(Closed) DH is a Negative Nellie and it Drives. Me. CRAZY. Advice?

posted 6 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
9887 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

I think everyone can have negative nellie tendencies at times.  It’s good you’ve gotten your own behavior under better control and have learned how to make yourself happier by having done so. 

Trying to change someone else’s behavior is a little bit more tricky, though.  First of all, he still sounds like a great guy and loving husband.  This is luckily a relatively minor, although assuredly irritating, flaw.  You hit the nail on the head when you said it’s a habit or learned behavior.

I would try calmly talking with him at a time when he’s not being negative when you two are just enjoying some quiet down time, because you’ll be more likely to get through to him if he’s not already feeling defensive.  You could explain how you used to be the way he is and taught yourself better ways of coping that have made your life happier.  Ask him how he’d feel if you were always complaining and dragging him down?  He shouldn’t continue being selfish once he realizes that it really bothers you when he acts like that.  For the record, negative attitudes really bug me, too, so you’re not alone in being annoyed by this.

Also, the next time he’s being negative about something, instead of getting upset with him, try countering with something positive, and see if you can encourage him to look on the bright side of things.  If you point out something good everytime he says something negative maybe it will help him to turn things around. 

Another tip is to just ignore him when he’s acting like that.  Or commiserate with his misery for a couple of minutes, get him on your side by identifying with him.  Then tell him, “Ok, enough of this, let’s talk about something fun!”

Post # 4
485 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

I can see how this would be frustrating for you.  However, your focus needs to be on YOU not letting his behavior affect you.  NOT on trying to change his behavior or outlook.

He gave you a clue when he said he’s just being “realistic” and that by having low expectations, he avoids being disappointed. It’s not about the INDIVIDUAL experience.  It’s about a collective disappointment or anxiety that he feels in general that he has not learned how to process.  Maybe he feels like HE will be blamed, maybe he has learned that getting your hopes up will just make you feel worse when things don’t work out.  Maybe he feels insignificant and so things like not having a pic of him and his mom makes him feel like everyone else thinks he’s insignificant too.

I confess I am a bit like this.  I know this about myself and so I work in a job where my ability to foresee failure is an asset.  I’m around people who LIKE that about me.  If my partner felt this trait was a flaw and wanted me to change the very outlook I have on life, I would be miserable with them.  When you yell at him and tell him to go against his nature, you INVALIDATE his feelings.

Instead – either work on accepting him for who he is….. or find another way to deal with you letting what he says affect YOUR outlook.


Post # 5
1352 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

Hmmmm maybe he needs to talk to a therapist about why he always expects the worst in a situation?  I hate when people suggest therapy but maybe there is a deep rooted issue there?  I mean if you have stressed to him how much it bothers you and he just can’t stop doing it…

Post # 7
9887 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

@iarebridezilla:    Awwwww shucks, thanks.  Smile

Post # 8
7561 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2013

My Fiance does this from time to time and here’s my solution – ignore ignore ignore. When he talks like this, don’t feed into it. Let him wallow if he wants to, just go about your business. If you’re trapped in a room/car together, just chat on about something else or continue doing whatever you’re doing. Whenever he stops being negative, be extra nice to him to show him you love him when he’s positive. However, don’t mention the negitivity. It never happened. 

There are two benefits to my method. One, I don’t get down as much when he’s being negative (like @3xaCharm was saying.) Two, he’ll do it less. No one likes to be ignored; he won’t talk to himself for very long. Eventually, he’ll do it less frequently because you don’t respond. 

Post # 9
4693 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@iarebridezilla:  Have you seen this article? Maybe you could “train” some of the behavior out of him?

ETA: Basically what ohmystars said!

Post # 11
9887 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

@iarebridezilla:  Ok, reading your update here is my analysis, for what it’s worth. 

Seems like your Darling Husband might be suffering from just a tad of insecurity.  You, as his wife, are in a prime position to help him with this.  One thing about men, especially husbands, is they want to be a HERO in our eyes!  This is true of all good men.

Make this lovely masculine trait work in your favor.  Be sincere and don’t subjugate your own opinions, but try praising him and his decisions for a while.  Help build him up and let him know in a subtle way that you respect him and his opinions very much.  This should help alleviate some of his insecurity and negativity.  Let him know you have his back!

Post # 13
385 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

I agree with Sunfire that you should talk with him calmly during a time when he’s not being negative. Think of a few examples beforehand of when his negative attitude wasn’t necessary and impacted your experience. You should use exclusive “I” statements: “I feel [frustrated, upset, etc] when you [are too negative, complain, etc] and I’d like you to [limit your negative statements, try to be more positive, etc].” If you use the I statements, youtout the focus on your needs and aren’t attacking him, just telling him your feelings and needs.

However, I think you need to stop yelling at him. Do everything you can not to shout at him when he is negative. If you’re getting super upset and can’t give positive statements to pull him out of it, maybe say something like “I’m not able to enjoy this while you’re being so negative, so I’m going to take some time to myself to get in a more positive mood.” and then go calm down.

Hpefully he’ll be willing to work on this. I also think constant negativity is a changeable trait – people can choose to have a positive outlook, but it can be hard. Good luck!

Post # 14
1029 posts
Bumble bee

Ugh, my SO gets like this and it drives me nuts. All the men in his family are pretty negative people so I can see how he picked this up, especially his father…yeesh. I don’t expect him to be sunshine and rainbows and always upbeat and positive, but he has to point out the negative in everything and argues with me about stupid little things.


Me: Wow, what a nice day!

SO: It’s supposed to rain later.

Me: Oh well. Maybe it’ll miss us.

SO: No, it’s definitely going to rain.

He’s not always like this, but it’s bad enough that I want to smack him sometimes. haha

Post # 15
11233 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

Man, I thought I was a cynical, negative person who complained a lot. I don’t complain nearly that much!

[ . . . ] he insists that he’s just being “realistic” and that by having low expectations, he avoids being disappointed.

This is exactly what I say, and it’s true. I don’t let it ruin things for me, but unfortunately, my experiences have been largely negative, and therefore, I expect things to be negative. If they are, I don’t get upset over it, and if they’re not, I’m pleasantly surprised. I’m sure it drives my Fiance NUTS, but that’s just how I am. I’m actually a much happier person than I would be if I expected everything to be roses. 

That said, I think you hit the nail on the head–involve him more. Ask him to help you choose things and be more involved in picking what you two do.  

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