I know I am unreasonable... But why???!!!

(42 Posts)
readyornot2011 Tue 10-Dec-13 09:56:18

Middle class angst alert!

I should start by saying I have a lovely life and a lot to be grateful for. I've been with my DH for 13 years, married for 4, we have struggled for many years to create the life we wanted and now in many ways we are living the dream. He has his dream job, we have just bought a beautiful home, one fabulous dd and another child on the way.

My DH is a wonderful husband, he treats me beautifully, helps a lot with our daughter and around the house and despite the fact he is now the only wage earner, he lets me wear the trousers in most aspects of our life including complete financial control.

I love him dearly and know I'm lucky to have him.


I'm mean to him... And I don't even know why. I'm sulky and quiet, I seem to take everything he says the worst way. My mind finds a way to make myself the victim in any situation. Eg. Yesterday dd was having a tantrum over dinner and he stepped in and calmed her down and then bathed her and put her to bed even though he'd had a terribly early start at work. Somehow I took this as an insult to my parenting and then got annoyed because it took him ages to get her bathed and so our dinner was 'spoiled' (it was fine).

Why? Why? Why? Why can't I just say gracious thank you and compliment his parenting skills as I should've. I'm not an insecure person, I'm confident and strong.

We have had quite a shift in our roles. I supported him for nearly 5 years while he retrained for this job and then we moved abroad for his dream job meaning I gave up my job and am now a SAHM. So I used to be the sole breadwinner and now he is but as I said he still leaves it to me to run our lives. Our life now is immeasurably better but I do miss having a job and my world can be very 'small' these days. He is at home with us a lot of the time because of shift patterns.

I should also add I have tried to talk to him about it although I don't think I've accurately represented to him what goes on in my head. He doesn't seem to recognise the behaviour I describe and just reassures me that I'm a wonderful wife and mother and that parenthood is tiring and I need to rest more and take more time for myself. Which is kind and probably true. I think a lot of my frustration happens in my head and all he see's is that I'm quiet and short tempered and assumes I'm tired. Plus, I suspect he likes that I'm quite feisty and he would hate it if I was the stepford wife full of false smiles and enthusiasm.

Finally I'm not always like this, sometimes I can see things quite rationally and enjoy his company (or not) normally. I know I sound pathetic, spoilt and brattish. I should pull my socks up count my blessing and treat my DH with the love and respect he deserves. I have tried, really.

Most worryingly I recognise my behaviour from my Dad. He, like me, only behaves that way with certain people and to everyone else he is sweetness and light .(he was always wonderful to my sister and I) It drove me crazy growing up and now I'm doing the same thing.

I know it's a trifle compared to other problems but I've seen my Dad destroy relationships needlessly and painfully because of this and I don't want to do the same thing.

Any idea as to what my problem is and what I can do about it would be gratefully received.

FrauMoose Tue 10-Dec-13 10:04:59

I think however good your lifestyle, and however lovely a person your husband is, it is tough being a stay at home parent in another country.

You don't say if you have your own friends or are able to follow some of your own interests. Just being dependent on a small child and a partner is very very limiting and intense.

Obviously there's the issue about your father too. I think it would be good if you were able to talk to your husband about this - and for him to listen and offer honest feedback, not just say a) you're tired and b) you're wonderful.

I dont know what to say, of course you know YABU!

Your Dh sounds like a doormat, lovely but a doormat. Do you actually respect him?? Would you respect him more if he put his foot down and rebelled against you sometimes?

The problem you have is one day he probably will get pissed off with your behavior.

MistAllChuckingFrighty Tue 10-Dec-13 10:37:19

I too think your husband should stand up to you. I would say that although it might look like I wear the pants in my marriage (as I am more forward in stating my position) I absolutely know where to draw the line wrt respect and not taking advantage of my H's easy-going nature.

