Honestly, I need to know how to react.... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 10-29-2010, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OK, when dh and I first married, I didn't know how to balance a checkbook, electronics were mystifying, putting gas in the car was about the extent of my knowledge on that, and changing a lightbulb is all I knew about electrical repair. Well, he is in a field that deals with alot of electronics, so I have learned from watching him. He's been deployed 3 times and then was an inspector so he traveled alot (I mean 2 to 3 weeks out of a month he was gone). In our 11 yrs. of marriage I have learned ALOT. So, the other day, the dog bit a chunk out of my computer's charging cable. I sat down at the table, cut the cord, stripped the main covering, then stripped the individual wires, twisted the individual wires and went looking for electrical tape. He came home while I was looking for the electrical tape and he just grabbed the tape and taped it up without letting me complete what I started. Today, we were talking about the shaking in the car and I said I thought it was either the engine mounts which the repair guy had told me were getting to the point of needing to be replaced or the tie rods. Well, he starts telling me how it can't be either of those. I called the repair guy and asked him, and he said he really think it's the engine mounts.

What I need to know is how to gently get dh to understand that I am not as needy as I was when we first married. He has been gone so much that he doesn't understand that I have learned how to be more independant and I don't know how to tell him to back off without hurting him. I keep my mouth shut so much when he starts taking over but it is really starting to bother me.

Honestly, I know this is as much about my relationship as it is personal growth, but I have no clue where else to put this and I am becoming really resentful and need advice.

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#2 of 16 Old 10-29-2010, 03:27 PM
 
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Communication is such a tricky thing to learn When DH and I married I felt that I had to have a "meeting" where I was 1/2 drunk to tell him that he needed to do more house work, because I was getting exhausted and over whelmed. lol Little did I know that all I had to do was calmly talk to him- sober. (i drink maybe 1x a year lol)

If you cannot talk to him, then maybe you should get some counseling- communication is VERY important! You cannot ignore this, but you cannot explode at him over every little thing he's doing that upsets you. Maybe this "Honey, I know what I'm doing, please let me finish." if he does not reply "DH, I'm trying to tell you something important."

Honestly, I really really think some counseling could be beneficial. You have both grown in different ways, and it can be very difficult to get on the same page. Hang in there!

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#3 of 16 Old 10-29-2010, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have tried to tell him that I feel he doesn't believe I am capable. That when he does these things it really makes me feel like he thinks I'm stupid. He reassures me that this is not the case, but shortly after he will do it again. He insists he doesn't mean to and that it's totally not done on purpose and that he will stop doing it. We've had the conversation before, it's just that he always goes back to doing the same thing again. I may have to try counseling, but if he sees it and still isn't fixing it, is it something I'm doing to encourage it?

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#4 of 16 Old 10-29-2010, 04:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Petie1104 View Post
He's been deployed 3 times and then was an inspector so he traveled alot (I mean 2 to 3 weeks out of a month he was gone). In our 11 yrs. of marriage I have learned ALOT.
He might feel that you don't need him like you used to, and that may feel very scary to him. And he may just act out what is going on subconsciously rather than having any idea *why* he does what he does.

It might help if you talked to him about what he adds to your life and why you are glad he is a part of it, why you are glad he's home more now.

He may just need to feel needed and wanted.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#5 of 16 Old 10-29-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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I agree with what Linda said, but possibly you could be a bit more assertive in the moment before he steps in and takes over? What would have happened if you just kindly put your hand on his as he was taping up the wires for you, and said "Thanks for the help, honey, but I got this. I like learning how to do new things and I would like to finish the job that I started".

Have you ever tried something like that before?
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#6 of 16 Old 10-29-2010, 04:48 PM
 
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I really agree with the previous post - addressing his behavior in the moment that he does it is really important to showing him when he's doing it and how it makes you feel.

Combining the prior post with above advice, how bout you make sure you address it in the moment when he does it, but if part of his denial that you are more capable now is a fear that you need him less (or a need, since he's deployed so much of the time, to prove to you and him that you haven't grown totally independent and you still need him when he's home)... then maybe the message in the moment when he does something is a lighthearted "See, this is what I mean, you won't let me show you how much I've learned from you! Please let me do this/trust me on this, and then let's talk about all the other things I am excited to learn from you now!"

I'm sure there are other areas he's expert in that you'd like to learn more, maybe that way he can both appreciate that you have learned a lot and are a lot more capable, AND that you see him as still being very important and helpful and you still feel you have more to learn from him?
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#7 of 16 Old 10-29-2010, 04:55 PM
 
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then maybe the message in the moment when he does something is a lighthearted "See, this is what I mean, you won't let me show you how much I've learned from you! Please let me do this/trust me on this, and then let's talk about all the other things I am excited to learn from you now!"

