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FR: Monkey Wife Fight

by resolutions316 | March 03, 2017 | askMRP

14 upvotes

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This is not so much a question, but I wanted to lay out my situation, as well as how my reaction has changed since coming here.

I'd love feedback, but this could also just be read as a simple FR.

Context: MRP since November, bf 16%, 167lbs, 5'10" or so. Fitter than I've ever been but need to add more muscle. Wife is a SAHM and we have two boys, 1 and 2.5. As /u/man_in_the_world has pointed out, I am in a pretty classic "Constantly Complaining Passenger" situation. I've been called a "100% Pushover Prince" and that's probably accurate.

My wife is mostly likely struggling with some kind of mild depression. We're coming off of a 1.5 year long dry spell sexually - we've had sex three times in the past two months, all of which came after blow-out, emotional fights resulting from me enforcing some (minor) boundaries.

[My most recent OYS.] (https://www.reddit.com/r/marriedredpill/comments/5wmvbo/own_your_shit_weekly_february_28_2017/debkvkc/)

Situation:

A few days ago I got home from work and just immediately sensed the mood was bad. Kids were running around and overtired/wild, wife was super stressed, yelling at the dog, yelling at the kids, storming around, the whole nine.

This is a pretty common occurrence (maybe 1/3 of the time?), but was particularly bad this time around. So, I swooped in and starting taking over - interrupted my wife yelling at my son, helped the kids eat, got them cleaned up, moved them upstairs for an early bed time.

Our oldest was completely overtired and acting wild, hyperactive, unable to listen. I was just ignoring this behavior, since he can't really control himself in this state, and just getting him into PJs. My wife yelled at him again for doing something stupid, at which point I said "I got this. Take (our other son) into our room and I'll handle the big one."

She stalked out of the bedroom, turned around, said "Good night" in a cold voice, and closed the door.

This really, really bothered me. I saw a reaction on the kid's face as well, although it didn't last long. But I saw the pattern: kid can't behave, withdraw affection. Emotional manipulation, same thing she does with me when we disagree. It pissed me off.

Before putting our son down I brought him into the other room and asked him to give his Mom a hug and kiss. He was bashful, but they had their moment and I was able to put him down, then put our youngest down.

Came downstairs, wife was making cake for our upcoming youngest son's party. She was chatty with me, talking about the party and her day and so on.

I stopped the flow of conversation and said: "Hey, so let's talk about today."

I told her I didn't think she did this on purpose, but that seeing her leave the room in that way brought up memories of my own childhood. I told her that it's completely understandable to be stressed and pissed at the kids, and that lord knows, I get pissed at them too. But that I felt that withdrawing affection from them in that way is damaging, and so let's make a rule that whenever the kids go to sleep, we bury the hatchet with them in our heads and make sure to kiss and hug them first.

I was very polite and kind, as I always am. But this drove her nuts. She immediately came back with "I guess I fuck EVERYTHING up" and "I'm a TERRIBLE mother." I said "You know I don't think that's true," and then just let her go a bit longer with that kind of comment. She then shut down entirely.

She was getting ready to run to the store anyway, but on her way out she acted like she was going to punch the countertop and didn't. She then said, "I can't even stand to be in the same room as you," to which I replied "OK..." as she stormed out.

It's crazy - one year ago I would've been all torn up about this, anxious, fretting over her and her feelings. Instead, I just made a sandwich and watched TV, enjoying the house to myself. I wanted to turn in early and read, so I did that. I was upstairs when she got home.

We've barely spoken for two days, all the while I've just been doing my thing. This morning, while at the gym, I get the texts:

Her: You really hurt me the way you talked to me the other night. Me: I hear you. let's talk about it tonight after the kids are in bed.

...And that's it. I definitely would've fallen deep into the text trap before, but now I just see all this as emotional manipulation.

  • Of COURSE I should call her out on shit she does with the kids, just as I hope she would with me.
  • Of COURSE I have a right to criticize her, just as she does with me.
  • Of COURSE she needs to own her mistakes and try to do better, just like I do.

This all just feels like an attempt to turn this into something about her hurt feelings, rather than what it's ACTUALLY about - me setting a firm boundary and not allowing emotional manipulation of our kids.

Anyway, that's where we're at.

My plan for tonight is to:

  • bring it up at the appropriate time
  • let her talk
  • not say much, but firmly restate the boundary
  • not apologize, because i did nothing wrong
  • if she goes off the rails, tell her it's time for us to go into marriage and family counseling.

But honestly...the change in MY mood, my emotions...it's kind of mind blowing. I never understood how easily I was being manipulated, how her emotions - which I can't control - were dictating my own mood, happiness, actions.

