Husband Acts Inappropriate

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

My husband is acting inappropriately, being rude, and judges me when I am in pain. I am 13 weeks pregnant, and we are financially distressed. We moved in with my in-laws, which my husband LOVES. I am an introvert, his entire family is extroverted, controlling, and often manipulative. I set healthy boundaries on my terms for them, and insist on being respected while avoiding confrontation. My husband used to be blind to their disrespect and control, but is improving by learning to set boundaries as well. I have been in a lot of pain this week. The baby is moving up and out of my pelvis, I have been working long hours, the management at work has been chaotic, and I have developed pain in the tendons of my left foot due to pregnancy weight gain. I set a boundary for my sanity: if it cannot be fixed right now, I don’t want to talk about it right now. My husband cannot understand this. He arrived at my work, frantic about bills, and proclaiming extreme gloom and doom. I was in pain, and a little short with him, because I will not be dragged into despair while under so many other pressures that I must overcome. I told him to stop. I clarified the situation, and explained this was exactly why I set my boundaries where I did. He was maxing out my mental self control, and he needed to stop. I helped him through his crisis, which was nothing more than a temper tantrum and despair mixed together, and said I needed more time to work out solutions for the problems. I worked out a solution within the hour. He has done this many times in the past month, and I have become increasingly less tolerant of the setting, and approach of these discussions. Yesterday during my switch shift break, my husband wanted to discuss his frustration and failure in turning off our Internet provider. I tried to express my opinion twice, and twice he cut me off. I became angry. I told him that was unacceptable, and I was done speaking to him, because it was obvious he was not respecting my opinion. He tried to tell me all my faults to win the argument, I told him that he knew I was exhausted and in pain. That he was being a jerk, and I did not have to tolerate that. I stormed off to stop my reaction. Last night, my abdominal muscles hurt, my back hurt, my left foot felt like my tendons were being sliced, and I was out of mental reserves, so I introverted to keep from being mean or short. My husband could not respect my boundary. He could not even see it. I expressed the pain, told him what I needed, and he chose right then to be super emotional and sensitive to the way in which I made my request. I had enough. I found a scarf, tied my foot in my best copy of the therapeutic splints I found online, and realized my husband was still going on and on about his feelings about how upset he was, how he couldn’t help me, and more about him and his feelings. I told him he needs to pay attention to his surroundings more while he is talking. I made my own splint in the time it took him to get all that complaining out. I explained I was in great pain. That I had zero tolerance for this level of pain, and this has nothing to do with him. He wanted to make the situation off topic and dramatic, but I stopped him cold. The issue was my lack of patience due to pain, and that was the absolute only discussion I was having, and only now that I had gotten off my foot.

I feel like I cannot be respected. That I am constantly being misunderstood, and that my day to day struggles are somehow being made inferior to the emotional demands of my husband to meet his own needs. I am under too much stain to carry us both. Am I really being as cruel as he makes me out to be? Are my boundaries somehow inappropriate?

A: There is nothing in your story that would suggested it inappropriate or unfounded. However, it does sound like your husband needs to develop some coping skills with you. I would recommend contacting one of three places (or all three) to find some local counseling for both of you, or, if he is unwilling, for just you.

  1. Turn to your community hospital for outpatient therapy. They often have low or no cost therapy options for couples who are going through pregnancy. Your physician may also know of some referrals for you.
  2. Contact the women’s center in your county to see what they would recommend for counseling for you and/or counseling for you as a couple. Again, they often have low or no cost options available.
  3. Check the “find help” tab at the top of the page for counselors in your area who could help directly–or inform you of other resources.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Jul 2014

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2014). Husband Acts Inappropriate. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/07/12/husband-acts-inappropriate/