Am I the jerk for being out of patience?

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OccasionalSeagull
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18 Oct 2021, 10:29 am

My husband and I have been best friends for years, starting as just friendly-classmates in freshman year of high school (note: he was the first person to ever treat me like a person ALL the time, not just when he needed/ wanted something). We've been married for 5 years in November.

He struggles with depression and anxiety, as well as being unfamiliar with someone caring for his emotional needs (in his family emotional/ psychological needs simply don't exist, period.) all of which i completely understand and take delicate steps to navigate. Simply put, I treat him how I wish I was treated/ how he *deserves* to be treated.

However... often when he's depressed, anxious, or simply caught up in his own dark corners of though (hey- we've ALL been there, no judgment at all) he'll often refuse to communicate with me.

I ask what's wrong: he'll give a mumble (im hearing impaired so I ask him to repeat) and he'll not-quite-snap (VERY even tempered 99% of the time) "nevermind" or simply shake his head in refusal to repeat.
So I respect that and don't dig.

I ask would me being there or being alone be better?: "I dont care. It doesn't matter"
So I use past experiences and hope I guess right whether to let him be or just be in the same room, free of prying.

I feel horrible because despite being my only friend and having known him for years I CANNOT read or intuit what he needs- im *forced* to ask, usually to being brushed off ignored or unintentionally blamed. So I use the 'rules' I've seen everywhere my whole life:

Good partners and good relationships rely on patience, understanding, support, encouragement, and (the easiest one for me) unconditional love.
Yes... all of these things run through mental calculations; how many +/- outcomes to X action, when this has happened in the past does X action help or hurt? Try the opposite or rephrase the last attempt? All as rapidly as I can because simultaneously I blame myself for something I dont even understand or know, which I know is wrong but im working on it.

This last time (currently ongoing) he blatantly ignored my gentle "how was your day?" "Whats on your mind?" "Do you need anything?" And either replied with silence or snapping, and at one point actually barked at me over something stupid, small, and completely unrelated (I had dropped the emotional issue, assuming he wasn't ready to talk WHICH IS TOTALLY OK IF HE WOULD JUST SAY THAT) and I couldn't take it- before I could run any calculations I blurt out in tears "thats not fair!" At the same time he said "I shouldn't yell at you..." but I didn't care. After 13+ years of friendship I am temporarily out of both sympathy and patience.

Im exhausted. I monitor my tone, inflection, emotions, EVERYTHING constantly without sacrificing honesty. Im ALWAYS supportive, encouraging, and on his side no matter how dark things get.
Yet everytime he gets upset and inadvertently "blames" ie is just plain mean or dismissive for no reason towards me, as soon as he's over it or "feels bad" he apologizes, BUT...

There's always some "secret" he didn't tell me or "motivation" that caused him to brush me aside or be mean, basically a justification of why its either ok/ forgivable or permissible that he treated me so coldly. Very, VERY rarely does he turn the tables and make me the true bad guy, but it happens. He SAYS "and I know its not ok-" but forgive me, I was raised by an emotionally manipulative monster. THAT false-comfort is the most obvious trap in the world. he does not intend to manipulate me he knows my past abuse better than I do.

I genuinely don't care this time. I am completely unwilling to be kind right now. I am out of patience and sympathy. Not forever, but right now. I would NOT let him apologize, and I told him this to his face: "there's ALWAYS a reason its ok for you to treat me the way you do when you're upset" and wouldn't let him say another word. Its been 48 hours and I still don't care. I know whatever he has to say will make me back-pedal and I dont want to do that.

I plan on, maybe later today, saying this and ONLY this (I've rehearsed carefully and this seems to communicate what I mean the best while having what I hope is significant impact):

"You WILL NOT shame me for caring about you. Thats done. You WILL NOT take your frustrations out on me just because you don't know how to accept someone caring about you. All I do is my best to support and encourage you, and when things get ugly you throw that ugly at me. I dont deserve that, and its not fair.
I dont want to hear 'why' or an apology, because when I asked you refused to communicate or even say "I dont want to/ cant talk about it now", which you KNOW I understand and accept. You cannot keep me in the dark and then be angry that I dont understand.
I love you, but im out of patience and sympathy. Not forever, but right now. Im not interested in anything you could say because I'm not interested in bending right now. You know im always here but treat me like a pest anyway. I love you, but im done with that behaviour."

