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KimberlyF
KimberlyF, Longtime Relationship Expert
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Relationship expert for almost three years with JustAnswer.com
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Ive been with my husband 20 years. He regularly goes into

Customer Question

I've been with my husband 20 years. He regularly goes into sulks for weeks sometimes months on end after we've disagreed on something. The biggest thing that bothers me is when he ignores me or is rude to me in front of the children. I usually talk in a very loud voice and repeat my question saying "hello - I'm talking here!" I can tell the kids are uncomfortable - he'll ignore me and then carry on talking and smiling with them. If I don't take him to task about his rudeness I feel like I'm modelling 'doormat' behavior. If I confront he'll end up being nasty to me which is more upsetting to the kids. I know he should be different but, in the meantime, how do you think I should respond to him whilst trying to deal with him ignoring me and being rude in front of our 9yr old and 12yr old? Should I just talk to them about it?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  KimberlyF replied 5 years ago.

HiCustomer Thank you for asking your question on JustAnswer.

 

I think you should talk to him about the way that he treats you especially in front of your children if they continue to see this kind of behavior they are going to start to think that they can treat you the same way. It has to stop now or it will only get worse and worse. You may have to take drastic measures and possibly threaten to leave if things do not change. Your children have to know that this is wrong and not the type of behavior that is usually exhibited in a relationship. Maybe marriage counseling will be beneficial for the two of you to better communicate to each other as a couple and a family unit. You have to get stronger and constant about not allowing him to treat you this way, if he knows you will not put up with that behavior he will gradually stop. You cannot continue to allow your children to see it so that they don't learn from his behavior and pattern themselves after it.


Thank you again for trusting us with your problem.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

 

Thanks but you haven't answered my question.

 

We've been to 4 different counsellors over the years. I know he has to stop but he won't. (of course I've already asked him to stop 100's of times). He'll just say "well you should have thought about that before you did (fill in the blanks). Sometimes he'll just deny he's being rude and ignorant "I don't know what you're talking about" - and then carry on being rude and ignorant. If I threaten to leave him he'll go from being obnoxious to being abusive in front of the children.

 

To restate my question: When he is rude or ignores me in front of the children, whether we're married, separated, divorced or whatever, what should I do? Do I say nothing (and feel like a doormat but protect the children) or confront him and cause an argument and make the children feel even more uncomfortable. When I do confront him he looks at me with disgust like "how can you put the children through this?". Maybe its more of a parenting question?

 

.

 

Expert:  KimberlyF replied 5 years ago.
Customer

 

I'm sorry I thought you were asking me how to make him stop and I see that you said you have asked him 100 times. You have to stick up for yourself because no one else will do. Try relaxing your body, standing/sitting up straight and staying calm while thinking about previous experiences. To help keep your balance begin by saying nothing, do not verbally fight back until you're mentally ready. Speak only about your feelings & opinions and leave theirs alone. Help avoid confusion by making sure your non-verbal communication, such as body language, facial expression and tone of voice, is congruent with the verbal message you're trying to send. Ask him like this; "Stop calling me names.", "Lower your tone of voice." Be certain you do ask for what you want. Hinting, suggesting or demanding is not as effective as just saying please. Unless something more important happens stay focused on your goal until you get their agreement. Take a Verbal Self Defense course if available or buy some books that talk about defenses about verbal abuse.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

 

Thanks for the response.

 

My question is do I stick up for myself in front of the children or not.

 

 

Expert:  KimberlyF replied 5 years ago.

iclavivs1,

 

Only if he is treating you badly in front of them say something like, "Now is not the time for this" or " Do you have to do this now?" he is acting immature so maybe you should treat him that way as if you are scolding one of your children. I wouldn't confront him in front of them it's bad enough they have to see it from him, wait until they go to bed and discuss it with him then. He thinks he is making you look bad but actually it's the other way around and you need to tell him that. Tell him he is not painting himself in a good light. Then talk to the children when he is not around and explain to them that isn't a way to treat someone and that you hope they aren't upset by what their father was saying they have to hear from someone that everything is going to be okay.

KimberlyF, Longtime Relationship Expert
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 750
Experience: Relationship expert for almost three years with JustAnswer.com
KimberlyF and 2 other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

 

Thank you! That's really what I wanted to hear. I've never really sat down and talked with the kids about their Dad's behavior towards me. I was really unsure whether talking to them separately was a good idea but that seems to be the perfect solution and means I can protect them from hearing our arguments whilst not ignoring what they've had to put up with seeing and hearing.

 

I know for a fact that if my husband finds out that I've talked to the kids about the way he behaves towards me, he'll call me a bad mother for involving the kids in our arguments, or trying to turn the kids against him - got any good suggested responses for me if he does say that to me?

 

Expert:  KimberlyF replied 5 years ago.
Customer

 

Of course he is going to try and use anything and everything against you and you have to show him that it doesn't bother you and he will stop doing it. Don't allow him to second guess your parenting as long as you know you are the best mother possible it won't matter what he says and besides think about what he is putting them through and you will know who really is the bad parent. Just make sure the kids are okay and they know that you love them and care how they feel. That is part of his breaking you down and making you feel like the bad person as long as you know you are not that is all that matters and maybe you should tell him that.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

 

Does this count as a 2nd question that I have to pay for?

Expert:  KimberlyF replied 5 years ago.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

 

Sorry for the long time to get back.

 

Well let's close the question then and thank you for your invaluable thoughts.

Expert:  KimberlyF replied 5 years ago.
Customer

 

If you ever need my help again ask for me by name and I would be happy to help again. Good luck to you!

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