Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by hearts and roses, Sep 3, 2011.

  1. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Can anyone explain to me why/how this would be a response to EVERYTHING I ask of or from H? No matter what, if I ask him to take out the garbage or if I say we are having pasta for dinner, or I need to go grocery shopping or I'm worried about _________. Doesn't seem to matter, he ALWAYS says, 'Why?' in a totally bland voice. Not snotty or questioning, but as if he's passive or bored. All comments welcome because I can't figure it out. My therapist says he's angry about something or resentful and this is his subconscious way of irritating me. What do you think?
  2. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I don't know the reason, but I think I would respond with, "Why not?"
  3. keista

    keista New Member

    I like flutterby's answer.

    husband did a similar thing to me but it was for the more important stuff when I was looking for his input, especially in the parenting capacity. His standard response was "I've got so many things on my mind I can't think about that right now"

    Without knowing your H, I can't even venture to guess, but your therapist's answer just seems too "easy" If he really does it for EVERYTHING it sounds more like a teen difficult child. Maybe he's regressing?
  4. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    My Hubby says What? rather than Why? Drives me nuts.

    I would answer the Why? with Because I said so and see what happens. Maybe he hopes that Why? will deflect and distract you from whatever it is you might want to tell him that he doesn't really want to hear.
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    From difficult child experience... sounds like depression.
    Until we cracked the depression, pushback was standard - extreme pushback came depending on the shape he was in: overwhelmed, exhausted, etc. = extreme... good days were subtle.

    I've also heard about this being an "energy conservation mode" and may be related to testosterone levels.
  6. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Interesting responses. My therapist did say he sounds like a stubborn toddler or teenager,which is why she mentioned resentment...teens resent our micromanaging and toddlers Resent us over-parenting them just as they are exploring their world. I get that. I did not know about the testosterone matter. I will have to look into that. It could be tied into his depression for sure. He used to say What or Who every time we asked him anything, but now it's Why. I will try the Why not? Thing, flutterby, I like that. I snapped at him about it last night and he just looked at me like I was imagining it, infuriating. Thanks.
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I get HUH? Or even...you know I cant hear you.
  8. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

  9. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    I think it's some passive aggressive bs, mine does this too. He says, "Sure!" when I ask him to do anything, then I have to ask so many times, until I do it myself (meanwhile I'm angry the entire time). Then after it's done, he says he would have done it if I reminded him....PLEASE!
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    This is a stupid question, but... are all of your requests verbal?
    Not that I'm expecting anything wrong with his hearing (ears or brain) - but... some fellows take a verbal request to be an "instant demand".
    husband likes it better if I throw stuff at him first thing in the morning, when he's updating his "lists". My stuff gets added. And it gets DONE. But if I'm asking for X at 8 and Y at supper and something else before he goes to bed... lets just say I've learned that this isn't the best way to do it in our house!

    What other creative ways can you find to communicate "help requests"?
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Totally passive aggressive bs, in my opinion. It may be that depression and/or chemical changes in his body are contributing, but those are NOT an excuse for this type of behavior. It is common for men to have testosterone levels drop in their 40s or later and it does leave them with lowered energy, maybe contributes to depression, etc... but it still is NOT an excuse for rudeness or p-a behavior.

    Why not is NOT a question I would ask. Seems rather like asking your two yr old if he wants to go to bed. (I want to SMACK parents who do this and then are upset when the kid won't go to bed - WTF are they expecting??? Of course the kid doesn't want to go to bed, duh!) If you respond iwth 'why not" you are going to get all sorts of reasons why not - most of them being I don't want to do it and want to upset you because I am too childish to speak to you like the adult I am supposed to be about what is bothering me.

    I would use "because I said so" or "because you need to do this today". If THAT gets a "why" then it would be because you want me to do things that benefit you - like pay bills, make meals, do the shopping, buy things you want/need/like, etc..." I would also be very open that I won't tolerate it anymore and if it continues life might get really really ugly for a while until he chooses to behave like the adult he is suppsoed to be.