I don't know if my approach tonight will be the "right" one. I'd love to have it go well, because I like my wife. But I'm realizing that if things go south, I'll be fine. I'm comfortable in my own worth, my actions, my standards.


Post Information
Title FR: Monkey Wife Fight
Author resolutions316
Upvotes 14
Comments 65
Date 03 March 2017 03:46 PM UTC (3 years ago)
Subreddit askMRP
Link https://theredarchive.com/post/206463
Original Link https://old.reddit.com/r/askMRP/comments/5xb1jq/fr_monkey_wife_fight/
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Comments

[–][deleted] 11 points12 points  (12 children) | Copy

all of which came after blow-out, emotional fights resulting from me enforcing some (minor) boundaries.

u/bluepillprofessor, me thinks your experience at that psychology seminar may shed some light into his experience.

Aspie mode, Engage:


"Hey, so let's talk about today."

And the eventual

"I guess I fuck EVERYTHING up" and "I'm a TERRIBLE mother."

Here's how I see it. You come at this competent. She is stressed, losing control, AWALT with the kids. Luckily you have a shitty mommy experience, so you see the writing on the wall. When you bring it up, it's condescension, you're better than her and you're on the same team. It's a good place to be, IF you're doing this to regain power in the relationship. In closed conversations, and she is working at testing you, it's a good way to go about it.

Though that wasn't the point, you are conveying information here, and need to keep your conversation open. It's not easy, girls personalize everything. I'm not an expert, but I've had luck with using narratives to get this across. You don't actually talk about her, you tell the story about you being a kid, and how your mom did this shit (which you did) but leave the connection to what she is doing for her to figure out. Women typically have a lag time between you explaining, and them 'getting', so you can ignore the feedback for now, it will always be bad.

Instead, it went very personal instantly, and a woman intuitively understands it as a power play. And she knows she was worse than you in this status game, you swept in and saved the day, and she's defensive because she took your statement as a personal attack. So she gets insolent, she's not on your team, and she's worse than you.

Unfortunately, you're still dealing with the surface content of this conversation, so you take it at face value. Naturally, this brings you into her frame, and proceed to move away from 'same team' and disengage. Granted, it's better than getting sucked into it further, but this is triage, not a success IMO.

A suggestion moving forward

Women ARE children, and this is the reason why. She needs help, because she sucks at managing her frustrations, and fights with the kids.

Ideally, you want her in a state where you can convey information, and for her to absorb it. Have to avoid any type of closed conversation (no validation seeking, no power plays etc) This is where I find storytelling is helpful, keeps it off her as much as possible. She will still make it about her, stay the path. "This isn't about you, this is about [insert some feelgood about being a better mom than I had eg]" And a lot of something I learned from /u/samsonbrass ... Speak as is she is great, and already going to do it. No one argues when you're rooting for them, and talking about their great stuff they do

example, I love every time you talk with your wife, you keep your shit together, you never lose your cool! It's what makes me respect you often. Now the person hearing that going to argue? The person hearing that going to avoid those behaviours? Not really, you've framed it in a way that they are a good person, they do these things, and they are agreeing with it.

Does it involve a lot of hand holding, speaking like she was a child (while at the same time, not sounding like you are)? YUP! And the question is, do you want to get a result, or do you want to be the one with status?

This is a bit of a brain dump, so if my ramblings don't make sense, let me know and I'll clarify my thoughts.

[–]alphabeta49Red Beret4 points5 points  (2 children) | Copy

Excellent breakdown, stone.

OP, my SAHW sucks at managing her frustrations and the kids too. Her can't-be-pleased dad is living in her, and she knows it, and it drives her crazy that she can't control herself. That's how bad women are. Even when they're aware, they can't stop. Be firm and constant, and give her some patience.

you can ignore the feedback for now, it will always be bad

I want to second the "lag" concept. If there's a correction or change I want made, I'll either make the changes myself, drop clues, or have a full-on conversation about it, and the vast majority of the time she doesn't get on board right away. She usually get defensive (even though she claims she takes constructive criticism well, bahaha), and sometimes she changes it up with dismissal or some excuse. But then, sure enough, some days (or weeks, or months even) later, she comes around, occasionally apologizing for the damage she caused in the interim. And funny, it's usually "her idea". At least it's her willingness, which is all that matters to me.

I had this thought on my commute yesterday, how essential it is for us men to kill our desire for instant gratification. That a core tenet of stoicism could easily be "turn 'no' into 'not now'."

[–]InChargeManRed Beret2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

She usually get defensive (even though she claims she takes constructive criticism well, bahaha)

ROFL, the truth. Once my wife randomly told me how she is "even keel". Some time not much later she was getting worked up about something silly. "Boy, good thing you're so even keel, that could have gotten ugly." She agreed, haha.

[–]rocknrollchuck0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I want to second the "lag" concept.

