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Ego, Temper and Moodiness - Fatal Combination

Discussion in 'Married Life' started by CarpeDiem, Feb 13, 2008.

  1. CarpeDiem

    CarpeDiem Senior IL'ite

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    Hi All,

    I am a new member to this forum and I must say I think it is so nice to be a part of this wonderful network where ladies share experiences and provide such valuable advices. I have read many posts and found some of the advices so useful. In many ways it is unfortunately consoling to know that there are so many ladies out there with you facing similar problems and that you are not alone.

    My problem is not unique in anyway but I have been trying to battle it for a long time. I am 29 years old, been married for about 6 years now and have a 8 month old baby(she is truly my sunshine!). I work full-time and currently have my in-laws helping out with the baby when I go to work.

    The initial few years of our marriage had it's share of ups and downs and a lot of teething problems and personality clashes. As any new bride, I also used to expect romance, caring and understanding in my partner. In general he is a good man, but is not at all emotionally tuned in to my needs. He is a very reserved, moody, old fashioned and short tempered person. He will be nice and affectionate when he is in a mood and when he has time away from his laptop, TV and work related issues. He has been pampered a lot by his parents especially his mom since he is the only son. My in-laws are very nice people and treat my like their own daughter and so over the years I have slowly learnt to not get so affected by the over pampering and spoiling that my MIL does to him.

    However, I am still stumped on how to deal with his temper. He is a very short tempered person and very egoistic too. Will never accept his mistakes and thinks he is never wrong. I have changed so much from the way I was just to be able to complement him by being calm and non-confrontational (it was not easy changing myself this much). Whenever we have a misunderstanding, he will get angry, scream a few words and walk-off and not talk to me at all after that. After some time when I go to him calmly to explain the rationale behind my action or talks, he will get even more infuriated that I am trying to justify things although trust me it is not even my fault. Most of the times, I will just end up telling sorry, pleading, and accepting that I was at fault even when I am not just to calm down the situation. but in spite of it he gets angry, screams, says extremely unpleasant things and asks me to stay away from him. Unfortunately, I can't be like that - I used to go to him after a few hours and try again to calm him down but he used to get even more angry. The more I go and plead, the more I go to make things better, the angrier he would get. Unfortunately, my nature is such that I don't like unpleasantness, and negative energy around me so much, so I always try to get things back on track even if that means accepting and saying sorry for no fault of mine and not being able to even communicate or talk about the misunderstanding. My husband is capable of ignoring and not talking to me for weeks and months at times (he's done that a lot and it really were the worst times in my life). At such times, he only thinks about himself and not about how he has hurt me by his reactions and words. When he does in fact calm down, he thinks he has down me a big favor by "forgiving" me "again".

    I have tried everything under the books
    1) Have left him to himself and seen if he calms down on his own. Takes several weeks and sometimes months. It gets very difficult for me live in the same house this way. Most of these situations and arguments are not even worth his behaving like this as if his universe has come crashing down.

    2) After he is cool, gone and talked to him about what I think and how we should learn to communicate better. Gets even more angry and doesn't want to listen.

    3) Will not listen and show interest when I talk about us or how we should deal with this basic communication problem and will get angry if I push this conversation.

    4) He has said to me multiple times that if I have anything to talk to him, it should not involve anything personal. How can I not be personal if I want to talk to him abut his behaviour (even in the sweetest of voices and tone).

    5) In-laws know his temper but are also scared in dealing with him. They used to be involved before to help us out but I don't want them to be involved anymore since it will only be a temporary fix and I don't want them to be involved in all these issues between me and my husband anymore.

    A smiliar argument happened this Sunday and since then he is behaving the same way with me by not talking and ignoring me. Slowly I am trying to not give so much importance to his attitude and trying to keep my mind away by being with friends, at work and ofcourse spending time with my daughter and in-laws at home but this basic lack of communication bothers me. Otherwise he is a very family-oriented loving person and I have thought of separation at times but after a lot of careful thought, decided that that would definitely not be in our best interests.

    Do other people have similiar issues and how have you guys tackled it? I can deal with short temper and then cooling down fast but this extremely looooooooong cooling down period of my husband has me immensely frustrated!

    I have read many posts regarding how to tackle arguments with your spouse and also the wonderful responses (especially by Soaring Spirit and Ria). SS I think you are a fantastic go-to person and with your detailed and empathatic replies, I'm sure you have helped so many people.
     
