Tips for having a thicker skin?

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daughterofbpd

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Tips for having a thicker skin?
« on: May 15, 2017, 06:34:31 PM »
My non PD husband can sometimes have some PD traits. Over the past couple months, he's been increasingly impatient and demeaning. I know I've come Out of the FOG with my parents in the last year and probably didn't notice some things before - but I'm pretty sure he was never this bad before. It's things like him rolling his eyes and saying "Seriously?!" if I don't hand him something fast enough or he'll stand by and watch me do something (like pour a glass of milk) and make snide comments about how I'm doing it wrong. Yesterday, I got snapped at for getting sand in the ice chest but if I didn't accidentally get sand in the ice chest then I wouldn't have been able to grab our toddler fast enough (and I would have gotten snapped at for that instead). I can't win.

My mom was constantly doing this my whole life and I am really working to fight these self-defeating thoughts that I am slow, stupid, worthless, and less than. But I can't do that when I just keep hearing those messages from him.

Unlike my mom, DH apologizes and seems to genuinely feel terrible after (usually only after he notices me sniffling, until then he's clueless). He apologizes profusely and acts like it won't happen again, but then it just keeps happening again. Then he expects everything to be okay after, I'm supposed to act all lovey and attracted to him or he pouts. I know he isn't trying to manipulate me but these actions are all too familiar to me (from dealing with my mom). I guess in my heart I know that this is something that we can work through, but I just don't feel I have the mental capacity left. I can't handle the negative comments anymore and I'm not sure that he can stop. Yesterday he had the audacity to call me out on spending time with my "abusive mom" when he'd been much more abusive to me than she had (that day)! I've worked really hard to set boundaries with my mom and I'm no longer accepting her verbal abuse. I should be proud! Such a low blow. I think that was the cruelest comment he has ever made to me (in 17 years).

I'm sorry for the long rant. I'm scared if I don't deal with this NOW, I will have zero feelings for him soon and there will be nothing to mend (this is how I feel about my mom, I slowly shut down until there are no feelings left).

I was wondering if anyone (1) has any tactics for not completely falling apart when receiving this kind of criticism (I literally have a mental breakdown each time and it ruins my entire day)
and (2) any simple statements that I can repeat each time to let him know that this is not okay? When I was able to go to therapy, my therapist recommended "ouch" with my mom if I can't gather my thoughts to verbalize anything more, but "ouch" feels a bit silly to me.

Thanks in advance!
“How starved you must have been that my heart became a meal for your ego”
~ Amanda Torroni

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JollyJazz

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Re: Tips for having a thicker skin?
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2017, 09:51:17 PM »
Hi daughterofbpd,

Yes I can relate!

My T suggested 'ouch' to me, and intuitively I kind of realised it would never work with some people. Letting people know they have hurt you only works with those that don't WANT to hurt you. Some people really do want to hurt us, and so hearing 'ouch' is kind of encouragement.

Hmmm, it may be that your husband doesn't really mean to put you down and hurt you as much as he is (although I could be wrong). But he IS putting you down and it IS hurting you.

It does concern me a bit that after he hurts you he apologies and yet keeps doing it again and again.

Have you considered going to a couples therapist and talking it through?

I've found that one thing my therapist told me that really does work (with people that care) is the following formula.
Describe the situation...
'Today you said.....(whatever it was)'
How you felt about it.
'I felt very hurt by that'
What you want to happen.
'Please don't say that again'.

It works really well. Just repeat it if you need to.

It is difficult to tell what is going on for me. There is always the red flag for those of us that have been brought up by PD abusers that we can end up with PD's themselves in our later relationships. It is hard to tell what is happening with your husband, either it is a bad habit that he has and needs to STOP, or whether it is something worse.

Personally I would try the assertiveness technique (the one above if it works for you) or another one that you find that works for you. And personally I would try also meeting with a therapist for an independent assessment of what is going on.

