Typical difficulty

  • 14 Replies
  • 442 Views
*

Julian R

  • New Member
  • *
  • 13
Typical difficulty
« on: May 16, 2018, 06:05:14 AM »
Hello

I am new to this and just starting to work through some of the typical behaviours that have affected married life quite badly for many years.

I would be glad of any insights you might have... and for any advice on how to manage.  Just posting about one today.  I am likely to post about others as time rolls by.

My DP(?)w will regularly go into lengthy complaining sessions about people and events that have hurt her in the past and it seems that it needs relatively small and innocent triggers to set off these bouts of negativity.  These refer to third party individuals and not usually to me directly.  Now, in the past we have encountered some difficult situations and difficult people, and we did not handle these situations well - there is real cause for hurt but in my opinion the reactions go beyond the degree to which I feel a "normal" person would react - but correct me if I am wrong.

During these times her voice sounds to me like it is conveying a degree of anger and bitterness but if I comment on that she says she is not (??)

What concerns me is that these rants seems so raw and present though the original events and hurt occurred, for some of them, over 15-20 years ago.  What to make of this?

Another thing that concerns me is that there seems to be no desire for resolution, healing or moving on - she just seems to like going on about it for the sake of it - just a bit of a pressure valve going off.

I went through, was witness to the same events but can, with others, talk about them normally, I have forgiven, moved on, bear no grudges and keep things (in my opinion) in perspective but with DPw there is a lot of distorted thinking, even selective and biased memories going on.

I have to admit that when she starts going on and on about something, for little apparent reason, I can get frustrated and can become irritable, occasionally cross.  I try to ask her to stop (often gently, nicely - sometimes not!), try to change the conversation - but she won't stop until she feels she wants to.  I have tried to say I see no value in talking about these things in such a way - but she can then accuse me of not having got over it, of being the one with the problem if i don't want to talk about.

I do wonder, admit that the introversion/extroversion issue might be in play.  I am very introverted, I process everything internally.  She is very extroverted and processes everything externally.  This is not always easy for either of us.

Another thing I find difficult is that during these rants she often wants me to agree with her conclusions/accusations - which are very black and white, very distorted and some are frankly very unfair.  I have a more grey, nuanced view of people and while I can sometimes agree to an extent I feel she is in someway just seeking some kind of approval - not sure why - but I would be lying to entirely agree with her on some things - and to be honest sometimes she says bad stuff about people I love and appreciate and i find it hurtful.  Again, there my be elements of truth but it is often taken out of context and exaggerated to an extreme so that she is always presenting herself as the victim.

Well, I have given perhaps a lot to read and think about.

Any insights?  Advice?
Thank you

*

Reda

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 474
Re: Typical difficulty
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2018, 07:26:36 PM »
The PD's I know can't ever let anything go.  A normal person processes a situation, either confronts it or decides how to make sure it doesn't happen again, then moves on.  But someone like my NMIL clings to these stories about people who have done them wrong, repeating the stories over and over.  Sometimes I feel like she is fine tuning the story to get maximum sympathy for her mistreatment.  Then she uses them to explain the "failures" in her life ... why she didn't go to college, why she married the wrong man and got divorced, how her house got forclosed on.  In all these stories she is the victim, and her failures are blamed on someone else.
Don't feed the Narcissist

*

SonofThunder

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 441
Re: Typical difficulty
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2018, 08:45:09 PM »
Hello

I am new to this and just starting to work through some of the typical behaviours that have affected married life quite badly for many years.

I would be glad of any insights you might have... and for any advice on how to manage.  Just posting about one today.  I am likely to post about others as time rolls by.

My DP(?)w will regularly go into lengthy complaining sessions about people and events that have hurt her in the past and it seems that it needs relatively small and innocent triggers to set off these bouts of negativity.  These refer to third party individuals and not usually to me directly.  Now, in the past we have encountered some difficult situations and difficult people, and we did not handle these situations well - there is real cause for hurt but in my opinion the reactions go beyond the degree to which I feel a "normal" person would react - but correct me if I am wrong.

During these times her voice sounds to me like it is conveying a degree of anger and bitterness but if I comment on that she says she is not (??)

What concerns me is that these rants seems so raw and present though the original events and hurt occurred, for some of them, over 15-20 years ago.  What to make of this?

Another thing that concerns me is that there seems to be no desire for resolution, healing or moving on - she just seems to like going on about it for the sake of it - just a bit of a pressure valve going off.

