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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5805
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My husband and I are not communicating well. I need some insight on our problems. qu

Customer Question

My husband and I are not communicating well. I need some insight on our problems.
quick example, he got a call from a friend this morning asking us to go to lunch. I said I would rather not go to a buffet, and I have some other things to do, so I nicely declined. His response is instantly "what are you doing that is so important that you can not go to a nice lunch with our friends?" he right away starts making me feel guilty for not wanting to go, Saying I am offending the friend who is inviting us.
I reply that he is your friend and I just would like to pass respectively. I poitely declined. I just would not rather go.
He then starts with the guilt trips about how i always do this when family event comes up that I dont want to be involved and that if I ever ask him in the future to go somewhere, just remember this and he will 'nicely decline' but none of this is nice.

so I start to quickly get my affairs in order, get changed, get the baby changed, and start to get ready.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


It sounds like you and your husband are communicating, just in the wrong way.


There could be a couple of things going on here. One, you are refusing to go all of the time when invited and he is frustrated, or two, he has anger and control issues and is using your desire to not go as a way to start an argument and to try to control the situation.


If you are refusing to go to any invitations, then you may need to change how you approach this. I understand that with a baby, doing anything feels like a big undertaking, but you may need to accept a few invitations here and there. Maybe get a babysitter to help out.


However, if you are making an effort and your husband expects you to go every time, then this is a problem. He needs to respect how you feel and he is not doing that. You can talk with him and let him know how you feel. If that does not work, you may need to see a therapist together. There is definitely a power struggle going on here for him and a therapist can help him see the issue and how he can best work on it. You can ask your doctor for a referral for a therapist or if you attend church, your pastor could help. Also, you can search on line at


In the meanwhile, let you husband know that you will make an effort to accept some of the invitations, but that you do not want to accept them all. Try to find a babysitter and ask his help with this. If he wants you to go, he needs to assist you with the child care. And if you decide to not go to an event, then do not change your mind. Simply tell him that you don't want to go, then drop the subject. If he persists, let him know that his insistence is bothering you then leave the room. Keep your voice calm and logical. The more upset you become, the more he will try to use it to get you to give in.


Here are some books that may help you get started. One is called We Can Work It Out: How to Solve Conflicts, Save Your Marriage (Perigee) by C. Notarius and Howard Markman. Another is Communication Miracles for Couples: Easy and Effective Tools to Create More Love and Less Conflict by Jonathan Robinson. You can find these on or your local library may have them available.


I hope this has helped you,

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

thanks for the information... I would have to say on your questions about our situation, it is the latter. I USUALLY go on anything and everything he asks. I have been searching around on the internet about a controlling husband and he seems to fit the bill.


I just dont know how to deal with it. I know I can't CHANGE him, but I need to know how to deal with him. He always needs to blame someone for anything bad that happens.

and I am always at fault for anything that goes wrong. Even it is so random that something happens. an example, lets say, our toddler falls off the sofa, he would say "why did you push her off the sofa" or "why did momma hurt you?"

He critizes everything from my driving (saying you are scaring me and the baby), to making dinner (I dont approve, I didnt want tacos).

I think in his mind its funny to a point to always make the first stab at someone, but after 5 years of hearing this crap, I am really sick of it.
Basically because I never do anything right, or choose anything right.

If I dissagree to something he wants, like he'll say, does pizza sound good for dinner? I'll say, no, not in the mood for pizza. He'll come back saying, ok, guess we have to get what you want, not like I wanted pizza or anything.

I always end up arguing with him because I try to come back and defend myself or my decision, OR I try to back track and give in on what he wants "Ok, lets get pizza", but by then, I get the complete opposite reaction where he then says "No, can't get pizza cause that's not what you want~!"


its so tough cause I cant win no matter what I say. and its not like I am trying to WIN, I just want to keep him happy with out arguing. but no matter WHAT i say, practically most of the time its the wrong answer or he doesn't respect my decision, saying I ruined everything!

completely controlling... I just need tips on how to deal with someone like this with out fighting. AAARUGH!


Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Do you think he is willing to see a counselor? He needs to work out why he feels the need to control. Both of you seeing a counselor would help.


Also, you can change how you react to him. Leave out emotional responses to his comments. It may be that he not only wants to control, but also get a rise out of you. If he says something about your behavior, say I am sorry you feel that way. Then walk away. If you want pizza and he wants hamburgers, then order both. Start reacting to him as an individual. You would not tolerate such behavior from a friend or stranger, why accept it from your husband?


Saying things to your child about you is unacceptable. I would tell your husband so. It is a form of emotional abuse to use such comments against you and using your child in that way. It is putting your child in a position of picking which parent to side with and that is abuse. Tell your husband that in no uncertain terms that if he has a problem with you, direct to you and not to your child or children.


You also have the choice of separating from him if he is not willing to address his issues. He will only continue or get worse if he does not have any insight into his problem so you will have to decide whether or not you are willing to put up with this behavior (and expose your children to it as well) or try a separation. You can seek out therapy on your own to help you decide.



TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hi... would like to ask something more.

thanks for the response. I am going to try my best at 'ignoring' what he says and stop fueling his controls. I have tried to just say, I am sorry you feel that way and then walk off. but it is hard when the comment is like a personal attack. very hard to just shrug it off when someone attacks your ability, or lack of ability at doing something. Arugh.


on another note... my husband is a emotionally needy person. he always is asking for 'more love' or 'Im not feeling the love'. Or say after he attacks me for something he can drop it and move on right away, and then say, "why are you upset?" or "give me some love". I am not one to just "drop it" after I have been attacked or critized. I need time to cool off or process it or what ever. And I am in NO MOOD to give love or be nice to him after he has critized me. I have told him this alot, but he just doesn't get it.


Is there any tools on how to get over something? or show emotion when you dont want to? or to deal with this kind of overly needy person?

I am not COLD to emotion, but I grew up as an independant person, we didn't show tons of love in our family, just being there and being present in our family was all we needed.

Now I am with a person who is emotionally needy and over the last 6 years I guess he hasn't figured out that I just don't do that easily, I do try, but apparently its just not enough for him. I dont go into someones personal space unless it looks like its wanted or is requested in the first place. I dont like to force myself into his space I guess for fear of being pushed off or rejected, so I wait for him to open the door. Like I'll try to snuggle up to him on the couch at night and get NO response, no indication that he wants me there, so I will back off. then later on I'll get a comment that I am not loving enough.

Sometimes I feel like my 41 year old husband is extremly selfish and immature. Is this common with men?


its complicated... I am sorry for being confusing if I am. Its just hard to explain.

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

It is common with some people. However, this how your husband has learned to express his needs, whether it be control or needing love. What needs to happen is that he needs to learn to express himself differently so he and you can communicate your needs better.


Is he willing to see a counselor, like we talked about before? He needs to address this issue before things will get better between the two of you. Otherwise, it will be up to you to control your responses to him, which is not what you want to do, I know.


The best way to deal with a controlling person is to set your responses and stick to them. Yes, it is very hard when you are criticized and are hurt. Just saying I'm sorry and walking off is difficult. And his actions are hurting you and your marriage. But until he works through his denial that he is the cause of these conflicts, you are left to protect yourself.


Try deciding ahead of time what you want to say to his comments. For example, when he says something hurtful, you can tell him that his comment hurt you. Or you can walk away. Whatever you feel works to stop the interaction. What you don't want to do is respond with an argument or being upset. He is looking for a reaction from you and when you give it to him, it reinforces his behavior.


I understand it is hard to take all the comments and respond without becoming angry or upset. That is why I think it is a good idea for you to talk to a therapist. You need the support and someone who can work with you on how to handle your relationship. And, hopefully, once you are working with someone, your husband might be more willing to come with you to work on his issues as well.