Good luck!
« Last Edit: May 15, 2017, 09:56:44 PM by JollyJazz »

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daughterofbpd

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Re: Tips for having a thicker skin?
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2017, 11:14:20 PM »
Thank you, JollyJazz. I think you are right about counseling. It isn't in our budget with daycare expenses, but I'll talk to DH and see if we can figure something out. These are sort of in the heat of the moment, minor stressful situations that this happens. DH has always been the impatient type, I don't think he means to be mean, it's just stuff that flies out of his mouth in the moment. That's why I wonder if he can stop himself from doing it. Although it's kind of a new thing for him so maybe...I'm going to try to suck it up and tell him how bad this is affecting me and how serious these comments are to the future of our realationship. It seems like a small issue but it isn't something I can personally live with, I'm not sure if he gets that.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2017, 11:11:27 AM by coyote »
“How starved you must have been that my heart became a meal for your ego”
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SaltwareS

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Re: Tips for having a thicker skin?
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2017, 08:25:09 AM »
Can you give him a dirty look? One that says "excuse me"?

Honestly I think tears are pretty effective.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2017, 08:12:23 AM by coyote »

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Shell92127

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Re: Tips for having a thicker skin?
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2017, 09:14:04 AM »
I like what jollyjazz posted. Very good advice.

When my ex unBPD bf was harsh and critical I tried saying this:
" when you talk to me about a concern you have with my behavior, I want to FEEL the love you have
for me in your voice. When you speak harshly to me it triggers my fear of abandonment and I might
over-react to hide this fear from you"

It made a slight difference-you might have better luck with it since your H actually apologizes.

Also, I think it was in one of the books I read about narcs-perhaps it was
"Disarming the Narcissist" there was a great example of what you can say. Here it is:
" I love you so much and I want to always FEEL how much I love and care about you. When you speak harshly
to me you take away my ability to feel how much I care for you. and this upsets me very much."

and you could add " and this isn't good for me or for you and for our relationship".

I like the concept of a relationship is like a bank account. You have to make deposits before making withdrawals.
And for the account to stay in existence your deposits have to exceed withdrawals. Each time you have a positive interaction or
a good time, good conversation etc with your partner, you are making deposits in your relationship "bank". You have to make sure
deposits always exceed withdrawals.

You can undo all the good work you’ve done placing emotional deposits, if you have too many withdrawals. Just like your bank account, if you overdraw, you’re in trouble. Steer clear of the following whenever possible: Manipulation, blaming, criticizing, hostility, defensiveness, jealousy, indifference, lack of affection, quarreling, rejection, pessimism, workaholism, laziness, lack of spontaneity.


A strong and healthy relationship is always the result of steady deposits made over a long period.

http://twoology.com/8-easy-emotional-deposits-into-your-relationship-bank-account/

see here:
http://lifetrainingonline.com/blog/the-emotional-bank-account.htm

Hi daughterofbpd,

Yes I can relate!

My T suggested 'ouch' to me, and intuitively I kind of realised it would never work with some people. Letting people know they have hurt you only works with those that don't WANT to hurt you. Some people really do want to hurt us, and so hearing 'ouch' is kind of encouragement.

Hmmm, it may be that your husband doesn't really mean to put you down and hurt you as much as he is (although I could be wrong). But he IS putting you down and it IS hurting you.

It does concern me a bit that after he hurts you he apologies and yet keeps doing it again and again.

Have you considered going to a couples therapist and talking it through?

I've found that one thing my therapist told me that really does work (with people that care) is the following formula.
Describe the situation...
'Today you said.....(whatever it was)'
How you felt about it.
'I felt very hurt by that'
What you want to happen.
'Please don't say that again'.

It works really well. Just repeat it if you need to.

It is difficult to tell what is going on for me. There is always the red flag for those of us that have been brought up by PD abusers that we can end up with PD's themselves in our later relationships. It is hard to tell what is happening with your husband, either it is a bad habit that he has and needs to STOP, or whether it is something worse.

Personally I would try the assertiveness technique (the one above if it works for you) or another one that you find that works for you. And personally I would try also meeting with a therapist for an independent assessment of what is going on.

Good luck!

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all4peace

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Re: Tips for having a thicker skin?
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2017, 10:56:53 AM »
Shell--thank you for those articles! What wonderful reminders!

daughterofbpd, I love the advice you've been given. I myself am someone who can tend to be impatient and behave this way at times. I'm sorry for how it hurts you, and it will help me remember that my impatience can actually harm another person.

