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H and I had heated and possibly over honest confrontation in counselling, now he is not speaking to me at all

(127 Posts)
feelokaboutit Thu 04-Oct-12 16:20:30

We have had two bad episodes like this before when he blanked me for a period of weeks following a bad argument. (Once up to 6 weeks, the other time a little less I think). When I bring this up in counselling he says yes but what was the argument about - as if what I did or said (which I don't agree with as on both occasions I was very angry with him about the way he behaved so it's kind of a swings and roundabouts situation) warranted him not speaking to me for six weeks hmm.

We have been in counselling for a few months now but we have probably been for a total of 6 sessions together so far as often we can't go for various reasons. What has happened is that I have finally been able to say what I find so difficult, and he has basically reiterated again and again that the state of the house is the main issue for him. In fact I think he went to counselling in the hope that the house would become minimalistic and since that hasn't happened he has said that there is no point to going.

However, though I have finally been able to externalise much of what I find difficult, it doesn't actually feel like anything has changed between us.
On Monday I was very honest about how I feel. I have mentioned the possibility of separating several times now but neither the counsellor nor h take it up. Things also got pretty heated and in the same way that h finds so many things so difficult about me (I am apparently childish, messy, a victim, etc... etc...) I have also said what I find difficult (I find h bad tempered, cynical, negative, he bears grudges etc....). At the point at which he was saying that I am such a VICTIM I got upset/angry and said that to stop behaving like a victim would mean telling him to Fxxx OFF, at which he said that I do, every day (not in so many ways but I suppose we are both often distant from each other, in my case because I find him overbearing, controlling, critical and yes bad tempered).

Anyway, sorry to go on, my question is... given that it did get very heated and "over" honest in counselling, do I now have to accept that h is not talking to me at all (I ask him questions face to face and he doesn't answer at all, I can sometimes get an answer out of him if on the phone - these are all logistics questions nothing more) - IS IT IN FACT MY FAULT?????

cestlavielife Thu 04-Oct-12 16:24:30

if the state of the hosue is the main isue why doesnt he keep it minimalistic?
do you ahve children? if so it would be v hard to keep it spartan unless you ahve lots of space and lots of saorage

but seriously - get a few sessions on your own and see how you feel then.

Opentooffers Thu 04-Oct-12 16:30:11

He is responsible for not talking, he is the one showing disrespect. I'm not quite sure why you are trying so hard to still be with your DH, he sounds horrible and desplays a few traits that my exP had - notice he is an ex and life is so much better without all that crap. I'm not the tidiest person either but the house looks far better since I kicked him out of it. It's hard to get the energy to do stuff when your levels get sapped by controlling EA people.

feelokaboutit Thu 04-Oct-12 16:52:17

Yes it's true, I often feel weighed down, especially at weekends when it is just dh, the kids and I.

I think if there were no kids we would probably no longer be together. On the other hand, I have done damage to the relationship as well. I suppose what I find hard is the complete lack of understanding between us.

I am very frightened of what it might be like to only see the dcs (now 6, 8 and 10) only half the time if we went the 50/50 route in the event of a separation. I also don't know why I can't upset the good stuff about h and try to ignore the stuff I don't like. I suppose I am worried that I might really regret any decision to separate. However there are things which I fundamentally don't like about h's attitude to some things and the way our relationship is set up. It's very difficult to know what to do.

feelokaboutit Thu 04-Oct-12 16:56:35

I meant ACCEPT the good stuff !!!

CheeseandPickledOnion Thu 04-Oct-12 16:59:49

Sounds to me like you might want to change your counsellor? Why aren't they helping you discuss these and look at ways to change both your behaviours? What are they doing?

feelokaboutit Thu 04-Oct-12 17:06:26

I don't know, she seems very focused on trying to get us to think about what attracted us to each other in the first place (but that was almost 17 years ago and was partly a physical attraction so in some ways I don't see the relevance, people change a lot, or they come to realise that they don't need to put up with crap!) and trying to find the slightest positive thing which we might say about each other. I think as a counselling organisation they might be very much into keeping people together. In any case, a discussion about separation wouldn't necessarily mean separation itself, but I think it would help us think in a different way rather than going over and over the same ground to no avail.

feelokaboutit Thu 04-Oct-12 17:07:21

yes I think a change of counsellor might be a good thing but I don't think dh would agree, already last week he was saying there is no point in continuing....

feelokaboutit Thu 04-Oct-12 18:49:04

Shamelessly bumping my own thread but also to say that in a way, I don't know where to go from here as we have done the whole not talking for weeks thing as well as the go to counselling and feel terribly traumatised by it as well as by a big argument we had about 6 weeks ago. Now that we are back to not talking I feel as if I have run out of options?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 04-Oct-12 18:54:25

