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Have you used Marriage Coaching offered in this website?
Is she receptive to that?

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The correct response would have been, "No."

Asking you a question is not criticism! Try simply answering questions. Did you? No. Why not? Didn't know. Will you? Sure, tomorrow. Thanks, hun!

TRY IT.


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Originally Posted by HDW
Have you used Marriage Coaching offered in this website?
Is she receptive to that?

She is opposed to the entire site.


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Originally Posted by CWMI
The correct response would have been, "No."

Asking you a question is not criticism! Try simply answering questions. Did you? No. Why not? Didn't know. Will you? Sure, tomorrow. Thanks, hun!

TRY IT.

I understand and I will try it. Dr H often says that the measurement of whether something is a DJ would be based on the feelings of the offended spouse? In this case that was me. I still think I need to be able to ascertain the difference between a DJ or SD, and that of a question with no underlying criticism. My wife has made it a point for as long as I can remember to point out flaws in my character. I have done this too to her, but for what I'm trying to accomplish I'd like to focus on me handling her verbalization's correctly. When she asked if I had returned something that she did not ask me to return I immediately felt attacked and painted into a corner that I could not possibly win from. If I respectfully disagree, she gets upset that I always take things the wrong way. If I take the high road then I believe this empowers her to do more of the same in the future which drains my love bank. I still say there is an element of truth serum that I don't do well with. If something isn't true then I feel compelled to point it out. If something isn't fair I do the same thing, especially with my kids. I guess I'm a very principled person and I'll let you guys guide me on the pitfalls of being this way, and when or how to pick and choose my battles.


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Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
I still say there is an element of truth serum that I don't do well with. If something isn't true then I feel compelled to point it out.

Hilltopper,

remember the old saying, "do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?"

I second CWMIs idea for a response.

I'm thinking she asked you if you had returned the item in an annoyed tone of voice, raising your defenses? What do you think she would have responded if you would have answered simply in an even tone, "no"? That was the truth, correct?

I think you are inferring she was mad about it, but that is not inherent in the words said, even if it may be true. And you can deescalate the situation by just handling it calmly.

I am thinking Dr. Harley's idea that a DJ is in the eyes of the offended spouse would be more applicable once you have her buy in on MB concepts, because she has fallen back in love with you.


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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:
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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?


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Originally Posted by emilyann
Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
I still say there is an element of truth serum that I don't do well with. If something isn't true then I feel compelled to point it out.

Hilltopper,

remember the old saying, "do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?"

I second CWMIs idea for a response.

I'm thinking she asked you if you had returned the item in an annoyed tone of voice, raising your defenses? What do you think she would have responded if you would have answered simply in an even tone, "no"? That was the truth, correct?

I think you are inferring she was mad about it, but that is not inherent in the words said, even if it may be true. And you can deescalate the situation by just handling it calmly.

I am thinking Dr. Harley's idea that a DJ is in the eyes of the offended spouse would be more applicable once you have her buy in on MB concepts, because she has fallen back in love with you.

Yes she asked it with tone which raised my defenses and I don't know if she was mad about it or not. I don't know if the tone and look on her face had anything to do with irritation about me or if it is just that she is overwhelmed and this is how she vents.


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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:
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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.


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Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
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.

A husband typically feels that his wife's complaints are endless. They aren't, but he typically feels that way. If she is not careful about the way she presents her complaints (and your wife is not), then it can be very demotivating.

But her complaints are not endless. Eventually when they are addressed, it no longer feels like she is finding fault all the time.

It sounds to me like you are doing very well, actually. Just sitting in one of those demotivational points. Why? Because your wife was disrespectful, which is very demotivating.

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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.

The problem is that there is a long delay in the feedback. Crossing the romantic love threshold (say, from 599 to 600) is SUDDEN and DRAMATIC, according to Dr. Harley. But crossing other lower points doesn't present any feedback, even if you are going from 130 to 590. You might take a gigantic step, and be almost at the goal, and yet see no feedback at all.

