A general observation that I've seen floated before: that men tend to want to make up for hurting someone by doing something, whereas women generally want to fix it by talking or listening instead. I've posted here before about having conflicts with my wife and being at a loss for words — how to show the right kind of empathy, for example? So I wind up doing something instead... more often than not now, it's something small and stupid. "Busy-work", she calls it when she's upset. But how else to work on my own flooding without stewing in my own negative thoughts?
Our first really serious fight several years ago, and two nights spent away from our house, my wife came home to find some fresh flowers in a vase... and me upstairs, ripping the old caulk out of the shower and re-caulking it. (Hadn't she complained about it before, feeling certain that I wasn't hearing her?)
On the rare occasion we can call time-out on a heated discussion, I'll zip into the other room to make sure the bed is made nice and neat, or tidy up the drawers in the kitchen. (She asks, does that make you feel better about the stupid things you said 15 minutes ago?)
If I wake up somewhere other than next to her in bed, I'll set aside a small breakfast for her and then get right on to cleaning the house. (She's probably stressed and behind on her other stuff... doesn't that show that I care if I take the lead on this?)
Well hey, I don't know if there's a point to this post, other than to share my general thoughts, and see if anyone else has observations, critiques, or stories of their own on this topic. Certainly I'd be curious to know what females think of all this, as they sit and watch their men mow the yard, or help fold the laundry, or whatever.
Well, if you're asking...I
Submitted by vabeachgal on
Well, if you're asking...I see this in my H and I feel frustrated by the behavior. On a bad day, it makes me really angry.
Why? Because there isn't always a connection between the activity and the discussion and stated results. For example, if the discussion is about how I have to handle all of the everyday mundane tasks without a break because there is no division of chores... handing me a spatula while I'm cooking and getting in the way in the kitchen is not a solution. Similarly, re-arranging everything on the counter top while I am trying to cook is NOT HELPFUL or appreciated. Taking on regular grocery shopping, meal planning and preparation would be fabulous. If the discussion is about how I would like more help with college selection, visits, finances, testing, etc.... loading up the car with all of the dorm room supplies I sourced (except for two whole items), it isn't useful help. I have two teenagers to load up the car, right? I have two teenagers to help drive. If the "help" is only loading the car and driving? Whew! Therefore, I don't value the busywork because I'm generally asking for something else and it misses the mark. When the bottom line is my frustration over having to carry all of the mental load and most of the physical load for the household (thinking, planning, preparing, scheduling, anticipating), what I consider random task completion makes me sigh.
I actually want the words which demonstrate real understanding and empathy. I recently found my husband "perusing" online again. Very hurtful and disrespectful. I initiated an in house separation. What is he talking about? Replacing the french doors in the family room. Yes, they need replacement because the drainage problem was never fixed and they were never properly caulked to begin with. But he's ignoring the malfunctioning kitchen sink I have to use multiple times a day (I replaced the faucet by myself, BTW). But... holy smokes... this is what's on his mind? This is supposed to make me feel better? Why? Because I've mentioned a couple of times that the doors need to be replaced to sell the house and that's how he demonstrates that he listens to me? This is what he is focused on instead of trying to figure out this ADHD and marriage stuff, acknowledging that we're in a bad place and preparing to work on it?
In my opinion, my H takes for granted all the day to day AND big project things I do. So, I guess I don't think too much if I see him fold laundry or mow the lawn. Those things are just the chores of living. BTW, his laundry is in the laundry room unfolded for 3 days. I finally moved it from the dryer to a basket so I could use the dryer. He hasn't had to worry about laundry for 14 years. Stuff got dirty and showed up later, washed and folded. Magic.
I wish my husband would try to use his words. When he does busy work in an attempt to make me feel better, I feel like more times than not, he's missed the point what I'm discussing.
But how else to work on my own flooding without stewing in my own negative thoughts?
What do you mean by this comment? How does the busy work help you cope with the disagreement? Sometimes, cleaning the house or some other activity helps me stop stewing over a disagreement or a frustration. Your answer, if you're willing to provide it, might give me some insight.
