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Is being an avoider a marriage deal breaker?

(179 Posts)
mulranno Tue 30-Oct-12 08:53:43

Been with my dh for 26 years have 4 kids. He is very mild mannered, intelligent and a devoted (but ineffectual) father. We get on fine when life is rosy but when life is tough his modus operandi (?) is head in the sand, avoider.

I get left to research and make all of the hard complex decisions which leaves me feeing both over loaded and soley responsible which is very pressurizing -- he is still like a teenager when it comes to money, finacial decisions, emotional/educational decisions around the family. He chooses not to get informed so I am unable to sense check anything with him or get any support or direction or feel that anything is a joint decision. He shows no interest in what I am trying to achieve.

On the emotional/health side when I had severe pnd after my 3rd child in 3 years he just chose to spend all of his time out of the home -- he was out 4 nights a week at either football, tennis, committee meetings etc. When he was home (Fri and Sat nights) he drank very heavily, fell asleep and was "not available" as he was just so distant and introverted with major hangovers.

I was left to manage all 3 babies alone night after night which caused me to be really angry. We went to relate as I resented this behaviour but they "framed" it as his way of coping so I forgave him. However we have since had 3 further major crises - another pnd, devastating sudden death of my mother and a most recently a major financial crisis which has endured for 18 months and requires house and schools move to resolve. The last two have tipped me back into depression. Again on all of these crisises he has not "been there" in any capacity. I have had to grieve alone (he was quite flippant about my grief) and have spent the last 18 months sorting overdrafts, loans, remortgages, school appeals, bailing out his company etc with zero interest or support from him. Additionally 2 of our 4 children are very challenging. My teenage son is aggressive and hits me whilst my husband stands by and watches, my daughter is sen also with severe bahavioral issues and her school and emotional health are another demand of my time. I am going thru a major depressive episode at the moment and exhausted. I just feel what is the point. Time and time again he doesnt step up. I feel disrespected and neglected

BhearNOW Tue 30-Sep-14 12:56:30

Update a year later...OP with a NC...He moved out end Nov '13 - youngest was in bits, agreed it was temp and he could come back at xmas - but he was here very evening and wormed his way back to stay over most nights with some excuse or another. So I did not get my time off...I was also worried about not disrupting oldest doing mocks after xmas and then GCSEs. I went to Relate on my own for 4 months - as he just squirms and lies and snakes around....it was a useful venting experience. I decided to put perm separation on hold until exams were over. But then I plummeted into depression before I could get started.

I had called him an "avoider" as that is all I knew. I had tipped into being the screaming banshee role (achieving nothing) - although I dont do that anymore as I expect nothing of him. Then I had this light bulb moment this week and found the Passive Aggressive label for him and Codep for me.

This has just allowed me to label what I live thru, see it as a structure and not something that I have created and am 1005 responsible for. I have 5 petulant children (not 4) and I do x3 the work at home..mine parental responsibilities, my PA husbands responsibilities and then the work again where he has unpicked everything I have done. I don't know if he is conscious or not of how he behaves.....but it is corrosive and crazy making ... Seen from outside as quiet placid husband and ott hen pecking crazy wife. I need to get out asap.

books.google.co.uk/books?id=JIyyid3xRyEC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Living+with+the+Passive-Aggressive+Man&cd=1&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive-aggressive_behavior
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dependent_personality_disorder
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codependency
www.adultchildren.org/lit/Laundry_List.php
coda.org/index.cfm/meeting-documents/patterns-and-characteristics-2011/
coda.org/index.cfm/meeting-documents/patterns-of-recovery/

tribpot Sat 30-Nov-13 20:10:37

Hope you are holed up in 5-star luxury somewhere, OP, having spa treatments and generally treating yourself as well as you deserve.

Thumbwitch Fri 29-Nov-13 12:37:32

I agree that it might be counterproductive to have him there at the weekend, whether you are there or not. I may be doing him a disservice but so far he appears to be trying to ingratiate himself with your DS1 all the time by giving in to him and allowing him to do pretty much what he wants - if he does that all weekend, I hate to think what your DS1 will be like when you get back on the Sunday. You could be back to ground level again with him sad

Let the arrangement stand for this weekend and see what happens - and if it's not to your satisfaction then change it next weekend. He's going to use his time to try and worm his way back in.

