Communicating with a defensive husband?
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Old 07-21-2010, 04:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Communicating with a defensive husband?

There is a lot of background to my husband's way of communicating the way he does...but in short: His father had some pretty nasty depression issues when my hubby was growing up, and anything that went wrong was automatically my hubby's fault....Now that he's grown (well, he's 24) the minute I bring up the opposing side of a discussion he shuts down and automatically becomes defensive because he feels like he's being attacked apparently. I try to use calm, understanding tones of voice, and phrasing what I want to say as a question, instead of "telling" him so it won't seem so invasive...but it doesn't work.
We were discussing a large purchase today, and I had to just stop talking to him because he wasn't listening to my reasoning's anyway. He constantly thinks of his rebuttal before I'm even done speaking, and thinks my way of thinking is ridiculous because I want to be sure we'll be "ok" financially if we add more bills to our huge pile already.
Somehow, I feel like there is an underlying issue. Nothing (material-wise) is ever good enough for him. He has a 2008 F-350 that has everything under the sun done to it, he has a re-built '79 F-150 that he spent a CRAP LOAD of money to get done...and now he wants to sell it to buy a muscle car to rebuild, He just bought a brand new 4 wheeler and EVERYTHING that you could customize on it, he buys new clothes/hats every couple weeks, we have a brand new home & landscaping yet he wants to sell it and build a bigger one in a couple years. Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of material possessions as well, but it seems like he's always looking for the "next best thing". I feel like he's trying to fill a hole inside with all this crap he's wanting/buying. Or...maybe I'm a little jealous?! I resent the fact that our 1 spare room in the house was turned into his "game room" and I have to run my part-time photography business out of my kitchen because we don't have room for a home office.

Anyway...back to the issue I suppose. This whole thing came about because of a money discussion today, but I just don't know how to talk to him when we have opposing opinions without it turning into a fight

Help/Opinions please?
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Old 07-21-2010, 07:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Communicating with a defensive husband?

I think the underlying issue is not that he's not listening to you, trust me he hears you, but he disagree's with you. He doesnt want to stop spending money. it probably is some emotional thing, or maybe not, who knows. but its what he wants to do and it doesnt sound like there's anything you're going to say to change his mind.

On this particular issue, i think you need to change your mode of communication. maybe try separating your bank accounts and credit cards. that way if he goes under financially its him who will suffer.

In a broader sense, the other underlying issue is probably some resentment on both your parts. sometimes when you try to bring up a small difference of opinion your resentment and anger comes through. No one is really talking about what is being talked about. that's usually a big problem.

My H and i are both defensive people. but now that a lot of the anger and resentment has gone out of the relationship, we can disagree without the hostile undertone. and if my H does get defensive, i dont really care. i just say what i have to say and let him process it. i also recognize he is a free person that can do what he chooses with what i say. he doesnt have to do what i want just because i think its best. i dont think he should act any certain way. im pretty sure he does the same with me.
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Communicating with a defensive husband?

I am not qualified to give advice, however, it seems to me like you guys are very young. I believe studies show that a child's brain is not fully developed until that age of 25? I think that any financial decisions and household decisions are supposed to be "talked" about, you don't just place your claim on a bedroom and screw the needs of the other person. It is obvious to me that you are not making yourself heard and he thinks he is still single.
Have a conversation about your needs and your concerns, if he keeps blowing you off...I hate to break it to you, but there are certain personality traits that never change.
When I was dating my 2nd husband, I noticed that he was a bit weird with the money, he went to a wedding in Hawaii alone because I could not afford my way. He changed dramatically when I started making a lot of money and I was spending as I pleased because we were both making tons of money. When the market tanked and our income went down to broke...I called it quits on the workaholic thing and stayed home with the kids, making nothing compared to before. The old guy came out and is constantly asking me, "what deals do you have going on?" "don't spend any money," "you need to work," etc. I am soooo sick of hearing it!!!!!!!
That little thing that bugged me about him from the beginning, was just masked, he is the same selfish, carry-your-weight guy from 13 years ago.

I need to survive this marriage, why is taking care of your wife such a burden?
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Communicating with a defensive husband?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brwneyedgrl View Post
There is a lot of background to my husband's way of communicating the way he does...but in short: His father had some pretty nasty depression issues when my hubby was growing up, and anything that went wrong was automatically my hubby's fault....Now that he's grown (well, he's 24) the minute I bring up the opposing side of a discussion he shuts down and automatically becomes defensive because he feels like he's being attacked apparently. I try to use calm, understanding tones of voice, and phrasing what I want to say as a question, instead of "telling" him so it won't seem so invasive...but it doesn't work.
We were discussing a large purchase today, and I had to just stop talking to him because he wasn't listening to my reasoning's anyway. He constantly thinks of his rebuttal before I'm even done speaking, and thinks my way of thinking is ridiculous because I want to be sure we'll be "ok" financially if we add more bills to our huge pile already.
Somehow, I feel like there is an underlying issue. Nothing (material-wise) is ever good enough for him. He has a 2008 F-350 that has everything under the sun done to it, he has a re-built '79 F-150 that he spent a CRAP LOAD of money to get done...and now he wants to sell it to buy a muscle car to rebuild, He just bought a brand new 4 wheeler and EVERYTHING that you could customize on it, he buys new clothes/hats every couple weeks, we have a brand new home & landscaping yet he wants to sell it and build a bigger one in a couple years. Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of material possessions as well, but it seems like he's always looking for the "next best thing". I feel like he's trying to fill a hole inside with all this crap he's wanting/buying. Or...maybe I'm a little jealous?! I resent the fact that our 1 spare room in the house was turned into his "game room" and I have to run my part-time photography business out of my kitchen because we don't have room for a home office.

Anyway...back to the issue I suppose. This whole thing came about because of a money discussion today, but I just don't know how to talk to him when we have opposing opinions without it turning into a fight

Help/Opinions please?
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Communicating with a defensive husband?

hi, well similar problem men r like little boys they act and do whatever they want until u act upon it. u have to put ur foot down and let them know theres 2 in this relationship and its not going to be his way tis is not old times anymore woman have their sayings too now, we need to meet eachother half way now.
men can be disrespectful,dishonest,think of themselves only. now if he has a father alike like my husband, then we have to let them know thats not how hes going to deal with me like his mother. now if u meet him that way and ignored the problem thinking itz gonna get better than we have a problem, or didnt know till married then we have to work harder, and ask if they want to change, but for us we have to sometimes make the decision for ourselfes cause we may wait our whole lives which is not the answer.
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Old 11-02-2010, 07:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Communicating with a defensive husband?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blanca View Post
I think the underlying issue is not that
My H and i are both defensive people. but now that a lot of the anger and resentment has gone out of the relationship, we can disagree without the hostile undertone. and if my H does get defensive, i dont really care. i just say what i have to say and let him process it. i also recognize he is a free person that can do what he chooses with what i say. he doesnt have to do what i want just because i think its best. i dont think he should act any certain way. im pretty sure he does the same with me.
This is very interesting to me...I sought out this post because my husband does the same thing.

@Bianca, it sounds like what you've said about boundaries and letting someone else have his reactoins/feelings/whatever is a way of emotionally detaching.

But isn't it hardest to do that in a marriage relationship?
How can you be cool and detached when the person you're supposed to be closest to is being unfair, defensive, cold, or is in attack mode?
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