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  2. SoaringSpirit

    SoaringSpirit Silver IL'ite

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    Dear CarpeDiem,

    I can totally understand your pain. Good communication with spouse is the number one important thing for most women.

    First, I must applaud you on trying so many different things to improve the situation.

    From your post, it seems to me that you have pretty much exhausted all the “soft ways” on bringing your husband back on track. I think you need to try some tough things now.

    The only other soft way (if you have not already tried it) would be to talk to him after he has cooled down about how this silence affects him (not you). Don’t talk about how his bad mood affects you, kids or the family. But instead tell him how it is affecting him. He could be having fun with the kid, enjoying a movie, doing the things that he wants to do but instead he ends up wasting his time seething in anger. If he is not receptive to this also then you have to toughen up.

    In my experience, the more you tolerate unreasonable behavior, the more you will get it. So you absolutely have to break this cycle first. This is the most important thing. He seems to have gotten used to everyone giving-in into his unreasonable moods. You need to contest this “given” in him.

    I agree with you about not getting his parents involved. They have brought him up the way they felt was right, nothing much they can do now. Since his behavior pains you the most, you will have to bring about the change.

    To bring about this change, the most crucial thing that you will have to do is to change one thing in yourself (at least for some time) -you will have to learn to forgo your natural desire to restore “pleasantness at all costs”.

    When he goes into these long spells of bad mood, just ignore his bad mood totally. Don’t ignore him, only his bad mood. Let him maintain silence but you talk to him normally. Converse with him like you normally do. Don’t expect that he will answer you or will participate in the conversation. He will of course try to stay on his pedestal expecting that you will give-in and say sorry. And this is exactly what you should not do.

    It will be very hard for you initially to let this cold war go on and be happy but there seems no other way out. Just go about life normally like you said you try to do now. Only additional thing you need to do is to include him also. Don’t leave him to himself. Do the opposite of what he wants - not by arguing or by being vocal, but by your actions. If he wants to be left alone for weeks and months, don’t let him retreat to his shell. Include him in your conversations. Talk to him about stuff like you would under normal circumstances. Ignore his unresponsiveness. If he is expecting you to say sorry, don’t say it if you know you have nothing to be sorry for. If he is expecting you to be unhappy about his silence, don’t be unhappy. Just totally ignore his bad mood and do what you like to do with him even if he is not responsive. Be loving to him, be jovial and don’t let him stay aloof. Just be yourself, the way you would be under normal circumstances.

    The idea here is to make him feel like he is the only one who has qualms about things while you have moved on. He should see it in your behavior that you have moved on. He should get the feeling that his bad mood is really only his problem and it is affecting him alone. Another thing that this may also do is, he may start feeling a little ashamed of himself for stretching things to an extreme and behaving like an adamant child.

    The crux here is that you maintain a higher ground without feeling the need to give-in or being unhappy. If you exhibit this strength of character that he lacks, he is bound to notice and mend his ways one day. It may not happen immediately since he is used to being this way for many years. But it will surely happen. You have to be consistent. Don’t slip back into your old mode after a few tries.

    Right now he knows that you will come to him to make peace because you cannot bear the pain of his silence. You have to let him know loud and clear by your actions that this is not the case anymore. CarpeDiem, just as you care about peace at home, he cares about it too. But he has never had to work towards it because he gets it from you on a platter. Now onwards make him work for it by not giving-in into his unreasonable bad moods.

    Other thing that will help you is to try and reduce the number of arguments you have. Figure out a way to do what you want to do without having to get into an argument. What is it that you guys mostly argue about? See if you can get your way without talking too much about contentious points. See if the arguments can be avoided or reduced. Of course, you cannot stop arguments altogether, but try to reduce them. You don’t have to give-in, just find other ways of getting the stuff done.

    If you haven’t already done so, also make sure he is medically okay and does not have any issues with thyroid imbalance etc.

    In all of this, the main thing is to be resolute and clear in your mind about what you are trying to achieve. Don’t get bogged down by emotions and don’t rush into doing things just to restore normalcy at any cost. Normalcy should be there and it will come, but you have to restore it the right way. Otherwise, as you have already experienced, it will not be permanent.

    Don’t worry. Everything in life can either be changed or be nicely dealt with. So just do your part and wait for him to come around. I am very confident that he will.

