How do you deal with an argumentative spouse?

moneymakingmom

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2011
Messages
203
Points
187
My spouse and I love each other dearly and we are usually the best of friends. But, sometimes he goes through phases where he wants to argue about everything and he will start an argument out of ANYTHING just to argue and there's no reasoning with him. He never gets violent and usually doesn't even raise his voice. But, he disagrees on EVERYTHING I say as if I'm the only wrong person on the planet about everything.

Most of the disagreements are petty, almost trivial. Just nit picky stuff as if he's holding some kind of grudge against me. And, just the thought hurts my feelings, considering how long we have been together and how much we have sacrificed for each other.

He isn't always this way, just sometimes, which makes me think there's some underlying situation causing the moodiness.

Could there be some kind of physical issue like tiredness, medical condition or other stress that could cause a person's rapid change of mood and make them go from happy to moody all in the space of a couple days?

I was wondering if you could please provide any tips for dealing with an argumentative (but not physically violent) spouse who enjoys being confrontational on occasion.
 

speedy

Advisor Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2011
Messages
237
Points
28
I do argued with my husband too sometimes but not to the extent that he is always opposing my ideas as he always asking my opinion about everything we do. But I had a friend who was like that, she is against anything you said. Not only on me but for the rest of the people. She always, said " that's not right, no, that's wrong". Thank you for this thread, it makes me wonder also why is that. I guess, they get it when they were young. It will happen if the parents, told the children that you are wrong all the time. So, as they grew up they have that perception or self-defense that they are keeping on themselves that their idea is always right and will not tend to listen from others point of view...

That's only my opinion, I will make a further research about it. Maybe there are more post from other members about your problem. God bless.
 

moneymakingmom

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2011
Messages
203
Points
187
I do argued with my husband too sometimes but not to the extent that he is always opposing my ideas as he always asking my opinion about everything we do. But I had a friend who was like that, she is against anything you said. Not only on me but for the rest of the people. She always, said " that's not right, no, that's wrong". Thank you for this thread, it makes me wonder also why is that. I guess, they get it when they were young. It will happen if the parents, told the children that you are wrong all the time. So, as they grew up they have that perception or self-defense that they are keeping on themselves that their idea is always right and will not tend to listen from others point of view...

That's only my opinion, I will make a further research about it. Maybe there are more post from other members about your problem. God bless.
Thank you so much for your kind reply. He's a very nice man most of the time. But, on occasion he does get argumentative and disagreeable then nothing seems to make him happy. And, I do agree that it's possible it could have been from a childhood experience, considering how his parents divorced when he was young and they had always been fighting ALL the time. That must have been a very scarring experience for a young child to endure. I guess it's manifesting itself now in defensive behavior. Thankfully, it doesn't happen a lot. But, those times when it does happen makes me very sad. :(

I would prefer to see the happy, joyful man that I know he really is in his heart.
 

speedy

Advisor Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2011
Messages
237
Points
28
Thank you so much for your kind reply. He's a very nice man most of the time. But, on occasion he does get argumentative and disagreeable then nothing seems to make him happy. And, I do agree that it's possible it could have been from a childhood experience, considering how his parents divorced when he was young and they had always been fighting ALL the time. That must have been a very scarring experience for a young child to endure. I guess it's manifesting itself now in defensive behavior. Thankfully, it doesn't happen a lot. But, those times when it does happen makes me very sad. :(

I would prefer to see the happy, joyful man that I know he really is in his heart.
I am sorry to hear that. If that's how really he is, I guess you just need to adapt it and tell yourself that he didn't mean it "re: disagreeing you all the time. It's just the way he is. Yes, fighting of parents in front of the children are had a "NEGATIVE, WORST and TRAUMATIC effect to the children. I am thinking, maybe your hubby's parents once were fighting and keep on disagreeing that's why he adapted it. I am not sure about it though, it is only my imagination. I am imagining what would be the child's reaction of both parents had always an argument. I grew up with such kind of thing; fighting, beating, and even worst to that. Maybe you can talk with your husband sometimes that you get hurt for disagreeing you all the time. I am sure that he didn't know and noticed that he is hurting you because for them its only a matter of discussion and argumentation.
 