Agreed as well.

[–]rocknrollchuck0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Agreed, EXCELLENT breakdown!

[–]resolutions316[S] 0 points1 point  (6 children) | Copy

Instead, it went very personal instantly, and a woman intuitively understands it as a power play. And she knows she was worse than you in this status game, you swept in and saved the day, and she's defensive because she took your statement as a personal attack. So she gets insolent, she's not on your team, and she's worse than you.

Unfortunately, you're still dealing with the surface content of this conversation, so you take it at face value. Naturally, this brings you into her frame, and proceed to move away from 'same team' and disengage. Granted, it's better than getting sucked into it further, but this is triage, not a success IMO.

This rang very, very true. Mulling this over.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (4 children) | Copy

Here

Just did a post on these sort of power games. If you want to go full 'spectrum' on the topic. I'd suggest a few more:

Transnational analysis theory, the Parent Child, Adult model

Vinkatesh Rao - TEMPO, Be slightly evil, gervais principle.

And reading thelastpsychologist.com The guy has some great insight into these as well.

http://www.psychologyofmen.org/ used to have a ton of great insight as well, though he's since removed his work. I've asked him to put it back up, but he hasn't done so

[–]resolutions316[S] 0 points1 point  (3 children) | Copy

Transactional analysis is actually on my big list of "What is this, anyway? Learn more" list.

Thanks very much for all these links, will absolutely check out (Rao is on the kindle already).

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (2 children) | Copy

Keep in mind. Depending on your wife, weakandsensitives approach may work better. It's all about how genuine she takes guidance, and if she takes advantage of you.

[–]resolutions316[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

It's all about how genuine she takes guidance, and if she takes advantage of you.

How do you mean?

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

If she's trying, but needs help? Would be worth implementing a soft approach, like I said. If it's a pity party, and she simply wants validation and absolving her responsability? WNS's approach of shutting that shit down would be better

[–]innominating0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Next time say, "hey, babe, are you coachable?" Then, say "how would it make you feel as a child if your mom..."

[–]TotesMessenger0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

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[–]2ndalRed Beret5 points6 points  (17 children) | Copy

Good FR. If I am going to pick out a mistake, it is:

I stopped the flow of conversation and said: "Hey, so let's talk about today."

Why even do that? Y'all were in good conversation, things had blown over, why disrupt that to criticize her? You're better off keeping that positive conversation going outside of her frame, showing her through actions that you're not phased by her irrational behavior. The way you interjected probably came across as lecturing. You did the right thing earlier by calmly taking over and showing her through action how to handle the kids appropriately. She knows that's not a good way to act. She gets that message without the lecturing.

OF COURSE you can call her out on shit she does with the kids, but don't expect her to react positively

OF COURSE you have the right to criticize her, but don't expect her to listen or to like it. (Do you like it when she does it to you?)

OF COURSE she could own her mistakes and try to do better, but are you going to hold your breath until she does it?

Expecting any of that shit is just another covert contract.

Edit: also think very long and hard before throwing out the suggestion for counseling. That shit will make everything 10x worse.

[–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (14 children) | Copy

Edit: also think very long and hard before throwing out the suggestion for counseling. That shit will make everything 10x worse.

Also, it very very often happens in a relationship that person A throws out "counselling" in order to try to punish aka teach person B a lesson, or to introduce a third party to help coerce person B into doing what A wants. Usually, A is the wife in this pattern, but OP should step back and be really honest about his motives on this.

[–]resolutions316[S] 0 points1 point  (13 children) | Copy

The counseling thing wasn't actually my idea - was recommended by a family friend.

But I think you're right that I need to be careful of somehow using counseling as "proof" that I've been the "good" one all along, and essentially just seeking validation from a third party. This doesn't seem like the time to bring it up, so I won't.

[–]johnnycakeAK2 points3 points  (11 children) | Copy

Dude, it isn't counseling she needs. She needs medication. Been there, done that. I could have literally wrote your post 1.5 years ago. Tried doing a therapist but no real results. After 2 kids in a short period of time, your wife's hormones are so completely out of whack and there is not much she can actually do about it (we have a 4yo and a 2yo, so similar age gap). She will probably blame herself for not being "normal" and that it is "her fault" which only makes it worse. But you just make it clear that it isn't her fault, nor the kids, and DEFINITELY not your fault. Go with her to meet with her OBGYN or whoever oversaw the pregnancies and bring up the concern of postpartum. She'll resist most likely, but they'll make her do a test and she'll clearly show up as having a problem. Once the Dr. tells her it is a chemical deal outside of her control, she will probably be better about blaming herself and just accept it. The downsides are most of these meds are SSRIs and kill libido, or even make orgasm impossible. But you get your wife back. After a few years of her being normal mentally, she can probably get off the meds and be fine. Supposedly some meds aren't as bad at killing libido as others and you might raise that concern with the Dr, but that hasn't been my experience so far.

