Life With Misophonia
September 16, 2016
Reframing Webinar
October 4, 2016

Married to a Misophone

Here are some comments from a man whose wife has misophonia.
First off, my wife is awesome. We click in some many different ways but we are also different in other that so we believe we have a really great relationship.
We both are on our second marriage and well into our 40s so all the drama and nonsense is well behind us. We say what we feel but at the same time we try not to say it so to hurt the other person.
Act 2: Misophonia comes in. About a year ago she finally learned that all the symptoms she has been experiencing are related to misophonia and ever since she has researched not only how this started but how to, if not cure, at least cope with it. I feel I have learned a lot too as she shares with me most of the information she finds, which makes it a bit easier fore me to understand it. A bit.
However, there are times I feel I don’t want to sit at the table with her because I know that my ‘loud’ chewing or even the reflex of secreting and swallowing saliva will set her off. Sometimes she asks to turn on the radio or the TV while we eat together. This works sometimes, sometimes does not.
We have a small dog who is getting old. At dinner time he undoubtedly will make this [what she calls] quail noise, which to me most of the times is inaudible, but that drives her insane. Other times our dog would just lick himself and that sound just drives her mad.
So at times it is really hard to deal with her misophonia. Other times I understand her because, and maybe I suffer a mild case of it as well, there is a large woman at work who breaths very, and I mean >>very<< loud. To the point I just have to put my earphones and crank some music so I don’t get distracted.
I don’t know how much of this is useful to everyone, or if it is at all. I just know that sometimes I suffer with my wife. Definitely not at the same level as she does, but to the point that I make myself watch (or hear) how loud I chew so she does not stab me in the eye with her fork while having dinner. Of course that is just a joke but I hope that gives you an idea how I feel about her misophonia.
From what she has told me her case is not so severe. She has told me she has read about other people that just completely isolate themselves because they have thoughts of ripping the other person’s face in order to stop the sound. I am not sure how I would handle that if her case was that bad.

31 Comments

  1. Julie Pulie says:

    My struggle is with sleep. My partner had misophonia and my breathing sets him off. Not necessarily into rage, but just can’t sleep because he will zone in on the sound and focus on my breathing and spend the night not sleeping.

    Nowadays he falls asleep in his recliner. So basically we hardly ever share bed. This way he get 6 hours of decent sleep- having fallen asleep to a movie. I always wake up around 4 or 5am if he’s not in bed…

    So the struggle is finding how to wrap my head around not feeling sad, lonely, and rejected because he never comes to bed… vs him coming to bed and getting poor to no sleep because I’m breathing…

    Eating is okay. My eating. Unless I eat extra crunchy food while he is not eating. We like to go out for Asian foods. He has on occasion made eye contact and smacked his lips aggressively at some poor slurper. It’s out of character cause he’s normally so polite.

    He will 100% blow up at our dogs if they’re slurping too much. One is extra prone to it. Massive trigger that one.

    But the breathing while I sleep is the one that we are struggling with the most as a couple. Because he feels guilted by me wanting him to come to bed at some point, and I feel guilted for my wanting him in bed means him losing sleep. How do I deal with that one?

    • Tom Dozier says:

      There are 2 solutions to this problem. The easiest is to add noise to your bedroom. You can use a noise app and bluetooth speakers, a noise machine, or loud fan, such as a box fan. The added noise can be as loud as needed to completely stop him from being triggered.

      The second solution is for your partner to get treatment for misophonia. There are 2 good treatments that have a high success rate – relacation and counterconditioning therapy and sequent repatterning hypnotherapy. You can find out about these therapies on MisophoniaTreatment.com

  2. Roobie M.A. says:

    it makes me sad that I get angry at my husband just for eating or even breathing.(he breathes very loud sometimes I could hear him from another room with the door open). we’ve been married for almost three years now and have a beautiful daughter. My condition started when I was living with my parents. I remember getting up and leaving my meal as soon as I heard the loud chewing and lips smacking. It drove me insane. And later I would eat alone to keep myself from getting angry. (going back to my husband now), in the first year of our marriage, my husband was a quite eater or maybe I didn’t notice the loud noises he made. But now, I hear everything. I wish I could change(I’m really trying). I feel like he is afraid of sitting with me and eat together because then he might get criticized or looked at with the (disturbed look). I think we both feel a bit distant these days and it’s saddening.

