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#2632114 06/03/12 09:21 AM
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I keep running into a brick wall it seems when trying to voice things that have upset me or that are wrong. Everytime I do it seems DH makes the comment that something is always bothering me. He then tunes me out and gets angry with me for bringing it up. We have these incidences now maybe once every couple of weeks. Still he also comments that we have a couple days of calm and then I'm bringing up something else and that he's tired of them. Following marriage builders I've tried to vary my approach thinking I must be voicing it in a way that is making him feel nagged or attacked. I seem to be failing at doing this though.

I find myself avoiding and putting off sharing my feelings because of his reaction to it which I know is not a good approach. Last night after he reacted that way to something I was trying to discuss with him I told him when he did that it made me feel like he didn't care about my feelings or that he expected me to never be unhappy with anything. I even asked how he would prefer I approach him and what about how I was currently approaching it was wrong to him hoping to gain insight into how to change my side of things to prevent the same situation next time and he said he didn't know. Ugh!

I'm just so frustrated with it and not sure how I should better approach it.




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Originally Posted by hopestrengthens
I keep running into a brick wall it seems when trying to voice things that have upset me or that are wrong. Everytime I do it seems DH makes the comment that something is always bothering me. He then tunes me out and gets angry with me for bringing it up. We have these incidences now maybe once every couple of weeks. Still he also comments that we have a couple days of calm and then I'm bringing up something else and that he's tired of them. Following marriage builders I've tried to vary my approach thinking I must be voicing it in a way that is making him feel nagged or attacked. I seem to be failing at doing this though.

I find myself avoiding and putting off sharing my feelings because of his reaction to it which I know is not a good approach. Last night after he reacted that way to something I was trying to discuss with him I told him when he did that it made me feel like he didn't care about my feelings or that he expected me to never be unhappy with anything. I even asked how he would prefer I approach him and what about how I was currently approaching it was wrong to him hoping to gain insight into how to change my side of things to prevent the same situation next time and he said he didn't know. Ugh!

I'm just so frustrated with it and not sure how I should better approach it.


You might want to keep your threads all together so we can read your complete story.

Is your DH still out of work? Most men take alot of pride in being the care giver of the family. Is he struggling with this?

Also how are you doing on your physically attractiveness? Have you lost the extra weight? Are you still working on that?

Can you give us an examples of what you're "sharing" with him? Are you using any DJs? How's your timing when you bring it to his attention?

How is your UA time?


FWW/BW (me)
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Too much hurt and pain on both sides that my brain hurts just thinking about it all.



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Do you just present complaints, or do you present solutions? For every one thing you tell him he's doing wrong, do you tell him 10 things he's doing right?

If the majority of your interactions are about how you think/feel/believe he's not cutting it, I can see how he would dread hearing from you.

If affirmation is important to him, and he hears more about what you believe he's doing wrong, then it's going to be tough on him.

What is he doing right? Can you focus as much if not more of your attention on those things, in order to make the suggestions for improvement more palatable?

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I think you heard similar advice three months ago:

http://forum.marriagebuilders.com/ubbt/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2602531#Post2602531

That 20 hours a week should be very pleasurable time for him.

If you are spending 20 hours a week doing things you both find pleasing, I suspect he'll be more able to hear what you are asking for.

But you can't get there if you don't have the solid foundation of mutually satisfying UA.

Think of when you were dating. I doubt you tried to change how he did things, or have tough, deep conversations.

Date your husband again, and he'll be more able to hear the difficult things.

If the majority of what you present is difficult to hear things, without the necessary UA, you'll keep getting the response he is giving.

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Hope, you are on the right track, but are doing this out of order. I would focus more on falling in love again and using the POJA before you tackle tough complaints.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Originally Posted by Enlightened_Ex
Do you just present complaints, or do you present solutions? For every one thing you tell him he's doing wrong, do you tell him 10 things he's doing right?

If the majority of your interactions are about how you think/feel/believe he's not cutting it, I can see how he would dread hearing from you.

If affirmation is important to him, and he hears more about what you believe he's doing wrong, then it's going to be tough on him.

What is he doing right? Can you focus as much if not more of your attention on those things, in order to make the suggestions for improvement more palatable?

She shouldn't have to do any of that to get him to change his behavior that makes her unhappy. A complaint is an opportunity for improvement in a good marriage and an irritation in a bad marriage. I agree with your subsequent post that she needs to improve her marriage in order to make him more receptive to complaints.

