15 answers

How to Deal with Critical Husband

Hi all:

I was wondering if anyone else has been in a similar situation. My husband of 5 years is ALWAYS criticizing me! On the other hand, I almost never address issues that I have with him because it leads to major blowouts and temper tantrums on his part. So, unless there's a big issue, I kind of let things go. It goes back to the old say "Pick your battles."

At 39-40 weeks pregnant, I just can no longer deal with this criticism. He is almost never around to help me with our 3 year old son who's become more and more rebellious in the past few weeks. Instead, he's out doing his own thing almost every night. Basically, I'm at home with my son 24-7 and am extremely exhausted. When he comes home and sees his son for about 10 mins/day on average, he automatically starts telling me why our boy is acting up more and that I need to change. When I'm not pregnant, he expects a perfect house, dinner...everything done to his standards. Just recently, he criticized me about my own job evaluations that I received back. Actually, they were quite good. He still found fault! I wouldn't even dare to say anything about HIS work because first of all there would be "hell" to pay and secondly it's really none of my business unless it involved him getting fired or something. So, I'm at my wits end right now! Most of the time I just ignore him because I don't have energy left to argue. Is there anyone else who experiences this constant criticism from a spouse? How do you handle it? Thanks!

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Hi L.,
I am so sorry that you have to deal with this. My husband is also very critical and it is so hard to deal with. He complains about some of the most insignificant things it makes me crazy. I would also suggest counseling. I have gone in the past and it has helped me tremendously. I am pretty much at the point where I know that it is his problem and he is just projecting his faults on to me. I speak up a lot more than I have in the past, thanks to counseling and just being done with all of it. It does lead to more fights, but I refuse to take it anymore. I just don't care anymore. I know I do a good job with the house and the kids and that is all that matters to me. His opinion really means nothing to me. It took me a while to get to this point, and it drives him nuts that I'm like this now. He's been extra critical the last few weeks due to the stress of the holidays, work, etc and my almost 3 year old daughter said "daddy's mean to you". I told him she said that and his response was that I must have told her that. He's so delusional. Never his fault. Anyway, best of luck to you. He should be home helping you at almost full term. I always wonder if other men think these types of guys are complete jerks and if so, why don't they say something? Stay strong!

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First make a short term plan about how to deal with a newborn and a three year old while someone from your family take cares of cooking and light cleaning. You do not want to deal with your problems just before your delivery . There is no time to resolve it anyway. Then make a long term plan too. This should have 2 alternate ending. One is staying with your husband if you see him helping you with the newborn , and your well being. Second ending is , if he is the way he is now after the delivery just leave him after you can take care of your children alone. Make the plans be prepared because i do not think if he is a person who have no mercy to her 40 week pregnant wife no consuler will change his heart. I am sorry this is how I would do if I were you. I would try index my happiness to my children and my self and would not invest any emotions to him if he is not changed byhimself after delivery. You are lucky to have your career , children , health. Do not forget long term plan I am talking about is to your convinience and take all the time until you are strong. I hope you the best..

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.,

Congratulations on your children! : )

Sorry for the bad time during such a joyful time of your life. Your husband is verbally abusing you. Tell your OB/GYN and your regular physcian immediately. They can help you. Tell them, tell them, tell them.

Congratulations on all you do. You are a wonderful person and a hard worker. You deserve love, kind words, a helping hand.

I don't know what's wrong with your husband. It could be an emotional problem or health problem. Either way, his attitude needs to change. He's not doing his part as a husband or father. (At this point I wouldn't say that out loud to him. I'd be concerned he might become physical.)

If he does hit you, get out IMMEDIATELY! And file a police report.

Tell your OB/GYN and your physician immediately.

Good luck,
: ) M.

1 mom found this helpful

Your description sounded familiar, and I checked to make sure this is the case. This behavior from your husband is not new, and neither are the problems that the two of you are having. Advice that we as laypeople can give you isn't enough, I think. I strongly recommend that the two of you, or you alone, go to marriage counciling (if you would like a recommendation, my mother is a marital therapist and I could get a name for you). As suggested before, if he won't go, you should go alone. You want your kids to grow up in a happy, healthy household, and getting help to create that is a good thing. Good luck with the new baby!

1 mom found this helpful

i too have had this happen at times and it does certainly get you down but you can't let it. just tell your husband that what he is saying is hurtful and not helpful and let him know that it is affecting you and ask that he think before he speak and be mindful of how he may sound and how his comments may be affecting you. Let him know, if he doesn't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all. I feel badly for you b/c it can damage your spirit. try to concentrate on all the good things going in your life, a baby cookin in your belly, a beautiful loving toddler and everything else that may be good. just tell yourself he overachieved and keep your head up. counseling helps too if he would ever consider going. some guys just emotionally don't get it. good luck

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I guess my thoughts would be to speak up for yourself. Not responding might actually be feeding his criticism. It may sound twisted, but if you don't call him on his behavior, he may think you think it's fine and appropriate...which it is not. Granted, I understand "picking your battles", but when your soul starts to get crushed, it's time for a wake-up call for both of you.