    Good luck!
    SS
     
  3. CarpeDiem

    CarpeDiem Senior IL'ite

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    Dearest SS,

    Thank you so much for such a detailed response and such wonderful advice. You are so articulate. Reading your response made me feel like it was either my mom or best friend helping me out of a bad situation.

    Your advice seems so correct and trust me in my heart of hearts I know that this is the only way to deal with the situation. One of the things you said about how he never has to work towards achieving peace in the house because I give it to him in a platter is so true! I know I have to break this cycle and derive strength to not give in so easily for want of immediate pleasantness or peace. But it is exactly this part that I struggle with - I have to be able to get over this hump else I know this cycle will never break.

    Your words have given me so much strength - I am going to try your approach although it seems so hard to be in a good mood around such a negative and non-responsive person esp for a very sensitive woman like me...but as you said this is the only way left! But ..what if I am talking normally and he asks me to stop talking to him or gets angry again and leaves the room. Should I also not just limit our conversations to absolutely essential and minimal talks? I am behaving normally and nicely around the house with my in-laws and daughter and am very cheerful too... I just try to avoid my husband's path in fear of worsening the situation.....
     
  4. SoaringSpirit

    SoaringSpirit Silver IL'ite

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    Dear CarpeDiem,

    I am very glad that my reply gave you some strength to handle your situation. Thanks for your kinds words!

    Now coming to your predicament whether you should have minimal conversation with husband during his bad mood spells or simply act normal. Well, no hard and fast rule there. I can very well imagine him trying to snub you and leave the room etc.

    My suggestion would be to not go out of your way to strike a conversation with him neither avoid him. Just include him in your day-to-day stuff like you would normally do.

    What I would do is let him be himself. If he chooses to leave the room, let him leave. Don’t get scared of his reaction or feel insulted. Don’t give him a reaction that he is hoping to get. You are doing this to in a way show him that his bad mood does not impact you and that you are above all the argument. This in some way also shows your liking for him because you are willing to interact with him normally in spite of the argument. Every time he storms out of the room and you don’t get upset or worried, you are gaining points. He is going to get more and more frustrated that he is not able to tilt your balance. He needs to come to this realization.

    The other thing that I think is very important but very often overlooked is to be able categorize bad habit and bad person separately. What I mean is this. Agreed your husband has this terrible habit of unreasonably stretching his bad mood. But do you think he is a bad person because of that? I don’t think you feel like that. I think there are many things you like about him. However, it is this habit of his that you cannot stand. So keep this perspective when talking to him on his bad mood days. I know this is easy to preach but very very difficult to implement. But if you develop the habit of looking at any bad situation or behavior in this way then it helps a lot in resolving the issue much more amicably.

    So show your dislike for his behavior not for him. When he exhibits this unwanted behavior, express your strong opposition to it by not giving-in and all the things I suggested in the previous reply. But after you have done what you wanted to do, no point in letting it affect the rest of your interaction with him. Let him show his bad mood all over the place but you don’t stoop down to this childish behavior of his.

    Lastly, many times avoidance can be easily interpreted as indifference. While you avoid talking to him because you fear his outburst, he may be feeling that you don’t really care about him because you are busy having a good time with everyone except him. The point is to tell him that you don’t care about his unreasonable bad mood but you don’t want to tell him that you don’t care about him. Do you? So avoiding having any conversation with him may give him the wrong signal.

    My suggestion would be to deal with the behavior separately from the person. You will save yourself a lot of unwanted agony and displeasure.

    Hope this helped in giving you some ideas on how you can proceed.

    Best wishes. Go for it! J
    SS
     
  5. Aadhusmom

    Aadhusmom Gold IL'ite

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    SS........:clap......great advice....as always....I swear I read this marriage board just to read what you and Ria write....fantastic work .....CarpeDiem (love your name BTW), very sorry to butt in, but I had to express my admiration somewhere. Hope your DH becomes a nicer man...

    Vanathi.
     
  6. SoaringSpirit

    SoaringSpirit Silver IL'ite

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    Thanks for the appreciation Vanathi aka Aadhusmom. So nice of you to take the time and the effort to write this note.

    I feel very encouraged knowing that the suggestions I give appeal to people and in some way help their situation a little bit.