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kazzak

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Re: Tips for having a thicker skin?
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2017, 12:46:15 PM »
Good suggestions. I learned a technique called Teflon Mind. It helps us to learn how to let things roll off of us. I also had to be more aware of, and change, my self talk.

I couldn't change others, but these things helped me regardless and I found it empowering because it was in my control.

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daughterofbpd

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Re: Tips for having a thicker skin?
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2017, 05:31:42 PM »
Thank you, everyone, for the kind responses.

Shell92127 - Thank you for the great advice & articles. I like the idea of deposits & withdrawals. I wouldn't say the withdrawals are more than the deposits (in my relationship), its just that they stick out in my mind more and I have a hard time forgetting them. Isn't there a saying that you have to hear X amount of positive things to cancel out the negative ones? I think 1 withdrawal should equal like 5-10 deposits.

kazzak  - Thanks for the mention of Teflon Mind. I immediately Googled this technique and came across an article that was helpful: https://www.mindful.org/mindfulness-helps-cultivate-teflon-mind/

Quote
One of the things I encourage people to do when the critic is hurling judgments at them is to say, “Thank you for your opinion” or “Thanks for your point of view.”

"Thank you for your opinion" actually might diffuse the situation a bit. I don't think I could say that without laughing and he'd probably laugh too.
“How starved you must have been that my heart became a meal for your ego”
~ Amanda Torroni

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practical

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Re: Tips for having a thicker skin?
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2017, 06:35:03 AM »
Could you discuss this issue when his irritation and you being triggered has subsided? In the moment of when things happen and you are both not just vulnerable but injured and triggered, might not be the best time to do it. This is what we do. As a counselor is out, do you belong to a church who may offer some kind of help for you?

I don't think you really want a thicker skin, as it might distance you more from your husband, which is a worry of yours. Have you mentioned to him that this is a problem for you beyond the moment when it happens? Something you think you want to work on together or for him alone as it has an effect on your marriage beyond the outbursts by him?

There was a thread in Common Behaviors, and I'm not suggesting your husband is PD or has Fleas, but I think it might still be helpful for you to read:
http://www.outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?topic=65168.0
“If I’m not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when I’m only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when?” (Rabbi Hillel)

"I can forgive, but I cannot afford to forget." (Moglow)

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SaltwareS

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Re: Tips for having a thicker skin?
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2017, 12:40:01 PM »
Just curious - is he freaking out (but acting like he's stoic/controlling) because of what's going down between you and your parents? Another member had to go NC with her parents and her husband then got really quiet and distant. It was already his second marriage and they had a young child.

They did have a therapist but I think you can accomplish this without one. The therapist explained to the husband that this thing with her parents was a one-time event, not some beginning continuous drama involving cutting people from her life left and right. That some parents such as hers have this controlling/attachment disorder that prevents her from taking charge and being an adult, etc.

That did seem to help, the husband was relieved to hear this from the therapist.

It sounds a little like contempt or maybe a controlling streak in him is flaring up. Who knows, maybe he is sensing you're just being "emotional" about your parents, or maybe he senses you'll leave him like you left your parents?

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Mariposa

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Re: Tips for having a thicker skin?
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2017, 04:51:51 PM »
I liked what Practical said about how developing a thicker skin might create distance.  I don't want to just accept criticism and derogatory comments.  I want to address comments with the person and describe how they affect me.  I wish 20 years ago I would have discussed every comment/action/behavior with my ex.  Instead I just kept quiet and turned a blind eye.  Our marriage would have dissolved a lot faster if I would have discussed things, he wouldn't have wanted me addressing negative things about him. 

If I have a relationship again, I will be discussing every instance of sarcasm, eye rolling etc.  I refuse to be quiet anymore.  I don't believe having a relationship is the ultimate goal in my life anymore.

