Civil Servant partner vetoing my voluntary work with Refugees - AIBU??

(115 Posts)
whenthetimecomes Sun 18-Sep-16 11:35:18

Help! Very frustrated at moment as I am keen to get back to work after 7 years as a SAHM, and have finally found a part time voluntary role which totally inspires me and fits with my former skills and experience - It's teaching English to a small group of refugee families (from a troubled region much in the news) recently accepted here by local council.

Not only do I believe in this work for its own sake but it could also be a good thing (IMO) on my cv, as a stepping stone to a possible paid job in future after years of feeling deskilled stuck at home with a child. ( I'm also in my 50s so it's harder to get paid work at my age, but I think I could excel in this area). But regardless of this possible personal benefit, I want to do this anyway as I think it's very worthwhile work and want to help, because I can. I've worked with refugees long ago and also speak some of their language; IMO, I'm uniquely placed and well qualified as a teacher to help. Those who want me to join their team think so too.

Now - Partner has found out that I'm about to start the teaching (it's only 2 hours per week!!) and has totally vetoed it!! 'It's not safe for you as you have a family and it will have a negative effect on my work. It will be an obstacle to my future chance of promotion as it will be obvious that I have associated with someone who has had contact with undesirable people; it will bring danger and risk to us as a family - blah blah blah'.....

What does he do for a living? No, it's not MI6 or Special Forces - he's a minor civil servant in a very innocuous provincial department that has zero to do with military or security.

Now he's taking the Christian (!) approach: 'It says in the Bible that wives have to obey their husbands...'

I've told him that, if he can give me indisputable, objective, hard evidence from his workplace (eg human resources) IF - that his wife's offering 2 hrs per week of unpaid charitable teaching to refugees (who are 100% legally here and have obviously been previously screened by the UN and UK government before entry to the UK ) - if this will indeed bring his work into disrepute, and bring risk and danger upon the whole family .... only then will I reconsider this volunteering opportunity.

Responses from any other civil servants please would be particularly helpful here ! - to help me judge if there is any substance at all in what he's saying. He says things like this: 'I work for the Queen' (no he doesn't, she's just the ultimate boss of the Civil Service); 'I have to be above reproach in whoever I or my family associate with' - ??? He's just assumed these poor people are terrorists who will want to follow me home in order to murder us!

I think he's paranoid; but is it true that civil servants and even their families have to avoid helping victims of war, or any contact with them, just because they happen to be Muslims?

Civil servants and Muslims, please please give me your thoughts on this.

darreldixonishot Sun 18-Sep-16 11:41:37

I'm a civil servant, working with the military and this would not affect my career one single bit! Even if I was doing it myself!
The Civil Service has actually taken on people to help these refuges settle in!
Your husband is being an very unreasonable!
What's with all this vetoing your plans?
Is he normally controlling?

Mycraneisfixed Sun 18-Sep-16 11:43:04

He's worried he'll cease to be the centre of your universegrin
Do what you want. Just as he clearly does what he wants.

LIZS Sun 18-Sep-16 11:43:19

His attitude is bizarre! Surely by teaching English it helps migrants integrate, understand and partake in UK culture and values, and most importantly be able to live and work here, thus making a positive contribution. He sounds overly self important and controlling.

MissMillament Sun 18-Sep-16 11:44:26

This sounds like it is far more about controlling you than about his delusional fears about contact with refugees imperilling his career. How long have you been with this man? He sounds deranged. Of course there is no reason why you shouldn't do what sounds like immensely valuable and worthwhile work. And what's with the 'wives should obey their husbands' stuff? Has he ever given any indication that he holds views like this before. You need to set some boundaries with him and be very clear that he is overstepping the mark by trying to veto your legitimate career choices.

whenthetimecomes Sun 18-Sep-16 11:45:28

yes he is. And needless to say he also voted Brexit.

Thank you darreldixonisshot flowers I'm needing some support at the moment.

He is on the very extreme end of the cautious/suspicious scale, verging I suspect on actual paranoia.

But obviously I wouldn't want to do anything which might genuinely prejudice his career or anyone's safety. Hence asking on here

I am a civil servant and this is bollocks.

APlaceOnTheCouch Sun 18-Sep-16 11:47:00

His objections are nonsense. But I'm intrigued that you were planning a return to the workplace after 7 years and didn't talk about it at all with your DP - he found out that you were about to start teaching. Did you deliberately keep it from him because you knew he'd be difficult?

whenthetimecomes Sun 18-Sep-16 11:48:47

Phew, thank you everyone, I'm welling up here with your encouragements. You are all saying what I know in my gut to be true.

It does feel like he needs to control my life and my work way beyond what is reasonable and right. This is a me-shaped job and I actually feel called to do it. I think it's spot-on that it is about him not feeling in control and jealous of some of my attention going elsewhere. This marriage feels like a prison.

