Seeking Moms Who Are Quick-witted When Their Husbands Insult Them.

Updated on June 22, 2019
B.F. asks from Newark, DE
17 answers

I'm partially just venting here. But I am looking for come-backs to try to make this not hurt so bad. I am a homemaker. I constantly have around me things that need done routinely, but also huge projects I'm trying to get done to make the house neat and run more efficiently. I often get overwhelmed with what needs done and depressed when that happens. Every so often, when I've BEEN working on a project that hubby doesn't know about, he will make a snide comment about how much stuff there is in the house. Deciding what to get rid of is one of them and hard for me at that. I get annoyed at him and tell him "Okay, we'll just move out in the middle of nowhere!" Practically before I can even finish he makes another snide comment about that I'll just take it all out there with us or fill all that all up. He has said that many times. It's pretty discouraging. And maddening. I don't think I should have to POINT OUT to him what I've done. I think I could point out to him what I have been doing, and he'd still say we have too much stuff. Then I start thinking nasty thoughts like "Maybe I'll just _____!", which would be some extreme measure.

I am so constantly trying to keep the house neat and running more efficiently in ADDITION to the routine stuff that it's overwhelming at times. Then he makes the comments. Grrr!

On that note, if I tell him it hurts he won't react much. No apology. If I wait till later to tell him I've gotten the "your STILL thinking about that??". I then get the message that I'm just supposed to think nothing of what he says and that if something hurts I should get over it quick by myself.

I think a LOT of men speak too often on impulse without ever considering that what they say MAY just HURT. I know part of that is that men are considered not as "emotional" as women. I think that if a guy was at work, doing his best, only to have the boss come along and criticize him all the time HE would get a little "emotional" at his boss.

So tell me, and I know I'm taking a risk here, what has anybody ELSE done when their hubby complains about "too much stuff"?

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Some of your ideas were helpful, but I didn't think to include that my husband seems to always have a quick answer back to many people who perhaps jokingly correct him. ( I know that doesn't make much sense). But regardless of whatever irritating/hurtful thing that goes on, divorce has never been even a consideration. He's a pretty loyal guy.
But he and one of his brothers, given the right circumstances, are quick and good at finding a way to blame YOU for a mistake THEY made. They usually say it lightheartedly, but it's like a "talent" of theirs, exasperating as it is sometimes.
I DO try to get rid of stuff, but like some others who responded I am sentimental. I have also made something "clutter", but then gone back to use it again later. THAT'S what makes it hard.

More Answers

D.D.

answers from Boston on

If you are having trouble organizing your probably do have too much stuff but your hubby's comments aren't helpful. You admit that this kind of stuff is hard for you but really its just stuff. Pick one area and set up keep, donate, and toss boxes and just go at it. Then get the donate stuff out of the house the same day so you don't go back through and take things out. If what you have kept doesn't fit into the area neatly then you'll have to go through it again.

Once you start decluttering it gets easier. and you can move through things faster. I think you are upset with him because his words are hitting a little too close to the truth for you.

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T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Oh my God I just went through this, with my brother and his wife!
If your stuff is getting in the way of your relationship and making it difficult to even manage a home, especially if you don't have a job outside the home, you are hoarding.
I know this isn't easy to hear, but I suspect that you probably know it's a problem, and I think your husband is probably just fed up at this point.
My sister in law finally got some counseling (basically my brother was about to leave her) and it's been a long, slow process but their place is looking so much better, and they are actually doing things again. Having FUN even!
Please get some help. I'm sure there are underlying issues that you are afraid to deal with but really you will be so much happier when you finally do it, I promise.

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S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

i'm not sure i'd categorize this as a gender issue. women can be just as callously hurtful and indifferent to the pain they cause as men.

that doesn't mean you have to lie down for it. but i'd look at a few different things to ponder here, not just 'how can i bitchslap him good when he hurts me?'

first off, it's not a given that husbands insult routinely. my husband is much neater and more organized than i, and would have grounds to be exasperated about the amount of stuff i accumulate. but we've learned over the years to be accepting of each other foibles, and to try to be supportive of efforts to overcome them rather than tear each other down. and i think that's the most important thing here- for you both to learn to communicate in a way that's helpful and encouraging. or, if that's not possible, to zip it.

if, for example, you sat down with him in a NOT tense moment and had a conversation about how awesome it would be if he'd <put all of his donatable clothes in a box in the laundry room, break down extra cardboard boxes to help the family recycling effort, take an hour with the kids once a month to help them sort through toys they're ready to donate> instead of criticizing you, it might cast the entire scenario in a much more positive light. you can tell him how much more inspired you'd feel to work on and finish your big projects instead of being angry and overwhelmed. if he's a decent chap, and he probably is, he may well find this really helpful.