So am I the monster here? Am I being too harsh? I act aggressively when overstimulated or confused so I do my best to monitor that and regulate *how much* aggression is permissible. I know he's going through a hard time, but its not like I'm not there so ????

I have errands to run so I may confront him after that. Insight and even "mmm, no, you're kind of a jerk" is accepted


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kraftiekortie
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18 Oct 2021, 10:45 am

The guy just has to learn to treat you decently, and with respect.

That's my feeling about it.

You've been best friends for years. He's the one who's acting like a jerk.



babybird
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18 Oct 2021, 11:02 am

Wow OK so that was a lot to take in.

You're not a monster and you're not a jerk. You have a right to be happy in a relationship and you should not ever settle for anything less than that.

You are right to put your foot down.

You are wrong in always monitoring your behaviour though. I really and truly believe that if you was treated with respect and kindness and not be subject to all of this poor behaviour from your spouse then you would benefit so much to the point where your irrationality would also deminish.

As it is you sound as if you are in a disfunctional relationship where both parties are miscommunication.

He can't get away with just always apologising to you. He needs to alter his poor behaviour.

You are not at fault.



OccasionalSeagull
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18 Oct 2021, 11:14 am

Ha... yeah sorry guys I get chatty when nervous.

The thing is he's *only* like this when he's upset, which to me personally is when you're told you should observe your actions the closest. Hes extremely intelligent, open minded, and all around beautiful mind EXCEPT when his depression flares.

I do intend to put my foot down and demand he change his behaviour- I wholeheartedly agree with y'all on that one, and I feel so much better knowing I'm not being "the nagging wife", but I dont want him to jump to the irrational conclusion that I won't support him in his dark times.
Is that something I can even control? Will my wording/ tone/ inflection affect how he takes it? Or is that his *choice* how he interprets?
You see now why I really, really don't bother with too many people. So many variables...

When his depression hits its like all of his intelligence just friggin VANISHES and the world, even me, is either out to get him or indifferent to his struggles with no room for in-between.
At times, even in depressive states, there seems to be a glimmer of understanding that what he's doing is wrong- but I see no action to change the behaviour other than the small apologies, rinse, repeat. And *thats* what I work on- words are for manipulating, actions are for demonstrating your beliefs. My verbal skills are CRAP so im not sure if that one is universal, or just me tho.

I do have to disagree about my irrationality disappearing though- that one is entirely on me. I won't hold anyone else responsible for my mindset.
Im fighting old conditioning and beliefs that I dont think anyone but me can fix. The monsters who raised me made D :!: MN sure that no matter what happened they could always use me as the scapegoat, and its a huge hurdle to overcome.


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18 Oct 2021, 11:51 am

We've been married 21 years and from my vantage point I'd observe: He's a husband guy human.

If he's not snarling at you all the time and you love each other then I don't think it is surprising that the world sometimes gets him into a bad mood and it colors his interactions with you. I know my bride has experienced this with me, and less frequently I have experienced it from her.

Sometimes someone just needs some time and space.

Are you familiar with MBTI? While I've only known I'm an Aspie since 2019 I've known that I was an MBTI INTJ since 1990. I have a very clear Introversion preference and it took a few years for my bride to get adjusted to one implication of that, in our terminology, sometimes I need to "Introvert". She's learned it is not necessarily her fault but sometimes I just need to be left alone.

P.S. It's hard to be nice when you're in a really bad mood. If he's often in really bad moods, perhaps you can investigate what is doing that to him. Sometimes work, for instance, can be very unpleasant.


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babybird
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18 Oct 2021, 12:02 pm

OccasionalSeagull wrote:
Ha... yeah sorry guys I get chatty when nervous.

The thing is he's *only* like this when he's upset, which to me personally is when you're told you should observe your actions the closest. Hes extremely intelligent, open minded, and all around beautiful mind EXCEPT when his depression flares.

I do intend to put my foot down and demand he change his behaviour- I wholeheartedly agree with y'all on that one, and I feel so much better knowing I'm not being "the nagging wife", but I dont want him to jump to the irrational conclusion that I won't support him in his dark times.
Is that something I can even control? Will my wording/ tone/ inflection affect how he takes it? Or is that his *choice* how he interprets?
You see now why I really, really don't bother with too many people. So many variables...

