have told my husband over and over again that I’m tired of him telling
me what and how to do things. I am a capable 35-year-old woman, but he
treats me like an incompetent child. How do I get him to stop?
the way you have described your communication pattern with your husband
it sounds like he often talks to you in a parent tone and style that
typically triggers a response from the child part of you. That
parent-child communication is a frequent trap for couples and can lead
to major misunderstandings. The most automatic response to a parent-like
criticism is a childlike “I don’t have to . . .” My suggestions for
changing this particular communication pattern are as follows:
parent-like tones and messages from your husband that sound like
“you should” or “It would be best for you if,” etc. Start with being
aware of when this communication is most likely to occur.
Make a choice
to not automatically respond with a childlike comeback. Instead,
take a breath (to regain your composure) and respond as an objective
adult might. An example would be: “I feel like I’m being spoken to
as a child. Your intention may be to protect me, however I feel
insulted, not supported when I hear that voice.”
Talk with your
husband and see if he also would like to improve the way you talk
with each other. If so, you both might read one of several books
outlining the parent-child, adult-child communication pattern. As
basic book to start with is “I’m O.K, You’re O.K.” by Eric Berne.