Also make sure you take your laptop and any other electronic media with you so he can't snoop; and other important paperwork - financial, legal etc.

cjel Thu 28-Nov-13 19:07:21

If you are feeling uneasy and not liking the arrangement then change it. Please don't give yourself rubbish weekend to try and keep him happy. It may be time to start proper separation discussions.
If you have to leave the house every weekend, who knows what will be coming back to?
Start as you mean to go on and your dcs will be much more settled and stable. Also don't allow him to hang around, if he is taking and fetching have dcs ready so he doesn't have to come in. This is going to be hard but at the moment you and dcs are going to be disrupted just to keep him happy.

tribpot Thu 28-Nov-13 13:55:48

God yes - you definitely need to have a quiet space of your own for the weekend if you can't be in your own home.

Personally I would go for a Premier Inn rather than a Travelodge. Nothing wrong at all with TL but PI will be a bit more comfortable if you're planning to spend some downtime in the room - and I hope that you are! If you go for one by a motorway it will be cheaper, but in both hotels the sound proofing is usually good enough that you won't be bothered.

Equally, depending on your budget Holiday Inn can be good value - I stay at the one in Hemel Hempstead occasionally and that's nice and has a pool, which makes it feel like it's a proper holiday.

Personally I think it's too soon for your H to be returning at all, particularly with the risk that he manages to undo all your progress with your ds. I would tell him he can't come home at all, but as a compromise you will vacate for one night, not two. You will have all your own stuff to do when you do get the house back.

MrsSquirrel Thu 28-Nov-13 13:50:48

Stick to your boundaries mulranno, you have been doing so well with them in place.

It doesn't matter to you if h hates it at his mothers. The marriage is ending, his feelings are not your concern any more. He is a grown man, he can make other arrangements for himself if he chooses to.

mulranno Thu 28-Nov-13 13:37:07

Feeling a bit wobbly today about the weekend arrangements for tomorrow.
Plan is that the kids stay here - h out of the house m-f and me f-s.

He has been at his mothers and hating it -- but been in and out of here - taking youngest to school, ds2 to physio, sorting revision notes for ds1 etc. So they have all seen him briefly everyday - was hanging around way too long last night and getting involved in my routines - so I asked him to leave. Stupidly I agreed that he could stay this evening as I have my company xmas do, needed a babysitter and will be back late.

But this is making me feel suffocated and uneasy as that means he will be here right through to Sunday. I am going to tell him he cant stay.

Also the looming reality of sofa surfing over the weekend is making me anxious. I work long hours 5 days a week - and at the weekend - just want down time an to be at home - to tidy up, do my washing, chill out etc.

I don't want to be a house guest. Maybe I should just invest a cheap travelodge for this weekend for the sake of my mental health.

Onefewernow Thu 28-Nov-13 10:38:19

I think what happens with the kids is the relief of knowing that boundaries are firm- it makes them feel safe.

Not knowing where they are, and knowing that parents are at war over most issues involving them, is the issue from their perspective. He is relieved to know that an adult is in charge. Also, they aren't daft- they work out from their friends' homes and school what most families consider acceptable- which is the same as your view.

So good to read your update.
Just keep doing what you are doing now and it'll work out just fine.
Well done again on everything you have achieved since the start of this thread.
You are a true inspiration of courage.
Just make sure you keep that Fuckwit out of your house!
You know it's better without him.
You already have 4 kids you don't need the 5th one anymore!

Dinnaeknowshitfromclay Thu 28-Nov-13 07:55:43

Mulranno, you haven't raised a dysfunctional family, over the years you have taken one step forward and your husband has taken that step back and then some. It just goes to show in a short space of time what you are capable of doing without that ball and chain holding you back and messing with your abilities. You sound like you are blossoming to be honest. You should be so proud!
The situation also proves what so many women say is that the home is often happier without the husband/partner when a DW is considering holding on to a crap relationship 'for the sake of the kids'.

IrishBloodEnglishHeart Thu 28-Nov-13 07:42:01

This is such great news and in my book you have been extremely courageous. It is also very exciting to hear how quickly the effects of your challenging decisions/actions are taking place. Your son is very lucky to have you as his mum. More power to you both!

Retroformica Thu 28-Nov-13 00:27:38

Your happier and have given boundaries. Now he's happier! .

Thumbwitch Wed 27-Nov-13 23:10:23

Mulranno, I'm so pleased for you, reading that update. Your son may have realised, now that his Dad has left, that in fact he WAS the cause of the upset, not you, and that's turned his thinking around.