When his depression hits its like all of his intelligence just friggin VANISHES and the world, even me, is either out to get him or indifferent to his struggles with no room for in-between.
At times, even in depressive states, there seems to be a glimmer of understanding that what he's doing is wrong- but I see no action to change the behaviour other than the small apologies, rinse, repeat. And *thats* what I work on- words are for manipulating, actions are for demonstrating your beliefs. My verbal skills are CRAP so im not sure if that one is universal, or just me tho.

I do have to disagree about my irrationality disappearing though- that one is entirely on me. I won't hold anyone else responsible for my mindset.
Im fighting old conditioning and beliefs that I dont think anyone but me can fix. The monsters who raised me made D :!: MN sure that no matter what happened they could always use me as the scapegoat, and its a huge hurdle to overcome.


Yeah I see what you mean. I think I might be from a similar background to you so moderating your own behaviour and forgiving others behaviour does become second nature.

Does he see anyone about his depression?



OccasionalSeagull
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18 Oct 2021, 12:21 pm

I completely and totally accept his human moods and phases. Lord knows he's had to deal with my rage (rarely directed at him in full fury), what I CANT deal with is how he treats me like the enemy when I've done nothing but support him. It doesn't seem fair.

I know where 95% of his stress comes from, and how impossible it is (to his mind) for anyone to understand. He seems to think he's the only one fighting inside.

I've told him multiple times- and I practice what I preach when my rage/ anxiety/ depression takes over in an attempt to "lead by example"- to simply SAY "I dont want to talk." "I cant talk right now" "I dont know what I need", all of which are perfectly comprehensible. I drop it immediately, let him know ill be doing my own thing and if he needs/ wants me im right there. Pressure is the last thing someone under pressure needs.

I only ask him to state it ONCE, CLEARLY, because of whatever is wrong with me, I cannot grasp it on my own.
I cant "feel" what he needs. I cant "just know" all the time- sometimes, just by past patterns of behaviour- but very, very rarely. I am not a creature of intuition like him. I cant read anybody very well, even the people I care about. I always say (gently... gently, for fear of being misunderstood) "if you dont tell me I won't know, im sorry" to everyone I interact with. Work, home, everywhere.

I understand being fresh out of kindness when in the dark. But is it really so much to say "hey, I cant X right now, and I cant tell you what I need" especially after I have demonstrated I can comprehend these things and act on them "properly"?

He wouldn't answer the door when I knocked, so ill wait and try again later. Respect first.

@ double retired: i think I do know that, and I believe you and I are *very* close, if not identical, on the MTBI. But I cant quite remember. I know whatever I scored it was extremely introverted, and his was fairly highly extroverted. Enter absolutely *nobody* being surprised XD

@baby bird: yes he does, and he does very well at taking what he learns from his therapist. However... he only focuses on work/ social issues (there's a huge cultural gap between him and... this entire area. Big shock for us). I dont think he talks about relationship things. I dont ever pry- thats highly private- but if he tells me about his sessions I listen completely. I truly am interested and genuinely happy he's getting good help. I love that for him.


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kraftiekortie
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18 Oct 2021, 1:06 pm

I accept moods-----but I expect to be treated decently at all times, regardless of "mood." I don't have much patience for people seeking to abuse me because they're in a "bad mood." That's BS!

Sometimes, I've let it happen. I let people abuse me when they're in a "bad mood." No more! I only have about 30 years to live---and I don't intend to be abused by someone just because they're in a "bad mood."

This is what "civilization" is all about----the ability to be "civil" even in adversity. I always try to be civil, no matter what "mood" I'm in.



OccasionalSeagull
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18 Oct 2021, 2:20 pm

Update:
Just stood my ground and he was very receptive. Even when my nerves told me to back-pedal I stood it.

-Didnt offer an apology (good, smart man)
-Agreed that everything i said (mixed with a little of y'alls advice :heart: ) was incredibly fair and balanced
-swore hed do better and "be better" (didn't understand that but if it means something to him I support it)

Told him that I believe whatever made him act that way had to be pretty bad, and that if he needed to talk id listen, but can't offer any sympathy at the moment.

