When he doesn’t want to do something

If I ask my passive aggressive husband for help or to do something for me, he’ll usually do it, but often at a hidden price or sometimes behavior that is probably meant to teach me not to ask.  I often unconsciously weigh the cost, almost like an inner reckoning that runs on auto pilot by now.

Last night when I was cleaning up the kitchen, my youngest daughter wasn’t feeling well, and asked me to help with her bedding because her cat spit up a furball on it.  My husband walked by while I was washing dishes, so I asked him to please strip her bed and put the bedding in the washing machine.  I was tired, and it seemed a small and reasonable request.

The next thing I knew, I heard the loud roar of the old shop vacuum, which caused my other daughter and her brother to have to stop the television program they were watching together.  I motioned to my husband who first ignored me, then finally shut it off.  He loudly said that he was just doing what I asked him to, and that he was almost done, and turned the noisy beast back on.  The television program watchers gave up the episode ghost and went to other rooms and activities.

Huh?  He managed to aggravate and disturb two other people, and somehow it was because I asked him to?  Later when I reminded him that I’d only asked him to strip a bed and put it in the washer, he replied, “Oh no, that made a huge mess over here, and I had to vacuum it up before it got tracked all over.”

I tell ya, I didn’t even follow up on that one or try to figure it out.  Just hear the echoes of the Frozen song, “Let it gooooo, let it goooo….”

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14 Responses to When he doesn’t want to do something

  1. marriedwithouthusband says:

    What is it with these guys and vacuum cleaners? Actually, I know what it is. They vacuum because it makes a lot of noise and disturbs other people and then if you say anything, they can say, “Oh, see what happens when I help! You get mad at me!”

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  2. marsocmom says:

    My husband needs to make every chore into a production, as if he has to prove that he shouldn’t even have to lower himself to do it or he has to show me what an imposition it is. If the chore is his responsibility, like taking out the trash, he announces his intention to do it several times before he actually does it. That’s why I never ask him to do anything, including turning off lights. But I understand your hope that your husband might actually be helpful, especially after you’ve just cooked him dinner and are still cleaning up all by yourself.

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  3. paescapee says:

    haha you cruel, cruel person for expecting him to do anything for someone else! I complained once that mine wasn’t doing anything to help out and he responded quite indignantly that he had drawn back the curtains in the house only that morning! well, I had gone to work so I guess he could have lazed around the house in the dark if he had chosen to……..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jane D. says:

    I think we could each write a book about the “hidden cost” of asking our husbands to do something. I try not to ask.

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    • paescapee says:

      Well yes, I learned that but when we got to couple’s therapy I was told that I was ‘controlling’ because I wouldn’t ‘let’ him take responsibility for anything!

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      • Bronze says:

        Ahh, the ‘controlling’ tag. Also, ‘selfish’ and ‘demanding’. It’s puzzling how they manage our expectations down so far, even for basic civility inside our home and yet we are seen by them as ‘controlling, selfish and demanding’. That we deserve to be treated with a modicum of respect just by dint of us being a fellow human, seems to go right over their head.

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        • paescapee says:

          yes- but the difficult part was that my ex had already been to this therapist before we went together (dodgy ethically anyway) and it was the COUNSELLOR who implied this! I spent weeks defending myself. How to ‘prove’ I’m not controlling?? Every decision I made could be challenged! Nevertheless, I learned a lot in that I did ‘control’ elements of our family (i.e. collecting daughters from school etc) where I couldn’t trust him and wouldn’t allow the errand to go undone as too dangerous. When the therapist pointed out that it isn’t ok to control someone else for any reason (even if it would greatly impact on your family) I realised that I simply couldn’t stay in the relationship. I wasn’t prepared for my family to live in his degree of chaos- I grew up like that! I guess this is why they call co-dependents ‘controlling’- true but unfair, I feel.

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          • Bronze says:

            Yes, our marriage counsellor was no better. He set it up to make me look controlling and unhinged with me being some sort of haranguing wife making mountains out of molehills. I was also not going to allow my childrens lives to be impacted by his total neglect and disregard by stepping back and waiting for him to do SOMETHING. I learned that lesson the hard way and there was no way that if I stepped back everything wasn’t going to fall over. I think during marriage counselling when I mentioned that his silent treatment just wrecked me and her response to me was to develop better self soothing strategies, I realised I was playing a losing game. I had already spent 20 years self soothing and I was at the end of what I was able to cop with in abusive behaviour from him. I had spent years getting on with things cheerfully in the face of days of silent treatment and frankly I really couldn’t take anymore let alone, develop more strategies to deal with his abuse. I agree that calling us controlling is unfair when we have little people whose lives depend on us being dependable – there is a basic level of workableness(word?) that a household needs to run and many long years before marriage counseling I bet we both found out that if we didn’t do it, then it didn’t get done. There needs to be expectations of the grown up for a family to thrive and with a PA man, no such expectations are possible. We don’t need to be less controlling – they need to be more grown up and accountable.

            Liked by 2 people

            • paescapee says:

              Absolutely! why on Earth should you have to self-soothe against someone else’s bad behaviour? I also worked very hard on my ‘anger problems’ until we split- I didn’t have an ‘anger’ problem- my anger was legitimate!- I had a ‘husband’ problem. Anger disappeared with husband.

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  5. newshoes123 says:

    In the end, I didn’t bother asking him to do anything… I’d pay for it one way or another…. He “volunteered” recently to do something for me, you can guess what happened next, I paid for it. It turned out to be my fault (of course), and he was very good at gaslighting me, I almost believ it, almost.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bronze says:

      I also stopped asking many years before the end of our marriage. During separation he offered to help me fix the house up to be sold – I was very hesitant and said I’d think about it. I rang the next day and said that I’d thought about it and had decided to take him up on his offer and let him help me fix the house up, so we could sell it. He screamed “Don’t tell me what to do, you f**g c**t” and then hung up on me. When I rang back and told him he owed me an apology, he asked me what for and when I said for calling me a name he said ”I don’t remember that”.. Apparently, he can’t remember more than 5 minutes at a time. He would also offer to help me with the kids and then scream at me that he wasn’t ‘my babysitter’ if I took him up on offers. That was the end of me asking him for anything or negotiating with him over anything. Every time he tried to co-parent or work stuff out from then on, I told him I was not open to negotiation and would then list the same event over and over until he got the message. Nothing is ever given without cost by these men, EVER. And if you’re not over the top grateful for what they deign to do, they will grow resentful and angry whilst completely disregarding the usually, monumental effort that you’re putting in daily. Mine once reminded me he had cooked dinner on some past date and I stood aghast and just looked at him, thinking ‘who does he think cooks dinner EVERY OTHER TIME?” without complaint, or thanks because that’s just what you do when you are part of a household that needs running. How these men feel so entitled is beyond me. What makes them so superior?

      On a lighter note, I want to update the ladies here that the reason I’ve been so silent is I went on a cruise with my daughter and her friends and I met a man. And so far he is making me gladder and gladder my marriage is gone. If he turns out PA or abusive, well I guess I’ll just have to work on my picker a bit better. I have met such nice men who become my friends but somehow I don’t seem to be able to be attracted to the men I SHOULD be. So we will see. I am alert for red flags – not nice but necessary.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. After almost six years, I decided not to be the victim. It was a tremendous relief to get a divorce and not hear how incompetent and different I was in every area of life all the time! Living in misery is not living.

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