Also, perhaps you should get a job ?

mrsjay Tue 10-Dec-13 10:46:11

you sound a terrible nag sorry but you do have you always been like this defensive and over react to everything, your husband sorted his child and you got angry and annoyed at him , are you a perfectionist by any chance you sound it you want to be able to do everything your way and don't like it when you don't get to be in control have you always bossed your husband around like this, let some of the control go and I think you will get on a lot better, you say he lets you wear the trousers seems to translate as he can't be bothered to argue with you, I know my posts seems harsh but I think you need to sort this before your husband gets sick of it,

Joysmum Tue 10-Dec-13 10:56:31

I think you might have the same problem as I have at times, I don't value the importance of my place in life. I don't feel like I'm contributing enough to the household. I feel I ought to be happy as I have it all, fab hubby, wonderful daughter, lovely house, great lifestyle. At times though, I don't feel like I've earnt any of it and the role it have in life is unskilled and I don't value it as much as my family values me.

I assume my hubby thinks I do nothing and imagine how I'd feel if my hubby wasn't earning and was sat in his arse all day. In reality, I am valued and I'm projecting unfairly. My family know and appreciate that what I do allows them to have more time and less chores and a simpler life.

When I feel low like this, I take up a new challenge so I feel like I'm achieving and do something I place value on. It works for me.

redexpat Tue 10-Dec-13 11:14:59

Is there some underlying resentment on your part? Because you had to give up your independence for him?

I do know what you mean though. Could you get any couselling to talk some things through? If that sounds a bit scary then perhaps start with some self help books. The book depository ships worldwide.

mrsjay Tue 10-Dec-13 11:22:31

OP do you see your role as a parent as a job because that is unfair on you all to think like that a parent is a parent regardless if their partner is bringing in the money

It doesn't matter how great your life is in on paper, if there is some kind of internal dissatisfaction. You may feel like you should be happy with such a great setup, but if it's not what you ideally want then you should try to face that rather than keep talking yourself into being happy.

I live abroad too. It's been okay because I can work (online), if I couldn't then I would pretty much go insane.

Being irritated with your DH is probably just displaced frustration and resentment. You supported him for five years to get his dream job -- which now he has -- but now it means you can't work at all. That's actually not really that fair when you think about it.

I don't think your DH sounds like a doormat. It's possible he understands better than you that you are frustrated with the new dynamics and he isn't taking it personally, which is great.

I guess you are pregnant now but is there any way you can work again down the line?

Penny6Pence Tue 10-Dec-13 11:33:05

I recognise myself in a lot of what you say. I too have a very charmed life. Lovely, attentive husband, beautiful home, beautiful, healthy children and I find myself being miserable and snappy with my husband too much of the time. I am grumpy with him and despite the fact that he is a great and supportive husband and father, I let the little imperfect things that he does such as burping/farting etc. wind me up to a ridiculous degree and I end up getting really angry with him for not 'showing me enough respect' - even though these really are the extent of his flaws. I'm also not affectionate enough to him even though I do love him and think he is lovely looking etc. I just feel very cold and frigid most of the time - probably due to the fact that I have young children and a job and a busy life. I wish I could be kinder to him too and more understanding and I don't really understand why I am not. I also link my issues to my father, who has a very Jeckyl and Hyde personality and is very nice and gregarious to some people and very short-tempered and nasty to others (e.g. me). I can see myself making the same mistakes that he made - the mistakes that make me really resent him now - and yet I cannot stop myself. I keep hoping that once the kids get a bit older and I get a bit more sleep (or any sleep!) that everything will settle down and I will become a good wife again but I don't know if that is true.

So no advice really - but certainly a sympathetic ear because I think I know exactly how you are feeling and it isn't nice.

Phalenopsis Tue 10-Dec-13 11:38:16

I do miss having a job and my world can be very 'small' these days

There's your answer.

ElleMcFearsome Tue 10-Dec-13 11:39:11

I was going to say something similar to PPs. Does he ever call you on anything? Or does everything go your way? SIMO, some people (my DS is one of them,as she freely admits) don't do well with being put up on a pedestal. She had a DP who adored and idolised her and it turned her into, not to put too fine a point on it, a real bitch. They broke up because she couldn't deal with what she turned into when she was uncritically worshipped.

ElleMcFearsome Tue 10-Dec-13 11:39:32


Yellowcake Tue 10-Dec-13 11:41:07

OP, no matter how ideal it looks on paper, your life clearly isnt making you happy. I've seen enough SAHM expats to be able to see how dull and isolating it might be. Make some changes in order to live in a way that is more fulfilling for you, and remove the underlying cause of the resentment. It sounds as if you need to work outside the home, and that you're not so much tired as bored and frustrated.