moneymakingmom

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2011
Messages
203
Points
187
I will try that idea about talking with him when he is being (what I feel is) argumentative and let him know that his behavior hurts my feelings. When I've mentioned it in the past how he is 'bickering', he denies it. And, until now that has made no sense but if he only sees his behavior as normal (cause his parents were argumentative) then maybe he does not realize he is being this way. I'm happy that my spouse is not argumentative all the time. Actually, I think he's a really good guy, very sweet and tender much of the time. But, on occasion, something comes over him and he gets very sad and morose and then he goes into an argumentative state. And, then just as quick (like a day later), he is back to being his usual cheerful self.

I had been worried that it might be some kind of emotional condition like depression. But, maybe the situation is caused by childhood trauma. It is a good explanation for what could be happening.

Of course, he's had much sadness in his life, with the early passing of his own brother when they were both young men. And, that devastated him. So, maybe he gets sad over that event and it affects his emotional mood.

It's just so difficult to know what causes a person to be sad or act emotionally unstable (as in argumentative) or to know when it's going to happen or how to make it stop.

The last time he got argumentative with me and tried to engage me in an argument, I got up and walked out of the room and went to the kitchen. And, less than fifteen minutes later he came in and started talking to me like everything was alright and nothing had happened. He helped me fix dinner and we talked at the table about a lot of really good things. It was a very happy moment.

Who knows, maybe he is just trying to clear the air of some things and doesn't know how to communicate his feelings cause of his turbulent childhood. Maybe he had a lot on his mind. As I said, he's normally a very sweet man. It's just on occasion he does act argumentative and I wish those moments never happened. I love him, so I will have to put up with these occasional quirks. I'm not a perfect person either. And, he still loves me.
 

beingwell

Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Messages
170
Points
18
My husband is a very outspoken person. Much so that he would want to argue every bit of the discussion as much as he wants. Well, we've been together for quite a time now that I finally figured out how to "subside" his excitement without being bluntly rude.

What I do is agree to what we says. Nod my head most of the time he's talking. And he will come to a stop, sooner or later. Usually sooner.:D I do this when I'm not in the mood to have a lengthy discussion with him. He's such a doll!hihihi...;)
 

moneymakingmom

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2011
Messages
203
Points
187
My husband is a very outspoken person. Much so that he would want to argue every bit of the discussion as much as he wants. Well, we've been together for quite a time now that I finally figured out how to "subside" his excitement without being bluntly rude.

What I do is agree to what we says. Nod my head most of the time he's talking. And he will come to a stop, sooner or later. Usually sooner.:D I do this when I'm not in the mood to have a lengthy discussion with him. He's such a doll!hihihi...;)
From what I've read of other's experiences, it seems that other men like to argue their points too, just to be right or maybe they are accustomed to having to defend their opinion on the job and bring that stress home and continue with their defensive posture even with loved ones.
 

Cecil Estrera

Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2011
Messages
347
Points
18
Location
Philippines
That happens so much with me and my hubby.
I always go with what I know is right, and he do it as well.
I know those arguments will do no good to us. Just makes us build a wall in between us.
What I realized is we have to remember the principles of give and take, and patience and understanding one another are really essential in relationship.
Now, I try as hard as I can to really understand him and his problems, so I won't get really mad and emotional everytime he argues with me. I can see that it's somehow working.
 

emmlou027

New Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2011
Messages
1
Points
1
I have the same problem: especially when my husband is tired and just returned from work travel where he banters with his colleagues. He works with a lot of intellectual folks, and I think they get off on just sitting around and arguing!