it's not exactly the same, but i remember a conversation with my husband a couple of decades ago. we'd been butting heads over my complaints at life in general (going through a period of depression) and his frustration at my refusal to accept all of his great suggestions. when i told him that i didn't need him to fix it, just to listen and really hear me without judgment or solutions, it turned the key. we still both try to offer solutions, maybe more than necessary, but we both do try to be sounding boards rather than knights to the rescue.

i think you should also try to separate yourself emotionally from the task. again, this isn't a female thing. men also get emotionally linked to things they feel define them. but if you didn't look at a pile of clutter as being YOURS and a statement upon your character, you might not feel so hurt and angry about it. in his mind it probably isn't something that he's directing at you personally, your character and identity as a woman and a mom, so it makes sense that he's taken aback that you feel so wounded over it.

i think there's plenty of space here to meet in the middle, but you both have to be willing to talk to and (more importantly) hear each other.

khairete
S.

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M.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

A little different since my husband doesn't insult me, but when my husband points out something that needs to be done around the house, I look him in the eye and say "Feel free to tackle that job anytime". He usually laughs and takes my point. (In other words, I refuse to accept that taking care of stuff is my job alone. He lives there too and if he notices that something needs to be done, he is as capable as I am of handling it.)

I have to ask though - if your husband did start going through things and getting rid of stuff, would you be ok with that? If you have trouble getting rid of stuff but also do not want him to do it, then there is a bigger problem.

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R.B.

answers from San Francisco on

Based on your past posts, you probably have hoarding tendencies. I understand that hoarding is a compulsion and it's really difficult to overcome without some type of therapy or professional assistance. So I sympathize with you on that level. You can't help that you have this compulsion, but you DO need to work to overcome it, and have empathy for those who live with you and are affected by it.

People who have to live with hoarders (your husband), have to put up with a condition that can make their lives very unpleasant. So why is this your husband's fault? If my husband were constantly complaining about "too much stuff," I might consider that I actually have too much stuff. Do you realize that you probably have real hoarding tendencies, and that those tendencies are difficult for those who have to live with you? I know I personally would have a really hard time living with a borderline hoarder, and I would probably keep mentioning the excess stuff to my hoarding spouse, because I need my space to be clutter-free.

Why is your need to keep stuff more important than your husband's need to have an uncluttered living space? Your husband is asking you a reasonable question, and you are responding like a martyr: "Okay, we'll just move out to the middle of nowhere!" Sorry, but that is not a reasonable response to your husband's reasonable request. You don't need a "witty comeback," you need a solution to your personal problem.

I think your husband probably has a valid complaint that you have too much stuff. Maybe it would be worth hiring a professional organizer to make hubby (and ultimately yourself) happy, so that your family isn't forced to live in chaos.

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G.♣.

answers from Springfield on

I don't think it's terribly uncommon for one spouse not to have a clue as to how much work a SAHP (stay at home parent/homemaker) does. When my kids were little and I was a SAHM, my husband didn't know how much work was involved. He was here during the day, so all he saw was the end result ... which wasn't usually pretty :-)

I said some not so nice things to my husband in the heat of the moment, but what worked for me was to talk to him later. I told him that it was unfair for him to comment on my day when he wasn't there, and that what he did was belittle me. I asked him how he would feel if I walked into his job at the end of the day and tried to critique his efforts that day. His comments didn't stop overnight, and there are still times when he or I get frustrated that the other hasn't done much housework lately (we both work full-time and the kids keep us busy), but we definitely have a better understanding and more mutual respect.

Calmly tell your husband that his words upset you. If he says, "That's still bothering you?" simply say, "No, not right now. But it will if you do it again!"

The problem isn't so much whether or not you are working hard or have a lot on your plate. The problem is more that he isn't assuming the best of you. Don't explain what you do all day or try to convince him he's wrong. Just remind him that you work very hard, also, and that you deserve to not be talked down to.

If you guys have too much stuff, work out a plan of attack together. That might be a good thing for you guys to do, and he can help! But this is really more a problem of his lack of respect. Remind him that you deserve to be treated better and not talked down to.

