You can educate a fool, but you can’t make him think

Lips 41
A foolish man tells a woman to stop talking, but a wise man tells her that her mouth is extremely beautiful when her lips are closed-Author unknown”

My husband has not yet learned the power of words with me, or the lack of words. 

He was away on a business trip for an entire week. I’m proud of him for working so hard and supporting us. Financially.

Yes, I am home all day, I chose to work remotely from home to avoid daycare costs and be here for my kids. (and to work in my jammies) But I do work here in between the chaotic life that comes with having many young kids.

A fool may be known by six things: anger, without cause; speech, without profit; change, without progress; inquiry, without object; putting trust in a stranger, and mistaking foes for friends-Arabian Proverb”

I’m done censoring my speech to my husband to avoid his anger without cause – and instead I tell him this: I know you are tired and stressed and don’t want to talk, but I need to talk, so yell if you must, but I am not going to control my words and tone for you. I am going to speak to you like I speak to everyone else int he world and no one else thinks I am out of bounds. He instantly stopped raging and just blinked his eyes all confused at me. Then he listened. So what did I need to tell him?

I wanted to ask if he could take a break from his 12 hour days, 6 days a week. He looks very tired and not healthy, so I was getting worried. He has not had a break for a long time, and is still adjusting from the time-zone change from the trip I think.

He mistakes my concern as an attack, that I am not happy, and that he does nothing right, and shouldn’t I be happy with all the overtime he is bringing home? I have to control him? (after he gets angry, I can sometimes wait for days to bring up ANYTHING with him, for fear of the backlash)

It makes me sad that it takes such a huge effort on his part to just be decent to me,(and the kids)  let alone actually treat me (and the kids) with respect and love. He felt bad for this outburst, so came back to me in about 5 minutes and tried giving me a big hug and saying he loves me. I just freeze. If he had offered the hug and affection before the yelling, I would have felt close to him. But after, it just always feels like he is just using affection as apology – not real affection. And I have enough experience with artificial affection.

By the time the fool has learned the game, the players have dispersed – African Proverb”

So I appreciate his income, but think I could do without the overtime cash if he weren’t so tired to tune into us. I feel foolish for complaining about his hard work, and all he wants is for me to be proud of him – Something his mom still won’t do. And I think he is foolish for missing his kids growing up. Once these little ones are grown, all we have are memories, and I’m so sad that all he’ll have is pictures of my memories. And it makes me sad that all of this doesn’t seem to bother him. It is my problem. So who is the fool here?

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7 thoughts on “You can educate a fool, but you can’t make him think

  1. I can totally relate to the issues you are dealing with in your marraige. My husband can snap at me for what I think is no reason. I’m pretty fiesty and will tell him he has anger issues that he takes out on me and the kids. I’ve learned to close my ears and shut the door to my emotions so it doesn’t get to me. I’ll say to myself, a silly childhood rhyme, “I’m rubber, your glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.” It’s sounds stupid, I know! But it really helps me not take him seriously. It just is who he is. That your husband tries to apologize is good. Mine also does and I try to open myself up to be able to accept his apologies because it means I’m not holding on to the bad stuff.

    I don’t want to be preachy because I know I don’t walk in your shoes. Just giving you some tips that work for me.

    • I appreciate the tips. Yes your little rhyme is basically what I do when I say or think, “I know your are tired but I still have to talk to you.” That braces me for his response, and I don’t feel as hurt. But I have noticed that it kind of puts up a shield, to protect me from the anger, and then I need more time to accept his apology, have to wait to put my shield back down. I also try not to hold onto the bad stuff, but it takes me a while to shake it off, puts me in fight or flight mode I guess. I used to just shut down, and say that ‘I’ was sorry for bothering him. Now I see I should be able to have a conversation with my partner even when he is tired. And I should be able to just talk without mentally rephrasing my sentence a dozen times to make sure it is non-offensive. Seriously it can be something simple like opening the fridge and commenting, “uh-oh, we’re out of ketchup, not sure I should still make fries for dinner” Depending on the day, he can either take that simply and answer “how about rice instead” or he might start yelling “I told you 3 days ago that it was gone, what do you want me to do now?” Stupid example, but that’s how he is, and I can’t figure out his triggers, other than being very tired. It is exhausting to walk around on eggshells.

