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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » EXPERT ADVICE » Ask Scarleteen » Boyfriend gets frustrated at HIMSELF, and it makes me uncomfortable

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Author Topic: Boyfriend gets frustrated at HIMSELF, and it makes me uncomfortable
Female Person
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My boyfriend gets frustrated kind of easily. He doesn't take it out on me, but while I'm in the same room he will sit there and just sort of talk about how stupid he is and slam doors and throw things on the ground. Usually after trying to be patient and helpful/comforting for a while, I snap at him, and he leaves without a word, slamming the door on the way out. This usually (almost always) happens with homework.

For example, today he was having difficulties figuring out a programming assignment and I was sitting next to him on my computer. I was helping him a little bit (we're in the same class but I had already finished the assignment), and he kept getting SO frustrated. He'd say things like "I'm just f*ing stupid." or an exasperated "it won't work!" and threw his notebook on the ground in frustration. It just seemed really childish and like he didn't appreciate my help and eventually I snapped at him. Something like "well then why don't you do some error checking!" Then he did the leaving and slamming the door thing.

I'm not really sure why it makes me so uncomfortable... like I said, he's not really involving me other than being in the same room as me. He's not yelling at me, just at himself. I feel bad most of the time for snapping.... but what was I supposed to do? It's hard to deal with someone who is throwing a fit, especially when that someone is not a child. I get confused about the right course of action. I always apologize for snapping, but should I get mad at him for acting that way? Should I tell him to fix it or keep it away from me? Why do you think he does this? Should I suggest that he talk to a counselor? I just don't know what to do.

Thanks for your help,
Mikky

Posts: 17 | From: Oregon | Registered: May 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robin Lee
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HI Mikky,

We're all entitled to feel how we feel about something. You can't control what your boyfriend does and you don't have to make yourself feel differently about it. What you can control is how you react.

Have you and your boyfriend talked about this at a time when it's not happening, other than you apologizing for snapping? Have you explained to him that the way he deals with frustration makes you uncomfortable, plus seem unproductive to you?

Perhaps, if homework is the trigger for his frustration, doing homework together isn't the best use of time and energy for either of you. What do you think?

--------------------
Robin

Posts: 6066 | From: Washington DC suburbs | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Female Person
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We've talked about it a little bit outside of it actually happening, but I guess I need a better way of communicating my feelings without hurting his. He always seems to feel really bad about it, but the funny thing is that when we talk about it he does kind of the same thing. He'll say "I'm such an *******... That was really mean of me." and then start crying because he hates hurting my feelings. And then I tell him he's doing the exact same thing and then it becomes less about my feelings and more about calming him down. It's strange and I can't figure out how to get all my feelings out before he shuts down/starts crying.

I also want to know if it's rude to tell him that it seems counterproductive. He seems like a little kid who never learned how to do homework when he throws these fits. I don't know how to say that without making it sound like I think he's an immature brat (I don't, he's normally very mature in my opinion). It also makes sense, though. He went to an inner-city public high school that wasn't great, so he was able to pass his classes with As and Bs without doing hardly any homework because he had a savant-like auditory memory and was smart enough to figure out multiple choice tests, and the teachers were more focused on controlling the "bad kids" and getting state funding than making sure everyone actually learned the material. I think this is also the reason he didn't notice that he probably has dyslexia until he got to college.

Last time this happened I told him that maybe we shouldn't study together all the time, since we don't seem to get along when doing so. It's just hard not to because we have a lot of classes together and live in the same house (with some other roommates). Plus, he's better at Math and I'm better at Programming, so we help each other out a lot as long as he doesn't get frustrated.

Posts: 17 | From: Oregon | Registered: May 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Female Person
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I also wanted to add that this happens when he drives, too. His parents just gave him their manual car to use at school a few months ago, and every time he kills it he starts yelling and cussing. Yesterday he did this and the yelling got extremely loud and frightening, but he noticed that I looked scared and immediately stopped and apologized. I ignored his apology and went into the store we were at, and we didn't talk about it again.

I would offer to drive more, but my car broke not too long ago and I have to wait for my dad to fix it.

I'm just starting to notice this anger more and more, and I'm afraid that I'm only putting up with it because my dad was this way. My dad yelled at me a lot when I was younger and my mom just let him most of the time. She just wanted to keep the peace, but I don't want to "keep the peace" if someone is acting like this towards me. But, my dad yelled at ME, my boyfriend is yelling at HIMSELF... It's not different, right?

Posts: 17 | From: Oregon | Registered: May 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robin Lee
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It sounds like it doesn't *feel* different to you. Most people in relationships have things that frustrate them about their partners, but it sounds like you're feeling scared more than frustrated and that this is a really big deal for you, not just when it happens, but all the time. That sounds to me like something needs to change. [Smile]

You mentioned that your boyfriend has dyslexia? Has he gotten any support from the college around that? Many colleges have learning support and disability services. It sounds like he could benefit from at least consulting with them. Also, that level of frustration with homework might mean that a tutor would benefit him, at least for a little while.

Even though the two of you are in the same classes, it sounds like doing homework and studying together really isn't working. It doesn't sound like helping each other is reciprocal.

So, how do you express your feelings without things disintegrating as you described above? I'd suggest sharing how you feel, and making it very clear that you need for things to change.

--------------------
Robin

Posts: 6066 | From: Washington DC suburbs | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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