I'm sure there are other areas he's expert in that you'd like to learn more, maybe that way he can both appreciate that you have learned a lot and are a lot more capable, AND that you see him as still being very important and helpful and you still feel you have more to learn from him?
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#8 of 16 Old 10-29-2010, 06:18 PM
 
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I have tried to tell him that I feel he doesn't believe I am capable. That when he does these things it really makes me feel like he thinks I'm stupid. He reassures me that this is not the case, but shortly after he will do it again. He insists he doesn't mean to and that it's totally not done on purpose and that he will stop doing it. We've had the conversation before, it's just that he always goes back to doing the same thing again.
Old habits die hard. I'm guessing he's just doing it without thinking and will need reminding.

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Kindly put your hand on his as he was taping up the wires for you, and said "Thanks for the help, honey, but I got this. I like learning how to do new things and I would like to finish the job that I started".

Have you ever tried something like that before?
I think this would be a great way to deal with it, as it happens, every time. Physical touch to get his attention, directly say, I've got this, but you may not have to say the whole long thing every single time, perhaps a shortened phrase the two of you discuss together beforehand as a short message to remind him that you are capable and are not in need of assistance.

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#9 of 16 Old 10-29-2010, 08:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your replies. Sometimes I just get so frustrated and this morning was one of those days. I do like the idea of touching his hand and gently reminding him that I am able. Honestly, I learned most everything about taking care of a household from him so he should be flattered.

Good news though. We went to the mechanic and they checked and it was the engine mounts. But here is the thing, I have used this mechanic a few times, but dh had never met him. So I went in and started talking to him to find out what needed to be done. DH wasn't speaking so I thought he was upset that I took the lead in there. We leave and I asked him. He said, "No, I wasn't upset, but I wasn't going to distract the mechanic from your chest either. Now I know how you got the clutch and brakes replaced so cheap." LOL, Ok so I guess he does think I have certain "talents".

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#10 of 16 Old 11-02-2010, 08:50 PM
 
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You and I are married to the same person. I've been trying for 14 years to get him to stop "talking to me like I'm stupid". (For example, he bought a new can opener. The kind that opens the can on the side and not the top. I was trying to get it on the can and he took it from me and did it himself.) Stuff like that used to drive me up the wall. I came to a lot of peace with it when I realized he didn't think I was stupid, he's sincerely trying to help. Just because I interpret his "help" as a criticism of my intelligence level, doesn't make it so. I tell him when he's doing it. But I also have total peace is knowing that this is his problem, not mine. Part of the problem is that he works/deals with people that aren't as smart as him. (He's pretty intelligent.) So he just seems to get used to talking to people "that way". I think it's a habit. (Not that it's okay for him to act this way with other people. Just that it was easier for me to see it was about him, not me.)
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#11 of 16 Old 11-02-2010, 10:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OK, so tell me if I overreacted...

DSS is 13, he needed a haircut, so we went to the barber shop in the PX. I stayed with DSS and dh had the other three, they were in and out. He bought a puzzle book, some febreeze, and a bag for ds's game system. Well, he handed me the bags and went back with the kids to the foodcourt to get them some drink. I decided that since the wait was so long, to take out the puzzle book and work on a puzzle. So I reach into the bag and everything in the one bag is soaking wet. The febreeze bottle had popped open. So now, the febreeze is spilling all over the barber shop floor, the puzzle book is soaked and I have one bag where everything is dry. DS 8yrs. old comes in there and I tell him to go get me some paper towels. So he goes in search of paper towels and dh comes in, sees the mess, walks over, starts grabbing at the wet stuff and goes to put it into the dry bag. I said, "no, that stuff is dry. J just went to get napkins." At which point he starts grabbing the wet bag and ends up spilling more of the febreeze onto the floor and since I was on my knees on the floor getting things cleaned up (ds had come back with the paper towels), he ended up dumping a bunch on my pants. At this point, I sort of raised my voice and said, "Look if you want to help either get me a mop or more paper towels". So he walks out, not saying anything and comes back with a mop. So, after he does that, he walks back out and I didn't see him again. DSS gets his haircut, I expect that dh will be in the food court with the kids but he's not. So dss and I walk out to the van thinking that maybe he took the kids outside, nope. 20 minutes later he comes with the other kids to the van and says, "you can be mad if you want, I don't care, let's go".

Was I really that far out of line. I was frustrated and felt like once again, he came in and rather than finding out what was going on before trying to "fix" it, he tried to take over. This actually caused a larger mess. Apparently, I was way out of line in his opinion. While I know I shouldn't have raised my voice, I'm not sure what else I could have done differently.