I still think I would prefer a real sincere apology to a clean junk drawer. I "run away" to "do stuff" during or after an argument because I'm just done talking so I assume my H is doing the same. IDK.
Please don't take it as
Submitted by ACD-but-not-B on
Please don't take it as making light of anyone's hurt feelings, but this is a great response, vabeachgal. Similar-yet-different examples from someone on the other end of the stick can help give me another one of those moments where I can see how much my head gets stuck in my own marriage history, my own cycling thoughts, my strange worries. To read this, it does put it into my head that trying ANY repair attempt is not the same as striving for the BEST repair attempt (in actions or words).
My "rhetorical" questions in my original post are mostly meant to play devil's advocate here, expressing something of what I may have thought at the moment, dumb though it may have been. Just hoping to spur discussion with that, and hopefully I have.
If I could explain the words about flooding: maybe I've taken an old piece of advice and applied it too broadly. John Gottman writes about flooding and the destruction that can happen when you don't cut it off. Have a signal to stop, take a break, X minutes, and go off and DO something else. Don't sit and grumble, or think about the most biting remark you can make back at the table later. But make a cup of tea, write out random words on scrap paper, tidy up the workbench in the basement, sort through the mail pile, etc. Whatever gets your heart rate back down. That hardly makes it the best idea in every situation, but my ADHD can take it and run with it. But you're right, in the meantime, how is my wife seeing it? That her husband is (was) only superficially involved in this discussion, because now he's segued from this important marriage discussion to 10 minutes of earnest and focused... vacuuming. Hardly sane.
There's nothing insane about
Submitted by vabeachgal on
There's nothing insane about it. I've read John Gottman also. I've had to do a lot of work on my anger this past year and it has meant working to disengage during arguments. Perhaps disengage is making light of it. I'm letting myself off there :) What I mean is I have to stop myself before I get really riled up and start dragging up ever past issue or mistake. I have to stop the train of thought and keep the conversation current. It's hard. So I guess we're both doing the same thing, but in different ways. Is your wife aware (by using your words?) that this is what you are doing? If so, I can't imagine it would be considered objectionable.
I will say that early in the marriage, when my H would bring home flowers to complete a small task, it was very endearing and it went a long, long way to mending fences. However, when the same arguments and behavior became chronic, those things no longer worked because so much resentment had built up. I don't know if it's the same for you.
What I mean is I have to stop
Submitted by ACD-but-not-B on
What I mean is I have to stop myself before I get really riled up and start dragging up ever past issue or mistake. I have to stop the train of thought and keep the conversation current. It's hard.
This is something the both of us have discussed, in calm moments, but then her anger blasts off again. It can get extremely frightening, and yes, every hurtful thing from 6, 8, 10 years past will eventually come cascading out. I just sit there motionless and see if it'll burn itself out. Not that she doesn't have a right to be angry, but moving closer to where you are on the continuum is going to be necessary, but hard.
Is your wife aware (by using your words?) that this is what you are doing? If so, I can't imagine it would be considered objectionable.
On paper, yes, but it's different in the heat of the moment when we both are not in practice. At that instant maybe she sees a missed change to throw a cup of water on the "fire", instead of taking 10 minutes to let it crackle down. A line from Gottman might be useful, if forced ("Remember what we discussed last Thursday? I'd like to try a 10-minute break, okay, please?") but a remark, a nice word, even a meaningful look in my eyes could do more good than that, maybe. Again, something that I have to work on too... though difficult.
However, when the same arguments and behavior became chronic, those things no longer worked because so much resentment had built up. I don't know if it's the same for you.
In short, yes, 110%. How easy is it to focus on the flowers that got thrown out, the notecards ripped in half, the special home-made dinner that was nothing but junk and carbs... and say no, not falling for it this time. Will I then get steered in the direction of caulking the shower? Maybe? Dumb male brain tells me, what's she gonna do, get angry and throw out the shower?
It fits both men and women
Submitted by NowOrNever (not verified) on
...whether there's substance abuse recovery going on or not
"Take stock of the damage you’ve caused. ... Ebberwein says. “Your effort to make amends will fall short and deepen mistrust if you actively continue to hurt people because you’re unaware” of the impact of your misbehavior.
