His Reality

Not the first time this has happened, but I'm starting to make a note of it...


Out of the blue (right before bed), my H asks,"Am I a terrible husband?" I say no (he's not the best, but he's not terrible, either). So he says, "But you think it, though." To which I reply, "I didn't say that." "But you think it," he says. "I didn't say it or think it," I said. "Yes, you do," is his response.
What the heck? Why would he ask me when he's already made up his mind what he thinks that I think? (Even that sentence sounds crazy!) Unless he's feeling guilty & wants confirmation of that guilt, or unless he's picking a fight (or something) just so he can justify himself. But I refuse to play Guessing Game. If you want to know if I have a problem with "abc", ask me if I have a problem with "abc".
My thing with him for a while now (maybe the past 10 or so years) is that he seems to be looking to me for validation and/or to fill his esteem or whatever. I can be his cheerleader, and I can support him in his quest to do "xyz" with his life, but I cannot be the source of his esteem; the reason he feels good about himself.
Another oddity is that sometimes he takes some of my "I" statements about myself & seems to turn them around to be an attack on him; for example, on Saturday, I stated, "Boy, I got a lot done today!" to which he replied, "I did a lot too!" Not saying that he can't say that, but it seems like almost every time I say that I get something done, he has to say that he did a lot -- or more. Even like early in our marriage, if I had a stressful day at work, his was more so because his work was more physical, etc. It's as if he thinks that if I say something about myself, it negates his experience/feelings & so he has to "compete" with it or minimize my experience/feelings so that his can be more valid or whatever. So it appears to me, anyhow.
In the past - oh - 5 years or so, he has been closing off more & more to others' perspectives. For example, there was the time I said something about the danger of lead paint; he brushed that off, saying something like "that's something the government wants you to think." Another example is when I wanted to get my son thoroughly tested & he freaked out, saying how it was going to "ruin his (our son's) life" and how all his future employers & the military would all know about the potential diagnosis (which he was convinced that our son would be labeled crazy or something), etc. Even though HIPPA laws prevent this sort of thing (which he did not even hear me say). Some of our mutual friends have noticed this change as well.


But to be clear, I don't think he has no concept of reality whatsoever. He is functional; he is able to accomplish tasks about the house, get dinner on the table, get the kids to their appointments, etc. We watch TV together & laugh about the same things; we go to church & can rationally discuss the sermon. It's just that his view of reality seems to be...slanted? misguided? twisted up?