I went through, was witness to the same events but can, with others, talk about them normally, I have forgiven, moved on, bear no grudges and keep things (in my opinion) in perspective but with DPw there is a lot of distorted thinking, even selective and biased memories going on.

I have to admit that when she starts going on and on about something, for little apparent reason, I can get frustrated and can become irritable, occasionally cross.  I try to ask her to stop (often gently, nicely - sometimes not!), try to change the conversation - but she won't stop until she feels she wants to.  I have tried to say I see no value in talking about these things in such a way - but she can then accuse me of not having got over it, of being the one with the problem if i don't want to talk about.

I do wonder, admit that the introversion/extroversion issue might be in play.  I am very introverted, I process everything internally.  She is very extroverted and processes everything externally.  This is not always easy for either of us.

Another thing I find difficult is that during these rants she often wants me to agree with her conclusions/accusations - which are very black and white, very distorted and some are frankly very unfair.  I have a more grey, nuanced view of people and while I can sometimes agree to an extent I feel she is in someway just seeking some kind of approval - not sure why - but I would be lying to entirely agree with her on some things - and to be honest sometimes she says bad stuff about people I love and appreciate and i find it hurtful.  Again, there my be elements of truth but it is often taken out of context and exaggerated to an extreme so that she is always presenting herself as the victim.

Well, I have given perhaps a lot to read and think about.

Any insights?  Advice?
Thank you

You will read a similar response by me in another of your posts, but I will be brief here.

1. Listen to her and while listening, ask yourself “does it really matter to me if she feels/reacts this way?”   Typically the answer is no, so respond with a neutral answer such as “that stinks and I’m sorry it bothers you so much “. (Respond like one of her girlfriends would, even if you feel her rant is ridiculous)

2. Let her be the adult she is.   You don’t have to try and fix her or console her or try to get her to think a certain way or agree with you.  She’s an adult and she can do anything she wants and if her actions start washing all over you, enact your creative boundaries to protect yourself. 

3. When listening, remain Medium Chill (calm neutral friend), do not JADE and if you feel compelled to respond, think quickly and ask “does the response I feel really matter?”   If the quick answer is no, then a medium chill answer that says “I heard you” and “i care about you” is best. 

SoT
Proverbs 17:1
A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

*

11JB68

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 55
Re: Typical difficulty
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2018, 09:56:30 PM »
My uOCPDh watched or wedding video on our (20th?) Anniversary....got pissed of all over again at his sister...called her and starting screaming at her! She then called me and said wth was that?? Ruined our anniversary... Did this in front of me and Ds...about 15yo at the time. We were just glad we weren't being yelled at. But it was upsetting. And yes,,.he gets very mad if I don't agree and shore the same level of outrage..... :(

*

Cascade

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 278
Re: Typical difficulty
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2018, 12:41:01 AM »
I've experienced that with my PD husband. It's very hard for him to let go of his grudges and I don't think he even wants to. I think anger makes some people get a sort of adrenaline rush, and they enjoy it.

Great advice SonofThunder.

*

Julian R

  • New Member
  • *
  • 13
Re: Typical difficulty
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2018, 09:14:49 AM »
Thank you everyone.  It is somehow good to know that I am not alone.

Thank you SoT for your good advice, both here and in the other thread where you also commented - plenty to think about and apply.  Yes I really need to get to grips with what this JADE is - and not to fall into this pitfall - it just gets so circular and often escalates - and when things escalate she can become very hurtful towards me.

I can accept that people can have different thoughts and feelings about the same events and interpret them differently - I find it difficult though when my uDPw wants / obliges me to agree that only her view is valid - she cannot seem to see or accept that others may view things differently.  I wish we could just agree to disagree.  I don't understand what she gets out of going over the same old ground time and time again to no particular end.

Yes,  I need to find phrases to use that are quite neutral and learn to remain chilled - I do consider myself a quite patient and gentle person but these are really sometimes pushed to the limit ...

*

MRound

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 224
Re: Typical difficulty
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2018, 12:27:32 PM »
I agree this is very, very common.  My H does this all the time, like a record restarting.  I don’t think l ever got engaged in these anger fests -he only expects me to actually participate in the more recent affronts to decency, like the people who drive too slowly (or too fast!) down our road (“the nerve!”).   Anyway, since I came Out of the FOG I have begun to doubt that these things ever really happened, at least the way he tells it, so I mostly turn off my ears. 