Express your desire to repair the damage. With each person, you want to make amends to, “ask for a time to talk so you can have the conversation in private,” Ebberwein suggests. Explain what you’re trying to do and why you want to make up for the hurt you’ve inflicted; then, be prepared to listen to the other person’s thoughts and feelings, no matter how painful they may be to hear.
"Admit your mistakes. “People need to hear that you recognize the problems you have and that you’re taking responsibility for your behavior,” Horvath says. Owning up to your mistakes and apologizing for them will allow most relationships the chance to begin to heal. “It can help both parties for the offender to specifically ask for forgiveness,” Ebberwein adds. “You might say something like, ‘I really am sorry for what I’ve done. If there is a way I can make it up to you, I want to try. Please forgive me.’”
Find an appropriate way to remedy things. In some cases, an apology is in order. In others, it may be better to replace property you stole or damaged or repay money you took to finance your substance abuse or gambling addiction. Granted, sometimes you can’t fix the damage. For example, if you drove while drunk and killed someone, you may need to be more creative in how you make amends. You could volunteer for an organization that’s dedicated to ending drunk driving, speak to communities about the dangers of driving under the influence or become an organ donor in memory of the life lost. In other instances, the reparation could mean devoting time and attention to someone who was left alone while you were engaged in addiction, Ebberwein says. If the best course of action isn’t obvious, don’t be afraid to ask, “What can I do to begin to make this up to you?”
Be patient about regaining people’s trust. It’s not unusual for people who are recovering from an addiction to think that now that they’re turning the corner, other people should trust them right away. That’s a mistake, says Horvath. “It’s going to take people a significant amount of time to trust you again,” he says. “So don’t be upset that people are cautious or tentative about trusting you. It’s what you would do if the tables were turned.” Adds Ebberwein, “The recovering person has some control over making amends, but not over its impact on others.” So, give others the time and proof they need to trust in you again— and think of this as another chapter in your recovery story. "
Written by S Colinho, addiction.com
Just doing something to soothe one's own anxiety is no fix for having harmed someone else. You may have to find out from the harmed one what would truly make better what was harmed. That requires asking, and naming what you know you did wrong. Then do something that fixes the harm or take action to change your behavior so it doesnt happen again Don't shirk the conversation in which you take responsibility for what you did, without whining or rationalizing
I'm a woman.
I appreciate this very much
Submitted by ACD-but-not-B on
I appreciate this very much too, NON. Again, with no friends/family that know about any of this (and no counseling since mid-2013), every different bit of perspective via this forum is thought-provoking. Too many times I've asked her, "what hurt you about last night?" or "will you ever trust me again?" or "how can I make it up to you?" only to be told that this is the same pain all over again, same questions to which I should know the answers by now. And yet, there must be SIMILAR questions to those that will mean more... be spoken more sincerely... do more to show that I want to bridge the gap.
"Take stock of the damage you
Submitted by vabeachgal on
"Take stock of the damage you’ve caused. ... Ebberwein says. “Your effort to make amends will fall short and deepen mistrust if you actively continue to hurt people because you’re unaware” of the impact of your misbehavior.
Thank you. I believe you just helped me figure out why I feel "stuck" and unable to move forward under some circumstances. It would explain a lot of the repetitive vents. We haven't completed the steps you outlined.
In some cultures, apologies are highly regarded.
Impact of habitual behavior on trust
Submitted by NowOrNever (not verified) on
Hi, VAbeach girl
I end up wondering pretty often how much my husband notices what he's doing. Meaning retaining memory of what he does that is mundane. I'm pretty sure that there are periods of time that he's not aware of me even though I'm in the room or house, and periodically touch base with him. If that's so, that once what he's doing physically or has done physically disappears from memory, and I'm not a memorable presence, I think it quite possible that he misses that he's done something to me that would have quite an impact on anyone...even itnwould have an impact on him himself if someone did it to him. He'd be among the first to be upset...it's not cool to have that done to you...
