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Hi everyone,
I am really confused by some things, and could really use some objective advice. My husband is a very sweet man over all, he is warm and generous and responsible, etc. However, there is another side to him that I am apparently not coping well with.

Weíve been married for a year, and in that time weíve had some stressful things happen such as miscarriage, family illnesses and deployments, a death, the purchase of a house, etc. Anyway, I donít even think those are the issues. The thing is, we both tend to get very irritable with one another, over little things mostly like cleaning dishes and the like. I take responsibility for the fact that I can be very passive-aggressive sometimes, I get rather condescending toward him by rolling my eyes and things. I admit that. However, I have never once called him a name, or attacked his character personally. In fact I take great pains to avoid doing that. I argue only about the issue, and I always protect his feelings.

On the other hand, he will resort to calling me names and really trying to hurt my feelings. He calls me a "*****" and he makes fun of things I like to do. He has told me to go away before, to leave him alone, etcetera. I cannot tell you how much this hurts my feelings. From the very beginning, I told him that name-calling was absolutely off-limits, that he has to stop attacking me as a person. He sort of did stop, but instead heíll say "youíre acting like such a *****" as though thatís any different! I am so hurt by this, and I am losing trust in him all the time and I donít know what to do. And I havenít left! So are rules even possible in a marriage because he broke my rule repeatedly and Iíve done nothing about it! Because what am I supposed to do? Move out because he called me a name?

Perhaps the fault is partly mine. I look back and I see that prior to getting married, I always got my way in every relationship I had. If he disrespected me or did something I didnít like, I simply left and didnít look back. And inevitably, I either got what I wanted or found someone else. I realize now that I have no other way of coping with conflict but to turn up my nose and leave. And I am extremely sensitive to attacks on my dignity. For instance, if he says that he doesnít want me around, I would rather sleep under a bridge than be where Iím not wanted.

The other thing is, I donít know if it is worth mentioning because he doesnít have a physically abusive bone in his body Ė but his father disturbs me. His parents have been divorced for a long time, and Iím very close with his mom and learned of the control and intermittent physical abuse that led to the end of their marriage. I see in his father this extreme intensity and terribly competitive spirit Ė he has terrible road rage for instance, and he acts very authoratative around his current wife. He was also asked not to attend his childrensí sporting events if he couldnít keep his cool. I see these things in my husband, heís always looking for someone else to blame for things Ė always. He acts like a child and canít take responsibility for his own anger and shortcomings.

Now my husband was raised just as much by his mom, who is a wonderful, gentle person. I donít even know if itís worth mentioning all this, itís just that I see the same impulsive, childlike behavior in my husband that I do in his father. If things donít go his way, he gets very pushy. For instance, my husband will get annoyed by something, and Iíll just be trying to stay out of his way, and then heíll bark at me "why are you in such a bad mood? Whatís wrong with you?" and if I say "Iím not in a bad mood, you are" then he gets really really mad at me! And says "well youíre all down in the mouth, walking around like you just lost your best friend and Iím trying to enjoy my book" or something. And Iím so confused by this! How do I respond? Because maybe I am looking gloomy because Iím sensitive to how tense things are and I donít really want to talk to him! Does anyone else cope with this kind of thing?

This is probably making no sense at all, and I thank you if youíve read this far. I really just donít know where to turn. He wonít go to counseling, and honestly I donít know if I want to. He will NOT listen to any comparisons I make between him and his father, that really upsets him, and it seems like "talking it out" gets us nowhere. I just want to know Ė what am I doing wrong? Is his behavior normal in a marriage? Is mine?

Thank you so much for any input, Iím sorry this is so long.





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