Do you not think you're flogging a dead horse? How bad would it really be to not see your children every other weekend or whatever is the norm these days? The counselling just sounds tortured and pointless....

joblot Thu 04-Oct-12 18:57:24

Does he want to split up? Can't imagine any counsellor would advocate not talking. If he won't talk, what on earth is the point of being in a relationship? You're a long time dead. Sounds miserable for you. Just my thoughts on reading your thread.

feelokaboutit Thu 04-Oct-12 18:59:07

It is tortured and repetitive it's true. The thing about not seeing the kids is that it would be more than every other weekend if it was 50 / 50. I suppose we could go down the one day with one parent and the next with the other but don't know what that would be like for the kids. Some people seem to go down the every other weekend and one week kids with one parent 2 days (between monday and friday) and the other 3, and the following week the reverse. What this would effectively mean is that the longest dh or I wouldn't see them is 5 days in a row which feels / seems like a VERY long time.

I suppose as a last resort I could totally empty the house of any of my stuff and see where that takes us. At the very least it would free some energy.

OneMoreChap Thu 04-Oct-12 18:59:39

XW went for weeks not talking to me often.
Combined with other EA it transpires I was suffering DV.
It wasn't my fault.

If you're unhappy, end it.

bushymcbush Thu 04-Oct-12 19:00:09

Not talking to you for 6 weeks is a form of emotional abuse. You clearly want to separate. What is this living situation doing to your children? They must understand at least some of what's going on between their parents (especially the not talking). Honestly I think you should separate, even if it's for a trial period.

Abitwobblynow Thu 04-Oct-12 19:01:00

1. change your counsellor and look for one who is trained, and has experience in, emotional abuse. Ask this question specifically.

2. Read Beverley Engels. FANTASTIC book. Not only does it explain emotional abuse very well, but it doesn't let you off the hook either and teaches you how to call him on every disrespectful thing, but respectfully. It also doesn't magically assume he will respond the way self-help books seem to expect.

3. Find some girlfriends and go for a girlie holiday for 10 days. Haven holiday, whatever, go. Make up some pretend girlfriends, still go. Walk out of the door, and don't worry about the children. He can find out exactly what hard work is when he is multitasking 15 hours/day. See how tidy the house is when you come back!

It is AMAZING how much this complaint (the house is a mess) is SO IMPORTANT to men? I literally got that reason too, for the M breakdown. The need for support, companionship....

riverboat Thu 04-Oct-12 19:08:03

God, 'not speaking to someone' is 10 year old behaviour as far as I'm concerned! I absolutely couldnt stand to live with that. It is in no way your fault!

Kundry Thu 04-Oct-12 19:49:11

Would he really want 50:50 split for the children? Really and truly or would he find it too much like hard work?

I suggest you go and have a few free half hours with some solicitors to see what your options really would be if you separated as they may not be as bad as you are imagining.

quietlysuggests Thu 04-Oct-12 19:54:46

Does he sulk and ignore the children?
I cannot imagine that grown man who is quite content acting like a gigantic arse actually thinking enough of anyone, even his children, to want to inconvenience himself in that regard.
Let him bugger off to a minimalistic apartment all to himself.

OrangeImperialGoldBlether Thu 04-Oct-12 20:14:19

Can you tell us about you and your husband's working life? What kind of hours do you work? Who earns more?

On a practical level, is there any way you could both pay for a cleaner?

ChooChooLaverne Thu 04-Oct-12 20:31:01

Does he do 50% of the childcare at the moment?

What did you do that caused damage to the relationship, apart from be messy? Is it as bad as punishing your OH by refusing to speak to them? I doubt it somehow.

ladyWordy Thu 04-Oct-12 20:38:02

This industrial grade sulking is emotional abuse. So is the criticism, controlling, turning things round to be your fault, and sneering at you (saying you are 'such a victim').

You would benefit from counselling just for you, OP. You don't need permission from H or the counsellor to separate (it's interesting that both parties simply disregarded this point, when you brought it up ).

In terms of access, I'm no expert at all, but haven't heard of a situation where each parent simply gets 50% of the childcare? Because you have to think about everyday continuity for the children, especially such young ones - it's not about fairness to the parents ( if that's the idea behind it).

Also, I think a critical man who gets worked up at the state of the house may not have the patience for long periods of childcare.

Anyway, very wise advice from Kundry above - best to have a brief talk with a solicitor to go through your options. And keep posting here if it helps brew

Fairenuff Thu 04-Oct-12 20:47:14

His ignoring behaviour is abusive, designed to control you. You should not be having joint counselling with this man.