Again, agreed that was fair but didn't have anything to share.

Guys I gotta say thank y'all. Im so used to being told im too agressive, too hostile, expect too much, etc and that I have a tendency to be "over dramatic" (????) When all im really asking for is fairness and clarity.

I want to be a patient, understanding, supportive person who has a decent well of kindness behind my sandpaper exterior (I like my sandpaper! It keeps the Others at bay and makes the people up here think twice before having something to say about us :twisted: ) but im very tired of that meaning I always have to eat these feelings. Im not sure if that last bit translates but thats how it comes out.

Thanks peeps. I won't try to pay it back but you can bet ill try to pay it forward at every opportunity.

Ps does anyone else get headaches or light headed when emotions get too high? Im used to it by now but I thought I'd ask. It feels like trying to walk 10 big excited dogs at once. Except rage. Rage is like having friggin Cerberus on a leash knowing DARN GOOD AND WELL you can barely slow him down to let people run.

Y'all are the best.


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18 Oct 2021, 2:38 pm

I recommend having any discussion on this when he is in a good mood and keeping things brief.

Maybe you can agree on a code phrase. We use "I need to introvert."

My bride used to pester me for conversations when I was frazzled (which work did to me a lot before I retired). When I didn't want to talk she incorrectly assumed I was mad at her; and if she persisted I would get aggravated and grouchy--and once she even caused what I now know was a meltdown. It took a few years but we ended up with me saying "I need to introvert" and then she'd leave me alone, knowing that the World was the problem, not her.

While I am deeply INTJ she is barely INTJ...really an XNTJ. We were once driving somewhere when she was out of sorts; she declared to me that she needed to introvert. I honestly believe she then tried a few times to start a conversation...I suspect she thought it was the polite thing to do. But I declined to converse and let her introvert. When we reached our destination she was back to her normal, happy, sociable self...introverting worked for her, too.


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babybird
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18 Oct 2021, 2:43 pm

OccasionalSeagull wrote:
Update:
Just stood my ground and he was very receptive. Even when my nerves told me to back-pedal I stood it.

-Didnt offer an apology (good, smart man)
-Agreed that everything i said (mixed with a little of y'alls advice :heart: ) was incredibly fair and balanced
-swore hed do better and "be better" (didn't understand that but if it means something to him I support it)

Told him that I believe whatever made him act that way had to be pretty bad, and that if he needed to talk id listen, but can't offer any sympathy at the moment.

Again, agreed that was fair but didn't have anything to share.

Guys I gotta say thank y'all. Im so used to being told im too agressive, too hostile, expect too much, etc and that I have a tendency to be "over dramatic" (????) When all im really asking for is fairness and clarity.

I want to be a patient, understanding, supportive person who has a decent well of kindness behind my sandpaper exterior (I like my sandpaper! It keeps the Others at bay and makes the people up here think twice before having something to say about us :twisted: ) but im very tired of that meaning I always have to eat these feelings. Im not sure if that last bit translates but thats how it comes out.

Thanks peeps. I won't try to pay it back but you can bet ill try to pay it forward at every opportunity.

Ps does anyone else get headaches or light headed when emotions get too high? Im used to it by now but I thought I'd ask. It feels like trying to walk 10 big excited dogs at once. Except rage. Rage is like having friggin Cerberus on a leash knowing DARN GOOD AND WELL you can barely slow him down to let people run.

Y'all are the best.


I get a headache. Its like I get over excited to be honest and my head starts hurting but I can't calm down. I have a love hate relationship with it.

Anyway I'm glad to hear you made some progress.



OccasionalSeagull
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18 Oct 2021, 3:02 pm

Agreed- code words are a little "childish" for his tastes, so we agreed that he HAS to CLEARLY SAY 'I cant talk/ dont want to talk/ you do you for a little bit

Much like your bride I immediately assume its me.


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Minervx_2
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18 Oct 2021, 3:31 pm

What steps is your husband taking to rectify the situation? Is your husband in therapy or seeking mental health treatment of some kind? It's his responsibility to care for his mental health, and it wouldn't be fair to you, t

A core part of a relationship is communicating to each other; instead of bottling things up and taking it out in unhealthy ways. If he cannot do this, then that's Emotional Unavailability.

