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Ask TherapistMaryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5927
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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I have been with my partner for many years. We always clash

Customer Question

I have been with my partner for many years. We always clash heads but I am trying to not argue with him as much these days. He seems to always have a problem when I suggest something he always has to challenge it and I am getting a bit sick of it. I have spoken to him on many occasions about the way he speaks to me and how it makes me feel. He apologizes and we move on but it happens again. Im sick of arguing everyday and being spoken to rudely. I just want to enjoy life. Any suggestions? My patience is running thin.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 4 years ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like your partner feels threatened when you suggest something to him. Sometimes, a person has low self esteem and when someone even makes a suggestion, they react defensively by challenging or even ignoring what is said in favor of their own way of doing things. They feel threatened and feel that a suggestion is a way to say they are not worthy.

His apologies are probably meant to calm you and to stop the conflict. He may even see that he is hurting you. But because he does it again, he either does not see the behaviour or he does see it and doesn't want to change it. He could also not know how to change it.

You may want to talk to him about why he is challenging you every time you suggest something. Ask him about what happens for him when you do suggest an idea. Then ask him if there is another way you both can discuss ideas without him reacting in the same way he does now.

You can also suggest he talk to a therapist. If this is a continuing issue, then there is something going on underneath that needs resolved.

He could also explore what is going on by learning more about low self esteem, which is usually the root of someone's need to challenge others. Here are some resources to help:

Self-Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Assessing, Improving, and Maintaining Your Self-Esteem by Matthew McKay and Patrick Fanning

The Self-Esteem Workbook by Glenn R. Schiraldi

How to Raise Your Self-Esteem: The Proven Action-Oriented Approach to Greater Self-Respect and Self-Confidence by Nathaniel Branden

I hope this has helped you,