[–]resolutions316[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

Wow. Thanks for writing this. I'm curious, what's the test that they're doing? I was under the impression it wasn't conclusively diagnosable (I mean, to the extent anything is "conclusive")

[–]johnnycakeAK1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

My wife had to take a couple different questionnaire sets each appointment for anxiety/depression. Basically "This week how often have you felt... Never 1-2x 2-5x +5" etc. Then the end score would show what range of "normal, slight, moderate, severe" her anxiety/depression was. It isn't terribly precise, but it definitely provided my wife with a "proof" that it wasn't just her failing and her fault. If the OBGYN doesn't have this type of deal (call a head to ask) then her general physician should. If not, seriously, look for a new doctor. When it comes to medical issues women will hear common sense, no shit stuff from an alpha or beta and not fully accept it until a whitecoat jockey says exactly the same thing. You can be Mr. Absolute Alpha, but without a medical degree/real background to "justify" your correct assertion your woman isn't going to fully commit to believing your answer on a medical question until an outside authority in the field reconfirms it.

Had I started applying Dread Lv +4 and 75% of the other MRP advice on treating my wife before she really got a grip on her postpartum, then no shit she'd probably have killed herself or blown up the family instead of it fixing the relationship. BUT since MRP is you centric, focus on that and get yourself in control while she works out her hormonal imbalance. Then you start strong and already improved by the time the meds do their thing.

I swear postpartum only developed through evolution in the Time Before Writing to produce beta relationships even where it started with an alpha male. Luckily for us, we have drugs to course correct that shit and maintain a good woman and children from an alpha position.

[–]RBuddDwyerRed Beret-1 points0 points  (8 children) | Copy

The downsides are most of these meds are SSRIs and kill libido, or even make orgasm impossible. But you get your wife back. After a few years of her being normal mentally, she can probably get off the meds and be fine.

Wow, so two or more years of drug addled infrequent duty sex that you have to really work for, where your wife wanders around like a crew member of the USS Cygnus.

How is that any better than your current situation?

Me? I'd rather tickle the dragon's tail. But then again, my perspective is that you only live once.

[–]johnnycakeAK-1 points0 points  (7 children) | Copy

Sure, why the hell bother with a couple years to put yourself in your best possible SMV while your wife and mother of your kids gets medical help that she genuinely needs, because, you know the sex won't be mindblowing. Fuck the rest of the aspects of a marriage, right? All that matters is that she gets down like a dog in heat...

Or maybe, I dunno, per basically every book in the sidebar when she has a legit medical problem you work on yourself and make sure she is working on her problem and see if that works before escalating onto a nuclear implosion?

I'd agree with you if this were /u/redpillpussydestruction101 but since the core concept here is to see if you can use the RP techniques to improve and save your marriage, you're dead wrong on this case. Jesus fucking Christ the woman had 2 kids in 2 years, is fighting PPD and in denial, but if getting her mental health restored so that in a couple years she can be in a position that properly responds to Alpha techniques is unacceptable to you because your dopamine reactions are inconvenienced, then I don't see how you actually fit in this subreddit. Meds will help a woman like this go from a sexless, shrieking harpy to a loving, functional wife with duty sex for a short while followed by a restoration of her inner slut when her brain is back to normal. Then after her medical issues are fixed and the drugs are gone, a guy starts to elevate Dread harder and if that doesn't resolve the sex issues keep going.

E: fucking autocorrect, expand on a point

[–]RBuddDwyerRed Beret0 points1 point  (6 children) | Copy

the core concept here is to see if you can use the RP techniques to improve and save your marriage

That is not the core concept here or anywhere else that is Red Pill. We save the man not the marriage. As for taking the easy way out and just medicating her to get some perceived tranquility, if that works for you, then great. All meds do is manage the symptoms, they do not fix the problem. She has to want to fix the problem herself, which would be kind of hard for her to do since the meds make her not really want to care about the problem in the first place. I personally think that psychological issues in women are way over diagnosed, and that if she really has PPD so bad that she legit needs medication, then you've got bigger problems. Otherwise, sack up and manage your bitch, hormones and all.

[–]johnnycakeAK0 points1 point  (5 children) | Copy

Of course the RP saves the man, and often by doing so it saves the marriage. The "M" in the title should clue you in on that focus of the subreddit. Dread/MMSLP/etc all have as an end goal (not the sole goal, but one of many) that you can find a satisfying sexual partner--and it might not be your wife, but maybe (hopefully even) it is. Hence the "see if you can use the RP to improve and save your marriage." Not "it WILL" but to see if you as the man can improve yourself and enjoy the positive consequences in your marriage and if not, to have the courage to end it if necessary.