MissMilbanke Tue 10-Dec-13 11:45:43

you know you have a problem, writing it down here all helps.

Now you have admitted it to yourself you can take steps to change.

WilsonFrickett Tue 10-Dec-13 12:13:30

What Yellowcake said. You need something for you, something which will take you outside of the home. As you have another baby on the way and are abroad, perhaps it's not the right time for you to work or volunteer, in which case I would recommend studying or something like that?

I think you're probably terribly isolated. Do you see other people at all? Certainly when I was on mat leave and had a bad day, if DH came home and so much as looked at me the wrong way I'd rip his head off. Because we didn't build a relationship based on him being the only adult in my life.

And ignore the 'he needs to stand up to you' stuff. You need to work out what is behind your own behaviour. I think separately the stuff with your father is worth thinking about - you are reverting to 'type' because that is the pattern you were taught by your father. But that's OK, just because it's what you know doesn't mean it's the only thing you know, IYSWIM. You can make changes.

I think first stop is thinking about what would make you happier, then properly talking to your DP, who sounds so desperate for this move to work out that he's brushing a few things under the carpet himself??

I used to be like this a lot, and I am like it again now too. I know what it is - BORDOM! you are chasing a bit of drama, I was like it when I became a SAHM and now I am again I am doing it again. I recognise it, and try to keep my mouth shut, but I wear my emotions on my sleeve (and with my MH issues its hard to do anything but sometimes!)

You don't need more 'me time', you need a purpose, you need to be busy, you need something else to focus on... and dare I say it you need to appreciate your DH and your life with him. You say he doesn't know whats going on in your head, well the same goes - you have no idea what he is really thinking, perhaps behind his calm exterior he is thinking 'fuck it, I have had enough - next time she snaps at me I am gone!' Honestly if you keep being a big old bitch bag to him it could very well happen!

{BabyDubs nods sagely and takes own advice!}

Plumpysoft Tue 10-Dec-13 12:31:00

I have just written the same thing on the relationships board! I just don't understand it

revivingshower Tue 10-Dec-13 12:39:13

Op could you be a bit depressed or hormonal. Your post reminded me of an article I read by Jennifer Saunders about how she became depressed after recovery from cancer. She was staying in a beautiful hotel in a lovely area but got so angry about little details and blamed her dh for picking a bad hotel.
This could be part of your problem.

Plumpysoft Tue 10-Dec-13 12:41:06

Yes, that sounds very familiar. I do take seroxat for anxiety and have done for years

Loopytiles Tue 10-Dec-13 12:41:45

Maybe expat life / being a SAHM long term isn't right for you?

revivingshower Tue 10-Dec-13 12:41:46

I also agree with needing your own life and "thing" now you are not working.

MyNameIsWinkly Tue 10-Dec-13 12:48:00

You sound like my ex after we left uni.

At uni she did very well academically and in a sport, and had loads of friends. I was shyer and struggled badly with my degree. Afterwards we moved in together; she did a non - residential professional development course that was far too easy for her, I did a residential training course for my current job - I was stimulated, well paid, and made friends easily.

My ex started picking fights regularly. Everything was my fault. In fact, she was lonely, bored and jealous of the role reversal and I suspect you're the same. You need to find a way to stimulate yourself, a group to be a part of, and to help yourself feel worthwhile again. You also need to stop and really really think when you're getting pissy - ask yourself what the cause of your anger is. And swallow it. Good luck.

3bunnies Tue 10-Dec-13 12:52:59

Could it also be hormones? Did you feel like this before this pregnancy? I would talk to your health care provider. You can get prenatal depression or it could just be a combination of tiredness and hormones so don't beat yourself up too much.

revivingshower Tue 10-Dec-13 12:55:59

Is there anything about you could get involved in that would seem worthwhile to you? Like a charity project. Teaching English? Something using your jobskills?

readyornot2011 Tue 10-Dec-13 12:57:18

Ok, well thanks for all your replies, a reality check indeed.

