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Darci

Deliberately misunderstanding someone

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Darci

Hi all,

i have been following the group but don’t have much chance to post. 

something weird has been happening and I’d like you all to weigh in with thoughts....

my husband seems to be deliberately misunderstanding me, and answering incorrectly, then acting like I didn’t ask the right question, or was misleading in my question.

for instance, tonight we were having a serious conversation about a neighbors car accident, and that he was protesting in court the police opinion that he was at fault.  We talked back and forth a while and it seemed ok, then he walked to another room and I said, what does that guy do, do you know? (Meaning for a living).  

He had walked to the living room where the Andy Griffith show was on and he said, you mean gomer?  I was flabbergasted.  Why the heck would I mean gomer?  I stood there with my mouth open and he said, or do you mean ....and then he said someone else.  I still didn’t say anything and he said, oh do you mean the guy in the accident?

this has been happening quite a bit lately,  it’s his dads m o and h has been spending a lot of time with his dad lately since he retired.  

He seems to often deliberately misunderstand like that, different subjects, and off the wall like that.  Or he deliberately doesn’t hear me correctly, like if I say did you change the light bulb, he might question me, did I spend the gas money?  Just weird.  Thoughts?

ps excuse the lack of punctuation, I am on an iPad and  nit used to typing on it! Ergggh 

Darci

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Fluffyflea

Oh it's just one of their crazymaking gaslighting tactics.

 

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Bennu

Clearly not effective communication, at the very least.

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Quaddie

Darci, if I'm remembering your relationship, this is just another tactic in a big huge bucket of abuser stuff. :(

It could be gaslighting. On the other hand, it could also be that he's not listening or paying attention to you. Then he tries to fill in the "blanks" with whatever's in his head or attention at the moment. Either way, it's at the least weird, and probably disrespectful.

As for this:

Quote

Or he deliberately doesn’t hear me correctly, like if I say did you change the light bulb, he might question me, did I spend the gas money?  

 

I'm not sure the specifics of that, but rather than mis-hearing -  at a glance it looks like misdirection, like he's purposely "attacking you" with something in order to preemptively "go on the offense" about the "attack" he perceives from you, and distract away from any possible "wrongdoings" of his own in order to blame-shift something onto you. (He feels it as implied criticism from you, your asking about if he changed the light bulb.) This isn't anything you did wrong. It's the automatic "defend and attack" method of operation of his inner workings.

Yeah, it's complicated and crazymaking and...  hallmarks of abusive types.

 

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whitebutterfly11

Hi Darci! :)

If I didn't know the context of your situation, I might wonder if his hearing really is off, but considering the context where he has a long history of deliberately "playing the fool" for attention, I'd say that's what he's doing. Here's what we know about him:

- He has (many times in the past) deliberately misconstrued words to get a rise from you

- He gets some sort of rise himself from arguing, misunderstanding, or playing the devil's advocate

- He is nitpicky 

- He gaslights

- He garnishes a sense of power in disabling you in a conversation

- He plays the fool in some contexts but seems to have the uncanny ability to remember details in other contexts (inconsistency, a.k.a. deception)

Coming from him, it's difficult to believe that his misinterpreting is unintentional and innocent given the fact that he has deliberately done this in the past to exercise control over conversations. I would say it's his way of trying to get attention or to disable you in order to have some secondary gain (like feeling he is in control, has power over conversations, etc.) In other words, my best guess would be that he's still being tactical and abusive. 

At very least, if he's actually NOT hearing you right, it means he's not paying attention, and that is disrespectful, in my opinion. 

(((HUGS)))

 

 

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Darci

Thanks for the responses.  WB, your insights are thought provoking.  

In the past when I’ve called him on his “misunderstanding” what I said being deliberate and how it annoys me he says oh honey, I’m just teasing you.

hes got this uncanny ability to deliberately mishear, or misunderstand on purpose, and then answer according to what he misunderstood or misheard me to say.  I’d think he was hard of hearing except that he doesn’t do it to his buddies, ever. He does it to me, and it’s annoying as heck.

I don’t think he’s trying to attack me, I think he’s deliberately trying to annoy me so I get mad, and then he can get even more angry with me for being mad at him, when all he did was tease me.  It’s like a setup I think.

deliberately misunderstand wife and  answer incorrectly (wife says I’m going to go get milk, you reply, your airplane has a leak?)