I suppose it's too soon to ask if you can extend the 4 weeks indefinitely, is it?

MistAllChuckingFrighty Wed 27-Nov-13 21:03:59

it's not too late for you and your son, love

I said that to you waaaay upthread

get your husband out of the equation, you will get your son back

amumthatcares Wed 27-Nov-13 21:02:25

Fantastic news mulranno

Enjoy your DS, enjoy all your children, enjoy being a mum smile x

Onefewernow Wed 27-Nov-13 20:53:14

This does not surprise me one bit. Well done and keep going. You will continue to realise that you were not wrong.

MistAllChuckingFrighty Wed 27-Nov-13 20:29:07

Gosh, I have something in my eye right now. What a wonderful revelation. Please, keep on overturning all this shit you have been conditioned to believe all these years by your abusive husband.

You are a great mother and you have great kids. Despite that fucker.

tribpot Wed 27-Nov-13 20:14:20

This is really good, mulranno. I think you've shown him (a) you care enough to take action to help him and (b) you're in charge. I do genuinely think it must have freaked the shit out of him to have hit his mum to the ground and got away with it - the damage of that would be have been immeasurable, and lasted years.

But you have to remember he is still a teenager, and if he senses that your deepest fear is that he will leave and follow his dad, he will play on that when you inevitably disagree in the future. But you should hold on to the memory of this unexpectedly fantastic reaction to what happened - he wants you to be the parent, not his friend. You've done the right thing.

cjel Wed 27-Nov-13 19:58:15

Well done, I didn't think he hated you he as only showing his sadness in the only way he knew. You will struggle when some things crop up but you know that when he doesn't have that other 'voice' in his ear you will get the family you deserve. Its horrid when you are told crap and you believe it isn't it. Your H won't be welcome back I should think.

Enjoy your familyxx

mulranno Wed 27-Nov-13 19:51:54

Unexpectedly my son has been really good with me the last couple of days - I expected him to run off with his Dad and hate me forever.

His Dad said that we couldn't get divorced because my son would hate me, leave with him and I would have then broken up the family - and I believed this to be a real and acceptable possibility - that's how bad things were.

But it has not been like that at all. I know that he hates noise, stress and mess and I promised him that my aim was to create a calm peaceful house by getting his Dad to leave so that I can run our family my way and the the right way.

And this is where we are only 3 days in....I spent Monday night with him looking at Uni courses on line and this afternoon with him at school discussing A level options. He doesn't hate me at all - in fact it has become obvious that he really respects me and he has shown this more in the last 3 days than in the last 3 years - so this an amazing and unexpected outcome.

I did read some where that a family is only as happy as its most unhappy child -- and I think that this is true as the family dynamic is pulled down to the lowest common denominator. I have been really shocked and devastated that I have raised this dysfunctional and unhappy family.

Family life is sooo important to me I am the oldest of seven, have 60 odd first cousins and work ethic, kindness, fun, teamwork and respect are how I was brought up and all I wanted was to replicate this with my own big brood. I didn t choose to have 4 kids because I hate parenting.

So it would brilliant to turn this all around before their childhood is over.

I really did think that my oldest would walk out and hate me forever - but I thought that was worth it if I could prevent blighting the younger 3's future.

ItsBiggerOnTheInside Tue 26-Nov-13 16:25:34

Big hug from me! Such good news.

Well done on everything!
You've been amazing.
You do it at your pace and the way you want to.
We all cope with things differently and you won't be judged by any of us on here, not matter what the outcome.
So glad you are feeling more calm and long may that continue.
Keep posting and get some RL support from one of your friends that had NOT abandoned you at your time of need!
I really hope your son comes through this and better, happier and more calm young man.
Keep strong and keep going. We are all rooting for you.

IamGluezilla Tue 26-Nov-13 07:45:48

Some people are shit. Let this help you sort the wheat from the chaff in terms of friends and family.

MistAllChuckingFrighty Tue 26-Nov-13 07:15:11

Friends and family can be shit in these situations. They are too close to the problem, that doesn't excuse them though sad

Thumbwitch Tue 26-Nov-13 04:46:42

That's great news, Mulranno - that your son has seen the counsellor and that the house has calmed down. Fantastic! smile thanks

Has everyone still abandoned you? <goes to read other thread again>

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