He gets home from these trips and wants to talk...mostly to complain about things, and, true to form, I offer him suggestions on how to fix things. He tells me he just wants me to listen, and when I do, he thinks I'm too passive. It's like "What do you want from me??" I honestly think he wants me to argue! It's painful, and after being with him for six years and raising a toddler and working full-time, I just don't have the patience to sit there and take that.
 
A

artistry

Guest
From reading your comments about your husband and his childhood, it is my opinion that it is as you mentioned, he was affected by the continuous arguing in his family. I would suggest you talk to him when he is not argumentative and see if you can persuade hin to go with you to a counselor, to find out if there is something that can be done to help him realize how his behavior affects you and your relationship. I don't think he even feels that there is any problem because of his being immersed in argumentative behavior by his family, this is normal to him. That is why he can come and talk to you after you walk away, as if nothing happened. He needs to be made aware. If you can talk to him without a counselor and get him to see your point, then that would be wonderful. He has to change his behavior, which may be very hard for him. Good luck to you both.
 

amy005

Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2011
Messages
54
Points
8
Thank you so much for your kind reply. He's a very nice man most of the time. But, on occasion he does get argumentative and disagreeable then nothing seems to make him happy. And, I do agree that it's possible it could have been from a childhood experience, considering how his parents divorced when he was young and they had always been fighting ALL the time. That must have been a very scarring experience for a young child to endure. I guess it's manifesting itself now in defensive behavior. Thankfully, it doesn't happen a lot. But, those times when it does happen makes me very sad. :(

I would prefer to see the happy, joyful man that I know he really is in his heart.
I know how you feel. Me and my fiancee both had parents who constantly argued and both of our fathers were alcoholics. I think that is probably the trigger of the arguing. . I have been affected by the arguing of my parents for sure but hate arguing because I know how it effects the children and I would never forgive my self if I were to argue in front of my child as my parents did around me.

But my fiancee is the same way as your husband. He is usually okay but there will be certain days when everything gets him upset and he has to argue about everything.. when I try to say my side of the story he says "You are never wrong", which usually doesn't even make sense to what we are arguing about. Another thing that could cause the moodiness is alcohol or drugs.. not saying your husband does either but I know that if someone smokes pot or drinks the next day they are typically in a very bad mood or just when they start to sober up..

Oh and to answer your question about how to deal with someone like this, I just take a deep breath and basically tell him that he is right, because I just don't want to argue about it anymore. So no matter how I feel I will go with what he says. Then when I know he is in a better mood I will bring the topic up again and tell him how I really feel.
 

Eldon Brown

New Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2011
Messages
5
Points
1
My spouse and I love each other dearly and we are usually the best of friends. But, sometimes he goes through phases where he wants to argue about everything and he will start an argument out of ANYTHING just to argue and there's no reasoning with him. He never gets violent and usually doesn't even raise his voice. But, he disagrees on EVERYTHING I say as if I'm the only wrong person on the planet about everything.

Most of the disagreements are petty, almost trivial. Just nit picky stuff as if he's holding some kind of grudge against me. And, just the thought hurts my feelings, considering how long we have been together and how much we have sacrificed for each other.

He isn't always this way, just sometimes, which makes me think there's some underlying situation causing the moodiness.

Could there be some kind of physical issue like tiredness, medical condition or other stress that could cause a person's rapid change of mood and make them go from happy to moody all in the space of a couple days?

I was wondering if you could please provide any tips for dealing with an argumentative (but not physically violent) spouse who enjoys being confrontational on occasion.

It actually took me a little while to consider joining this forum. I would read posts and replies in an attempt to get a grasp on the mentalities of the individuals involved. Unlike many other forums, we have a very mature crowd. Thank everyone accepting me. With that said, please allow me to respond to this particular post:



The most important thing that you stated was: “My spouse and I love each other dearly and we are usually the best of friends.” This means that everything else that follows, no matter how negative it may appear, can be worked out. I am willing to bet that he associates himself with argumentative individuals. You see, when a person is constantly surrounded by people that tend to argue or debate about things constantly, they develop a defensive nature. Because they have to constantly be on guard to defend themselves. And I’m sure that most of the time he doesn’t even realize that he’s bringing his need to adapt to other home. Maybe you should talk to him about this when he is in his most relaxed element. Speak to him about it in a very soft tone, because the softer the tone the more concentration is needed to listen. One you have his attention, his love for you would take care of the rest.