There have been these moments in which I can see that he really doesnt have a grasp on what just happened, or what might reasonably be upsetting me, the thinking about cause and effect. His attention is off somewhere else. No advice to anyone in similar situations...at present, it seems to me that what I need to do, if he is really bewildered at what he did, is telling him what I need him to do or not do, at the moment. Just, please do this, right now.
No one can apologize, really, unless you know what you really did. I dont always manage my feelings well, in these situations. I've felt pretty bad on the receiving end sometimes. But if he really didnt notice or remember that he broke something and left it broken, how about glass shards all over the floor, and someone could walk in barefoot in the morning, see that he interrupted me repeatedly in front of others, I dont see at present that my expression of what it feels like to be done to that way is doing any good at all. He just goes into high defense. So I'm looking for a balance among not squelching my own reaction, but not making it an issue of my reaction, telling him what I need him to do, if we're in the middle of a situation produced by something that he did, and giving him a break on the small things sometimes. Complicated. I wish He had better retention of what he does sometimes. But its his neurology. He's neurologically like him, not like me
I think the wicket really gets sticky though, over chronic behavior or things done out of strong, determined intention. To make up an example here, if one of us says, over and over that he or I will do or not do something, and day after day, month after month, he or I dont do what we say we'll do, or keep doing what we've said over and over that we wouldnt do, that's chronic promise breaking. That to me is a big deal. It's not the same as my husband or me being oblivious to doing something particular that day.
I do wonder if people understand that chronic promise breaking or chronic harming has as you say, a cumulative effect. I liked the addiction.com writers sentences on the need to work on being trustworthy for awhile, if there's been chronic harm done. "Be patient about regaining people’s trust. It’s not unusual for people ..to think that now that they’re turning the corner, other people should trust them right away. That’s a mistake, says Horvath. “It’s going to take people a significant amount of time to trust you again,” he says. “So don’t be upset that people are cautious or tentative about trusting you. It’s what you would do if the tables were turned.” Adds Ebberwein, “The recovering person has some control over making amends, but not over its impact on others.” So, give others the time and proof they need to trust in you again "
Lol....if a person is not self aware enough to know what he or she is doing to other people....other people's reactions to them must be puzzling. As in: "what set HER (HIM) off???
My Two Bits Here
Submitted by kellyj on
I'll give you my take on what you said and apply it to everything that has been mentioned already. I can tell you one thing just for starters. If I didn't understand the damage I've caused in the past.....once I experienced it on the receiving end now with my wife....that much is perfectly clear to me. I'm still going with the idea she has ADHD herself (undiagnosed and untreated ) and regardless of WHAT? I know why in terms of how that effects me and this flooding issue? I really didn't understand "flooding" when I first read about it but part of that was a) I had kind of dealt with that in my own way so long ago...that it hasn't really emerged again until I was confronted with my wife in these moments and mostly....there is nothing you can do once that train has left the station? The problem as I now see it in my wife.....is that once you get there and it goes on for too long ( or goes to the end of the line so to speak ) you are kind of incapacitated emotionally ( crippled by it ) and you really aren't able to make good decisions. Period. The way I describe this as it looks like to me with my wife is a "one track mind" or being "one dimensional" which is really limiting in yours ( mine ) and my wife's ability to think "straight" since the filters that are necessary to do this....just aren't there? That's part of it...but heres what I see in my wife when she floods and it's like something takes her over and she can't hear or see anything else at the time? What she does...is go into compulsive "cleaning mode" and just picking up and cleaning as if she is doing by remote control? Almost in an effort to calm herself down but also...she starts applying her own thinking to it in terms of "I'm doing something good so it must be Okay". Can't argue that cleaning is a bad thing and there is no argument there?
But this compulsive cleaning she has really run amok with her....and she starts obsessing over and then looks at me and blames me for the mess I have made? I'm not really applying what you said here to her and what she does.....I'm trying to to explain how this works on my end and what I see? What I see is....this has absolutely nothing to do with me. Sure...I might have made a mess or even am right in the middle of something where things are out of order....but no matter....this cleaning frenzy she goes in is not related to any mess I have made or even that I caused this more importantly and is completely disassociated with me as the reasons why no matter what she says. Completely seperate from anything I've done? So no matter what I say...or no matter what she says....she is not cleaning to
a) clean up my mess because I won't or don't....even if she says that or even if that is in part true. The fact that she picks "that time to clean" is unrelated to anything but her flooding and her means to relieve herself from the anxiety she is feeling whether I was there or not....whether it was my mess or not....or whether she wants to it right then or not...which she usually tells me...it's not. Meaning....it's not what she wants to do.....but more what she feels ....she HAS TO DO!! Which she states( or says to me ) or has stated to me in an on going basis?
