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friend ignores h, h blows a gasket at me - long, sorry

(64 Posts)
feelokaboutit Thu 15-Nov-12 11:54:13

Don't know how to think about this. My h and I have had lots of ups and downs in general, but over the last three/four years especially. We have gone through three long periods (the most recent has just finished) where he hasn't spoken to me at all (the longest time was for two months). All this means that I have (much more in the past) spoken to my friends about him quite a lot. We went to a few counselling sessions this year which we are no longer going to as he stopped coming after a huge blow up in one of them (which caused the last long period of silence). During the counselling it came to light that he is very bitter about my talking about him to other people - including my Aunt whom he knows. From my point of view, I was seeking support during times which were very difficult for me, and really talking about the whole of my relationship as it were - not just HIM - though he is an integral part of things!!

This is to set the context. I have a friend who comes over occasionally as her daughter is very good friends with mine. There was one occasion a few months back where she did pretty much ignore him when he came home and sat with her back turned to him, talking only to me. Now I don't know why she did this. H brought this up in counselling and said it was because I had badmouthed him to her. It is true that I had told her about my "relationship" and the hard things within it. I don't know if this is why she behaved in this way. I don't know her all that well really and it could be that she herself felt bad vibes from h (who can be very standoffish and sit in the corner of the living room, working on his laptop, ignoring everyone).

Since that occasion I think she might have come over once for a cup of tea and once briefly to pick up her daughter. Both times I was relieved that h wasn't around. Yesterday, thinking that things might be ok as we are getting on a little better since last long period of silence, I invited my friend over with another friend of ours. I told h who said he hoped they were going to "behave" to which I said I hoped he was going to. Not a good start.

H was out when they first came over so I thought he would be out all afternoon. I then went to get my son from guitar club leaving my other kids with my two friends at home, looking after their own kids and mine.

When I came back, h was also there, playing snooker in a room off the living room. My friends were sat at the table. No communication between both parties but I didn't know who had said hello to whom or not.

My friends and their children left. A while later h blew up saying he didn't want that "donkey" (my friend he dislikes) to ever come here again and that if I wanted to behave like that with her we could do it at her house. So she must have ignored him I take it. My other friend he said was "normal" because she must have greeted him when he came in. That if she (the "donkey") came here again he would say something. That she had ignored him again because of me. I said that this was not true (I haven't spoken to her about him for weeks and weeks at this stage), that I am not her. I also said that when his friend (A) came round and didn't seem able to make eye contact with me at all, I didn't go off on one. At this point h got angrier and called me "thick" and "dim", saying he hardly "A". I then said that maybe I don't know my friend either. Throughout his tirade he was effing and blinding. All in front of our three dc. I said I wouldn't not invite my friend here and that what he was saying sounded like a threat. He said it was. In short it was awful. All three kids were silent and watching. I then went upstairs upset and youngest dd folllowed and gave me a cuddle. When I came back down h was being super nice to kids. We haven't said a word to each other since then except for this morning when he was making himself a cup of tea and asked me if I wanted one.

I think my friend might be a bit upset as she was behaving a little strangely when she went home yesterday, and didn't answer a couple of texts I sent her (about non related things) later on. I am hoping to speak to her later on but don't really know how to bring up this whole thing without offending her.

During h's tirade yesterday where he called me thick and dim and shouted at me, I knew that really I cannot live with someone who thinks it's okay to talk to me like this, especially in front of the dc. Then I start to think about all the difficult things about being away from the dc some of the time if h and I separate sad.

H is a very closed off character who takes things very personally and is mistrustful of people in general. This is not the first time that he has expressed anger at being "ignored" in his own home. Yet he doesn't speak to my sister AT ALL when she comes over as they fell out more than two years ago. She was very upset about this at first but has got used to it. I can't get used to it though sad.

So I suppose my question is - is h right in feeling so aggrieved? Am I right to feel that really I cannot live with someone who calls me thick and dim in front of my kids??

