Snarky Attitude and Accusing Tone of Voice.

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Joy:
 :-[
How do you cope when your partner uses that 'tone of voice' with you.  My p can say the most innocent and appropriate statements with a tone of voice that is incredibly belittling and impatient, but can't seem to understand why I'd be upset.   ?
She acts like I'm too sensitive and that she hasn't said anything wrong (which is true... the words are fine, the tone is snappy and rude.
She also uses it with my 15 year old daughter who of course doesn't handle this well.   My d is also using this tone since she is actually in a developmental stage where you would expect such a thing.  Argh!  I try to ignore the tone, but there are days when I just call her on it because I get so tired of it.  It's like she wants to punctuate her statement with the word "idiot".
Any ideas?
Joy

warrior:
I check it out.  When I get that tone, I ask:  "Is something the matter?"  or  "It sounds to me as if you are angry, do I have that right?"  before I answer the question.  Otherwise I can answer or address the comment and that will not be enough since she is most likely looking for a fight.  Best to "nip it in the bud"  (as Deputy Fife used to say)

DadsWife:
I have a good book suggestion: "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense" by Dr. Suzette Haden Elgin.  It deals with so many forms of verbal attack, including the passive aggressive sort that you're describing. It teaches how to recognize verbal abuse, what forms it can take, and how do deal with each sort. I got a copy from our local library. Really helpful stuff.  I've found I'm able to use her strategies in conjunction with Stop Walking On Eggshells' strategies, and it all helps to make me feel less like a "deer in the headlights". 

wornout:
OMG, DadsWife!  You are the first person (besides me) to cite that book.  I read it so long ago,and it continues to be helpful (mainly because I internalized some of the tactics).

As for dealing with tone of voice, I've got my standard response for children ("I don't like your tone of voice.  if you're trying to tell me something, you need to change your tone.")  Adults are a little more complicated.  However, I have used my children's response for adults, if/when they were acting like children, AND I thought that addressing them in that manner would help.  A more standard adult response for me is: "I don't like the way you are speaking to me, so I'm done talking.  If you want to speak to me in a nicer tone of voice, I will be willing to listen.  Otherwise, we're done here.  ...Just let me know."  It is a little repetitive, but the message is designed to provide clear choices to an agitated person without accepting abuse for yourself.  ...Also, once those choices have been presented, you need to go into autopilot.  If the abuse starts up again within the same discussion, you just say, "Ok.  We're done."  And then you leave the room/house/phone call/etc.. 

need2hope:
I am new, only recently recognizing that my husband has BPD.  His attitude and accusing tone has been such a long standing part of our life that unfortunately, it has severely affected the way all of our family communicates.  Sad to say, but my kids and I snap back and respond to him in the same manner.  The realization that we are becoming as unhealthy as he is, is compelling me to learn as much as I can so that we can deal with him, isolate his behavior as a symptom of his sickness, and educate myself and the kids to learn to respond differently.  EASIER SAID THAN DONE!  I am so fed up with how we've been treated that it is hard to be compassionate and take on the burden of learning skills to cope, when it should be him that changes.  However, since it is doubtful that he'll ever see that the problem is his, let alone get the help he needs, I figure I'll try to work on myself and the kids, for our survival and sanity.  Heaven help us.

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