It's clear that something is really bothering him. What changed with him in the past few years?
* Was there any event in your relationship that happened that made him upset with you?
* Did anything traumatic or stressful happen to him in the past few years?
* Is there any financial stress or work related stress for him?
* Did he meet new friends that led him into a different path in life?

Quote:
Am I being too harsh? I act aggressively when overstimulated


Maybe. And you may have a better outcome by using less confrontational language. But at the end of the day, both people need to put an effort in to fix the relationship.

Have you both had a conversation where you ask each other for constructive solutions on how to better the relationship? Has he told you what he feels like you could do better? And vice-versa?



Minervx_2
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18 Oct 2021, 3:32 pm

Double Retired wrote:
I recommend having any discussion on this when he is in a good mood and keeping things brief.


100% this. Asking someone difficult or complex questions when they're in a bad mood, will make them avoidant or irritated. Be mindful of that.



OccasionalSeagull
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18 Oct 2021, 6:43 pm

Minervx_2 wrote:
What steps is your husband taking to rectify the situation? Is your husband in therapy or seeking mental health treatment of some kind? It's his responsibility to care for his mental health, and it wouldn't be fair to you, t

A core part of a relationship is communicating to each other; instead of bottling things up and taking it out in unhealthy ways. If he cannot do this, then that's Emotional Unavailability.

It's clear that something is really bothering him. What changed with him in the past few years?
* Was there any event in your relationship that happened that made him upset with you?
* Did anything traumatic or stressful happen to him in the past few years?
* Is there any financial stress or work related stress for him?
* Did he meet new friends that led him into a different path in life?

Quote:
Am I being too harsh? I act aggressively when overstimulated


Maybe. And you may have a better outcome by using less confrontational language. But at the end of the day, both people need to put an effort in to fix the relationship.

Have you both had a conversation where you ask each other for constructive solutions on how to better the relationship? Has he told you what he feels like you could do better? And vice-versa?


We've talked it over and are currently giving eachother some healthy space (he's watching TV in the bedroom, im tending to my plants) with no anger or resentment attached. Just enjoying quiet.

Yes, he's currently seeing a therapist and also yes, the trauma of moving from the deep south to the west coast was NOT expected. We were expecting a much, MUCH better environment than what we were used to and instead found a whole new flavor of problems, financial of course mixed in (we're still recovering from pandemic impact)

Truth be told im usually the problem one- I get so confused and frustrated with the outside, and during my flashbacks and ptsd episodes? All bets are off. I do my best to communicate that whatever is going on in my head is in my head but I cant control it and need to *not be*. It gets difficult when I cant speak because neither of us knows very much ASL, I more than he but still very, very basic. He usually gets it. "Too much/ full" is a sign he understands to mean "stop talking, im freaking out" during these.

I dont know how he plans to rectify the situation, because I don't want anything except for this bull to not happen again. My plan at the moment is to try to nurture some sympathy and patience back in myself for him, and watch very VERY closely the next time he gets down. I plan to advise him to watch himself (gently) if it seems he's backsliding. I dont expect or demand perfection, but I do demand sincere effort to do better. Is that fair? It seems fair.


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OccasionalSeagull
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18 Oct 2021, 6:54 pm

Minervx_2 wrote:
Double Retired wrote:
I recommend having any discussion on this when he is in a good mood and keeping things brief.


100% this. Asking someone difficult or complex questions when they're in a bad mood, will make them avoidant or irritated. Be mindful of that.


Absolutely. The fight was the day before yesterday, and it took *me* that long to calm down, but he tried to apologize yesterday and I wouldn't have it. I guess after that he was waiting for me to make the first move.
Hats off to the only person who can survive my temper by simply not feeding it. Even i didn't know that was how to manage it- everyone before either fought me or foolishly tried to "talk me down".
You can't talk to a thunderstorm you maniacs you'll only get struck by lightning. (His analogy, not mine. Very fitting)

Partly the reason I get so upset when he does this- i have to monitor my every step to make sure I'm not being agressive and even take steps to avoid things that have a potential of allowing me to lose control and yet *he* can act out willy-nilly? I think not.


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