Claims to treat me badly

My husband told me straight

My husband told me straight out last week that when we talk about "problems" that involve him and I express negative feelings (e.g., anger or frustration), his reaction (which he claims to have no control over!) is to do something different than or even opposite from what I'd like him to do (e.g., if it's about looking for a job, not look for a job; if it's about helping around the house, not help around the house).  I've termed this the "F- you, Rosered" reaction.  It's very distressing to me that now I get blamed not only for my reactions (which I take responsibility for) but also my husband's negative behaviors.

Mine did that too

A couple of years ago, when I was still desperately looking for a way to fix things, my now ex literally told me that I am not allowed to have negative feelings toward him. He believes that if you love someone, you can never have negative feelings toward that person. (Except him, because he has the disease of ADHD so he cannot help what he feels or expresses.) He told me at that time to never express anything negative. I thought, "Well, what the heck?" and I did that. I stopped expressing anything negative for a few weeks. Then he told me he could see me rolling my eyes and knew what I felt. I realized I probably was making faces (and I don't like that about myself), so I actually worked in the mirror and practiced with everyone I met, trying to keep my face neutral. (People kept asking me if I was sick or spaced out--it took a while to keep a mildly interested, non-reactive face on.) After a few weeks of that, he told me that even though I wasn't making faces, he just *knew* what I was thinking!

Funny thing was, after keeping my face calm, I really actually wasn't thinking much of anything when something negative happened. He got fired (again) during this period of time and when he told me, I seriously just thought "Huh". I didn't ask whether he could get unemployment, panic over money or any other details, but just listened to him talk about how horrible and unfair his boss was. I listened to him, made the appropriate sympathetic noises at the appropriate time, and actually felt no distress or anger or anything. I felt good about it, and really felt that I was supporting him as best I could. At the end of the conversation, he said "You're taking this well. TOO well! I know what you're thinking!!! You're thinking this is ALL MY FAULT" and then he stormed out and refused to speak a civil word for days. (To be fair, he was correct that I did think it was his fault, since he had been caught stealing and that was why he'd been fired, but it wasn't like that was the first time and I honestly wasn't surprised or upset.)

After a week or so, I tried to explain to him that I really didn't feel angry about it. He reacted poorly. 

It was then that I realized that he just projects his own anger at himself on me. (Duh! You'd think after reading these boards all this time and living with the man for so many years, that I'd have known this.) It really doesn't matter what my response is because he imagines my response is either the worst case scenario or what he is actually thinking to himself. Sad.

Sounds like mine EXACTLY!! He

Sounds like mine EXACTLY!! He will put negative words in my mouth and when I explain that "I" didn't say that, he will say, "it doesn't matter, I know what you think of me". There have been times that he owns up to being mad at himself and taking it out on me. 

I'm sure mine is bitter and thinks about "for better or worse" and how I'm not living up to that vow. But it is only worse for me and I refuse to live that way forever. 

Mine has decided that he is

Mine has decided that he is the victim. 3 years of being his everything, the last 6 months still doing everything, but yet, HE is the victim. It just disgusts me. Where is my nod for funding my going away trip on my own ($1,800 that I don't have!!), by the skin of my teeth? If I wanted I could clear out the dang bank account, but I have too much integrity. 

I'm So Exhausted's picture

Money and Rvs and Dishes


I get the integrity part.  I could sell the RV, as the title is in my name.  But I would not do that.  

I could spend money any way I wanted - the only time I did that was to spend $3,865.00 to replace my dental partial and fix my dental crowns 2 years ago.  My spouse still bristles at that.  

The power struggle play comes in light today.  So, my spouse 'took on' the dishes as his domestic chore.  He hasn't done them this week.  They are stacked up around the sink.  A few minutes ago he comes into the house, stands in the door and announces, "I won't be getting around to the dishes again today.  This job (job in his plumbing business) is kicking my a**."  Then he turns around, walks out the door while saying, "Thank you." 