*

Frazzled

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 121
Re: Typical difficulty
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2018, 02:24:05 PM »
My uBPD ex-"friend" also can never let go of the past. He went on and on about his "horrible" childhood and former coworkers still hounding him years after those jobs.

*

SonofThunder

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 441
Re: Typical difficulty
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2018, 07:37:04 AM »
Thank you everyone.  It is somehow good to know that I am not alone.

Thank you SoT for your good advice, both here and in the other thread where you also commented - plenty to think about and apply.  Yes I really need to get to grips with what this JADE is - and not to fall into this pitfall - it just gets so circular and often escalates - and when things escalate she can become very hurtful towards me.

I can accept that people can have different thoughts and feelings about the same events and interpret them differently - I find it difficult though when my uDPw wants / obliges me to agree that only her view is valid - she cannot seem to see or accept that others may view things differently.  I wish we could just agree to disagree.  I don't understand what she gets out of going over the same old ground time and time again to no particular end.

Yes,  I need to find phrases to use that are quite neutral and learn to remain chilled - I do consider myself a quite patient and gentle person but these are really sometimes pushed to the limit ...

Hi Julian,

You wrote.....“I find it difficult though when my uDPw wants / obliges me to agree that only her view is valid - she cannot seem to see or accept that others may view things differently. “

This is a ‘baiting’ tactic of PD’s as it 1. Solicits a response from you  2. Puts you in a spot to disagree or debate, causing circular and escalating drama and can lead to other accusations that are off topic   3. Puts you in a spot to be the accuser and the PD the victim (potential role reversals)  4. Solicits you to J-A-D-E. 

“...others may view things differently”.  PD’s dont care how others think, they are mainly concerned with some aspect(s) that relate to themselves.  In this case, you having a different opinion sets you up to J=justify your opinion or A=argue your opinion or D=defend your opinion or E=explain your opinion.  There is a slight difference between each of the letters, and sometimes there can be multiple letters used by us when put in a spot to respond to a PD’s baiting for response (they feed on the drama).

But, a neutral response discontinues the baiting or changes the subject.  Again, asking yourself quickly “does it really matter that this person thinks differently than I do?”    Most of the time the answer is no, and so a medium chill response, that conveys “i listened to you” and “i care about you” is suitable. 

SoT.
Proverbs 17:1
A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

*

Julian R

  • New Member
  • *
  • 13
Re: Typical difficulty
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2018, 09:51:43 AM »
Thank you SoT

Not sure whether to continue this conversation here or with private messaging - I will do it here for now ...

I managed to avoid JADEing on an occasion this weekend   :)

I wanted to get back to you about baiting - I can really see that this is happening but not quite sure of the motive.  I don't think my w is seeking conflict, at least not consciously.  it seems to be more an approval thing, an almost insatiable desire for approval and affirmation - and perhaps for anxiety driven desire to control.

And a similar thing happened which is perhaps also baiting and where it was difficult not to to JADe, at least to a limited extent.

My wife gives private tuition and she had a new client request.  She asked my opinion on what to charge her.  She really charges bottom rate and hasn't raised her prices in years.  Now, I knew this was going to happen but I suggested that in my opinion she could raise her prices.  I knew this was going to happen but she reacted rather dismissively, almost arrogantly saying she could never do that and giving reasons why and saying I didn't know what I was talking about etc. I calmly replied "then why did you ask my opinion?" (I didn't JADE too much  ;) )  This looks to me a bit like baiting (?) - and wanting me to approve, afffirm what she thinks (and I have to guess beforehand what she might be thinking).  The thing was she asked my son later the same question and he said similar to me except even higher prices - he got the same reaction!

The funny thing was, she came down this morning and said she was going to charge what I had suggested!!

It is so frustrating and sadly a common experience - that decisions seem to go through this strange dysfunctional process before coming to a conclusion.  I admit that I am not a particularly communicative person but the way she acts and reacts just makes me be even more quiet and less communicative, which doesn't always help.

I am aware from these boards that what I suffer is several degrees less than what many suffer  - but it really is very tiring and discouraging, even if things are somewhat better these days that they have be - but a new issue / trigger could arise any time - and to be honest it is rather a facade of a marriage.

Thanks again for all your advice since I have been here - much appreciated.