There is one more thing that I really would like for you to think about. We are creatures of expectations. We set expectations on almost everything. We expect our friends to be there when we need them, we expect our bosses to show appreciation for our work, and we expect our children to value our knowledge above others ect…well husbands expect their wives to be more submissive and supportive of their views than others would be. His lashing out just might be due to him subconsciously equating you disagreeing with him the arguments that he’s constantly having with friends…so he develops the “here we go again attitude.” Now, I am not saying that you should be overly acquiesce towards everything that he says to prevent arguments, but when it comes to the “nit-picking” you should keep this in mind-Eldon
 

AmazingP

Advisor Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2011
Messages
705
Points
28
My husband is a very outspoken person. Much so that he would want to argue every bit of the discussion as much as he wants. Well, we've been together for quite a time now that I finally figured out how to "subside" his excitement without being bluntly rude. What I do is agree to what we says. Nod my head most of the time he's talking. And he will come to a stop, sooner or later. Usually sooner.:D I do this when I'm not in the mood to have a lengthy discussion with him. He's such a doll!hihihi...;)
I think this can work fine. There is no point of continuing to disagree with a person if there is no chance of him or her really listening to your viewpoint. So it is really better to just agree and after that just be silent. :D
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2014
Messages
25
Points
3
Location
Australia
Usually in an argument, if the two people know the outcome and focus on getting the outcome, then the argument will be easy to solve. More often we let out ego involved and we try to be right instead of trying to understand each other's outcome and fulfill it.
 

Toby Jensen

Coaching Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2013
Messages
95
Points
82
Location
Park City, UT
The good thing is you are able to recognize he is only wanting to argue just to argue. Say that. The bad news is that you get caught up in the less than important things he wants to argue about just because he wants too. Have this conversation before he comes to you ready to argue. Then you can refer to it easier when he does just want to argue.

What is the desire to argue covering up for him? Is he upset about something else? Was he hurt or discredited about something? What is really going on? Arguing for silly reasons is a close companion to complaining which just serves to give our power away and make us weak.

as if he's holding some kind of grudge against me.
Ask him about this. Did you hurt him?

Happy to moody in a couple of days? Unfortunately that is not unusual. Rapid mood swings within minutes? That is much more serious. Certainly it could be tiredness, medical, mental, emotional, or stress or any other number of things. There are plenty of tests doctors of all kinds can do especially if you have good insurance.

If these things are happening too much then they need to be addressed. If he is just being difficult then deflate him. Don’t engage the difficulty. It is easy to get emotionally tied in.

Do you want to get emotionally fed the arguing or deflate it by talking about it directly and sincerely? What do you want best for you relationship? Maybe he had a bad day or just got triggered on something? Ask. Find out. Resolve it.

Men share their opinions as a deep part of who we are. We just don’t make this stuff up on the spot. It is like sharing an inner part of our true selves.


But this is years after you asked this question so I am sure you won’t even be seeing it. Hopefully it will help another.
 

Danielki

Coaching Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2015
Messages
66
Points
82
Location
Norwich, UK
This pattern of behaviour seems to be a cycle as it continues in your relationship and there doesn't seem to be an end, just a point where it loops back round and begins again; so although there is currently no end, there is always a beginning.


What are the triggers?


Is it a matter of tiredness? Hunger? Or any manner of other physical things that can have an adverse effect on a person's emotional state.


You mentioned the possibility of trauma and the presence of underlying emotional issues you have knowledge of; which lead me to ask the questions:


  • Has he always behaved in this way?
  • How long were you in a relationship together before you saw signs of this behaviour emerging?
  • How soon after seeing this behaviour did you challenge it?
All behaviour is belief driven, whether that’s a conscious belief of something ingrained in your subconscious.


