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post #16 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

You can be as "soft" or as "firm" in approach style as you wish. All I know is with an angry guy he IS angry - get him to tell you why and he may start working on himself. Poke at him when he is already torqued and you likely won't learn anything and neither will he.

How "generally" angry is he that you aren't working?


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Seriously, if the H were the moody snapper in the above scene, would those steps be as effective if roles were reversed?
Or is it different with a moody angry man, because men are naturally more intimidating physcally etc.?
Considering differences between the sexes, how effective could that be if the wife is the one who stays calm and the H is hot-tempered?
He has no idea how much it is eroding my respect for him, but I guess that's beside the point.
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post #17 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 03:46 PM
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You can be as "soft" or as "firm" in approach style as you wish. All I know is with an angry guy he IS angry - get him to tell you why and he may start working on himself. Poke at him when he is already torqued and you likely won't learn anything and neither will he.

How "generally" angry is he that you aren't working?
I don't think he is angry that I'm not working.
I'm finishing a degree and defending in March, and I offered to work part-time (I had 2 opportunities), but maybe he resents it under the surface and doesn't even realize it.
He prides himself on being so supportive of me while I take a year off to finish my degree, and I know he's stressed about the inconsistency of his employment (free-lance IT support).
He's never made me feel bad about it.
Since the whole "provider" thing is important to him, I could see how it plays a role in his stress.
---but isn't it an example of "taking it out on me" to get all irate with me in our conversations?
I'd much rather he TELL me he's resentful of carrying all the $ responsibility; I could understand.
Instead, he just snaps over other things and tells me I'm the problem.
And I'm sick of him getting away with losing his temper over small things.
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post #18 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 04:12 PM
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

Very good thread Mem
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post #19 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 05:22 PM
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

Here's an interesting thing:

when he has one of those mini-tantrums, the consequence is that my temp cools down within the next day or so.
As a freaking survival defense mechanism.

I just don't cozy up warm and sweet to the guy who screams, cusses, and makes irrational threats.
The guy who can communicate rationally will get a good rogering from a happy, smiling wife.

When will he EVER get that message?

So yes, I'm playing it cool right now on the thermometer, but I'd rather be warm in a mutual way.
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post #20 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

WHY is a request to spend time doing something "free" triggering an outburst? Find out. Something doesn't make sense.


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Here's an interesting thing:

when he has one of those mini-tantrums, the consequence is that my temp cools down within the next day or so.
As a freaking survival defense mechanism.

I just don't cozy up warm and sweet to the guy who screams, cusses, and makes irrational threats.
The guy who can communicate rationally will get a good rogering from a happy, smiling wife.

When will he EVER get that message?

So yes, I'm playing it cool right now on the thermometer, but I'd rather be warm in a mutual way.
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post #21 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 06:11 PM
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

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If you put a hidden cam/tape recorder in your kitchen your W would legitimately get upset. BUT you can accomplish "almost" the same thing in certain situations.
On several occasions, I have thought of recording one of our interactions so that I could show her just how inappropriately she was behaving. It could easily backfire though, so I haven't.

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Wife: Snaps at you
You: Quietly look at her until she is looking at you or you say something like "hey" to get her to look at you
You: Repeat what she said in as close to perfect tone/pitch and definitely verbatim on the words
You: Look at her silently with some body language that makes it perfectly clear "that" type treatment is not going to fly.
If she starts to argue - gets aggressive - just hold up your hand and firmly shake your head. Do not say anything - she understand perfectly what is happening. This interaction is NOT about communication, it is about bullying your partner. Her attempting to bully you. This will silently convey that "there is no WAY in hell are you going to get away with doubling down on this". If she continues just walk away and do NOT make the peace on this.
I definitely have to work on the body language part, as it seems like it would be very easy to come across as threatening without meaning to.

Sometimes when she snaps at me, I try to give her a look that says "WHAT did you just say to me?" and not say anything. It is usually interpreted as a blank, vacant, uncomprehending look and she then gets pissed about that. At which point I tell her that it is extremely offensive and insulting to assume that I'm giving her a blank look just because I don't say anything. Probably not the best response on my part.

I have to be very careful about repeating what she said back to her, because she will pick apart my wording as not being exactly what she said. This happened last night, actually. We were purchasing something online and she was holding the baby so I put the transaction through for her. I didn't see an option to change the Paypal payment type, so I finished the transaction.

She flipped out because it was going to go to her bank account instead of her credit card, and then snapped at me that "I shouldn't have let you do it."

My first response was "no, I guess you shouldn't have," with more than a hint of anger in my tone.

As soon as the words get out of my mouth, I said "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have responded like that. You told me that 'I should never have let you do it.' I would never say such a thing to you, so please don't say it to me."

