(Closed) When a person constantly plays Devil's advocate. Help!

posted 5 years ago in Relationships
Post # 16
Member
1414 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

Tisa85:  I would explain that I’m not looking for him to fix everything I tell him. I would explain that you just need listening and hugs!

Post # 17
Member
8831 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

Tisa85:  My husband used to do this. What fixed it was when I explained to him that sometimes it’s helpful to see the other side, like if it’s relevent to making a decision or something. But that usually, what would be really helpful is just to know he’s on my team. I asked him straight up if he could try to adjust his thinking so that his FIRST reaction is to see it from my perspective. Then, if HIS perspective is different, let’s talk about it. But if he doesn’t have strong feelings either way and there’s no real benefit to seeing it from someone else’s perspective, let’s just leave it at that. Let’s keep it “me and you vs the world” instead of “me vs you and the world.” He said of course he would be willing to do that — he was trying to be helpful and never realized how unsupported it made me feel. Habits are hard to break though, and we agreed that if he started doing it, I would ask “can you be on my team on this?” and that would be his cue to ask himself “is it helpful for me to play devil’s advocate on this, or hurtful?” It worked.

Post # 18
Member
547 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

This reminds me of an article I just read the other day:

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/6714280

It’s a very common phenomenon amongst men to inherently not trust or believe what women say.

Post # 19
Member
5891 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

Tisa85:  Have you ever heard the term “making a bid”? John Gottman coined the term to mean–trying to make a connection. So when a person says, “Oh look at the pretty bird”, the main point isn’t to be discussing the bird. It’s a way to connect and have a shared experience. Every time someone “makes a bid”, the other person makes a choice to accept the bid, turn towards you  and say, “oh, I’ve never seen a bird like that”. Or dismiss the bid or turn away by ignoring you or dismissing you, “I dont care about birds”. Or turn agianst you and say, “why are you always bothering me?”

It sounds like you are making a bid by telling a story about your day. I’m going to assume that your Darling Husband isn’t hostile in general towards you, so I think when starts to play devil’s advocate, he is truely attempting to turn toward your bid. It’s the only way he knows how and he feel like he is connecting to you. He needs to understand that by questioning you, what he is actually doing is is turning against you. He needs to know that by doing this he is increasing the chance you guys will get a divorce. 

Look up John Gottman and read some of his books on making bids. 

http://www.yourtango.com/experts/dr-adam-sheck/do-you-turn-toward-turn-away-or-turn-against-your-partner

Post # 22
Member
27 posts
Newbee

I am in this exact same position. In fact I could have written this post. I have also tried to have a discussion about times when I really just need support and not an analysis to bring about a solution which I think was helpful but I think it also now makes him feel I am unable to take criticism and always need to be right.

The truth is it makes me feel he doesn’t quite trust my intelligence or my judgement and also that I cannot trust him to be on my side 100%, which I think is so crucial.

I should also add that one thing I always keep in mind is that I know he has the best intentions and in his mind believes he is trying to help, in that context it makes things less hurtful

Anyways, we’re working on it, God help us.

  • This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by  Flabbergasted.
Post # 23
Member
5916 posts
Bee Keeper

I’m guilty of this myself too- someone who is prone to over-thinking and debate. BUT I make a conscious effort to not always be bringing it to the table, because I also realize that not everyone likes to analyze everything to death (lol like Jerry & George in the coffee shop on Seinfeld). So some things I just use my journal to vent in, over-think in, over-analyze in- & with other people I try to limit myself to real issues, not the trivial stuff. Your Darling Husband is in overkill mode- he needs to learn when to analyze and when to chill. You need to tell him emphatically to chill- because trust me, we occasionally DO need to be told to chill.

Post # 24
Member
38 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: April 2016

 tell him that you just want him to listen Vs. Offering a solution 

  • This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by  redheadbee77.
Post # 25
Member
6441 posts
Bee Keeper

Tisa85:  Sometimes people just want to vent to vent.  I would hate to live with your husband.  Is there anyway he can tone that down?

Post # 26
Member
723 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

If he’s game and you’re game, this is something you two can and should work on. Both of you need to be game to work on it together, though. 

Couple’s counseling may help mediate the situation; otherwise, make sure he’s clear just how this is affecting you. While it may seem minor to him, it is no small thing for you to feel like you two are on separate teams. That dynamic could drive a rift betwen you two if you’re not careful. What he’ll need from you is for you to be extremely honest about whenever you feel like he’s questioning/interrogating/mistrusting you. Even in minor situations, you’ll need to speak up and say “I really need you to listen to and support me right now; I’m not looking for you to problem-solve.” Call him out on it. 

What you’ll need from him is a willingness to truly listen to and respect your needs, and to be honest about his needs too. Maybe you guys can have set aside time for him to listen & support you, followed by five minutes of problem-solving if that’s what he needs to feel involved in the situation. 

Post # 27
Member
176 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: dont know

My brother does this.  He’s always arguing both sides about absolutely nothing and antagonizing everyone.  Its frustrating and why we cant get along.  Don’t know how to help though, maybe just tell him frankly that he’s being antagonizing whether he means to or not, and if that fails do it to him.

Post # 28
Member
365 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

 

Tisa85:  You just described my husband perfectly! I could have written this thread as well.

Many PPs gave excellent advice. It is true that analytical people are acting like that. My husband is always analysing everything, so it makes sense. I will read the article that has been mentioned for sure, as I am always the one “making bids”, as a PP said 🙂

I just wanted to assure you that you’re not alone putting up with this, but it helps a LOT to understand what is going on with our husbands lol. I’m glad I read this thread!

Post # 29
Member
365 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

 

Daisy_Mae:  Excellent advice. My husband and I are doing something similar (but not as defined, just naturally so we don’t fight all the time haha). I will talk to him about this thread, it is very good.

Post # 30
Member
132 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

A little back-and-forth can be helpful, as it can shed light on a perspective you maybe didn’t notice yourself. However, if this is a consistent thing, to the point that it is stressing you out to talk to your husband and you feel disrespected, then it’s time to figure out a solution. Personally it would drive me crazy to feel second guessed all the time.

On the occasion that this has happened with my husband, I put my hand up like “stop” and said, “I feel like you’re interrogating me. This is just a conversation.”

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