Saturday, 23 May 2015

Are You Accidentally Abusive To Your Partner?

I was recently browsing through my Facebook newsfeed when I came across an article that had been posted on to one of my friends timeline. The title of the article was "Woman Realises She Has Been Accidentally Abusing Her Husband." At first I laughed. The article had been posted by my friends husband and was clearly done to provoke a bit of lighthearted banter. I then found I couldn't get the article title off my brain. So I went back and read it. Alarm bells started going off. 
I thought back to a time not so long ago when I had been at work with a group of female colleagues moaning and laughing about something my partner had done that had particularly irritated me. At the time this conversation was taking place there was a shift handover, and my comments were overheard by a male member of staff who works occasional shifts with us through an agency. To my surprise this staff member later took me to one side and gave me a telling off. In short he told me that I should have more respect for my partner, I sounded like a nasty person, and a relationship should be filled with love, not criticism. I was furious! How dare this man who hardly knows me say these things to me! What business is it of his!! I immediately jumped on the defensive! I explained that ALL women speak about irritating things their partners do (which they do), tried to explain that I love my partner and that our relationship and how we act towards each other is personal to us only.
After I had said this I then went home and wondered why I had felt the need to defend myself. If I truly thought I had done nothing wrong, then why was it playing on my mind. As with most things, the incident eventually faded from my mind. Until this article. 
A number of thoughts sprung to my mind whilst reading it that made me feel extremely uncomfortable. In fact they made me think, I am a total BITCH!!
Let me explain. Yesterday we had fish and chips for tea. As I went to the fridge to get some butter for our bread I discovered that my partner had used the last of it, and hadn't informed me of this at a reasonable time for me to go and buy some. I went crazy. I screamed up the stairs to him "YOUVE USED ALL THE BUTTER!!!"
I then proceeded to slam the fridge door and mutter obscenities under my breath. When he came downstairs I laid in to him. He explained to me that he thought there was another tub in the fridge which is why he didn't tell me we had run out. I continued to hurl abuse at him. You should have looked! I'm not a mind reader! What are we going to put on our bread! Why didn't you tell me! Basically, I was saying "why are you so stupid?" I stopped when I saw the look on his face. He looked defeated. He quietly said to me that he hadn't done it on purpose. And he hadn't. Let's face it, running out of butter isn't a huge problem is it? There are far worse things occurring in the world than the fact that I can't have some bread and butter with my chippy tea.
Like the woman who wrote the article I mentioned, I realised that I actually behave like this all the time.
I can think of a million reasons, or should I say excuses, of why I may act like this. I work full time in a mentally demanding job, I have a 3 year old who is also mentally and physically demanding, I don't have family nearby therefore lack the support that a lot of mothers have and most of my friends with children also live far away. But all of these factors don't really justify the way I sometimes act towards my partner, and I am very quick to look at how I am feeling, but fail to realise how my behaviour must make him feel. 
How awful must it be to be belittled, shouted at and scorned like a child for making simple mistakes? 
Now don't get me wrong there are many things that he does to annoy me. And it's fine to be annoyed. He has a habit of grilling bacon and then pushing the grill pan back in the oven and "forgetting" to wash it, he can sometimes lack responsibility and falls back on the assumption that I have everything covered. It's ok to be annoyed at these things. What is NOT ok is being offensive and in reality, abusive because of this annoyance.
Yes, when I work a 12 hour shift and come home to cake crumbs on the rug it does make my teeth itch, however this makes me overlook the fact that he has cared for our son all day, fed him, played with him, cleaned up to the best of his abilities, washed the dishes and has a cup of tea waiting for me. And really, is the world going to end because there are a few cake crumbs on the floor? No. 
And instead of hurling abuse and stomping round the house cleaning up wouldn't it be more beneficial to say "would you mind just hoovering up? Im really tired." I'm sure I'd get a better response. So, in future I am going to try and let things go. I don't want to be this nagging, belittling witch. It doesn't make for a happy household, it doesn't make me feel good, and I'm pretty sure it doesn't make my partner feel too good either. If I am annoyed with other people in my life I sure as hell wouldn't react in the same way as I do with my partner. So it's going to stop. I'm going to look at all the wonderful things he does for me. He buys me flowers spontaneously, he never minds when I fall asleep in bed with my son at 7pm and stay there until the next morning, he brings me a cup of tea and breakfast in bed on my days off, he buys things for me that he knows I'll like, he always notices if I've had my hair done or have a new outfit. He supports me and tells me there is nothing I can't do in life. Why would I overlook all this and focus solely on his not so great characteristics?.......
I don't know either. But not anymore. 

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  1. This is a really interesting post. This actually used to be a bit of an issue in our household and I have since learnt to either a) keep my mouth shut or b) translate the urge to flip into a more polite way of communicating my annoyance and it has made things sooo much better. It's so hard when we are tired/pissed off/have a baby or toddler screaming in our ear to actually be able to check ourselves isn't it? Thanks for sharing #twinklytuesday

    1. Yes it's definitely hard when you have stressful factors in your life, and unfortunately we take it out on those closest to us. Thankyou for reading!!!

  2. It takes a lot of strength to see our own mistakes and especially to admit them in a public forum like this. I'm so glad that you feel your eyes have been opened. I think the Golden Rule applies in every relationship - take a moment to step into the other person's shoes before you react.

    Thanks for linking with #TwinklyTuesday.