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TherapistMaryAnn
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5770
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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Hi Kate, I hope all is well with you. Im definitely

Resolved Question:

Hi Kate,
I hope all is well with you. I'm definitely becoming more assertive and protective of myself in this home environment. A flip of this is my husband is trying hard to engage me in conversation at times. I don't trust the shift in behavior so I am cautious, gracious and somewhat detached because the possibility exists this is a temporary manipulative tactic.

My question is, what is the best way to respond ? When I express my opinion about something with him that we need to
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 3 years ago.
Hi Dee,

If your husband responds to your assertiveness and protecting yourself with trying to engage you in conversation, then it is ok to be cautious because as you mentioned because you are not sure what the motivation behind his behavior is. And based on his past behavior with you, it's a good idea to remain polite yet protective of yourself until you are sure what is behind his openness to talk with you.

However, if you are discussing opinions about a topic and he becomes hostile and defensive, then you may need to stop the conversation. You also mentioned that he is cutting you off. That is a way for him to keep the upper hand and to control the situation. He is also sending the message that your opinion is not important but his is. This is also a good reason to stop the conversation. Simply say to him, "I would like to talk further about this topic, but I see you are not ready yet. Let me know when you are ok with an equal exchange of ideas." Then leave. Try your best to keep your emotions out of it and remain as remote as you can. He may be looking to get you upset so he feels more in control so if you are calm about it, then he doesn't get "rewarded". You can always express your feelings about it to someone safer after you are out of the situation.

Kate
TherapistMaryAnn and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Very often you have interpreted behaviors and have helped and support me effectively.
This is another occasion and it's very well appreciated.
Thanks:)
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 3 years ago.
Anytime! I am always happy to talk with you, Dee :)

Take care,

Kate
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
...and yes, I will be careful not to reward the behaviors. The work is necessary on my part.
I told him that his display of anger was hurtful, yet I think I will leave that out next time because isn't that the reward you are talking about? (sorry)
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 3 years ago.
Yes, if you tell him he hurt you, he may feel that is the "reward" he was looking for, unfortunately. Normally, you expressing hurt should prompt him to stop and show concern, but with his past behaviors it is unlikely he would react in that way. So leaving your emotions out of it is the best way to handle it until things can change.

Kate
TherapistMaryAnn and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Wow Kate, that's so backwards to a normal healthy way of relating.
I just hope having to be on guard all the time, hide my feelings and have this exterior persona doesn't mess up my other relationships in any way. others I can be open and express myself, such as my friends.
Thanks for telling me to leave my feelings put of it!
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 3 years ago.
Dee,

It is very backwards to a normal healthy way of relating, I agree. But sometimes with how a person relates, you have to protect yourself and in order to do so, you have to respond in ways you find uncomfortable. But you will be able to talk to your friends and other family. This will not change you at all. It will just change how you think and feel around your husband.

Talk to you soon!

Kate
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Ok.... That's a relief as I thought I would become weird or too hardened with others.
Tanks once again and have a good evening and I will talk to you soon.
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 3 years ago.
You're welcome :) Talk to you soon.

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