For the first few years of our marriage, I used to just take it because I didn't want to be as bad as him in saying critical things. But it just ate away at me, getting me more depressed. It wasn't healthy for me and it wasn't healthy for our relationship. I had the sense to get help, even if he resisted it for years.

We've been married for 17 years now. Much of it has been great, some has been good, and parts of it have been downright rotten. But we both are invested in making it work. It took years to get him to go to counseling. And truth be told, the first adventure with counseling was a disaster. I was a screaming meemie and probably looked totally unreasonable to the woman who counseled us. But there was just too much pent up inside of me. We both decided ultimately that it wasn't working, but at least we got a few things off our chests.

Then a couple years later, we tried it again, aiming for family counseling as a whole. It was much more productive. It was with a male counselor and my husband actually did much of the talking once a comfort zone was reached. It was his first time ever in counseling and it actually helped him to see things differently. I had to stop myself from chiming in too much on occasion, because I realized my husband was actually opening up a bit and I wanted this phenomenon to sort of play itself out.

Later, we included our 11 y.o. son as well, because our behaviors were so interconnected and needed to be sorted out. It helped immensely for all of us. We had several boundary issues that had gotten in the way of healthy ways of relating as a family. Too much blame was flowing and not enough personal accountability...on all sides.

The key is to get counseling or have a very frank talk with your spouse. If your husband won't go, get counseling yourself. I did that for years until my counselor said she had done all she could unless the two of us would consider couples counseling. I had been afraid that would lead to divorce. But she said more often than not, it leads to better relationships rather than divorce. Regardless of the outcome, at least you can move toward a healthier direction on your own. If he at some point becomes involved in counseling as well, two points for him and for you as a couple!

I was close to considering divorce a couple of times, but realized that really wasn't what I wanted. What I wanted was to cultivate a better relationship. It required work on my part and on my spouse's part. It wasn't easy, and it's still not perfect, but it is MUCH better now than it had been.

All I can say is that 5-10 years were the toughest for us in our marriage. And as much as we love our son, having a child inevitably puts strain on your relationship. No one said marriage was going to be easy. Some of us make choices in spouses that are harder than others to deal with. The big question is...is it worth it or not to work on it? If you can honestly say yes, then go for it.

Talk to him frankly. Be honest with your true feelings with yourself and with him. Sometimes we can be amazingly dishonest with our own selves in an effort to smooth the rough spots.

I realized I was allowing behavior that I never would have accepted elsewhere. The reasons can be many and complex. Intelligence and education have nothing to do with it. I come from a family of many advanced degrees. But that doesn't always mean I always make wise choices and choose my words wisely. That being said, I have a lot of insight and wisdom that we tap into daily. (I don't want to sell myself short!) I suspect you do, too!

Why do you take the criticism from him and what does his criticism trigger in you? That might be a good starting point for your counseling and thinking. Add a couple tablespoons of frustration and anger, one cup each of fears and candid questions, and you might begin to make a yummy recipe for future communication.

You might find that the "recipe" isn't worth keeping. But you might find wonderful nuances to your relationship that never existed till you risked being honest with yourself and your spouse. What do you have to lose? Just remember you are worth fighting for, and move forward from there. It certainly sounds like SOMEthing has to change at home for you!

Good luck!

P.S. Beware of the hormone monster. Make sure you are attending to your health and wellness in all of this. And enjoy your new little one when he or she arrives!

1 mom found this helpful

I had this problem and we went to counseling. My husband really believed that I was responsible for his happiness and was shocked when the counselor told him otherwise. Every time he was unhappy or bored, he thought it was my fault and would start telling me what I was doing wrong. The counselor recommended 'Co-Depentent No More' and 'Boundaries in Marriage'. They really helped both of us. I'd recommend reading them even if he won't.
I wonder if it would help to write it down (in front of him) in a notebook when he criticizes and just telling him you don't want to forget and writing down what his solution to the "problem" is - like you're doing it for yourself, not to punish him. That way he gets to see how much he's doing it as you fill up pages in a notebook and hopefully sees how often he is doing it. I read once about a little girl who tattled all the time and the parents listened to her, but she had to write it all down in a notebook. Eventually it made her stop doing it. It's the same concept - I haven't tried it - but just thinking and wondering if it would help.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.,
I am so sorry that you have to deal with this. My husband is also very critical and it is so hard to deal with. He complains about some of the most insignificant things it makes me crazy. I would also suggest counseling. I have gone in the past and it has helped me tremendously. I am pretty much at the point where I know that it is his problem and he is just projecting his faults on to me. I speak up a lot more than I have in the past, thanks to counseling and just being done with all of it. It does lead to more fights, but I refuse to take it anymore. I just don't care anymore. I know I do a good job with the house and the kids and that is all that matters to me. His opinion really means nothing to me. It took me a while to get to this point, and it drives him nuts that I'm like this now. He's been extra critical the last few weeks due to the stress of the holidays, work, etc and my almost 3 year old daughter said "daddy's mean to you". I told him she said that and his response was that I must have told her that. He's so delusional. Never his fault. Anyway, best of luck to you. He should be home helping you at almost full term. I always wonder if other men think these types of guys are complete jerks and if so, why don't they say something? Stay strong!