Her first response was "I didn't say that I never should have let you do it, I just said that I shouldn't have..."

I didn't let her get any further with it. I said that "it amounts to the same thing, and I'm not going to argue over exact wording. The message was the same."

She paused for a moment, and then said "you're right. I'm sorry that I snapped at you and said that."

Within the next half hour, she apologized to me two more times for "being a b*tch" to me (her words, not mine).

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You need to get your W to UNLEARN the habit of taking her bad days out on you.

If you back off enough - while remaining fun/playful maybe even a little edgy SHE will come to you. And she will love you MORE. She wants an equal.
I feel like this is already starting to happen. I've been taking this approach for a little over a week, and I've diffused every potential situation with either a bit of humor (showing that it just rolled off of me like water off a duck) or by calling her on her behavior and not letting myself get emotional. In the former situation, she often acted like nothing happened, and in the latter, she'd sometimes get distant for a few minutes but then be back to "normal" shortly thereafter.

The power balance in the relationship already seems to be shifting back in favor of balance. I haven't truly been tested yet, so I'm not going to get too full of myself. I think that she is starting to realize that I'm not reacting the way that she's used to.

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No matter WHAT you do with her. Practice a blend of very few words and reinforcing body language.

Do NOT talk about your feelings about HER behavior even if she asks. Her behaviors are all:
- respectful/disrespectful
- acceptable/unacceptable
- not ideal - followed by a brief/brief suggestion as to how you would prefer she handle that situation in the future

"You are better than that" is the adult version of parent/child guilt. Works like magic - if not overused.

When she asks "what is happening" just smile.
Great advice. If I don't catch myself, I'll turn everything into an in-depth discussion and analysis and I'll end up saying way too much.
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post #22 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 07:01 PM
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WHY is a request to spend time doing something "free" triggering an outburst? Find out. Something doesn't make sense.
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WHY is a request to spend time doing something "free" triggering an outburst? Find out. Something doesn't make sense.
It's not about whether it's free. I understand it sufficiently for my own satisfaction:

it was playing cards.
He has a weird anti bias against 3 things:
1. Things his parents did (play cards on Friday nights with friends)
2. Things that he thinks "waste time."
3. Things that my family loves to do together

he's kind of judgmental about things that weren't "his idea."
plus he thought I was nagging, because I repeated myself.
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post #23 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 09:09 PM
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

And p.s. These are things I figured out on my own after his strong reaction, and when I thought about it in the big picture of his reactions to his parents, to dealing with his in-laws, etc...
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post #24 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

Thanks Coop


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Very good thread Mem
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post #25 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 09:44 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

Hmmm.

Early on my W displayed a tendency towards "relentless" focus on her goals. REGARDLESS of what I told her I wanted/did not want.

Sadly (disclaimer this was BAD behavior on my part) I quickly adopted the following posture:
- Enthusiastic support of anything I WAS ok with
- ONE time I would say 'no' to something and briefly explain why. When it came up again I EXPLODED. And then there was rarely a third time - but if there was I just get exploding.

I do not do that anymore but I am much older/calmer now.


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It's not about whether it's free. I understand it sufficiently for my own satisfaction:

it was playing cards.
He has a weird anti bias against 3 things:
1. Things his parents did (play cards on Friday nights with friends)
2. Things that he thinks "waste time."
3. Things that my family loves to do together

he's kind of judgmental about things that weren't "his idea."
plus he thought I was nagging, because I repeated myself.
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post #26 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 09:55 PM
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Hmmm.

Early on my W displayed a tendency towards "relentless" focus on her goals. REGARDLESS of what I told her I wanted/did not want.

Sadly (disclaimer this was BAD behavior on my part) I quickly adopted the following posture:
- Enthusiastic support of anything I WAS ok with
- ONE time I would say 'no' to something and briefly explain why. When it came up again I EXPLODED. And then there was rarely a third time - but if there was I just get exploding.
I do not do that anymore but I am much older/calmer now.
I'm reading between your lines...
Repeating myself is part of what leads to his explosions? (I already know this.)
but I still don't think it justifies an explosion.

Did I read you right?

Here's how it goes:
me: "we should xyz!"
him: "my parents used to do that! We're going to do that with your sisters and parents on holidays! I'm not a person who does that for hours and hours on end every weekend!"
me: "okaaayy...but once in awhile it could be fun."
him: "grouse gripe grouse."
me: "geez, chill out, i'm not telling you to join a friggin league." (ok I didn't say that, I was more mellow.)
him: explosion.

A positive/neutral "sure, honey" would shut me up.
But he has to get on some soapbox jumping to conclusions about all prospective extreme scenarios surrounding card-playing.
It's exhausting.
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post #27 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

You are not in the wrong here.

