Unnecessary Hard Talk

March 28, 2016

in Uncategorized

A couple of weeks ago the latch on the RV door broke. I got it fixed and realised it now closed much easier. I was concerned we would break it again by closing it hard out of habit. So of course, I said to Lori “You need to be careful not to slam the door.” I hope I said it nicely, but I suspect it sounded a bit cranky.

HARSH! © vepar5 | dollarphotoclub.com

So why the unnecessary harshness? I was saying to her what I felt I needed to hear. I’m very much a creature of habit, and I knew it was going to be difficult for me to not close the door the way I’d been doing for months. I put my difficulty on Lori and then treated her as if she was going to be as hard to change as I would be. 

A better choice would have been to explain the situation and then ask Lori to try to help me not slam the door. She gets the message, and I get the extra focus on thinking about it I needed.

If your husband has a habit of being harsher than necessary, he might just be talking to you the way he talks to himself.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

libl March 28, 2016 at 3:23 am

Thank you for explaining this! It does and will help me extend grace.

Another way is to use “we” instead of “you.” Using the latter implies that she has sole responsibility in making sure the latch doesn’t break again, and that you blame her for breaking the latch to begin with.

We is less accusatory.

Usually, when my dh starts speaking harshly or sarcastically, I step back and examine what might be going on to affect him. I have begun doing the same to myself. If I start stomping around the house and snapping at everyone, I am likely feeling overwhelmed and I need help getting things done.


Paul Byerly March 28, 2016 at 8:01 am

@libl – We is better, but I have been guilty of saying “we” when I should be saying “me”.
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Me March 28, 2016 at 4:11 am

Or… He might be talking to you like a coworker. My husband runs a couple construction crews made up of some rough and tough guys. I’ve noticed he sometimes has a hard time switching gears. If he’s harsh with me and he hasn’t been home from work for too long, sometimes I remind him, “honey, I don’t work for you.” I try to do this respectfully and gently, but sometimes I can be harsh back, which is not the best way to handle this.

It took me a while to realize this, but finally I noticed his harshness almost always occurs within an hour or two of finishing work. I realized it helps to give him a little breathing room when he gets home. Just for an hour or so and then he’s more himself.


Paul Byerly March 28, 2016 at 8:00 am

@Me – Another good possibility. And good detective work on your part.
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