Firstly, I've clearly misrepresented DH, he is no doormat and is perfectly capable of standing up for himself. It may be true that sometimes he lets me get away with things because he knows I'm struggling but I'd like to think I do the same for him when he is having a hard time, that's called a supportive marriage surely. I do recognise that if my behaviour continues he will get sick of it, that's why I've posted.

joysmum I do struggle to value my new role in life, I feel much busier than when I had a job (I worked part time after DD in England) and yet Even I am at a loss to explain what the hell I DO all day. DH never questions this, he knows how hard child care can be as we shared responsibility when we lived in England and he was always relieved to go back to work 'for a break'. A new challenge is a good idea, I suppose really it will be the new baby but I'm not ready to connect with that yet as my last pregnancy ended sadly. I shall think of something else for the short term, thank you.

redexpat and dreamingbohemian your 'underlying resentment' theory makes a lot of sense. The truth is I'd love to do DH's job it is indeed a dream job but we invested an awful lot of time, money and hard work into him. Which was the right decision, we wanted to have a family and it wouldn't have made sense to invest in me only for me to get the job and then get pregnant. (Its not a childcare friendly career) Plus I already had a good stable career. I'm happy with the decision we made and its worked out well for both of us but I must admit when he complains about work it can get to me.

I do believe in counsilling, DH had some earlier in our relationship and it made all the difference. But I think it's a bit extreme in this case, I feel like I should be able to get a handle on this. Self help books (cringe) are an option but i dont know what particular hang up to look for, which is why I came here really.

The resentment theory makes sense for my dad too, life has delt him some cruel cards (I can't really claim the same) and he has had little choice but to grin and bear it as best he can.

I fully intend to get a job down the line, sometimes I feel I'm counting down the days, other days I wonder why I'd ever give up this freedom (those are the days it's easy to be nice to DH I guess) At the moment I am pregnant and have only a rudimentary grasp of the language so I don't think I'm very employable (plus I admit I feel a little scared to fail, moving abroad is an emotional roller coaster, a fun one but its also hard). Once DC2 is weaned I'll look more seriously at it. In the mean time I am taking lessons in the language and doing some volunteer teaching in local schools.

penny6pence YOU GET IT!!!! I'm sorry you are dealing with the same thing but thank you for posting it made me feel much better to read someone else's take on it and its the first time I felt someone really understood. I too sit there berating myself silently for being so cold and frigid when really I just want to enjoy my lovely husband. It sounds so Bloody stupid why can't I just DO IT!!! People won't understand, I don't understand it, most of the time I can enjoy it but sometimes the 'bitch fog' descends and I hate it. I also worry there is more and more 'bitch fog'

So, thanks for the comments, some things make more sense now. I feel ashamed and embarrassed reading/writing this but also empowered to do something. But what? I will certainly look more into challenges/jobs/roles for me. But how do I rid myself if a resentment that I don't actually regret? We did the right thing investing in his career and we did the right thing moving abroad, our life, my life even has been enriched immeasurably by both decisions. While I didn't welcome it I'm pleased to have the opportunity to be a SAHM. In the long run its 3/4 years I will treasure forever, but in the short term It can be hard and frustrating (as well as joyous and rewarding) but I guess I'll have to embrace it a little more and find a little more zen. Is this just standard SAHM angst, is there a book for that?

Thanks again everyone

I think BabyDubs is right and you need to feel more fulfilled in every day life-volunteering or a part time job maybe? If it helps, I recognise everything in your OP and could have written it myself. I have a lovely life but I am often naggy, stressed and stressful to be around. I don't like myself for it.

revivingshower Tue 10-Dec-13 13:12:54

One thing you can throw yourself into is learning the language. This will be a really useful thing and allow you to get out and do a lot more. Plus it is a good mental challenge. Ideally it would be great if you could join a class so you can get out and meet people too. If not treat that as your at home job and try and get out and meet people as often as possible in some other way. But set yourself a fairly challenging goal to learn the language in say 6 months to a year depending on how easy you find it, and really work at it. Maybe find out if you can take an exam as proof of your skills and work towards that.

readyornot2011 Tue 10-Dec-13 13:15:25

I really need to sort this out now before DC2 arrives and life gets immeasurably harder

revivingshower Tue 10-Dec-13 13:17:51

It sounds like your dh has a good job is the money enough to afford some childcare so you can do some of these things?

