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I would appreciate some opinions on how to handle a situation that occurred this weekend....here goes...

My H and I were in an argument Saturday morning. Won't go into all the details of it, but he made a couple comments that have hurt me deeply. The first thing he said was that he was embarrassed at how I allow our children to dress. Our girls are 8 and 9. He said that he is afraid that when they get older they will not care about their appearance.


I do not allow the girls to wear torn, dirty, or inappropriate clothing. They prefer to wear jeans and a top rather than slacks or skirts. I feel this is very typical of kids their age. I argued that I do NOT want them to be concerned with appearance at this age. As long as they pay attention to hygiene I think they should be able to wear what makes them comfortable as long as it is clean and age-appropriate. I see other children at school and they are wearing similar clothing...I rarely see little girls in a skirt..they just want to be able to play at recess without worrying about showing their underwear. On occasion, one of the girls will chose to wear a skirt, but it is usually for a class party or special occasion. I have never had anyone else make any negative comments about how the children dress.

The next thing he said cut me to the core. He leaned back, narrowed his eyes, and asked... "Do you want the girls to turn out like you when they grow up?"


What kind of question is that? I felt crushed when he said that. I didn't know how to answer at first, I was so stunned. As all parents, I certainly do not wish that my children make the same mistakes that I have made, but I hope that the girls inherit some of my good traits. I hope they have compassion and kindness. I would be pleased if the inherited my creativity. I feel that over all I am a good person and would frankly by proud if they had some of their Mommy in them when they become women.

My H travels 2-3 weeks out of every month. Every time (and I mean every time) one of the girls go to someone's house to play or spend the night, the parent has commented that the girls are one of the most polite children they have been around. Very often the teachers at school will write on their weekly reports that the girls are a joy to have in class or some other similar comment. My H tells them that their manners are "atrocious". It breaks my heart for them because I can see them shrivel every time he says it.

Does anyone else find that question offensive? It has frankly devastated me. Am I being too sensitive or am I right in feeling hurt? He says I am taking things too personally and that I am over-emotional. I need advice!

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Here's how I would have answered that question, NOT in an MB way, either, so be warned:

 Quote:
"Do you want the girls to turn out like you when they grow up?"


A: "The real question is, do you? You chose me to be their mother, I must have some redeeming qualities. But all of that is beside the point, because frankly, I am the only parent they have as a model. They don't see you enough to even know what kind of person you are, much less actually pick up your values. So I ask you again: do YOU want the girls to turn out like me? Because unless you step up and get involved in their life on a DAILY basis, I fail to see how you can have any measure of control over how they turn out."

But I couldn't be married to someone who traveled like that anyway, so that colors my view. And I am Queen of Turning Your Words Against You, lol. Not so funny, really.

But it's worth taking a look at how involved he actually is, and telling him how you really feel about it.


Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.
(Oscar Wilde)
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I like cwmi's answer. Ditto on that.

I would also find and print out some research on the effect that men can have on their daughters, and pack it in his suitcase.

This is an invaluable resource for raising daughters; I've used it for 10 years, and my D18 is, frankly, amazing. \:\)
Daughters.com

As for what's really going on...time for some talk, yes? Why does he not respect you? Has that been all along? Has he put you down before? Does he believe the man has the right to make decisions, stuff like that? Is he insecure? I need more data before I can suggest anything.

As for your daughters, definitely DO NOT make them interested in looks right now. Make sure they are involved in activities that give them a sense of accomplishment, especially athletics, so that their beauty comes more from a feeling of self-respect than from what other people think of them - that road leads to neurotic, self-hating behavior and thinking. My D18 wouldn't wear anything but warmups and t-shirts til she was in 6th grade; then started wearing jeans; by 9th grade, she thought about makeup and wore it occasionally; by 11th grade, she was into dresses and high heels. Let it come to them naturally, not from 'society.'

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Everything everybody has said above is on the mark.

I have two daughters of my own, a 15 and a 10, my D15 was a true tomboy (the only thing that made her a girl, was the hair which she refuse to even trim) until about age of 11, then she started to care a little bit more on how she look, by age 14 she started to care on how to fix her hair and to wear make up. My D10 thinks she is a princess and wears all type of clothes (but does not like her hair long).

If I had attempted to change my way of parenting everytime somebody critizes me for the way I have raise my kids, they would be totally confuse. I do not presume to be a perfect mother,but you do what YOU feel is right even if your H is offended by it, if he does not like it, then he should be there to raise them and not expect you to do what HE wants you to do, you are not a mind reader.