    • Tom Dozier says:

      Misophonia causes great suffering on everyone in the family. Two points. First, add a lot of good sound (noise) to your home. This can greatly reduce the triggers. Second, there is treatment for misophonia. See misophoniatreatment.com.

  3. Lindy says:

    So happy to read about spouses who are also struggling. I just had an argument with my husband (who suffers with it) because I was eating popcorn, which I haven’t done so in 8-9months because it sets him off even though I eat with my mouth closed 🤦🏽‍♀️ He gets set of at the dinner table with myself or the kids and I find that I’m so anxious at the dinner table, that I’m on edge and snapping at anyone who makes noises of any sort. I’ve been “schooled” so many times by him on it and have heard “I don’t think you know how it feels”, that I just feel resentful now. I don’t, equally he doesn’t know how it feels to be constantly criticised for eating. I suppose I’ll just stop eating popcorn anywhere near him.

  4. Serenity not possible says:

    I feel like the most annoying person to walk the face of the earth. I’m 5 years married to wife we with misophonia and we have 2 daughters. I worry that she is tainting our children with her anger and rude ways. Everything feels like the blame is on me and the world and no responsibility to work on her own problem as hard as we seemingly need to work at attuning to her on a daily/hourly basis. I worry for her, and us (daughters & me). This misophonia feels like an extension of her true inner self.. a selfish brat to the core. I pray to see it differently

  5. Monica Carper says:

    Do you know if there is a support group for spouses? I’m also having a tough time with my husband’s triggers. Some days, I just want to call it quits and then I remember I love him and made promises to be there for him no matter what and I did not take my vows lightly. We’ve been married almost 5 years and together almost as long. I can’t come to terms with the fact he was somehow able to hide his symptoms in the three years we dated and even the year we lived together. It wasn’t until we were engaged that he began showing his anger toward ‘crunching’… (which could be the slightest crunch from romaine lettuce). Luckily, he married a girl that never liked chips. God forbid. Then there’s ‘gulping.’ I swear I walk around dehydrated most of the time to avoid the arguments. I often eat fast and nervously, scared of prompting an outburst. And if I have the slightest cold or sniffle? Forget about it. I just don’t like what my life has become living in the same household. I never knew anyone in my family who had anything like this. Eating together was always a joyous, family experience. I find it hard to believe that people are born with this condition. Is it not a leaned behavior? Maybe something from childhood? He refuses to talk about it but acknowledges he has the condition. How do I get him to seek help for the sake of our marriage? Thank you in advance for any help you can provide. It brought me comfort reading the comments in knowing I’m not alone in this.

    • Tom Dozier says:

      Misophonia is a horrible condition for both the individuals with misophonia and their loved ones. There is treatment for misophonia that is effective for many. See https://youtu.be/z_jaLCvZHYU

    • Tom Dozier says:

      Misophonia causes great suffering for the individual and loved ones. We recommend the individual with misophonia seek treatment from someone listed on misophoniainstitute.org or misophoniatreatment.com.

    • Amy says:

      Hi Monica, I am going through the same thing with my husband and now my son too! If you want to connect I’m on Facebook as Amy Leitermann 🙂

    • Julie Pulie says:

      My struggle is with sleep. My partner had misophonia and my breathing sets him off. Not necessarily into rage, but just can’t sleep because he will zone in on the sound and focus on my breathing and spend the night not sleeping.

      Nowadays he falls asleep in his recliner. So basically we hardly ever share bed. This way he get 6 hours of decent sleep- having fallen asleep to a movie. I always wake up around 4 or 5am if he’s not in bed…

      So the struggle is finding how to wrap my head around not feeling sad, lonely, and rejected because he never comes to bed… vs him coming to bed and getting poor to no sleep because I’m breathing…

      Eating is okay. My eating. Unless I eat extra crunchy food while he is not eating. We like to go out for Asian foods. He has on occasion made eye contact and smacked his lips aggressively at some poor slurper. It’s out of character cause he’s normally so polite.

      He will 100% blow up at our dogs if they’re slurping too much. One is extra prone to it. Massive trigger that one.

      But the breathing while I sleep is the one that we are struggling with the most as a couple. Because he feels guilted by me wanting him to come to bed at some point, and I feel guilted for my wanting him in bed means him losing sleep. How do I deal with that one?