ShreddedHoops Tue 10-Dec-13 13:20:28

Marking place

WilsonFrickett Tue 10-Dec-13 15:56:04

But how do I rid myself if a resentment that I don't actually regret?

You are allowed to grieve choices you've made that you don't regret.

I'm a freelancer, so I work out of the home part time. I gave up a really good career to do this for DS who has SN and needs someone home for him after school (wouldn't have coped with after school clubs, for example, as he has social issues). My career was flexible enough for the nursery years but really not for the school years.

As a result, I do a lot more of the SAHM things than I ever envisaged, because I'm here. As evidenced by DH doing some washing the other week and not being able to work the machine. Which we've had for six months.

So does a part of me 'miss' career me? Yes. Do I wish I hadn't had to make such a stark choice? Yes. Do I realise I'm incredibly lucky in being able to build a still good, lucrative career round school hours? Yes. Do I regret having the opportunity and ability to put my DS' needs first? No, of course not. All these things can co-exist at once.

The choices we've made are right for our family. Doesn't mean they were right for me. But I had a good go before, and I'll no doubt get another shot at putting myself first later. Sometimes you just have to accept and let go.

mrsjay Tue 10-Dec-13 16:00:25

by chosing to be at home with your children is quite a hard thing to do ime I think perhaps the resentment is sort of in you but you don't see it you may see your role is mother and you should do it all for the children because your dh gives you all a nice life itswim

How has your life been enriched immeasurably by investing in his career and moving abroad?

I'm not challenging you, just wondering if you can actually articulate this more specifically, as that may help.

Too often women see the family unit doing better and assume that things are better for themselves too. But you are your own unique person too, with your own needs. It sounds like you've sacrificed a lot to get where you are now, and also that being a SAHM has not been your dream goal that would make all that sacrifice automatically worthwhile (if that makes sense).

I would be immensely frustrated if I saw DH doing my dream job every day. I think you are being too hard on yourself frankly, that would irritate most people.

Can you work online in any way? Teach English via skype even? I think you've been very generous to put your life on hold for a few years but there are things you can do to feel less isolated, maybe.

mrsjay Tue 10-Dec-13 16:25:41

I think i meant what dream said but they put it far better than i could, it is all fine and dandy a partner doing their thing but sometimes mothers feel left behind even if it was easier for us to actually stay at home with the children , if any of that makes sense

exactly, mrsjay

It's really really hard to make these kind of sacrifices. Yet mothers are expected to do it and be happy about it because everyone else is happy.

Btw counselling is not an extreme thing. I wouldn't rule it out. It may help you find a new way of looking at things, which so often is all we need to feel better.

readyornot2011 Tue 10-Dec-13 18:18:48

A fair question dream it's difficult to see 'my' life outside the context of our family but I take your point.

In England we both worked and shared childcare, which was a nice balance. We rented a small damp house in a nice town, there was rarely any money left at the end of the month ( usually a deficit to be honest) we had no hope of buying a house of our own. I had a job that I was good at, a company car and all that but if I'm honest it wasn't going anywhere indeed many of my colleagues have been made redundant since I left. DH did the same dream job on a self employed basis with no security or guaranteed income. We both spent a lot of time with DD but not so much as a family or as a couple. We often spent the weekend on the motorway for fleeting visits with family. We were exhausted, skint and frustrated by the fact our life wasn't going anywhere, we were enjoying being new parents but really just surviving in many aspects.

In France DH earns much more and has a lot more security so we can afford for me not to work. We've managed to buy a house I never could have dreamed of owning. I am an outgoing person and I Have enjoyed the challenge of moving to a new country, I've made lots of friends and got involved with various established clubs and activities and am now organising my own. I've got mum friends who I do childcare swaps with which enables me to take french classes and do some volunteer teaching in local schools. I go into Paris regularly which is still an absolute thrill. The move was a financial blow but we are getting back on our feet and are beginning to have some 'disposable' income. In a few years time the kid(s) will be at school, the training loan will be paid off and I know DH will be more than willing to invest in my career then, which I doubt we would have been in a position to do had we stayed. We still see plenty of our family and now have room for them to stay with us which they do regularly. We go back to the uk every other month to see them too. We spend an awful lot of time together as a family and still manage to share childcare to some extent so we each get time to ourself as well.