While you might think....Okay.....he has ADHD and he makes messes which is true without a doubt. And you might say....Okay......she really mad at him and he's just not getting why she is? Or you might even say......she has every right to feel this way because I am so difficult to live with in that respect? Which all of these things are possible?
But there is other options to here....that can easily get clouded over by what looks to be "legitimate" on her part? In other words....the legitimate parts that fit into this as one might imagine ( and with me being on the side of doubt that might make you think this is more me and not her since this all sounds like nothing you wouldn't expect?
What I don't expect....and haven't expected....or have had happen to me with any other woman I have ever been with? Is someone...for no apparent reason ( to me ) who gets up on the wrong side of the bed....is irritated for no reason other than "just waking up"....who suddenly picks that time out of context to anything that is happening anywhere with me or anyone else in the house....and suddenly just "goes off" in such hast and such a reactive way ( like someone pushed a button ) and bam....off to the races....and the cleaning frenzy has begun!!! She can't even see herself do this..which is more to the point? So anything and everything that comes out of her mouth...is somewhat in relationship to being "flooded" and she is now operating and thinking in this one dimensional way and is like "out of control" but done in a very controlled manner? Very controlled and very deliberate even though.....how can you argue that cleaning is a bad thing to do? It's just that...cleaning is her "thang" that makes her feel better...and she does it so automatically.....she is not even aware of what it looks like seeing this from the outside? And it's always associated with anxiety or irritation of some kind...but it just so happens...that this behavior in itself....is completely acceptable and no one can argue with it including me? And the last person she is doing it for...is me....no matter what she tries to convince me of? It's not for me to keep the house clean. It's not for me...to do it for me because I won't. And it's not for me ...or to help me...or do me any favors? She's doing it as a means to counter how she feels because she is so flooded with these feelings...all she can think of is making these feelings STOP!!! And it's so obvious to me......that it amazes me...than she can't see what she is doing at times and has no awareness of even why she is cleaning?
So no matter WHAT....she says...and no matter WHAT.....her reasons are.....she is not doing it for me.....yet she will say she is...or say it's because of me...or say anything other than the reason she is behaving this way......like BAM....suddenly out of the blue!!
And just so you know.....when I do experience this myself.....there is nothing I can do once it starts other than to try and calm myself down and yes....getting busy...keeping my mind off it..and doing other things even if they things I am suppose to do or even doing "good things" for my wife....are all coming from me needing and wanting these feelings to go away so anything I do to make that happen.....are the things I will do to STOP them for myself? But like I said.....these times are few and far between and with me....the real issue or trigger....are actually these times with my wife or right at first since it had been years since this happened...and all of a sudden....it was happening again? What up with that?
And in respect to my wife now in the same situation ( but with her this happens almost daily sometimes and multiple times a day during high times of stress. She literally becomes a different person..and she cannot tell when she changes or goes back even seemingly? She has absolutely no awareness of any of this...as I literally sitting there watching her go through all these changes and they are dramatic and very noticeable....and very difficult for me to be around?
And just from this experience and seeing this both in my self and my wife? I have a personal theory I have developed from just thinking about this and applying it to a different gender? Saying...a man with ADHD...is still a man...and a man is going to do what a man does plus...the added testosterone for good measure ie: more apt to rage!!! And become more physically threatening and violent in terms of what the behavior looks like even if not actually physically violent of even acting on it....I'm saying......"what it looks like" only in appearance outwardly?