Hope, show this to your husband: Complaining in Marriage


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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I believe that's the case when the love bank is in good condition. (As you said.) To bolster what you said, if the love bank is overdrawn due to her love busters, which I think she mentioned at the beginning of the thread, she has to cover the overdrafts so to speak before she can do this.

Just as you said above, she needs to focus more on falling in love than working on difficult complaints.

If she's overdrawn the love bank, then her complaints likely will fall on deaf ears.

Remember, Dr H says love is not conditional. If he's not in love with her, then her complaints are not going to help him fall in love with her.

I do agree, ultimately he has to work on his part too. But if he's in withdrawal, then her complaints are not going to move him into intimacy.

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Originally Posted by Enlightened_Ex
I believe that's the case when the love bank is in good condition. (As you said.) To bolster what you said, if the love bank is overdrawn due to her love busters, which I think she mentioned at the beginning of the thread, she has to cover the overdrafts so to speak before she can do this.

Ok. And the way to do that is to stop lovebusters and work to restore the love in their marriage. She doesn't need to do anything more to express a complaint.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Yet Dr H also describes withdrawal as follows:

http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi3615_state.html

Quote
your Taker suggests a new approach to the problem: Withdrawal. It tries to convince you that your spouse is not worth the effort, and you should engage in emotional divorce.

In the state of Withdrawal, spouses no longer feel emotionally bonded or in love, and emotional defenses are raised. Neither one wants to try to meet the other's needs, and both have given up on attempts to get their own needs met by the other. One becomes two. They are completely independent, united only in living arrangements, finances and childrearing, although they often have to keep up appearances for neighbors and friends.

Dr Harley suggests the way to entice her husband out of withdrawal is not more complaints, but an olive branch.

http://www.marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi3620_state.html

So while what you write may be good for a husband in conflict or intimacy, it will not work on the husband who is in withdrawal.

So while you do quote, Dr H, I don't think the letter you quote is analogous with the circumstance here.

I believe her husband is in withdrawal and the plan to entice him out of that state is the proper advice in this case.

Once they are both in conflict or intimacy, then she'll stand a better chance to have her complaints addressed.

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Originally Posted by Enlightened_Ex
Dr Harley suggests the way to entice her husband out of withdrawal is not more complaints, but an olive branch.

Yes, we already know this, which is why I told her:

Originally Posted by Melodylane
Hope, you are on the right track, but are doing this out of order. I would focus more on falling in love again and using the POJA before you tackle tough complaints.

Nowhere have I ever heard Harley suggest this:

Originally Posted by EnlightenedEx
Do you just present complaints, or do you present solutions? For every one thing you tell him he's doing wrong, do you tell him 10 things he's doing right?

If the majority of your interactions are about how you think/feel/believe he's not cutting it, I can see how he would dread hearing from you.

If affirmation is important to him, and he hears more about what you believe he's doing wrong, then it's going to be tough on him.

In fact, I have been through the MB course and we were never told we had to produce solutions or tell our spouse "10 things she is doing right" in order to express a complaint. What we were told is to follow the steps to create romantic love, eliminate lovebusters, learn to use the POJA and present complaints in a non-critical way.

The article link I posted addresses the best way to address complaints.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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I should add that we were specifically told not to come up with unilateral "solutions" but to negotiate a solution WITH our spouse that made us both happy.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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You don't restore love by concentrating on what someone does wrong. Especially if admiration is one of their needs.

Therefore, if she's trying to meet needs AND one of his needs is admiration, expressing those 10 things is one example of how she might meet a legitimate need and get to the point where he is out of withdrawal and in a place where her complaint will be effective.

However, if he's still in withdrawal, then her complaints will simply drive him FURTHER into withdrawal.

Dr Harley may not have said what I said they way I said it. But he did say that to get someone out of withdrawal, meet their needs.

It's possible, based on her description of the events, that admiration is a need of his she is not meeting.

I simply have provided a suggestion that meeting that need is a path to give her complaints some traction at a later date.

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The way that you restore love is to follow the program as it is subcribed. We don't need to add to or take away from that process. It works just fine as it is!


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Originally Posted by Enlightened_Ex
It's possible, based on her description of the events, that admiration is a need of his she is not meeting.