ApocalypseSlough Sun 18-Sep-16 11:49:30

Close friend of mine is married to a very senior civil servant and regularly fundraises and 'activates' for Syria. They're also devout Christians and he has no problem with this.

Toocold Sun 18-Sep-16 11:50:19

I'm a civil servant and your husband sounds nuts! It has no bearing on his career what so ever! And he sounds like he is not Christian! ...what a load of rubbish, I'd be laughing him out of the house if I were you. I help refugees from all over at work, I must be compromising my own job prospects...by doing my job?! What is his title, he really sounds like a wally. Do what you want to do and don't let him control you, I'm so fed up of reading about controlling men, you have one life, do what you want with it.

whenthetimecomes Sun 18-Sep-16 11:50:30

Yes I knew he'd be difficult. There is a very narrow range of things which he considers to be acceptable and 'safe'.

He is very conservative/Conservative.

In fact, we are encouraged to volunteer, to the extent we can do it in office time and still get paid.
And get pictured on the intranet as a good example.
blush

FruitCider Sun 18-Sep-16 11:52:28

I work for the prison service and my new manager is extremely supportive of my voluntary work with refugees.

Love51 Sun 18-Sep-16 11:52:33

I'm married to a civil servant. I work in local government. If either of us wanted to do voluntary work that might conflict with our own employment we would have to clear it with the relevant people in our organisation. But spouses? Nope, spouses can do what they like without it impinging on the other ones careers. Teaching English to refugees would be considered by either of our organisations as basically a good thing so long as it wasn't in works time!

whenthetimecomes Sun 18-Sep-16 11:52:47

everyone who has responded, flowers flowers flowers

Your words are music to my ears and balm to my soul. I've ben feeling so suffocated by the atmosphere in this home.

APlaceOnTheCouch Sun 18-Sep-16 11:54:04

I don't think this has anything to do with his job, his politics or his religion. Try not to use them to excuse or explain his behaviour. He's controlling because that's who he is. There are lots of people with similar careers, conservative politics and religious beliefs but they still aren't being ridiculous.

ImperialBlether Sun 18-Sep-16 11:54:27

Do you think that you're at a point where you want to re-evaluate your own life, OP? Who wants to be in prison?

"And husbands have to love their wives as they do Christ"

You know, Christ - the guy who let prostituted women wipe his feet, gave water to the poor, invited them to sit equally with him. hmm

Oh I can't be fucked, kick this non-Christian controlling arsehole in the balls.

whenthetimecomes Sun 18-Sep-16 11:59:16

Yes to everything everyone has said so far.

Interesting that not one poster has supported his attitude in any way whatsoever so far.

When I worked long ago in a Muslim country, guess what, I found my Muslim colleagues, friends and neighbours to be kind and welcoming human beings.

He's doing a blanket demonisation of them all them in his mind because they happen to be victims of a place where there is a very nasty war going on. ('But they might well be associated with some very undesirable people')

TeaPleaseLouise Sun 18-Sep-16 12:00:12

Yeah, I don't think he understands much about Christianity. That's the opposite attitude I'd expect from a Christian.

He's just an arse who's trying to control you by any means.

LunaLoveg00d Sun 18-Sep-16 12:00:30

The only restrictions I have ever heard of are from a friend who works for DWP - in the run up to an election or referendum they are warned to be careful about what they post on social media if they have their place of employment stated - the DWP has to be seen as not getting involved or taking sides. Fair enough.

But your husband sounds quite unhinged, work with refugees teaching them English is a good thing, and his ranting about refugees being dangerous or of ill-repute is plain wrong.

He doesn't sound like a very nice person to be honest and quoting the Bible is even worse - being a Christian is all about loving your neighbour and helping those in need.

Copperas Sun 18-Sep-16 12:00:40

He sounds very anxious about things not being in his control. This anxiety may rule his life but you must let it control yours. Have you grown into the habit of never challenging him? I think you may need to start. Good luck with the work: you sound the ideal person for it.

TheForeignOffice Sun 18-Sep-16 12:02:06

Your DH is talking rubbish and from your post also appears to be a massive twat in general grin

You on the other hand sound fabulous flowers. I'm assuming you're talking Syrian refugees...It is difficult to overstate how much these poor people need kindness and help after what they've been through. Unimaginable horrors.

I've helped some a little directly and in all honesty I consider it a great privilege to be in a position to do so. Made me feel great, partly because I do nowhere near as much as I should for charity blush

You will have an incredibly rewarding experience doing this and I am really happy for both you and the lives that you are about to improve dramatically. It's fantastic.

It's not about what you want to do. It's about you doing it at all.
You could have been volunteering to kiss kittens and he'd come up with another mad objection, fear of fleas perhaps?
He wants you at home.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now