THERhubarb Fri 16-Nov-12 10:01:34

Dear Lord.

So your friend ignores your h and suddenly you are back to square one, yet you still hope that things might improve?

If the postman gives him a funny look will that send him over the edge too? You do realise that you won't be able to talk to anyone for fear of him getting a nasty 'vibe' and then shutting you out? You will be walking on eggshells for the rest of your life.

And what about your children? What if they suddenly start to question their father? What if they disagree with him? What if he starts dictating to them which friends they can and can't have at home? After all, if he treats you this way, his wife, then what is to stop him treating his kids like this?

Imagine when they hit their teens. They will be sulking, he will be sulking and you'll be stuck in the middle of it all, with everyone taking it out on you. Does that sound like a good scenario to you?

The name calling, again what makes you think it will stop with you? Will he resort to name calling when the kids start getting older? He might think the world of them now, but children change as they get older and start getting more independence. They start to challenge and question their parents and this is when he is going to show his true colours isn't it?

Adults cannot use their abusive childhoods as an excuse. I'm sure there are many children who have suffered worse than your dh and have not turned out like him. When you become an adult you choose the path you want to take. You accept consequences for your adults and you take full responsibility for them. In short, you stop blaming your childhood for everything and you grow up. He has never grown up.

My parents divorced acrimonously when I was 9. I was taken out of school one day during lunch, rushed home and was shoved in a van and told we were leaving my dad and moving. A lot of my toys got left behind, including my pet. It turns out my mother had been having an affair for years. He drove the van that day. My mother wasted no time in trying to make me frightened of my dad. She told me that I was never to tell him where we lived or he would get us, that he used to beat her, that he was a bully who never loved her, etc. In reality it was her boyfriend who was the bully. He would treat me like the lowest scum. He would constantly snipe at me, tell me how thick and ugly I was, shoot me looks as though I disgusted him and would make sexually inappropriate comments to my friend.

When I was in my 20s I re-established my relationship with my dad. He was none of the things she told me he was and I realised just how wronged he had been. I now have a lovely relationship with him whereas I have cut my mother out of my life completely.

I am also happily married now with a wonderful husband. So my point is that shit happens to all of us, it's how we deal with it that matters. My brother in law went through a shitty divorce, she got the house, she badmouthed him to the kids, she denied him custody (unless it suited her) she changed her plans constantly, she was just as awkward as she could possibly be yet because he worked so hard to make sure the kids were ok, they have coped well. They are now 12 and 14 and from his side of the family, they are brought up in a loving and stable environment so no matter what happens with her, they know that once with their dad, everything is ok.

My advice if you are going to get divorced is to be honest with your children. Don't be afraid to tell them. Never badmouth their father no matter what he does or says to them. Be the bigger person. Explain fully that it's not their fault and that both of you still love them very much and encourage them to talk to you about their fears. Get them involved too, show them around flats, let them pick furnishings etc.

I would advise that whilst proceedings are taking place, yes do register an interest in the house but move out for a while. Could you stay with your parents? Or a friend? You say you have no support network but you have the 2 friends you told us about and I'm sure there must be others. You also have your sister who will no doubt be overjoyed that you are leaving him. If you confide in these people, you might discover that you have more support than you realise and I'm sure they will bend over backwards to help you leave him as they can see what is happening and I'm sure it must be painful for them to watch someone they care about, being treated in this way.

See this website for free legal advice and have a look at Divorce Aid for advice on coping, telling your h and telling the kids.

NicknameTaken Fri 16-Nov-12 10:02:17

"I am terrified of the whole divorce process. It is by all accounts a very difficult thing to go through"

Having lived in an abusive relationship, and having been through a divorce, believe me, the divorce part is a walk in the park by comparison. The hard bit is where you're at now, trying to get to the point of ending the relationship. Once the decision is made and you get going, the momentum carries you through. I'm glad you are shopping around for solicitors - it makes a huge difference to have one that you really trust.