However, us onlookers can watch, and mention that you seem to be doing well. And you do. It sounds to me like you are working your plan, making the deposits she allows, tackling her complaints one by one, and learning to not respond to her disrespect with disrespect of your own. Which is fantastic!

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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.

No, I don't think so.

Don't change your FEELINGS. But make sure that your RESPONSE (or "reaction") is not disrespectful.

Trying to change your feelings is a recipe for resentment, if I understand Dr. Harley correctly. But you can change your habits. For example, your new habit of not stooping to disrespect even if she is disrespectful.

She needs to change her disrespect. As you indicated, she is disrespectful in her tone. But she is not motivated to do that right now. My only two suggestions are: see how motivated she is after she is in love, and/or write Dr. Harley again and put this as a question to him on the air.

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By the way, poor choice of words about being "put in a place where I can't win." I don't want to win,

Ideally we're all looking for win-win scenarios. Her disrespect is a loss for you.

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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.

When that happens, the best strategy is probably "shut up!!!" smile At the very least, take the time to calm yourself before responding. Then try to respond to her complaint, not her disrespect.


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When Dr. H is talking about changing behavior, I get that it is about actual behaviors, not information-seeking questions. Things like speeding in the car (rather than passengers trying to not be afraid), or banging the neighbor (rather than the BS trying not to let it bother them). Are you saying the solution is for her to not ask you questions? Of course she should stop being snotty (if she is being so), but her to stop the behavior of asking you for information is not a solution. Plus, she's not here.

If she is indeed baiting you, stop taking the bait. Just ask her: are you looking for a fight, or are you looking for information? My H's own negativity became glaringly obvious once I stopped engaging in spats with him. Nobody wants to be the only crazy person in the room.

My H also wanted to avoid conflict. Problem was, he created most of it in his own head, then spewed out false information based on what he thought would avoid conflict, then we'd be in conflict over his lying, which he blamed me for because I had the nerve to ask him a question. CRAZY.

It's really crazy-making. Stop avoiding conflict. Conflict is inevitable, it is how you deal with it that matters. You attacked your wife and accused her of criticizing you because she had the nerve to ask a question that had a no answer? Really, Hill?


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Originally Posted by markos
Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
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.

A husband typically feels that his wife's complaints are endless. They aren't, but he typically feels that way. If she is not careful about the way she presents her complaints (and your wife is not), then it can be very demotivating.

But her complaints are not endless. Eventually when they are addressed, it no longer feels like she is finding fault all the time.

It sounds to me like you are doing very well, actually. Just sitting in one of those demotivational points. Why? Because your wife was disrespectful, which is very demotivating.

Quote
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.

The problem is that there is a long delay in the feedback. Crossing the romantic love threshold (say, from 599 to 600) is SUDDEN and DRAMATIC, according to Dr. Harley. But crossing other lower points doesn't present any feedback, even if you are going from 130 to 590. You might take a gigantic step, and be almost at the goal, and yet see no feedback at all.

However, us onlookers can watch, and mention that you seem to be doing well. And you do. It sounds to me like you are working your plan, making the deposits she allows, tackling her complaints one by one, and learning to not respond to her disrespect with disrespect of your own. Which is fantastic!

Quote
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.

No, I don't think so.

Don't change your FEELINGS. But make sure that your RESPONSE (or "reaction") is not disrespectful.

Trying to change your feelings is a recipe for resentment, if I understand Dr. Harley correctly. But you can change your habits. For example, your new habit of not stooping to disrespect even if she is disrespectful.

She needs to change her disrespect. As you indicated, she is disrespectful in her tone. But she is not motivated to do that right now. My only two suggestions are: see how motivated she is after she is in love, and/or write Dr. Harley again and put this as a question to him on the air.

Quote
By the way, poor choice of words about being "put in a place where I can't win." I don't want to win,

Ideally we're all looking for win-win scenarios. Her disrespect is a loss for you.

Quote
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.

When that happens, the best strategy is probably "shut up!!!" smile At the very least, take the time to calm yourself before responding. Then try to respond to her complaint, not her disrespect.