Wife is flabbergasted, then angry.  Why would I say my airplane has a leak?  H says I don’t know, why WOULD you say that???

wife says I didn’t say that, h says well what did you say then.  Wife says I’m going to go get milk, then walks away, probably scowling lol

H says what are YoU mad about?? because she has no right to be angry because you were , after all, only teasing.

Wife walks away upset, angry, annoyed, and doesn’t want to talk to h

how does that scenario make sense for a marriage?  In what universe what you ask if someone said something so nonsensical when you know full well they didn’t say that, even if you maybe didn’t hear all of it?  That can only be meant to annoy when it is repeatedly done, right?

darci

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whitebutterfly11

He's like a cat playing with a mouse: poke, poke, poke. :(

It's really despicable of him to do this, again and again. It's immature, disrespectful, and completely unnecessary. 

And I think it's all his way of exerting control, where he gets to be in charge of the conversation. 

My H did this to me too, Darci. It was the most aggravating thing to be demeaned or teased this way. I felt floored most of the time, totally lost for words--and he did that deliberately! He liked the look on my face when I was confused, disgusted, angry. Then he could shift the focus onto me and my behavior while getting away with his completely childish, bullying behavior.

It would drive me crazy too, Darci. I'm so sorry. :(

 

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Quaddie

I'd like to take a moment to reframe this feeling.

Yes, it's annoying. But what's behind your feeling of annoyance? Feeling disrespected - unheard - ignored - hurt. Right? And like WB said - degraded.  But the main one: disrespected. That's where it all stems from.

THOSE are the actual feelings. I think when we're accustomed to abuse (as I am since the beginning of time), the real  feelings get buried behind less-personal, more "surface"-type feelings. Ones that seem less personal, more "acceptable" - like annoyance, anger, etc.

There are layers and levels of feelings.

For me - and I've been doing tons of thinking about this stuff, for my own self - I was never allowed to have negative feelings about anyone's treatment of me - let alone to express them.

This led to some serious, serious difficulties in even being able to identify my own feelings. If I can't identify them, I can't express them. And I'm not being authentic and honoring my own self. 

So yes, it's "annoying" - but that's not really what you feel, I bet. If you dig deeper. I bet it  hurts.   I'd be hurting. (It's like a stab in the heart when I'm ignored or disrespected.) 

So I'd recommend really digging deep and being honest with yourself about how you feel.

And his "teasing?" Uh-uh, no it isn't. And at best, it's ridicule.  Right? so he's "pretending" to "mis-hear" you so that he can make fun of you.

If you were to tell him, "I feel hurt and disrespected when you do that - please don't do that anymore." I bet he wouldn't stop, right? He'd probably get angry at you. Twist it around onto you being "too sensitive" and you "trying to control him" and blahblahblah etc. etc. etc. (That's what they do. )

Or he might agree to stop, but do something else,  instead - or let it creep back into his repertoire after a short period of time.

So anyway.... I'd really like to encourage you to be honest with yourself about how you truly feel. To learn to identify your own feelings - even if you don't express them directly to him.

My inability to do this has been very detrimentally impactful in many areas of my life, so I'm preaching "don't be like me," lol.

If it were me, it'd take me hours, days, weeks, months or even years to figure out what I really felt. That's a problem in so many ways. 

So even if it's to a journal, to yourself, privately. Don't just brush it off as being annoying. There's more behind it. A lot more, I bet. And those feelings - you deserve to recognize and honor.

His disrespect of you, that's something that reveals how he really feels about you. It's not "fun teasing." When someone is regularly and purposely disrespectful, that's the opposite of caring, the opposite of love. :(

 

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Darci

Hmmmm, ok quaddie...lets see....

i feel disrespected, absolutely.  You’re totally correct.  I hadn’t thought of it in those terms, when I said it was annoying.

i also feel like I am not heard....I.e.,  my opinion, my thoughts, wishes and feelings don’t count.  He SAYS they do, but they don’t.  Actions speak louder than words, in actions he does not hear me or respect me.

i feel not valued.  He says I am, he says he loves me and values me (I’ve asked), but his attitude says otherwise.  I don’t go along with him as a partner, I follow him.  He asks for my opinion but he doesn’t want my opinion, he wants my agreement.  He decides everything, or everything that matters to him.....he asks sometimes what do I want to do....but basically and most often we do what he wants to do.

he will Say, I’m taking the dogs for a walk, are you coming?  I say ok, we go, walk, start on the way home.  On the way home he takes a turnoff and we are heading down another road, no comment, he doesn’t say anything....,I guess I am expected to just quietly ride along like a child.  So I ask, where are we going?  He says,  To the store, I want to pick up grapes.