      • Tom Dozier says:

        There are 2 solutions to this problem. The easiest is to add noise to your bedroom. You can use a noise app and bluetooth speakers, a noise machine, or loud fan, such as a box fan. The added noise can be as loud as needed to completely stop him from being triggered.

        The second solution is for your partner to get treatment for misophonia. There are 2 good treatments that have a high success rate – relacation and counterconditioning therapy and sequent repatterning hypnotherapy. You can find out about these therapies on MisophoniaTreatment.com

  6. Sad and fed up says:

    This is a cry for help from a spouse of someone with this condition. I used to have the same problem with certain sounds when I was younger but no longer do. I can sympathize it’s horrific and uncomfortable.
    That being said, for those of us on the other end of this I Can hardly stand to be in the same room with my wife any more because everything I do is a trigger. The trigger causes a face (scowl) and an attitude shift.

    What am I going to do? I am so self conscious now even when I’m-not with my wife. I think I have to be silent all the time. When I bring up how I feel I feel guilty. I don’t know what to do. I am lost. I love her and my kids so much but I am miserable.

  7. Heidi Kinder says:

    Hi Jenny, omg! Yes, I have sinus issues also. Mostly in winter with all the dry air. I totally understand♥️!
    I hate having the sinus stuff also, I know it drives him nuts, but it also makes me nuts! Who would choose to have post nasal drip? Not I…
    I found chewing gum helps, probably the constant swallowing…??? Just have to be careful to not chew like a cow though.

    We have had separate bedrooms for a few years, we actually sleep better, but I do feel like it has really lessened the intamacy in the relationship.
    I wish he did not have the disorder, I mean he’s a good person, but I feel like it makes him mean and angry. I know how you feel Jenny, I too am sad and feel like I can’t be myself much of the time when we are together, it has altered the way I act and function.
    I can’t figure out how he controlled it when we first met… I mean it’s weird how it didn’t seem to bother him then, but it came creeping into our lives. I do remember that he did not like going to movies because of people chewing pop corn.. so we just stopped doing that.
    I don’t know if I would have continued the relationship if I had known how it would affect our life. Especially because he adamantly denied having misophonia when I finally (years later) figured out that’s what it had to be. I kept thinking, ” holy crap! I would be thrilled that my condition had a name and I wasn’t weird or alone!” But he kept insisting that “everyone gets annoyed by sounds”…
    I recently saw a film on Amazon prime called “quiet please”. It is all about misophonia and people who have it along with their family members and loved ones.
    I literally cried during the film. I told my husband that we should watch it together, hopefully we will some day.
    I kept thinking, “hmmm, he must really love me to stay with me even though some of the things I do and the sounds I make are super irritating to him”.
    But it is so hard to try to remember that when you feel like you are under a microscope every day.
    My heart went out to the people who had it along with the people they shared their lives with.

    • Tom Dozier says:

      I am happy that the movie Quiet Please brings attention to the suffering caused by misophonia, but I wish it would have included hopeful information about effective treatments for misophonia that has been developed.

  8. Denise says:

    I’ve been searching for support groups for SPOUSES of those with misophonia, and I stumbled across these posts. I just need somewhere to go to vent. I understand how it has to be difficult living with misophonia, however, us spouses suffer as well. I’ve been with my husband for more than 16 years. Within the year, he’s finally identified his issue as misophonia, and I would agree. We also think he has a mild form of Aspergers and a sensory processing disorder (tags in shirts have to be removed, socks have to be on a certain foot and way, etc.). The misophonia however, has effected our relationship tremendously throughout the years. The way I brush my teeth and swish mouthwash irritates him, the smell of peanut butter (which I eat everyday and on everything) disgusts him, the teenage neighbor playing basketball enrages him, my 7 year old sleeping, eating, playing, being a kid bouncing around bothers him. Basically, something at pretty much any moment irritates, or enrages him. He tries his hardest to avoid conflict; he’ll wear cordless headphones, remove himself from the table, exit the bathroom when I’m brushing my teeth, etc. However, it bothers me as I feel I’m always walking on eggshells trying to not irritate him, or I do as I normally would and see him walk away knowing it’s irritating him, which then irritates me to see him walk away. There’s not a winning situation. I tell him he needs to try and expose himself to more of the triggers to hopefully dull his reaction… he gets defensive with this suggestion, as he feels that won’t help and it’s just the way his brain is wired. However, over the years of me always trying to empathize with him, I feel as though it is making me more sensitive to sounds I normally wouldn’t have noticed before. So my thought is, if my brain is now allowing sounds to irritate me, I feel as though there is a way for him to work on dulling his reaction to his trigger noises. Either way, being a spouse with someone with misophonia is very difficult as well… so just me venting here was nice 😊