Part 6 of MMSLP includes the suggestion of issuing an ultimatum to your SO to get with a Dr. and get on meds for depression if needed. That was what I needed to do, and it has been a massive improvement for me, her, and the family. Even with the SSRIs, using MRP tactics has helped her start reacting favorably to me and resulted in less duty sex or outright refusal, often resulting in her enthusiastic participation and initiation. The SSRIs make it more work on both of us, but pre medication MRP tactics produced ZERO results. Nada. Why? you can't apply evolutionarily "normal/appropriate" techniques onto a system that is broken and expect a normal result. The man fixes himself, and thanks to modern medicine instead of kicking the normally great mother of your kids out of the cave for something that is a 1-5yr temporary state, so you can drag some other piece of fuckmeat in by her hair to your fire until lather, rinse, repeat, we can use medicine to help us achieve the appropriate balance of Alpha/beta that Athol Kay and others explain so well, to foster a lasting relationship with a woman that is truly symbiotic.

PPD doesn't affect every woman, but it does affect many--some worse than others. And yes, lots of women get over diagnosed for mental issues but until you've walked in this guys shoes to see what a ppd woman reacts to/doesn't react to STFU. You're clueless on this issue. PPD is a psychological manifestation of chemical imbalances in the brain and all the Alpha techniques in the world aren't going to shift it. So instead of wallowing through a sexless, mindless, shrieking harpy for ~5yrs until her brain recalibrates on its own like the thousands of years of evolution has arranged for it to do, get her on drugs and have a year or two of an otherwise normal woman again who may or may not have a decreased sex drive (75% suffer some issue on SSRIs per most studies). Or you aim for her to get on Wellbutrin instead of Zoloft which isn't an SSRI and works great for some, not so much for others, but doesn't usually kill sex drive.

I think, as a man living in this situation but on the downhill side of the slope of getting back to normal, the OP seems to be in the case where "she really has PPD so bad that she legit needs medication" and this is the bigger problem for him. You appear to implicitly recognize that this is a possibility through including this line, but are either unwilling to point out the "bigger problems" or admit that you are wrong or just ignorant as to the subject at hand. What would be these "bigger" problems that you allude to?

While she goes and gets medicated and fixes herself, OP should be hitting the iron temple and working on himself. The two things work very well together and allow him to be in the best position to appeal to her primitive brain while she works on getting her brain chemistry healthy enough to appropriately receive those signals.

Don't you have a stove to go clean, while your ice harpy shrieks at you?

[–]RBuddDwyerRed Beret1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Don't you have a stove to go clean, while your ice harpy shrieks at you?

She cleaned it herself.

But back to the original point of all this, before you ran off on a tangent like a closeted mobster in New Hampshire, I don't think /u/resolutions316 's problem is PPD. He's got other issues he needs to work on. Right now, it's him. Medicating his wife isn't going to fix that.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (3 children) | Copy

Lot of obligations here, wish there were a strategy too.

if you can use the RP techniques to improve and save your marriage

One big point you've missed though. This is 'sprinkling alpha' on your life 100%. Building a man is your job, building and maintaining a relationship is hers.

[–]johnnycakeAK0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy

I can see that /u/stonepimpletilists, and I own that I have much to learn still and I did not convey my point well on this aspect. However, the sidebar reading are pretty consistent that 100% full alpha 24/7 is going to burn out just about any relationship quickly, and that is where finding the balance in Alpha/beta to appropriately captain your family is critical. So, although the OP (and myself and others) still need more than a mere sprinkling of Alpha on our life to achieve that balance, when your SO has a legitimate medical issue going on a deluge of Alpha isn't going to solve it. Perhaps I misunderstood your line of "lots of obligations here, wish there were a strategy too", but isn't giving her an ultimatum to see a Dr. to get her head straight while the OP works on himself a valid strategy? To me, this strategy appears consistent with most of the sidebar readings, and is a great opportunity for the OP to show he is driving the ship and requires his first mate to get her shit together to continue the journey.

You have to approach the "come to drugJesus" moment calmly and firmly, and not from a begging supplication standpoint. I don't see how this is inconsistent with MRP at all, and if done right I think it is a very Alpha move. The bonus is by working himself at the same time as the ultimatum, he doesn't have to wait even more time for positive benefits. If OP gets his SMV up and his shit together enough that he's near his peak before requiring her to fix herself, then he has the additional wait of the drug lag time that could have overlapped his own progress. That just seems inefficient. And based on OPs other responses/threads, his wife's reactions/attitudes are textbook moderate/severe PPD and failing to address that won't allow her to be capable of properly responding to his MAP. And if she refuses to go get help and denies that she has a problem, that is where I think the OP needs to move past that issue, get his affairs in order and elevate his own SMV as high as possible before establishing his exit plan. There is a major situational difference in her needing help, admitting she needs help, and her man guiding her to where she can help herself, and her refusing to admit there is a problem, let alone do anything about it.