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Shell92127

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Re: Tips for having a thicker skin?
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2017, 05:08:13 PM »
I liked what Practical said about how developing a thicker skin might create distance.  I don't want to just accept criticism and derogatory comments.  I want to address comments with the person and describe how they affect me.  I wish 20 years ago I would have discussed every comment/action/behavior with my ex.  Instead I just kept quiet and turned a blind eye.  Our marriage would have dissolved a lot faster if I would have discussed things, he wouldn't have wanted me addressing negative things about him. 

If I have a relationship again, I will be discussing every instance of sarcasm, eye rolling etc.  I refuse to be quiet anymore.  I don't believe having a relationship is the ultimate goal in my life anymore.

I got out of my 15 month relationship 18 days ago  because I realized he was never going to change. I didn't want to go the rest of my life holding my tongue and walking on eggshells. I hung in there patiently for way too long. I told him I can get abuse and get treated awful anywhere and from a man who says he loves me I should not be getting nasty remarks and abuse. Harville Hendrix-marriage therapist- says there is no place for criticism in a loving relationship-use "behavior change requests" instead. Google that term and you will find a lot of great examples and info. Also John Gottman talks about love maps and the four horsemen of the apocalypse and how to resolves conflict respectfully. My ex uBPD bf could not grasp these concepts [ maybe he is too old? ] but maybe some of you will have better luck. I'm OUT and  hell yes I am GLAD about it!
 :yeahthat:

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practical

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Re: Tips for having a thicker skin?
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2017, 07:24:42 AM »
daughterofbpd, I think finding ways of communicating is really key. I have been married as long as you are and we are still working at it. We are both non's but I come from a PDFOO and DH from an otherwise dysfunctional family. I had no idea how to communicate, because all I had learned was to stuff my issues deep down, as I wasn't allowed to have issues in FOO, and my parents communicating style in the case of issues between them consisted of triangulating their children, shouting matches and silent treatment, so I had zero role models. DH had his own issues of a different kind. But we both were dedicated to our marriage and found and still are finding ways to deal with issues as they arise. We both are open to change and learning new things. We never saw a counselor, we figured it out on our own and both made changes. You think you and your husband could work on this together and each make changes depending on what the issue is?

You may actually find the Toolbox helpful. Topics like Boundaries, JADEing, Circular Conversations, Avoidance, Time Out, My Stuff/Your Stuff, the Clean Up Rule all helped me reflect on issues that have come up and find new approaches in dealing with them. OOTF has actually made my marriage stronger.

“If I’m not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when I’m only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when?” (Rabbi Hillel)

"I can forgive, but I cannot afford to forget." (Moglow)

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daughterofbpd

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Re: Tips for having a thicker skin?
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2017, 02:21:09 PM »
Thanks, everyone.

Yes, I think I need to learn to use some of the tools here. Maybe it would help me to read the "Working on it" section just for ideas, and definitely go over the Toolbox again with DH in mind. I have a different view of the relationship with my parents, more of an attitude of surviving, not trying to make it better. I'm also very avoidant and counter-dependent so my initial reaction is to flee and not deal with anything. Talking has always worked for us in the past if I can just get myself to open up. We had a good conversation last night. He was feeling insecure because I've been distant and I explained that my feelings keep getting hurt and he seemed to have a deeper understanding of the situation.

Harville Hendrix-marriage therapist- says there is no place for criticism in a loving relationship-use "behavior change requests" instead. Google that term and you will find a lot of great examples and info.
I like this concept. I think it's a good one to share with DH.
“How starved you must have been that my heart became a meal for your ego”
~ Amanda Torroni

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Tips for having a thicker skin?
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2017, 06:46:38 AM »
So much of the information here was very helpful and the articles. Personally I grew up being told to have thicker skin which pretty much translates to "shut up and put up with my abuse". In reality your body is responding to at the very least harsh and unkind words. The suggestions by so many of how to communicate without being passive aggressive and without suppressing hit the target for me.

DH held my flea-ridden self in his arms for a few heart to heart discussions about how my tone of voice and words truly hurt him. It took a few times but I could see the pain in his eyes and my heart broke with compassion so I worked really hard to fix that in myself and be more mindful how I spoke to him.
Each and every contact with a PD person results in damage. Plan accordingly and make time to heal. See Toolbox for tips.