Each person does what they feel is best from their own experiences, and parenting is something that it is so different from household to household and from parent to parent, even within the same house. But if they are doing good in school, you have taught them the good from the bad, if you feel satisfy with the way you have raise them, then he is the one with the "ISSUES". I made my husband promise that he would help with raising the kids and he has always given his opinion on what he thinks is right or not, but we are pretty much on the same page about how to do it.

Asked you H, if he thinks you turn out so bad, then why doesn't he stays around more and helps in guiding them to the "Right Direction". Have him search what girls like and do not like on this age and time, he will be very surprise. The way your daughters dress is normal, feel proud.

The main thing is, if you feel good with yourself on how the have turn out then tell him so, and keep going. At the end of the day, your daughters will come to you with their problems and will ignore their DAD.

Good Luck.

Last edited by LW67; 03/09/09 11:19 AM.
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I agree with everyone that what your H said is a major DJ, but I don't agree that the response is turn it back on him for not being around and traveling. To me, they are separate issues. I imagine his response would has has to travel for his job, and now you've gone from a DJ into a money issue.

He needs to know that is a DJ and what it does to you when he says crap like that, regardless of how sensitive he thinks you should be. At the same time, it seems that he is trying to tell you about a AH (prehaps the way ou dress?) and obviously doesn't know how to communicate it. I don't know if it's possible to do this with your H right now, but it could be good to understand what exactly is an AH to him, so you can respond by either trying to eliminate AH or telling him he needs to deal with it. At the same time, it gives you an avenue to further communicate your AHs with him, or going into what's happening on the parenting side.

I guess I'm saying that although these are DJs and very important things, I think communicating what's going on between the two is how your going to understand each other better and move past it all.


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I appreciate your responses...let me give a little background.

If you have time, I have some other posts on this site that go into more detail, but let me try to condense it as much as possible.

3 years ago my H had an A that lasted for at least ten months. (he admits to an EA, but denies PA). We went to MC once-twice a week for 6 months. I felt that MC had helped and was ready to start with a clean slate.

Some past history...I have caught my H in lies over the course of our marriage. Some small, some more serious. They varied from lying about going to a strip club, drug use, alcohol abuse, and a phone call from another woman. I was hoping that the counseling would help with the dishonesty. Unfortunately I don't think this is the case.

Within the past year, I have caught him in three lies that I know of. All were basically that he was not where he said he was while he was on business trips. He would say he was at a restaurant when he was really at a bar...things like that. For that reason, I asked for a divorce about 3 months ago.

He told me that those situations were all misunderstandings and that God hated divorce and that we should at least try again. So I stayed.

Since then, he has been irritated that I haven't just gotten over everything and that things can't go back to the way they were. I explained that I needed patience and time.

In the mean time, I went through a brief period of "acting out" that I am not proud of. It lasted for about 2 months and I was basically drinking every other weekend and had gone twice to a dance club. Didn't like the person I was becoming so I went back to the MC by myself and have since not been back to a club.

As far as him not liking the way that I dress, I very highly doubt that. I actually have friends ask me to take them shopping and help them pick out clothing and consider myself well-dressed. I'm not obsessive about my appearance, but I won't leave the house without my hair and makeup done.

Something else I forgot...last week he insinuated that my best friend and I had "something going on". Meaning he thought I was becoming a lesbian because we are such close friends. When I asked him if he was serious, he said he was 90% joking.

I can't really say if he has been this way for our entire relationship or not. We rarely ever fought before. I can go into why we don't communicate well in another reply..I don't want this one to be so long that no one wants to read it...

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Ok, I want to change my advice. Given your history, his comments are way out of line and shouldn't be taken lightly at all. It's obvious that he doesn't appreciate you, and is trying to manipulate you.

Do you feel like you have good boundaries with him? Do you feel like if you put your foot down when he acts this way, things might change.

Also, what he said about God hating divorce is being misused. It should not be used as an excuse to cheat and mistreat your spouse. As well, the bible specifically says that a wife can divorce her husband in the case of adultry, though she does not have to.


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 Originally Posted By: catperson


As for what's really going on...time for some talk, yes? Why does he not respect you? Has that been all along? Has he put you down before? Does he believe the man has the right to make decisions, stuff like that? Is he insecure? I need more data before I can suggest anything.