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T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

I can't stand clutter. As a stay at home mom I was constantly purging , getting rid of things that we no longer needed, didn't fit, etc. I wonder if your "stuff" is adding to your depression and feelings of being overwhelmed?
As far as your husband goes, well he does sound like a jerk. Even MY jerk of an ex husband would apologize when he hurt my feelings with his impulsive and thoughtless words. And you can't really say this is a "man" thing because plenty of women berate and complain to their husbands as well.
Honestly I don't think you can run a home happily until you get rid of what's bogging you down so focus on that first and THEN start your projects.
And if your husband still complains when the home has been decluttered and is running efficiently then just smile and offer him two choices: an appointment with a marriage counselor, or a divorce lawyer.

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

My suggestion would be to walk away. Nothing shuts down insults faster then not responding at all. It says "not interested". I mean, if you have to say anything at all "not interested" works too.

I just read back through your post titles, and this may be on an ongoing issue. I don't want to make a bigger deal of it than it is. I think a lot of people reach out when upset, so reading titles isn't necessarily indicative of someone's everyday experience. If you and your hubby are in a situation where he regularly insults you though, and you feel helpless/upset about it all the time, the first step I would suggest is just walking away when he does.

As for the stuff, I can somewhat relate. I am very sentimental and kept a lot of the kiddos' younger year's stuff - intending to make scrapbooks, and I don't know what else. Then it kind of builds up. Definitely not a hoarder (it's all in one closet), but I feel dread now when I open the door to that closet. I can see how if it's around your home, or in a basement, or wherever .. how it weighs you down. It's a horrible feeling.

What I would do, is take a laundry basket and fill it every day or so (or week - whatever you can manage) and sort through it - as something to tick off as on a list, and just donate, or chuck. I donate as much as I can, or give to a lady who sells on commission for me. I take that money and put in a 'holiday' fund for our family. It feels really good.

I also asked the kids "Will you want this (moment) when you're forty?" and they said "no???" so I biffed it. I have photos of them with it, so no need to keep.

You're supposed to hold the thing - and if it brings you joy, keep it (but find a home) and if it causes you stress (in any way) - biff (donate, etc.). But follow through.

I get it though - it's like a job, managing a household's inventory of 'things' for a family and men do not understand this always - depending on the man. Their mother may have done it for them, and then maybe they got married and you did it for them. They may be minimalists and have no clue what goes into running things.

Just ignore his comments, and if they get bad - at a later time, say "Do you realize how those insults hurt me? Are you intending to hurt me? Because they do. I am doing my best. Please stop.". If he continues - then ... I see you've seen a counselor in the past, and saw you enjoyed talking with him. He must have been a sympathetic ear. Maybe seeing one again just to vent and get clarity would help.

I don't know the specifics of your home, but my hubby knows it's not 'my' clutter around here. If he does complain (he has on occasion because he's a minimalist and we're a busy household), I just give him a look. I will say "Would you like to tell your children to empty the dishwasher and pick up their ...?" and usually, he doesn't want to get involved in all that ..

Men don't always realize what's involved with house-running. So you can just say "You have no idea what is involved in running a home. Keep your opinions to yourself. I don't want to hear them.". He's not your boss remember. (if really bad, then obviously that's another issue).

Good luck :) Keep us posted.

ETA: Wild Woman - lol this "Give it to him and tell HIM to deal with his SH*T."
Great responses this morning Moms!
I really like nynewnickname's "Feel free to tackle that job anytime".
The thing is .. as others have pointed out, even if you are home full time, they can help out when home. My husband does when he's home. Diane makes good points too. You don't want to get into insulting each other - long term that's not helpful obviously.

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C.C.

answers from New York on

Rather than wasting time being "quick-witted", I think you should try to sit down calmly and have a mature conversation with this man that you are married to.

"Stuff" has categories. List some on a sheet of paper. ("Children's outgrown clothes", "old financial papers", "clothing that we still use but don't use during this summer weather", etc.)

Ask your husband to sit down with you and with that list and ask him to give his suggestions as to what should be done with each category of stuff. In any case where you disagree, tell him why you disagree.

"Getting rid of stuff" is possible, but there is no one-size-fits-all-stuff magic wand. Some "stuff" might require shredding, some "stuff" might only be able to go outside on recycling collection day, etc. Depending on your situation, you might even decide to pay for a storage unit (for example, some people who live in small city apartments in my area pay for storage units for things like skiing equipment which they rarely use but would not throw away).

ETA: As mynew says above me, you should decide which things *he* can get rid of and which things you are truly hanging on to, in order to enlist his help. For example, if he thinks you have too many purses - well, that's a discussion, but you probably do not want him to throw those out. If on the other hand he comments on old magazines stacked in the garage - he can start bagging them for recycling!