Mind you, these arguments tend to not last more than 1/2 hour or so. I just don't tend to stay mad and neither does he, so that's good. But I don't know what else I could have done differently.

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#12 of 16 Old 11-03-2010, 12:52 AM
 
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I would bet that your husband is well aware of your capabilities. As you say, he was your teacher! But that doesn't mean that he doesn't want to help and be useful. I might be in the minority here, but I'd say just let him help you when he's home. Thank him and go off and do something you'd rather. I'd hate it if my husband decided that, in addition to financially supporting us, he was going to take over all my jobs just because he's capable of doing so (and he is, except for breastfeeding). I'd feel so superfluous.
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#13 of 16 Old 11-03-2010, 05:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I would bet that your husband is well aware of your capabilities. As you say, he was your teacher! But that doesn't mean that he doesn't want to help and be useful. I might be in the minority here, but I'd say just let him help you when he's home. Thank him and go off and do something you'd rather. I'd hate it if my husband decided that, in addition to financially supporting us, he was going to take over all my jobs just because he's capable of doing so (and he is, except for breastfeeding). I'd feel so superfluous.
But see, that's how I feel. He goes to work, he brings in all the money. I told him I wanted a job to help support, and his suggestion is for me to go back to VA to be reevaluated for my back so that I get more disability. Then when he's home he wants to clean every room, make dinner, set the rules for the kids, balance the checkbook, fix the cars. He even wakes up early if I have to go somewhere to put gas in the van. Mind you, that is sweet and I honestly think that he is trying to be nice, but add that to everything else and it gets frustrating. He basically leaves me with laundry and homeschooling, and now I won't have homeschooling anymore because when we get where we are going we are putting them into a private school. So, I am the one feeling superfluous. I feel like I have no purpose. I am going to school online and I've told him that I don't care what I get my degree in, that is the one thing that *I* do, that noone can take from me. I know that sounds selfish.

Maybe that's the issue. Maybe MY feelings are causing the situation. Maybe I need to work on finding my own purpose then I won't feel so offended when he takes over the things around here. I know that next year, after all the kids are in the private school, I'm getting a job. Maybe that will be a huge leap forward, but I don't know if getting a job will fix this. I think I really need to work on my feelings not being reliant on how much I do.

Wow, typing this out at 3 a.m. when I'm half asleep really gave me a lightbulb moment. It isn't what he does, it's how I'm percieving it as taking away my purpose. So the answer isn't to get upset, but to find a purpose that isn't wrapped up in his world, something outside of us, more a bit of myself. Then, when he takes over I can appreciate his help rather than resenting it.

Thank you guys, truly. Now I just have to figure out how to begin.

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#14 of 16 Old 11-03-2010, 01:20 PM
 
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Good luck Petie! There's a whole world of cool stuff out there!

PS: Wanna send your husband my way every now and then to gas up *my* car? LOL, it's a job I hate doing so much that I'll let it run down to the dregs in the hopes that my husband will be in the car when it gets really desperate, and then he can pump!
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#15 of 16 Old 11-03-2010, 09:02 PM
 
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I may have to try counseling, but if he sees it and still isn't fixing it, is it something I'm doing to encourage it?
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I keep my mouth shut so much when he starts taking over but it is really starting to bother me.
Why do you keep your mouth shut? If he's having trouble remembering, a simple, "I'm just looking for the tape, and would like to finish that, since I started it" is definitely in order. It's hard to break a habit if you don't realize you're doing something when you do it, yk?

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#16 of 16 Old 11-03-2010, 10:01 PM
 
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But see, that's how I feel. He goes to work, he brings in all the money. I told him I wanted a job to help support, and his suggestion is for me to go back to VA to be reevaluated for my back so that I get more disability. Then when he's home he wants to clean every room, make dinner, set the rules for the kids, balance the checkbook, fix the cars. He even wakes up early if I have to go somewhere to put gas in the van. Mind you, that is sweet and I honestly think that he is trying to be nice, but add that to everything else and it gets frustrating. He basically leaves me with laundry and homeschooling, and now I won't have homeschooling anymore because when we get where we are going we are putting them into a private school. So, I am the one feeling superfluous. I feel like I have no purpose. I am going to school online and I've told him that I don't care what I get my degree in, that is the one thing that *I* do, that noone can take from me. I know that sounds selfish.
I don't think selfishness is the issue. I think this is something that the "Love Languages" can at least partly explain. It sounds as if your dh's "language" is acts of service. My dh's also "speaks" in that, and I struggle with some of the same feelings. He's trying to say "I love you" and I'm hearing "I can do it all and I don't need you" and/or "you can't handle this".

I hope you can get it worked out.

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