Perhaps that clarified where I was getting at, perhaps not. But as somebody who is successfully wading through what seems to be an incredibly similar situation, I offered up what I did to get from OPs position to a better-and-improving present state.

[–]2ndalRed Beret1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Spot on with the validation point.

First, Kill All the Marriage Counselors is a book aimed at women, but it talks a lot about how ineffective counseling can be and I found it useful.

[–]SgtSilverBack0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I agree that stopping a positive emotion was the wrong angle. However, one of the main tennets that is preached here is leadership.

I think he was trying to lead his wife to have a better handle on her emotions. The problem is we don't all have Jackten's psychotherapy library in our head. We muddle through interactions we've had with men and sidebar.

So weakandsensitive and stonepimpleitis share their thoughts on a couple interactions examples that ease a learning moment in and reduce the defensive potential from the wife.

Hell even as far as I've come I still struggle with different methods of leading my wife to positive directions if it involves open communication about a topic.

[–]ARREST_HILLARY_NOW0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Good FR. If I am going to pick out a mistake, it is: I stopped the flow of conversation and said: "Hey, so let's talk about today."

[–]BluepillProfessorMod / Red Beret4 points5 points  (6 children) | Copy

Next time lead by example and remember Actus Non Verba. She could see you were taking control and she let you. There was no need to call out her behavior. It's like smacking a dog after he pees on the floor. The BEST thing is to catch the behavior before it happens and redirect the bitch to the outside door just as she prepares to squat on the rug.

The next best thing is to smack her on the nose when caught in the act.

The WORST thing to do is to discipline the dog several minutes later when things are going well. Now you have taught the animal that when things are going well she is going to be disciplined. This is the wrong approach.

[–]resolutions316[S] 0 points1 point  (5 children) | Copy

I agree in general, for sure. But this is a pattern with her, and something that disturbs me in her interactions with the kids. I've ignored this every other time, and it keeps happening. So should I not saying anything?

Isn't it BECAUSE I've never pointed it out that it seems OK to her?

[–]2ndalRed Beret2 points3 points  (2 children) | Copy

She knows what she does is wrong. She doesn't need you to tell her that. She's not going to respond well to it--ever. She will respond to you continuously setting a good example, and not rubbing it in her face as you do it.

[–]resolutions316[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

Hmmm. Maybe I'm looking for a turn around too quickly. It just feels like all I've ever done, our whole relationship, is set a good example and help her out...just feels like it's made things worse, instead of better.

Then again, for most of our past I was just doing it for her, not leading her.

[–]2ndalRed Beret1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Yeah, I actually should not have said: "She will respond..."

I should have said something more like "She will be more likely to respond positively to"

[–]BluepillProfessorMod / Red Beret1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

I am just suggesting if you are going to call her out that you do it immediately and don't wait. You are the one there and you are the one who married her so I would very strongly defer to your judgement.

[–]innominating0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I get the professor's point in theory.

For OP this is a tough spot, because you don't want to inflame her emotions and start a blow out in front of the kids at bedtime.

[–]weakandsensitive3 points4 points  (11 children) | Copy

Wife is a SAHM and we have two boys, 1 and 2.5

Good context. Only thing I need to know.

I was very polite and kind, as I always am. But this drove her nuts. She immediately came back with "I guess I fuck EVERYTHING up" and "I'm a TERRIBLE mother." I said "You know I don't think that's true," and then just let her go a bit longer with that kind of comment. She then shut down entirely.

You fucked up here immediately. You gave her a chance to indulge in bullshit self pity. Instead of you setting a frame, you let her dictate the tone and pace of the conversation. I know how I have responded to that type of self pity in the past.

But the point is by not being a point of clarity and strength, but instead indulging her ridiculousness and pacifying, you showed weakness instead of strength. How many times have we talked at MRP about how women don't find weak men attractive? I'm sure you thought you were being compassionate and empathetic, but what you did was the equivalent of showing up to a gun fight with a limp dick.

You both knew she was being absurd and crazy, and instead of proverbially slapping the crazy out of her, you tried to give her a pat on the back.

[–]resolutions316[S] 0 points1 point  (10 children) | Copy

Hmm. OK. What's an alternative response?

Humor almost NEVER works with her (I view this as a result of my own weak frame). She pushes away/rejects the "bear huge/kiss on the head" thing. I could STFU, which is mostly what I did, but it seems strange to not say anything at all.