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S.S.

answers from Atlanta on

For me? It's not about being quit-witted. I would tell him to put his money where his mouth is and get off his a$$ and get rid of his stuff.

I'm a military wife. We've moved so much that we learned to keep things to a minimum. Now that we are in our "forever home"? I noticed things accumulating. I put a stop to it. Told the husband and boys that if they bring something new into the house? Something OLD must go. I clarified my position by stating that ANY item that is NEW TO THEM, didn't matter if it was used and bought at a garage sale, something OLD must go.

If they need new clothes? They first must get rid of clothes they no longer fit in or wear. THEN we go shopping.

This applies to me as well.

Stop letting him make you feel something. No one can "Make" you do anything or feel anything. You have to give them permission to be a jerk to you. Stop giving him permission.

Tell him that he doesn't like what he sees? He is more than welcome to jump in and help get rid of it. STOP COLLECTING THINGS!! If you haven't touched it in six months or missed it? You won't miss it when it's gone.

Don't pay for a storage shed/locker. Just get rid of it. If you want to get money BEFORE? Have a garage/yard sale. If you don't? Just take pictures and donate it all. Stop making excuses. Pull the car up to the door and tell your family to get their butts in gear and start grabbing boxes and put them in the car. Then drive over to Goodwill and drop it off. BE DONE WITH IT!!

STOP allowing material possessions to crowd your home.

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❤.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Yes, my hubby makes these comments but he can zip it. I am a grown woman and he doesn't get to talk to me that way.
Here's what I do: tell hubby he needs to look around because he's not the neatest, most organized person & half of this stuff is HIS.
Then I get busy finishing purging, cleaning, organizing and DONATING.
Don't engage w/hubby.
I would tell your husband "Okay that's enough. Stop telling me what to do, I'm working on it."
Then I'd get busy & finish organizing & decluttering.
Here's how I'd start:
-don't start a new project
-declutter first!
-throw away old papers & junk mail
-use a file box for bills
-use a big filing cabinet for important papers you need to keep for awhile
-make a file folder for manuals, insurance paperwork, current bills etc,
-get a firebox right away for important paperwork like birth certifs & social
security cards
-don't buy anything new
-purge, file, organize, clean THEN finish your project
-don't keep things just because they're a little sentimental.
-only keep the REALLY sentimental things like your mom's ring, grandma's
quilt etc.
-donating lets someone else in need enjoy something at a low cost
-the older we get the easier it is to collect things
-remember, memories are more important than things
-for instance, I will go do something with a parent or child than buy
them a thing
-all of this takes a bit of time but you can do it. The key is to get busy right now this very minute and stay focused. Don't stop to reminisce over something you come across or when the phone rings. Get busy, stay busy. :)

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N.C.

answers from San Diego on

Seems like this “stuff” is causing more chaos in your home. If it isn’t useful and doesn’t spark joy. Give it away.

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D.B.

answers from Boston on

I wouldn't excuse this by saying "a lot of men speak too often on impulse" - we have to get past "boys will be boys" as if they don't know any better and can't help themselves. Devaluing others and insulting them is a learned behavior, usually exhibited by people who don't feel confident in their own abilities and can only feel validating by trashing someone else.

A snappy comeback is not what you need. He isn't getting the message now, so why you think a retort will make a difference, I have no idea. He KNOWS he's hurting you, and he likes it. You tell him it hurts, and he does not care. He thinks insulting someone is okay. He doesn't see it as abusive, and neither do you. That is your problem. But you're also lashing out by saying, "Okay, we'll move to the middle of nowhere" which is not productive either. You two don't know how to have a discussion or even an argument - there is a way to "fight fair" and this isn't it.

1. Go to counseling. If he won't go, go alone. Find out why you put up with this, why you think he's a good husband worth working your butt off for, why you think he's a good example for any children you may have. Like it or not, you're raising the next generation of angry boys and submissive girls who put up with it because they think they deserve it or can somehow "fix" the man by saying the right wisecrack back. Work with a counselor on learning how to advocate for yourself. If your husband will go, great - but I'm guessing he won't particularly like any suggestion that he needs to change at all. But maybe he'll see that you are serious and very unhappy, and willing to do something about it. Either way, you'll learn not to be a doormat and find good ways to value yourself. If he doesn't want to work on this, then you have your answer - he is not dedicated to this marriage and he does not value you.