Have you tried to have a conversation with him about the compromises inherent in a healthy marriage?

I think he should be willing to commit to doing stuff like that once or twice a month purely to show you that YOUR needs matter.

If you asked him "Do you feel like I sometimes prioritize YOUR needs ahead of mine"? If he says no - gently give him some examples where you do.

Then ask him - "as a sacrifice for ME, would you be willing to do X - if I promise not to ask you to do it more than Y times a month"?


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I'm reading between your lines...
Repeating myself is part of what leads to his explosions? (I already know this.)
but I still don't think it justifies an explosion.

Did I read you right?

Here's how it goes:
me: "we should xyz!"
him: "my parents used to do that! We're going to do that with your sisters and parents on holidays! I'm not a person who does that for hours and hours on end every weekend!"
me: "okaaayy...but once in awhile it could be fun."
him: "grouse gripe grouse."
me: "geez, chill out, i'm not telling you to join a friggin league." (ok I didn't say that, I was more mellow.)
him: explosion.

A positive/neutral "sure, honey" would shut me up.
But he has to get on some soapbox jumping to conclusions about all prospective extreme scenarios surrounding card-playing.
It's exhausting.
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post #28 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 10:24 PM
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You are not in the wrong here.

Have you tried to have a conversation with him about the compromises inherent in a healthy marriage?

I think he should be willing to commit to doing stuff like that once or twice a month purely to show you that YOUR needs matter.

If you asked him "Do you feel like I sometimes prioritize YOUR needs ahead of mine"? If he says no - gently give him some examples where you do.

Then ask him - "as a sacrifice for ME, would you be willing to do X - if I promise not to ask you to do it more than Y times a month"?
what's funny is that he's always willing and happy to do "my" things with me or with my family.
We spend every holiday with them, he's taken up golf to spend time with my dad, we visit my sisters occasionally, etc.

It's this judgmental attitude that creeps up and surprises me out of the blue like I describe above.
It's like he does all these things with a smile, but under the surface he has some issue or resentment.
And he has NO desire to visit his own family---bad relationship there.

I think at the heart of a lot of it, honestly, is he doesn't know how to fit into this family he married into.
So he gets critical because he doesn't have control over things and doesn't feel entirely comfortable, although he *really* seems to.
I can have compassion when I see it that way.

We don't do "his" things or put his needs first in terms of how we spend our time.
But I think there are feelings and resentments he buries, that I don't hear about, and they come out in nasty ways instead of just talking to me about it.
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post #29 of 194 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 10:39 PM
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

And if there were things of "his" that he wanted to do, I'd happily do them!

I do...we go to his church and spend time with his friends an equal amount of time as mine.

But if he had something he was really into that he wanted me to join him for, I would.

I don't know...sometimes it just seems like he'd rather just be negative, and I don't get why.
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post #30 of 194 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 08:14 AM
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Re: The thermostat - the ultimate barometer of your R

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MW,
You really are doing all the right things. And it is also true he might ultimately prove to be a selfish/bad enough partner that you leave him. That said, at the point you leave you will have much less anguish/remorse because you will have known you did everything you could.

I will post a few more suggestions in the next day or so but mainly they will be along the lines of:
- After a fight - if you can detach and not let the "argument" become your emotional universe that is a big big help
- Fighting itself should become less emotional and more "rational" - are they willing to "commit" to doing/not doing specific things.
- Certain behaviors are just not acceptable to you and if they continue you will do x, y, z (you have to be willing to follow through)

A calm question that you insist on a clear answer to - and a firm/calm/determined statement of consequence for future bad behavior are all "low" temperature means of conflict. They are the hallmark of someone who will not stay in an emotionally toxic relationship because the other person is so "wonderful" on paper......
Thanks - I am trying and have seen small nuggets of positive behavior from him in response.

The one I have extreme difficulty with is acceptable behaviors and consequences when they aren't met. I'm terrible at issuing ultimatums and following them through and unfortunately, he knows it. His medical issues don't help - he knows perfectly well that I'm not the type of person to abandon somewho who is sick.

He, for some reason, doesn't believe I love him and am only staying with him because I feel sorry for him because he's sick, but that's actually not true. I wouldn't stay with anyone because I felt sorry for them - I truly love this man and don't know what I'm doing wrong that he believes that I don't love him - maybe this is the root of the problems sexually - he doesn't believe I'm with him for the right reasons - but that's BS, I am there for the right reasons but apparently I'm not showing that in my actions and I don't know what I'm doing wrong, honestly - have tried to figure out why he would think this and I can't put my finger on anything.

Looking forward to your future post(s).

Maybe I could hire you as my shrink...what do you charge per hour?

"Don't Find Fault - Find A Remedy" Henry Ford
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