I think the kids are unlikely to want to leave their warm, cosy, family home. H would never leave the house

Be very careful. Do not allow the dcs to end up with him as the residential parent because you are ready to sacrifice for them and want them to have what's familiar. I speak as someone who had two refuge workers spend ages talking me out of leaving dd with my ex Mon-Fri just so she would be in a familiar nursery. Right now, you might say, "Oh, he's such a good dad". No. He is a fundamentally selfish individual who puts his own interests above those around him. Such people can be "fun" parents (for a while), but ultimately they are not "good" parents.

To counteract the Nora Ephron quote, here is a real-life experience I had last week. My ex was trying to forbid me holding a birthday party for dd's fifth birthday (not because he was intending to hold a party or anything, he just didn't want me to celebrate at all because it fell on "his" day). I made it clear it would go ahead. Later, as we walked home, DD spontaneously started chanting "He's not the boss of us, he's not the boss of us". I'm really glad I have sent her that message.

feelokaboutit Fri 16-Nov-12 12:44:51

My Dad lives abroad and my Mum died 6 years ago, so I cannot go and stay with
my parents sad. I envy those friends who have their parents up the road.
I don't have that many close friends and everybody seems to be so overwhelmed by their own life that it is difficult imagining anyone wanting me and my 3 dc on top of them.
My sister does live close by but has a tiny flat and a very busy life.
I am worried that if I leave the family home, h may be more likely to get custody were he to go for it, as it would mean the children were in their familiar environment.
I am totally stuck between a rock and a hard place. I am totally not adversarial by nature and I feel I will be letting myself in for hell. If h blew a gasket about friend, imagine how he will be about all of this.
I want to run away and have it all sorted out without being there blush.

NicknameTaken Fri 16-Nov-12 12:54:33

Look, one step at a time. First identify a good solicitor. Find out what your options are. I agree, don't leave the family home until you've had legal advice.

My family are in a different country, so I couldn't go to them. It's still doable. Don't look too far ahead. Set yourself the first goal of finding the solicitor, and worry about the next bit when you come to it. Anything is doable if you break it down into manageable chunks.

THERhubarb Fri 16-Nov-12 13:01:35

Right.

Sounds to me like you are just coming up with a list of excuses as to why you can't possibly leave him.

So friggin' what if he blows a gasket? What are you afraid he will do? Sulk on you for 2 months? He's already not talking to you. Or are you afraid he will do something worse? Has he ever been violent towards you? You do realise that if he is violent and you report it, the chances of him getting custody of the kids just shrank to zero.

As it is, he is emotionally abusive so I doubt any custody hearing will go his way.

Contact your citizens advice bureau. You can ring them or go in and make an appointment. They will tell you, free of charge, what you are entitled to. They can help you organise housing, benefits and other necessities.

Right now, you are just guessing about what will happen. You don't actually know. Knowledge is power so find out what you can do about this situation. Find out what your rights are and how you can provide for yourself and your children.

His first divorce is nothing to do with you and no doubt you've only ever heard his side of the story. Chances are that he treated his first wife exactly like he is treating you and she got out in time. So what if he has to leave the family home whilst you are in the process of selling? Perhaps he should have thought about that before he bullied you, tried to drive away your friends and verbally abused you in front of the kids.

You are still putting his needs before yours. You are worried about where he will work, what his reaction will be, etc. What about you? Do you think he is sat there now worrying about you and your feelings?

I don't get you OP, I really don't. By all accounts you've done these threads before and I have no doubt you got some really good advice from them. Yet when push comes to shove you make your excuses and perhaps we won't hear from you again until the next time.

Well then can I leave you with this parting advice. Your children think this behaviour is normal. This is how they will see relationships. He will treat them as he treats you now. If you care about your children's future you would leave. If you don't leave, then what happens to your children is entirely on your head. There are consequences for inaction as well as action and your inaction is sending them a very clear message that this behaviour is to be tolerated and accepted. So they may grow up to be the abuser or to be abused. How do you think that will make you feel?