And a woman with ADHD is still a woman...and a woman is going to do...what a woman normally does...in the same stereotypical way? And it is even more clear to me and more obvious to me? When I stopped this al together and no longer do it anymore? When I am able to contain this to the point....that the flooding never happens in the first place? I am much more aware of myself..and my surroundings which makes my wife's behavior "stand out: clear as a bell to me as an on looker.....without question. I am no longer in that ONE dimensional "one track mind" state...and I'm sitting there going ...OMFG!!!! This really is bad!!! Which gives me even more reason ...to not do the same thing I see?
So no matter which way you slice it....man or woman......THIS has a very negative effect on you on the receiving end...to the point...it was what triggered me in the first place..and my wife of course....could not...and can't stop it!! So in respect to the actual "thing" she does during these episodes she has....it makes no difference to me what so ever. She could stand on her head and do cart wheels and it doesn't make any difference to me? So her cleaning frenzy...as I see it...is all her trying to relieve her tension and make herself feel better which she can't blame on me...even if my messes trigger her....which is exactly to the point? No matter what she says or thinks as to why and her reasons for it.....it's her flooding that the issue....no matter what she does or says with it?
And....on top of it....her rational thinking mind is compromised and she no longer using good judgment or good thinking so everything she does after the fact...is related to this in some way? Globally speaking because it has a Global effect on her....as well as me at the same time? And to the same point....the only way I could see this and even say what I am saying....was for me to STOP this entirely....and maintain without allowing myself to do the same thing which I have learned how to do...and even if it starts...I can stop it and bring myself back to normal again and stay that way? I can't even begin to tell you all the ways I have learned how to do this but the fact is.....I know when it is happening...and I know how to stop it and my wife appears to me....to simply have no ability..or no awareness of it....since cleaning itself......has no argument against it from myself or anyone else you could use to say that this is a bad thing to do which it is not...and that the point? Cleaning does not make up...for the damage she has done here?
And to the same point.....what;s done is done.....nothing you can do....will make up for what's broken after the fact? What I want...and what I am not getting? Is not even an apology? An apology...would help.....but that's not what I want? What I want...is for her.....NOT TO FLOOD AT ALL......and gain control of it ...to stop it!!! Period. Every time she floods...she causes damage to me that she has no idea she is even doing. Every single time. It's the flooding itself...and everything that comes with it...that is doing all the damage no matter what she thinks is the problem...because she just can't see it her self because of the "one track mind" thing that happens...and it stays that way sometimes for a very long time. So until the time...that it recedes to a point where she starts thinking straight again.....nothing she does help me in any way...and it all is damaging to me? End of story right there?
What's really interesting here...is a correlation to something that I do and have done most my life...and that is just hyper energy coming out...which has nothing to do with emotions what so ever? I can get anxious...or nervous....which is nervous energy since I am the H in the ADHD...which my wife does not have at all? So with me...nervous energy appears as:
Bouncing my leg or tapping my foot for example. That one...really pissed everyone off as a child!! LOL I use to bounce my leg so much at the dinner table...that the table start shaking and my Dad would come unglued on me ( not really but he would bark at me since the silver wear and the glasses started tinkling and clanging LOL )
I would pace...and I still do...or get up and move around while I talk? This has nothing to do with flooding or anything to do with emotions what so ever....it's just nervous energy to the point...I may be overjoyed with something and be extremely happy...or not....or just sitting there quietly...tapping my foot and annoying the hell out of everyone!!! LOL But be a calm and collected as can be? You might or could call it a nervous "tick" but that's not even accurate because it;s not a "tick" as said? I can stop this on a dime...or not...as long as someone where to say..."hey quit it will ya"...and I have complete control to stop since it;s not emotionally based what so ever and is not related to flooding in any way? It's simply a release of nervous physical energy and it doesn't really make me feel better or worse...but I do it unconsciously for that reason only?
