Originally Posted by CWMI
Hill, when me and my H were at our roughest, he took everything I said poorly. He could come home from work and I'd ask, "How was your day?" and he claimed I was interrogating him. I'd say I preferred Pepsi over Coke, and because he likes Coke, he claimed I was calling him an idiot with bad taste. Sometimes you just have to accept that YOUR truth isn't universal, and other people are entitled to their own opinions, and MOST OF ALL: ascribing intent to someone else who has not explicitly expressed it is a DJ.

As someone who lived with a person who took every statement as a personal attack, I have to let you know: you are exhausting to live with. I imagine Grace feels much like she must walk on eggshells in order to live peacefully with you, and has decided she's not willing to crumble under your massive, know-it-all ego. You don't know everything, Hill, and you certainly don't own the truth about other people's opinions. If she *did* feel like you should have taken the item back to the store, so what? Why does that feel like an attack? Oh, that's right, because:
I could not possibly win from.

Win what, exactly? Your ability to continue to be right about any and all things under the sun? Probably if you got over this incessant need to win (and Grace lose, apparently), you'd see some improvement.

"Principled person"--what do you mean by this? Is one of your principles to get your knickers in a knot every time your wife asks you a question? To immediately jump into defense mode, so you can be assured of "winning"?

In our case, the answer lied (mostly) in my H's reactions. Because I was committed to working MB, I was more aware of what I was saying, and because we were coaching w/Steve, I could have dialog with my H about his reactions (What is it about "Have you fed the dog?" that made you feel attacked?--much like you, he felt bad because he couldn't say, "Yes!" He FELT that I was asking him in order to point out what a lousy husband, dog owner, and man he was because he couldn't even feed the flipping dog. Was that my intent? No, my intent was to not double-feed the dog, which was acting hungry. If it had been fed, a small snack would do. Contrary to my H's opinion, I had not been watching his every move so unless I asked, I had no idea if he fed the dog.)

Anyway, when you read about someone else in the same type of situation, does it look any dumber to you?

Fair enough, I think you are right, and yes it must be exhausting to live with. I don't know how I got to this point, but it is not where I once was for the majority of our marriage, really just about the last couple of years. I guess one reason that I might be hyper-sensitive to assuming everything is a criticism is because there is no balance. If she countered it with anything positive(there is virtually nothing) it might not bother me so much. The fact that meeting her ENs or just positive things in general don't have any confirmation it seems that everything is a screw up. She doesn't ask me questions that have a yes answer for the most part. From my perspective I feel that she zeros in on negatives and "no's" and it is incessant and exhausting. That clearly makes two of us walking on egg shells.

Dr H talks about it being much easier to change a behavior that bothers someone that it is to change a reaction to a behavior. Is that different in my case? What you are saying is that I need to change my reaction to something she tells me, not her changing the way she tells me something.

By the way, poor choice of words about being "put in a place where I can't win." I don't want to win, I just want to avoid conflict with my wife because it drains both of our love banks. What I meant was that, the moment she asked the question I felt put in a place where conflict was inevitable and there is no answer or reaction that I could give to stop it.

Married 15 years
12 y/o DD
10 y/o DS
6 y/o DD