 WTH?  Why not say, hey honey, I’d like to stop at the store on the way home from our walk, I want some grapes, do you need or want anything?  Nope.  So I guess I also feel Totally devalued.  Disrespected.  Not in a nasty way, just disrespected because I am not treated as a partner but rather as a child.

None of this is blatantly nasty, no fight is occurring, he isn’t snapping at me, not giving me attitude or silent treatment.   i want to say it’s a blatant disregard of me but that’s not true either.  That implies intent, the intent to disregard me or my opinion, thoughts, etc..  It’s as if there is no intent to do this, this is just the way it is.  The way HE is.  Like it honestly doesn’t even occur to him on any level to include me in decisions on where we are going after our walk, or to ask what I want from the store, what I want to do, or where I want to go for a walk (he decided that too, now that I think of it!).

I am thinking as I type, just now reading over it.  Holy crap.  It’s like I am a nonentity.  A very obedient, agreeable, malleable, somewhat stupid child.

darci

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Darci

And taken for granted.  That too.

and as I type that, I realized that whenever I have said I feel taken for granted he gets really upset.  I just remembered, he one told me, long ago when we were dating, that his wife left “because he took her for granted.”

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whitebutterfly11

Yes, you are wording it all so well. I just want you to keep going, keep voicing it!

He's looking at you as an extension of himself that follows where he follows, mirrors himself back to him, and when you remind him that you are your own separate person with feelings and rights, that you feel devalued, disrespected, subservient, a nonentity (I loved your wording for that!), then he cannot even handle it. He doesn't want to see you as your own person because he's interested in viewing you as an object that goes along with what he wants/says/does. 

And I love Quaddie's suggestion to really dig through the layers of this, because deep down, there is probably an ocean of hurt and pain from his treatment of you. And you have EVERY RIGHT to feel it, because it is a big deal--it's been a part of your life for a long time, this part of you that isn't allowed to be expressed because he'll dismiss it. That part of you--the part in pain--needs a voice and some validation that it's okay to feel ALL OF IT because it's coming from REAL experience. Our feelings speak truth even when our environment denies it. 

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Quaddie
16 hours ago, Darci said:

  i want to say it’s a blatant disregard of me but that’s not true either.  That implies intent, the intent to disregard me or my opinion, thoughts, etc..  It’s as if there is no intent to do this, this is just the way it is.  The way HE is.  Like it honestly doesn’t even occur to him on any level to include me in decisions

I'd actually disagree that it isn't blatant disregard - I think it's the very definition of blatant disregard.

I don't think there first needs to be a recognition that you are a human and deserve your own say and consideration, before then purposely ignoring it - in order for it to be blatant disregard. The fact that he doesn't even consider you as a person, an equal, or that it doesn't even occur to him - doesn't make it not blatant disregard. It's still that he doesn't care about you as a separate, unique individual. He doesn't even see  you as an equal being. It's still blatant disregard. Intent doesn't really factor in. 

Yes, it is "just the way he is" - but still, "the way he is" is to blatantly disregard you.  To ignore your being-ness as a person. 

My ex was like that. It was the worst. It was like I was absolutely nothing.  I felt like I was a... dog, almost, sometimes. Or worse, because he liked and paid attention to pets.

It's not a relationship. It's nothing like what a real relationship is. :( I'm sorry.

And you're right - the words he says... words are easy. It's the action that counts. Manipulators will say whatever they need to, to make you stay their object. It means as much as the air that breathes out while he says them. 

 

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Fluffyflea

He's purposely ignoring you and disrespecting you to keep you under his thumb. This erodes your self worth and self esteem so he has control.

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Bennu

I agree that it is blatant disregard. I think that often they pretend that they aren't thinking about you but really they are purposefully showing you how much they disregard you as a punishment for some crazy thing you didn't even really do. When it is honest disregard, a person feels bad and tries to make up for it. Do they ever?

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Fluffyflea

No they do not.

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