Stop pretending everything is ok. Stop making excuses. Give your kids the chance they deserve.

feelokaboutit Fri 16-Nov-12 16:40:10

Thanks for more messages. Spoke to friend today and asked if she had been ok at my house as she had seemed a little upset when she left (which I must have projected onto her at the time confused). She said she was totally fine and that I always worry about stuff like that and just laughed. So I think maybe she doesn't realize any of what is going on. She probably just thinks h is very grumpy and leaves him to it. She doesn't realize that he is fuming because he feels so ignored by a visitor to his house. It's really swings and roundabouts because I don't think how offputting h can be to some people. If he likes someone however he can be affable and polite.

The thing about h is that he immigrated to this country when he was 10, and both he and his family had a very hard time when they first came here (in the 60s - h is now 56 and I am 43), having stones thrown at them and being spat at in the street. This was then followed by his Dad eventually leaving the family home due to his alchoholism. H's ego is extremely fragile and he will negatively interpret things which are nothing to other people.

Anyway, the upshot of all this is that h and I are totally not talking again. Not only h (who finds it very easy not to talk and was really only talking when I spoke to him before) but also me, because I cannot bring myself to say anything to him. That would make it seem that I condone / accept his behaviour the other evening calling me thick / dim / shouting and swearing. This is all like a nightmare. We are supposed to be going to his mother's house this weekend as it is ds's birthday next week but I don't know how I travel with h and spend time in his family's home, when we are in this state sad.

Words cannot express how awful I feel inside, but am having to half function because of this kids.

feelokaboutit Fri 16-Nov-12 16:40:47

h realizes how offputting he can be

feelokaboutit Fri 16-Nov-12 16:45:57

I am worried it is going to get to the stage where I cannot function at all. Plus even more depressing is that I am guessing that h simply thinks all of this is my fault and that I am now paying for problems of my own causing.

foolonthehill Fri 16-Nov-12 16:48:51

it is horrible, I really know.

Reading you post above I can see you trying to make sense of him and reflecting on the horrible times he has had and then turning round to see the horrible times you are having now...are they linked? probably not as much as you think.

Plenty of people have terrible times in their past. For some it gives them deeper empathy, motivation to change the world for the better and fuel for the fires of justice and love, for others it becomes the reason they are allowed to get away with unacceptable behaviour and the excuse that either they or others use when they are less than the people they could/can be.

The truth is why ever he acts as he does you cannot change him. Only he can.

SO, will you stay and make excuses for him, lve your life as best you can and do everything you can to limit the damage to your DC?
OR will you decide that this is enough and you and DC deserve better and should not be damaged by him any longer.

At the end of the day only you can make your decision. I made mine.

AnyFucker Fri 16-Nov-12 16:51:03

What way to live sad

feelokaboutit Fri 16-Nov-12 16:52:52

thank you for saying you understand how horrible it is - thing is, I think dc are being damaged by the fact that the combination of me and him just doesn't work, not solely by h iyswim, who does love them loads and shows them affection...
I think our relationship has run its course and he is acting out (and has for months and months) because he doesn't want to be the one to break us up

feelokaboutit Fri 16-Nov-12 16:54:25

What I am trying to say is that the combination of me having the issues I have (scared of confrontation, low self-confidence) and the ones he has (short temper, blaming, shameful feelings from past) is a bad one

Charbon Fri 16-Nov-12 17:25:37

You've got that absolutely spot-on.

The combination of an abusive man and a woman who puts her own fear before her children's happiness is a horrendous parental situation for your kids.

Both of you are behaving selfishly in your own ways and only you can change your own behaviour.

foolonthehill Fri 16-Nov-12 22:13:09

A relationship is always a sum of the two parts. Action and reaction. We are all human, imperfect. The thing is you can make this better for at least some of the people involved...you and DC. Only he can change him.

can you list the reasons you feel are pulling you into this relationship rather than freeing you from it?

maybe we can help with some of the stuff that prevents you from calling time and telling him that it is not working and that without a massive miracle it never will.

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