    It is one thing to say "what?" or "excuse me?" if you didn't hear. LOTS of times if someone is doing something and you speak they may miss some or all of what you say because they were paying attention to what they were doing. In that case, it is reasonable to ask to have the request repeated. This is the reason I used to say "chocolate chip cookies" or "chocolate pudding" or some other favored dessert item when I wanted one of my kids, esp Wiz, to do something. If I spoke, even said his name and that I wanted to talk to him, I did NOT get his attention. But any mention of something with chocolate could get his attention from down the block at a friend's house. So I used it.

    I have a friend who's husband used to be bad about not really paying any attention when she told him something. While chocolate pudding didn't work on him, if it was important she took her shirt off. THAT worked. She also did it when he was gritching about something stupid - stopped his arguing cold because all he could focus on what NOT the words coming out of his mouth.

    I do htink that even if there are hearing or attention issues, your husband is also being very passive aggressive. I hope at some point he can choose to learn a better way to communicate with you.
  12. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I think it is p/a behavior. Here's the thing about H: he isn't 100% a grown up I don't think. He's relied on his dad as his go to person and now his sister is. He doesn't trust himself. He is a workaholic and a person who stopped drinking alcohol. I hesitate to call him a recovering alcoholic because he never worked a recovery program...instead he's stumbled through all the changes and difficulties that comes with stopping any addiction. His work is an addiction but it also causes him great stress so any further requests cause him to have that immediate reaction of 'No' or in this case 'Why'. I don't want to give the impression that he's like a little boy all other times because he's not. He's responsible and intelligent and all that good stuff you want an adult man to be. I also think he is still getting over his fathers death because he seems to be a bit self centered since then. I think it was a real shock for him. Thanks for all the feedback.
  13. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Start wording your requests so there can't BE a response from him answered with a question. Start making ALL your verbal responses STATEMENTS as if you have NOW become THE BOSS and don't need his input.

    For instance.......

    Honey would you like pasta for dinner?
    Now becomes
    We're having pasta for dinner, No need to make you choose...your respose is constantly why, so I chose for us.

    Sweetheart I was going to ask you to take out the trash, but I tired of your asking me WHY - so I took it out already. One less thing you have to do in our relationship. Then walk away as if you are happy with yourself and say to him "Eventually I'll learn how to do everything around here myself." and emphasise the word EVERYTHING. Then walk away. IF he says WHAT does THAT mean.....look at him and say WHY? Then blink and walk away.

    Love, I was going to ask you to..........Oh never mind. (walk away) I did it.

    Men face death every day. The fact that he either has not adjusted to loosing his father whom he was close to could be hard, but you are his wife and childish answers are unacceptable in an adult relationship. He's over 40 not 14. Of course you can START replying with "BECAUSE I SAID SO." and walk off in a huff.....and continue a completely dysfunctional relationship and hope he "grows out of" his funk - but him acting like an adolescent and regressing is not good for him or you. I mean does he behave like this at work? The boss comes in and says SMITH...... I need you to get those proposals out by noon!!! and his repsonse is "WHY?" Bulloney~! He knows WHOM he can do this to to evoke a repsonse and WHEN.....

    So - I'd have ONE last chat about it and tell him - the WHY stops here. Either buck up and be your partner.......or Get ready to do everything yourself and by that I mean everything - to the point of preparing for a future alone. Sans an adolescent man who wants to behave like a child. If he's aware of it? Shame on him......If he's not? Here's his one chance for you as his partner to make him aware.....and from that point? Stop frustrating yourself and just get things done....go about your business and stop asking him for anything - because it sounds like you're not getting the help you need anyway, and if you are there is a ton of sarcasm involved and you don't need it from a mate.

  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Jo..I was, and probably still want to consider myself, very attached to my dad. Or at least I have been for the last 20 years. I still am not over my dads death. There are times I go reeling from it and I just break down and I dont understand why everyone around me cant understand why I am so upset. It is some major important day...and MY DADDY isnt here...dont they get it???? Why the H not?

    I dont know. Things are starting to get better I think or maybe not. I probably cant tell really.
  15. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    What Star said...

    And even if you don't want your new approach to seem like your own version of passive-aggressive behavior - there should be a way to phrase your requests to avoid the dreaded "Why".