  • What's the payoff he's getting for behaving this way?

When I used to get smashed out of my brains on drink and drugs I wanted to be as far away from who I'd defined myself to be as a person, which was someone I was unhappy with.


When he is in this argumentative state is it possible that he wants to be far away from a relationship and having to deal with the issues he has relating to himself?


A suggestion made was to confront him while he is in this state and try to reason with him by letting him know he's hurting your feelings. By doing that you're trying to engage one of two parts of his brain.


The emotional: getting him to empathise with how you feel and realise himself that it's not a nice emotion to feel; which is virtually impossible if he's amped up on his own emotion, whatever that may be that leads to his argumentativeness.


The Logical/analytic: which will be pretty much locked out while he’s fully engaged in emotion. When a person is fully engaged in emotion, they cannot comprehend rhyme, rationale or reason. They are high on emotion and it's about what they feel more than what they are able to think.


If a person is trapped in a negative state it will often lead to images flashing through their minds of every time they messed or someone else messed up and let them down.


What pictures are flashing through his mind when he's in this state?


Maybe he hears something instead of seeing?


Where is he in those moments when he is argumentative?


Does he see you standing there in front of you are the person he's really arguing with? Himself or someone else.



How often has a person said something in the moment only to later retract their statement with words like; I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say that it just came out, I wasn’t thinking straight. I was just really …. angry, sad, frustrated, confused, emotional. I thought, I think, I felt and that led to…… whatever strong emotion the person got juiced up on.



You say he is argumentative about everything. But is there a common thread running through things? What were the last 3 things you were talking about when he became argumentative?



It sounds like you are enabling him in some ways. When you mentioned his argumentativeness and then him walking into the kitchen you said he came in and you continued to talk like nothing had happened. It sounded like he had moved from his argumentative state and then would have been an ideal time to talk to him about what had just happened.



The only way to get a better understanding of what makes your husband argumentative is to speak to him about it at a time when he isn’t being argumentative. If he won’t speak to you about it then you can’t move any closer to a resolution and the cycle will continue and you will have two choices, either create coping strategies and wait for him to snap out of it or leave him. If he doesn't want to make any progress towards change things will just stay the same.



There also seems to be a mixed message and rationalisation you are applying. “I love him, so I will have to put up with these occasional quirks. I'm not a perfect person either. And, he still loves me.”


You want him to change but you’re willing to put up with it if he doesn't on the basis of a love you share and his acceptance of your shortcomings. What I hear is, so long as he loves you and accepts you enough he will always be allowed to continue behaving the way that he does.
 

William Martinez

Advisor Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2015
Messages
17
Points
37
Location
NY
Something is triggering his defensiveness. It could be something you say or do, and I don't mean that in a bad way. Just something he associates with defensiveness and pain. When he is triggered, he is reacting from a source of pain/fear. Try saying something like, Im sorry your so upset right now, but I feel like something else is bothering you. If you want to talk about it, you know I'm hear to listen, or if you need time to cool down, we could always talk later, either way I'm here for you. You can tell me anything and I will just listen with no judgement, because I love you:) Build that trust if you can and find out what is the source of his frustration. Hope that helps:)
 

Centurion coach

Advisor Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2016
Messages
29
Points
40
Hi I have purposely not read the above responses as want to give my opinion without any bias, to me there must be some underlying reason as a few years a go I realised that I was acting like this with my wife, for me it was usually when I was tired or if id had a knock to my self confidence, I used to go quiet when feeling like this , inturn my wife would ask me questions and try and strike conversations up, which in turn I would snap after this. we worked are way through this, both with me using my own coaching techniques on my self, but just sitting down (when we were both in a good mood) and talking through how this made us both feel, after that my wife kind of recognises when im in this state and gives me a ittle more time to myself, and I take that condor moment and think for a millisecond about how what im about to say will make her feel, I hope this helps ill go back and read what everyone else has said now ive posted