  2. At some point in every relationship, the luster wears off. It happens even in platonic relationships and we stop seeing the person and need to step back. It probably happens most when people live together since living with someone , even in the beat of circumstances, is difficult and takes work. In effect, there is no happily ever after. Daylily had some good advice. No one is perfect. I’m sure you’ll admit that you aren’t too. So as they say when it comes to things out of our control: “Look for the good and leave the rest.”

  3. Thank you for this. I appreciate every perspective I can get. Sadly the luster was never there. So it takes extra hard work. I know I shaped this relationship by allowing him to abuse me for years. People treat you how you expect to be treated. I used to hate myself and felt I deserved every cruel word he said. He refuses counseling and says nothing is wrong. Some things are working well, and many things have improved the past year or so. It is embarrassing to realize what I used to accept. He really lacks respect for women overall. So I know he loves me, and has certainly been there for me in many ways, but it is only recently I realized he has been emotionally and verbally abusive, and downright cruel in some ways over the years. Some days I think if I didn’t have depression and PTSD, if I were strong and healthy, I would have been gone. But for now, yes, I agree, it seems the best to work this out and “keep the good, leave the rest”.

    And yes, I am no perfect peach. He has ‘put up’ (his words) with my depression and stood by me over the years and all the drama and disgusting truths of my family and childhood, but I think it has built resentment in him for doing so, and only reduces his respect for me. I go to therapy for both of us and try to apply what I learn there. He won’t listen when I try to tell him what I learned, he will actually turn up the TV and ignore me.

    And then the thing that both saves our marriage, but is detrimental too, is he works so much. I seriously only speak to him maybe twice a week, and usually in passing or while kids are running around. He often has dinner alone in his chair, and then falls asleep there. He does not come up to our room. So I have not given up, but some days I’m not sure there is much good here worth saving.

  4. What I have to say is harsh, you will not like it, and you may reject it. In my experience I have found that when the truth is crushing, it still works out to be well worth knowing. Not immediately, but over time. Hope can be encouraging, but false hope keeps us trapped and hinders our search for alternatives to the status quo, and ultimately; happiness.

    He will not change. You probably already know this. Like many women, you take way too much responsibility for the relationship. You may feel that you must—for your own sake—at least give it your best shot, but an endless cycle of trying and ‘failing’ is damaging to your self esteem.

    If I were in your position, I would stop putting hope and effort into a relationship that isn’t going to happen, and instead, invest in myself and my kids. See a doctor about your depression. Search and find the little things that give you joy. Pursue interests. Cultivate friendships with people who make you feel valued or more light hearted. You can do all of this without physically removing yourself. Stop caring about him. Take care of yourself.

    • Thank you for posting such a brave comment. I value your opinions. I think a year or so ago, this comment would have seemed harsh, and would have been accurate. He will never change – completely, neither will my feelings. But, he does practice anger management techniques, and I can see him trying to be more involved with the kids, and more supportive of ‘some’ of our needs. I don’t feel like a failure with him, but there is a bit of sadness and regret that he can’t be my everything. It works for me – for now. I have stopped putting so much hope into the relationship, that part is true. I have accepted who we are, and that eventually I will need more from a man – for me. All of your other advice is spot on – I do have doctors and therapists for the depression and PTSD, and I am proud of my progress, getting stronger and healthier all of the time. I am venturing out into the world, and have already found a network of friends that do value me and my talents. And now blogging is filling in the need to share my inner self with people who can discuss it with me, as husband is just not able to do that. I’m an analyzer, a writer, a talker, a sharer type. He’s a shut up, stop obsessing type. I accept this. I don’t know when I will move out and move on from him completely, but I do know it will happen. My heart knows this.

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