Stop the counselling, find a different counsellor and go on your own. They will help you see how manipulative and controlling he is being. You can then start to think about where you go from here.

garlicbutty Thu 04-Oct-12 20:54:13

Have I got this right? You're in counselling because your husband doesn't like the state of his house? confused

Normal people don't go to relationship counselling about this, they sort out the house.

And what everyone else said about emotional abuse. It's pretty bad for your children to be around this sort of bullying behaviour - as it is for you. He'll be a million times happier as a single man with uninterrupted views of his floor. You and the kids will be happier living like a normal family. Get pragmatic advice.
Good luck!

WorriedBetty Thu 04-Oct-12 21:17:13

Its a bit weird all this - the minimalist/tidy house thing should be examined - what need is that fulfilling? does he get stressed by untidiness/clutter? Was his house at home minimalist and he expected adult life to be like that and is resentful it isn't? is he rejecting an untidy parent?, does he read too many magazines and associate minimalist photo-ready houses as badges of success? Does he see minimalism as 'success' or tidiness as 'success' etc and if so, what is blocking him from working to achieve that? Does he view the house as 'yours' and so is whinging impotently without realising the house is 'ours' and he can get involved in it (and if so why does he feel like this etc etc)

IMHO he is fixing on 'minimalist house' as his expression of what's wrong without explaining how he has come to that conclusion or what affects him about non-minimalist housing, and that is what good counselling should be sseking to unpack.

I would also guess that his silence (if it isn't just angry punishment) could be that because the 'minimalist house' statement is never unpacked and examined he goes away from each session feeling blamed and unheard. Silence could also mean that what he wants to express makes him afraid or that he can't deal with the emotions that will surface if he speaks openly (or that your reaction will be something that he can't handle - eg serious upset, or serious disapproval from you).

That's a bit 'venus/mars' but men do find being constructively negative very difficult

Also dont' forget that hearing 'we must split up' particularly when his grievances he might feel are being unheard is a pretty nuclear hurtful thing to hear and it may be that he finds it diffucult to express his hurt without seemingly increasing the nuclear threat.

That said, he could be being a 'I'm going to make her suffer until she cracks' type - only you will know if that is the case, and whether if you think it is the case you are being realistic or jsut seeking that idea because it blames him the most.

Out of interest, what was the last big emotional thing that happened to you as a couple?

feelokaboutit Thu 04-Oct-12 21:41:54

Thank you so much for all your messages.

I went through a phase of spending too much money which H is/was upset about. In my defense this was around the time that my mother was very ill and then died, now six years ago as well as the years that followed when my relationship with h became increasingly distant and unaffectionate, so I do think that I was trying to comfort myself by shopping. I did not get us into debt, I spent some my savings. Not huge amounts but yes, now I think I was an idiot and though I have spent my savings on good things like holidays for us as a family, furniture for the house, hoovers, the fridge, music lessons for the kids etc.... I have also wasted some of it on magazines, accessories for me etc....

I am a little bit of a hoarder and some of the corners in some rooms reflect this. For example the front room has piles of school papers and kids drawings on the floor along one part of a wall which have yet to be sorted. I find it difficult to get rid of some things linked to the past. Our dining room table often has things on it relating to the kids' schoolwork etc and he is very resentful of this saying he cannot tidy it because I get cross. I only get cross because of the way he does this, saying everything is junk and pushing it all aside.

Dh's mother is very tidy and organised and this is definitely his benchmark. He is also divorced and his first wife was apparently very tidy. When I met h his flat was very tidy. On the other hand, he himself has things he hangs onto and parts of the house which are disorganised due to him so he is not minimalistic himself. I think, however, that he can get rid of stuff much more easily than I can.

The issue of him seeing the house as mine is an interesting one as I am convinced that he sees it as only his and there is definitely a power struggle between us over this. Indeed on paper the house is completely his and I find this difficult. I think some of my "stuff" is me trying to lay claim to some of the territory. H is very proud and very convinced of his opinions which I often find over cynical and negative, judgmental and critical. He also bears grudges against people for a long time. I feel that in this relationship I can only ever be the told off child and this is difficult. I find it difficult to operate with the weight of his resentment and disapproval on my back. Being untidy is something he really disparages and feels ashamed of. I do feel however that there will always be something wrong and this is very discouraging.

I am a SAHM at the moment which I suppose is linked to everything as I feel quite powerless.

I agree that my telling me I have been thinking of the issue of separating is pretty explosive stuff.

There haven't been many emotional things that have happened to us as a couple I don't think as h is very self contained and does not really need me emotionally. We had a massive argument a few weeks ago in which we did explore some issues buy h is always sarcastic and scornful in these situations so though it kind of clears the air, it also creates more hurt.

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