2. Pack up your projects. Take a LOONNNGGG weekend at a hotel or spa, tell housekeeping not to come in and clean because you need to spread out your stuff. They can leave fresh towels and restock the toilet paper, but no vacuuming or dusting. Call ahead for a larger work table or borrow a folding table from a neighbor if you don't have one. Work in peace. Enjoy yourself and your quiet time. Do not answer the phone if he calls. Just don't. Leave him in charge of the whole house, the meals, the kids, the laundry, everything you do now. You can leave a list on the fridge with the pediatrician's name if your husband is so out of it that he can't handle a simple illness. But that's it. Do not wash his stuff before you go - just wash what you need for your trip. Do no pre-cook meals or stock up on groceries. Let him locate the supermarket and the stove by himself. If your job is so damn easy, it should be no sweat for him to do it himself. Let him prove it to himself. Now, when you come home, DO NOT criticize how he did things. You have to let that go, just as he needs to adjust to things that are important to you. If he doesn't want you to organize the household so it runs more efficiently - don't. Let it be inefficient. Do not argue about this. You need to find a calm demeanor and confident way of standing up to him without engaging in this non-productive, insult-based arguing.

3. Scale back some expectations for your home. How it looks should be something both people agree on. Getting anxious over it is not good for your mental health. Keep the public rooms picked up a little, and don't make the beds every day or whatever else you can let slide. Meanwhile, make a plan with the counselor to change your unsustainable reality.

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J.C.

answers from Philadelphia on

I understand it is hard for you to let go of your stuff but honestly, it is only stuff. I suspect you will feel much better and lighter when you let it go.

Perhaps start by cleaning a room. Remove all the clutter. Put it in a trash bag and then put it in your garage or basement. If at the end of 1 month you don’t miss whatever is in the bags then you know you can let it go by donating it without truly missing it.

As far as your husband...it sounds like his words sting so much because they are true. Organization skills can be taught. Try not to take it too personally. (I acknowledge I am not a good cook. I guess I really don’t care enough to make the effort to improve.) You however do care so I would remove the clutter so there was nothing to fight over.

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D..

answers from Miami on

I recommend that you watch Marie Kando on Netflix. She teaches people to “tidy”. The episodes are thought provoking and could really help you IF YOU WANT HELP.

If all you want is to defend your position to your husband, nothing is going to help.

You two should watch these episodes together. DO NOT quit after watching the first one. That husband is hated by scores of women because of his attitude towards his wife. Watch all of the episodes so that your husband can see other husbands treat their wives kindly and lovingly. And he can also see how many peoples’ homes are so much worse!

I have read Marie’s book. It’s very useful to read, if a bit repetitive.

Good luck getting through this. Honestly, I think that if you make the decision to work on getting rid of things, you will feel better in your home.

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C.T.

answers from Santa Fe on

Hm. I am the opposite of you...I love to get rid of stuff and I hate hate hate clutter and tons of stuff around the house. Also, I am a big believer in communication so I would be telling my husband, hey I'm going to be working on organizing the art closet next week, so be prepared for a mess for a few days. If your husband was doing some big project at work but never told anyone they would not know what the heck he was doing and why all the stuff was all over the office...you know? Instead it would be known by everyone what project is being worked on next and there would be communication about it. It is not nice that your husband is making snide remarks, but also it sounds like you might have multiple projects all going at the same time and a bunch of stuff all lying around the house and you also say you have a hard time getting rid of stuff. Maybe your husband is like me and that drives him absolutely insane. If my house is filled with clutter I am HATING life...it makes me super super unhappy and stressed out. I cannot stress this to you enough...I'm SO UNHAPPY. Once we put things where they belong and organize stuff then I finally feel calm and happy again. I know...it's kind of weird...but maybe that is how your husband is.

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R.P.

answers from Tampa on

I will assume this is not like hoarding...I mean not sure what “stuff” other than kids toys is. And not sure what projects you are working on unless you yourself restraining some of your things..

I easily solved that ( no my hubby is not one of those men that insults what I do but he did wonder at one point) ..
had my hubby stay home and take care of the kids for few days as I went on a mini vacation. We have 4 kids from ages 13 to 18 months.

I am also sentimental.. certain things I just pack up ( plastic containers) and put them in the attic, garage or just in kids rooms. ( everything from the outfit we brought them home in to some of their 1st art work! Lol get better shelving units, if it’s clothing go to ikea and do closets organizers from there ( much cheaper vs a company. Hubby did our walk in.. and it’s amazing!

Otherwise honestly I would just tell him to zip it. If he doesn’t like it get a new wife ( told my hubby that myself.) good luck!

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