Thank you?

So I look for the higher ground.  I really dislike having a messy kitchen.  So the mental games is, do I do them?  Do I let them sit as they are his responsibility?   I THINK I need to let them sit and not rescue him from his responsibility.  Grrr.  I really hate that messy kitchen.

He is overweight, has high blood pressure, doesn't eat well, hasn't slept much this week, is crabby and irritable, worked in the pouring rain yesterday. . . . .

As I ponder all this. . . . I realize I did not want  to take the responsibility of calling it quits.  I guess I was waiting for him to take responsibility for his end of this train wreck of a relationship.  

I know I don't want to be miserable.    I don't want to up and leave in utter frustration.

I want the focus to be my daughter's upcoming wedding.  Daddy's little girl.  She adores him.    



Power struggles

Oh my goodness, your post sounds SO familiar. 

Caveat: I am now divorced from my spouse who has ADHD. I continue to co-parent with him, though, so there is a significant amount of interaction. I am telling you what gives me peace, not necessarily what will help the relationship. :-)

I will tell you that I used to always think along the lines of "I THINK I need to let them sit and not rescue him from his responsibility," but then I realized that in *some* cases (actually, *most* in my world), I needed my sanity more than I needed to not rescue him. Having a messy kitchen, as an example, is a real source of angst for me. We used to have lots of arguments about the kitchen and why I always cleaned it when it was my turn and he had about a 30% success rate (assuming success means about 50% of the kitchen gets clean). Then one day I realized that it was important to me and would never be to him, and so I just took on the responsibility. I was MUCH calmer after this.

After that point, I started looking at each area of responsibility, whether I was already doing it or not, and decided which ones were actually important to me or the kids. I actually wrote them down on a paper. For the ones that were not important, I let him have them (there were more of these than I imagined.) At that point in the relationship, we were beyond talking about what was his responsibility and what was mine, so I merely stopped attending to them at all and after a month or two, he figured it out. Hopefully you could actually discuss them!

For the responsibilities that were important to only the kids, I took a good hard look at the tasks and the children and found a lot of areas where they could contribute and handle their own issues. I sat them down and we talked about them. The kids were actually excited to have responsibility for their own lives and at the prospect of not having to rely on someone who is wholly unreliable. We came up with plans for their new responsibilities and went on.

The rest of the stuff I just started doing myself, and I tell you, I was peaceful after that. There was no anxiety over whether something would get finished by him, no worries about something important being missed.

HE on the other hand, became pretty stressed out. An example is that I used to show him all the kids' school and sports notes and talk to him about them. I would often read them to him, getting his attention back when it wandered or when he just walked off in the middle of my sentences. I would remind him each day about their schedules. Further, he would CONSTANTLY ask about the kids' schedules (where is the party for Billy and what time is it?), despite the fact that he could just look at his smartphone (the schedules are shared on the web and available from anywhere on the planet). After this process, I just decided that I would take a photo of the school notes with my smartphone and send them to him and allow him to organize as needed. The kids or I would schedule the kids' stuff on their schedules, and when he asked, I would just tell him to look at the schedules. He got FURIOUS that I would not baby him as before. I calmly stuck to my guns, saying that I was sorry, but I just didn't have time to look something up right then. He has missed several school assemblies, doctor's appointments, etc., for the kids, but I attended all of them. I make sure that the kids don't miss their activities by letting the kids take the lead on reminding him. They all have access to their schedules and have gotten adept at checking with him about dates and times. They also know they can call me if they need a ride somewhere.


When I started letting

When I started letting certain things go and stopped reminding him, my husband got mad too. It's the big reason he asked me to leave. I guess the guilt is too much because I don't say anything anymore. He got worse in so many ways, especially when taking us into consideration. . Yet he claims I have an attitude and that is why he picks fights and acts hostile to me. 