So I really do stand by statement that life has improved for me thanks to the move. I am proud of the fact that I'm making a life for myself here but it is hard, and the 'wins' / 'achievements' are not always as tangible or widely recognised as they are in a workplace.

This has been a useful exercise for me, thank you for all your help. I see now that I need to organise my time better with clear goals. I shall try to think of my time as a SAHM as a short term gift to be treasured while it lasts. Finally I shall channel my frustrations into planning a career that I'll find fulfilling and will work alongside my family 3 or 4 years down the line (by which time I'll be fluent at French obviously)

When I feel the bitch fog descend, I'll try and focus on that last paragraph, although I'm sure I've got plenty more tongue biting and internal berating to come.

Maybe I can even help my Dad.


revivingshower Tue 10-Dec-13 19:00:58

I think you will feel better just having a plan and goals there. You are clearly someone who is ambitious and likes a challenge and to be achieving things of value.
You may also be abit hormonal from being preggers. So you need to balance stress reduction with giving yourself that motivation in the form of a tangible achievement you can work towards.
I bet you will find the "bitch fog" comes less often with these changes.

mrsjay Tue 10-Dec-13 19:03:44

you sounds really busy and enjoy your new life I honestly think you need to just bite your tongue not easy i suppose but if your routine like dinner is broken just grit your teeth and see it as one of those things ,

Ahh j'habite en France aussi smile

Your life sounds really full so I can see now what you are getting out of it. It does sound really positive. I think you have a really good plan there. Don't be too hard on yourself, you've obviously been through a big adjustment and you can't constantly stay in a positive mindset.

I know it's really cheesy but a friend of mine reminded me of this line recently: the first step to being happy is being grateful. This is so true for me at least, and I find when I'm feeling happy and grateful then it's no effort at all to be nice to everyone.

Good luck with everything!

readyornot2011 Tue 10-Dec-13 21:06:36

shower hormones are definately a factor, plus the lethargy/exhaustion of pregnancy means I have achieved a lot less recently which I don't feel good about. Although I have to admit the bitch fog predates pregnancy by some way, possibly even motherhood but it was a rarity then.

mrsjay I (almost) always have bitten my tongue. The 'incident' i described last night, the bath and dinner, I didn't say a thing, in fact I did thank him albeit not that sincerely. All the emotions I described went on in my head. I was quiet and spiky though, this is why he assumes I'm just tired. I'm not trying to justify it, the feelings were totally unwarranted.

dream Nice that you live in France too, my life does sound 'full' written like that, I can assure you the vast majority of the time is spent doing exactly what i'd be doing in England; coaxing DD into eating, wiping her bum and trying to keep her busy so I can carve out a few minutes to get some stuff done. Plus an (un)healthy dose of cbeebies.

Breadkneadslove Tue 10-Dec-13 22:20:09

It takes time to settle, properly settle in a new country, amongst the initial rush of excitement and change, meeting new people and embracing a new life. It sounds as though you maybe haven't fully let go of the working you and accepted the new role, the role you have actively chosen to undertake for the next few years. You mentioned a pregnancy that ended sadly I'm presuming you lost a baby, if so, I imagine that you are also grieving and this may be the reason that you don't feel as connected to your pregnancy and the newborn life that lies ahead. This maybe an unconscious defense mechanism that you are not aware of happening but maybe in time, with a healthy new baby this will start pass and you can start to settle more as a family in France. I also live abroad and experience similar feelings to you I think, of disconnect to an old life and uncertainty of accepting the new one for fear of losing what I had!

This is rambly and I'm tired, so not sure if it's making sense. The main thing is I don't think YABU on the whole I think your body and mind is in a state of flux and the result is to take it out on the person closest to you, but given you acknowledge that there is an issue there then I'm sure you with time and talking it over with your DH and taking on board the advice above it will work out...

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