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Friday, March 26, 2010

My Husband is Mean and Yells at Me. I'm being Bullied.

Dear A. B.

Dr. Laura's marriage books seem to prescribe "food, sex & no nagging" for pleasing husbands. This rings true for me. I've been under the weather for several weeks & the meals haven't been up to snuff. Last night in particular, I really gave up & just put a bowl of pasta in front of my husband for dinner with some sauce on it. This is hardly something I do routinely or plan to make a habit of. I went to the doc yesterday, got antibiotics for a sinus infection, & hope to be feeling lots better in a matter of days. I hope to be getting my groove back soon!

My husband (who has a history of throwing really bad tantrums, as you may recall) really flew into a rage. I followed your advice, detatched, moved into another room & didn't respond as he continued for 20 minutes to rant about my flaws at high volume from down the hall. He slept downstairs & left for work this a.m.

I'm no spotless lamb. Yes, my meals haven't been so good lately, but as I said, I wasn't planning to cook this way forever. What made it worse in his eyes was that I bought an antique mirror for the entry hall day before yesterday (not expensive) & a gravy boat & saucer yesterday at a junk shop. It was sitting on the kitchen table with hyacinths from our yard in it. These were attempts to give myself a lift when I wasn't feeling well. My husband was livid though, because he felt the energy that I put into shopping I could have put into meal prep. He has valid points I believe, but instead of stating them, he throws a fit & gets mean.

I want to please my husband & work hard at doing so regularly. I hope to be on top of my game again & want to cook better, but I don't appreciate being bullied. I've been bullied for 25 yrs, have made it too clear that his happiness is my main objective. He knows this, so he seems to use that against me in his rages. What to do now? What would you say to him (if anything) if you were me?

Thank you.


Dear G.O.

Your husband's aggression is physical and very visible. Your aggression is hidden passive-aggression. Both are immature and unhelpful. You cannot change your husband. You can only change yourself. If you are less aggressive and mean, then he won't attack you so much. If his attacks are too physical, you must call 911 or leave. It is hard to catch your own meanness. When we are tired and feeling down, we get mean. Everybody does unless they make themselves aware of their own meanness so they catch themselves and don't do it.

You see his meanness and tantrums as attack. He sees them as defense. If you are less mean and aggressive your life will improve because when 50% of any population is more peaceful it can make a big change. You blame your lack of interest in providing meals on the fact that you've been under the weather. Suppose your husband didn't bother to go to work for several weeks and do his job because he felt under the weather. Isn't getting good meals your job? You give yourself a lift by shopping and spending and don't do anything to give your husband a lift by getting him a nice dinner. Your behavior was no less mean. As my sister-in-law used to say boys punch, girls pinch. It is so easy to be mean and it's difficult, it goes against the grain, when you yourself are down and just want to be pampered, to reach out to your nearest and dearest in a giving way and try to give them a lift. A.B. Curtiss

Dear A. B.

While I don't see my behavior as mean, I am willing to hear what you have to say since I respect you so much. I want to explore it. I guess what I "thought" I was doing was trying to be in a better mood, so I would feel better, yes, but also in turn be better company. I know how smart you are, & want to carefully consider my actions in a different light.

What would you do, specifically, tonight? I don't want to exacerbate things.

Thanks, G. O.

Dear G. O.

Fix a nice dinner and apologize for your bad cooking because you weren't feeling so hot the last few weeks. A. B. Curtiss


Anonymous said...

Tell me, what day and age are we talking about here? I can't beleive my ears or my eys. Why should your cooking a meal or not cooking a meal be the measurement stick of your husband's mood, temper or aggression.
How many times have both my husband and myself come home from work and I was too tired to lift even a spatula to make dinner. He did it. I ate and thanked him and that was that.
I can't tell you how many times my husband and I have shared the cooking/ shopping duties.
Your husband is immature. Enjoy the hyacinths and tell him to cook his own food.
Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with the solution either. I'd walk away from his mean behavior as well. Sounds just like my husband of 39 years. He is just as cruel. Can't say a nice word ever. He takes his sister to Las Vegas instead of me and takes her out to dinner instead of me as well! He says he doesn't like being with me. Now that's cruel. But just because you're not a gourmet cook, doesn't mean you are mean. And the flowers are a nice touch that he should appreciate. My husband is Italian and I hate spagetti! Next time go to the market and get a pre-cooked lasagne stick in the oven and serve him that! Watts-ah-madda-u! Then dump it on his head!

Anonymous said...

I a heaving a problem understanding why not providing a meal to a grown man who can cook for himself is something that this woman did wrong. She bought stuff... so what, everyone gets out of the house, it wasn't an attack against her husband, nor was it mean. he sounds inconsiderate and selfish, not she. I'm so tired of this attitude that some men have... and the women who support it!!!