How Can I Address his Behavior Without Him Retaliating?

How can I address this behavior without the risk of retaliation?

There are very few responses to this question posted in this blog. It's true that the fear of retaliation is always present. Given that the PA Husband's behavior is mostly unconscious,
any demand to change it will be perceived at the beginning as a threat. Possibly, he could answer with more of the same....Beginning a spiral of negative behaviors out of control.

The key is to be clear of what you want to accomplish:

a) you want to establish some limits, as to recover a measure of self-control;
b) you want to be listened to.

In order to do this two purposes, the first key is to confront using a tone of voice never accusatory, but matter of fact;
and have the words already prepared, and practiced.

"When you forget to bring home the prescription medicines you promise to pick up for me, I feel let down. Next time I will (here mention what you have decided to do; your "Plan B")."

Is important not to sound accusatory, or blaming, as not to trigger all the defensive responses he has in stock.

Remember that he is not in a position to control his defensive machinery, which will trigger as soon as you can express the pain of your dissapointment. Make his failure a fact, describe it as a fact, look at him in the eyes, and repeat your phrase two or three times.

Then, change the subject and move on. Make a note in your diary, because the second step of this treatment is, when he offers to pick them up:

"This is the way I'm dealing with my prescription medicines now. Remember that in (date here) I told you that it was not acceptable your forgetting? Well, things have changed now and I manage my medications in a different way."

Again, voice in a matter of fact tone, make eye contact, repeat, keep records.

What other of his behaviors would you deal with using this method?

  1. Sareen, 14 June, 2009

    Even when you say all the recommendations here, I’m still concerned about his ability to get even with me. I can’t avoit being fearful of his sneaky way of telling me that he is in control….hiding my things, making decisions only to hurt me, without consulting, and having this complete other life of his where I’m not included. Some days I feel that my only solution is to walk away and disguise myself for the rest of my life…this is so unjust! but what help is there to force him to behave? nobody will have him doing decent things to his family….he will hide more of his income and play dead when there are needs in the family to be solved, and nobody can’t talk him into doing differently….this is a very lonely marriage!

  2. IlseG, 25 June, 2009

    Two years ago, I got to know a nice lawyer lady working at the community services agency, who convinced me she could get me a divorce fast if I managed to hide from him….so I did. Why I had to leave the father of my children behind?
    Since I remember him, he was a person ready with negative comments and always had something critical to say about everyone, my friends, neighbors, family,his co-workers. According to his stories, he was always the victim of other people’s stupidity. When I tried to point how hurtful this constant demeaning was to me, he took what I had to say as only a cruel critique of his “loving ways” and blamed me for his comments: I always provoked or deserved his comments! I got used to be very cautios, not spontaneous in front of him, afraid of his temper tantrums… as if walking on eggshells to not to upset him. If he got mad, like if he got a traffic tickect, he would like enter the house and break my things or curse me. I would not tell my family, how can you describe to them to be in a state of constant terror? I was isolated, lonely and always afraid…Looking back, the best thing I did for myself and the kids was to run away.

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