Meeting the need of admiration does not mean that you withhold complaints. It only means that you do it without criticizing. Here is what Harley would tell her husband:

Originally Posted by Dr Harley in Complaining in Marriage
Your wife's high incidence of negative reactions simply reflects the
number of issues that have yet to be resolved in your marriage. If
you want her to be more positive, you must address those issues, and
eliminate them one at a time. You've had success in the past, and
she has been very encouraged when that happens. But when you seem
to be overwhelmed by it all, and tell her that she must learn to be
more positive, she feels hopeless because there remain many issues
that must be resolved if she is to be happy and in love with you.

The harder you try to become sensitive to your wife reactions, the
more successful you will become in doing what it takes to make her
happy. The more you try to avoid anger, replacing it with empathy
(an effort to try to understand how your wife feels without being
defensive), the more your wife will feel your care for her, and
that in itself will make massive Love Bank deposits.

Remember, all of your efforts on your wife's behalf make a
difference in the way you think and behave. You are rerouting
neural pathways in your brain that will make it easier for you to
care for her in the future. While it may seem like a lot of
effort now, in the future, it will be almost effortless to address
your wife's complaints, and solve her problems with compassion.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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hope, I went back and read your other thread. Are you doing the UA time? How is that going?

Originally Posted by hopestrenghtens
From some other complaints he brought up I'm going to guess that Admiration is a top need for him and I've done an awful job meeting it. I've done a lot of the opposite with criticism instead. Bad I know. Trying to get in the habit of praising him instead. So used to not that I bypass a moment and realize it a little while after. Is it still okay to say it then or does it make it seem like an afterthought? Also feels awkward to gush to him about something as I'm not used to it even though I may be thinking it on the inside. I'm worried it then just seems fake to him. Do I do it anyway or just keep it toned down as it gets more habit and less awkward and he begins to believe that I mean it?

New habits are going to feel awkward at first. It is OK if you feel fake at first, as long as the praise is sincere. I would do this anyway and get into that habit. Anytime he does something that makes you happy, be sure and point that out.

When you do have a complaint, it needs to be done without criticism.

I would also ask him to fill out this questionaire: Marital Problem Analysis Questionnaire You should full it out too and exchange the forms.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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ML, so what you are saying is what I've been saying in this thread.

She believes she has not met his need for admiration. She says it herself in another thread.

She doesn't write to us about how she is meeting the need. Rather she is writing about how she has complaints.

From her description, he is likely in withdrawal.

I agree with you, she has to have a way to voice her complaints. I am simply saying she will not get any traction as long as she is not meeting his EN for admiration.

I believe this particular dynamic makes for a tough situation. If she complains, especially if she complains in a fashion that is critical, then he will remain in withdrawal.

But I also believe that even if she complains in a Dr H approved manner, it will be ineffective due to his current state of withdrawal.

Recall the state of withdrawal is one where the spouse in withdrawal really doesn't want to meet any needs. In such a state, it's unlikely that complaints will be considered by him.

Now we can argue that he puts his marriage at risk, and I would agree. The problem is, a spouse in withdrawal really doesn't care. They've tried to get their needs met, and the other spouse hasn't done that, so they retreat to withdrawal. Any complaints while in withdrawal will simply hit a wall, not receptive ears.

She will have to entice him to conflict to even get a hearing, and perhaps intimacy to get to where she wants to be.

But as long as he is in withdrawal, I believe complaints will only drive him deeper into withdrawal.

I'm not saying she can't complain. I'm saying she has to pick the time and method AND ensure he's in an emotional state where he is receptive to such complaints.

From her own description, he is not yet there.

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EE, the most important thing for her right now is to focus on getting 20 hours of UA time per week meeting the top 4 intimate emotional needs. Until that happens, nothing will work because romantic love cannot be created without that step.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

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Which is what I said in one of the first two posts. I said he wasn't in love with her, and as long as that's the case, her complaints will not matter to him.

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This post was as alleged (below) to be a personal attack, so I am deleting it.

Last edited by SugarCane; 06/04/12 04:39 PM.

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Originally Posted by Enlightened_Ex
Which is what I said in one of the first two posts. I said he wasn't in love with her, and as long as that's the case, her complaints will not matter to him.

Actually you said this, which is not MB advice:

Originally Posted by EnlightenedEx
Do you just present complaints, or do you present solutions? For every one thing you tell him he's doing wrong, do you tell him 10 things he's doing right?

She shouldn't be presenting solutions and she doesn't need to tell him 10 things he is doing right in order to make a complaint. So lets be clear on that, ok?


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

Exposure 101


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