Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Carolyn Hax: Dad keeps tickling through toddler son’s ‘stop’ signs

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My father was bodily abusive and nonetheless is emotionally abusive, and used to tickle my siblings and me so laborious that the laughter became an incapacity to make sounds — tickle torture. I hated it and my boundaries have been by no means revered.

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I additionally concern having confusion about bodily autonomy within the dwelling may result in confusion concerning undesirable touches from others or finally not respecting another person’s boundaries.

My husband tends to be extra receptive when another person talks to him. Unfortunately, if a request, suggestion, or assertion comes out of my mouth and is directed towards my partner, regardless of the way it’s relayed, his insecurities are triggered and I’m the unreasonable one. Defensiveness is exhausting, and my partner’s extends far past this concern. He is now appearing as if we shouldn’t brush our son’s tooth as a result of he doesn’t get pleasure from that, both. Not. The. Point. Advice?

— Not a Laughing Matter

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Not a Laughing Matter: Oh my. This is counseling-level defensiveness.

His unwillingness to just accept you as a messenger of something he doesn’t wish to hear can also be an influence drawback, the place he sees you as a risk to his.

You are completely completely utterly unimpeachably proper concerning the tickling and its physique autonomy implications. It is the proper battle to choose, the proper hill to die on.

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I gained’t defend your husband’s sensitivity — he’s behaving like a toddler, pouting and taking his ball and going dwelling. But, it’s what he’s doing, and also you wish to be efficient right here, so it’s a must to take it into consideration whenever you select your phrases.

I believe the two + 2 is that he feels accused of doing one thing inappropriate. You’re connecting him to “unwanted touches.” Distantly, after all, in a connect-the-dots sort of manner. But that’s one thing you may be proper about whereas nonetheless creating the looks of insinuating one thing “wrong.”

You’re additionally making use of an developed commonplace that deviates from previous norms, and that you simply adopted partially due to your individual expertise.

Make positive you hit on all these factors along with your husband:

“I know you’re just doing what everyone has always done. I’m not accusing you of intentional harm and I know it probably feels like I am. But I have experience with this that I may not have shared fully enough. My dad used to do this to us and I hated it. Hated. I hated being tickled and I hated it when I said no and he ignored it. I was laughing so it looked like ‘fun’ but it was torture. So all I’m asking is for you to listen to him when he says no. Does this make more sense now that I’ve spelled it out?”

If you make no progress and/or if he sticks to willfully obtuse false-equivalency BS about not brushing tooth, then discuss to a therapist — you, solo. To begin at the least. To observe threads from abusive father to ultra-thin-skinned partner. You are so proper about defending your baby, so keep on it, and take care.

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