*

MRound

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 224
Re: Typical difficulty
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2018, 12:11:33 PM »
My H does this all the time too (get really worked up about how wrong I am only to later take on my view, and sometimes even insist it was all his idea).  I have just recently recognized that in his case this is some kind of anxiety cycle.  For example, a beloved car was recently damaged.  It was clearly totalled, but I realized I could not say this to him.  Even a hint of the possibility was met with outrage.  When th einsurance company said it was totaled, he went ballistic at them.  Then he went on this long (several days) freak out about how he was not going to have a car anymore (this is not a cost issue—we can afford another car).  I did an ok but not great job on not engaging on these topics—he just wanted to rage, and I did understand.  In the end he announced that we should buy a car with certain features, which is what I would have recommended  from the beginning.  Frankly, it is just hard for me to understand how he could let himself be so emotionally beat up over this (the whole week was full of acting out associated with the car problem).

It sounds like in the case with your wife, she needed you to say she should raise her fees in order for her to have permission, but also she needed to fight back about it to feel good about herself (that is just a guess on my part).  So you need to ask yourself how important is it for you to be heard, because you will pay for it even if you are speaking up for her benefit.  I find that I am almost always regret speaking up. 

*

DancingRain

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 824
Re: Typical difficulty
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2018, 06:06:44 AM »
“I find that I always regret speaking up.”

 :yeahthat:

*

Julian R

  • New Member
  • *
  • 13
Re: Typical difficulty
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2018, 06:25:39 AM »
It can be a bit of a no win situation can't it?

I can be criticised for being uncommunicative, secretive, vague ... on the one hand (and I admit that these would be weaknesses I have grown up with)

But on the other hand if I express an opinion or say what I want then she can be quite dismissive, defensive ... unpleasant ... so this just discourages me back into adopting my default not saying a lot mode.

So frustrating and sad  ::)

*

11JB68

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 55
Re: Typical difficulty
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2018, 05:57:33 PM »
It can be a bit of a no win situation can't it?

I can be criticised for being uncommunicative, secretive, vague ... on the one hand (and I admit that these would be weaknesses I have grown up with)

But on the other hand if I express an opinion or say what I want then she can be quite dismissive, defensive ... unpleasant ... so this just discourages me back into adopting my default not saying a lot mode.

So frustrating and sad  ::)

This experience is SO familiar to me!!

*

SonofThunder

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 441
Re: Typical difficulty
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2018, 09:56:15 PM »
It can be a bit of a no win situation can't it?

I can be criticised for being uncommunicative, secretive, vague ... on the one hand (and I admit that these would be weaknesses I have grown up with)

But on the other hand if I express an opinion or say what I want then she can be quite dismissive, defensive ... unpleasant ... so this just discourages me back into adopting my default not saying a lot mode.

So frustrating and sad  ::)

Hi Julian, 

I read your prior post and i agree with you, through experience also, that we non’s are put in the middle of seemingly no-win situations and yes, for control by the pd and to put themselves at the center of attention.  I very much agree with MRounds last paragraph. 

Knowing that most of my conversations with my uPDw are ‘me-focused’ in some way or will get turned that way (always a no-win for me) i have developed a habit of staying totally away from expressing any sort of opinion/feedback (bad or good), but rather remain a neutral person who helps my uPDw think about herself/her situation/her conversation.  Kind of like we do as parents in helping a child think through retracing their steps in finding a misplaced item when they come to us and say “mom/dad, i cant find my X”.  We first ask “where/when was the last place you remember seeing it” (neutral).  We dont typically come back with a negative/positive opinion because it doesnt help the kid think through locating it. 

For example, if my wife asked me the question you were asked about fees, I would not give my +/- opinion, but rather turn her question around with another question to put the conversation ball back on her side of the net.  Such as “are you considering changing your prices?”  These kind of statements are nuetral but keep us engaged so we dont seem aloof (which will in itself draw fire).   

And yes, having to do this careful, quick conversation all the time is mentally exhausting, boring, calculated and zero enjoyment.  I really notice the differences in my conversational relationships with other nons and its SO free, non-judgmental and natural compared to the carefulness always required with my uPDw (and uNPDf). 

Again, i think you and MRound are correct in that PD’s are baiting for opportunities to focus attention or praise on themselves or create drama/control and since they are always on the offensive, we have to defensively be prepared for anything.  #toolbox

SoT 
« Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 10:04:12 PM by SonofThunder »
Proverbs 17:1
A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.