And because I have done this most of my life..and am soooo aware of this ( how could I not...when people request I put a lid on it all my life ) that the reactions and response by EVERYONE....are unanimously....all the same EXCEPT......for one person only. Take that back....two people only in my recollection? One being my wife. One being...another woman I worked with who...just so happens to have ADHD herself? And with this other woman in particular......had a lot of "intolerances" and sensitivities to noises and "sounds" but especially...."tapping" noises. You can se where this is going can"t you! LOL It kind of became a running joke with her and I...and sometimes I would "tap: on purpose and she would immediately go "tapping", "tapping"......"NO TAPPING"...which was kind of my way of acknowledging to her that I did that at times ( not on purpose ) in a friendly joking way. And her response was in the same vein...like the answer to my acknowledgment...which was done for that reason ( as more of playing with each other and being on the same page together? And we knew and understood it as such...and that just brought the tension down because of it? But the one thing to mention here as well? I don;t have sensitivities to noise like that...and tapping noises don;'t bother me a bit? Not to hard to guess why? LOL
But the only person then...that leaves this as a different response...is the one my wife would misread these behaviors....as "agitation"...which caused her to overreact as such? No one in my entire life.....actually "liked" this and why I have heard every possible or probable response I could ever want to hear about this so I know them all and in the 1000's of different response....except ONE...and that would be my wife who interpreted this as "agitation" or "irritation".." or a prelude to anger or hostility" ....which are all emotional response ( or preludes to flooding )and not nervous energy ....which, as it is for her ..it would be if she was her doing the same thing? Which again....right to the point? How she interpreted this....had to do with what it looked like to her...based on herself...and this flooding issue she has which was really messing me up....until I finally put my finger on it? Ironically.....here insistence..and her ramping up and getting really hostile from me getting up and moving around ( unconsciously )...or even tapping my leg or looking antsy.....was causing her to react so vehemently and overwhelmingly hostilely to this....that eventually.....I did get angry with her....even when I wasn't angry...because she was over reacting to just my nervous energy...and interpreting it as a "prelude to flooding"....or that is was just simply....."agitation" as she interpreted it...and that's what was so compelling to me going.....WTF? No one..and I mean no one....has ever interpreted these things as .....'agitation" before? After 1000's of different responses...from literally 100's of people over the years.....my wife's response...stood out like a sore thumb. So with that in mind...I going...."is it her...or is it everyone else?" I'm was going ....mmmmm?? I'm going with her .....being the answer on that one...to put this into better perspective here for you?
So if this helps you see this...through the eyes of someone who has had this issue in my past...and now being with someone who has it and what it looks like to me? I can tell you....what is done is done...and you can't go back and fix it no matter what you do? Apologies will help..and that is all good and fine. Acknowledgement ( of this just as I said....but saying....not saying I know I do this....but saying.....you can see it too..and you know you do it at the same times....by recognizing it....and verbally saying....."I just did that didn't I. That's that things again I do...right then in the moment when you do it.....which says....."I see it.....I acknowledge it...and this is exactly what it is? In a way that tells the others person that you see it too...and now saying....and I know the damage it causes you ....and I am sorry for this? Please forgive me because I realize how hard it is on you every time I do this? That....would make a world of difference because of the worst apsect this causes for everyone else including me in this case?
Walking on egg shells. That's the end result of the damage it causes right there. That is the canary in the coal mine for everyone else from the effect this creates inside you out of fear of the next time....and never knowing when it's going to happen? And I can tell you straight from the horses mouth....every single time it happens....it cause damage to other people. Every single time!!!
So....if you trust me and beleive me......you need to be at least aware of that much...even if you can't see the damage yourself? If you know it happens....just accept...that every single time it does...you are causing damage to other people and never even question that for a second because it's absolutely true whether you can see it....recognize it...or you even aware of it ( or not ). That is the effect...and it;s the effect it has that is doing the damage in an on going basis? One time...NO problem. Everyone including me can get past once or twice on a rare rare occasion.
But constantly being exposed to it on a daily basis ...or multiple times a day....creates such a internal disruption to the peace and calm to everyone else's environment and living space....that you get "jumpy"...and become so nervous and nerve racked because of it....that it becomes like Chinese water torture...for every one else? Just so you know?
That is a very good analogy to hold in your mind I think. One drop of water....no problem. Two drops of water.....eh...Okay. Three drops of water....starts to become annoying......1000 drops of water over the course of a few days now ( drip drip drip ).....becomes torture to endure and if you only see the ONE drop at a time....then you'll be thinking....."Eh....what's the big deal....it's just ONE tiny drop of water...WTF's the problem?"
