I had assumed that my wife was a bad person due to the way she behaved when my daughter cried for any reason. She would get angry and even at times hit my daughter when she cried instead of consoling her. This was because I did not fully understand the migraine that my wife suffers from.

With time I realised that any noise can trigger migraine attacks for migraineur which makes them super worried when they see an instance of noise that threatens to start their attack.

I understand it now but for my daughter who is now 8 years old, her mother's occasional violent reaction to her crying can be very heartbreaking. She may consider it as a rejection by her mother.

How can I make sure that my daughter sees her mother's reaction not as rejection but as part of avoiding migraine triggers?

  • 1
    Hi Shishir, welcome to IPS. We may help you with communication with your daughter, but the second part is off-topic ("is it normal ?"). I've removed it, you can edit or rollback. Parenting.SE may also be helpful and you might want to check it out about this part.
    – OldPadawan
    Commented Mar 27, 2022 at 19:39
  • 3
    How have you and your wife handled/tried to handle this already? How have you tried to communicate this to your daughter, and how has she reacted to that?
    – Tinkeringbell
    Commented Mar 28, 2022 at 6:45
  • 5
    There is no adequate reason for hitting a child. Your child is right to fear and distrust her. It is for you to intervene, on behalf of your daughter not wife.
    – Stian
    Commented Sep 23, 2022 at 5:26

2 Answers 2


First, let me argue with your "it's ok for my wife to hit my daughter because she gets migraines" theory. I get migraines, have for decades. I got one this week that interacted with a tooth abscess and had me literally crying out in pain. During this migraine a one-year old cried for quite a long time (she didn't want to be in her car seat.) I didn't hit anyone. It is not ok for your wife to hit your child even while suffering from a migraine and certainly not because "well that noise might trigger a migraine." It's also a bad strategy since most people will be louder after being hit, but that's besides the point.

Second, and more importantly to me, I want to argue with your theory that it is up to you to convince your child that it's ok for mummy to hit her sometimes, and not mummy's fault, and don't worry, she still loves you. That's messed up! I say this as someone who heard this (not about my mother) a lot in my childhood. A third person coming and explaining (excusing) abusive behaviour -- that's not what a child needs. A child needs not to be hit, and if they are hit needs to hear that it's wrong. A child needs to be protected. I had the opportunity to be someone who told a child a parent "didn't mean it" and otherwise try to reassure them, and I refused. That was for the best. The parent had to face what they did, and work out how to stop doing that.

Reassuring your daughter that violence against her doesn't mean anything is not as helpful as you think. Preventing that violence, and condemning it when it happens, that's helpful. Your wife probably needs therapy or counseling to deal with both the migraines and her fear of them, as well as her coping techniques. Your daughter needs to know that you know that hitting her is never right for any reason.

  • I had a colleague ages ago who suffered from allergies. Very, very uncomfortable but not quite the same as a migraine, I believe. He could be insufferable on bad days. Then we were told about the reason, and it stopped being a problem. From "he is being an insufferable so-and-so" to "poor guy must be suffering from his allergy today".
    – gnasher729
    Commented Oct 13, 2022 at 16:04

We have a bit of a problem here, a kind of double-bind. If I understand correctly, your wife did not make it clear what the problem was, then she let it fester, then when she couldn't take it anymore she lashed out at the kid without explanation, and you only discovered what the problem was much later. All of these are terrible, so while I'm inclined to have some sympathy for your wife due to her condition, the amount of sympathy I'm extending is really tiny.

I have hyperacusis, so I can see what you mean. Basically, loud noises really hurt and give me tinnitus. This does cause some interpersonal issues, so here are my solutions.

  • Mitigate the problem

I own rentals, so I do a lot of renovation, so I got some 3M Peltor earmuffs from the "Hunting & Shooting" category. These have a microphone and amplifier with an automatic volume limiter that turns it down when the noise is loud. They don't feel "muffled" like normal earmuffs which will drive you nuts after a while (it gets annoying to hear just one's own heartbeat and breathing and nothing else). They allow you to hear everything, and not be isolated in a bubble.

Of course they're a bit inconvenient and look silly, but it's possible to have a normal conversation with someone in the next room, even when a contractor has succumbed to the recent fashion of using impact drivers for everything up to the tiniest screw. There's a jack input so you can even listen to music while drilling.

After I got these for work, I discovered they also work great on screaming kids, barking dogs, inside a noisy car, when banging dishes, etc. I'd recommend you gift some of these to your wife, it should dramatically improve her mood.

  • Understand the problem better

It turns out that the accumulation of loud noises makes them much worse. So I eliminated most sources I had control over. Here's one example: doing the dishes and eating was a problem, due to dishes and cutlery banging against each other. I just put all the ceramic plates in a box and bought plastic ones instead. That completely removed the issue and the source of conflict. Plastic plates are much more convenient and less annoying for everyone than asking people to not make noise while eating. I also got a much quieter vacuum cleaner. In the same spirit, if you both work at removing avoidable sources of loud noises, your wife's background level of migraine and crankiness should improve.

  • Fix the problem at the source

I discovered my ear problem was due to inflammation in my jaw joint, which I managed to almost completely fix by changing sleeping position. I'm not suggesting your wife has the same problem as I do, rather I'm suggesting to seriously look into it, research it, motivate her to seek medical help, perhaps she'll find something to mitigate the root cause of the issue.

  • Explain it to people

In order to avoid having to put my foot down and keep things smooth, I explain the situation as clearly as possible and I make sure people understand, because my condition is a bit unusual, so I can't expect people to know about it. Some take more explaining than others, but most people are fine with it. Basically all I'm asking is for them to warn me before they do something loud, so I can put on the earmuffs. It's annoying for everyone, and I would rather not have to do it, but that's the way things are.

Your wife should definitely have explained this preemptively instead of slapping your daughter without explanation, which is a huge red flag.

Now, there is a big difference between kids and adults. Adults have responsibility, kids do not. So when kids are playing, which is always going to result in much screaming, I just put my earmuffs preemptively, and everything's fine.

Now, it rarely occurs that some people either insist on not getting it, make fun of it, or tell me it's not that bad, suck it up, etc. So, in this case, if possible I simply leave and cut them off. If they're working for me, I fire them. Likewise if I have other means of applying pressure at my disposal, I will use that. Otherwise, I just drop them with a punch and deliver a lecture on solipsism and the subjectivity of pain, and tell them it's not that bad, suck it up, etc. I've had great success with this method, and the problem is pretty much solved. Obviously, I really hope I won't have to explain why this should not be done to kids.

So, basically, the problem is that your wife hitting the kid is abuse, but telling her to suck it up is also abuse. That's hwy I'm suggesting to solve the problem at the source. If your wife cannot stand the sound of your daughter crying, first thing you should do is get her some hunting & shooting earmuffs with volume limiter, make sure she knows how to use them, and make sure she uses them when the situation occurs. I hope your daughter does not cry that often, so, if your wife also gets migraines from other loud stuff like vacuuming or doing the dishes, that would be a good occasion to sneakily introduce the earmuffs in a context where no-one will see her wearing them (if she worries about looking silly). If that works out, then all is well.

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