    • Tom Dozier says:

      Counterconditioning with muscle relaxation training and Sequent Repatterning hypnotherapy are good treatments for misophonia. See misophoniatreatment.com for help.

  9. Maria Levandowski says:

    I finally had to see if what happens to my husband has a name. He totally has misophonia and it enrages him to hear many noises, especially when there is no other noise distraction that he becomes hyper-focused on the sound. We have an open concept living room, kitchen, office space. He swears that other people have the ability to open plastic food bags (deli meats, cheeses, cereal bags in the box) more quietly than myself. Equally as irritating to him: liquids pouring into a cup (water faucet, coffee brewer) anything sizzling in a frying pan, our dog lapping his water ….. I will often take items from the cabinet or fridge and carefully walk it to another room or outdoors, out of earshot, to open and close it so it doesn’t bother him. He’s convinced that I am louder than others almost on purpose and leaves the room in a rage.
    He also has a mood disorder (ugh), so combined with the misophonia I’m trying to find out how to survive being blamed for noises that go completely unnoticed by others, yet wreak havoc on his brain. He won’t wear ear plugs, I’ve asked. As much as I’ve told him that I’m not making noise any louder than anyone else who is doing the same thing (i.e., shaking a carton of creamer) he gets mad at me. He’s got some hearing loss in one of his ears and I honestly think it would be easier for him if he needed hearing aids so he could turn down what he doesn’t want to hear. I sure could use some feedback and advice from anyone who has either dealt with this as a spouse or partner, or someone who has the disorder and has someone like myself trying to tip-toe through the noise of living everyday. Thanks for reading.

    • Tom Dozier says:

      All that you report are common with misophonia. Your sounds SEEM very loud because of the misophonic reflex response in his brain/body. Add lots of noise to your room, such as using a sound machine or a box fan. Get a noise app for to run on a spare smartphone (I like White Noise (blue icon, $1) by TMSOFT.) If you have a noisy exhaust fan in the kitchen, turn it on and leave it on.

      Misophonia is great for causing bad moods, so maybe his “mood disorder” is partly (or completely) misophonia.

      There is also treatment for misophonia. See misophoniatreatment.com for more info or pages on misophoniainstitute.org.

    • Denise says:

      I completely understand! I love my husband, and we have a great relationship, but there’s just moments where I can’t take it anymore, and vice-versa. A good portion of our arguments stem from his misophonia and sensory processing disorder. Everything can be going good, we’ll be watching a movie and all of a sudden he’ll hear a bouncing basketball outside, in the distance where I’m not even realizing it until he mentions it, but his brain tunes in on it and he can’t focus on anything else. So it always ends in an argument because he’s pissed at the teenagers for playing basketball and then I’m defending the kids, because they’re just being kids. It typically ends with him going upstairs because of the sound and me finishing the movie by myself. Or when I brush my teeth, he’s typically making a comment on how I do it and how I “slurp” the water, etc. For the most I have a hard time ignoring him so I chime in about him criticizing me and that ends in an argument. There are times where I feel like everything I do is wrong and irritates him. I also feel like new things come up… so his trigger list is growing. As I’m sure it’s the same in your house, it’s not all bad and there are times where either he’s coping well and not saying anything, or nothing happens to be bothering him. Those days are great. But then there’s the other days where we both just can’t handle it. So I’m definitely with you and know how frustrating it is to be the spouse as well. I will say having bluetooth cordless earphones has helped and there are times he’ll wear those and connect to the movie so he can tune out the basketball noise (just hearing the noise triggers anger however, which makes me angry at him and it typically ends in us angry with each other so the whole movie night gets ruined 🤷‍♀️)

    • Heidi Kinder says:

      Hello Denise,
      Omg! I am in the same boat as you. I really try to be empathetic, and I try to avoid doing the things that irritate my husband, but sometimes I want to scream!
      Some days I feel like he hates me. It makes me sad, angry, tired, and sometimes resentful.
      I started researching this a few years ago because I knew it was not normal behavior, and finally recently got him to admit he probably has misophonia. It’s been a long difficult road and still is, I’m actually surprised we are still together. He also is type A, and has some OCD (he’s always moving things ” back the way they should be” after I dust or whatever) he’s extremely particular even though I’m a very tidy housekeeper. I am kinda a clean freak, but he’s way worse than me about certain things. I have to do many things when he’s not around, which can make life difficult because I work also.
      So needless to say, sometimes I feel like I’m not living the best life I can, and I’m walking on eggshells most days.
      Some of the trigger sounds are, throat clearing, chewing, cleaning (me doing dishes, vacuuming, running the laundry machines) breathing too loud, tapping, sometimes even walking in a quiet house.
      He can’t stand me making food if he’s sitting down eating, gets angry if I’m going in and out the front door to bring in firewood. List goes on and on. Basically just everyday living tasks can set him off , and he’s then mumbling swear words and giving me dirty looks.
      Also he hates tags in shirts, has very specific clothing dislikes. makes me redo laundry if it ” smells like the wrong detergent” , certain ” smells” bother him. And he also has certain visual triggers.

      Sometimes I’m angry with myself that I have been dealing with this for 18 years, my son was 2 when we met, and I feel guilty alot that he grew up with this.
      I try really hard to remember that this is a brain disorder, but it’s so hard to not take it personally when it seems your partner is discusted with you.
      I understand that it must be so difficult for him to deal with it, but I wish he would admit that it’s no picnic for me or my son ( who is in college now, and living on campus, luckily).
      We live in a small house now, and I swear, if I had money, I would buy the small cabin across the road and move there so we would have our own spaces.
      Well, sorry for the rant, but I have been looking for a while now for others who are spouses dealing with a misophone. I feel so misunderstood, and I’m sure people like you get what I’m saying.
      Hugs ,
      Heidi

      • jenny says:

        Heidi, I am in your shoes.
        My husband will fly off the handle if I so much as clear my throat. I have sinus issues, so as you can guess, it’s fairly frequent and he only gets more angry… meanwhile I try to be as quiet as I can and he can still hear it! I cannot get out of bed every 5 minutes, nor is it fair. I did offer to sleep in another room though and he doesn’t like that either.
        Another issue is the sound machine he insists on using every night, even on vacation. We’d be at sea on a cruise and I like to hear the lapping waves of the ocean. NOPE. No can do. I also love the crickets and katydids on a summer eve. NOPE.
        It makes me so sad. I feel like I have to give up a lot and he gives up nothing! It’s torture trying not to clear your throat. It feels like suffocation. Physically and mentally.

        • Tom Dozier says:

          It is very difficult for you and the misophone. This is one reason why we are working hard to provide treatment for misophonia. See misophoniatreatment.com.

          • Heidi Kinder says:

            Thank you Tom, I know it’s torture for the misophone, I can’t imagine getting that upset at a noise.
            I myself have anxiety issues, and have had to learn coping mechanisms to alleviate that stress. It’s different than miso, but makes me more empathetic to the people who have different disorders. It’s sorta like someone telling you to calm down when your anxiety is high,, “oh! Really? Is that all I have to do? Just calm down? ”
            Lol! So yes, I somewhat get the problem.
            The sad thing about the misophonia is the rage and disgust it brings on, I so hope one day there will be help for it. It’s really destructive to relationships. Very hard to disengage and remove your feelings when you are feeling like the person you love is so disgusted with you.

          • Tom Dozier says:

            Heidi, your hope that “one day there will be help for” misophonia is now. There are 2 generally effective treatments that, on average, reduces misophonia severity by 70%. These are relaxation training and counterconditioning (practices by Nate Mitchell of Louisville, KY, and me, Tom Dozier), and the 2nd treatment is Sequent Repatterning hypnotherapy.

  10. TT says:

    Sorry to hear that, I am currently in development of an application that will hopefully alleviate noise by using a set of earplugs and an easy acquired commodity (cellphone) to create filter for certain sounds. I’l keep you post on the experiment

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