Thinking through your comment, I could have:

  • Said something in a sterner tone of voice: "Cut it out."
  • Gone into the other room/ignored.
  • Rolled eyes, changed subject.

None of these "feels" right to me, but I accept that if my gut feeling on what was right was accurate, I probably wouldn't be here.

[–]weakandsensitive4 points5 points  (3 children) | Copy

Hmm. OK. What's an alternative response?

My response would be to my wife would be along the lines of

"Yes. You're the worst fucking mother in the world and you fuck up everything. Is that what you want to hear? Is that what you want me to say? We both know you're full of crap, but if that's what you want me to say, I'm more than happy to say it. Look, if you can't handle the kids, I'll go put them in a daycare and find a solution where you're no longer responsible."

I'm more than happy to throw gas on the fire if it means the fire burns out faster. I'm happy to antagonize and bear the brunt of the bullshit because I know it won't affect me. You figure out if that'll work for you. I try to never indulge emotionally manipulative language or behavior.

[–]resolutions316[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy

Gotcha. I've used a response like this ( amplifying ) but never with such harsh language. I'll keep this in mind and watch her behavior.

[–]weakandsensitive2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

It's very congruent with my personality to not put up with this type of ridiculous bullshit - as you've obviously noticed from how I post. This works for me - I make no guarantees that it will work for you. I do know that caving to her BS will make you seem weaker and more timid in the eyes of everyone.

[–]UEMcGillI am become McGill, Destroyer of Blue Pill2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

The key here is recognize her behavior not the words. She's saying these things not even because she believes them. She wants you to question your own words. She want to make you feel bad for even saying them, not because they are true or right but because you made her feel bad, so now she wants you to feel bad back. u/weakandsensitive is correct in his assessment. She was playing a game. Your job is to not take the bait. Blow it up, ignore or push past it, but don't engage it.

[–]PurpleVeteranRed Beret4 points5 points  (0 children) | Copy

"I guess I fuck EVERYTHING up"

"We're both still figuring this out. Who'd have thought parenting toddlers was going to be hard?"

[–]maxofreddit2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy

I could STFU, which is mostly what I did, but it seems strange to not say anything at all.

This dude.

I have only learned the magic of STFU recently. If you would've simply gone about your night, and not made any effort in her direction, you would've been in smoother waters.

Back to thinking of her like child, she already knows she's doing a shitty job & is overwhelmed. You pointing it out puts her on the defensive. Women behave better when you don't need them.

She's kinda gotta earn it ALL from you, conversation, attention, whatever. Bad behavior, to some extend, shouldn't be talked about, it should be a complete withdrawal of attention until she gets her head on straight. Think of Cesar Milan if that helps.

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[–]innominating1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Humor, ghosting, and eye rolling are non starters.

Treat her like a bratty teenage daughter. If she raises her voice, stare her in the eye, don't let her interrupt you and tell her what you know is right. When she says, "I never do anything right," tell her to knock off the self pity and that the only way she ever will do anything right is to work on it and improve. When she breaks down bring her in for a hug, pat her on the ass and tell her you believe in her.

Later, when you see her interacting with the kids in a way that you approve of, shower her with praise.

[–]resolutions316[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

By the way, I would LOVE your take on this, because this seems to be how she immediately responds to me pushing back on everything (essentially immolates herself with self-pity in an attempt to get me to rush in and fix things - which I have done for most of our relationship)

[–]man_in_the_worldRed Beret1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Just say

"C'mon, that's silly and you know it. Can we talk about this like adults, please?"

If she escalates the "despicable me" or attacks you for calling her out, immediately say

"OK, I guess you can't talk about this like an adult"

and immediately go do something else.

Or just say up front

"If you don't want to discuss it, just say so, and leave out the pity party (bullshit)."

She can choose not to discuss it, but that refusal has to be placed on her where it belongs, not avoided by diverting to a bogus "you hurt my feelings so you're the bad guy here."

You do realize, I hope, that this behavior of hers is entirely to avoid owning the responsibility for either the criticized action or for the refusal to discuss it. Refusing to discuss it is always her choice (verbal intercourse is optional), but letting her put the blame on you for not discussing it is entirely your choice, and is always a bad one. This behavior will stop eventually if you quit rewarding it.

Edit: The likely source of this behavior is that her parents never let her refuse to discuss something when she didn't want to, so she developed this largely dysfunctional defense as the only way she could preserve a shred of privacy and autonomy of thought. You can likely teach her better ways, but only by

  • refusing to allow that deflection to deflect, and by

  • immediately and gracefully accepting her choice not to discuss.

OP, for some reason you remind me of a former work colleague who was unfailingly polite and "nice" but would never take a "no" and would keep asking 'in the nicest possible way' the day after, and again the day after that, etc. for what he wanted. He was annoying as hell! If you don't accept her no and passively-aggressively push like this, you'll force her to preserve this defense mechanism of hers.

