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.

12 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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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