    For example, with my husband, if I ask him "Could you...?" it leads to a discussion. Whereas "Will you...?" gets me a Yes or No. Sometimes I forget myself and say "Honey, could you wash the cars today?"...and when he launches into whether or not it would be theroretically possibly for him to achieve such a task...I have to interrupt him with "OK, I understand that - but WILL you wash the cars today?"...to which I usually get a "Oh, sure."
  16. keista

    keista New Member

    Is he an Aspie, or a linguist? We do that in our house ALL the time. Hmmmmmmmmm maybe I should stop. I now see how this could be "poor training" for the kids.
  17. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Effective communication is crucial [like Daisy Face stated]

    If I say to someone or am even ASKED when in a 'snarky' mood -

    Star, can you (insert request) today? -

    Snarky Star can come back with - "Wellllllllllll of COURSE I CANnnnnnnnnnnnn, I can do anything, I can do tons, and tons and TONS of things, I can do fifteen freaking things at once - watch me - HA I'm soooooo doing it now - and now you ask me CAN I do one MORE thing....OH SURE.......sheesh."

    Phrase that same question to Snarky Star with a WILL YOU and you cut my sarcasm pretty much off at the ankles leaving me with a yes or no response. To which you can reply with your own further request for a later date, ask someone else, or make arrangements

    Star WILL YOU (insert activity here)?

    WILL I (activity?) [Snarky star thinks about being overburdened, tired, and not really wanting to do (activity) and reviews her schedule mentally....rearranges a few tasks then responds} Yes, I will, but it will have to be tomorrow.

    Just like Daisy said ----------DELIVERY and EFFECTIVE communication that we are NOT even aware of can make or break how we get people to do things FOR or AGAINST us. EVEN difficult children.....

    I have said it 1000 times here -----READ THAT book I recommend - How to talk to children so they will listen and how to listen to children so they will talk.......the things that seem so common that we ALL say every day in speaking to each other - EVEN COMPLIMENTS or ENCOURAGEMENTS.......can be PUT DOWNs without us even knowing it because we've heard them for so long, from so many others that it's just bad habits we're not even aware of. This book gives examples of ridiculously simple everyday things we say to each other thinking we're being uplifting and we're tearing each other down and don't even know it. Once I started communicating with Dude using the hints in this book? I got IMMEDIATE results for the better. As far as DF? Well......I'll just say a work in progress. Like a 12 year sonata. (oh I did not say that)
  18. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    If something needs to be done, it doesn't get communicated as a question.
    Not "can you", "would you", "will you".
    Its... "The light-bulb is burned on in the back-entry."... "The van has developed some strange noise off the front right passenger corner." etc.
    NOTE: These are already pre-agreed (for years) areas of HIS specialty. HE is tall, I am short - he changes light bulbs in ceiling fixtures (I do the lamps).
    HE knows what to do about it. No negotiation necessary.

    "Would you take us out for supper tonight?"... that's NOT pre-agreed. Point of negotiation. "Why" is an acceptable response. (Because I'm working on an emergency and won't be able to start supper before 6... so we eat out or eat at 7 - your pick.... or, because I don't have anything left in the house to cook - in which case he'll just ask for the grocery list and be back in 30 mins!).

    If you don't want a question back, don't ask a question.

    But this might not work on an Aspie. (Mine's just more likely Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD).)

    p.s. Agree about the "How to talk so your kids will listen..." book - another one that helped was "Men are from Mars": we really do come from whole different mindsets and points of reference.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011
  19. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader


    I have read it, maybe it's time for a second go round. Thanks for the feedback ladies, much appreciated as always.
  20. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I have no patience for that p/a koi. It ticks me off more than anything. I'm not sure how you can communicate differently about taking out the garbage. When you ask a question, it requires an answer. Instead, he responds with "Why?". There is such a thing as a stupid question. Of course he knows why, but he has managed to avoid your question. That's why I would respond with "Why not?". It's putting the ball back in his court where it should have been in the first place.

    Working on communication has its place in relationships. Taking the garbage out? Not really one of them. The only thing I can see you doing differently is saying, "The garbage needs taken out. Would you take it for me?" But, as you said, he responds with "Why?" to everything.

    And if you say something like, "The garbage is full", I can see him just taking that as it is: a statement, and doing nothing about it. been there done that have the t-shirt.