you can use the money for something else. Use 401k rules if you are stuck to define a hardship.
.if there are a lot of fines, mark the height of the jars with a line, a date (from when to when), and the $. Move the content to a backup jar.
.now try to do better.

- he won't admit anything. You ask him to put his money where his mouth is. He either agrees because he is stubborn and you introduce the jars of compliance or he admits it and you use the previous "i iundersrand..." Thing.


When you have gotten the fines down to a minimum, you want to keep saving so you add "gratitude" jars where you deposit into the others jar.

Stupid? Yes. Illustrative? Yes. Score-keeping? Yes. But you can also say that once you get to "gratitude" you are paying attention to the good things and focusing on their value. It is easy to stop giving credit when sailing is smooth.

If your H really can't remember, does he have other impulse control issues? If do, consider whether it is immaturity or something more biochemical.
Posted via Mobile Device
clipclop2 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2013, 01:40 PM   #11 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 13
Default Re: How do I enforce boundaries? Please help

I think we are both quite young to be starting a family (early 20s) and so there are immaturity issues on both sides.
hopping is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2013, 01:46 PM   #12 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 408
Default Re: How do I enforce boundaries? Please help

My wife had a nasty spell of swearing at me when angry years ago. Horrible spell of it actually.

Years later it came out that she was near to leaving me during that period.

It is a warning of their views of you.

work on your relationship. The strains of parenting are no joke.
Posted via Mobile Device
soulseer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2013, 01:59 PM   #13 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 13
Default Re: How do I enforce boundaries? Please help

Quote:
Originally Posted by soulseer View Post
My wife had a nasty spell of swearing at me when angry years ago. Horrible spell of it actually.

Years later it came out that she was near to leaving me during that period.

It is a warning of their views of you.

work on your relationship. The strains of parenting are no joke.
Posted via Mobile Device
I don't think this is the case. We have a really good relationship and are really close most of the time. We are under a lot of stress at the moment because of the demands of parenting as well as major financial worries which could be affecting his mood. He also doesn't deal with stress/ anger well and tends to fly off the handle. He used to throw things (never at me) when mad or stressed which he hasn't done in a long time so maybe it is getting better.
hopping is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2013, 02:08 PM   #14 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 408
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by hopping View Post
I don't think this is the case. We have a really good relationship and are really close most of the time. We are under a lot of stress at the moment because of the demands of parenting as well as major financial worries which could be affecting his mood. He also doesn't deal with stress/ anger well and tends to fly off the handle. He used to throw things (never at me) when mad or stressed which he hasn't done in a long time so maybe it is getting better.
^^This is what I thought too. She also used to throw things.
Posted via Mobile Device
soulseer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2013, 04:38 PM   #15 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Alberta
Posts: 1,874
Default Re: How do I enforce boundaries? Please help

If you feel part of the issue is that you are both young, you might try looking up Relationship Matrix on the net. It's a set of "guidelines" for how to behave in a relationship. It might seem a bit odd, but it might be beneficial.

So too would general marriage counselling, or Dr. Harley's basic concepts for marriage, just to get a feel of what is acceptable and what it isn't. Please consider this, as the blameshifting is troublesome

I agree with leaving the room. I'm sorry that is not working for you.
And that bothers me even more... he doesn't seem to consider your child either? Getting his point across is that important?

Is he open to counselling, or doing some work on how to resolve issues?
deejov is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
How do you enforce an endpoint to an intolerable behavior? chicagocat Considering Divorce or Separation 2 01-22-2013 06:22 PM
Cheating' wife could face jail as husband urges police to enforce Arizona adultery la warlock07 Coping with Infidelity 16 01-17-2012 05:02 PM
Boundaries MEM11363 The Men's Clubhouse 15 01-26-2011 08:30 AM
boundaries INTUITION The Men's Clubhouse 18 02-02-2010 06:46 PM

Member Area

Find a Therapist:


Sponsor Ads


Sponsor Ads




Get The Family & Marriage Counseling Directory Help Guide via Email:
Name:
Email:




All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:20 AM.



Copyright 2007 - 2013 © Talk About Marriage