Exhausted.....since he told me to leave, I haven't cleaned ANYTHING that isn't absolutely necessary. So far, he's done the dishes twice, but my son's dirty clothes have spent two days on the kitchen table. I also keep my sanity with a clean house, but hey, I leave Monday, so screw it;)

I brought out moving boxes from the shed today. Gonna do some early packing;)

Good luck!

It does get better! The physical distance will help you distance yourself mentally and you might even see these interactions as almost humorous.

Ex still tries to pick fights all the time. If I make a statement, any statement (e.g. "The sky is blue") he will counter it and argue. He does this with me and my oldest son. I learned a long time ago to just verbally agree or otherwise ignore it. (Thankfully, my son is also learning it!) If I ask a question, (e.g. "Hey, what time are you bringing the kids tomorrow?") he takes offense and acts as if I'm interrogating or insulting him (e.g. "What do you MEAN, what time??? I always bring them on time? Is that what you're trying to say? That I'm NOT going to be on time? Because I've been on time with the kids! God, you are impossible!!!! You are a blankety-blankety-blank!"). So, I don't ask questions verbally anymore and only through text or email. That way, I don't have to hear him cursing at me and I can ignore the extraneous stuff. (It really drives him nuts when he goes off like that, text after text, and I simply text back, "OK. What time are you bringing them tomorrow?")

When you stop participating in the craziness, it can almost be entertaining. (Except when it is directed at the kids. But even then, over time, if they can see you reacting calmly and NOT being hurt or upset or insulted, they will learn to mimic your behavior and let it bounce off them as well.)

Oh wow, that sounds like mine

Oh wow, that sounds like mine even while he was trying to do better. I do get a sick satisfaction about staying cool while someone else loses their mind. If I just text "ok", he still claims it is attitude. Recently he went off via text because I tried to help him find a replacement sitter. He was all "wtf!!!!!! hell no! her daughter is sick. Wtf!!!!". I just replied with ok, try so & so. LOL!! When I pointed it out later, he says I took it out of context. I just wrote it word for word. You decide haha. 

Oh my lol, the "sky is blue" thing happens all the time but in a different way. I'll say "the sky was really blue today" and he'll say, "no, actually it was really blue today". He does this ALL THE TIME. I will state something, then he will say no and restate the exact same thing, sometimes worded slightly different. How annoying, yet amusing. I'm glad I don't live in his head. 

Oh yeah!

I will say "How about you take the kids to the 2:00 movie?" He'll say, "No, I think the 2:00 movie is better!" I have learned just to go, "OK, sounds good!" rather than point out that I just said this.

The funny part is... this happens over TEXT. It's not like he misheard me! (I guess he misread it?)

Anyway... If you don't laugh, you cry!


so glad to know it's not just me.


Relearning, I am in some similar situations trying to co-parent with my STBX. You are so right. It is so much easier with some distance and just letting it go if you can and it does bring peace. I was worried for a while when we separated that he was missing so much and even sent calendars, lists, printed out information, etc when I dropped the kids off. A few months of this, and he missed almost everything. I felt like I needed to stand in front of him waving flares to remind him of games, matches, assemblies, etc. Mine was mad when I stopped doing it, too. He actually said, "I feel like I am being shut out of the kids' lives." Argh. I have such clear memories of trying to get him to read or listen to the kids' report cards, etc. --we're you in my life, lol?

I have done the same-told my children that if they want him there they can tell him, or he can access the multiple emails and websites that have our children's activities and communications from their school on them. On the other hand, if there is a bill or tax stuff in both our names, I am relieved when I see to it. So I pick what is important to me. 

And thanks for the post about miscommunications. I was relying on texting because I had to deal with him less, frankly (each phone can devolve into me trying desperately to get off the phone after he talks for 20 minutes) but after a bad misunderstanding last weekend about visitation and the holiday, I asked if we could only make plans in person. Let's just say that we have done that "it's blue," "no it's blue," thing so many times. Sigh.