1 mom found this helpful

Not sure if you posted before, but he doesn't sound like he is improving. I do worry about your safety and that of the kids. Pregnant women are much more likely to be hit than at any other stage of their lives, sick, but true. I would make plans to get out safely, leave him a detailed letter explaining all of the issues and concerns. Leave him a cell phone to call you when he settles down and wants to talk. A letter lets him read and reread, or blow up and rant or do whatever, but gets all of what you want to say out in to open and gets your voice heard. Ball is in his court (if you still want him, but I would not want him the way he is now) Was he always like this? Not sure if he is worth keeping, sorry. be safe.

Hi L.,
Congrats on your upcoming birth. But that being said-this sounds like a VERY unhealthy situation. It will only get worse after the baby arrives. If you are afraid to speak up for yourself b/c "there will be hell to pay" then there is a big problem. If you're not getting the love and support you need then you will not be able to be as good as a mother. Three year olds act up and test boundaries-that is normal and healthy. He will probably be jealous when the baby comes-especially if he doesn't have a dad to show some extra attention. It sounds like you need serious marriage counseling. Do you have family in the area to help you? Can you take a "break" from your husband and take your son and live with your folks for a while when the baby comes? I worry about your children watching this behavior and about you being able to get the help you need. There may be free counseling available to you if you can't afford it. Maybe yourOB/ doctor can help you find help.

Good luck and take care.

I am sorry to hear that your spouse is being critical of you.

I handle it by letting my spouse know how I don't appreciate his negative comments and that I deserve to be treated with respect. I withdraw by not talking to my spouse and being non attentive to his needs. He gets the message and apologizes to me as a result.

If your spouse is having a tough day at work, he needs to know to not take it out on you. This is not acceptable and needs to be addressed.

Couples counseling is an option if he is willing to go.

Good Luck.

R. M.
www.robbinmiller.vpweb.com.

Dear L.,

Congratulations on your new baby coming.

Now lets get to the problem your having with your spoiled hubby! You need to tell him he needs to stay home to help you while your pregnant....why is he going out so much??. Please just focus on yourself and your 3 year old for now until you give birth. May I suggest marriage counseling after your baby is born. He needs a huge wake up call and you need to stick up for yourself. He sounds like kind of a bully and abusive to you. Please wait until you have your precious baby....this month right? If you feel you need to leave before hand I hope you have a family member who can help you. Constant criticism is a horrible way to live. Its really more than you or anyone can handle. He just needs to shut his mouth and realize how special you and your children are. He needs to treat you like your special, you are carrying HIS child. I am sorry if this is not any help but I am sure many Moms here will give you some great advice. I wish you luck and please worry about yourself at this time.

Daisy

I have the good fortune to have a husband who does help out around the house and is great with the kids. But sometimes he does start getting cranky and "uppity" about how little I seem to do during the day. When this happens I make plans to leave him home with the kids and a list of chores for an afternoon. After just a few hours of trying to get something done while caring for the kids, he's SOOOOO happy to have me come home, and he seems to have a renewed appreciation for all I do.

It sounds like your son's behavior is related to the time he spends with your husband. If you only get to see someone for 10 minutes a day, of course you're going to do everything in your power to get their attention. Sounds like he needs an afternoon with Daddy to play in a calm way - build a snowman together, read books, play with trains, etc. (Another great reason to schedule some time for yourself away from the house!)

I suggest you also arrange for time to sit down to talk to your husband about why he's away so much. Try not to get defensive and demanding, it's likely he's feeling a lot of stress with the impending arrival of the baby. Give him a chance to vent and explain himself. He's more likely to listen to your requests after he's had a chance to voice his concerns.

Good luck with everything. I hope you're feeling happier during these last weeks of your pregnancy!

Get thee to a marriage counselor!
Seriouly*n it sounds like the 2 of you aren't communicating well & talking with a neutral 3rd party may be the way to go. Your husband may not realize how much he's criticizing you and it sounds like you need a safe place to tell him.

Dear L.,
I would see a counselor, just you to start, then see if the counselor recommends couples counseling for both you and your husband.
Good luck,
B.

You do not need to be subjected to this, however, you need to look closely at your own actions to see if you are doing anything that is encouraging or enabling his behavior. Quite often, people feel that they can take liberties with others who do not set appropriate boundries. Try setting smaller ones to gain ground and standing is his eyes.

You cannot change anyone's actions. You can only change your own response to those actions. By your own changing, it sometimes creates a change in the other person. Be prepared for good and bad.

Your children should be your #1 priority. Just remember that your kids will see what a marriage is and how to treat the respective parties in the marriage based on what you and your husband show them. Your 3 year old son already sees how he is supposed to treat women based on how he sees his Dad treat you.

Remembering this will push you to the right decision on how to act.

Best of luck to you.

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