Not so much.....when it never stops??? There you go....straight up from the horses mouth?
Submitted by DependentOrigination on
My husband does this a lot. The repair attempt by doing something. To me, I have often interpreted it as another form of neglect, but maybe, you are teaching me something. He has ADD. He used to do something I interpreted as hurtful (or actually, three or four hurtful things, I could survive the first couple with grace, and I interpreted them as hurtful, because I didn't realize he had ADD) and then I would get angry or sad and then the next day, he would do something incredibly nice or thoughtful. Without addressing the actual thing that had been done, that had been hurtful in the first place.
At first, I was charmed. I thought it was an admission of guilt and a request for forgiveness. Never assume. Ever. About a year ago, he told me he did it because he wanted me to feel better because I was sad and angry, not because he thought he had done something wrong. I don't think he really understood, ever, what I was talking about when I was sad or how it impacted me.
Anyhow, my experience last night pretty much summed up my new approach to our relationship. I have to spend Christmas with his evil ex wife. "For their kids sake." And forego my own families Christmas. Which I love. It is a definite anxiety trigger for me. So I got a little touchy when they kitten gloved around the issue like I was the problem (I am the problem, lol, but not really). And my husband told me we were in a "bad relationship" because my anger and and my sadness at some of his past choices makes him stressed out. He went on in detail of the physical manifestations of his stress... like I too didn't experience stress from some of his choices. And I realized, the light bulb turned on, that the whole avoidant personality style that J was talking about the other day was full into play. And I realized that it is unlikely that I am going to ever get to fully resolve issues that constantly cycle back into existence: his finances, his ex fiancé, his ex wife, his schedule.
And if I can't do anything about it, then I had better just move my way right around it and when I bump up against it, go fill my life with better things for awhile, that have nothing to do with him and his choices.
Anyhow, thank you for the insight. I never did appreciate those make up gestures my husband did, because I wanted the recognition that I had been harmed by his choices. He probably, like you, thought his gestures were futile because I, too, could not appreciate them at the time. He barely does anything anymore the next day.
So he can keep his self righteous certainty and his avoidance of stress and his need to step on my toes despite my repeated requests that he not. Sometimes he sees it, and when he does, I will be grateful. But I will no longer engage in it.
Sorry for the rant. And thanks for the insight. I could have used this post three years ago, when I was still innocent and hopeful and not burned to a crisp.
Submitted by overwhelmedwife on
I had to look up "flooding" because I had never heard that term before. It fits my situation. A therapist once told my H that when he's upset, logic goes straight out the window. Which is very true. He's unreachable. Just throwing out attacks, won't even look at proof that he's wrong (like when he yelled at me about the total of a credit card bill (accusing me of spending too much) and he threw the bill at me, I looked at the line item charges and they were our child's college textbooks. The credit card wasn't mine. It was our child's, but when I tried to show him that the bill wasn't mine, he locked himself in the bathroom so he wouldn't have to see that he was wrong.)
Anyway, my H often does what's described above. When he's trying to "make amends" he'll do some chore. That doesn't upset me. I feel that when he's doing that he's at least showing some remorse and wanting to "make good."
However if he was doing stuff that was annoying, like moving ingredients around while I was cooking, or just getting in the way, I would redirect him into doing something useful (like empty the dishwasher, or set the table, or move the laundry from the washer to the dryer.)
My husband rage cleans. He
Submitted by Almost Done on
My husband rage cleans. He isn't doing it for me, it's almost something he is doing TO me. For the most part I try to stay out of his way while he is doing it, but he'll "clean" things that are mine like my vanity with all the little pots, brushes and other flotsam and jetsam that goes into my morning routine and just put it all in a drawer without any organization or paying attention to things that may need to be stored right side up.
I almost feel like I shouldn't complain about him at all though. He is an equal partner when it comes to cooking, cleaning, parenting, and we are trying something completely different in regards to the household budget that will hopefully share the burden there. What he is is dismissive and manipulative and emotionally and verbally abusive. Too bad I didn't pay better attention before I said I do.