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Question
Posted by: KZ | 2010/10/19

over sensitive

Hi. I am a 26 year old woman. Been married for 2 years now. For a long time now, my husband has become more and more oversensitive. For example, if I have a headache or feel ill, and he suggests i sleep it off - if i say that i would like to shower instead (as this helps me more) he gets offended thinking that I " only want to refute"  his suggestions. He then sulks. If he buys me a dessert or snack and cant eat it when he expects me to/when he gives it to me (i have IBS), he will sulk and then later say " you rejected my gift" . These are just two examples. I am constantly wondering what i will do next to " offend"  or " hurt"  him. I am in therapy to work though various painful childhood issues, and it is working, albeit slowly. But he refuses to get help for his, frankly, debilitating insecurities (trust me, i have asked him, and he gets upset and withdraws, as if, again, I am hurting him in some way). I dont know how to deal with this. I cant MAKE him think clearly, I cant make him seek help, he is a workaholic too... I hate being seen as the bad person all the time when all i am doing is being me :''-( I am not a horrible ogre. But i am constantly watching and analyzing what i say and do so as not to hurt him in some way. I realize this is unhealthy, but i dont know what else to do. If i just ignore his " emo-ness"  he will alienate himself further... and AGAIN, I will be labelled as the bad person for ignoring him. I feel so trapped. I know this is immature behaviour, which quite likely stems from some issue he has - but try as I might, i cant help him get over this. I dont know what to do. I think i care too much what he thinks of me. What i do/take to STOP CARING SO MUCH??? I worry far too much about stepping on his toes. I dont want to lose who i am like this. Please help me.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Do I understand that he makes would-be helpful suggestions even when you're merely informing him, not actually asking for suggestions ?
Sounds as though he is courting, seeking, rejections. SOmetimes a person approaches life with a set of rigid expectations and assumptions - such as "whenever I offer something to the person I love, it will be rejected." Whether based on childhood experiences or whatever, this readily becomes the basis for a set of self-fulfilling prophecies - he sets himself up for rejection, as, although these aren't in themselves pleasant experiences, they bring the deeper pleasure of confirming his prejudices about himself and the world.
Some people are only pleased by being displeased.
Try to understand these episodes and events as little dramas he constructs for himself, not realizing what he is doing, and in which you play an essential bit part - but they're not actually about you. Do not acept labels of "bad person". YOU know they are not accurate. It's about him feeling that the world is filled with Bad People who will hurt him whenever given the chance, not about YOU actually being bad.
This would be fruitful territory to discuss with your therapist, to explore alternate ways for you to respond when he does this, or when you see such a scnario being constructed, so as to vary the ending, to make it harder for him to cast you as the Bad Person, and more as a sympathetic and understanding perdon - you and he against the world, rather than you being part of the world he sees as being inherently against him.

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Happiness | 2010/10/19

Just pretend not to notice his sulking, what makes him continue with his childish behaviour is you care. I know because I behave like that sometimes. I like the attention sulking comes with. Unfortunately it just makes matters worse when hubby shows he cares about my " funny moods" . Attention is addictive so it becomes a vicious cycle.

Reply to Happiness
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/10/19

Do I understand that he makes would-be helpful suggestions even when you're merely informing him, not actually asking for suggestions ?
Sounds as though he is courting, seeking, rejections. SOmetimes a person approaches life with a set of rigid expectations and assumptions - such as "whenever I offer something to the person I love, it will be rejected." Whether based on childhood experiences or whatever, this readily becomes the basis for a set of self-fulfilling prophecies - he sets himself up for rejection, as, although these aren't in themselves pleasant experiences, they bring the deeper pleasure of confirming his prejudices about himself and the world.
Some people are only pleased by being displeased.
Try to understand these episodes and events as little dramas he constructs for himself, not realizing what he is doing, and in which you play an essential bit part - but they're not actually about you. Do not acept labels of "bad person". YOU know they are not accurate. It's about him feeling that the world is filled with Bad People who will hurt him whenever given the chance, not about YOU actually being bad.
This would be fruitful territory to discuss with your therapist, to explore alternate ways for you to respond when he does this, or when you see such a scnario being constructed, so as to vary the ending, to make it harder for him to cast you as the Bad Person, and more as a sympathetic and understanding perdon - you and he against the world, rather than you being part of the world he sees as being inherently against him.

Reply to cybershrink

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