Inner critic, outer critic

A few nights ago my boyfriend said he would make dinner for us some day.  When I got home the day of the promised dinner, he said he hadn't been able to go get groceries due to bad weather.  He was, however, able to buy a new video game for himself and spend the whole day playing it.  Since I was home he decided to ask me what I wanted for dinner and I said I didn't know, that the whole point for me was that I would be relieved of having to make a decision about what we were going to eat -- I didn't want to think of it now that I was hungry and tired.   He huffed off and hurried to the store, and in his rush to get out of there, left some of the groceries at the store.  It was pretty much a disaster.

I was really put out that he was the one getting angry when he put himself in the situation of having to rush around at the last minute to do what he had said he would do.  I did apologize to him for being frustrated and told him I knew he didn't put everything off on purpose, but he had to understand why I would be upset, considering he was able to do something that was entirely for his own enjoyment but not something that would have really helped the both of us.  And that's when he said something that I have secretly suspected and yet it still blew my mind that he finally admitted it...

He said he only got angry in response to my frustration or anger when he knew he was at fault, that his inner critic which had been nagging at him all day matched his outer critic -- me -- and he felt like "we" were ganging up on him, and he knew "we" had every right to be mad.  He also said his inner critic speaks to him in my voice now.  Apparently I nag and scold him all day long in his head.  Ouch. 

I told him I found that to be kind of hurtful but he said he didn't mean it in a bad way, just that it was my voice that reminded him of the things he knew he should be doing.  It has been a problem throughout our relationship that when I try to talk about things that are a problem or that frustrate me, he cuts off the conversation too quickly and I don't get to say what I need to say.  Well no wonder, in his mind I've said it already.   


KitKat's picture

guilty outbursts

I can completely relate to this scenario. Both my husband and I have ADD and were diagnosed as adults, after we got together. The outbursts of anger come from both of us, but I am much more prone to them. When he criticises me for not doing something, I feel angry because I am already beating myself up about it and feeling guilty and useless over it. We try to calm things down by analysing the fight and admitting that the anger is internal and that we're just taking it out on the other. Not that it always helps us to feel better - we're always working on it.