    Thanks so much!
    SS
     
  7. CarpeDiem

    CarpeDiem Senior IL'ite

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    Thanks again SS for taking the time out to write yet another detailed reply. Even yesterday, when I received a few rude responses from my husband for something I spoke, I thought of your post and the end goal of what I am trying to achieve and it didn't make me feel bad after all. I was able to pick myself up again and concentrate on the end result.

    Feels good to know that I'm being backed by wonderful people that care!

    Thanks once again.
     
  8. manjur

    manjur Senior IL'ite

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    hi CarpeDiem,

    when i saw your problems most it was my story.
    my husband also only son and spends most of his time with laptop,tv and work.
    my in laws spoiled him in all ways.we are currently not living with them due to his work. whenever we have argument he wants me to make up,never his fault and .he will stop eating from home. he want me to beg every time to eat from home . nowadays i am just tired of that .i am also depressed and only happy because of my daughter.
    hi SS,
    you are just amazing. you gave detailed advice.it helped me also to think about what i have to do

    thank you
    bye
    manju
     
  9. CarpeDiem

    CarpeDiem Senior IL'ite

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    Hi Manju,

    He used to do the same thing too. Not eat at home or anything cooked by me and shows displeasure or disassociation with anything that involves me. Before having my daughter 8 months back, I used to give this whole situation so much importance that I would get really affected by it...but now when I put things in perspective, I feel that we should change our attitude and stop focusing so much on them and their behavior and rather than sulking and allowing it to affect us so much, we should develop a happy, and positive attitude for the sake of our children (it is extremely hard I know!). It is really not good in the long run for our children to be exposed to this much negativity in the house I think. SS has given some wonderful points and hopefully we can atleast keep them in mind as use them as pointers whenever we see our minds straying....

    All the best to you too! :)
     
  10. Ria2006

    Ria2006 Silver IL'ite

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    :bowdown This one is for SS. Like others here, I am also her fan. You never cease to amaze me.

    Thanks for kind words for me too.

    CarpeDiem,

    After analysing your problem, I feel you and your husband share the blame 50% each. Sometimes our own efforts extentuate our issues. Thumb rule in any persistent effort should be, If you are practicing anything out of your real self, then it may not get you positive results either. Stick to what your body says. If it says you should be angry, shouting out..do so. Dont presume that by being cool and trying to placate things you may make desired difference. I am reading a book, it says one very good thing , "feelings are facts, accept them". Our problem is we run away from our own feelings. If you feel your husband is being unreasonable then let your body take charge and do whatever it suggests. By imposing our trained brain to superficially help us, we only worsen the things.

    Now coming back to ways to handle it, like SS even I would say , withdraw anything extra that you do to prevail harmony. Wether its pleading, being apologetic. or anything.. Another good thing I recently read , "There can be never an intimacy between a master and slave, A tormenter and a victim. Intimacy can only blossom in a partnership relationship." Being partner means having equal right to express yourself. So next time you feel you should be blurting out your frustrations , do so. Dont acquire this , "Please every one at every cost, mrs Goody" syndrome. We all have unconcsiouly built in us. Its not your characterstic, its indian upbringing of female child. We teach them all the while, they are responsible for harmony and peace in house.

    I see that your fears are ruling your psyche, when you say he is capable of not talking for months !! Well no family oriented, normal person would be able to do so, without extra support from partner. By extra support I mean, for sure you would have requested or pleaded or atleast showed him in gestures, how disturbed and wretched you are without his involvement in family. Take that support out. Be happy, cheerful and all positive even in his days of anrgy state. Your strength will raise fears in him. All tomenters want their victims to depend on them, emotionally the best. Because for females emotion is their weakest link.

    To help you be cheerful even in his angry days, Try this.. Which ever event has made you cry most. Just rewind that event in mind. Give the fear in you some name.. Like if you feel you cried most when some day your husband said most unpleasent things about you.. Name this fear in you as "Desire to hear only good about you from dear ones" . Next time such thing happen, your brain will associate this with the named fear. And you no longer will be suffering from somethign unknown. With few times this in action, you will see how well you can control the fear which were making you weak and forcing you surrender.

    Lastly, My granny once said very aptly, Husband wife relation is like tug of war game. Sometime he should pull, sometime you should pull. If all the time only one person is pulling. Then other person may not go on for long. Its the pulling game which keep the relation ticking and bonding. But if pulling becomes a war, then you know you have placed your card wrong in first place. Halt the game. Rearrange the cards and get back in game..
    All the best

    Ria
     

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