[–]man_in_the_worldRed Beret2 points3 points  (5 children) | Copy

Before putting our son down I brought him into the other room and asked him to give his Mom a hug and kiss.

This is emotional coercion of your son to make him take responsibility for fixing mommy's emotions; is it your goal to teach him to be a codependent beta bitch like you? If so, you're doing a great job of it!

Your wife's behavior with your son is not a boundary you can enforce, so you shouldn't try to set it; you're not even around most of the time she's with him. /u/stonepimpletilists' reply is the right way to approach this.

[–]resolutions316[S] 0 points1 point  (4 children) | Copy

Hmm. I didn't think of it like that - it was for him, not for her. But I see that it goes both ways.

[–]innominating6 points7 points  (0 children) | Copy

Make her go hug him next time.

[–]resolutions316[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

I've been thinking about this more. This is probably a result of me inaccurately trying to navigate the difference between "I never speak up about things that bother me, because NICE GUY" and "I appropriately set boundaries and expectations in my relationships."

Once you pointed out, I realized it - I can't defend that as a boundary, because I'm not around. In the moment, though, I was wrapped up in the internal struggle of "Do I say something? That bothered me. I should point it out. Or maybe I shouldn't. She's tired. But..." etc, etc.

It makes sense to be more gentle/covert on things like this, as a form of leadership, because she was probably already bummed about it. I made the mistake of contrasting the idea of saying something overtly with my years of burying that shit, rather than with a more gentle leadership approach.

[–]man_in_the_worldRed Beret1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

I've been thinking about this more. This is probably a result of me inaccurately trying to navigate the difference between "I never speak up about things that bother me, because NICE GUY" and "I appropriately set boundaries and expectations in my relationships."

Good self-insight! It's thrilling to find your balls and start asserting yourself, so there's a temptation to go Rambo with it, but it's not always the best tool for every job.

[–]man_in_the_worldRed Beret0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

You coerced him; he sees it as for her against his own desire and frame.

Maybe MRP will still be here for him in 30 years when he needs to unfuck the shit his daddy taught him.

[–]nastynickdrRed Beret1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

Let her bring it up, she is the one that has a problem. Next time dont say "LETS talk about it tonight", you are kind of making a commitment to talk about it. You say "We CAN talk about this tonight". Stop anticipating and overthinking about this. Act like everything is good. Keep being fun, light, playful, witty. Dont let her bad mood drag you down, dont enter her "im in a bad mood so you should be too" frame. You said you barely talked to her for 2 days, this way you are just confirming that you are in her "bad mood" frame. You should have been behaving like nothing happened, being fun and energetic, teasing her, setting the mood around the house. And dont DEER. Never apologize if you didnt do anything wrong.

WISNIFG is your friend here. Acknowledge her feelings "I understand the way you feel...", and dont say the way she feelz is wrong, she just feelz it. Let her vent, be completely unnafected, dont raise your voice, calmly state what you have to say, dont argue, then bear hug and "im here for you" (if she was not being a disrespectful bitch). Remember that you are not responsible for her feelz.

[–]resolutions316[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I should say that I've spoken to her normally, she just doesn't respond/responds very little. Overall, I've been in a good mood.

But the "Let's" vs. "Can" point is a good one - should've phrased that differently.

[–]ParadoxThatDrivesUs1 point2 points  (3 children) | Copy

Why bring it up? Let her bring it up if she still wants to discuss it.

I gotta say, the incident you describe seems pretty minor to me. Mom is in a bad mood, so she says goodnight in a cold voice and shuts the door.

[–]SeamusAwl2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy

And he handled it perfectly. Including taking the kid to the mother for their "moment." There was absolutely no reason to bring it up at that point, except that /u/resolutions316 apparently wanted a sparring partner.

[–]resolutions316[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

apparently wanted a sparring partner.

I've been thinking about this a lot. I really didn't see this in myself in that moment - this was about finally speaking up and making it known that I see and don't appreciate these behaviors towards the kids.

But I wonder how much of it really was "I'm the Captain Now." I certainly don't think I'm above that. Gives me a different perspective on the whole situation.

[–]resolutions316[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

The incident itself is pretty minor. I would never have mentioned it if it was a solitary incident. I wanted to bring it up because it's been a consistent pattern of behavior, and we've been having more and more of these incidents as time goes on.

Just trying to break the cycle - me not saying anything and providing comfort seems to have brought about the exact opposite reaction as we would want.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

In general... say what you mean and mean what you say.

You can use negative or positive language.

What is your boundary on how she treats you and her kids?

Honestly, if she can't be a good stay at home wife, why do you want her to?

Why does SHe want to?

answer those

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