Yes I am working my plan and doing well with it and I think the only time we get into trouble is from a comment she makes. There are no other sources of conflict in our lives. It boils down to how we both speak to each other. Sure we both want our needs met better, but withdrawals are the problem and they almost always appear when I react to something she says. To take my plan to the next level I think that changing it to my "No Bad Reaction Plan" might make it more specific in eliminating the problem. I don't come out and DJ my wife, or if I do it is once in a blue moon. The DJ's come out when my wife says something to me that makes me feel a certain way. So I'm going to change my profile and we'll make this Day 1 of the No Bad Reaction Zone.


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Originally Posted by CWMI
If she is indeed baiting you, stop taking the bait. Just ask her: are you looking for a fight, or are you looking for information?

I cannot speak for Tgrace, but if I said that to Prisca, she would consider it to be a disrespectful judgment. She would feel that I am disrespectfully suggesting that she should not have asked the question, or that there is something wrong with her question. If she wasn't looking for a fight when she asked the question, she would sure feel like fighting after I responded like that!

I think a better strategy is to simply provide the information. "No, I didn't do that. Would you like me to do that tonight?" Or, "No, I didn't do that, and I'm really not comfortable doing it."


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Originally Posted by CWMI
When Dr. H is talking about changing behavior, I get that it is about actual behaviors, not information-seeking questions. Things like speeding in the car (rather than passengers trying to not be afraid), or banging the neighbor (rather than the BS trying not to let it bother them). Are you saying the solution is for her to not ask you questions? Of course she should stop being snotty (if she is being so), but her to stop the behavior of asking you for information is not a solution. Plus, she's not here.

No not saying that at all. She asks me questions all the time that are not snotty and I don't react to them at all, I just answer the question.

Quote
If she is indeed baiting you, stop taking the bait. Just ask her: are you looking for a fight, or are you looking for information? My H's own negativity became glaringly obvious once I stopped engaging in spats with him. Nobody wants to be the only crazy person in the room.


I don't know about you or my wife but I would think the Dr H approach would be to ask me to return the stuff to the store, not to ask if I had done it without asking me to do it. I think many people on this forum could see how that could be considered a criticism.

My H also wanted to avoid conflict. Problem was, he created most of it in his own head, then spewed out false information based on what he thought would avoid conflict, then we'd be in conflict over his lying, which he blamed me for because I had the nerve to ask him a question. CRAZY.

Quote
It's really crazy-making. Stop avoiding conflict. Conflict is inevitable, it is how you deal with it that matters. You attacked your wife and accused her of criticizing you because she had the nerve to ask a question that had a no answer? Really, Hill?

I'll get this mean what I say and say what I mean down better one day. In the mean time what I meant here is that I wanted to avoid love bank withdrawals. In this particular case I said, "I really wish that when you come home you could kiss me on the cheek or ask me how my day was rather than ask me if I returned something that you didn't ask me to return." She didn't like that I suppose because she rolled the eyes and made a face and told me I take everything the wrong way. Then I took the bait and sent one back the other way.



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Originally Posted by markos
Originally Posted by CWMI
If she is indeed baiting you, stop taking the bait. Just ask her: are you looking for a fight, or are you looking for information?

I cannot speak for Tgrace, but if I said that to Prisca, she would consider it to be a disrespectful judgment. She would feel that I am disrespectfully suggesting that she should not have asked the question, or that there is something wrong with her question. If she wasn't looking for a fight when she asked the question, she would sure feel like fighting after I responded like that!

I think a better strategy is to simply provide the information. "No, I didn't do that. Would you like me to do that tonight?" Or, "No, I didn't do that, and I'm really not comfortable doing it."

Yes I would never ask my wife if she was looking for a fight. By responding "No, I didn't do that, and I'm really not comfortable doing it" I believe I'd be dishonest or telling half truths. I have no problem returning the stuff, I had a problem with my wife asking me if I had returned something that she did not ask me to return. The truth is I should have said, "No I didn't, did you ask me to? My bad if you did, if not I can tonight ok?" In retrospect that is the best answer for me personally. If I made up some reason why I didn't return it to diffuse the situation then that would violate my wife's most important EN which is H&O.