The only reason I can think of that he doesn't respect me right now is the brief period about 4 months ago that I basically "cracked". I had gone to a dance club twice and had gotten pretty intoxicated. Not proud of it at all. But I went to the MC, told her about it, and stopped doing that.

He has always been very hard on me about the house. If the girls had crayons and coloring books on the kitchen table, he griped. It bothered him that I made a mess when I fixed dinner, so I started to clean up the kitchen before I set the food out on the table. He hates it that my side of the closet is messy. Things like that. My house is clean, but it is a home...we have a dog and kids. There are going to be tennis shoes and homework lying around sometimes. Deal with it.

As far as decision-making, we have typically consulted each other before making any major decisions. I voice my opinion, but ultimately, I leave the final decision up to him unless it is something I feel VERY strongly about.

The MC has told me that she feels he is very insecure. Low self-esteem. On the other hand, since the discovery of the A, I have done a lot of personal growth and actually feel that I am much stronger now. I don't worry so much about whether the house is perfect, or the kids, or me. I do my best, but I realize that I am human and will fall short of perfection which is fine by me. It was too much pressure to try to do so before!

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Yeah, I'll change my answer, too. What you seem to have is a man who was used to running his family, even to the extent of being able to live a separate life and not have to be accountable to you; you accommodated him in this by letting him have the last word, changing how YOU function (cooking, etc.) so as not to upset him, on and on. He is passive-aggressive and gets what he wants by belittling your contribution, questioning your motives or your results, and just generally being critical. You let him by not protecting your boundaries.

He became 'entitled.' He liked it. He would have gotten a lot worse if you hadn't put your foot down.

Now that you're working on yourself, he doesn't like it. He wants it back the old way, because he was in control. He is probably even starting to get scared that he'll lose total control. He already talked you down from the divorce ledge, so he thinks he knows your number. But he's going to make sure by continuing to criticize you and insult you so that you stay on your toes trying to find ways to NOT displease him.

Your mission is to reinforce your boundaries - lovingly - and let him know he'll no longer be in charge. He'll be an equal partner, or he can leave.

Have you read The Dance of Anger? It's a great little book on how to build up your boundaries. You really should read it.

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 Originally Posted By: dkd


Do you feel like you have good boundaries with him? Do you feel like if you put your foot down when he acts this way, things might change.



I have been "spreading my wings" with him since the A. I have learned to not stuff my feelings anymore. When he says or does something that angers me or hurts me, I tell him. The bad thing is, when I do voice my opinion he typically responds by saying that I make him feel like he verbally abuses me. I don't usually even cry when I talk to him-not usually, but there are times that I can be brought to tears. He has told me that when I discuss things with him I act like a "beaten dog". Tell me how voicing my opinion and standing up for myself is like being a beaten dog??? It seems to me like things have gotten worse between us since I have been more outspoken. I think he is afraid of my confidence and self-assurance. It was always there, just not as out in the open as it has been lately.

I do feel that I am allowing myself to be manipulated and I am letting him make me second guess myself. I absolutely know that I am a good mother. I am not perfect-I have made some mistakes, but I learn from them. I am proud of my girls. I am proud of myself. It's times like this weekend, though that I get frustrated with myself for letting someone cause me to doubt myself.

I come here to marriage builders because I want to make sure...without a doubt that I am not getting ready to make a huge mistake if I decide to leave him. I know that no one can give me absolutes or tell me what to do, but it is reassuring to know that I am not insane.

Unfortunately, I feel it is only a matter of time until I leave.....maybe a month, maybe six months. Unless he does some soul-searching, it is what will happen.

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 Quote:
It seems to me like things have gotten worse between us since I have been more outspoken. I think he is afraid of my confidence and self-assurance.
Of course he is. He likes controlling you through manipulation.

Look at it this way. Living that way can't be all that gratifying for him. It may feel like it, but unless he's a sociopath, his guilt has got to be doing him some harm. You taking a stand and expecting better from him will actually help HIM, too. He'll have to man up or get left in the dust; so you're helping him improve himself.

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What do you think of his 'beaten dog' comment? Do you think that you do have that in your tone or posture when you bring things up to him? Or could he be saying that in another attempt to manipulate you into not believing in yourself?


Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.
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I don't know what to make of his "beaten dog" comment. I have never been a yeller or name caller when I argue. I am not a big crier, either-not to say I NEVER do, just not that often. If something bothers me, I hold off saying anything until I feel less emotional about it. If it still bothers me later, then I will sit down with him and talk about it. I usually will sit next to him and just say "Babe, when you said "such and such" it really hurt my feelings." He counters by saying I am too sensitive. On the other hand, when I don't cry, he says I act like I don't care. CONFUSING!!!

I never use accusatory phrases like..."you're mean to me" or "you did this or that". I always try to just say "I felt this or that". I know that in past relationships, he complained that his ex-girlfriends cried and yelled all the time and that they got in pretty vicious fights. Maybe since I am not in his face calling him names and screaming at him, he feels that I am a "beaten dog"? Who knows.

It seems to me that he wanted to throw daggers at me and expected me not to bleed from them. He veils condescending comments by saying it's constructive criticism. Something he has said a lot recently is that he wants me to learn from his mistakes so that I don't make the same mistakes he has. I told him that he is my partner, not my father.

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 Originally Posted By: lostmymind
The next thing he said cut me to the core. He leaned back, narrowed his eyes, and asked...Do you want the girls to turn out like you when they grow up?" -----
Does anyone else find that question offensive? It has frankly devastated me. Am I being too sensitive or am I right in feeling hurt? He says I am taking things too personally and that I am over-emotional. I need advice!


dear lostmymind; INSULTING and DISRESPECTFUL are more appropriate words that come to my mind. I would feel that he doesn't think much of me or respect me very much. I would have had to try to respond "Why YES, I would hope that they would have many of my characteristics rather than ones that would ask a question like that!!!"

 Originally Posted By: catperson
Now that you're working on yourself, he doesn't like it. He wants it back the old way, because he was in control. He is probably even starting to get scared that he'll lose total control. He already talked you down from the divorce ledge, so he thinks he knows your number. But he's going to make sure by continuing to criticize you and insult you so that you stay on your toes trying to find ways to NOT displease him.
lostmymind: I agree with catperson and I would say it is time for you to take time to go to the spa and get the "makeover treatment", pamper yourself, buy a new outfit and some new perfume and go home looking like a million $$$. He might have a very high PA need. Feel even better about your appearance. Drop the "comfortable look" and dress up the girls as well. If he will drop the $$$, I would spend it on them. Just my 2 cents. Why not try to meet his ENs. He cannot complain if you are trying to meet them and will continue until you do or he gives up...do something for yourself and he will respect you more.

 Quote:
He veils condescending comments by saying it's constructive criticism. Something he has said a lot recently is that he wants me to learn from his mistakes so that I don't make the same mistakes he has. I told him that he is my partner, not my father.


I know that "fatherly instruction" feels very disrespectful. I do value my dhs' opinions but they are hard to "hear" when they come across as DJs or demands. Being TOO honest has NOT been the best for me, I try to keep open and honest about our home and the children but telling him how I feel hasn't met with highest regards. I am trying to change that to help him learn how to "watch how I feel" rather than hear me complain. (that is what it sounds like to them and we only complain when they have failed; so to disagree with a dh is to say "you have failed me")




Last edited by dearheart; 03/09/09 05:31 PM. Reason: combining multiple posts
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 Originally Posted By: dearheart

I agree with catperson and I would say it is time for you to take time to go to the spa and get the "makeover treatment", pamper yourself, buy a new outfit and some new perfume and go home looking like a million $$$. He might have a very high PA need. Feel even better about your appearance. Drop the "comfortable look" and dress up the girls as well. If he will drop the $$$, I would spend it on them. Just my 2 cents. Why not try to meet his ENs. He cannot complain if you are trying to meet them and will continue until you do or he gives up...do something for yourself and he will respect you more.





I actually am not concerned about my appearance-I feel I look good and take care of myself. I guess I get it from my Mom, but even if I am not leaving the house I fix my hair and put on my makeup...especially if he is on his way home from work. I keep up with trends and you won't catch me without my nails painted! Can't remember the last time I wore a pair of tennis shoes- heels are my best friend because I am pretty short! \:D

I really don't want to make the girls too concerned about dressing up at this point. I guess I just feel that when they are ready to wear skirts and slacks to school, it will be a natural transition. I just hate to think of them worrying about what they are going to wear at this age...the pressure of that will come all too soon. I do pick out nice outfits for them to wear for church and when we go out for dinner.


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