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I didn't read markos as suggesting you give a dishonest answer, hill. I read him to say

1. If you are willing to return the item, say so: "Would you like me to do that tonight?" - or something similar, suggesting a time when you could return it.

2. If you are not willing to return the item, also say so: "I'm really not comfortable doing it" was just a suggested form of words that says "I'm not going to do something I don't want to do" but isn't harsh and won't sound like "take a hike". It is nothing to do with dishonesty.


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Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
I'll get this mean what I say and say what I mean down better one day. In the mean time what I meant here is that I wanted to avoid love bank withdrawals. In this particular case I said, "I really wish that when you come home you could kiss me on the cheek or ask me how my day was rather than ask me if I returned something that you didn't ask me to return." She didn't like that I suppose because she rolled the eyes and made a face and told me I take everything the wrong way.

I think she probably felt you were disrespectfully changing the subject. Yes, it's true that you would like her to start her contact with you on a more affectionate basis, rather than starting out with a complaint, but the fact is she asked about the particular task that was on her mind and didn't get an answer: you deflected, which is disrespectful.


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Originally Posted by SugarCane
I didn't read markos as suggesting you give a dishonest answer, hill. I read him to say

1. If you are willing to return the item, say so: "Would you like me to do that tonight?" - or something similar, suggesting a time when you could return it.

2. If you are not willing to return the item, also say so: "I'm really not comfortable doing it" was just a suggested form of words that says "I'm not going to do something I don't want to do" but isn't harsh and won't sound like "take a hike". It is nothing to do with dishonesty.

Dishonest to me is saying that I have a problem returning something when I do not have a problem returning something, particularly if I said "I'm not comfortable with that." My wife knows me and she knows I'm perfectly comfortable with return something to the store, why wouldn't I be? I did offer to return it by the way.


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Originally Posted by markos
Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
I'll get this mean what I say and say what I mean down better one day. In the mean time what I meant here is that I wanted to avoid love bank withdrawals. In this particular case I said, "I really wish that when you come home you could kiss me on the cheek or ask me how my day was rather than ask me if I returned something that you didn't ask me to return." She didn't like that I suppose because she rolled the eyes and made a face and told me I take everything the wrong way.

I think she probably felt you were disrespectfully changing the subject. Yes, it's true that you would like her to start her contact with you on a more affectionate basis, rather than starting out with a complaint, but the fact is she asked about the particular task that was on her mind and didn't get an answer: you deflected, which is disrespectful.

Agreed.


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Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
Dishonest to me is saying that I have a problem returning something when I do not have a problem returning something, particularly if I said "I'm not comfortable with that." My wife knows me and she knows I'm perfectly comfortable with return something to the store, why wouldn't I be? I did offer to return it by the way.
Well, then you wouldn't need to say "I'm not going to" nicely, so the suggestion was redundant. That was a suggestion if you had wanted to say "I'm not going to". Don't you see that?


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Originally Posted by Hilltopper1972
Originally Posted by SugarCane
I didn't read markos as suggesting you give a dishonest answer, hill. I read him to say

1. If you are willing to return the item, say so: "Would you like me to do that tonight?" - or something similar, suggesting a time when you could return it.

2. If you are not willing to return the item, also say so: "I'm really not comfortable doing it" was just a suggested form of words that says "I'm not going to do something I don't want to do" but isn't harsh and won't sound like "take a hike". It is nothing to do with dishonesty.

Dishonest to me is saying that I have a problem returning something when I do not have a problem returning something, particularly if I said "I'm not comfortable with that."

I only meant for you to say that if it was true that you don't want to do what she's asking about. The preferred response was the alternative I gave first: "No, I didn't. Would you like me to do that tonight?"

Quote
My wife knows me and she knows I'm perfectly comfortable with return something to the store, why wouldn't I be?

I'm just trying to address more than this one specific scenario, since you will be in this situation many times.


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